Saturday, June 16
Being a Jew with a Christmas tree in your house during the holidays in addition to living among the havoc of the '60s can be pretty confusing for anyone. This is the situation faced by Mindy, a character in Wendy Graf's comic play, "The Book of Esther." Her parents are extremely secularized, and she has been taught to conceal her Jewish identity and immerse herself in Christianity. Despite her parents' intention to assimilate into the larger society, however, Mindy sets out to discover her innate faith with the help of a dedicated and comforting rabbi. Graf's talent in creating this humorous drama, based on her own experiences, is no surprise after her writing in shows like "Small Wonder" and "Full House." $18 (general admission); $14 (seniors, students and members of performing arts unions). 2 p.m. Also plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Through Aug. 5. Theater East, 12655 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. For reservations or more information, call (818) 788-4396.
Sunday, June 17
Luis de Carbajal y la Cueva, admiral, captain general and the governor of the New Kingdom of Nuevo Leon, died in prison awaiting trial. His nephew, Luis, was burned at the stake in 1596 along with other members of his family. The Carbajals are one of the many families who suffered persecution in Mexico after the Spanish Inquisition because they were conversos (converts) to Judaism. Today, this legendary family is portrayed by Mexican Jewish playwright Sabina Berman in "En El Nobmbre de Dios" ("In the Name of God") and presented in English by The Bilingual Foundation of the Arts. $5. 2 p.m. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. For reservations or more information, call (310) 440-4688.
Monday, June 18
Somber gray-and-black paintings of oil and acrylic symbolize Armenian-born Evrika Satikyan's eight-year imprisonment for rebelling against the Soviet government. Today, he illustrates more cheerful and bright images due to the safety he feels in America. His portrayals of tenacity in a conformist environment are now on display. Gallery hours: Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Finegood Art Gallery, Bernard Milken JCC, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. For more information, call (818) 464-3218.
Tuesday, June 19
Violence, passion, jealousy and murder are the themes explored tonight in Giacomo Puccini's opera, "Tosca." Set in Rome during a time of revolution, the drama traces the plight of political rebel Cesare Angelotti, from his refuge in a church to the consequences of involving a painter and his lover in his concealment. $28-$148 (senior discounts available). 7:30 p.m. Also plays: Fri., June 22, Sun., June 24 and Wed., June 27. Dorothy Chanler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. For reservations or more information, call (213) 972-8001.
Wednesday, June 20
With her smooth and strong operatic voice, the nation's best soprano is a label deserved by Beverly Sills. In addition to playing roles in "Julius Caesar" and "Anna Bolena," Sills also served as director of the New York City Opera and has been chairwoman of the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts since 1994. Tonight, her life story is portrayed in "Beverly" by Roberta Randall, who has played Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth" and Electra in "Electra." "Beverly" is a moving account that traces Sills's life through her successful opera career, intermarriage with a non-Jew and her post as a Jewish Goodwill Ambassador. $10. 7:30 p.m. University of Judaism, 15600 Mulholland Dr., Bel Air. For registration or more information, call (310) 440-1246.
Thursday, June 21
With a grandmother who is a chapter president of Hadassah, a father who abandoned his Jewish identity and a mother who left the picture long ago, who wouldn't be befuddled? Pamela Alster's new comic play deals with her own plight to find herself in "Note to Self: Shop Bloomingdale's-Find Mother." With values of independence and self-reliance instilled by her father, she sets out to find her mother, the missing piece in the puzzle of her identity. $15 (general admission). 8 p.m., Thursdays. Through July 26. Black Box Theater, 12420 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles. For reservations or more information, call (310) 859-4641.
Friday, June 22
How do you make a marriage work and last forever, even through your "age rage" years? By seeing "You Haven't Changed a Bit and Other Lies" you might find the answer to that question. This musical comedy written by Jerry Mayer takes a look at growing old while struggling to maintain a successful marriage through the antics of three couples who decide to renew their vows at 60. Steve Mayer also presents humorous original music, like "What Am I Doing In This Room" and "I Watched You While You Were Sleeping." $22.50-$25 (discounts available for students and seniors). Fri. and Sat., 8 p.m. Sun., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Through September. The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. For tickets or more information, call (818) 906-0675.
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