John Waters, Trey Parker, Rod Serling, Old Hickory and, yes, hold your breath—NEIL FUCKING SIMON!—are merely five of the legendary masters of their crafts (from X-rated films starring criminals to brutally murdering Injuns whenever he got a chance) who will have works produced or based on their works or lives this summer.
But there's a whole lot more. The following is a roundup of what's in store on local stages. In the interests of economy (and because the clever juice just ran out), each play will be introduced by two words. . . .
SCOTT JOPLIN: No, the ragtime master didn't write “The Entertainer” for The Sting, but it's one of the most recognizable tunes ever associated with a flick. This Maverick Theater production is Brian Newell's latest effort at merging cinema and stage, and he has a solid track record. It runs through July 14. 110 E. Walnut Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-7070; www.mavericktheater.com.
SHIKSA GODDESS: That's the nickname of the love interest of the guy at the center of the musical The Last Five Years, playing at the Cabrillo Playhouse June 7-30. 202 Avenida Cabrillo, San Clemente, (949) 492-0465; www.cabrilloplayhouse.org.
CHOW TIME: Neil Simon's Rumors (one of his better offerings) is at the Encore Dinner Theatre through June 30. 690 El Camino Real, Tustin, (855) 545-5400; www.encoredinnertheatre.com.
TEN, REALLY: Or the number of plays from now through the end of September at the ridiculously prolific Mysterium Theatre. Everything from Damn Yankees to Real Women Have Curves to three outdoor Shakespeare plays and Lincoln: The Melodrama are on tap. 19211 Dodge Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 505-3454; www.mysteriumtheater.com.
RAOUL EATEN: This is the poor locksmith who stumbles into a web of intrigue surrounding the serial killings of swingers in 2007's Eating Raoul: The Musical. It's based on the 1982 pitch-black-comedy Eating Raoul. At STAGES June 14-Aug. 4. Also this summer are the theater's annual audience fave The Twilight Zone, three one-acts by Southern California playwright David Macaray, and plays by Alan Ayckbourn and Christopher Durang. 400 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 525-4484; www.stagesoc.org.
GAY NOAH: The Long Beach Playhouse's Studio Theater is mounting the seldom-seen Noah Haidle play Vigils June 15-July 13, followed by A Midsummer Night's Gay Dream July 27-Aug. 24. 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, (562) 494-1014, www.lbplayhouse.org.
GOD DOG: Dog Sees God, written by Bert V. Royal, is about a man who questions the existence of an afterlife after his dog dies of rabies. Drug use, suicide, eating disorders and teen rebellion are all broached, and that just sounds like a party. It runs June 21-29. The Garage Theater is also mounting Ravens and Writing Desks (A Movement Play), written and directed by Angela Lopez, which has to do with the following: “Post Mortem down the rabbit hole on a journey of self-discovery; examining life, love and what makes us who we are . . . or what we think makes us who we are.” No, we have no idea what that means, either. Find out Aug. 2-31. 251 E. Seventh St., Long Beach, (562) 433-8337; www.thegaragetheater.org.
ANDREW JACKSON: The man who destroyed America's Second National Bank and oversaw the slaughter and relocation of who knows how many Native Americans is the subject of one of the strangest musicals to come along in some time: Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. The Chance Theater has grown amazingly proficient at knocking musicals out of the park, and there's no reason to think otherwise with this one, which is as much satire and rock concert as it is straight history. It runs July 5-Aug. 4. 5552 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills, (714) 777-3033; www.chancetheater.com.
TOM BRADAC: No, this isn't a retrospective of the 26-year career of the founder of Shakespeare Orange County. But considering he's breaking his magic wand after this summer (i.e., retiring), there's more than a touch of legacy involved. Bradac (who was the subject of the first theater column in the first issue of OC Weekly) directs Twelfth Night, alongside his daughter Alyssa, July 19-Aug. 3, followed by Macbeth Aug. 15-31. 12740 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 744-7016; www.shakespeareoc.org.
THE OGRE: 3D Theatricals gets ridiculous press for its musicals at the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton. Shrek, based on some obscure kids' film, should be no different. It stomps across the stage July 19-Aug. 11. 201 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton, (714) 589-2770; www.3dtshows.com.
VICTOR HUGO: Stagedoor Repertory is mounting L.A. Miserable, which looks like a delicious skewering of life in Los Angeles based in tone on Hugo's Les Misérables, July 20-Aug. 10. In September, it tackles the always-entertaining Noises Off. 1045 N. Armando St., Ste. A, Anaheim, (714) 630-7378; www.stagedoorrep.com.
TREY PARKER: Cannibal! The Musical is an early film by the creator of South Park and The Book of Mormon. Parker never got around to turning the somewhat-true story of the first person to be convicted of cannibalism in the United States into a play, basically telling people who want to produce it to take the film script and do anything they want with it. This Maverick Theater show is billed as the “official” Southern California premiere. So what was the show with the same name the Garage Theater did a couple of years ago? Dunno. This one runs July 26-Sept. 14. 110 E. Walnut Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-7070; www.mavericktheater.com.
JOHN WATERS: Those tremors you feel beneath Orange County's asphalt-lined soil aren't precipitating the Big One; they're the anticipatory rumblings of not just one, but two productions of Hairspray: The Musical this summer. The 2002 musical, based on the first mainstream-film attempt by legendary cult auteur John Waters, proved slightly more successful than the movie, having grossed more than $200 million (compared to $8 million for the film) and won a slew of Tony and Olivier Awards. But do we really need TWO productions? Doesn't matter; that's what we're getting. Director Steven Reifenstein promises big things for his Musical Theatre Orange County production, staged at Fullerton College July 26-Aug. 4, including Disney designers and a set designed and built for the show from a national company in San Diego. Don't know much about the other one, produced by Broadway In the Park in Tustin, except that it runs Aug. 20-24. 321 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton, (714) 637-0186; www.mtoc.org. 230 W. First St., Tustin, (714) 518-5519; www.tacfa.org.
NEW DIGS: Theatre Out will run Craig Lucas' The Dying Gaul and Adam Bock's Swimming In the Shadows sometime around the beginning of August. But the theater won't know until it finalizes the move into its new home, about two blocks from its former digs at the Empire Theater in Santa Ana. 402 W. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 220-7069; www.theatreout.com.
THE BARBER: More of a concert than a straight musical, this homage to Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd is the Costa Mesa Playhouse's annual fund-raiser, running Aug. 23-25. 661 Hamilton St., Costa Mesa, (949) 650-5269; www.costamesaplayhouse.com.
Joel Beers has written about theater and other stuff for this infernal rag since its very first issue in, when was that again???