IN THE NEWS
- On October 16, eighteen members of the Los Angeles-area branch of Actors’ Equity Association filed suit in LA federal court challenging AEA’s decision to eliminate its 43-year-old jurisdiction relationship with 99-seat theaters, originally dubbed Equity Waiver and modified in 1988 to the 99-Seat Plan. The Plaintiffs, represented by the law offices of Steven J. Kaplan and Martha Doty of Alston & Bird, claim that the Union’s decision, ratified in June 2015, “will unfairly destroy small theater in Los Angeles and deprive thousands of actors of opportunities to collaborate on creative theatrical projects.” As of this date, AEA has not been officially served, allowing the Union’s administration 10 working days (through Oct 30) to agree to meet with the plaintiffs to cooperate on an out-of-court resolution. On Oct 19, AEA in New York responded, declaring: “It is disappointing that this prolonged process has now resulted in what will surely be a very expensive litigation for Equity. Unfortunately, the real victims here are the members all over the country who understand that when a single community files costly lawsuits and buys full-page ads in major newspapers to insist that they should not be paid, it has an inevitable and deleterious effect on the union’s bargaining power for the rest of its members. Equity is fully prepared to defend both the process and the substance of Council’s actions.” The complete complaint transcript and AEA’s response can be read here.
- “Due to personal matters,” American Idol/Broadway celeb Constantine Maroulis has left the company of Pasadena Playhouse’s premiere showbiz tuner, Breaking Through, directed by Sheldon Epps. Matt Magnusson (La Mirada’s Ovation-winning Floyd Collins) now joins co-star Alison Luff. Production will open on schedule, Nov 1.
- Looking to the New Year, producer Joseph Stern will present the LA debut of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, a two-character theatrical imagining of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s final night on earth, directed by Roger Guenveur Smith. Opens late January 2016 (TBA) at the Matrix Theatre in Hollywood. The play’s 2011 Broadway premiere featured Samuel L. Jackson (his Broadway debut) and Angela Bassett.
- Independent Shakespeare Co. premieres Strange Eventful History, by David Melville, a perusal of the history of England’s royalty that interweaves the works of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. Directed by Joseph Culliton, this “race through 10 plays and 150 years of British war” stars Melville, Erika Soto and Sam Breen. Opens Oct 24 at Atwater Crossing Arts + Innovation Complex.
- Hudson Guild Theatre hosts the premiere of Toys, Saviana Stanescu’s exploration of identity, cultural heritage, and the emotional impact of prolonged war. Stars Tunde Skovran and Julia Ubrankovics; helmed by Gabor Tompa. Opens Nov 6.
- Greenway Arts Alliance presents the debut of Front Door Open, a family dramedy focusing on an agoraphobic woman and her disability’s effect on the rest of her family, scripted by Tom Baum and directed by Asaad Kelada. Features Joanna Miles, David Selby, Anna Nicholas, and Lizzy Rich. Opens Nov 13 at Greenway Court Theatre in Hollywood.
- Jake Broder, co-creator of Louis and Keely Live at the Sahara, has turned his attention toward the deeply complicated love life and music of jazz composer Alphonso Bloch. Miravel, or The Promise of Alphonso Bloch, directed by Shaunessy Quinn, stars Devereau Chumrau, Will Bradley, and Broder. Premieres Nov 13 at Sacred Fools Theatre in Hollywood.
- In respect to the muffled cries induced by these theatrical offerings, Insider tentatively reveals that Theatre 68’s staging of Dracula, adapted by Joyce Johnson and directed by Sophie Watt, continues its creepy run at NoHo Arts Center through Nov 1.
- Also in NoHo, Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group offers the terror twosome of Urban Death (Fri & Sat) through Oct 31 and Attack of the Rotting Corpses (Sundays only) until Nov 1.
- Over at Hudson Theatre’s Mainstage in Hollywood, Pete Carter and Charles Convery’s Ghoulmaster’s Haunted Playhouse—likened to The Rocky Horror Show meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse—will be haunting through Oct 31.
- And for more traditional thrills, Tim Kelly’s take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles, helmed by Moosie Drier, continues at Actors Co-op through Nov 22.
THE THING IS…
“This has been quite a ride with Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust survivor and human rights activist who passed away a few years ago. He dedicated his whole life to bringing to justice over 1100 Nazi war criminals, who otherwise would have gotten away with it. After World War II, many of them fled to South and Central America. Some of them even made it to the United States. Through the legal system, Wiesenthal was able to bring them to justice. I premiered this work at Theatre 40 in 2011. Afterwards, I was thrilled to bring his message of justice and tolerance to audiences around the country. Now, I’ve returned to Beverly Hills to perform the play again, this time at the beautiful Wallis Annenberg complex. I originally spent over three years researching and developing the play. And people should not think this is a somber work. I discovered in my research that back in the 1930s Wiesenthal had aspirations to be a comic actor. He had a wonderful sense of humor and I get to project that from the stage. For anyone who saw the play back in 2011, they will see some changes. I have eliminated the previous intermission. It is now a one-act play and it works so much better. Of course, I have the great Jenny Sullivan guiding me and that is such a plus.”
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).