Raising money while having some fun, TreePeople opens its 14th season of Once Upon a Canyon Night this weekend, Aug 12 & 13,featuring a reading of The Best Man, scripted by American iconoclast Gore Vidal. Special guest readers include Tim DeKay, Cliff DeYoung, and Robert Forster. The rest of the series includes comic Maz Jobrani and Friends (Aug 13), Wild Tracks: Tales From the Booth, by Stuart Ross (Aug 20); Zootopia—A Disney Family Film Night (Aug 27); Comic Paula Poundstone (Aug 28); singer Billy Valentine in Billy Valentine Unplugged (Sep 10); and Airplane! The Reading, featuring Robert Foster (Sep 16 & 17). All performances at the S. Taper Foundation Amphitheatre.
Latino comedy troupe Culture Clash will offer its pre-election laugh-fest, Vote or Die Laughing: A Post-Modern Political Vaudeville, at Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge on Nov 1. Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herber Siguenza will be celebrating Día de los Muertos, mixing observations about America’s most important election with special appearances from La Santa Cecilia, Cristela Alonzo, Buyepongo, Pacifico Dance Company, Marga Gomez and more.
South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa has the 2016 portion of its season in place, beginning with its student production of Beauty and the Beast, by Alan Menken (music), Howard Ashman & Tim Rice (lyrics), and Linda Woolverton (book), helmed by Hisa Takakuwa, with musical direction by Erin McNally. Opens Aug 12. The season continues with the Sep 12 opening of Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way, directed by Marc Masterson. District Merchants, by Aaron Posner, inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, directed by Michael Michetti, opens Oct 8; Destiny of Desire, by Karen Zacarías, directed by José Luis Valenzuela, opens Oct 22. The musical, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, by Robert Kauzlaric (book, based on the novel by Richard & Florence Atwater) and George Howe (music & lyrics), directed by Art Manke, opens Nov 20. And, opening Dec. 2, it’s SCR’s annual holiday production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted by Jerry Patch, directed by John-David Keller.
Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA presents the premiere of Mutual Philanthropy (a seduction by the American Dream proves humorous yet hazardous between friends when wealth beguiles and divides), written by Karen Rizzo and helmed by Dan Bonnell. Opens Aug 27 at Atwater Village Theatre complex.
The premiere of Oktoberfest The Musical—an almost true story—with book and lyrics by screenwriter Philip LaZebnik, music and lyrics by Grammy Award-winner Harold Faltermeyer, direction and choreography by Madeleine Dahm, opens Aug. 26 at The Crest Theatre on Westwood Blvd in Los Angeles.
Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning Next To Normal—exploring how one suburban household, torn apart by mental illness, fights to stay together—by Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics), opens Aug 19 at Pico Playhouse in West LA. Directed by Thomas James O’Leary, the production will feature a live five-piece band, led by Taylor Stephenson.
The Proof Doubt Closer Theatre Company is offering Trace Oakley’s new adaptation of the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, RudiGORE, amping up the blood count, and featuring additional lyrics by Oakley, who helms the production. With musical direction by Alena Bernardi and choreography by Eugene Clayton. Opens August 20 at Studio/Stage in Hollywood.
Since its debut in 2001, Menopause The Musical, written by Jeannie Landers, has toured the globe, celebrating women who are on the brink of, in the middle of, or have survived “The Change.” It now stops at Laguna Playhouse. For two weeks, opening Aug 31.
Following its Hollywood Fringe Festival run, Anita Bryant’s Playboy Interview returns to the Cavern Club Celebrity Theater at Casita del Campo restaurant. Opening on Sep 16, the production chronicles Anita Bryant’s campaign to repeal gay rights in Dade County, Florida, re-creating Bryant’s memorable 8-day sit-down interview with Ken Kelley of Playboy Magazine in 1978.
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).
Julio pens the weekly LA STAGE Insider column for @ This Stage Magazine, as well as being a theater reviewer for Stage Raw. 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, Backstage West, Westways Magazine, and Drama-Logue Magazine, among others.