Mid-September may seem a little late for a fall preview, but considering the only F-word this time of year in a dominant chaparral biome like these parts is fire, not fall, you should stop complaining.
The following are the most intriguing shows on tap over the next three months at six local theaters. Why six? That’s all that would fit within 800-ish words. We’re not seasoned professionals for nothing (geddit??)
STAGEStheatre. Orange County’s longest-established storefront theater heads into its 27th season with a Halloween-y double bill: the ninth consecutive year of staging Twilight Zone TV episodes, titled, curiously enough, The Twilight Zone. That runs late night after its first week, freeing up the mainstage for the OC premiere of Silence! The Musical, a song-and-dance adaptation of Silence of the Lambs. Yes, that one. 400 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 525-4484; www.stagesoc.org. Twilight Zone, Oct. 4-Nov. 9. $22-$24; Silence!, Oct. 11-Nov. 10, $30-$32. Visit the website for show times.
One More Productions. The resident theater company at the city of Garden Grove’s GEM Theater generally sticks to tried-and-true musical fare, but the 2014 musical Bright Star isn’t exactly a household name in those households that are sad and talk about musicals. But it has some name recognition, as the town’s own Steve Martin wrote the book and collaborated with Edie Brickell on the bluegrass-tinged musical. GEM Theater, 12852 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 741-9550; www.onemoreproductions.com/pg210_season.aspx. Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. Sept. 26-Oct. 20. $28-$30.
Chance Theater. Some people should just be punched. Like Hamish Linklater: He has a great name, has a thriving film and TV career, and killed it as the tortured Dane in South Coast Repertory’s Hamlet in 2007. He’s also a playwright and his first, The Vandal, is a 2013 comedic drama billed as “a funny and spooky . . . journey exploring the important topics of life, death and Doritos.” Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (888) 455-4212; www.chancetheater.com. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m. Sept. 20-Oct. 20. $20-$39.
The Wayward Artist. This team of mostly Cal State Fullerton alumni and faculty wraps up its second season, which is themed around family, with Yasmina Reza’s 2009 Tony Award-winning play, God of Carnage. As with her terribly overrated Art, this one caught fire around the world but was also turned into a film directed by Roman Polanski. Carnage is far superior, mostly because that trope of a certain white American theater, the goddamn dinner party, is torn to shreds, as are the wealthy, witty and whiny people who frequent them. Grand Central Art Center, 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (657) 205-6273; www.thewaywardartist.org. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; Thurs., Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8-Nov. 17. Check website for ticket prices.
South Coast Repertory. Think it’ll take time for David Ivers, heading into his first full season as SCR’s fourth artistic director, to put a personal stamp on the joint? Think again. The first mainstage show on the Segerstrom Stage is José Cruz González’s American Mariachi (through Oct. 5). It’s also the first play not written by a white man or adapted from Jane Austen to kick off a season in the theater’s 56-year history. The first show on the Argyros Stage, The Canadians (Sept. 29-Oct. 20), is a world premiere written by Adam Bock, a (gasp!) openly gay playwright. Okay, so that’s not a big deal, but how about this: He’s also a real-live Canadian. And following Mariachi on the Segerstrom is the talented Julia Cho, a gifted writer whose concerns are universal, but whose plays are often, such as Aubergine (Oct. 19-Nov. 16), rooted in the experiences of first- or second-generation Korean Americans. 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-5555; www.scr.org. Segerstrom Stage: Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m. Argyros Stage: Tues.-Thurs., 7:45 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 & 7:45 p.m. $24-$93.
California Repertory Co. Heading into its fourth season under artistic director Jeff Janisheski, Cal Rep has generated a good amount of buzz lately with some big shows, including Dreamers: Aquí y Allá and Milk last year, as well as working with the Long Beach Opera to stage a Philip Glass musical earlier this year. There is nothing big about its first two shows in 2019-20—at least on the surface. Mud (through Sept. 29) is a deceivingly deep, dark three-character 1982 play by María Irene Fornés, who influenced and inspired many writers who are far more well-known, such as Tony Kushner and Sam Shepard. That’s followed by Hookman (Sept. 26-Oct. 6), Lauren Yee’s send-up of Hollywood slasher films, complete with gore, existential angst and more than a few laughs. 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 985-5526; www.calrep.org. Tues.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun, 2 p.m. $20-$23.
Joel Beers has written about theater and other stuff for this infernal rag since its very first issue in, when was that again???