A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

To our great springtime fortune, hometown theater collective Poor Dog Group will be back in the house! After having presented “The Murder Ballad (1938)” in the 2012 New Original Works Festival at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), the company has been invited to reprise the evening-length movement-based theater piece this Thursday through Saturday, April 23 to 25, at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 26, at 7 p.m.

Based on a song composed by ragtime and jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton, this new extended and elaborated interpretation is ferociously performed by PDG’s Jessica Emmanuell and Jesse Saler. Promotional materials attest that the production “revels in the nastiness of its heroine’s voice . . . [and a] feral physical energy [that] lays claim to the violent impulses of a woman betrayed.”

Directed by J.D. Bonnell, with set design by the director and Efren Delgadillo Jr., lighting design by Adam Haas Hunter and sound design by Andrew Gilbert and Martin Gimenez, the production is further described as a “volatile mix of desire, jealousy and emancipatory yearning.”

Though the song’s first performances were said to have taken place in the brothels of New Orleans’ steamy Storyville district, PDG’s rendition is said to also “speak to the current political and social landscape.”

—Benn Widdey, Culture Spot LA

REDCAT is located at 631 W. Second St., LA 90012. Tickets are $16 to $25. Visit https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/942346. For more information, visit http://www.redcat.org/event/poor-dog-group-murder-ballad-1938.