IN THE NEWS
- In response to the lawsuit filed against Actors Equity Association by 18 members of the LA theater community, including Ed Asner, AEA issued this brief statement on Nov 2: “Actors’ Equity Association announced today that the union and the plaintiffs in the Asner vs. Actors Equity Litigation have agreed to meet. Due to pending litigation Actors’ Equity will not make any further statements about the meeting.” So there!
- On a more tuneful note, the star-infused second annual Cabaret Is Alive and Well and Living in Los Angeles—a 4-night, 3-show, 3-venue celebration of LA Cabaret, benefitting The Actors Fund, conceived and staged by David Galligan—takes place Nov 13-16 at Tom Rolla’s Cabaret and the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, and at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal Bar in NoHo. The schedule is here.
- Long Beach Playhouse and local improv artists, Held2Gether, are teaming up to present a benefit performance of A Miracle on Anaheim St., an unscripted holiday celebration developed by Held2Gether founder Darren Held, on Dec 5 at the Long Beach Playhouse’s Studio Theatre, with 100% of the proceeds going to the WomenShelter of Long Beach.
- City Garage in Santa Monica presents Hamletmachine: The Arab Spring—”a re-examination of “the blood-soaked heritage of the 20th century in light of the new reality of Mideast turmoil, global terrorism, and the rise of ISIS”—adapted from the work of Heiner Müller by Charles A. Duncombe and directed by Frédérique Michel. Opens Nov 13. This is part one of City Garage’s 3-play project, The Winter of Our Discontent: Shakespeare in the Digital Age, that also includes the West Coast premiere of Young Jean Lee’s Lear (Feb 5), and Othello (Apr 8), Duncombe’s world premiere deconstruction of the classic.
- Kay Cole helms and choreographs the new high school nostalgia tuner, Reunion, by Emmy-nominated Mark Ellis (music, book, lyrics) and Michael Lang & David M. Matthews (book & lyrics). Premieres Nov 7 at NoHo Arts Center.
- Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood joins forces with Opiate of the Masses for the debut of Rio Hondo, a comedic re-imagining of the traditional white hat/black hat Old West saga, written by Bill Robens, and directed by Jaime Robledo. Opens Nov 19.
- Continuing its 2015-16 season, Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills is reviving Kristi Kane’s fast-paced drawing room comedy, Perfect Timing, helmed by Michael Bell. Opens Nov 19.
- Actress Laura Liguori takes on the title role in Murray Mednick’s Girl On a Bed, the 2005 third installment in Mednick’s The Gary Plays, an eight-part subterranean sojourn through the life of a failed LA actor. Directed by Guy Zimmerman. Runs Dec 4-6 at Skylight Theatre in Hollywood.
- The Money Fi$h, writer/performer John Cox’s true tale of his experience as a commercial fisherman on the Bering Sea, helmed by Michael Arabian, is extending through Dec 20 at Hudson Theatre in Hollywood.
- Batboy: The Musical, by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming (story and book) and Laurence O’Keefe (music and lyrics), seems to be flying well in its revival at afore-mentioned Long Beach Playhouse, where it has extended through Nov 21.
- In conjunction with its ongoing series of free play readings by resident artists, A Noise Within (ANW) in Pasadena offers two staged readings this month: Are You Now or Have You Ever Been by Eric Bentley, helmed by Apollo Dukakis (Nov 11); and The Recognition of Shakuntala by Kalidasa, translated by W. J. Johnson, directed by Jonathan Munoz-Proulx, and presented in partnership with East West Players (Nov 16).
THE THING IS…
“I am finally doing a solo play, working without my Culture Clash partners [Herbert Siguenza & Richard Montoya]. Cris Franco is such a great writer and this piece of his really spoke to me. I’ve been doing political theater for over 30 years. We do satire, comedy and social commentary. It’s often about themes that are very heavy. This play, 57 Chevy, is an immigrant story, a comedy that is not intended to be political at all, but it may turn out to be my most political piece. I’m doing it, in part, because it is about time for Latinos to tell their stories, just like the Jewish and African American communities have been doing. Cris’s play could be described as a Latino Wonder Years. The car is a metaphor for the American dream. The father buys that 57 Chevy in Mexico, made from U.S. steel. It has no power windows or power brakes, just a solid vehicle that takes him and his family from Mexico to South Central Avenue in LA and then to the San Fernando Valley—a double migration. Over the years, that car, as classic as it is, becomes out of place as the new Pontiacs and Plymouths emerge with their more modern looks and their power everything; but the dad won’t give up his Chevy. He is trying to hold onto the original values and integrity he had as a hard-working laborer from Mexico, while he watches his son becoming a different person, hanging out with Valley dudes. Another reason I decided to do this play is I got tired of all the immigrant bashing, insinuating there’s this sinister plot that immigrants are going to come here to destroy America. Cris’s play is an immigrant story that displays just how this country works at its best.”
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).