When your favorite TV stars need a break from the silver screen, you can find them on stages all around Los Angeles. From acclaimed theaters to cabarets and low-key clubs, here’s where to spot top Tinseltown talent performing live.
Dinner service is just wrapping up at this local treasure in Los Feliz, the cutting-edge neighborhood bordering Hollywood to the east. Rounds of freshly shaken Saturday Evening Sazeracs (a heavenly blend of Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, absinthe, simple syrup, bitters with a lemon twist) hit the table. The lights dim everywhere save for the lone spot on the grand piano in the front of the restaurant, making it the focal point of the room. Singers emerge from the crowd and fan out across the dining room, their voices rising in melodies of familiar tunes honoring the repertoire of composer and director Baz Luhrmann. To your left is actress Ginifer King (Confessions of a Shopaholic). Across the way, Milena Govich (Law & Order, Rescue Me) joins in on the sweet serenading. And so goes a typical outing during one of Rockwell’s For the Record performances.
The series (Thursdays through Saturdays) has celebrated the music in movies directed by the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Robert Zemeckis and the Coen brothers. The Luhrmann tribute runs through October 26. Performances themed to Tim Burton, Woody Allen and Cameron Crowe’s works are on the horizon. Each show glitters with stars swiped from the silver and small screens, performing on stage in the nightly cabaret. But it’s not just the For the Record series that lets familiar faces shine for a night. Throughout the week, Rockwell regularly plays host to the likes of Jeff Goldblum, Wayne Brady, Molly Ringwald, Sutton Foster and Tracie Thoms, who enjoy singing and playing piano for the crowd.
Not too far from Rockwell, this speakeasy ushers in a Hollywood who’s who throughout the week, too. Demi Moore and Bruce Willis’ daughter Rumer Willis lights up the stage during her intimate Tuesday concert hosting sessions, while Dancing with the Stars‘ Mark Ballas shows off his musical talents with performances every other Saturday night. But the best thing about visiting The Sayers Club is that you never know who’s going to grab the microphone. Prince has slipped in to play late-night shows, as have the Black Keys. Nightlife curator Jason Scoppa lines up an array of top talent (and special guests) throughout the week. Expect to see surprise vocalists, who sit in with the house band on The Sessions, a Thursday happening where celebs perform a wide spectrum of covers for an audience that’s lounging back on leather couches and enjoying rounds of bottle service.
Of course, the cabaret and club scene isn’t for every stargazer. Luckily, L.A.’s stages are also great outlets for famous folks who want to hone their craft away from the camera. Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch perform in Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys at this Los Angeles Music Center facility through November 3. The theater — which has also been graced by Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden and the late James Gandolfini in recent years — will roll out the red carpet for famed actor Christopher Plummer’s one-man production A Word or Two from January 19 to February 9.
Since opening its doors back in 1995, this venue has regularly served as a home for actors when they weren’t on set. Chris Pine, James Van Der Beek, Joan Rivers, Annette Bening and, most recently, Amy Brenneman (September’s Rapture Blister Burn) have all graced this stage. Through November 17, catch The Newsroom’s Allison Pill starring in Wait Until Dark, a fresh twist on the classic thriller written by Frederick Knott. And following that production, the multi-talented Bette Midler will embody Hollywood’s first female super agent in the one-woman show I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers. The Joe Mantello-directed work runs from December 3 through 22.
Photos Courtesy of The Geffen Playhouse and Lewis Payton