Los Angeles Theatres Return for Summer 2021

A day hasn’t gone by since our lockdown began that I don’t miss live theatre. My Facebook memories often remind me of incredible theatre in Los Angeles I’ve seen. I’ll listen to my favorite albums and reminisce on hearing that one song live, or how great a certain musical was. Well, folks, welcome to Summer 2021. Things aren’t perfect, but I’ve received numerous emails that venues are opening back up this year. I may be jumping for joy as I write. 

Although some I’ll only be attending in my dreams, several will be within my reach. How I’ve longed to escape to the forest atmosphere at Theatricum Botanicum, or plan my exit from a crowded Hollywood Bowl to catch the bus. Certain historic venues like the Sierra Madre Playhouse will be creating a whole new dynamic; instead of performing indoors, they’ll be moving to the park. The show must go on. 

Read on to learn the plans and protocols for a few of my favorites here in LA. See you at the theatre! 

Theatricum Botanicum 

Best known for presenting lively and engaging renditions of the works of William Shakespeare, Theatricum will open the season on Saturday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m. with a fresh look at Julius Caesar. Director Ellen Geer views Shakespeare’s iconic thriller about power, politics, and the elusive nature of truth through a different lens, telling the tale from the vantage point of the Soothsayer.

Audiences yearning for live theater after a year-long drought can satisfy their cravings by returning the next day, Sunday, July 11 at 4 p.m., for the opening of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This summer, Theatricum offers a new take on its signature production, infusing Bard’s beautiful language with music and song to heighten the pleasure.

On Saturday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m., Theatricum is excited to introduce a world premiere play to the rotation. The Last, Best Small Town by local Latine playwright John Guerra is a tale of small-town America set in the nearby town of Fillmore — the self-proclaimed “Last, Best Small Town in Southern California.”

All three productions will play in repertory through Nov. 7. Unlike most theaters in the L.A. area that stage continuous runs of a single play, Theatricum, using a company of actors, will perform each of the plays in repertory, making it possible to see all three plays in a single summer weekend.

In addition to theater, Theatricum offers artistic and educational satellite programming throughout the season. An in-person concert by singer-songwriter Inara George and her band (Barbara Gruska, Gabe Noel, Samantha Sidley, and Wendy Wang) has already been announced for June 6 at 2 p.m. The company’s annual Under the Oaks series of music and performance is currently being scheduled.

Depeche Mode at the Hollywood Bowl in 2017. (c) Mary Farah
Sierra Madre Playhouse is back. Photo: Sierra Madre Playhouse

Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is without a doubt one of the most iconic places in Los Angeles. I knew we were headed in the right direction when I received word they’ll be reopening. Although several health rules will be enforced, Create Your Own packages and single tickets are on sale. I’ve already spent the better part of my morning attempting to secure St. Vincent tickets.  

I became a fan of St. Vincent when she released MassSeduction a few years back. While her latest effort, Daddy’s Home, hasn’t quite won me over like her previous album, she remains on my bucket list of performers to see. 

A slew of firework extravaganzas is once again planned, as well as the famous Sound of Music Sing-Along. These are a few of my favorite things, indeed. 

Sierra Madre Playhouse 

I love the small community of Sierra Madre, right next door to Pasadena. It gives me serious Stars Hollow vibes from Gilmore Girls and there’s even a Taylor’s Market. The Sierra Madre Playhouse has been a staple for nearly 100 years and this summer, they return. 

They’ll kick off their 2021 season with a special outdoor run of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Memorial Park. What could scream Summer more than that? 

Following Charlie Brown, they’ll head back to their indoor venue with a group of great plays. 

King of the Yees by Lauren Yee will play from September 17th to October 17th. Directed by Tim Dang (who directed our hit production of The Joy Luck Club). Bitingly hilarious and heartbreakingly honest, King of the Yees is an epic joyride across cultural, national, and familial borders that explores what it means to be a daughter, a Chinese-American, and truly be a Yee.

In the Garden of the Selfish Giant by Sandra Fenichel Asher will begin October 2nd through October 24th. Directed by Gleason Bauer. Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s short story, The Selfish Giant, 11-year-old Maggie and her mother, Susan, have come to be with Susan’s mother in her final days. Through friendships with a hospice worker and a nine-year-old neighbor, Maggie learns the importance of forgiveness. The Playhouse’s Theater for Young Audiences production will perform at this on Saturdays and Sundays in October at 11 a.m. 

Just in time for the holidays, This Wonderful Life by Steven Murray will be performed from November 26th to December 21st. Directed by Drew Barr. One actor inhabits every role in this hilariously touching stage adaptation of the iconic holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey, Clarence, Mr. Potter, and all come to life as the actor considers the lasting impact this film has had on all of us.

Theatre in Los Angeles

Make sure to check out when your favorite theatre is returning. A few more I’m looking forward to returning to are the Wallis, Canyon Theatre Guild, and the Ford. 

See you at the theatre!