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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  • LA Opera at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will launch its six-production 2016-17 MainStage season with Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth, starring Artistic Director Plácido Domingo in the title role and Ekaterina Semenchuk as Lady Macbeth  (Sep 17–Oct 16). Other season highlights include the company premiere of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten (Nov 5–27) and the LA Opera debut of soprano Diana Damrau in Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman (Mar 25–Apr 15, 2017). Off-site, the company will add to the rejuvenation of downtown LA’s Broadway District with the premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, accompanying the screening of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent film classic, presented at Theatre at Ace Hotel (Oct 29 and 31).
  • Broadway’s current runaway hit tuner, Hamilton, will make its way to LA, but not until the end of Hollywood Pantages’ just announced seven-production 2016-17 season. Wrought by Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights)Hamilton—based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton—will play Aug 11-Dec 30, 2017. Another much-anticipated arrival will be the 2015 multi-Tony-winner, An American In Paris (Mar 22-Apr 9, 2017). And returning for a third sojourn at Pantages will be 2011’s Broadway blockbuster, The Book of Mormon (May 30-July 9, 2017).
  • Obie winner and multi-Emmy Award nominee Robert Allan Ackerman will direct the premiere of Blood—described as a political thriller with music spotlighting the “Japanese Tainted Blood Scandal” of the 1980s, in which nearly 2,000 people died of AIDS after U.S. companies knowingly sold contaminated blood to Japan. Featuring original music by bassist Nick Ackerman of The Virgins, the production marks the LA debut of The Garage Theater Company. Opens Mar 5 at The Complex on Hollywood’s Theater Row.


  • Geffen Playhouse is offering the West Coast premiere of Sex With Strangers—a novelist and blogger launch into a quirky journey through romance and rewrites—scripted by Laura Eason, directed by Kimberly Senior, and starring Stephen Louis Grush and Rebecca Pidgeon. Opens Mar 9. Geffen’s season continues with Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss, helmed by Bart DeLorenzo, opening Apr 13.
  • Octavio Carlin, former Mexican child actor-turned-fashion designer,  is once again taking to the stage with his debut farce, HollyWould, set in the heyday of the golden age of cinema. Opens Feb 13 at Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood.


  • A Noise Within (ANW) launches the winter/spring portion of its season with William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, staged by Dámaso Rodríguez (co-founder of Furious Theatre Company). Opens Feb 20. The season continues with George Bernard Shaw’s You Never Can Tell (Mar 6-May 15) and Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, adapted by Robert Brustein (Mar 27-May 14).
  • Actress/playwright Terra Taylor Knudson will be introducing her new solo show, A Rose By Any Other Name—focusing on her life-long relationship with William Shakespeare—presented by Olio Theatre Works at Long Beach Playhouse. Opens Jan 29.


Singer/actor/writer SAM HARRIS, discusses his autobiographical one-man show, Ham: A Musical Memoir, continuing at LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre in Hollywood through Feb 7.

Sam Harris
Sam Harris

“It’s based on my book that was published in 2014 by Simon and Schuster. It’s not an autobiography per se. It doesn’t cover everything. It’s essays and stories, not chronological, about my childhood, my growing up, show business. So, when I was doing promotion for the book, rather than going into typical promotion outlets such as bookstores and libraries, I decided we should do it in theaters, because that’s my wheelhouse. We put together something that included stories from the book, interspersed with songs. When I was doing it in New York, a couple of Broadway producers, both of whom I knew—Susan Dietz and Elaine Krauss—came forward and said, ‘Let’s develop this. This could be a real play.’ We started working on it in New York with Billy Porter, who was directing. All of a sudden, the book transformed into this show in which I am playing multiple characters. It has original songs. And when we produced it in New York, it got such a great response. I think the title is perfect because I am of that tradition of showbiz. It’s all the things that I love about performing, about being in this industry and the things that inspired me. Yes, I am a ham. And since LA is my home, it is so perfectly correct that I do the show here. Billy [Porter] directed it in New York and I am working with the brilliant Ken Sawyer here at the LGBT Center. Of course, I am working with my forever musical director, Todd Schroeder, and I am very happy about the original songs we have included in the show. In fact, your readers can listen to one of my favorite songs from the show, written by Todd and me, right now.”

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 Friday, Jan 29, Julio welcomes actress Maureen Teefy (Fame), discussing Teefy’s one woman show, A Subject for a Short Story, performing at Solofest 2016 at the Whitefire Theatre on Jan 31.