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


  • NBC 4’s favorite weatherman is reviving his one-person show, An Evening With Fritz Coleman, on March 5 as a fundraising event for the Colony Theatre in Burbank. Unfortunately, Coleman’s adroit comedic efforts won’t save the remainder of Colony’s 2016-17 season. On Monday, Feb 8, Colony released a newsletter to its subscribers, revealing it had not been able to generate enough capital to continue. As stated in the newsletter: “For this reason, we have no choice but to announce that we must cancel the production of our next scheduled show, Another Roll of the Dice. Then there is our production of Mary Lincoln. I am terribly sorry to inform you that Patty Duke has had to withdraw due to serious family health issues. We are very sad to lose her, as well as the show, and send best wishes to Patty and her family. These facts have caused us to begin exploring ways to change how we operate, at least for the foreseeable future. We are in discussions with the City of Burbank concerning alternatives, which we hope will include visiting productions.”
  • Registration for the seventh annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is now open. And the good news is that the spaces that were major Fringe performance outlets operated by former tenant Elephant Stages will still be viable, now under the management of new owner, Sacred Fools Theater Company. Fringe Fest registration process starts here.

PREMIERES


  • Speaking of Sacred Fools, the company is moving smoothly into its new space and continuing season 19, beginning with the Feb 19 premiere of Padraic Duffy’s previously announced Past Time, starring French Stewart, Leon Russom and Ruth Silveira. Upcoming is the LA debut of Arthur M. Jolly’s wartime dark comedy, A Gulag Mouse, directed by Danielle Ozymandias. Opens Apr 15. All performances are at Sacred Fools @ The Lillian in Hollywood.
  • Also inaugurating a new space, Rogue Machine will be offering the West Coast premiere of Samuel D. Hunter’s Pocatello in its new home at the Met Theatre in Hollywood. Evoking an unexceptional world where “identity itself has come to seem confusingly mass-produced,” the production is staged by Founding Artistic Director John Perrin Flynn. Opens Feb 20.
  • Downtown LA-adjacent Bootleg Theater is hosting City Players’ premiere of Utopia—a two-person journey along the treacherous road to perfection—scripted and performed by David Douglas and Martin Head, staged by Katherine Whitney. Opens Feb 26.

AROUND TOWN


  • Paul S. Flores’ Placas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo—“a bilingual tale of fathers and sons, transformation and redemption”—made its LA debut in Feb 2014 at downtown’s LA Theatre Center, starring Ric Salinas of Culture Clash. It has returned, moving to the other side of the LA River, for eight performances at Josefina Lopez’s Casa 0101 in Boyle Heights, once again starring Salinas, directed by Fidel Gomez. Begins Feb 18.
  • Stephen Belber’s 2010 two-person theatrical excursion, Dusk Rings a Bell, exploring “the fragile threads that bind the heart and the choices we make that break them,” stars Brea Bree and Wes McGee. Directed by John Hindman, it opens Feb 19 at The Lounge Theatre in Hollywood.

THE THING IS


Playwright STEVEN SIMONCIC discusses his play, Broken Fences, making its West Coast debut at The Road on Magnolia in NoHo. Opens Feb 12.

Ben Theobald, Bruce Lemon, Jr., Donna Simone Johnson, Mia Fraboni, Coronado Romero, Ivy Khan and Kris Frost in "Broken Fences." Photo by Michelle Young.
Ben Theobald, Bruce Lemon, Jr., Donna Simone Johnson, Mia Fraboni, Coronado Romero, Ivy Khan and Kris Frost in “Broken Fences.” Photo by Michele Young.

“The main themes of the play deal with identity, a sense of place, the notion of home and the problems of gentrification. It was a way for me to deal with things I really like to write about, such as race, culture, power and socio-economics. So, while focusing on a gentrifying neighborhood, I was really able to capture a lot of those things I hope to explore and keep writing about. Personally, I’ve been on all different spokes of that equation. I grew up in the city of Detroit in a neighborhood that never gentrified. There were great parts about it and also challenging parts about that. Then when I moved to Chicago, I was amazed at how quickly neighborhoods were gentrified. People would just be displaced. Ecosystems would be completely destroyed in a matter of a year or two. So, in my mind, this is just an interesting, rich territory that I have had some first-hand experience in dealing with, that I care about, that I want to talk about as a writer. The characters in the play are not based on anybody I know. They truly are amalgamations and creations. And the events and focusing within the play are not based on anything specific from my life. But I’m sure there are elements of me in all of it. My home is still Chicago. I moved there right out of college. It had a great cultural and theater scene and still does. It has been a very supportive environment for me. Broken Fences premiered at Ballybag, a small theater in New York. And then I was invited to bring it to The Road here in Los Angeles. I am just very happy to be here.”


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).