Plays in Los Angeles: May 2015

Cynda Williams, Bryan Terrell Clark and Kamal Angelo Bolden in Paul Oakley Stovall’s “Immediate Family,” directed by Phylicia Rashad. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Check out the best plays in Los Angeles this month.

Immediate Family
April 22-June 7. This play follows a family reunion, which gets turned upside down when the middle son brings his Swedish boyfriend home with him. The Cosby Show star and Tony winner Phylicia Rashad directs the comedy, which is billed as “Modern Family meets Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown, 213.628.2772.

Julius Caesar
Through May 24. Among the world’s most celebrated plays, Julius Caesar is also one of the most action packed. With trickery at every turn, count on holding your breath as allegiances shift with every scene. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, 626.356.3100.

Matilda the Musical
Opening May 29. The Broadway sensation is a fun retelling of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s tale about a brainy girl with the will to change her destiny. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown, 213.628.2772.

Murder for Two
Opening May 26. This creative two-man musical murder mystery finds one actor playing a wannabe sleuth trying to find out who murdered an author and the other actor playing all of the suspects—and both playing the piano. Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood, 310.208.5454.

Motown the Musical
April 28-June 7. Motown founder Berry Gordy is the subject of this musical, which traces Gordy’s beginnings as a boxer to his career as a music mogul who launched the careers of greats like Michael Jackson and Diana Ross—and has a killer soundtrack to boot. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 800.982.2787.

Satchmo at the Waldorf
Opening May 26. Louis Armstrong is the subject of this one-man play—set backstage after one of Armstrong’s last performances—that delves into the music, struggles and triumphs of the jazz legend. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.746.4000.

Spring Awakening
Opening May 21. This lauded version of Frank Wedekind’s 1981 expressionist play­­—its last engagement in L.A. sold out—finds a cast of 25 performing in spoken English and sign language simultaneously. The controversial work explores morality, sexuality and rock ‘n’ roll in a coming-of-age story set to an electrifying score. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.746.4000.

The Power of Duff
Through May 17. Faith is the issue at hand in this work about a TV anchor, Charlie Duff, who starts to sign off each broadcast with a prayer and inspires a league of dedicated believers. Here, the play makes its West Coast debut. Gil Cates Theater, Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood, 310.208.5454.

Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up
May 21-31. Lucy Alibar, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter behind Beasts of the Southern Wild, spins yarns about a unique childhood that include a run-in with a lecherous goat and Pentecostals on the radio. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 213.628.2772.

May 29-June 28. The World Premiere Musical is set in Bangkok and Tokyo between the turbulent years of 1933 and 1939, as a monarchy falls in Thailand and Japan is on the brink of war.  A young Thai student named Noppon (Thai superstar Bie Sukrit) falls in love with Katherine (Emily Padgett, 2014 Broadway Revival of Side Show), the American wife of a Thai diplomat, and the story of their forbidden love parallels history as the new democracy of Siam moves into the vortex of the increasingly anti-American Japan. The Pasadena Playhouse, 626.356.7529. 39 S. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena

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