“The Cherry Orchard” @ Pacific Resident Theatre
Dana Jackson directs this retelling of Anton Chekhov’s last work, a comic ode to the timelessness of the human condition. The play chronicles an aristocratic Russian woman and her family as they return to their family estate (featuring a cherry orchard) as it is about to be auctioned off to pay the mortgage. The original staging opened in Moscow in 1904 and went on to influence playwrights from Eugene O’Neill and George Bernard Shaw to Arthur Miller. This production features a cast that includes Scott Conte, Marilyn Fox and Bruce French.
Now Playing at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sundays at Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. $25 to $30. (310) 822-8392; pacificresidenttheatre.com
“Broadway Bound” @ Odyssey Theatre
It’s not exactly a comedy and it’s not pure drama, but it definitely isn’t a show about nothing. Back in his pre-George Costanza days, actor Jason Alexander played older brother Stanley in the original Gene Saks Broadway production of “Broadway Bound.” Now Alexander returns to what might be Neil Simon’s most challenging play, this time as director.
Now playing at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 21 at Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles. $30, or pay what you can (minimum $10) on Sept. 10. (310) 477-2055; odysseytheatre.com
“Two Across” @ Santa Monica Playhouse
Playwright Jerry Mayer, who meshes Neil Simon-esque situations with Woody Allen zingers, has mastered a breezy kind of comedy in which Jewish and WASP-y couples co-mingle in a web of misunderstandings and First World problems. Earlier this year, the Santa Monica Playhouse re-staged Mayer’s cruise ship comedy “Aspirin & Elephants” to mark its 25th anniversary. Now, a decade after its premiere at the Playhouse, theater co-artistic director Chris DeCarlo directs “Two Across,” Mayer’s Bay Area-set tête-à-tête between an uptight Catholic gal and a loose cannon Jewish guy who meet on a commuter train. The play stars Kip Gilman, who reprises his role in the original production, and Wendy Michaels (of Mayer’s “Almost Perfect”).
Now playing at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 3:30 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 28 at Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. $29.50, or $15 for kids under 15. (310) 394-9779; santamonicaplayhouse.com
“Race” @ Kirk Douglas Theatre
Award-winning playwright-screenwriter David Mamet (the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Glengarry Glen Ross,” the movie “State and Main”) addresses the controversial titular topic in a provocative drama overlapping sex and accusations when two attorneys find themselves defending a wealthy Caucasian executive charged with sexually assaulting an African-American woman.
Now playing at 8.p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 28 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City. $25-$39. (213) 628-2772; centertheatregroup.org
“The Face in the Reeds” @Pacific Repertory Theatre
A family gathers to celebrate a Passover dinner as conflicts over the value of life and the meaning of faith erupt at the Seder table in this piece written by Robin Russin, a professor of theatre at UC Riverside who notes that “of course, this being a Jewish family, it is also a comedy.” Sarah Figoten Wilson directs.
The play opens Friday and continues at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 11 at the Ruskin Group Theatre Co., 3000 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. $25, or $20 for students and seniors. (310) 397-3244; ruskingrouptheatre.com