Best Upcoming Theater Productions In Los Angeles

Best Upcoming Theater Productions In Los Angeles

 Matthew Murphy)

(credit: Matthew Murphy)

When it comes to presenting stellar theater productions, greater Los Angeles aims to please. It is here where locals and tourists alike can find some of their all-time favorite actors, dancers and singers performing live on stage, and maybe even calling the shots from the director’s chair. From knee-slapping comedies and fanciful musicals to soul-searching dramas and operatic classics, here are the top five shows to catch from late December, 2014, to June, 2015.

 centertheatregroup.org/theatres/ahmanson)

(credit: centertheatregroup.org/theatres/ahmanson)

‘Blithe Spirit’
Ahmanson Theatre
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 972-4444
www.centertheatregroup.org
Date: Through Jan. 18, 2015

Angela Lansbury fans have plenty of time during and after the holidays to catch the Oscar-winning film, TV and stage actress in Noёl Coward’s critically acclaimed comedy “Blithe Spirit.” After performing for sold-out audiences on Broadway and London’s West End, the five-time Tony Award winner brings her applause-worthy comedic flair to the fabulous Ahmanson Theatre on a 35-day run. Michael Blakemore’s revival is about a novelist who invites an eccentric clairvoyant, played by Lansbury, to his home to conduct a séance. He ends up haunted by his troublesome first wife’s ghost. What happens next is a manifestation of superb acting that tugs, prods and squeezes out successfully a range of emotional fervor. At age 89, Lansbury’s approach to first-rate entertainment is brisk, on point and utterly commendable.

 Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

‘Wicked’
Pantages Theatre
6233 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 468-1770
www.hollywoodpantages.com
Date: Through Mar. 15, 2015

An expertly produced theater production, “Wicked” has broken box-office records around the world. The musical, which is currently the almighty queen of weekly gross receipts in Los Angeles, returns to the City of Angels for an extended spell. Movie enthusiasts that are familiar with the film “The Wizard Of OZ” are absolutely enchanted with the witches, especially their colorful backstories. “Wicked” tells a wonderful tale about two unlikely friends whose personalities and viewpoints are constantly in conflict. They grapple over lots of things, including the man they both covet. The entire story takes place before Dorothy and Toto drop into the picture. This way, everyone gets a chance to learn why one of the witches ended up being branded the Wicked Witch of the West. This eye-catching spectacle appeals to theatergoers of all ages.

 Matthew Murphy)

(credit: Matthew Murphy)

‘Dirty Dancing’
Segerstrom Hall
600 Town Center Dr.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-2787
www.scfta.org
Date: Feb. 3-15, 2015

The beloved 1987 coming-of-age story about a teenage girl’s relationship with her dance instructor sashays into Segerstrom Hall for a total of 16 thrilling shows. Classical ballet dancer Samuel Pergande and Broadway star Jillian Mueller lead a fierce cast of high-in-the-saddle performing artists for the national touring production of “Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage.” This energetic demonstration of the fine arts is produced by Amber Jacobsen, NETworks Presentations and Grove Entertainment, in association with Lionsgate and Magic Hour Productions. Many of the chart-busting songs from the successful movie, including “Do You Love Me?” and “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life,” are lifted to lofty levels. After nearly three decades, the endearing tale of Johnny and Baby remains an all-time favorite St. Valentine’s Day treat.

Related: Best Upcoming Musicals In Los Angeles

 Ed U. / Yelp)

(credit: Ed U. / Yelp)

‘The Barber of Seville’
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 972-0711
www.www.los-angeles-theatre.com
Date: Feb. 28 to Mar. 22, 2015

Even after 200 years and running, “The Barber of Seville” remains a highly popular theater production. Presented by Los Angeles Opera, Rossini’s farcical masterpiece follows the antics of a mischievous nobleman and his wily servant as they attempt to woo away a beautiful young lady from the clutches of her perpetually grumpy guardian. This fine representation of exceptional artistry is filled with a whirlwind of hilarious disguises and intrusive mishaps to guarantee a thrilling experience. The presentation stars Russian baritone Rodion Pogossov, American tenor René Barbera and American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong. The opera will be performed entirely in the Italian language, with English captions projected onto a screen.

 centertheatregroup.org/theatres/mtf/index.aspx)

(credit: centertheatregroup.org/theatres/mtf/index.aspx)

‘Immediate Family’
Mark Taper Forum
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 972-7353
www.centertheatregroup.org
Date: April 22 to June 7, 2015

Tony Award-winning actress, singer and stage director Phylicia Rashād helms “Immediate Family,” a Paul Oakley Stovall comedy that makes its way to the Mark Taper Forum on a six-week run. The production steps shoulder-high into the troubled lives of estranged adult siblings. The fast-paced, 90-minute play takes place within a 24-hour span when the Bryants, a black American family, reunite for a wedding. The basic plot centers around one of the sons, who brings home his Swedish boyfriend. This high-stakes drama explores many nagging issues that influence today’s society, including cultural diversity, sexuality and religion. Rashād directs with explicit focus, expert comedic timing and superior acuteness. Due to its adult nature, this riveting show may not be suitable for preteens.

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Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.