As the fall season gets into full swing, great theater is happening all across the USA! This week’s Countrywide Guide spotlights the California world premiere of a musical penned by the Flaming Lips, a delicious Chicago revival of Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts and more.
LA JOLLA, CA
The Flaming Lips Unleash Psychedelic Robots
When Tony-winning director Des McAnuff joins forces with pop musicians, magic happens (see: The Who’s Tommy; Jersey Boys). Now, McAnuff is collaborating with Grammy-winning rockers The Flaming Lips on the world premiere of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at La Jolla Playhouse. Centering on a young Japanese artist who faces off with an evil 14-foot-tall robot puppet, this multimedia musical stars Kimiko Glenn as Yoshimi alongside Jesus Christ Superstar vets Paul Nolan and Tom Hewitt. Think Pink at La Jolla November 6 through December 16.
Sue Them! The Guys and Dolls Gamblers Roll Again
Those devilish dice players and Save-a-Soul missionaries are back in North Shore Music Theatre’s sparkling revival of Guys and Dolls, featuring classic Frank Loesser tunes like "A Bushel and a Peck" and "Luck Be a Lady." Broadway vets Mylinda Hull and Jonathan Hammond face off as Miss Adelaide and her longtime fiance Nathan Detroit, with Kelly McCormick as “mission doll” Sarah Brown and Kevin Vortmann as dashing Sky Masterson. Get lucky at this irresistible classic, running through November 11.
Superior Donuts Gets a Tasty Revival
Sometimes smaller is better, and Chicago critics agreed that Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.’s storefront revival of Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts was a revelation. The play didn’t get much love in its 2008 Steppenwolf premiere and 2009 Broadway mounting, but this intimate restaging—led by acclaimed performances by Richard Cotovsky as a down-and-out donut shop owner and Preston Tate Jr. as his wisecracking young assistant—drew four Jeff Award nominations. After a sold-out run, the show is back, through November 25, at the Royal George Cabaret Theatre. Don’t miss it!
It’s Explosive! A Teen Auteur Goes Grenading
When a teen writer finds her dream of producing an epic play thwarted, will she turn to explosives? That's the premise of Pookie Goes Grenading, a world premiere by up-and-coming playwright J.C. Lee, produced by Azuka Theatre Company. Get to know Pookie and her pals Dynamo and Benny, plus a techie known as Greta Van Susteren, in this wild and irreverent new comedy, running through November 18 at the Off-Broad Street Theatre.
North Korean Sisters Seek a Fresh Start
An exciting new playwright, Korean-American Mia Chung, is getting her first major production at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: You for Me for You brings the plight of a pair of North Korean sisters to life in a comic fantasy that spans space and time. Ruibo Qian and Jo Mei co-star as siblings who vow to escape their country’s corrupt regime and launch a new life in America. Share their adventures in a production running from November 5 through December 2.