This Week in L.A. Theatre

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  • Center Theatre Group announced its 50th-Anniversary Celebration, paying homage to 50 years of excellence and spotlighting CTG’s education and community outreach programs, to be held on May 20 at the Ahmanson Theatre. Joined by Co-Chairs Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment; and Center Theatre Group board memberSue Tsao, the star-studded event includes a one-night-only production from writer/director/producer Robert Egan, featuring such CTG alumni as Annette Bening, Matthew Bourne, Danai Gurira, Alfred Molina, Edward James Olmos, Phylicia Rashad, and more to be announced. A dinner in downtown Los Angeles’ Grand Park will follow, with culinary offerings led by Patina Restaurant Group’s Joachim Splichal.
  • Heart & Soul: Music of Whitney HoustonDionne Warwick Diana Ross, starring Sharon Catherine Brown, Natalie Wachen, and American Idol finalist Trenyce Cobbins, comes to the Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood on April 15, part of the Chris Isaacson Presents lineup of spring cabaret fare. Upcoming: Niki Haris (May 14) and Tony-winner Donna McKechnie (May 28).


  • The Road Theatre Company’s final show of its 2016-2017 season, the Los Angeles premiere of The Lyons—Nicky Silver’s comedic look at a family in crises—opens May 12 at The Road on Lankershim in NoHo, directed by Scott Alan Smith. The play’s ensemble includes James Handy, Verity Branco, Chad Coe, Kris Frost, Liz Herron. Judith Scarpone, and Amy Tolsky.
  • Inspired by Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, IAMA Theatre Company is premiering Dorothy Fortenberry’s Species Native to California a comedy about family, land, labor and loss—helmed by Eli Gonda. Opens May 13 in Atwater Village Theatre. Performed in English with a sprinkling of Español, the cast includes Tom Amandes, Carlos E. Campos, Tonatiuh Elizarraraz, Eileen Galindo, Tim Rock, Melissa Stephens, Margaux Susi, and Murielle Zuker.


  • The 1945 film, State Fair—following the Frake family’s journey from their farm to the three-day 1946 Iowa State Fair and featuring a score by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein—was re-made in 1962, then adapted in 1995 as a stage musical by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli. Musical Theatre Guild is reviving the musical (which includes additional Rodgers and Hammerstein songs) in a staged concert version directed and choreographed by Daniel Smith. Opens May 6 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.
  • Open Fist Theatre Company is offering Padua Hills Playwrights Festival founder Murray Mednick’s entire six-play-series, The Gary Plays— chronicling the odyssey of unemployed actor Gary Bean in the years following the random murder of his son. Longtime Mednick collaborator Guy Zimmerman directs.
 Opens May 4 in Atwater Village Theatre.
  • Long Beach Playhouse’s presentation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Islandre-imagined by Phil Willmott with 21st- century sensibilities and the belief that women make outstanding pirates—opens Apr 8. Dale Jones directs.
  • Rubicon Theatre in Ventura is staging A.R. Gurney’s comedy, Sylviaa love triangle about empty nesters Greg and Kate and the adorable stray mutt who turns their marriage upside down. The production is directed by Stephanie A. Coltrin and features Kevin Symons, Ashley Fox Linton, Stasha Surdyke, and Joseph Fuqua. Opens Apr 22.
  • The Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre will reprise its 2015 production of Carmen on the Main Stage of El Portal Theatre in NoHo on May 6. Featuring the Rodion Shchedrin arrangement of the music of Georges Bizet, and incorporating flamenco dancers, the full-length ballet is choreographed by Natasha Middleton, the company’s artistic director.


Director Tony Abatemarco and cast members discuss the West Coast debut of Luisa Hill’s Mark Twain Award for Comic Playwriting winner, The Lord of the Underworld’s Home for Unwed Mothers, opening Apr 8 at Skylight Theatre in Hollywood.  

Julio Martinez-hosted Arts in Review, celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the greater Los Angeles area, Fridays (2-2:30 pm) on KPFK (90.7FM). On Apr 7, actresses Laurie O’Brien and K Callan discuss the play, Pie in the Sky, by Lawrence Thelen, playing through May 21 at Victory Theatre Center in Burbank.

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.