Some weeks there’s just too much to do, to see, to absorb. This is one of those weeks.
On Wednesday night I’ll attend the opening of “An Act of God,” one of the highest-grossing hits on Broadway in many years, now making its West Coast debut with Sean Hayes. He’s the multi-award winning comedic actor whose outsized personality was a highlight of the long-running sitcom “Will and Grace.”
Written by David Javerbaum, who created @TheTweetofGod, and who won 11 of his 13 Emmy Awards for his writing on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” “An Act of God” is based on his book, “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God,” which was adapted from the Twitter feed, then re-adapted for the stage.
From the online clips I’ve watched, it’s a laugh riot, with lots of politically incorrect commentary about the existential quandaries of human existence. And some pretty irreverent punch lines.
It runs at The Ahmanson through March 13, and if the turnout on Broadway was any indication (it starred Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory”), it’s likely to play to sold-out houses here as well. Visit www.CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 972-4400 for tickets.
On Thursday night, I’ll be in the audience for “Barcelona” by Bess Wohl at The Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. This sounds rather more serious; a drunk American woman has a one-night stand with a dashing Spaniard that turns into a complicated cat and mouse game, both funny and frightening.
I’ll be happy to see Betty Gilpin, who played the arrogant, hot-to-trot, incompetent first-year medical resident Carrie Roman on Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie,” in a more serious role. And the play also introduces Carlos Leal, a Swiss-born actor with numerous TV and film credits, to the American stage as the Spaniard.
A friend who’s seen a preview tells me it’s good – I’ll share my thoughts next week. For details and reservations, link to www.geffenplayhouse.com or call the box office at (310) 208-5454, through March 13.
So much food!
One film receiving a lot of buzz these days is “City of Gold,” a documentary about LA Times and Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold. People have been talking about it since it premiered at Sundance in 2015. It will be released this spring.
It’s about Gold’s love affair with the incredibly diverse food culture of Los Angeles, the writing specialty that led to his Pulitzer.
The Hammer Museum in Westwood is offering a free screening plus Q&A with Jonathan Gold on Wed., Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are required so get to the Billy Wilder Theatre an hour early to pick one up. Parking’s just $3 and members of the museum get priority seating and ticketing. For more information about public programs, go to Hammer.ucla.edu.
So much music!
Where to begin? Concerts around Santa Monica include the Robert Turner Piano Competition, staged by The Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Westside Music Foundation, featuring six exceptionally talented student performers playing one movement of each of two concertos by Mozart.
This all-Mozart program includes the Symphony No. 25 in G minor, Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, and Piano Concerto No. 27 in C major.
Robert Turner was a piano prodigy who trained three generations of students, twenty of whom have given solo performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra, now in its 63rd season, is one the oldest community orchestras in the United States, providing community enrichment through music and supporting both medical and musical causes, especially those that help talented young musicians.
The concert takes place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28 at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 1343 Ocean Park Blvd. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted at the door. Parking is free, too.
Find out more at www.ladso.org.
Although performances are not free, the non-profit Dream Orchestra is a passion project of conductor Daniel Suk that’s devoted to promoting and presenting classical music that enriches the community and inspires the next generation of young musicians.
This year’s Easter concert features Rossini’s “Stabat Mater” and the deeply haunting and tragic Second Movement of “Symphony No. 3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs” by Polish composer Henryk Górecki. Four world-class opera soloists and the Opera Chorus of Los Angeles will join the orchestra, and local 16-year old soprano Golda Berkman will sing the Górecki solo.
The concert takes place at St. Monica’s Catholic Church, 725 California Ave., on Friday, March 4 at 8 p.m. There’s a free dessert reception provided by Golda’s dad, who owns Urth Caffé. Tickets are $40 general admission and $30 for students and senior citizens. Get the details at www.dreamorchestra.org.
Lastly the very unusual conductor-less and non-profit Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra is performing at First Presbyterian Church. Rumor has it that these concerts are not only mind- and ear-opening, but hipster cool, too.
On Sat., Feb. 27, you’ll hear music by Messiaen (“L’Ascension”) and Jonathan Russell with the West Coast premiere of the “Bass Clarinet Concerto” performed by Benjamin Mitchell.
As part of its educational mission, Kaleidoscope offers free admission to those under 18. Tickets are affordable, though. Visit http://www.kco.la/#home for details.
First Presbyterian is located at 1220 2nd St. in Santa Monica and it’s both architecturally and acoustically divine for music concerts.
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 written features and reviews for various print and online publications.