Ever seen “Raymonda,” the 19th century Russian work that’s been called the “last grand ballet” of its era? No? Not to worry—Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra will fill this void in your cultural resume (and mine) with the So Cal debut of this masterpiece from the Golden Age of Russian classical ballet Sept. 24-27, in their eighth visit to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.

The ballet, which takes place in medieval Hungary, relates the tale of a young noblewoman who can’t decide between her betrothed, a crusader knight, and a handsome warrior. Marius Petipa’s choreography, distinguished by razzle dazzle solos and duets and stunning ensembles, will be performed to Alexander Glazunov’s striking score. Following their OC engagement, the company will take tackle our freeways to perform Alexei Ratmansky’s “Cinderella” Oct. 8-11 at The Music Center in Los Angeles. OC: call (714) 556-2787. LA: (213) 972-0711.

Let’s face it. Some people don’t enjoy slapstick humor or knockabout farce. Folks of this ilk rarely prefer my company, and they’re likely to find themselves aghast at the current goings-on at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. The rest of you can—and probably will—laugh until your sides split at “One Man, Two Guvnors” (through Oct. 11) in its So Cal premiere.

Richard Bean’s wickedly funny adaptation of Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” set in England in the early ‘60s, is about an imbecile with two jobs who’s a spectacular failure at both; it’s packed with wild physical comedy, outlandish dialogue and interactive tomfoolery. Directed with pizzazz by David Ivers, the show offers first-rate performances by Dan Donohue (as Francis, the titular dolt), Claire Warden, Louis Lotorto and Brad Culver among others, plus a snappy onstage band. I recommend it to anyone who needs a good laugh—and don’t we all? Call (714) 708-5555.

Shakespeare Orange County does a nice job of blowing the dust off Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance” at the Festival Amphitheater in Garden Grove (through Sept. 26). The beloved operetta is their first-ever musical offering, complete with intimate on-stage seating.

Director Peter Uribe and choreographer Amelia Barron are obviously having fun staging the show, gently spoofing the libretto. They go too far in a few instances, with risqué visual jokes likely to cause family audiences a bit of discomfort. Otherwise it’s a fine evening’s entertainment, with standout work by Jenaha McLearn (as Mabel), a soprano with a gorgeous range, and Krystin Bergamasco (Ruth), whose comic vocal skills are a match for her funny face. Call (714) 590-1575.

Author: Jordan R. Young

Jordan R. Young is a journalist, show business historian, playwright and theatre critic. His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Magazine, Westways, AAA Tour Books, and The People’s Almanac.