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


  • Renowned architect Frank Gehry, thinking a bit smaller than his Downtown LA Disney Concert Hall, is making his 99-seat debut as set designer for the West Coast premiere of Ay, Carmela, José Sanchis Sinisterra’s 1987 play about a comedy duo’s efforts to survive the Spanish Civil War. Adapted by Nilo Cruz and Catalina Botello, music by Gustavo Dudamel, directed by Alberto Arvelo. Opens Nov 14 at Hudson Mainstage in Hollywood, produced by the Stella Adler Theatre.
  • Speaking of Disney Concert Hall, one of its tenants, REDCAT, is hosting NY-based cabaret singer/drag artist Joey Arias, backed by a five-piece band, paying tribute to jazz singer Billie Holiday in celebration of her centennial year, Nov 19-22. (See Arias here.)
  • Skylight Theatre in Hollywood is set to host We Lay Our Bodies Down—a commemoration of World AIDS Day written and performed by the senior spoken word artists of QueerWise, helmed by Michael Kearns. This one-day event on Nov 29 includes an excerpt from Tony Abatemarco’s Forever House, debuting at Skylight in Jan.

PREMIERES


  • Geffen Playhouse in Westwood continues its 2015-16 season with the LA debut of John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar, about the relationship between two life-long countryside neighbors who just might be on the verge of experiencing more than neighborly friendship. Directed by Randall Arney, this comedic excursion into Irish rural life opens Nov 10 at the Geffen’s Gil Cates Theater.
  • Electric Footlights, in association with Moving Arts, premieres The Kill-or-Dies (“a darkly comic exploration of friendship, love and the heartbeat of hummingbirds”) by Ovation-winner Meghan Brown, directed by Darin Anthony. Opens Nov 14 at McCadden Place Theatre in Hollywood.
  • Looking to next year, Rita Rudner and Charles Shaughnessy star in Laguna Playhouse’s U.S. premiere of Act 3, a romantic comedy about a couple of a certain age who should know better. Written by David Ambrose and Claudia Nellens, directed by Martin Bergman. Opens Jan 9.

AROUND TOWN


  • Musical Theatre Guild continues its 2015-16 Season with the 1965 Broadway tuner, Do I Hear A Waltz?, the only collaboration between Richard Rodgers (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics), in collaboration with Arthur Laurents (book). Directed by Richard Israel. Plays Nov 15 at Alex Theatre in Glendale.
  • Acclaimed author/storyteller David Sedaris returns to Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge for one-night-only, offering his observations on life and the human condition, Nov 21. Opening for Sedaris is playwright/comedian Dylan Brody.
  • Josh Stamberg joins Maurice Williams in LA Theatre Works’ recorded-before-a-live-audience-for-future-radio-broadcast concert staging of American Buffalo, David Mamet’s 1975 exploration of the disjointed friendship of three small-time grifters. Directed by Brian Kite at James Bridges Theatre on the campus of UCLA in Westwood. Nov 19-22.

THE THING IS…


Performance artist KRISTINA WONG discusses her solo turn, The Wong Street Journal, staged by Emily Mendelsohn, opening tonight, Nov 12, at downtown LA’s REDCAT.

Kristina Wong
Kristina Wong

“This came about when I decided to visit Uganda, just to venture into the unknown. I had done shows previously about things in my past, like Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was about depression and suicide; and Going Green the Wong Way, that focused on a car I purchased that ran on vegetable oil and caught fire on the freeway. I finally got sick of myself and became disenchanted with doing theater in a film town. So, I decided if I was going to do another show, let it be about something that I had no clue how to handle and was kind of intimidated to approach. That’s when I stumbled onto the idea of going to Africa to look at issues around global poverty. I ended up in Northern Uganda where there was a civil war. That war ended in 2006. The country was in recovery mode and I found myself volunteering with a micro-loan organization. My third day in Northern Uganda, I met these guys out on the street and they turned out to be rappers. I recorded a rap album with them that is still playing on Northern Uganda radio. While there, I was also navigating through a lot of emotions about what my impact as an American was leaving on everybody around me. A lot of Africa, a lot of developing countries, have had to deal with the brunt of Western countries that come in to try to save the day. Then they leave this aftermath of chaos behind them. Somehow, my experiences with all of that have turned into this fun, very accessible show performed on a handmade set that is a kind of replica of the New York Stock Exchange. It works.”


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).