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


  • 24th Street Theatre kicks off its 20th year with the 2017-18 season opener, La Razón Blindada, Arístides Vargas’ Spanish language political drama (Sep 9-Oct 15). A revival of the company’s 2011 production, the show is performed with English supertitles and features company members Jesus Castaños Chima and Tony Duran reprising their original roles. Other season offerings: Dia de los Muertos, 24th Street’s annual, free block party celebrating Mexico’s traditional holiday, headlined by Latin surf rock band The Space Sanchos (Nov 2); Pang!, a triptych of live radio plays based on the life stories of three families living with hunger in Miami, Cedar Rapids, and South Central Los Angeles, presented by award-winning performance artist Dan Froot and Company (Dec 2 & 3); La Víspera (“The Eve”), a holiday play about love and sacrifice created from stories shared by members of the local University Park immigrant community, presented in Spanish with English supertitles (Dec. 14–Dec. 17); and the premiere of ICE (Mar 10-Apr 29), a bilingual, musical journey, commissioned by 24th Street, exploring what it means to be “American,” written by Leon Martell, directed by Debbie Devine, and featuring Jesús Castaños-Chima, Tony Duran, Davitt Felder, and Andrew Huber. In addition, the theater continues year-round with its popular field trip program for schools, Enter Stage Right, serving more than 10,000 students a year from multiple school districts.
  • IAMA Theatre Company presents its semi-annual August Reading Series, featuring staged readings of four new plays over the course of one weekend. Works include Dooley Street: Between the Sandbar and the Shore by Brian Otano, directed by Bert V. Royal; Just Dust by Charlie Kelly, directed by Robyn Wholey; Mama Metallica by Sigrid Gilmer, directed by Deena Solonow; and Palmyra by Daria Polatin, directed by Alexis Jacknow. Aug 10-13 at IAMA Theatre Company @ Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood.
  • Son of Semele is holding Program Three of its Solo Creation Festival, featuring three premiere solo works, July 27-30: Browner Queerer Louder Prouder (Monica Palacios), Crime & Punishment: The Musical! (Dan Berkowitz), and The Duat (by Roger Q. Mason, performed by Darien Battle).
  • Garry Marshall Theatre announces its 2017-2018 Inaugural Season at the newly established nonprofit Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank, led by Artistic Directors Joseph Leo Bwarie and Dimitri Toscas. The season will open with 1995 Tony award winning Master Class by Terrance McNally, to be directed by Toscas (Oct 22).  The season continues with the musical, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, created by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart (book), Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics), and directed by Bwarie (Nov 17); The Enchanted Nightingale by Lori Marshall and Bwarie (Jan 12, 2018); the West Coast premiere of Edward Albee’s Occupant, directed by Heather Chesley (Feb 2, 2018); Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor, directed by Michael A. Shepperd (Mar 23, 2018); and Rogue Artists Ensemble’s 2016 Ovation Award-winning Wood Boy Dog Fish by Chelsea Sutton with Rogue Artists Ensemble, original music by Adrien Prévost, directed by Sean T. Cawelti (May 18, 2018).

PREMIERES


  • Center Theatre Group has announced that Carmen Cusack will reprise her Tony-nominated role as Alice Murphy in the LA premiere of the 2016 Tony-nominated musical, Bright Star, created by Oscar-winner Steve Martin and Grammy-winner Edie Brickell. The tale of love and redemption, set against the backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ‘40s, is directed by Tony-winning Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Josh Rhodes. Opens Oct 20 at CTG’s Ahmanson Theatre.
  • International City Theatre is presenting the LA premiere of Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson—an exploration of the life and career of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921) as she fearlessly asserts herself in the male-dominated world of early astronomy. Directed by Todd Nielsen. Opens Aug 23 at International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.
  • Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura is offering the Southern California premiere of Incognito—a play about the mind, memory, imagination, and identity, featuring four actors in 21 roles. Written by Nick Payne and directed by Katharine Farmer. Opens Sep 16.

AROUND TOWN


  • AKT Advanced Repertory, a resident company at Sierra Madre Playhouse, is presenting The Dream on Royal Street, a 1981 musical based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set in the present in the Royal Street Hotel in New Orleans on Mardi Gras night. Created by Alan Menken (music), June Walker Rogers (book), and David Rogers (lyrics). Helmed by Alison Kalmus, with musical direction by Kevin Mathie and choreography by Amy Sara Lim. Opens Aug 3.
  • Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon will present its annual Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights with free readings of two new plays exploring the power of personal choices compelled by extraordinary circumstances: Stop-Motion by Liz Kerin (Aug. 20) and The Orange Garden by Joanna Garner (Aug. 27).
  • Theatre of Note in Hollywood is presenting its 2017 Late Night Alternative Acts, an evening of seven one-acts: Out To Breakfast by Andrew Tarr, Benefits of a Gauntlet by Gina Garcia-Sharp, Sandwich by Kirsten Vangsness, Mr. Picman by Tom Cavanaugh, Youniverse by Tennyson E. Stead, VladFather by Jennifer Hugus, and Transitions by Bill Robens. Opens Aug 25 at 10 pm.

THE THING IS…


Writer/performer Dean Ghaffari and director Tom Waters discuss the LA premiere of Rebel With a Cause: The Sal Mineo Story, at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. Opens Aug 11.