Los Angeles theater comes alive this Spring with incredible live performances, talented playwrights and directors, beautiful productions and whimsical storytelling. Unlike Broadway in NYC, L.A. theater is spread out, which may take a little bit of pre-planning. Theater institutions such as the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, the Music Center, The Geffen Playhouse and the Civic Arts Plaza have an array of productions that will delight and engage. These are the five best bets for May 2017.

(credit: Kelly P./yelp)

The Bodyguard The Musical
The Hollywood Pantages Theatre
6233 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 468-1770
Date: May 2 – May 21, 2017

An unforgettable cinematic love story from the 90s starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, “The Bodyguard The Musical” is based on the film of course. Some of Houston’s most celebrated songs from “The Bodyguard” including “One Moment In Time,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “I Will Always Love You,” the famous Houston cover version from Dolly Parton’s hit, among other popular hits,are featured in this musically-driven theater production featuring concert lighting and amazing sound effects. Angelenos will finally get the opportunity to fall in love with main character superstar Rachel Marron and her bodyguard played by Judson Mills. Deborah Cox plays the pop singer. Cox is a Grammy® Award-nominated and multi-platinum R&B/pop recording artist and film/TV actress. The Bodyguard The Musical first opened in London’s Adelphi Theatre in late 2012. Tickets are available through the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.

(credit: Joe Seer/shutterstock)

Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 208-5454
Date: May 2- June 11, 2017

Playwright Anna Ziegler will debut her latest play “Actually” at The Geffen Playhouse’s Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. Known for her award-winning play “Photograph 51,” which starred Nicole Kidman, Ziegler’s newest drama takes on two Princeton first-years who spend the night together. The story begins a conversation about the gray area of consent, which leads to controversy. British-American director Tyne Rafaeli directs and brings her vision of the story to stage. Located in the Westwood, home to UCLA, The Geffen Playhouse hosts an array of productions each season including featuring some of the industry’s most creative and acclaimed playwrights and directors.

(Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

Into The Woods
The Ahmanson Theatre
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 628-2772
Date: April 4 – May 14, 2017

Once upon a time, “Into the Woods” arrived on stage in San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre in 1986. It quickly earned critical success and Tony Awards, and has graced the Broadway stage for more than 10 years. In 2015, Hollywood made it into an Oscar-worthy movie musical, and today the whimsical theater production tours the nation. Los Angeles theater-goers will have the up close opportunity to experience the musical fairy tale (music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine), which entangles plots, characters and journeys from several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault imaginative stories such as “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel” and “Cinderella.” The Ahmanson Theatre recently announced its next season which will feature Something Rotten! and The Red Shoes.

(credit: Craig Schwartz)

Mark Taper Forum
135 North Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 628-2772
Date: April 25 – June 4, 2017

The Mark Taper Forum presents the world premiere and a Center Theatre Group commission of playwright Rajiv Joseph’s “Archduke.” Not a newcomer to the Taper, Joseph who is a Pulitzer Prize finalist (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) and Obie Award winner, rounds up a group of three young men in Belgrade 1914 in Archduke. Plagued with tuberculosis these strangers are recruited for a secret organization seeking to strike against Serbian nationalism upon the brink of World War I. Joseph puts his signature stamp of “dark humor” upon this story giving audiences the opportunity to reflect on current times. Giovanna Sardelli directs. The Mark Taper Forum is part of the Los Angeles Music Center, where both the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Ahmanson Theatre are located.

(credit: Sal K./yelp)

The Drowsy Chaperone presented by Youth Musical Theatre
Scherr Forum Theatre at Civic Arts Plaza
2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(805) 449-2787
Date: May 25 – May 28, 2017

From the dynamic Youth Musical Theatre (YMT), comes “The Drowsy Chaperone.” The entire production features local middle and high school kids. Putting the spotlight on the 1920s, The Drowsy Chaperone brings one theater fan’s favorite 1928 musical recording to life. The story is a parody on American musical comedy while sending high regards to the Jazz age. Well-suited for families of all ages,The Drowsy Chaperone features lively song and dance throughout. Music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, and book fy Bob Martin and Don McKellar, the show opened up on Broadway 11 years ago, and took home Tony awards. The YMT company, which is volunteer based and a non-profit organization, has produced many family friendly performances such as Shrek the Musical, Into the Woods, Anything Goes, and more. Tickets range from $19 to $29.

By Sheryl Craig