Theater for a New Year

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This is Anthony Byrnes Opening the Curtain on LA Theater for KCRW.

Happy New Year! Didn't you say this was the year you were going to see more theater in LA? You should. Here's some theater I'm looking forward to:

First up - performance finally gets its moment in the Pacific Standard Time art extravaganza. Running from January 19 through the 29 the Performance and Public Art Festival is presenting work that's all over the map, artistically and geographically. Spanning from Long Beach to Pomona and from a composition by Lou Reed to a performance by Vaginal Davis, it's going to be a mixed bag. But there's a piece at Santa Monica airport with 25 tons of dry ice. Do you really want to miss that?

Last year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, takes its inspiration and setting from Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 classic A Raisin in the Sun. Center Theatre Group is producing Clybourne Park at the Taper and A Raisin in the Sun at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. It's a rare chance to see the two back to back.

Heading down to South Coast Repertory is a festival that's a sort of best of LA's small ensemble theatre. With works from Poor Dog Group, Theatre Movement Bazaar, and the Monkey Wrench Collective it's going to be a great chance to see the work you may have missed in LA. Make sure to catch Poor Dog Group's The Internationalists in March.

The Geffen's production of Beth Henley's The Jacksonian is set in a seedy motel down South. The Goodman Theatre's artistic director Robert Falls leads a cast headed by Ed Harris, Glenne Headly, Bill Pullman, and Amy Madigan. It opens in February and it'll be classic Geffen.

On the more avante-garde and physical side, Boston Court Theatre in Pasadena is kicking off their season with a new piece by Theatre Movement Bazaar called The Treatment. Tina Kronis and Richard Alger bring a dancer's precision to dryly witty texts produced with an aesthetic that's as much about your ears as your eyes. The Treatment is their adaptation of Chekhov's short story, Ward 6, but if their last piece, Anton's Uncles, is any indication don't expect a musty old Russian play.

Cornerstone Theater Company has just started their next five year project, The Hunger Cycle, exploring what feeds us. One of their first residencies pairs playwright Lisa Loomer with the Homegirl Cafe and explores the connection between gang life and food.

My last pick for the spring is the Dutch theater company Wunderbaum at the RedCat in Downtown LA. This is the third time Wunderbaum's come to RedCat and I've been blown away by their two previous visits. In April, they're mashing up the music of rock trio Touki Delphine and Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World.

I have no idea what the piece will be like but I'm going.

What'd I miss?

This is Anthony Byrnes Opening the Curtain on LA Theater for KCRW.

Banner image of Butoh master Oguri, courtesy of the Getty Museum