Theater

Your Late-Summer Theater Guide

Photo by Barlo Duran/Courtesy of Whitefire Theatre

As summer settles across Los Angeles, the next couple months are a great time to try something new, experimental, or (especially) outdoors for a theatrical experience. Here are our experts’ top picks from now through the end of the season, proving what’s typically the slowest time of the year for theater is anything but.

JULY

Photo by Kim Cameron/Courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

An Enemy of the People
A historic open-air theater staging a modernized reinterpretation of Ibsen’s famous book, focusing on powerful people as they discuss what to do about contaminated water, an issue that has never been more timely. Through September 28; Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 North Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Topanga

Photo courtesy of Nancy F***ing Reagan/Facebook

Nancy F***ing Reagan
Winner of the 2018 Christopher Hewitt award, this dramedy is set during an aging gay teacher’s Palm Springs birthday getaway, where the death of the former first lady brings back painful memories of the AIDS epidemic, wherein she looked the other way while a generation suffered. Through August 4; Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Boulevard, North Hollywood

Photo by Karen McNamara/Courtesy of LAPhil

Hugh Jackman
Summer is the perfect time for evenings at L.A.’s famous Hollywood Bowl, and this year Australia’s prized export is here to entertain you with songs from his impressive career, including those from The Greatest Showman, Oklahoma!, and Les Misérables, backed by a live orchestra. July 19 and 20; Hollywood Bowl, 2301 North Highland Avenue

Photo courtesy of Dancing at Lughnasa/Facebook

Dancing at Lughnasa
Loosely based on the lives of his mother and aunts, Brian Friel’s Tony Award–winning play is set in 1936 Ireland and follows a family of five sisters in a rapidly changing world. Through August 18; Atwater Village Theater, 3269 Casitas Avenue

The Last Five Years: A Multisensory Experience
Jason Robert Brown’s beloved musical, about 20-something New Yorkers falling in and out of love, receives a new interactive take (including in-show cocktail service) to immerse the audience in the world of the play. July 26–August 4; The Other Space at the Actors Company, 916 North Formosa Avenue

Good Enough
Inspirational speaker and life coach Ted McGrath plays 15 characters from his true-life story in this one-man show, tracking from the depths of addiction through the metamorphosis that set him free. July 26–August 25; Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Boulevard

Into the Woods
Consider bringing dinner to settle in under the moon for this star-studded performance of Sondheim’s classic musical, featuring the voice of Whoopi Goldberg as the Giant. July 26– 28; Hollywood Bowl, 2301 North Highland Avenue

Photo courtesy of Rogue Machine Theatre/Facebook

An American Saga Revival—Gunshot Medley: Part I
Set in a North Carolina graveyard haunted by its past, this one-of-a-kind musical travels across time to tell stories of people whose lives have been torn by the deep-seated tensions of the American South. July 20–August 11; Rogue Machine in Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice

Permanent Collection
When the new black director of the Morris Foundation insists that African works be displayed in greater prominence, a thought-provoking cavalcade of questions are raised involving art’s value, racism, and who gets to choose what audiences see. This reading is part of a Sierra Madre Playhouses series called Off the Page, which stages free readings of plays you may have missed. July 29; Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre

AUGUST

Photo by Barlo Duran/Courtesy of Whitefire Theatre

Dear Yoko
Actress-comedian-musician Anzu Lawson’s one-woman show focuses on what Yoko Ono meant to Asian-Americans in an underrepresented America, and how taking on the challenge of portraying Ono led to Lawson finding her purpose in this world. August 24; Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks

Lonely at the Top
This debut show from Worst Ever Productions is a slapstick radio murder-mystery comedy from emerging writer-director Andy Shultz. August 9 and 10; Actors Workout Studio, 4735 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood

Fefu and Her Friends
Odyssey Theatre’s 50th anniversary celebration continues with a revival of another play that premiered at the same time as the theater opened: a signature feminist work by avant-garde legend María Irene Fornés. Through September 29; Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, 2055 South Sepulveda Boulevard

Photo by Jenny Graham/Courtesy of Fountain Theatre

Hannah and the Dread Gazebo
Two weeks away from becoming a board-certified neurologist, Hannah receives an odd package from her recently deceased grandmother that forces her to trace her family’s roots back to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. This edgy comedy from Jiehae Park was the grand prize winner of the Arnold L. Weissberger Award. August 14– September 22; Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Avenue

Photo by Gina Long/Courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

The Gin Game
Donald L. Coburn’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play comes to the outdoor wonderland known as the Botanicum, a story of two rivals in an eldercare facility whose competitive rummy games devolve into an epic battle to prove their own worth. August 17–September 29; Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 North Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Topanga