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 LA Theatre

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by Julio Martinez

IN THE NEWS


  • In early 1972, Bill Bordy, a young actor from Pittsburgh, published the first Hollywood Drama-Logue Casting Sheet—a single, mimeographed, 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet of paper with hand-typed casting notices. By June of 1977, Bordy had been joined by actor/producer/journalist Lee Melville and three more staff members, and Drama-Logue had grown into a 12-page publication that included casting notices and reviews of small local theater productions; in 1998, Drama-Logue was absorbed by Backstage West. In honor of the Drama-Logue staff, writers, and reviewers, Bordy is bestowing a gift of $25,000 to 10 more theatres that have “survived“ into the 21st century in Los Angeles. This gift is dedicated to the memory of Pearl Bordy Frazier, Faye Bordy Fears, Lee Melville, Polly Warfield, T.H. McCulloh, Charles Faber, Fred Goodman, Viola Hegyi-Swisher, Richard Scaffidi, and Bruce Feld. Recipients: the Pasadena Playhouse, East West Players, Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, Theatre 40, Zephyr Theatre, Theatre of NOTE, Actors Co-op, International City Theatre, Road Theatre Company, and the New American Theatre. Drama-Logue founder Bordy stated, “You have my admiration for enduring all the ‘slings and arrows’ hurled at you over the years as well as for staying so viable. Keep up the good work.” Previous recipients included: the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Matrix Theatre, Victory Theatre, Skylight Theatre, Fountain Theatre, Colony Theatre, Santa Monica Playhouse, Will Geer‘s Theatricum Botanicum, and the LA STAGE Alliance.
  • The Encore! Producers’ Awards, produced by Combined Artform, returns for the eighth year with extended runs of the best of Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017 at eleven Hollywood venues, selected from more than 375 productions in the largest Hollywood Fringe Fest to date. The full list of selected shows can be found here. Performances begin June 29.
  • Downtown LA’s REDCAT announces the 14th annual, three-week New Original Works (NOW) Festival,  July 27-Aug 12. Each weekend premieres a triple bill, featuring a shared evening of dance, theater, and multimedia work. Theatrical fare includes Bessie Award-winner Stacy Dawson Stearns’ Love Gasoline!, a mix of video and movement theater inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s erotic, cryptic (and famously unfinished) work, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) (July 27-29); and Vivian Bang’s Can You Hear Me/LA 92, a recollection of the 1992 L.A. riots from the perspective of Korean-Americans. (August 3-5).
  • NoHo’s Road Theatre Company will embark on its eighth annual Summer Playwrights Festival, featuring 30-plus plays in eight days, with Carlyle King serving as Executive Festival Director. Featuring a 50/50 parity of male and female playwrights, the festival runs July 30-Aug 6 at The Road on Lankershim, in the Historic Lankershim Arts Center and at The Road on Magnolia at the NoHo Arts Colony. The complete schedule can be found here.

PREMIERES


  • Catlady, premiering at Loft Ensemble in Sherman Oaks, explores the issue of wealth distribution through the plight of a cat hoarder with a missing husband—and very hungry feral cats. Written by Kevin Kelly and Nathan Shoop; Kelly directs. Opened June 24 and runs through July 30.
  • Geffen Playhouse and Jerry Seinfeld are offering the premiere of Letters from a Nut, written and performed by Ted L. Nancy, based on his bestselling series of books. Cast also includes Beth Kennedy and Sam Kwasman; Pierre Balloón directs. Opened June 23 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse. Ends July 13.
  • The LA debut of Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of an Assassination, at the Ford Theatres on July 23, features two actresses— Einat Weizman and Sarah Adler—reading from Leah Rabin’s memoirs about her husband’s assassination in 1995, after the Oslo Accords were signed. Created by Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai, the evening blends Leah Rabin’s words with live music and projections as a theatrical counterpoint to Gitai’s documentary, Rabin, The Last Day, (to be screened at the Skirball Center on July 20). This theatrical event comes to the Ford after its July 18 performance at the Lincoln Center Festival.

AROUND TOWN


  • Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice is reimagining Eugene Ionesco’s 1959 avant-garde comedic masterpiece, Rhinoceros, an indictment of impending fascism, directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos. Opens July 15.
  • Rogue Machine (in the MET Theatre) is extending the run of Lorraine Hansberry’s final play, Les Blancs, an epic exploration of moral dilemmas raised during an unnamed African country’s volatile push for independence from colonial oppression.
  • Open Fist Theatre Company presents Welcome to Your Alternative Reality—an evening of one-acts and sketches set in our new post-election world—written and directed by Catherine Butterfield and Ron West. Opens June 30 in Atwater Village Theatre.
  • Measure for Measure, the Bard’s romantic comedy-slash-dark social satire, launched Independent Shakespeare Company’s Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival season on June 24. Directed by Artistic Director Melissa Chalsma at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park the production runs through July 22.

SUMMER MAGIC


  • Albie Selznick’s Magic Monday series, featuring performers from the Magic Castle, America’s Got Talent, Masters of Illusion, and more, continues at Santa Monica Playhouse, Mondays only, through the end of August. Also playing, Aug. 17-20: Selznick’s MagicMania: A Festival of Magica distillation of the best of the Magic Monday shows, at the Colony Theatre in Burbank.
  • Magician Misty Lee’s Bold Magic will open July 28 for four shows only at El Portal Theatre in NoHo. Ends July 30.

THE THING IS…


Writer/performer Ronnie Marmo and director Joe Mantegna discuss I am Not a Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce, playing at Theatre 68 through July 28.