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.

This Week in L.A. Theatre

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*Note: LA STAGE Insider is ordinarily published on Thursdays. We’ve bumped it to Wednesday this week because tomorrow we’ll be announcing the 2015 Ovation Awards nominees.


  • Former La Mirada Theatre Producing Artistic Director Brian Kite (2008-2015) has been appointed Professor and Chair of UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s Department of Theater. Kite also serves as chair of LA STAGE Alliance’s Board of Governors, and is Artistic Director of Buffalo Nights Theatre Company.
  • Chance Theater in Anaheim has reached its two-year “Bold New Home” campaign goal, raising the targeted sum of $890,000, supporting Chance’s move to a larger, two-stage facility, now dubbed Bette Aitken Theatre Arts Center. The Center’s larger, 150-seat space has been re-named Cripe Stage, in honor of Chance’s Vice Chair Larry Cripe and his wife, Sophie. Chance continues its 2015 season with Samuel D. Hunter’s 2011 Obie-winning A Bright New Boise, directed by Trevor Bishop (Sep 25-Oct 25).


  • Atwater Village Theatre is hosting the debut of Achilles Capone’s Get. That. Snitch., one ambitious man’s darkly comedic sojourn within a world populated by bad guys, directed by Andrew Pilmer, opening Sep 25.
  • Also premiering in Atwater, Ella Turenne’s solo work, Love, Loc and Liberation, about her struggles with identity and beauty as an American woman imbued with ties to her Haitian culture. Directed by Kathryn Ervin, opening Oct 20 at Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA.
  • Victory Theatre Center in Burbank presents the West Coast premiere of The Shoplifters, a comedic look at the imbalances of the world, by Morris Panych, staged by Victory co-founder Maria Gobetti. Opens Oct 23.


  • The Simon Wiesenthal biographical one-man play, Wiesenthal, directed and performed by Tom Dugan, which originally premiered at Beverly Hills’ 99-seat Theatre 40 in 2011, has toured the nation and now returns to Beverly Hills. Directed by Jenny Sullivan, the play launches The Wallis’s 2015-16 season of stage works, opening Oct 24 at the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater.
  • Multi-Emmy-winner Ed Asner and Oscar-nominee Mark Rydell will perform a benefit performance of Oxymorons, a two-person, one-act comedy written and directed by Brian Connors, presented by the Group Rep in NoHo on Oct 18.
  • Word Now!, dedicated to live, personal storytelling-around-a-theme, features thesps Parker Mills, Barry Goldstein, Pablo Marz, Laurie O’Brien, Carl Weintraub and Susan Leslie as they sound off on the subject of labor, moderated by Jill Remez. Sep 27 at Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena.
  • Fake Radio & Trepany House present a staged re-creation of the 1938 Orson Welles’ Mercury Radio Theatre broadcast of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, helmed by David Koff Oct 3-31 (Saturdays only), at Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.
  • Former freshman classmates Terra Taylor Knudson (Founder/Artistic Director, Olio Theatre Works) and SiouxSanna Ramirez-Cruz (Director, Laura Center for the Arts, Boston) are fulfilling a 22-year-long delayed dream of performing together in The Procrastinator’s CabaretOct 23 & 24 at Found Theatre in Long Beach. Proceeds from both nights go to support Found Theatre.


Actress/playwright JILLIAN LEIGH discusses her new stage work, Hooked, running through Sep 25 at The Ruby Theatre in Hollywood.

Jillian Leigh
Jillian Leigh

“This play came about mainly from experiences in my own life dealing with the idea of abusive power. That has always been a fascinating topic to me. It also came from people that I knew and met and had experiences with, learning about their stories, how they grew up, what they had seen. I carried all that around with me, eventually getting it on the page as best I could. It is set in two time frames. The first act takes place on August 6, 1988, in New York City, the night of the Tompkins Square police riots in the East Village. The second act flashes forward to 2015, set in an upscale apartment in Tribeca. The central character is a young boy in the first act. Of course, he is grown in the second act and he learns a few things, hopefully, right in front of the audience. I started writing this play in October of last year after I had become a Los Angeles resident. I was so lucky that when I had the opportunity to have this produced as part of this new entity, The Los Angeles Theatre Festival, I was so fortunate to have the phenomenal Terri Treas want to direct it. She is this brilliant talent who has worked on Broadway and TV, trained with Bob Fosse, written for television. She and our producer, Michael Zand, have taught me so much while we have been developing this work. They both helped to bring out the humor in what I consider to be a dark work. I was sure this play had to have a negative ending. Working with a great cast and such a smart and intuitive directing/producing team, I learned the ending could be different.”

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).