Loud, Rude and Hungry

7 promising plays on local stages

The Houseguests.

Hunger Artists Theater, May 23-June 15. This is the Orange County premiere of Harry Kondoleon's Obie-winning black comedy of middle-class mores, described as Samuel Beckett writing Grand Guignol. Kondoleon was one of the hottest things on the right coast before his death in 1994, winning an Obie Award in 1983 for most promising playwright before his 1993 honor for The Houseguests. So this is a rare opportunity to see this very overlooked talent who died way too young. Hungerartists.com.

We Bombed in New Haven.

Stages, May 23-June 14. Joseph Heller also wrote a play. This one. It's not done too often. And certainly not done with elements of the poetry of Jim Morrison, a radically truncated script and a major who talks to his helmet. Like this one. Stagesentertainment.com.

The Rocky Horror Show.

Maverick Theater, May 30-June 22. This is a four-week performance of the theatrical event that launched a subculture. Mavericktheater.com.

Execution of Justice.

Rude Guerrilla, June 27-July 20. Emily Mann's play about the aftermath of Dan White's 1978 assassination of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone (you remember: the Twinkie Defense?) was written based on actual court transcripts. It's being billed as a "gripping, multimedia production" that will recreate the days and weeks following the brutal killing, and the rioting that followed the verdict. Rudeguerrilla.org.

Sweeney Todd.

Hunger Artists, July 11-August 3. The Hunger Artists tackle Stephen Sondheim's musical thriller. This is always an interesting show, fraught with the chance for disaster, so it will be very interesting to see how the troupe handles a big show in its cozy space. The production also marks the return to the Orange County stage of Shannon CM Flynn, who now sports a hoity-toity MA in directing from some school in New Haven, Connecticut. Hungerartists.com.

In the Blood.

Loud *R* Mouth Theatre Company, July 18-Aug. 9. The troupe returns to the Edison Theater in downtown Long Beach with the Los Angeles County premiere of the highly acclaimed drama by Suzan-Lori Parks, In the Blood.It's a contemporary spin on The Scarlet Letter,with a homeless woman named Hester La Negrita, who lives on the streets with her five children—all of whom double in the play as five adults. While her children give her nothing but joy, the adults in her life are a bunch of asses. The playwright is the only African-American woman to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for drama, and that's got to mean something. Loudrmouth.com.

The New Jersey Trilogy: Three Plays for the Garden State or A Brief History of the End of the Twentieth Century.

Rude Guerrilla, Aug. 8-Aug. 31. We usually hate plays with meandering, pretentious, self-indulgent titles. And we officially reserve the right to hate this one. But it looks like this could be a ringer. It's a really weird and twisted updating of a medieval morality play in which a modern-day everyman goes on a journey from which he won't return. And it's all set in New Jersey. Rudeguerrilla.org.

 
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