American and world premieres, racial diversity, old standards, new musicals, comedies, dramas, operas, the Science Guy, a former vice president, a reimagined founding father — there’s something for everyone this fall at local theaters.

On Oct. 25, former Vice President Joe Biden will be speaking at the Ambassador Auditorium as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Next up: Bill Nye, TV’s Science Guy, who now heads the Pasadena-based Planetary Society. Nye is scheduled to speak on Nov. 29. Speakers in 2018 include former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, newsman Ted Koppel, author and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and travel writer and TV personality Rick Steves.

The popular Wicked Lit ensemble returns for a ninth season to prepare us for Halloween with four world premieres: Jeff G. Racks’ adaptation of Ambrose Bierce’s “The Damned Thing”; Jonathan Josephson’s interpretation of an Egyptian legend “The Book of Thoth” in “Thoth’s Labyrinth”; Kirsten Brandt’s adaptation of Margaret Oliphant’s “The Open Door”; and, as the frame for Wicked Lit 2017, Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm’s “Liliom” about the first stop after death, inspired by Ferenc Molnár’s eponymous play. The full bill is presented as always at the Mountain View Mausoleum & Cemetery in Altadena (Sept. 29 to Nov. 11).

A Noise Within will feature the US premiere of Mike Poulton’s adaptation of “A Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens’ tale of London and Paris during the French Revolution (Sept. 3 to Nov. 19). ANW will also take on Jean Giraudoux’s “The Madwoman of Chaillot” from Sept. 17 to Nov. 11. Using Maurice Valency’s translation, this comedy is about a Countess Aurelia who has a mad plot to save the world from evil men with the help of other marginalized members of society. Written in 1943, this comedy was first performed in 1945.

What to do when you discover that your mother is the respectable madam of a bordello? The Cambridge-educated Vivie must reconsider her life and values when she discovers “Mrs. Warren’s Profession.” First performed in 1902, this George Bernard Shaw play decries the limited opportunities for women (Oct. 8 to Nov. 18).

The Theatre@Boston Court features Jessica Kubzansky directing Julia Lederer’s “With Love and a Major Organ,” which asks: What happens when you give your heart? A young woman seeks the man who literally has her heart and you can find out how this quirky comedy is resolved from Sept. 28 to Nov. 5.

The Pasadena Playhouse will also be looking at a classic, Thorton Wilder’s “Our Town,” starring Jane Kaczmarek. As this is a co-production with the award-winning Deaf West Theatre, expect this version to innovate in a way especially sensitive to those with hearing disabilities (Sept. 26 to Oct. 22).

If you need a little religion and a lot of laughs before the holiday season, the Sierra Madre Playhouse presents “’Til Death Do Us Part: Late Nite Catechism” by Maripat Donovan with March Silvia. Aubrey Manning is the instructing sister (Sept. 22 to Oct. 1).

Easily the hottest ticket in town is the much acclaimed “Hamilton” at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. If you didn’t get tickets for “Hamilton” when they were first released, and don’t have the big bucks for the triple-digit seats leftover, then you can still try the Lucky Seat $10 lottery ( It might be easier to get tickets to the spoof, “Spamilton,” playing from Nov. 5 to Dec. 31 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (

The American premiere of Matthew Bourne’s “The Red Shoes” at the Ahmanson Theatre from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1 is the must-see for dance lovers everywhere. Previously Bourne gave a manly twist to “Swan Lake,” a bombed out Britain for “Cinderella,” a Midwestern 1950s re-imagining of “Carmen,” as “Car Men” and “Sleeping Beauty” brought the fairy tale ending into modern times. Bourne’s new adventure into “The Red Shoes” is bound to intrigue and inspire.

Also at the Ahmanson, “Bright Star,” the Tony Award-nominated musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, tells a tale of love and redemption in the American South in the 1920s and ’40s and an unexpected relationship between an editor and a returning World War II soldier who wants to be a writer (Oct. 11 to Nov. 19).

On Nov. 27, 1967, a young tenor came to Los Angeles on tour with the New York City Opera, performing at the then new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. That man, Plácido Domingo, returned as a singer, conductor and champion of the arts and he will be honored in a 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 17 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. James Conlon conducts the LA Opera Orchestra and special guests are expected for this gala musical celebration.

For more high drama, turn to Los Angeles Opera Company at the Chandler Pavilion. In Bizet’s “Carmen,” Ana Maria Martinez returns to Los Angeles to play the titular character (Sept. 9, 14, 17, 20, 23, 28 and Oct. 1). Soprano Nino Machaidze stars in “The Pearl Fisher,” a tale of forbidden love, life, death and romantic rivals (Oct. 7, 15, 19, 22, 25 and 28). Plácido Domingo stars as the aging king who is going mad which allows this bloodthirsty daughter to terrorize the kingdom’s citizens in “Nabucco.” (Oct. 14 and Nov. 2, 5, 8, 11 and 19).

Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad is featured in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Head of Passes,” a play about family and friends visiting the elderly Shelah (Rashad) on her birthday in a house with a leaky roof along the Mississippi River. The production runs from Sept. 13 to Oct. 22 at the Mark Taper Forum.

East West Players, in a co-production with the Robey Theatre Company, will also look at love and the military in Philip Kan Totanda’s “Yohen,”  Danny Glover reprises the role he created,  James Washington, a man who retires from the US Army suddenly must renegotiate the rules and routine of his interracial marriage to Sumi, played by Nobu McCarthy. East West Players perform at the David Henry Hwang Theatre in Little Tokyo from Nov. 1-19.

The Bard is nowhere to be found at Pasadena’s own classic repertory theater, A Noise Within, until next year when the company will take on “Henry V” (Feb. 4 to April 6), but two other venues offer two different takes on the Bard: the Ahmanson and the Alex Theatre in Glendale.

At the Ahmanson, “Something Rotten!” is a not so serious musical about two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom (Tony-nominated Rob McClure and Josh Grisetti) who desperately want to crawl out of the shadow of The Bard by writing the world’s first musical. With music and lyrics by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick and book by Karey and John O’Farrell, this musical is at the Ahmanson from Nov. 21 to Dec. 31.

At the Alex, Art Elbakyan’s one-man show, “My Insane Shakespeare” (Nov. 9, 8 p.m.) ponders “What is better: to be in a mental hospital among normal people or to be free among the insane?” A man draws parallels between the time of Shakespeare and today as he reflects about his life while involuntarily imprisoned in a mental hospital.

At REDCAT, the LA Opera presents a psychological drama about a young nurse who cares for a suddenly mute stage actress in “Persona,” (Nov. 9-12). Also at the REDCAT, performance artist Karen Finley confronts contemporary politics and society in her “The Expanded Unicorn Gratitude Mystery” from Oct. 12-15. Chilean playwright and director Guillermo Calderón considers the complex relationship between artists, truth and reality in “Metaluna” which makes its US premiere Oct. 26-Oct. 28.

Laemmle Playhouse 7 features plays that have been made into performance movies. You might have missed Part 1, but Part 2 of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” (National Theatre Live production) plays on Sept. 18th, starring Andrew Garfield (“Silence” and “Hacksaw Ridge”) and featuring Nathan Lane (“The Producers”) and James McArdle. The Metropolitan Opera’s “Norma” will be broadcast live on Oct. 7 (In Italian with English subtitles). Billie Piper (“Doctor Who” and “Penny Dreadful”) stars in the National Theatre Live production of Spanish playwright Federico García Lorca’s tale of a dysfunctional couple, “Yerma,” on Oct. 16. Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire and David Haig star in Tom Stoppard’s witty comedy “Rosencrantz & Guilderstern Are Dead” on Oct. 30.

Holiday fare includes the traditional “A Christmas Carol” at A Noise Within from Dec. 1 to 23 and the Sierra Madre Playhouse’s “A Christmas Story” (Nov. 17-Dec. 30). And the Lythgoe Family Panto, in association with the Pasadena Playhouse, will present “Beauty and the Beast — A Christmas Rose” at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in 15 performances Dec. 13-24. Sheldon Epps directs and Mandy Moore (“La La Land”) choreographs.


A Noise Within

3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 356-3100 |

Ahmanson Theatre

135 N Grand Ave., Los Angeles

(213) 628-2772 |

Ambassador Auditorium

131 S. St. John Ave., Pasadena

(626) 696-8702

Alex Theatre

216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale

(818) 243-ALEX (2539) |

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

(213) 972-0711

David Henry Hwang Theater

120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles

(213) 625-7000 |

Laemmle Playhouse 7

673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(310) 478-3836 |

Kirk Douglas Theatre

9820 Washington Blvd, Culver City

(213) 628-2772 |

Mark Taper Forum

135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

(213) 628-2772 |

Pasadena Playhouse

39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena

(626) 356-7529 |

Pasadena Civic Auditorium

300 E. Green St., Pasadena

(800) 982-2787.


631 W. Second St., Los Angeles

(213) 237-2800 |

Sierra Madre Playhouse

87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre,

(626) 355-4318 |

Theatre@Boston Court

70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena

(626) 683-6883 |

Wicked Lit

Mountain View Mausoleum & Cemetery

2300 N. Marengo Ave., Altadena

(323) 332-2065 |