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


  • La Mirada Theatre, in association with Sue Vaccaro, Ricky Stevens & The Rivet Gang, is hosting the pre-Broadway outing of Empire—a new Depression-era tuner focusing on the building of the Empire State Building—by Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull (book, music & lyrics), directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge (Broadway revival of Ragtime), with musical direction by Sariva Goetz. Opens Jan 23.
  • The ambitious Echo Theater Company in Atwater Village is mounting five premieres in 2016, opening with Bed by Sheila Callaghan, helmed by Echo’s Associate Artistic Director Jennifer Chambers (Feb. 6–Mar 13). Next up, the LA debut of Ruby Rae Spiegel’s Dry Land, a sojourn within female friendship and resiliency, staged by Alana Dietze (Apr 9– May 15). Boston Court Co-Artistic Director Michael Michetti will direct a site-specific outing of Tom Jacobson’s Captain of the Bible Quiz Team, described as “a tragicomedy with Jell-O,” in various LA churches (May 13–July 2). Erik Patterson’s One of the Nice Ones, helmed by Chris Fields, runs July 9 – Aug 14. Echo’s season closes with the premiere of Blueberry Toast by Mary Laws, directed by Dustin Wills (Sep 27-Oct 23).

PREMIERES


  • Skylight Theatre in Hollywood is debuting Tony Abatemarco’s comedy Forever House, about the challenges of commitment, directed by Elizabeth Swain and featuring Michael Rubenstone, James Liebman, Elyse Mirto, Joel Swetow and Dale Raoul. Opens Jan 23.
  • Fountain Theatre in Hollywood will premiere Dream Catcher, a play about climate change, cultural change and the moral consequences of personal choice, scripted by Fountain co-founder and co-artistic director Stephen Sachs, starring Elizabeth Frances and Brian Tichnell. Cameron Watson directs. Opens Jan 30.
  • Tom Cavanaugh’s Inland Empress, exploring a matriarchal power struggle within the seedy environs of California’s High Desert, will be presented by Mutant Collective, in association with Theatre Planners. Jessica Hanna directs; the ensemble includes Lily Knight, McCready Baker, Di Koob, Monica Martin, Jeffrey Wylie and Alexa Yeames. Opens Jan 30 at Lounge Theatre 2 in Hollywood.
  • Road Theatre Company in NoHo will launch the 2016 section of its season with the West Coast debut of Steven Simoncic’s Broken Fences, a look at the ever-shifting social, economic and racial dynamics within a modern American urban village, directed by Road Resident Director, Andre Barron. Opens Feb 12 at Road on Magnolia.
  • East West Players in Little Tokyo continues its season with the premiere of Giovanni Ortega’s Criers for Hire, a comedy about cultural identity, generational conflict, and the realities of making a home in a new country. Playwrights’ Arena Artistic Director Jon Lawrence Rivera directs. Opens Feb 17, featuring Giselle Tongi, Joan Almedilla and Nicole Barredo.

AROUND TOWN


  • 2Cents Theatre takes on Den of Thieves, Pulitzer winner Stephen Adly Guirgis’ 2010 darkly comedic take on the survival machinations of four wannabe thieves who are attempting to talk themselves out of judgment day. Directed by Eric Augusztiny, and featuring Cris D’Annunzio, Chris Lanehart, Alison Quinn, Frank Gallegos, Kevin Herrmann, Paulina Gamiz and Eric Geller. Opens Jan 15 at Hudson Guild Theatre in Hollywood.
  • Group Rep in NoHo has inaugurated its new 30-seat Upstairs at The Group Rep black box theatre with A.R. Gurney’s Another Antigone, a modern day adaptation of the Sophocles classic (first produced in 1987 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego). Helmed by Linda Alznauer, the production opened Jan 2.
  • Janelle Meraz Hooper’s solo bio show, Geronimo: Life on the Reservation, directed by Steve Railsback and performed by Rudy Ramos, returns to Sherman Oaks’ Whitefire Theatre in conjunction with Solofest 2016. Opens Jan 16.

THE THING IS…


Well in recovery from the heart attack he suffered on Oct 9, 2015, GARY GROSSMAN continues as Producing Artistic Director of Skylight Theatre in Hollywood. Grossman looks back on the year past, and forward into 2016.

Gary Grossman
Gary Grossman

“I view 2015 as a turning point for theatre in Los Angeles. Broadway greeted one of our 99-seat productions with raves, and yet LA intimate theatre found its very existence challenged. We received national attention about an ongoing incongruity with Actors Equity—but not about our body of work and the new American plays we created. It was a year that tested our purpose and caused Los Angeles theatre artists to come together as a community forging an unbreakable bond. 2016 will undoubtedly be known as a transitional period that will foretell the future of Los Angeles intimate theatre. With rents skyrocketing, many theatre companies are losing their spaces. Some companies remain homeless; others have relocated to new digs, but are wondering if their audiences will follow. One bright spot is the hiring of Steven Leigh Morris, a champion for intimate theatre, as the Executive Director for LA STAGE Alliance. I am hopeful that his leadership will provide needed support. Probably the most pressing issue that faces us is our relationship with Actors Equity. I am, cautiously, optimistic that we can work together as partners to forge the successful future of 99-seat theatre.”


Julio Martinez-hosted Arts in Review—celebrating the best in theatre and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area—airs Fridays (2-2:30pm) on KPFK (90.7FM). On Jan 8, Arts in Review hosts Vanessa Claire Stewart and Anthony Crivello from the national tour of Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, running through Jan 17 in the Gil Cates Theatre at Geffen Playhouse in Westwood.