CULTURE WATCH — If you’re a fan of Alfred Hitchcock movies and you’re not afraid of laughing at them, this is your last chance to see the international smash hit play, “The 39 Steps” in Malibu.

Inspired by Hitchcock’s film, this madcap comic thriller follows an unwitting hero who is lured by a bewitching female spy into a nefarious plot involving “39 steps.” When she’s murdered in his apartment he has to run for his life while clearing his name, facing double crossing secret agents, death-defying chases, and devastatingly beautiful women.

And with only four actors portraying more than 130 characters in a fast-paced, uproarious 100 minutes, the show promises to leave you gasping for breath.

Through Nov. 23, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. at Malibu Playhouse, 29243 Pacific Coast Highway; reserve online at



Patti Lupone is one very popular Broadway star. The Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer/actress was to be featured in a one-night-only performance at the elegant new Beverly Hills Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, but it sold out in a heartbeat.

By popular demand – but for Pete’s sake, don’t wait! – they’ve added a second performance of Lupone’s “Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda…Played That Part” on Friday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

For details and to reserve one of these very hot tickets, call (310) 746-4000, order online atwww.thewallis.orgor visit the Box Office at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills.



At the Skirball Cultural Center, fans of classic movies will discover connections between the German-speaking exiles and √©migr√©s who fled Nazi Europe, many of them Jews, and Hollywood’s Golden Age at the exhibition “Light & Noir.” Such masterpieces as “Sunset Boulevard,” “Double Indemnity,” “Casablanca,” and “Ninotchka” were shaped by the experiences of these pioneering film artists.

Towering directorial names like Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder and Fred Zinnemann impacted American cinema and culture. Oscar-winning composers including Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Franz Waxman created the sound, and acclaimed writers Рfrom Lion Feuchtwanger to Salka Viertel Рthe stories. Established émigrés, such as producer Carl Laemmle, director Ernst Lubitsch, actress Marlene Dietrich, and talent agent Paul Kohner, helped the new arrivals find their path in Hollywood.

Through a never-before-assembled selection of film footage, drawings, props, costumes, posters, photographs, and memorabilia, “Light & Noir” tells the story of Hollywood’s formative era through the lens of the √©migr√© experience, focusing on genres in which the exiles and √©migr√©s were expert: exile films, anti-Nazi films, film noir and comedy.

See costumes worn by Marlene Dietrich, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid and Joan Crawford, an Academy Award given to Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch’s twenty-five year anniversary album, and original props from the set of Rick’s Caf√© in “Casablanca.”

The exhibition demonstrates how the experiences of exodus and exile affected the lives and work of √©migr√©s in many different ways. It is a story of immigration, acculturation, and innovation that intersects with the flourishing of Hollywood as an American cultural phenomenon. It’s one of many exhibitions on view at the Skirball Cultural Center in Sepulveda Pass. Find all the details



Morgan-Wixson Theatre and its Youth Education/Entertainment Series (Y.E.S) presents the 19th annual youth musical, “White Christmas,” based on the Paramount Pictures musical film and performed by actors aged 8 – 18.

Adapted by Anne Gesling, the musical features seventeen songs by Irving Berlin. Veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis have a successful song-and-dance act after World War II. They follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters en route to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by their former army commander. The score features well known standards including “Blue Skies,” “How Deep Is the Ocean” and the perennial favorite, “White Christmas.”

Performances run through Dec. 13, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. The Morgan-Wixson Theatre is located on Pico at 27th Street in Santa Monica. Call (310) 828-7519 or visitwww.morgan-wixson.orgfor reservations.

One of the world’s great jazz singers presents an “Al Jarreau Christmas” on Monday, Dec. 15 at Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre on the Malibu campus.

Jarreau’s innovative musical expressions have made him one of the most critically acclaimed performers of our time, with seven Grammy Awards, scores of international music awards, and popular accolades worldwide. On Dec. 15, he showcases his warm, inimitable voice interpreting favorite holiday classics, as well as some of his biggest hits.

Smothers Theatre is located at 24255 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Students get deep discounts! Call (310) 506-4522 or order tickets online at More information at



One of the shows I saw at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was “Daniel Cainer’s Jewish Chronicles.” Fresh off a well-reviewed run in New York, Cainer brings Santa Monica his poignant, funny, bittersweet, rhythm and rhyme song cycle based on his ancestors’ true-life stories, which he began composing after what he called his “mid-life Kosher crisis.”

A non-practicing Jew who’d been composing music for TV, he woke up one day divorced and in therapy, where his non-Jewish doctor told him he should explore his roots. From this insight came the many different family experiences he shares in song including a very bad Rabbi who loved women and drugs; his feuding tailor grandfathers, one who became rich and the other not; and the experience of having been invited to present his show at a German arts festival in a city where no Jews have lived since World War II.

There are only six performances of “Daniel Cainer’s Jewish Chronicles” Dec. 11 through Dec. 21, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 6 p.m. Call (800) 838-3006 or Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth Street.


Sarah A. Spitz spent her career as a producer at public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica and produced freelance arts reports for NPR. She has also reviewed theatre

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