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Winter theater preview: ‘The Wiz,’ ‘Chicago’ come to Hollywood Pantages Theatre

(Alston Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

By Eric Sican, Reid Sperisen, Yuna Choi, and Gavin Meichelbock

Feb. 2, 2024 5:18 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 4 at 8:56 p.m.

This winter, Los Angeles theaters will be a coveted escape from the cold.

The crisp wind is carrying several touring productions through the city this season, ensuring live entertainment that will undoubtedly bring the heat. From iconic ensemble shows to side-splitting solo acts, these performances guarantee a treat for all viewers.

Read on for the Daily Bruin’s picks for this winter’s must-see productions.

[Related: Film preview: New action-packed theatrical releases bring thrills to winter chill]

The cast of “The Wiz” performs on stage. Directed by Schele Williams, the hit musical will run at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre from Feb. 13 to March 3. (Courtesy of Broadway in Hollywood)

The Wiz (Hollywood Pantages Theatre)

Making its journey from somewhere over the rainbow, “The Wiz” is coming to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.

The beloved take on an American classic is coming back to the American stage for the first time in 40 years with its pre-Broadway national tour. From Feb. 13 to March 3, audiences will return to the Land of Oz while moving and grooving to sounds of soul, gospel, rock and ’70s funk. Join Dorothy on her journey down the yellow brick road as she discovers her place in the modern world while trying to find her way back home to Harlem. Dorothy will be accompanied by original takes on her classic scene-stealing companions Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion.

The magic is sure to come alive on the stage thanks to the production’s all-star creative team. “The Wiz” is being directed by Schele Williams, who helmed the revival of Disney’s “Aida.” Choreographer of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” JaQuel Knight is also contributing his innovative vision to the production. Additionally, the merry old Land of Oz is being designed by Academy Award winner Hannah Beachler.

So make sure to ease on down the road this winter to go see “The Wiz.”

– Gavin Meichelbock

Trixie Mattel (left) and Katya Zamolodchikova (right) hold red cups as telephones. The drag queens will present “The Bald and the Beautiful Live” at The Novo on March 1. (Courtesy of The Bald and the Beautiful)

The Bald and the Beautiful Live with Trixie Mattel & Katya (The Novo)

LA is getting ready to be in the presence of royalty with “The Bald and the Beautiful.”

Drag Queens Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova are bringing their hit YouTube and podcast series “The Bald and the Beautiful” to The Novo on March 1. The show will serve as an extension of the witty video podcasts with which many fans are familiar. With conversation topics ranging from beauty trends to phobias, this production will follow the same discussion style fans are used to but in front of a live audience.

Since the show’s debut on YouTube back in 2020, the self-proclaimed “grizzled gay ghouls” have brought in special guests for their conversations to highlight the many sides to the beauty industry. While it is not clear whether or not they will be bringing guests to their live performance, attendees can expect that the infamously comical duo will be bringing its own insights on the industry and any other hilarious topics that seem fitting for the occasion.

It would be a drag if viewers didn’t snatch their tickets for this event ASAP.

– Eric Sican

The cast of “Chicago” dances on stage. The revival of the acclaimed musical will light up the Hollywood Pantages Theatre from March 5 to 24. (Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel)

Chicago (Hollywood Pantages Theatre)

“Chicago” proves why it’s the name on everyone’s lips.

The iconic musical will be returning to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre this winter to celebrate the revival’s 25th anniversary. Running from March 5-24, tickets start at a price of $39 to experience the razzle dazzle of the Roaring Twenties. Since its debut in 1975, “Chicago” has proven time and time again how it deserves its timeless cornerstone on Broadway, with music by John Kander and Fred Ebb. Featuring hits such as “Cell Block Tango” and “All That Jazz,” the musical combines jazz, blues and stunning choreography to deliver an unforgettable performance.

Similar to the 2002 movie adaptation, the story focuses on Roxie Hart, an aspiring vaudeville star, and her rival-turned-ally Velma Kelly. Despite committing murder, Roxie’s fortune changes after her lawyer, Billy Flynn, crafts a defense that sensationalizes her into a “celebrity criminal.” Through a heavy satirical lens, the musical explores the blurred lines between fame and justice. Known for its sharp wit and powerful social commentary, “Chicago” has since earned its spot as the second-longest running Broadway musical.

Grab tickets soon and join the infamous stars as they navigate both the stage and the courtroom.

–Yuna Choi

[Related: Theater review: ‘Dog Man: The Musical’ leaves audiences barking for more]

Promotional art for James Acaster’s “Hecklers Welcome” tour is shown. The comedian will return to LA for the first time in over a year with shows on March 8 and 9. (Courtesy of James Acaster)

James Acaster: Hecklers Welcome (Theatre at The Ace Hotel)

James Acaster is bringing his ebullient energy back to LA.

The British comedian will perform two nights of stand-up comedy March 8 and 9 at the Theatre at The Ace Hotel. The shows are part of Acaster’s ongoing “Hecklers Welcome” tour, which began in 2022, and mark his first performances in LA in over a year. Acaster’s latest run promises to be even more dynamic than his acclaimed 2019 “Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999” tour.

Acaster is perhaps best known for his eccentric comedic style, which is characterized by his expressive gestures, incorporation of fictional material and emphasis on narrative. His work, which also includes the popular podcasts “Off Menu” and “Perfect Sounds,” reflects an earnest effort to engage the audience in a humorous but honest way. What sets apart the “Hecklers Welcome” tour is Acaster’s commitment to embrace the energy of the crowd, making each performance different in its wit and delivery.

Suffice to say, laughter, jest and active participation is to be encouraged at the “Hecklers Welcome” tour.

– Reid Sperisen

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