Theater for a New Year

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

Happy Theatrical New Year!

Okay, here's a short list of the theater I'm excited to see in Los Angeles this spring.

Let's start at the Broad this week.

Britain's Headlong theater company is bringing their adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 to Santa Monica. Given the recent presidential debates, 1984 may be a little too disturbingly relevant but hey, it's called a dystopia for a reason, right?. The production got rave reviews in London so dust off your copy from high school and go to the Broad. The show starts this week and plays through February 6.

Let's stick to the Westside and a solo show with Rainn Wilson at the Geffen. Yes, that guy from The Office. Here he's tackling Will Eno's play Thom Pain (based on nothing). Mr. Eno is a playwright who's gotten short shrift here in Los Angeles. He's been called a Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation and his plays are quirky, funny, and irreverent. Rainn Wilson should have both the chops and the temperament to bring Mr. Eno's words to life. It plays at the Geffen through Valentine's day.

In February, it's time for New York's Wooster Group to make their annual trip to Los Angeles. (I'm giddy to even get to say that.) Whether you love the Wooster Group or hate them, it's a big deal that we've gotten to see so much of their work in LA. This year their tackling Harold Pinter's first play The Room (at REDCat). I have no idea what to expect but it'll be worth seeing.

Okay, still with me, we’ve still got a month of Beckett and an epic to come but first a brilliant kids show and one of my top five shows of 2015. Man Covets Bird at 24th Street Theater is coming back for six Sunday performances. If you missed this one in the fall, do not miss it this spring. It's a kids show that'll remind you what's important in life. Playing Sundays in February and March.

Okay, over to the Valley for Antaeus' take on Carryl Churchill's satire Cloud 9. Antaeus has been on a roll of late so don't miss this one playing March and April.

Next, Suzan-Lori Parks epic Father Comes Home from the Wars is at the Mark Taper Forum in April. You might have, like me, longingly read the reviews of the Public Theater's production last year. This will not be an easy journey but it will be an essential one.

Finally, April is a month of Beckett. Both the Broad Stage and the Kirk Douglas Theater are tackling Beckett with really stunning casts. First, there's Lisa Dwan's Beckett Trilogy at the Broad. Again, you might have seen the profiles and reviews of this show when it played at BAM in New York. We're lucky to get it in LA and I'm not going to miss it.

Then one of my favorite plays, Endgame makes a home of the Kirk Douglas Theater in May. Alan Mandell, who was in the Taper's Waiting for Godot is directing and acting in this production. I'm a sucker for Beckett so April is going to be a great month.

Now, where are all of the intimate theaters in this list? Well, that’s an advance planning challenge you can read about this week in the new KCRW Theater newsletter. You can sign up at

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

Photo: frankieleon