This Week in L.A. Theatre

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  • The previously announced tuner, Titanic, has sunk out of Ahmanson Theatre’s 2016 season lineup. Replacing it is the 2007 Tony-nominated Grey GardensDoug Wright (book), Scott Frankel (music) and Michael Korie (lyrics)—based on the 1975 film documentary about East Hampton aristocrats Edith (Big Edie) Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Edie Beale, who ended up as poverty-stricken recluses in their decaying mansion. Stars Betty Buckley (Big Edie) and Rachel York (Little Edie), who headlined the recent Bay Street Theatre (Sag Harbor NY) revival of Grey Gardens. Directed by Michael Wilson. Opens July 10.
  • The always ambitious 65-seat Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro launches its 11-production 2016 season Jan 8 with its annual Pick of the Vine short play festival, followed by Rich Orloff’s Domestic Tranquility (Mar 4); Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth (Mar 10); Table Manners by Alan Ayckbourn (Apr 22); The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan (Apr 28); The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl (June 10); Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo (Aug 5); The How and the Why by Sarah Treem (Aug 11); Amadeus by Peter Shaffer (Sep 23); Michael Weller’s What the Night is For (Sep 29); and A Very Special Holiday Special by Mark Harvey Levine (Nov 11).


  • CTG’s Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City will host the LA debut of the off-Broadway hit solo play, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, written by and starring James Lecesne (scripter of the 1995 Oscar-winning documentary, Trevor), directed by Tony Speciale. Opens Jan 14.
  • Writer/performer Stacie Chaiken’s The DIG: death, Genesis + the double helix—a play for one woman and a reptile, set at an archaeological dig in Jaffa—will premiere at downtown’s LA Theatre Center in April (date TBA), produced by Latino Theatre Company and directed by New York-based Pamela Berlin.


  • David Henry Hwang’s 2011 comedy, Chinglish, which played at East West Players in Little Tokyo earlier this year, returns to EWP for a limited run Dec 3-13, with a revised ending by Hwang, reflecting the evolving US-China relationship. Helmed by Jeff Liu.
  • Santa Monica Playhouse hosts Jane Martin’s 1997 two-person romantic comedy, Jack and Jill, starring Tanna Frederick and Robert Standley, directed by Jack Heller. Opens Dec 11.
  • LA Theatre Works has called upon Marsha Mason to direct its recorded-before-a-live-audience-for-future-radio-broadcast production of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, adapted by Christina Calvin, Dec 10-13 at James Bridges Theatre on the campus of UCLA in Westwood. Cast includes Emily Bergyl as Jane and Nick Toren as Rochester.
  • An Evening Of Classic Broadway has its final 2015 outing on Dec 14 at Rockwell Table and Stage in Hollywood, hosted by music director Brad Ellis and featuring Sharon Carpenter Brown, Chelsea Field, Scott Harlan, Joan Ryan, Christopher Todd, Ruth Williamson and Dianne Fraser.
  • Awake and Sing, Clifford Odets’ 1935 portrait of a tempestuous lower-middle-class, three-generation Jewish family living in a Bronx apartment during the Great Depression, is doing so well that this revival of the classic, directed by Elina de Santos, has extended its stay at Odyssey Theatre in West LA through Jan 31.


Actress LAURA LIGUORI discusses Open Fist Theatre Company’s “Early Look” at Murray Mednick’s The Gary Plays–Part 1 (Tirade For Three, Gary’s Walk, Girl on a Bed), the first three plays in Mednick’s eight-play cycle, staged by Padua Playwrights Artistic Director Guy Zimmerman on Dec 4-6 at Skylight Theatre in Hollywood, in conjunction with the citywide Vision LA Festival (Nov 30th-Dec 10). Mednick’s complete octet is planned for fall 2016 at Open Fist Theatre’s proposed new space in West Hollywood (TBA).

Laura Liguori in "Girl on a Bed"
Laura Liguori in “Girl on a Bed”

“I was not around when Murray begin writing The Gary Plays in the 1980s, but I performed in Charles’ Play, the eighth work in the cycle, a few years ago. That’s how I met Murray. These plays are a spiritual journey—a long, lyrical and intense intellectual experience. I was drawn to the role of Laura in The Girl on a Bed right from the beginning. And my vision is completely different from anything they’ve ever done. She is kind of a combination of Angelina Jolie in Girl Interrupted, Sharon Stone’s character in Basic Instinct and the Virgin Mary, all in one. In other portrayals, she was a victim. In this one, she’s not. Laura is extremely intelligent and manipulative, yet very soulful, [with] a higher understanding about the truth of life. She willingly chooses to die. Fortunately, I have had the time to develop my idea of her. What Murray did was select a group of actors he wanted to work with and flew us all to a theater in Atlanta this summer. We workshopped all eight plays, basically cutting them down, making the works concise and putting it all back together. At that point, we returned to LA and did another workshop production of Charles’ Story. Now we are going to do the first three at the Skylight. We will continue with this process into 2016. Then next fall, all eight will be presented together. Then, hopefully, we will take it to Chicago and New York.”

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). On Dec 4, Arts in Review hosts actresses Diana Yanez, Sandra Valls & Maria Russell, performing in The Latina Christmas Special at downtown’s LA Theatre Center through Dec 20.

An Interview with CTG’s Sherwood Award Winner, Mat Diafos Sweeney

“I think LA theatre is at its best when it’s reaching across forms and reinventing its relationship to a live audience, and at its worst when it’s trying to fit an existing mold or production model that made sense in New York a century ago. LA is the future- our garden is wilder, vaster, and more diverse so it should be tended differently.”

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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.