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Why We Love L.A. Summers: Chill Out With Our Hot Theater Picks

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Summer has arrived, and we're ready to celebrate all that screams 'tis the season in Los Angeles. From sand to summit, from sips to snacks -- we love L.A. summers.

By Chelsee Lowe

We all know that film trumps theater here in Los Angeles, but that doesn't mean high-brow theater buffs are short on options. This summer a new lineup of larger-scale, acclaimed plays and musicals open shop around town. Take a look at some of the theater magic headed your way and plan accordingly.

The Pantages

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La Cage aux Folles: In this musical revival of the 1983 Broadway production, tan man George Hamilton plays Georges, a gay nightclub owner in Saint-Tropez, France; his club's main attraction is a troupe of drag-queen performers sporting plenty of sequins and feathers. Things get crazy when Georges’ son comes home, announces his engagement to Anne, and divulges that he’s lied to her parents about what his own family does for a living. Get your tickets to watch this hysterical, stiletto-filled plot unfold! The show runs from July 10 - 22, and you can get your tickets here.

Memphis: Starring characters Huey and Felicia push social boundaries in this musical set in segregated, 1950s Tennessee: he's a white radio DJ, and she's a young, black singer trying to get some positive attention for her talents. The toe-tapping music helped earned the production four Tony Awards in its debut year on Broadway. Catch it July 31 through August 12 and get your tickets here.

The Book of Mormon: Brought to you by the side-splittingly funny creators of "South Park" and "Avenue Q," The Book of Mormon is an award-winning, sell-out crowd kind of show you don’t want to miss; the musical satire took home nine Tony Awards and is the most talked about production since Wicked (not for the same reasons, mind you). In it, young Mormon missionaries are sent to Uganda and their big plans for converting the masses are met with villagers suffering from AIDS, a murderous warlord with a missing an eye, and other foul realities that throw the elders for a loop. Buy your tickets as far in advance as possible—you’ll need to! The show runs from Sept. 5 to Nov. 25.

The Ahmanson Theater

War Horse: Set in England in 1914, War Horse tells the story of a young boy named Albert whose horse is shipped off to the cavalry to partake in World War I. Despite the precariousness of the journey, Albert sets off to find his dear friend and meets danger around every corner. The show plays now through July 29th, and ticket prices range from $45 to $165.

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Mary Poppins: Who doesn’t remember singing along to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” when they were young, or dancing along with the chimney sweeps? Relive it on stage this summer, and bring the kids, too. Tickets are available now and range between $40 and $150; the production goes from August 9 to September 2.

The Mark Taper Forum

Red: The theater and art world collide in this production portraying renowned painter Mark Rothko, played by Spiderman 2’s Alfred Molina. Get a peek into the psyche of an artist as Molina creates and destroys art right on stage. Tickets are $30 or $45 and are on sale now for shows August 1 through September 9.

The Geffen Playhouse

The Exorcist: Nothing screams summer like... The Exorcist? If you want a break from big summer romances and comedies in the movie theaters, perhaps this is the right pick for you. This is the first time the 1971 novel has been turned into a stage play, and it’s not for the faint of heart; prepare to cover your eyes or have nightmares afterwards. The play’s run began this week and ends August 12. Get your tickets here for $35 or $55.

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Special Performances at the Hollywood Bowl

The Producers: Every summer the Hollywood Bowl slates a short-running theatrical performance, and this year it’s Mel Brooks’ hilarious musical about two scheming Broadway producers who purposely try to put a flop on stage. If you’ve never seen it, there’s probably no more magical a venue that the Bowl; it’s only a 3 night event—July 27, 28, and 29—so get your tickets early. Prices range from $11 - $175.

Why We Love L.A. Summers: Revel in Classic Outdoor Theatre