LA STAGE INSIDER

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

David Fofi

NEWS”¦ Re-Animator: The Musical is alive –  and re-animating! Based on the film by H.P. Lovecraft, adapted by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon and William Norris, with music and lyrics by Mark Nutter, helmed by Gordon, the Ovation Award-winning rock tuner – also nominated for 4 LADCC Awards and 8 LA Weekly Awards – is moving to downtown LA’s Hayworth Theatre for a 10-week run, prior to its appearance at NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival) and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  The original cast, including George Wendt, is intact –  occasionally headless, but intact. Previews begin April 26…About to enter its 16th season, Elephant Theatre Company in Hollywood is taking a hiatus from production for the remainder of 2012, “with the intention of using the year to strengthen the company, and restructure the management and membership, as well as the board of directors.”Â  Elephant also plans to hire a managing director, and to focus on the development of sustainable fundraising initiatives. David Fofi and Lindsay Allbaugh continue as artistic directors. Quoting Allbaugh, “There is no doubt that we can produce a high quality show with our ensemble of award-winning actors, designers, and playwrights. However, it has become very clear to us over the past couple of seasons that in order to achieve greater stability in this economy, and to rise to the next level, it takes more than “˜putting on a great show’.””¦Last week’s INSIDER (2-22-12) announcement of the Apr 28 premiere of the collaborative Fountain Theatre/Deaf West spoken word/ASL staging of Cyrano failed to mention the production is being co-produced by Fountain’s Stephen Sachs and Deaf West’s new artistic director David Kurs. An LA-based writer/ director/filmmaker who created the award-winning 2008 film short, Deaf Man, Kurs previously produced a series of viral videos for DW’s theater-for-young audience staging of Aesop Who?…

Lucy Deutsch

PREMIERES”¦ A veritable “dream team” of LA theater folk – Del Shores, Dámaso Rodriguez, Linda Toliver and Gary Guidinger ““ has been assembled to launch youthful scripter Matthew Leavitt’s The Boomerang Effect, “a comedy about sex,” opening Mar 24 as a visiting production at Odyssey Theatre in West LA, helmed by Rodriguez”¦The autobiographical coming-of-age tuner No Time To Weep, scripted  by Lucy Deutsch, helmed by Ivor Pyres, premieres Mar 31, a visiting production at West Hollywood’s Matrix Theatre.  Set in 1944 Hungary, Deutsch chronicles her experiences as a 14-year-old, removed with her family from their home, placed in a ghetto and then sent to Auschwitz”¦ Having its West Coast premiere at Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood is Jacob and Jack, a time-traveling farce about a well-known TV personality and his thesp grandfather, who was a pioneer in the Yiddish theater. It’s scripted by James Sherman, helmed by Lee Sankowich, opening Mar 24″¦Widestance Productions is debuting Bathhouse Tuesday, focusing on the shenanigans that ensue when three men attempt to enjoy an evening at one of history’s oldest getaways for men, scripted and helmed by John Trapper, opening Mar 16 at Meta Theatre in Hollywood”¦And La Mirada Theatre continues its 2011-12 Programs for Young Audiences, with the local premiere of ArtsPowers touring,  Are You My Mother?an enchanting musical about Baby Bird’s courageous adventure,” based on P.D. Eastman’s children’s classic, performing Mar 25″¦

John C. Reilly

AROUND TOWN”¦ Co-founded by Robert Gardner and Michael Shaw Fisher, LA Playwrights Lab (LAPL) is offering Beginnings, its first program of shorts, Mar 14 at Asylum Theatre in Hollywood.  Works include: Bolshoi Bullshit by Gardner, helmed by Harold Apter; Land Of The Blacks by Fisher, helmed by Jennifer Chambers; The Disconnect by Meredith Simonds, helmed by Lisa Pelikan; Baby Toes by June Carryl, helmed by Chris Raymond; and Summer House, scripted and helmed by Katie Letien”¦Over in NoHo, Antaeus Company, housed at Deaf West Theatre, is launching ClassicsFest 2012, Part I, presenting six classics in six weeks:  Bill o’ fare includes:  Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill, helmed by Don Eitner (Mar 18, 19); The Crucible by Arthur Miller, helmed by Armin Shimerman (Mar 25, 26); Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker, helmed by Elizabeth Swain (Apr 1); The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, helmed by Robert Egan (Apr 8,  9); The Liar by Carlo Goldoni, helmed by Frank Dwyer (Apr 15, 16); and Oedipus: Parts I & II by Sophocles, helmed by Casey Stangl. ClassicsFest, Part II is TBA“¦Arthur Miller’s 1964 pseudo-autobiographical After the Fall is being revived by HumanArts Theater Company, helmed by RoZsa Horvath, hosted by Elephant Stages’ Lillian Theatre opening Mar 10″¦Housed in Griffith Park, Native Voices at the Autry is offering two one-act plays in repertory, both scripted and performed by Robert Owens-Greygrass (Lakota) and helmed by Kevin Sifuentes (Hopi) – Walking on Turtle Island and Ghostlands of an Urban NDN – opening Mar 3 at Wells Fargo Theatre”¦Noted thesp and musician John C. Reilly is gathering some musical friends (Becky Stark and Tom Brosseau) for a Mar 18 folk and country concert at Topanga Canyon’s Will Geer Thatricum Botanicum, celebrating their recent album release and benefiting the theater”¦

THE THING IS”¦“This work comes out of a time when I’d been tamping down a lot of emotions. I’d kind of given up on the acting. I was doing jobs I didn’t like. Then I was diagnosed with cancer, and I was afraid of the surgery. So, I went to a Shamatic healer.  She helped me get in touch with repressed facets of myself, primarily the fearless, happy, adventurous, creative inner child who wanted to play and wanted to act again. So, when I started handing my life decisions over to this part of myself – instead of the scared inner critic who was worried about everything, telling me I’d better do it right, or else ““ this play came out. It was actually part of my healing, the emotional part of my physical healing. I have performed this work in almost every kind of venue:  bookstores, clothing store, living rooms, lots of progressive churches, minister retreats, a really diverse bunch of performance spaces. I’ve done everything except a run in a theater. It has evolved over the years. It has been as long as 2½ hours and as short as one hour. Production values have gone through an extensive upgrade, now that I am doing it in a theater for a period of time.  I’m used to doing this with a simple lights on/lights off.  It is a wonderful luxury to have a support team of producer, director, lighting person, sound person to kind of shine it up and ““ as a friend told me – to take it to the next level.” ““ Harry Hart-Browne discussing his Special Delivery, “a 20-character one-man play about a lifetime on Earth,” helmed by Mark Bringelson, produced by Katselas Theatre Company, continues its premiere run at Skylight Theatre in Hollywood, Sundays only until Mar 25″¦

Ben Bard

INSIDE LA STAGE HISTORY”¦ The longest continuously operating acting school in LA goes through numerous name changes but actually gets its start from a former vaudevillian. Born in 1893, thesp Ben Bard leaves his native Milwaukee at age 15 as a member of the Jolly Dell Pringle theater company, later traveling the Shubert vaudeville circuit as straight man to comic Jack “Baron Munchausen” Pearl.  In the mid-1920s, he tests for Fox Pictures and establishes a career as a “suave heavy” in a series of silents, while courting and marrying film star Ruth Roland. With the advent of sound in 1927, Bard finds himself coaching any number of former silent film actors who respect Bard’s stage-trained ability to handle dialogue. In 1930, Roland encourages and bankrolls her hubby to open Ben Bard Drama, at a playhouse on Wilshire Blvd at Fairfax Avenue. It quickly establishes itself as one of the more successful acting schools in Hollywood, while also producing a mix of classic theater works and contemporary fare. When Bard departs in 1938 after the death of Roland, noted film/stage director Max Reinhardt takes over the operation as Max Reinhardt Theatre Workshop, while simultaneously operating a separate facility on Sunset Blvd. Though Reinhardt departs in 1941, the space segues smoothly into Geller Theatre Workshop, founded by Jack Geller, whose main acting teacher becomes renowned Russian expatriate Michael Chekhov, a Stanislavski disciple who mentors such future stars as Natalie Wood, Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, David Janssen, Robert Ryan and Alan Ladd. In 1959, entrepreneur Madame Valmar Oleska acquires the workshop and renames it Theatre of Arts. Alumni from this time include Charlene Tilton, Vic Tayback, Frank Bonner and Greg Mullavey. In 1980, Theatre of Arts produces Philadelphia, Here I Come, by Irish playwright Brian Friel, garnering LA Drama Critics Circle nods for helmer Warner Shook and featured thesp Mary Jo Catlett.  In Jan 2000, the school is incorporated within Theatre Hollywood, a consortium of performing arts academies all based at 6755 Hollywood Blvd, providing “multi-media training for actors working in film, television and theatre today.”Â  Original founder Ben Bard, who becomes head of New Talent Department at 20th Century Fox during the 1950s, dies in 1974 and is laid to rest in the family crypt of his muse Ruth Roland at Forest Lawn”¦

“¦The Julio Martinez-hosted ARTS IN REVIEW, broadcast Thursday (2 to 2:30) on KPFK (90.7FM), spotlights the best in live theater and cabaret in the Greater LA area. Upcoming on Mar 8, ARTS IN REVIEW hosts actor Julian Sands and actor/director John Malkovich, discussing upcoming Celebration of Harold Pinter at Odyssey Theatre”¦

Julio Martinez

Julio Martinez

Julio pens the weekly LA STAGE Insider column for @ This Stage Magazine, as well as the monthly LA STAGE History column. He is a recurring contributor to Written By (the monthly publication of the Writer’s Guild of America) and is the TeleVision columnist for Latin Heat Entertainment. On air, he hosts the weekly Arts in Review program for KPFK 90.7 FM. An active journalist for over 30 years, Julio’s articles and reviews have appeared in Los Angeles Times Magazine, Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, L.A. Weekly, Stage Raw, Backstage West, Westways Magazine, and Drama-Logue Magazine, among others.