This Week in L.A. Theatre

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  • Marvin Kaplan, a fifty-year actor-member and former board member of Theatre West, died August 25 at a hospital near his longtime home in Burbank, CA. He was 89. After graduating from USC, he was performing in a farce by Moliere at the Circle Theatre in Hollywood when he was discovered by Katharine Hepburn and subsequently cast in Adam’s Rib. Kapaln also served as assistant to Charlie Chaplan who was directing at the Circle. Chaplan brought in a monkey which he was hoping would be used in Circle’s staging of Somerset Maugham’s Rain. It was Kaplan’s job to watch the monkey. When Kaplan got his first paycheck, the monkey ate it. A longtime union activist, he was an advocate for senior writers and actors. He was also president of AFTRA Los Angeles Local for eight years. A memorial for Mr. Kaplan will be held at the Colony Theatre, 555 W. 3rd St., Burbank, CA 91502 on Wednesday, October 5 at 1:00 p.m.


  • 3-D Theatricals (3DT) is launching its 2016-17 season with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Sep 30-Oct 9, at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. The production then moves to 3DT’s newest home, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Oct 14-23. Directed by Tony nominee Marc Kudisch and Shannon Lewis, who also choreographs. Corey Hirsch is the show’s musical director.
  • Chalk Repertory Theatre presents its fourth biennial FLASH Festival, in residence at Los Angeles’ St. John’s Cathedral. Fifteen L.A. playwrights were chosen to create one 10-minute play each, with 15 directors and 15 teams of actors; five new plays, written on the timely theme of religion and politics, are performed each weekend over three weeks. Plays Oct 6-22.


  • Echo Theater Company’s premiere of Mary Laws’ Blueberry Toast, a modern-day, darkly comic revenge tragedy, directed by Dustin Wills, premieres Sep 17 at Atwater Village Theatre, featuring Albert Dyan, Alexandra Freeman, Michael Sturgis and Jacqueline Wright.
  • Neo Ensemble Theatre welcomes the premiere of Airport Encounters! Under new Artistic Director Paul Elliott, the company opens a unique show featuring a diverse collection of original vignettes that take place in real time at the airport. Features 24 actors, eight writers, and two directors. Opens Sep 30 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood.
  • Stuart Rogers Productions presents the premiere of The Portman Delusions, part Woody Allen, part David Mamet, a romantic comedy-drama that also skewers the Hollywood writing process. Written by Adam Mervis, directed by Thomas Burr. Opens Sep 30 at Raven Playhouse in NoHo.
  • The West Coast debut of Tennessee Williams’ newly imagined Baby Doll, adapted by Pierre Laville and Emily Mann, directed by Simon Levy, is extending its run at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood, through Oct 30. Stars Lindsay LaVanchy, Daniel Bess, and John Prosky.


  • Hard-nosed detective Duff McKagan returns from his Hollywood Fringe success. It is 1944 and Angel’s Flight, scripted by Benjamin Schwartz and Matt Richey (who also directs), follows McKagan’s search for a missing dame. Plays Wed nights through Sep 28, at Three Clubs Cocktail Lounge in Hollywood.
  • The Group Rep presents Harold Pinter’s A Slight Ache—a married couple’s dreams and desires are challenged in a confrontation with a mysterious figure who shakes up their equilibrium and forces then out of their cozy existence. Directed by Kevin Dobson. Opens Sep 17 at Upstairs at The Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood.
  • Chromolume Theatre presents Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For A New Worlda musical about one moment, hitting a wall, and having to make a choice, take a stand, or turn around and go back. Directed by James Esposito. Opens Sep 9 at the Attic on Washington Blvd.
  • Bright Colors And Bold Patterns—a rant on gay marriage and what’s appropriate to wear to the wedding, written and performed by Drew Droege, helmed by Michael Urie, opens at Celebration Theatre in Hollywood. Plays Sep 26-Nov 14.
  • For the ninth production of its 2016 season, Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro is presenting Oscar nominee Michael Weller’s What the Night is For, about a casual meal between former lovers (played by Stephanie Schultz and Andrew Oliveri) that turns into more. Opens Sep 29.


Emmy-winning composer DENISE GENTILINI and singer/songwriter Lisa Nemzo present I Am Alive—a new musical about survivors of the Armenian Genocide, inspired by the stories of Gentilini’s grandparents—helmed by Christy Montour-Larson. Opens Sep 10 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. Gentilini discusses the focus of the musical.

Alex Theatre
“I Am Alive” at the Alex Theatre. Photo by Everwise Productions.

“It is inspired by the stories my grandparents told me while I was growing up. It focuses on my grandparents’ journey from the beginning of the genocide. They lived in two different places in the country, five miles apart. So, it follows their experience as children, the loss, the death, the awful things they witnessed until they actually met in Greece. The musical ends when they get married. The music is contemporary. I did all the orchestrating. I did use some instruments from that era. There is the flavor of Armenian music and some Armenian dance. The orchestrations are quite full symphonic strings and winds. All the music is prerecorded, written by Lisa and me. We’ve been writing together for 20 years. For this project, we started to write a song honoring April 2015, the 100th-anniversary Armenian commemoration, then we decided to do a full musical. There are 21 actors in our cast, from the children to the adults. Obviously, this means a lot to me.”

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 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.