‘Teahouse of the August Moon,’ ‘Maneki Neko’ at Mysterium Theater

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SANTA ANA — Mysterium Theater, 19211 Dodge Ave. (at Newport Boulevard) in Santa Ana, is presenting two Japan-related shows.

Randi Tahara as Lotus Blossom in a scene from “Teahouse of the August Moon.”

John Patrick’s “Teahouse of the August Moon” is being performed on Friday and Saturday (April 19-20, April 26-27, May 3-4, May 10-11) at 8:01 p.m. and Sunday (April 21 and 28, May 5 and 12) at 7:01 p.m.

In the aftermath of World War II, Okinawa was occupied by the American military. Capt. Fisby (Bill Paxson), a young Army officer, is transferred to a tiny Okinawa island town called Tobiki by his commanding officer, Col. Purdy (Jeffrey Brem). In this comedy, the laughs come from the inability of the American characters to understand Tobiki culture and tradition.

However, it is not just a story of culture clash. Through the character of Fisby, we see acceptance and the beauty of making peace with oneself somewhere between ambition and limitations. We also learn, like Fisby, that sometimes the better life is had by taking a “step backward in the right direction.”

The cast includes Darian Agredano, Xotchitl Vallez, Judy Mina-Ballard, Patricia Turner, Paul Arnold, Don Dench, Cassy Agredano, Chloe Pichon and Soleil Lyon.

Produced by Marcia Ladd and directed by Lisa L. Garcia with choreography by Randi Tahara, who also appears in the play.

Advance tickets are $20 general, $15 for students, seniors and military; $25 at the door.

The world premiere of “Maneki Neko: The Tale of the Beckoning Cat,” a magical fantasy set in Japan, continues Thursday (April 25, May 2 and 9) at 7:01 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday (April 20-21, April 27-28, May 4-5 and May 11) at 4:01 p.m.

This one-hour interactive performance for children of all ages is based on a combination of folk tales: “The Stray Cat in the Shop,” “The Nobleman Warning,” “The Temple Cat,” and “The Old Woman’s Cat.”

Written by Jenny C. Jones and Marla Ladd; produced and directed by Ladd, with music by Jones and Jessica Cheng and choreography by Candice Shirk.

Advance tickets are $15 general, $10 for children; $20 at the door. Group rates are available for 10 or more persons.

Box office opens an hour prior to showtime. Reservations can be made by phone with Visa or Mastercard. For more information, call (714) 505-3454 or visit www.mysteriumtheater.com.

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