Theater for a New Year: a busy January

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

Happy New Year!

Typically, right after I wish you happy New Year, I run through my top picks in LA theater for the whole spring. But this year, there's so much exciting work happening in this month alone... well, let's just say break out your calendars and block off at least a couple nights in January.

Let's start over at UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance next week.

Poor Dog Group - one of LA's most exciting companies is presenting Group Therapy.  The experimental company is marking it's decade of making work together with a look in the mirror.  The company embarked on actual group therapy together - this show is drawn, in part, from those sessions. Before you dismiss this as navel-gazing, this company has the chops and the guts to make something profound from this.

This is a company that's produced too rarely - and this one only plays January 11-13.

Keeping with the theme of introspection, that same weekend the Broad Stage is presenting Small Mouth Sounds. This is Bess Wohl and Rachel Chavkin's near silent exploration of a meditation retreat.  This production was a big hit in New York - let's see if that magic travels.

It plays January 11-18th.

Starting this same week is the Live Art LA/LA festival.  As part of the Getty-led exploration of Latin American art and Los Angeles, this 11 day festival of performance art has 75 works across 20 venues.  It's a little tough to get your mind around so here's my pick to get you started.

Teatro Linea Del Sol's Durango 66.  Let's just say that any theater piece that includes the description "A cavernous underground urban space will be transformed using construction vehicles, tons of soil, and giant projections" - that is not a theater piece to be missed.

It performs on Lower Grand by REDCAT January 16-18th.

If you're looking for something a little more traditional - the Antaeus Company is opening Harold Pinter's Hothouse - January 18th.  Antaeus has been running a little hot and cold since they made their move into their new space.  My bet is Hothouse is going to be one to see.  It's got an excellent cast, even by Antaeus standards and who doesn't want a little scathing political commentary at the expense of a government run institution? Especially if it's written by Harold Pinter!

Hothouse plays in Glendale starting January 18th.

Looking down the road to Spring - you'll want to make space in your calendar for the Wooster Group's annual trip to REDCAT.  This year it's an homage to the work of Polish theater artist Tadeusz Kantor with a piece entitled A PINK CHAIR (In Place of a Fake Antique).

It plays downtown April 15th - 18th.

Then at the end of May - make sure to go and see Gregg T. Daniel direct Her Portmanteau at Boston Court in Pasadena.

Mr. Daniel has been directing a remarkable string of plays exploring the African - American experience and the state of race in America.  These works have been spread out across the city in small venues. Taken collectively - they are a stunning body of work.  He's chasing after something profound with each production - so don't miss this one.

That's my short list for the New Year - with a ton of theaters missing from the list.  If you want to know why and for details on all the shows I did mention - subscribe to the weekly KCRW theater newsletter at:

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


Photo courtesy of the Wooster Group