Alan Mandell is a man of monstrous acting talent and many decades of experience. Now onstage at the Mark Taper Forum, the 87-year-old actor steals the show as an 89-year-old retired antiques appraiser in Arthur Miller’s “The Price.”

Mandell triumphed in the Taper’s outstanding 2012 production of Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” and he injects humor and life into his role as “the magical Jew” in this production.

Two brothers who’ve been estranged for decades must divide the spoils of their father’s life — 16 years after he dies. The building that houses the father’s antique furniture collection is about to be demolished, and the brothers need to sell or lose it all. The father’s business failed in the Depression, and while one brother stayed behind to tend to his broken life, the other never looked back and went on to a successful career as a surgeon, sending the old man a mere $5 a month and calling it support.

The brothers, Victor the cop (Sam Robards), who once was a promising science prodigy, and Walter the doctor (John Bedford Lloyd), don’t actually get together onstage till the final seconds of Act I, a visual representation of the emotional chasm between them. Mandell, as appraiser Gregory Solomon, is the catalyst; assessing the price of the collection, the psychological ramifications of the brothers’ life choices are exposed, weighed and measured, too.

Victor is happy to get things over with. Despite his disillusioned wife’s (Kate Burton) nagging not to get swindled, he is happy to settle for whatever he’s offered, while all she wants is another drink.

When Walter enters the picture, in his expensive coat and attitude of noblesse oblige, everything that’s wrong with their relationship comes to the fore. Past history explodes, revealing resentment and blame, including Victor’s pointless sacrifice and personal sense of failure, and Walter’s failed marriage and nervous breakdown.

The price of furniture and the price of one’s choices — this is the stuff of timeless family drama, and sometimes it’s heavy sledding and a whole lotta words. Fortunately Mandell brings comic relief and the wisdom and foibles of age to the stage.

The crux of the play comes down to this line: “You’ve got to make decisions before you know how things will turn out, and you have to live with the results,” a truth with some serious consequences, in life and in the theater.

Arthur Miller’s “The Price” is at the Mark Taper Forum in downtown Los Angeles through March 22. Tickets can be purchased at or through the box office at (213) 628-2772.


The Amazing Bubble Man, Louis Pearl, returns to Edgemar Center for the Arts for two days and five performances only, March 7 and 8. This show really does fulfill the “fun for all ages” promise.

One-of-a-kind science and art, interactive fun, goofy patter with spectacular visuals and a fascinating display of how dynamic bubbles can be; if you’ve never seen a smoking volcano or a spinning spaceship inside of one, you haven’t lived.

Call (310) 392-7327 or get tickets online at


We’ve had “The Vagina Monologues.” Now look up.

As someone of (ahem) ample proportions, I am fascinated by the premise of “Conversations ‘Bout the Girls,” a play that examines the lives of young girls and women and the relationships they have with their breasts, i.e., “the Girls.”

On March 8, for one performance only, “Conversations” explores themes ranging from female sexuality to women’s health, domestic abuse, breastfeeding, cancer and implants, featuring women of all ages and ethnicities.

Conceived, written and directed by Sonia Jackson, the nine women have candid conversations about topics including “My First Bra,” “The Adjustment Bureau,” “To Cleave or Not to Cleave” and “The Lump.”

In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the play will be onstage on March 8 at 2 p.m. at The Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., in Venice. For more information, visit


Take time out to view the Santa Monica Emeritus College annual student photography exhibition. There are some beautiful and creative images on display.

Works by 17 exceptional seniors are hung in a salon-style group setting and will be available for free viewing through April 22 at the first floor of Emeritus College, 1227 Second St., in downtown Santa Monica. The gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

These photographers deserve name recognition, so let me call them out here: Julie Bucka, John Dalton, Jim Gerstley, Lorraine Ginsburg, Steve Heinrich, Jeff Hogue, Suzie Kim, Christine Metoyer, Doris Power, Ron Siegel, Sam Swarz, Michael Telerant, Linda Velonis, Alex Vital, Gloria Vitto, James Wang and Isaac Yusim.

For more information, call (310) 434-4306.


The Iranian New Year takes place on the first day of spring. Nowruz will be celebrated March 22 at Los Angeles County Museum of Art with art, music, dance, poetry, theatre, film and more, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In conjunction with “Islamic Art Now,” the contemporary art exhibit currently on view at LACMA, there will be a full day of festivities, a colorful costume parade, performances, flute and drums and even a Persian menu to ring in this universal day of renewal and rebirth.

Highlights of the day include the world premiere of singer Zohreh Jooya’s multimedia performance “The Sounds of a Persian Spring,” while gaming enthusiasts can engage in a backgammon tournament on the North Plaza. Backgammon is one of the oldest board games in the world and has been played in Iran for 5,000 years.

LACMA is the only U.S. museum that collects and exhibits Iran’s artistic heritage from 4000 B.C. to the present. This spring marks LACMA’s 50th anniversary. The celebration is being co-sponsored by the non- profit Farhang Foundation, dedicated to Iranian culture.

For more information, visit

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 for

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