The Pasadena area is blessed with a bounty of great theaters to choose from for theatergoers seeking great live entertainment. This fall is no exception to that fact, as the six theatres in the area — Pasadena’s own Pasadena Playhouse, Boston Court, and A Noise Within; Glendale’s Alex Theatre and Antaeus Theatre Company; and the Sierra Madre Playhouse — all serve up a slate of shows that should find something for fans of any genre to enjoy.
First up, Pasadena Playhouse is readying an explosive new production of the classic hit musical “Little Shop of Horrors” from Sept 17 through Oct. 20, with a truly hot cast. George Salazar of the hit Broadway musical “Be More Chill” will play Seymour, while Mj Rodriguez of the Emmy-nominated FX drama series “Pose” will play his love interest Audrey. Amber Riley of the late great Fox TV series “Glee” will play the voice of the voraciously hungry plant Audrey II.
The Playhouse will also present the new drama “The Great Leap” from Nov. 6 through Dec. 1, which follows the tensions that arise between coaches and a troublesome young player when an American basketball team travels to Beijing for an exhibition game. Especially intriguing is the fact that Tony Award-winning actor (and longtime cast member of “Law and Order: SVU”) B.D. Wong is directing the production.
Meanwhile, Boston Court Theatre will present the world premiere of “How the Light Gets In” by E.M. Lewis from Sept. 29 to Oct. 27. The play follows four lonely people — a travel writer who never travels, a Japanese architect who can’t figure out how to build a simple tea house, a gifted tattoo artist who resists the power of his talents, and a homeless girl who lives under a weeping willow in the Japanese Garden — who find each other when one falls apart. Boston Court also features a 13-performance live music series from Sept. 19 through Oct. 26.
Pasadena’s blessed with one of the greatest repertory theaters in America in A Noise Within, and the acclaimed, long-running powerhouse will be presenting two Pulitzer Prize-winning authors this fall. From Sept. 22 through Nov. 16, “Gem of the Ocean” by August Wilson will tell a soaring, mystical tale of a man desperate for redemption in 1904 Pittsburgh.
Following that, from writer-actor Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child” will follow the disintegration of the American Dream with shocking hilarity from Oct. 13 through Nov. 23. It follows the dark secrets that unravel when 22-year-old Vince unexpectedly shows up at his family farm with his girlfriend Shelley and no one recognizes him.
The Sierra Madre Playhouse continues its long-standing tradition of great plays in a cozy atmosphere with its current production of “The Joy Luck Club,” running through Oct. 5. The drama tells the story of four Chinese-American mothers and their four American-born daughters, and explores the complexities of family ties and history as the eight women reach across a seemingly unbridgeable divide.
Starting Oct. 17, the SMP will feature a younger generation of actresses taking the stage as it joins forces with the California School of the Arts-San Gabriel Valley for a production of “Little Women,” running through Nov. 3. Finally, they close out the year with another in a string of inventive Christmas plays, as “Every Christmas Story Ever Told” offers an outrageous holiday romp for the whole family from Nov. 30 through Dec. 29.
Glendale’s Alex Theatre is hosting some intriguing events of their own, with the Musical Theatre Guild presenting a staged concert version of the classic musical “Barnum” on Sept. 22. Then, on a decidedly different course, it hosts “An Evening with Bob Iger” as part of the long-running Live Talks LA series on Oct. 1, with the Walt Disney Company CEO discussing his legendary career with mega-producer Brian Grazer, from his rise from the lowest rungs of ABC to become one of the most powerful executives in entertainment.
The Alex will also play host to two big but unusual concerts as well, with New Age superstar Yanni performing an “intimate evening at his piano” on Oct. 3 and children’s music legend Raffi doing an afternoon show on Oct. 27.
Also in Glendale, the Anteaus Theatre Company has two big revivals slated to hit its stage. “The Abuelas” by Stephanie Alison Walker runs from Oct. 3 through Nov. 25, while “Eight Nights” by Jennifer Maisel runs from Oct. 31 through Dec. 16.
The Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena.
(626) 356-7529 • pasadenaplayhouse.org.
Boston Court Pasadena,
70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena.
(626) 683-6801 • bostoncourtpasadena.org.
A Noise Within
3352 E. Foothill Drive, Pasadena.
(626) 356-3100 • anoisewithin.org.
Sierra Madre Playhouse
87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre.
(626) 355-4318 • sierramadreplayhouse.org.
216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale.
(818) 243-2539 • alextheatre.org.
Antaeus Theatre Company
110 E. Broadway, Glendale.
(818) 506-5436 • antaeus.org.