Top 10 Plays We Want to See in 2012
The satirical satyrs of Poor Dog Group's Dyonisia
The venerable "best bets for the new year" critic's post always carries with it the uncertain odor of the racetrack tout. Even the seeming sure things -- the NYC-anointed, blue-chip transfers of Broadway hits -- are too often diminished by dispiriting changes in the cast or production design that can leave one wondering what all the fuss was about. Worse, invariably some inspired dark horse production will emerge in the year's homestretch to sweep the field and make liars of us all.
Those caveats aside, the following represents what promises to be, to this critic at least, the top ten no-brainer ticket wagers for L.A.'s 2012 theater season:
10. El Nogalar (The Pecan Orchard)
Ed Krieger The women of El Nogalar
Tanya Saracho sets her adaptation of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard against the contemporary social upheavals of Mexico. This West Coast premiere (it originated at Chicago's Goodman Theater) is being directed by Laurie Woolery (with dramaturgy by Luis Alfaro), and stars Sabina Zuniga Varela, Yetta Gottesman, Isabelle Ortega, Diana Romo and Justin Huen. It opens at The Fountain Theatre on Jan. 28.
9. All-Night Barbecue
Ed Krieger Danielle Kennedy grills Tom Fitzpatrick in 2011's Day Drinkers
I was going to plug Jon Robin Baitz's searing family import, Other Desert Cities, set for the Taper in November, but then I heard that Justin Tanner had a new, original comedy in the works. It's set during a prolonged blackout at an L.A. apartment complex and stars Jonathan Palmer, Danielle Kennedy, Tom Fitzpatrick, Melissa Denton, Chloe Taylor, Maile Flanagan, Gary Holland and Tanner himself. The laughter is tentatively scheduled to erupt at The Odyssey this summer.
8. Waiting for Godot
Veteran Beckettians Alan Mandell and Barry McGovern are slated to take on Didi and Gogo, with the marvelous Michael Arabian directing, in an all-too-rare original production by the Taper. Reportedly, Mandell wanted to do End Game, but the CTG powers were afraid it was too esoteric for we provincials. Godot is scheduled to open in March.
Jesse Bonnell The Poor Dogs space out
7. The Internationalists
Studio SCR is the really exciting news on our regional stages this year. Courtesy of South Coast Rep's new artistic director, Marc Masterson, and curator Oanh Nguyen, this series of edgy, off-the-shelf work culled from local companies means an opportunity to catch up on of some of the best L.A. theater of recent years. In this show, director Jesse Bonnel and Poor Dog Group will be "re-imagining" their outlandish, deconstructive, 2009 stage confabulation of the Cold War space race. It played Poland's Grotowski Festival in 2009; it plays at SCR March 2-4.
Tripping the Chekhov fantastic
6. Anton's Uncles
Also from Studio SCR, this scintillating dance-theater adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya by L.A.'s Theater Movement Bazaar and director Tina Kronis was a 2010 L.A. Weekly Award winner and wowed the judges at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Don't miss the SCR Studio encore, June 8-10.