As the adorable Something Rotten! so pointedly points out, “Nothing’s as amazing as a musical.” Not all have happy endings, not all cheer us, but all tell a story though a score. This month, Los Angeles area theaters present a variety of musical-theater offerings. One looks back to a past century, ultimately revealing that we are all family. One reminds us that our identities involve more than our attire. One, reviving the joyous harmonies of the Andrews Sisters, shows that men can step up into a woman’s job. One points out the pros and cons of imposing our values on others. And one—perhaps not technically a musical—is a world premiere play with music that seems to combine all of the above. We’re betting these five music-filled offerings, listed in order of closing dates, will be worth your theatergoing time and money this month.
Musical Theatre West at Carpenter Center, Feb 7–23
At the start of the 20th century, America held much promise for her inhabitants, yet societal issues plagued her. This expansive musical shows us the America of three groups (Jewish immigrants, African-Americans and wealthy white suburbanites) and stirringly reminds us of what has blessedly changed since then—and what appallingly remains the same. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s novel, with gorgeous score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, book by Terrence McNally. Paul David Bryant directs.
6200 Atherton, Long Beach (562-856-1999). Fri at 8pm, Sat at 8pm, Sun at 1pm (added performances Feb 13 at 8pm, Feb 15 and 21 at 2pm, Feb 16 at 6pm). $20–$240 plus Carpenter Center fee.
3–D Theatricals at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Feb 14–March 1
What makes a man a man? The story of one young chap who inherits his father’s shoemaking business and another chap who needs custom-made, thigh-high, stiletto-heeled boots provides the charm of this 2013 Broadway musical, with book by Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles). Add to this its propulsive disco-infused music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper (Tony-winner for this score), and these two and a half hours at the theater are a joy, start to finish. John Tartaglia directs, Cornelius Jones Jr. and Lukas Poost star.
12700 Center Court Dr, Cerritos (714-589-2770). Thu at 7:30pm; Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 2pm. No Feb 15 matinee, added show Feb 27 at 7:30pm. $20–$90 plus processing fee.
The Andrews Brothers
International City Theatre, Feb 21–March 8
This jukebox musical, created by the godfather of jukebox musicals Roger Bean (The Marvelous Wonderettes), takes us to a U.S.O. show on a South Seas island. It’s just about to start when the headliners (guess who?) fall ill and bow out. Three stagehands, brothers named Andrews, step in for the predictable results. What’s unpredictable, however, is how glorious those charming 1940s songs with their gorgeous harmonies sound when sung by men.
Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 330 E Seaside Way, Long Beach (562-436-4610). Thu–Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm. $37–$52.
Revenge Song: A Vampire Cowboys Creation
Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse, Feb 4–Mar 8
Qui Nguyen’s (Vietgone) world-premiere play with music blends history, hip-hop and a comic-book aesthetic to tell of real-life Julie d’Aubigny, a queer 17th-century French swordswoman and opera singer. Robert Ross Parker directs, Margaret Odette stars, but we also note that the ever-creative Kaitlin Pietras and Jason H. Thompson (the Geffen’s Mysterious Circumstances) have designed the projections.
10886 Le Conte Ave, Westwood (310-208-5454). Tue–Fri at 8pm; Sat at 3, 8pm; Sun at 2, 7pm. $30–$120.
The Book of Mormon
Ahmanson Theatre, Feb 18–Mar 29
The blasphemous, vulgar 2011 musical written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of South Park) and Robert Lopez (co-writer of Avenue Q) ultimately reminds the audience that each of us just wants a better life. Unfortunately, as this satire hilariously points out, some people have the worst ways of pushing us toward their ideas of a better life. Parker and Casey Nicholaw co-direct.
135 N Grand Ave (213-972-4400). Tue–Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 1, 6:30pm (added perf Thu at 8pm, Mar 26; no perf Sun 6:30pm Mar 29). $45–$229.