Shakespeare, Molière, musical romps, contemporary classics, comedies of all Jordi Galcerán's descriptions, cutting-edge new work — theater in Southern California is varied, plentiful and far-flung, from the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and Center Theatre Group in downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica's Broad Stage and beyond. It is worth noting, however, that an abundance of eclectic small, midsize and large professional theaters in the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys contribute significantly to the mix.
Burbank Falcon Theatre
4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank
The attractive 130-seat Falcon Theatre is the creation of iconic director/writer/producer Garry Marshall (“Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “The Odd Couple”) and his producer daughter, Kathleen Marshall LaGambina. Its trademark: solidly professional new work, premieres and revivals performed by noteworthy actors from film, Broadway and the local and regional stage. The Falcon's 2012-13 five-play subscription season opened this weekend with the American premiere of Jordi Galcerán's corporate comedy, “The Grönholm Method,” Aug. 18 to Sept. 30. Upcoming: Neil Simon's “I Ought to Be in Pictures” (Oct. 19 to Nov. 11) and the acclaimed Troubadour Theater Company's new musical spoof, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReinDOORS” (Dec. 7 to Jan. 13).
George Izay Park, 1111-b W. Olive Ave., Burban
The Grove Theater Center (GTC) opened in 1994 and became a three-venue operation in Garden Grove and Fullerton. Run by original founders Kevin Cochran and Charles Johanson, GTC took over the 98-seat black-box theater in Burbank's George Izay Park in 2001 and began focusing all of its efforts there in 2005. Its most recent show, a critically acclaimed production of Elmer Rice's 1920s classic, “The Adding Machine,” had an extended run through Aug. 18. Many plays, however, are developed and launched through the theater's New Play Initiative. Other recent GTC successes include “Eternal Equinox,” restaged Off Broadway last year; and Cochran's “Bobby & Matt,” a 2011 New York Fringe Festival offering. GTC produces one to four plays a year, filling the downtime with outside productions. “Second Saturdays,” a new children's matinee series presented by Enrichment Works, runs the second Saturday of each month.
Sidewalk Studio Theatre
4150 Riverside Drive, Burban
Less than half a block over from the well-appointed Falcon Theatre is its lower-profile but intriguing neighbor, the 33-seat Sidewalk Studio Theatre, led by noted veteran director and teacher Sal Romeo. Most recently, Romeo directed the standout, very adult production of “Tennessee in the Summer,” based on the life of Tennessee Williams. Upcoming: A September revival of Grant Kramer's award-winning solo show, “Shadow Boxing,” followed by an original drama by Irish playwright Fionnuala Kenny tentatively scheduled for a December run.
3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burban
This small nonprofit theater company, established in 1994 by Sean Branney and Leslie Baldwin and specializing in (but not limited to) Irish plays and playwrights, offers a season of three well-produced shows annually in its 85-seat black-box theater. The company's recent production of “A Merchant of Venice,” was an LA Weekly “Pick of the Week” that Los Angeles Times theater reviewer F. Kathleen Foley called “a richly cogent entertainment that honors every syllable of the Bard's text.” Next up in late October, with dates to be announced: the U.S. premiere of “The Muesli Belt,” by Jimmy Murphy, author of a previous Banshee success, “The Kings of the Kilburn High Road.”
Victory Theatre Center: