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THE BEST OF THE WEEKEND.

STAGE

KEEPING SECRETS: The outcome of World War II may have hinged on a secret meeting in 1941 between world-renowned physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. Or maybe it didn't. Either way, ``Copenhagen,'' Michael Frayn's mind-bender of a play, is a fascinating evening.

Once fast friends, now divided by the war, Bohr and Heisenberg are both dangerously close to unlocking the secrets of nuclear energy. Heisenberg is on the team investigating for the Nazis whether nuclear weaponry is feasible. Bohr, a Danish Jew, may know the answer. The meeting is based on an actual event.

At the Wilshire Theatre, where the production closes its first stop on a national tour Jan. 6, performers Len Cariou, Hank Stratton and Mariette Hartley (as Bohr's wife, Margrethe) enliven difficult subject matter. This one requires a thinking cap, and a certain degree of patience.

Performances are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 to $60. Call (213) 365-3500. The Wilshire is located at 8440 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills.

- E.H.

STAGING A COMEBACK: They went, they sung, they came back.

And they're singing again.

In ``Back From Broadway, a Musical Journey'' at the Tiffany Theatre, James Barbour and Hershey Felder spend an evening talking, singing and reminiscing about the craft of musical theater. Felder appeared in ``George Gershwin Alone'' - which originated at the Tiffany in 2000 - and Barbour starred in Broadway's ``Jane Eyre.'' The production, which will travel to West Palm Beach Florida in January, is directed by Joel Zwick.

In addition to backstage stories, the evening includes selections from ``Camelot,'' ``Fiddler on the Roof'' and ``Carousel.''

Performances are at 8 tonight, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, with New Year's Eve shows at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $45; $100 for the 9 p.m. New Year's Eve show. Call (310) 289-2999. The Tiffany is located at 8532 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

- E.H.

FILM

HIGHLY DETAILED CLAN: Every family is miserable in its own way, the saying goes. But few families are as amusing in their misery as ``The Royal Tenenbaums.''

The latest, formally overcontrolled look at misguided genius, obnoxious self-absorption and the hilariously poignant need to connect from director Wes Anderson (``Rushmore''), ``Tenenbaums'' charts the misfortunes of a grown-up trio of child prodigies (Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson) who, their glory days long gone, all move back into their mother's (Anjelica Huston) home. They're quickly followed by their long-estranged, sleazeball lawyer dad, Royal (Gene Hackman in the comic performance of his career), the person most responsible for screwing them all up in the first place.

A detail man par excellence, Anderson not only creates his own, parallel universe New York City for the action to unfold in, but painstakingly composes every inch of every frame on every level, from set decoration to camera movement to superbly chosen soundtrack element. And, somehow, he turns this family of sad-eyed caricatures into a clan of richly emotional, memorable individuals. All in all, a royal achievement.

- Bob Strauss

MUSIC

GET JAZZED: Karl Denson loves dance music as much as straight-ahead jazz.

The saxophonist, who brings his band Tiny Universe to the House of Blues tonight and Saturday, toured with pop star Lenny Kravitz before recording his Blue Note debut, ``Dance Lesson #2.''

In concert, Denson provides a funky, soul-driven sound highlighted by fiery extended sax solos.

The House of Blues is at 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Show time is 10 both nights, and tickets are $20. Info: (323) 848-5100 or visit www.hob.com.

- Fred Shuster

MORE MANDY: Singing a little bit of kid's stuff and plenty of adult fare as well, Broadway crooner and film star Mandy Patinkin comes to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a pair of concerts Sunday afternoon and New Year's Eve.

Patinkin, who starred in the original Broadway productions of ``Evita,'' ``Sunday in the Park With George'' and ``The Wild Party'' has a new album, ``Kidults,'' and plenty of songs in his heart. Accompanied by pianist Paul Ford, Patinkin promises a decidedly unsedate evening. He may get you on your feet to perform the ``Hokey-Pokey''... sung in Yiddish, no less.

Performances are at 2 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Monday at 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Tickets are $15 to $75. Call (213) 365-3500.

- Evan Henerson

DON'T MISS THIS: A promising last-minute New Year's Eve suggestion is charismatic young jazz singer Jane Monheit at Catalina Bar & Grill. She's worth checking out even when it's not the last night of 2001. Reservations: (323) 466-2210.

CAPTION(S):

6 photos

Photo:

(1) no caption (``Copenhagen'')

(2) no caption (``Back From Broadway'')

(3) Gene Hackman, right, returns to his family, including, from left, Ben Stiller, Jonah Meyerson, Grant Rosenmeyer and Gwyneth Paltrow, in ``The Royal Tenenbaums.''

(4) no caption (Karl Denson)

(5) no caption (Mandy Patinkin)

(6) no caption (Jane Monheit)
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Title Annotation:Review; L.A. Life
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 28, 2001
Words:828
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