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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  • Skylight Theatre’s hit premiere musical farce, El Grande CIRCUS de Coca Cola, closes down this weekend on Oct 18. That doesn’t mean it is going away. This zany tuner by Ron House, directed Alan Shearman, is moving up to an Equity production at Burbank’s 268-seat Colony Theatre with its Skylight cast intact—Marcelo Tubert, Paul Baird, Olivia Cristina Delgado, Aaron Miller and Lila Dupree. Operating under an AEA contract, this sequel to the 1973 off-Broadway hit, El Grande de Coca Cola (created by House, Shearman, Diz White, Sally Willis and John Neville Andrews), opens Nov 7, replacing the previously announced Humble Boy by Charlotte Jones (to be rescheduled).
  • On a more somber note, Skylight Theatre Producing Artistic Director Gary Grossman suffered a heart attack on Friday, October 9. He is currently in recovery at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital. He is resting well and still actively planning the rest of Skylight’s season, including the upcoming Nov 1 Salute to Ed Asner, an all-star gala honoring this renowned actor’s 86th birthday.
  • Theatre West presents its annual West Fest 2015—four weekends of original works, with a different presentation each weekend, sixteen plays in all. Opens Nov 6-8 with The Homecoming, by Garry Klugerand; Wavelength, by Barbara Beery; and Rising to the Occasion, by Linda Rand. Other playwrights in the series: Benjamin Scuglia, Steve Nevil, Judith Allen, Michael Creith, Leslie Caveny, Kathie Barnes and Molly Reynolds, Barbara Lindsay, Susan Eiden, Roy Battocchio and Darryl Vinyard.


  • Rogue Artists Ensemble, in association with downtown LA-adjacent Bootleg Theater, debuts Wood Boy Dog Fish, a modern, mature, special effects-laden adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s 1880 weekly children’s serial, The Adventures of Pinocchio, scripted by Chelsea Sutton and helmed by Rogue Artistic Director Sean T. Cawalti. Opens at Bootleg on Nov 13.
  • Theatre Unleashed in NoHo, in conjunction with its Late Night Series, offers the West Coast debut of A Feast of Snacks, an anthology of four mini-musicals created by Michael Gordon Shapiro (one co-written with Mark Harvey Levine), and directed by Julia Plostnieks. Opens Oct 23 at TU’s The Belfry Stage.
  • As part of its 30th anniversary season, LA Opera presents the company premiere of Moby-Dick, by Jake Heggie (composer) and Gene Scheer (librettist), based on the 1851 novel by Herman Melville. Conducted by James Conlon, the production stars tenor Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab; Leonard Foglia directs, Opens Oct 31.


  • Much-traveled Smoke and Mirrors, Albie Selznick’s semi-autobiographical chronicle of his journey to become a master magician, staged by David Schweizer, returns to Odyssey Theatre in West LA, opening Oct.24. Meanwhile, Odyssey’s scheduled Oct 9 opening of mezzo-soprano Julia Migenes’s one-woman music/theater piece, Julia Migenes Sings Kurt Weill, directed by Peter Medak, has been postponed to Nov 18.
  • Cavern Club Theater at Casita del Campo in Silverlake hosts Prairie-Oke, a mash-up of TV sitcoms and hit songs of the ‘70s, written and directed by Dane Whitlock, with choreography by Joseph Corella. Starring Drew Droege, the show opens Nov 6 for a three-weekend run.
  • Holiday fare is upon us. Santa Monica Playhouse presents Matthew Wrather in David Sedaris’ The SantaLand Diariesa sardonic and irreverent chronicle of an unemployed writer’s experience working as an elf at Macy’s in New York City. Adapted by Joe Mantello and directed by Chris DeCarlo. Opens Dec 5.
  • Closer at hand, singer/songwriter Kátia Moraes & Brazilian Hearts will headline 24th Street Theatre’s annual Dia de los Muertos block party on Nov. 2, with music, dance and theatrical entertainment on two stages. The event kicks off at 5pm with a procession led by ceremonial dancers Los Chinelos.


Actress/(her)storian AMY SIMON discusses the next edition of She’s History—dramatic portraits of women who have influenced the flow of civilization in the U.S. and around the world—performing Oct 18 at The Lounge Theatre in Hollywood.

Amy Simon channels Bella Abzug in "She’s History."
Amy Simon channels Bella Abzug in “She’s History.”

“I developed this show in 2010. It has grown to the point where I am no longer adding new personalities, but I do tweak it based on what is currently happening in the world. For instance, this weekend I will be spotlighting Malala Yousafzai and Emmeline Pankhurst, two women whom I have been talking about for years. Well, they are even more relevant now. This last weekend, the documentary, He Named Me Malala, premiered here in LA. I am also going to focus on Pankhurst, who was the trailblazer of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in England. The movie, Suffragette, starring Meryl Streep as Pankhurst, is set to premiere on October 23. Streep also played Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Most people don’t know that she donated a million dollars of her Iron Lady salary to help build the Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C. So, I will tweak my show to bring up these things that are relevant today. The premise of the show is that a mother is trying to educate her daughters about role models. This came about when my daughter thought she could do her women’s history report on Cher. During the course of the show, I become many of the people that are being profiled. There are about 40 women that I spotlight, but I don’t actually become all of them. I also utilize narrative, pictures and videos. Since it is a solo piece and I get to talk directly to the audience, it is really easy to get information across. I can cover two centuries in two minutes.”

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).