Theater Reviews by Morna

Morna Martell



Jerry Mayer, writer/producer known for The Facts of Life (1979), Tabitha (1976) All in The Family (1971) just turned 90 but his pen and wit are sharp as ever. He now devised a new incarnation of this musical comedy he wrote with son Steve, some time ago. In this fun show the adventures of aging are dissected, shredded, massaged, and put back together again. It’s viewed through the eyes of three married couples – Jewish, Italian, Irish – who have known each other for over 35 years. It’s time for a renewal of vows but much has changed, and will all three couples make it to the altar again?


Directed by Chris DeCarlo, and featuring DeCarlo, Rachel Galper, Kyle T. Heffner, Barbara Keegan, Evelyn Rudie and Tom Van Dyke. At Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street, Santa Monica. Tkts: (310) 394-9779 ext.1, or




This dark comedy is “inspired” by the true story of the infamous “Killer Grannies of Santa Monica,” also known as the “Black Widows.” Two mature ladies bond over the financial problems their deceased husbands have left them. To fix their predicaments, they concoct a get rich plan: Take in sickly men, get them to sign life insurance policies with them as beneficiaries, and care for them until they pass away. Only problem is their guests are not passing away quickly enough, so they decide to speed up the process!


Cast includes Larry Eisenberg, Philip Sokoloff, Susan Damante, Cheryl David, and Kevin Dulude. Written by John Strysik, directed by Jeff G. Rack and produced by David Hunt Stafford for Theatre 40. In the Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills. Tkts: (310) 364-0535 or




This comedy about the supposed creation of the very first musical earned 10 Tony Award nominations in 2015. This mash-up of 16th-century Shakespeare and 21st-century Broadway tells the story of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, two playwrights stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rock star Shakespeare! When they set out to write the very first musical, William himself works hard to make sure the brothers fail. Justin Michael Wilcox is Nick, Frankie Zabilka is Nigel, Aleks Pevec is Shakespeare, Bella Gil is Portia, Art Brown is Shylock and Randy Brenner is Nostradamus! Brittany Anderson, Eran Scoggins, Mitchell Johnson and Joe Hebel round out the cast.

Directed by Richard Israel, book by John O’Farrell, music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick. At BofA Performing Arts Center, Kavli Theatre, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks. Info: (805) 449- 2787. Tkts:



THE PLAY YOU WANT – North Hollywood


Fed-up by the theatre world’s desires to box him in, Mexican playwright Bernardo Cubría sarcastically pitches “Nar-Cocos” a play about drug dealers on Dia de los Muertos. Much to his surprise, the Public Theatre picks it up. With financial pressures mounting and a newborn at home, this is his chance at a commercial success. But when Scott Rudin offers him a Broadway run on the condition he further exploit his identity and the headlines, he must decide just how much he’s willing to compromise in order to finally be accepted.


Directed by Michael John Garcés. At the Road Theatre, 10747 Magnolia Blvd. North Hollywood. Sunday Performances are Pay-What-You-Can. For tickets, call 818-761-8838 or visit



Note: With Covid causing havoc on Broadway, check with these theatres in case any are forced to cancel. Also, remember all of them require proof of vaccination and masks to attend.

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