This Week in L.A. Theatre

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  • Latino Theater Company and Robey Theatre Company, both residing at Los Angeles Theatre Center, have been granted $100,000 and $60,000, respectively, from the California Community Foundation, to be distributed over two years. LTC and Robey are two of six L.A. County arts organizations to receive a CCF arts grant this quarter.
  • Road Theatre Company in NoHo will present its Sixth Annual Playwrights Festival—this year, featuring a 50/50 mix of male and female scripters—with new works by Wendy MacLeod, Vince Melocchi, Julie Marie Myatt, Lucille Lichtblau, Robert Edward Lunney, Lawrence Klaven and more, at the Road’s Lankershim and Magnolia locations, July 26-Aug 2.
  • Long Beach Playhouse’s 87th Mainstage season begins Sep 26 with a revival of Lanford Wilson’s 1973 Obie-winning Off Broadway hit comedy, Hot L Baltimore.
  • John Bishop’s The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, directed by Michael Van Duzer, launches venerable Theatre West’s six-show 2015-16 season on Sep 11.


  • Rogue Machine continues its 2015 season with the premiere of Rob Mersola’s Luka’s Room—the innocence, loyalty and self-worth of a young college student is tested when he is forced to live within a harshly dysfunctional environment—helmed by Joshua Bitton, opening Aug 1.
  • Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills will host the West Coast premiere of Sisyphusbased on the figure of ancient Greek legend and “inspired by the world of Samuel Beckett,” written and performed by Greek-born Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast/actor Ioannis-Icarus Melissanidis. Opens July 29 at Theatre 40’s Reuben Cordova Theatre.
  • Apocalyptic Exodus Scenarios, an absurdist, multimedia solo show written, performed and produced by Joey Halter, debuts at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica July 31 & Aug 1.
  • The Garage Theatre in Long Beach presents the US premiere of a live performance of Tom Stoppard’s 2013 radio drama, Darkside, inspired by themes from Pink Floyd’s 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon. Directed by Eric Hamme, it opens July 31.
  • Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood is hosting the West Coast debut of Chicago-based playwright/actor James Sherman’s one-person comedy, The Ben Hecht Show, featuring Sherman as Oscar-winner and devoted social activist Hecht, helmed by Dennis Začek, Artistic Director Emeritus of Victory Gardens Theater of Chicago, opening July 24.


  • Thesps Julian Sands and JoBeth Williams star in LA Theatre Works’ recorded-before-a-live-audience-for-future-radio-broadcast staging of Sarah Ruhl’s Dear Elizabeth: A Play in Letters from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell and Back Again, directed by Rosalind Ayres at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater, July 16-19.
  • Geffen Playhouse in Westwood is bringing back its 2014 big box office moneymaker, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, for two weeks only, Aug. 4-16, helmed by Trevor Hay at the Geffen’s Gil Cates Theater.
  • A revival of Ted Swindley’s much-traveled, 1988 country music bio tuner, Always…Patsy Cline—featuring a live band and 28 Cline hits—opens July 31 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, directed by Robert Marra and starring Cori Cable Kidder and Nikki D’Amico.
  • On the subject of revivals, Cabrillo Music Theatre presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 musical theater landmark, Oklahoma, helmed by Lewis Wilkenfeld, with music direction by Brian Kennedy and choreography by John Charron. Opens tomorrow night (July 17) at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.


Actress TANNA FREDERICK discusses the revival of Amiri Baraka’s 1964 Obie-winning two-person play, Dutchman, co-starring Siaka Massaquoi and directed by Levy Lee Simon, July 22 & 29 at Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica.

Siaka Massaquoi and Tanna Frederick in "Dutchman."
Siaka Massaquoi and Tanna Frederick in “Dutchman.”

“This has been one of my favorite pieces for many years. I love the profanity of it, the in your face-ness of it, the poeticism of it. I also love, not only Baraka’s intuition about the black man, but also his understanding of women. In fact, it is fascinating and surprising how much he understood women, despite his supposed hostility towards them. I have always wanted to play Lula and I found it incredibly ironic when my friend from college, Levy Lee Simon, called me and asked me to do a reading of this piece about a female racist on a (subway) train while I was performing in Henry Jaglom’s play, Train to Zakopane—where I played an anti-Semite…on a train. My role in Zakopane, which also deals with intense hatred, helped me play this role. Lula is very cold, jaded and shut off. She is in control, crafty, snakelike and very dangerous. In a macabre sense, she is much more fun to play. And Siaka is so supportive to work with on stage. In fact, having both Siaka and Levy has made this one of my most rewarding experiences on stage. After these performances at Edgemar, we are headed to North Carolina where we were chosen to perform Dutchman at The National Black Theatre Festival [Aug 3-9].”

Julio Martinez-hosted Arts in Review—celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area—airs Fridays (2-2:30pm) on KPFK (90.7FM). On July 17, Arts in Review hosts….

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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.