Ellen Griley compiled these listings.
THE BED. This one here's about a marriage. From the honeymoon night to nights beyond the mortal life of the marriage. A re-working of the play and film The Four Poster, we see the lives of painter Joe Isaia and his new bride Sara as they discover new love, children, growing apart and the importance of lasting love. CAMINO REAL PLAYHOUSE, 31776 EL CAMINO REAL, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, (949) 489-8082. Opens Fri. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. Thru Jan. 28. $18-$25.
THE BUTLER DID IT. This spoof of English mysteries with a decidedly American flavor finds Miss Maple, a society dowager noted for her imaginative week-end parties, awaiting a group of detective writers invited to eerie Ravenswood Manor where they are to assume the personalities of fictional characters. She arranges all sorts of scary, amusing incidents. Then a real murder takes place. Bwah ah ah! LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE MAINSTAGE THEATRE, 5021 E. ANAHEIM ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 494-1014. Opens Fri. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. Thru Feb. 11. $10-$20.
THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF HEDDA GABLER. The problem with Hedda is that she keeps shooting herself--yes, that's correct. Shooting herself--and Tesman has to bring Mammy out of Gone With the Wind to clean up. Now, this might seem to make no sense at all, but Hedda lives on in "The Neighborhood of Tragic Women," see, an alternative hell where fictional characters are forced to endure until at last they're forgotten. Who can blame her for getting tired of playing the same role over and over for a century? Surely not I. Finally, Hedda escapes, but will she ever really die? SOUTH COAST REPERTORY, JULIANNE ARGYROS STAGE, 655 TOWN CENTER DR., COSTA MESA, (714) 708-5555. Preview performances begin Tues.; opens Fri., Jan. 13. Tues.-Fri., 7:45 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 & 7:45 p.m. Thru Jan 29. $20-$58.
BREAKING LEGS. In this one, the worlds of the Mafia and the theatre clash hilariously! A professorial playwright seeks funding for his new play from the family of a former student. Turns out the "family" turns out to be minor Mafia godfathers who are willing to underwrite the play provided they never have to read it. I could go on, but why? LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE STUDIO THEATRE, 5021 E. ANAHEIM ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 494-1014. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. Thru Jan. 21. $10-$20.