For those with Hollywood dream story fatigue, South Coast Repertory presents a fresh take on the old industry bootstraps tale by playwright David Wiener. In "System Wonderland," has-been filmmakers Jerry and Evelyn attempt to revive a comatose career with the help of the requisite hungry young assistant. With some added wit and clever twists, Weiner ensures we're kept on the edge of our proverbial seats in this world premiere.
April 28-May 13. $28-$60. Folino Theatre Center, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. (714) 708-5555. www.scr.org.
Sunday the 29th
A graphic novel comes to vibrant creepy life in "The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch." Utilizing a hybrid of theater traditions, puppetry and digital media to tell the tale -- created by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean -- that explores themes of childhood innocence and the pain of adulthood, incorporating life-size puppets, masks, live actors, video and animation in this format known as hyper-theater.
April 27-May 27. $16-$20. Theatre/Theater, 5041 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (800) 838-3006. www.rogueartists.org. Not recommended for young children.
Monday the 30th
Mixed media may just include the kitchen sink in Junior Arts Center's new exhibition, "EcoArt: Confronting Core Environmental Issues." The show features work by 11 artists with environmental messages, including Ulla Barr, Gregor Goethals and Julie Kornblum. Materials incorporated into their pieces include recycled electrical wires and plastics, vinyl and an imprinted shower curtain.
April 14-May 12. Junior Art Center, Barnsdall Park, 4814 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 202-5543.
Tuesday the 1st
Man of many trades Jonathan Kirsch is honored today by University Women, an American Jewish University (formerly University of Judaism) affiliate group. The Journal's Rob Eshman presents the biblical scholar, author and attorney with an award for his artistic contributions and commitment to the community at the annual Author/Artist Luncheon. Terri Smooke will receive the Woman of Achievement Award, an honor for her dedication to the community, as well.
10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $85. Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills. R.S.V.P., (310) 440-1283. www.theaju.net. Funds benefit scholarships and grants to students attending AJU.
Wednesday the 2nd
This week's ALOUD at Central Library features Steven Bach, author of "Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl" about Hitler's chosen filmmaker. Riefenstahl earned acclaim for her visionary technical and aesthetic abilities early in her career, but is now largely known for the documentary propaganda films she produced for the Nazi Party. Joe Morgenstern, film critic for the Wall Street Journal and KCRW, will be moderating the discussion.
7 p.m. Free. Mark Taper Auditorium, Fifth and Flower Streets, Los Angeles. Reservations strongly recommended. (213) 228-7025. www.lfla.org/aloud.
Thursday the 3rd
Theodore Bikel, the beloved Jewish entertainer whose 60-year career includes stage, film, television, radio and musical performances, joins Alberto Mizrahi, a Greek-born cantor nicknamed "the Jewish Pavarotti," to create the album "Our Song." Bikel, perhaps best known for his role as Tevye in the stage version of "Fiddler on the Roof," is also a renowned folk singer who has sung thousands of concerts in 23 languages around the world.
7:30 p.m. $72. Kehillat Israel, 16019 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. (310) 459-2328 ext. 253.
Friday the 4th
One of the most acclaimed American operas of all time, "Porgy and Bess," starts its run at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion tonight, performed by the L.A. Opera. George Gershwin first read DuBose Heyward's love story set in an African American community in South Carolina in 1926. It took seven years for it to be adapted into an opera, with additional lyrics by Ira Gershwin, which includes classics like "Summertime" and "Bess, You Is My Woman Now."
Through May 20. $35-$220. Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 972-8001. www.laopera.com.
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