New Year’s Eve Musical Review @ Santa Monica Playhouse Family Theatre: Dec. 31, at 6 and 9 p.m.
Tonight’s the night — the only night — for this special production of “finger-snappin’ 40s jazz, foot-stompin’ country rock, Jewish patter songs and romantic ballads.” Between various Jerry Mayer comedies, Debra Ehrhardt’s one-woman show “Jamaica Farewell” and Daniel Cainier’s “Jewish Chronicles,” Santa Monica Playhouse has been on a roll this year. Expect no less from its family-friendly division as it rolls into 2015.
Santa Monica Playhouse Family Theatre, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $49.50 for adults or $29.50 for kids 12 and under for the 6 p.m. show; $59.50 or $39.50 for the 9 p.m. show. All ticket prices include buffet supper, champagne, sparkling non-alcoholic cider, tiaras and noisemakers. (310) 394-9779; santamonicaplayhouse.com
Train to Zakopané: A True Story of Hate and Love @ Edgemar Center for the Arts
Resumes Jan. 8, continues through March 29
At 76, filmmaker Henry Jaglom suddenly finds himself at the height of his powers … as a playwright. Based on true events that occurred to Jaglom’s father Simon as he crossed Poland in 1928 just before the rise of Nazi-occupied Europe, this recently debuted production contains a parcel of powerful performances, most notably by lead Mike Falkow as Simon Jaglom, Stephen Howard as a prejudiced priest, and Jaglom’s wife, Tanna Frederick, in the volatile lead female role of a casually anti-Semitic nurse who unwittingly falls for Falkow’s Jewish businessman.
As with Jaglom’s last Edgemar original, “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway” (also directed by Gary Imhoff and starring Frederick), the writing and acting in “Train” is solid. Only this time, Jaglom has really challenged himself, simultaneously tackling themes of clashing cultures, self-hate and self-love, and God, destiny and history.
Edgemar Center for the Arts, on the Main Stage, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 5 p.m. Sundays. $34.99. (310) 392-7327; edgemarcenter.org
An Ideal Husband @ Westchester Playhouse
Runs Jan. 9 through Feb. 14
Directed by T. Samantha Barrios and produced by Melodie S. Rivers and Terry Delegeane, this Kentwood Players’ production of Oscar Wilde’s 1895 scathing satire of the British aristocracy unleashes witty Wilde’s signature rapid-fire repartee and cutting social commentary, utilizing a robust cast that includes Gail Bernardi, Harold Dershimer, Lucas Hannig, Michael Hovance, Branda Lock, Doug Mattingly, Alicia Reynolds, Melodie S. Rivers, Collette Rutherford, Michael Sandidge, Bruce Starrett, Hollister Starrett, Andrea Stradling and Jack Winnick.
Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., Westchester. Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. $20. (310) 645-5156; kentwoodplayers.org.
The Hebrew Hillbilly @ Santa Monica Playhouse
Jan. 10, 8 p.m.
Jaglom isn’t the only one tackling Jewish subject matter in Santa Monica. But now for something completely different, as the Monty Python troupe used to say, an illustrated pointing finger toward singer-songwriter Shelley Fisher, who has fashioned a one-woman play around her personal and professional odyssey trying to “make it” in Hollywood, weaving from her Deep South roots to the not-all-that-glitters-is-gold streets of Tinseltown. Directed by Rory Mitchell and produced by Debra Ehrhardt, the show’s songbook contains 14 originals written by Fisher, musical director and keyboardist Ken Hirsch and Harold Payne.
Santa Monica Playhouse Family Theatre, 1211 4th St, Santa Monica. $35. (310) 394-9779; santamonicaplayhouse.com
Chavez Ravine: A Revival @ Kirk Douglas Theatre
Jan. 27 to March 1
As the satirical troupe Culture Clash celebrates their third decade, principals Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza were not content to merely rest on their critically acclaimed laurels. With the tagline “Remixed. Relived. Reloaded.” on the posters, it’s clear this will not be a mere dusting off of their most famous play 12 years after it debuted at the Mark Taper Forum. Reworked with new music from the Rodarte Brothers, Culture Clash re-introduces their commentary on L.A.’s constantly changing urban landscape that builds on the real-life tragic metaphor that is the late 1950s creation of Dodger Stadium and how a Latino community was hastily uprooted and then thrown under the bus in the process.
“We feel that society has changed, we’ve changed, and we want to reflect a little more about what’s going on now,” Culture Clash said in a statement.
Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Previews begin Jan. 27; officially opens Feb. 4. Tickets are $25 to $39. (213) 628-2772; centerthreatregroup.org
— compiled by Michael Aushenker