LA Theater Sept. reviews & previews: shows big & small–Frankenstein, Witch, The Chinese Lady, Saugerties, & Blue Man Group!

 As Fall approaches, Los Angeles offers something for everyone in theaters big and small, from the powerful production of Frankenstein, to inspiration and entertainment from The Chinese Lady, Saugerties, Witch, and the super-fun Blue Man Group!

ANW’s Frankenstein stars Michael Manuel. (photo by Craig Schwartz)

Review: FRANKENSTEIN at A Noise Within, August 11 – September 8. It perfectly launches the new A Noise Within (ANW) season titled “They played with fire.” That’s the theme central to all of the ANW shows this season. Dr. Frankenstein was playing with fire when he created the Creature who comes to life during the long wordless opening scene of Nick Dear’s play, Frankenstein.

 It is mesmerizing to see actor Michael Manuel effectively become the “self-made man,” as he emerges from his shocking “birth,” to crawling before learning to walk, then encountering people who perceive him to be a monster because he struggles and looks horribly different from them. It is a timeless metaphor that continues to resonate.

 This is not the Frankenstein story told in Universal’s classic horror movie, this is closer to author Mary Shelley’s gothic tale about a scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who creates a life that brings tragedy to his life. Kasey Mahaffy as Dr. Frankenstein captures the horror felt when he realizes what he had made. He also conveys the obsession with the monster up to the last scene of the play, pursued on the frozen tundra.

Harrison White and Michael Manuel (photo by Craig Schwartz)

 The journey of the creature is the most remarkable aspect of the play. He has feelings, and intelligence developed with the help of a sympathetic blind man, DeLacey (played with commanding grace by Harrison White). But fear and cruelty from others shatter DeLacey’s lessons of compassion. So the Creature chooses revenge against Frankenstein, his innocent young brother (Christian Ganiere), and fiancée Elizabeth (beautifully nuanced by Erika Soto, who plays double duty as the Bride of Frankenstein/Female Creature). And the entire ANW ensemble helps create a production worthy of your attention, skillfully directed by Michael Michetti. Some lengthy scenes would benefit from some brevity, but overall the fiery message of Nick Dear’s Frankenstein is a compelling and electrifying theatrical experience.

 Frankenstein runs through September 8, 2019 at A Noise Within in Pasadena. Single ticket prices start at $25 and are available at, by phone at 626-356-3121, and at the box office located at 3352 East Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena, Calif. Frankenstein features scenes of violence and is recommended for audiences ages 10 years and older.

Preview: SAUGERTIES will play at the Hudson Guild Theatre, Los Angeles, August 18 – September 8. It is a new play by Susan Eve Haar and directed by Abigail Zealey Bess. The Weird Sisters production stars acclaimed performers Chad L. Coleman (The Walking Dead) and Beau Garrett (The Good Doctor).

 Set in a remote B&B in the not too distant future, Saugerties tells the story of Jen (Garrett) and Rog (Coleman), who are celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary. She’s broken hearted over infertility, desperate to escape her life, and Rog will do whatever it takes to make her happy. Twenty years later a couple not so different from the first return to the same B&B as they struggle with their relationship. Games become dangerous and they are forced to reveal secrets that may destroy them both. The play is a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

Beau Garrett & Chad L. Coleman (photo by Pei-Yu Lai)

Chad L. Coleman is best known for playing Tyreese in The Walking Dead, the reformed criminal ‘Cutty’ Wise in The Wire, and Klyden on The Orville. For Beau Garrett, in addition to The Good Doctor and the Girlfriends Guide to Divorce, she played a recurring role in the Netflix series Longmire, and can be seen in the Discovery Channel’s MOW Capsized.

 Coleman reported, “Theater is a sacred space to me to share intimate life experiences to help nurture us all. And hopefully learn and grow to become better people.” 

 SAUGERTIES from Sharon Levy/Dovetail Productions, plays a limited engagement from August 18 through September 8, at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038. All tickets are $30, go to 

Evan Jonigkeit and Maura Tierney in Witch at Geffen Playhouse. (photo by Jeff Lorch)

 Preview: WITCH, at the Geffen Playhouse, August 29 – September 29, stars Maura Tierney as Elizabeth Sawyer, Evan Jonigkeit as Scratch, Brian George as Sir Arthur Banks, Ruy Iskandar as Frank Thorney, Vella Lovell as Winnifred, and Will Von Vogt as Cuddy Banks. It is directed by Marti Lyons.

 This fiendishly funny new play by Jen Silverman, is inspired by The Witch of Edmonton by Rowley, Dekker and Ford. The story has a charming devil arriving in the quiet village of Edmonton to bargain for the souls of its residents in exchange for their darkest wishes. Elizabeth should be the easiest to target, having been labeled a “witch” and cast out by the town, but her soul is not so readily bought. An inventive retelling of a Jacobean drama, this sharp, subversive fable debates how much our souls are worth when hope is difficult to find.

 WITCH opens Aug. 29, and runs through Sept. 29, at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or go online at

Preview: THE CHINESE LADY, plays September 7 to 29, at the Greenway Court Theatre. It’s the Los Angeles premiere and co-production with Artists at Play, presented by the Greenway Arts Alliance (Whitney Weston and Pierson Blaetz, Co-Founders and Co-Artistic Directors), uniting communities since 1997.

 Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY is inspired by the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant. Directed by Rebecca Wear, the play stars Amy Shu as “Afong Moy,” and Trieu Tran as “Atung,” along with with Hao Feng and Stephanie Wong.

 It is a dark yet whimsical portrait of America through the eyes of a young Chinese woman. Afong Moy is 14 years old when she’s brought to the United States from Canton in 1834. Deemed the first Chinese woman to set foot on U.S. soil, she is put on display as “The Chinese Lady.” For the next half a century, she “performs” for curious museum-goers, showing them how she eats, what she wears, and how she walks with bound feet. As her decades with the sideshow wear on, it challenges her sense of identity and blurs the line between the observed and the observer. This play will open eyes on the history of American entitlement and immigration.

 THE CHINESE LADY plays Sept. 7-29, 2019 at the Greenway Court Theatre, 544 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Free parking is available in the Fairfax High School parking lot on Fairfax and Clinton, directly adjacent to the theatre). For tickets and schedule information call 323-673-0544, or go to

Preview: BLUE MAN GROUP, at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, presented from September 24 through October 6, 2019.

 BLUE MAN GROUP has entertained over 35 million people on our blue planet. Audiences have experienced the surprising and exciting show from the silent cobalt group, and now the Blue Men come to Los Angeles for the very first time with their “Speechless Tour.”

 The Blue Men are fun and out to reignite your overloaded senses. The show is a rollicking, rowdy, rave of a good time with music, belly-laughs, and endless surprises. Head to the Hollywood Pantages for the Blue Man Group’s Los Angeles premiere. You’ll have the time of your life!

 BLUE MAN GROUP plays September 24 through October 6, 2019, at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood. For tickets go to the box office, phone 800-982-2787, or go to

 Life’s a stage, go enjoy!

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.