Lisa Kron's "2.5 Minute Ride" tackles the breadth of human emotion and experience through the telling of three family stories. The one-act play jumps from the story of the author's visit to Auschwitz with her Holocaust survivor grandfather, to an annual family trip, to her brother's nuptials. See today's opening weekend gala benefit performance. Runs through April 10. 8 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays). $25 (gala performance), $18 (general). ITA Production Stage, 10015 Venice Blvd., West Los Angeles. (323) 860-9907.
Those in the mood for something different this Purim definitely get it at Chabad of the Conejo's "Shtetl Banquet" celebration tonight. The Hyatt Westlake Plaza Hotel's Grand Ballroom becomes a shtetl, and guests are encouraged to join the fun by wearing theme-appropriate costumes. Donning the requisite head kerchiefs or peyes, you'll rock out to klezmer music while dining on "delicacies of yesteryear," whatever that might mean. Also planned is a shtetl version of "The Newlywed Game" and a search for the Shtetl Idol. Strangely brilliant or just strange? That'll be your call. 5 p.m. $18 (adults), $10 (children). 880 S. Westlake Blvd., Westlake. R.S.V.P., (818) 991-0991.
Dwora Fried puts your kid's dioramas to shame. "A Box of One's Own" is her latest art exhibition, a series of collages composed in wooden boxes that combine the media of photography and painting, and suggest themes of space and voyeurism. The show opens today at the Workmen's Circle's A Shenere Velt Gallery. Runs through May 2. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Mon.-Thurs.), 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (Fri.). 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-2007.
With a catalog of songs that reads like the Billboard adult contemporary music charts from the past 50 years, lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman have been equally recognized by their peers, as evidenced by their Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy and Grammy awards. (Perhaps you're familiar with the tunes "The Way We Were," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "It Might Be You"?) Tonight, Mr. Bergman performs some of their hits, with vocalists Amanda McBroom and Jason Graae in "An Evening with Alan and Marilyn Bergman." March 9-13. 7:30 p.m. $60. Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. (714) 556-2787.
Today, Commentary magazine senior editor Gabriel Schoenfeld discusses his new book, "The Return of Anti-Semitism," which has garnered praise from noted figures, including Eli Wiesel, Natan Sharansky and Cynthia Ozick. Head to the Jewish Community Library to meet the author, whose work has also appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and New Republic. 7-8:30 p.m. 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (323) 761-8644.
UCLA department of art and the Hammer Museum present writer and painter Mira Schor as the latest guest in their visiting artist lecture series. Schor's dual achievements as an artist and art writer will likely be explored in her presentation, which, we're told, will include a slide show of her works, as well. 7 p.m. Hammer Museum Gallery 6, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 443-7000.
Date night suggestion: Head inland to Pasadena to impress your guy or gal with your good breeding. Tonight, the city presents its biannual ArtNight Pasadena, a citywide open house for all cultural institutions from 6-10 p.m. From the Williamson Gallery Art Center College of Design -- which, in addition to the art, will present a live string quartet playing classical music -- to Pasadena City College, with its indoor Environmental Design 2004 exhibition and outdoor George Boone Sculpture Gardens installations, free shuttles will run, stopping at all the venues, which makes extra wine with dinner just one more bonus. www.artnightpasadena.org