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Last Chance

October 10, 2002|Don Shirley

Theater

The Chosen--Two Jewish teenagers, growing up in '40s Brooklyn, are on parallel but very different paths toward adulthood--yet manage to become best friends. The parallels become tangible in the absorbing stage adaptation of the late Chaim Potok's popular novel "The Chosen," now in its beautifully acted West Coast premiere at Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica. On one side of the stage is the kitchen table of yeshiva teacher David Malter (John Herzog) and son Reuven (Nicholas Downs). On the other side is the home office of a Hasidic rabbi, Reb Saunders (Robert Grossman), who discusses the Talmud but does not otherwise talk to his son and anointed successor, Danny (Adam Silverstein). Sometimes the audience can see action simultaneously in both homes. The story is smoothly narrated by Robert Pescovitz, playing grown-up Reuven plus several small roles. In the second act, the older Reuven briefly counsels the younger Reuven, like a voice from the future, urging him to concentrate on what he really wants to do with his life. It's the play's most pointedly theatrical device in a living stage event by Potok and Aaron Posner that is not a literal reenactment of the novel.

Don Shirley

Ends Sunday at the Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. (800) 595-4849.

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Other shows closing this weekend:

Blue--Charles Randolph-Wright's play with music about a fractious black middle-class family in South Carolina ends Sunday at the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, (626) 356-7529.

The Heiress--The 1881 Henry James novella "Washington Square," adapted for stage, about a painfully shy heiress, her domineering father and a handsome but poor suitor ends Sunday at the Knightsbridge Theatre, 35 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, (626) 440-0821.

The Playboy of the Western World--This rock-solid, occasionally inspired staging of J.M. Synge's classic about a feckless wayfarer whose much-vaunted patricide makes him a popular hero among the rural folk of County Mayo ends Sunday at the Armory Northwest, 965 N. Fair Oaks, Pasadena, (818) 679-8854.

1776--The Sherman Edwards-Peter Stone musical, mixing patriotism and passion as it tells the story of John Adams and the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, closes Sunday at the Norris Theatre, 27570 Crossfield Drive, Rolling Hills Estates, (310) 544-0403.

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