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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IN THE NEWS


  • A plethora of stage and screen notables—Jason Alexander, Barbara Bain, Shelley Fabares, Mike Farrell, Ed Harris, Gregory Harrison, Sharon Lawrence, Amy Madigan, Alan Rosenberg, Jean Smart, and Loretta Swit, among others—are lining up to participate in A Salute to Ed Asner, Nov 1 at Skylight Theatre in Hollywood. The evening includes a special performance of El Grande CIRCUS de Coca-Cola, prior to its Nov 7 transfer to the Colony Theatre in Burbank. Funds from the Gala will benefit Skylight Theatre Company and its ongoing development of new plays.
  • Downtown LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall presents LA Phil’s 2015/16 Songbook Series, featuring Broadway divas Kristin Chenoweth (Nov 5) and Barbara Cook (Nov 14), both backed by the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. Songbook programming continues Feb. 10, 2016, with Ann Hampton Calloway – The Streisand Songbook, with special guest, composer Alan Bergman.
  • Rogue Machine presents Climate Change Theatre Action Los Angeles—“a series of worldwide readings and performances intended to bring awareness to and foster discussion about climate change”—hosted by actress/journalist Belinda Waymouth, featuring NASA JPL climate scientist Josh Fisher, and followed by a curated selection of short play readings, Nov 3 at Moss Theater New Roads School in Santa Monica.

PREMIERES


  • Coeurage Theatre Company closes its 2015 season with the West Coast premiere of The Sparrow, written by Chris Mathews, Jake Minton, and Nathan Allen, focusing on the catharses experienced by a family and a town when a girl returns ten years after a tragic accident took the lives of her entire class. Directed by Joseph V. Calarco. Opened Oct 24 at NoHo Arts Center; continues through Nov. 21.
  • Also in NoHo, Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group presents the debut of Telenovela, spotlighting the melodramatic lives of the LaJarra family, a Mexican wine-making dynasty. Scripted by Adam Neubauer, with original story and direction by Sebastian Muñoz. Opens Nov 7.
  • Closer at hand, Theatre/Theater on Pico Blvd presents the premiere of Paula Neiman’s Nat Turner: Following Faith, examining the causes behind Turner’s 1831 slave revolt. Directed by Daniel Martin. Opens Oct 30.

AROUND TOWN


  • Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA has extended the Atwater Village Theatre run of David McMillan’s Watching O.J., directed by Keith Szarabajka, through Nov 15. A post-show talkback this Friday, Oct 30, on using the arts to explore racial identity, includes NPR spokesperson Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni.
  • Chance Theater in Anaheim will once again be staging the musical adaptation of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables, by Joseph Robinette (book) and Evelyn D. Swensson (music & lyrics), directed by Casey Long. Presented for the 4th time in conjunction with Chance’s Holiday Literature Series, the production opens Dec 4 on Cripe Stage @ Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center.
  • San Pedro’s 65-seat Little Fish Theatre concludes its 2015 programming today with Ethan Claymore, a holiday comedy by Canadian playwright Norm Foster, helmed by Holly Baker-Kreiswirth. Opens Nov 13.

THE THING IS…


Director LISA K. WYATT discusses the premiere of Cake, written by Wendy Gough Soroka, presented by Theatre Unleashed at the Belfry Stage in Noho through Nov 21.

Lisa K. Wyatt. Photo by Jeff Nicholson.
Lisa K. Wyatt. Photo by Jeff Nicholson.

“This play was developed and workshopped at Theatre Unleashed over a year ago. Some of the scenes were actually written for the theatre’s 25 Plays Per Hour project. They did two readings of it. I discovered it more recently, in the middle of August when the Artistic Director [Jenn Scuderi Crafts] approached me about directing it. I thought I would just give it a quick read, but then I couldn’t put it down. I just fell in love with the characters—how intelligent and kind they were. There is nothing ironic or mean about this play. At its core, it is really about the need for connection in relationships, whether they’re family or friendships or whether it’s love. There are three interwoven narratives in the piece. They were originally written as scenes in a world. Then the playwright realized she actually had a complete play, following three interrelated storylines taking place in and around this university during the course of a single spring. We are in production now and I am very happy with the play and with the company. I’m actually on the Board of Directors of Theatre Unleashed. I started my term as of September 1st. I’ve been involved with the company for quite awhile. I was in their very first production of one acts. I’ve done a late night show for them. For me, it has been a long-standing artistic friendship.”


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). This Friday, Oct 30, Arts in Review spotlights Ric Salinas of Culture Clash, starring in 57 Chevy at LA Theatre Center.