Theater Reviews by Morna

Morna Martell

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – Claremont

In the Holiday tradition, here is a new version of the wonderful 1946 film about a man who, in a state of despair, is visited by an angel who shows him the meaning in his life. Here, the setting is a small town in today’s Southern California. This family-friendly show will be performed outdoors under a big tent.

Adapted and directed by Beatrice Casagran, artistic director of Ophelia’s Jump Productions. This live stage performance has special effects, original music, and some fun audience participation. They’ll have blankets and holiday cheer to keep you warm, and projected captions for hard of hearing audience members.

In the parking lot of St. Ambrose Church, 830 W. Bonita Ave., Claremont. Info: http://opheliasjump.org or call 909-734-6565.

THE CHILDREN – Hollywood

Following a devastating environmental disaster, two nuclear engineers live a quiet life in a remote cottage on the British coast until a surprise visit from a former colleague upends their equilibrium and trust. Lucy Kirkwood’s timely play is a disquieting thriller about responsibility, reparation and what one generation owes the next. What is our responsibility to the future and what legacy do we want to leave?

What I love about the play,” says director Simon Levy, “is that it tackles these enormously important contemporary issues about our responsibility to the planet, to each other, to future generations, and grounds them in funny, complex, identifiable characters grappling with a moral dilemma….”

The cast includes Ron Bottitta, Elizabeth Elias Hoffman and Lily Knight. Stephen Sachs and James Bennett produce, executive producer is Karen Kondazian. The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave, LA. Tkts: (323) 663-1525 or www.info@fountaintheatre.com

SALVAGE – Hollywood

Harley, a country singer-songwriter whose wife is expecting their first child, has decided to hang up his dream before it destroys his family. On the way to pawn his guitar, he stumbles across this bar where he finds an inhospitable bartender and a surly customer strumming the blues on an old guitar. Says playwright Tim Alderson, “Weighing dreams and aspirations against responsibilities and obligations can be paralyzing. Each of the characters in ‘Salvage’ is struggling with this on some level.”

Damian D. Lewis directs this country-song filled show with book by Alderson and music and lyrics by Mark Heard, Pat Terry, Randy VanWarmer and Alderson.

Musical Direction: Colin Linden. Performers include David Atkinson, Natalie Llerena, Sam O’Byrne and Leonard Earl Howze. Produced by Racquel Lehrman’s Theatre Planners, at The Hudson Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., HWD.

Ample street parking. Tickets: www.Onstage411.com/Salvage

THE GAME’S AFOOT – North Hollywood

Also titled “Holmes for The Holidays” this mystery farce stars everyone’s favorite sleuth, Sherlock Holmes himself! It’s December 1936, and famed actor William Gillette, admired worldwide for his performances as Sherlock, invites a group to spend the Holiday weekend at his country home. Naturally, one of the guests meets with foul play and the weekend turns dangerous and mysterious. However, our host is an actor of depth and, by assuming the persona of his greatest role, starts to unravel the mystery and track down the killer.

Cast includes Barbara Brownell, Susan Priver, Clara Rodriguez, Michele Schultz, Patrick Skelton, Neil Thompson, Sascha Vanderslik and Troy Whitaker. With this play, prolific author Ken Ludwig won the 2012 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Mystery of the Year. Now Larry Eisenberg directs, and Lloyd Pedersen produces, for the back-in-business Group Rep.  At Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd, NoHo. Information: 818.763.5990 or www. thegrouprep.com

Note: At all indoor theatres, proof of vaccination and mask-wearing will be required of all patrons. Current guidelines regarding seating and masks will be followed at each performance.

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