The week ahead in L.A. theater, March 11-18: ‘An Undivided Heart,’ ‘A 24-Decade History of Popular Music’ and more

Alana Dietze, left, and Sigute Miller costar in the new mystery drama "An Undivided Heart" at Atwater Village Theatre. (Darrett Sanders)

Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.), F. Kathleen Foley (F.K.F.), Margaret Gray (M.G.), Charles McNulty (C.M.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.).

Daniel Deronda L.A. Theatre Works records a new adaptation of George Eliot’s novel about Jewish life during the Victorian Era for its radio program; with Julian Sands. James Bridges Theater, UCLA, 235 Charles E. Young Drive, Westwood. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends March 18. $15-$60. (310) 827-0889.

Engaging Shaw The famous playwright meets a wealthy Irish heiress in the L.A. premiere of John Morogiello’s fact-based romantic comedy. Theatre 40, Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. Thu., 8 p.m.; Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 15. $30. (310) 364-0535.

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music In this CAP UCLA presentation, performance artist Taylor Mac surveys American song, from 1776 to the present day, over four distinct programs; with special guests including Margaret Cho, the Centennial High School Marching Band, et al. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, L.A. Thu., Sat., 6 p.m.; ends March 24. $45-$250; tickets for all four chapters, $165-$935. (310) 825-2101.

Captivated: An Obsession in 3 Acts A mystery unfolds in "Chapter One: Justine," the first installment in Eric Blair’s immersive drama; for ages 21 and up. Private residence, address provided to ticket holders, North Hollywood. Fri.-next Sun., 7, 8:30 and 10 p.m.; ends April 1. $30. (800) 838-3006.

Chicanas, Cholas y Chisme VI: Stand Up! Speak Out! A dozen short plays exploring the struggles and triumphs of Latinas past and present; contains strong language and adult themes. Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends April 15. $18-$23. (323) 263-7684.

Macbeth The titular Scottish warlord and his wife murder their way to the throne in Shakespeare’s tragedy. Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery St., Ojai. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 8. $10-$20. (805) 640-8797.

The Mousetrap A murderer is among a group of strangers trapped in a snowed-in boarding house in Agatha Christie’s classic thriller. Crown City Theatre Company, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends May 6. $25. (818) 605-5685.

No Exit Real Art Daily Productions stages Sartre’s existentialist fable about three strangers locked in a room together for all eternity. Chromolume Theatre, 5429 Washington Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends April 8. $20, $22. (323) 965-9996.

Pigs and Chickens A woman tries to cope with working at a chaotic tech startup in Marek Glinski’s comedy. Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends April 15. $15, $20. (818) 839-1197.

Sister Act A murder witness hides out in a convent in this musical based on the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg comedy. Kentwood Players, Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., Westchester. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 21. $23, $25. (310) 645-5156.

Twilight Zone UnScripted Impro Theatre improvises full-length plays in the style of Rod Serling’s classic TV show. The Edye at the Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 16. $45 and up. (310) 434-3200.

An Undivided Heart Echo Theater Company and Circle X co-present Yusuf Toropov’s new mystery thriller about a Catholic priest confronting his church over sexual abuse and a woman coping with a contaminated-water crisis in her hometown. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends April 22. $34; Mondays, pay what you want. (310) 307-3753.

King Lear A ruler descends into madness as his realm falls to ruin in Shakespeare’s classic tragedy set in ancient Britain. Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Sat., 7 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 12. $40-$65; opening night only, $150. (805) 667-2900.

Little Women, the Musical Based on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel about four sisters growing up during the Civil War; for ages 10 and up. Morgan-Wixson Theatre, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 14. $23, $28. (310) 828-7519.

Alright Then Orson Bean and Alley Mills, one of L.A. theater’s most visible couples, thank the heavens for their later-life marriage in a feel-good show about love and gratitude. They share stories from their at-times rocky upbringings to set the scene for the miracle of their meeting, making each other laugh and shedding grateful tears. (D.H.M.) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 25. $25-$34. (310) 822-8392.

The Chosen Learning to see past differences and getting to know the person underneath is a lesson for all time in Chaim Potok’s 1940s-set novel, adapted by Potok and Aaron Posner. The tale of an unexpected friendship between Brooklyn teens from different strains of Judaism is given a poignant staging, with particularly fine performances by Sam Mandel as the youthful narrator and, unforgettably, Alan Blumenfeld as a charismatic rabbi. (D.H.M.) The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., L.A. Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m.; ends May 7. $20-$40. (323) 663-1525.

A Delicate Ship Anna Ziegler peels away the layers of her characters to their pulsing human core in this practically perfect memory play, a fateful romantic triangle that commences in the simplest situation and escalates to the dire. Under Andre Barron’s appropriately delicate direction, the cast, which includes Paris Perrault and Philip Orazio, is superb, but it is Josh Zuckerman who dazzles in a tour-de-force turn as a wayward yearner whose cheekiness covers hidden depths of anguish. (F.K.F.) The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 24. $17.50, $34. (818) 761-8838.

El Niño After two decades of writing a play a year, Justin Tanner dropped from sight six years ago. He’s returned, thank goodness, with another laugh-out-loud tale of dysfunction. This one, presented by Rogue Machine, involves the sniping reception that a down-on-her-luck writer receives when she tries to set up camp on her parents’ couch. Director Lisa James and a cast of Tanner regulars know precisely how to mine the humor. (D.H.M.) Rogue Machine, the MET Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Mon., Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends April 2. $40; pay what you can, Mon., March 5 only. (855) 585-5185.

Henry V Co-directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliot and Geoff Elliott play fast and loose with the Bard in their breathlessly truncated production, which features an authoritative Rafael Goldstein in the title role. Intrepid vandals in the high church of Shakespeare, they may spray paint out a passage or two but keep the meaning intact in a richly articulate staging that never flags in energy and style. (F.K.F.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends April 6. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

The King and I This tour of the Tony-winning revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, which recapitulates Bartlett Sher’s stunning original staging, features Laura Michelle Kelly as the elegant but scrappy Anna, Jose Llana as the comically poignant king of Siam, and a mother lode of classic tunes, rendered with brio by an exceptional cast. If you’re at all a fan of classic American musicals, this particular production is a joy — a real gift that proves a bracing pick-me-up in troubled times. (F.K.F) Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Ends Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert Somewhere in Hollywood a Jo-Ann fabrics and a 99 Cents Only store must be seriously depleted. Their stock seemingly can be found in a spectacularly dressed Celebration company production of a beloved tale about Australian drag queens on a road trip across the outback, adapted from the 1994 movie. Director Jessica Hanna, set designer Pete Hickok and costume designer Allison Dillard somehow fit this big musical onto a postage stamp of a stage. "Glittery" doesn’t begin to describe the results. (D.H.M.) Celebration Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 6. $35-$75. (323) 957-1884.

A Streetcar Named Desire Michael Michetti’s revitalizing production shakes out the cobwebs of this Tennessee Williams classic. Before the play even begins it’s clear that this is not the New Orleans of yore but an updated version that’s more diverse and technologically with it. The drama, of course, lives or dies by the quality of the acting, and Jaimi Paige’s Blanche, Maya Lynne Robinson’s Stella and Desean Kevin Terry’s Stanley are all extraordinary. (C.M.) Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 25. $39. (626) 683-6801.

Underneath Through the persona of a deceased disfigured woman, Pat Kinevane’s riveting solo performance employs the Irish gifts of gab and storytelling to explore norms and realities surrounding beauty, exclusion, and mortality that lie below surface appearances. (P.B.) Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 30; in repertory with Kinevane’s "Silent" (opens March 15) and "Forgotten" (opens March 22). $30; all three plays, $75. (310) 477-2055.

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