Theater for a New Year

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

Happy New Year!

Okay, let's get to it. Here are the plays I'm looking forward to in January and February.

Let's start with January.

First, head down to South Coast Repertory to see Stephen Adly Guirgis' play with a title that's not exactly radio friendly. It's called "The Motherf**ker with the Hat." A hit on Broadway last year, the play is finally making it's way to Los Angeles. South Coast has tapped Cornerstone Artistic Director Michael John Garces to direct. This production will be worth braving the traffic.

Tina Kronis and Richard Alger, the creative geniuses behind Theater Movement Bazaar, have spent the last few years with Chekhov. Their latest foray into samovars and longing is called "Track 3" and it's their take on Three Sisters. If you've never seen Theater Movement Bazaar, their productions are a mash-up of found text, original dialogue, and wonderfully precise movement all with a wickedly dry sense of humor. The Bootleg Theater will be home to their latest production.

Thank goodness theater's back at UCLA! The newly coined Center for the Art of Performance has two shows in January. Tis Pity She's a Whore is up first but the one I'm really looking forward to is Ganesh versus the Third Reich. The setup is the god Ganesh travels through time to get the ancient Hindu symbol, the swastika, back from Hitler. The poster image is enough to get you to go.

If you're tastes run more towards the traditional - fresh from London is the big theater musical: Backbeat. The back story of the Beatles in Hamburg would seem perfectly suited to the stage. This production which is making it's American debut at the Ahmanson has been getting a lot of chatter as the next Broadway money maker. You know the music is going to be good.

Okay, that's your January. Let's tackle February.

Every year LA audience's get a taste of the Wooster Group as part of a multi-year residency at RedCat. They're bringing their latest work based on Eugene O'Neill's Glencairn plays called "Early Plays." A collaboration with New York City Players and director Richard Maxwell, the piece draws on O'Neill's passion for the life of the sailor at the turn of the nineteenth century. If you've missed the earlier Wooster productions - don't miss this one.

Finally there are some pairings of director and play that seem so right they might be tragically wrong. The Geffen is pairing Strindberg's Miss Julie - the classic tale where the lady of the house flirts with her footman - with director and playwright Neil LaBute. Whether you know LaBute from In the Company of Men or Fat Pig, you know his take on sexual politics is more than a little charged. Something tells me Mr. LaBute's take might recapture some of Miss Julie's scandalous history

So dust off that new datebook you got, pencil these in, and go see some theater in the New Year!

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