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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  • Rubicon Theatre‘s 2016 mainstage season, Fair Ladies, Fine Gentlemen (and Others), begins with See Rock City, Arlene Hutton’s 2007 second installment of the Nibroc Trilogy, directed by Katharine Farmer (Jan 27-Feb 14). Ventura-based Rubicon’s season continues with two American premieres: Jethro Compton’s stage adaptation of the film classic, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, featuring voiceovers by Robert Vaughn, helmed by Jenny Sullivan (Mar 2-20); and Sabina Berman’s eXtras, based on Marie Jones’ comedy, Stones in His Pockets, performed entirely by brothers Bruno and Odiseo Bichir from Mexico (Apr 13-May 1). Next up: David Rintels’ 1974 one-man chronicle of Clarence Darrow, starring Rubicon Co-Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus James O’Neil (May 25-June 12). Rubicon’s fall production, title TBA, will be directed by Stephanie Coltrin and feature thesp Alyson (Schuster) Lindsay (Aug 31-Sep 18). Season closer is Bob Carlton’s 1989 jukebox tuner, Return to the Forbidden Planet, a send-up of the sci-fi film, Forbidden Planet, which was loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Oct 26–Nov 13).
  • The Theatre @ Boston Court reveals its schedule for PLAY/ground, the annual New Play Festival with an “emphasis on works which are inherently theatrical, textually rich, and visually arresting,” produced at Boston Court PAC in Pasadena. The lineup includes Killing Of A Gentleman Defender, by Carlos Murillo, directed by Michael John Garcés (Dec 4, 8pm); Wild Blue by Jen Silverman, staged by Casey Stangl
 (Dec 5, 10:30am); Behind the Eye by Carson Kreitzer, directed by Michael Michetti (Dec 5, 2pm); and Wolf Play by Hansol Jung, helmed by Jessica Kubzansky (Dec 4, 4:30pm). Readings are free and reservations can be made here.


  • Looking into next year, South Coast Repertory will premiere Office Hour, a commissioned work from Julia Cho, starring Sandra Oh, directed by Neel Keller, Apr 10-May 1 at Julianne Argyros Stage.


  • Latino Theatre Company’s The Latina Christmas Special, about three first-generation Latinas reliving their holiday memories, features the comedic talents of Diana Yanez, Sandra Valls and Maria Russell. Geoffrey Rivas directs. Opened Nov 21 at DTLA’s Los Angeles Theatre Center.
  • Theatre Unleashed in NoHo presents the West Coast premiere of A Very Die Hard Christmas by Josh Carson, helmed by Gregory Crafts, inspired by the 1988 Bruce Willis action film (which just happens to be set on Christmas Eve). Opens Dec 3 at The Belfry Stage.
  • Lythgoe Family Productions returns to Pasadena Playhouse with the Panto at the Playhouse extravaganza, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell – A Pirates Christmas, staged by Bonnie Lythgoe, with choreography by Spencer Liff and musical direction by Michael Orland. Opens Dec 9.
  • Theatre 68 offers the West Coast debut of Neil Haven’s Who Killed Santa?, a holiday whodunit tuner with four alternative endings, helmed by Ronnie Marmo. Opens Dec 4 at NoHo Arts Center.
  • Sierra Madre Playhouse presents the LA debut of the tuner version of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory, by Duane Pool (book), Larry Grossman (lyrics) and Carol Hall (music), directed by Alison Eliel Kalmus. Opens Nov 27.
  • Cabrillo Music Theatre’ annual Holiday Family Celebration, featuring Cabrillo season performers and staged by Cabrillo Artistic Director Lewis Wilkenfeld, performs Dec 13 at Scherr Forum in Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
  • For a tuneful Gallic-infused holiday celebration, award-winning actress/chanteuse Gigi Bermingham will encore her Cabaret Noel at Skylight Theatre in Hollywood, Dec 6, one night only.
  • And there is Scrooge aplenty as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol holds forth at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Rep (Nov 27-Dec 27); Pasadena’s A Noise Within (Dec 5-23); Ventura’s Rubicon Theatre, starring Joe Spano and Peter Van Norden (Dec 2-8); Burbank’s Grove Theatre Center (Nov 28-Dec 20); and Glendale Centre Theatre (Nov 27-Dec 24); as well as David Melville’s rendering of A Christmas Carol with Charles Dickens at Independent Shakespeare Company Studio in Atwater Village (Dec 10-20).


Michael Kearns
Michael Kearns

Actor/director/social activist MICHAEL KEARNS discusses We Laid Our Bodies Down, an evening of intimate stories about surviving within the age of HIV, performed by the spoken word artists of QueerWise, directed by Kearns, Nov 29 at Skylight Theatre. On Feb 1, which has been designated World AIDS Day since 1988, Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Sheila Kuehl will be honoring Michael Kearns for his decades of AIDS-related artistic achievements.

“I am so proud to be involved with this project, We Laid Our Bodies Down. QueerWise is a group of GLBT artists who are all over 50 years old. These are individuals who came into adulthood before the AIDS epidemic, lived through it and are now telling their stories. I have been working with them four years now and it has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my career. These people are more than fearless, they are heroic. And one of the highlights of this upcoming evening is a reading of an excerpt from Tony Abatemarco’s new play, Forever House, which will have its premiere at the Skylight in January.”

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).