By Julio Martinez
IN THE NEWS
- To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr., L.A. Theatre Works will present a touring production of the 2010 Olivier Award winner for Best New Play, The Mountaintop, written by Katori Hall, directed by Shirley Jo Finney, and starring Gilbert Glenn Brown and Karen Malina White. The production will travel to 38 cities across the United States, beginning Jan 12 at Numerica Performing Arts Center, Wenatchee, WA.
- Echo Theater Company continues its commitment to original work in the new year, introducing Los Angeles to four emerging playwrights from across the country, kicking off Mar 16 with An Undivided Heart by novelist, religious writer, and playwright Yusuf Toporov. Presented as a co-production with Circle X Theatre Company (co-resident at Atwater Village Theatre) and directed by Echo’s Artistic Director Chris Fields. this play explores how we go on in the face of unspeakable acts. Next up will be the West Coast premiere of What Happened When, a dark memory play in the guise of a ghost story, by New York-based Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre’s Daniel Talbott (Apr 11). Summer brings the West Coast premiere of Cry It Out by Molly Smith Metzler, exploring the absurdities of new motherhood and the conflict between returning to work and staying home (July 14). Closing out the season will be the West Coast premiere of Gloria, the Pulitzer Prize finalist by MacArthur genius grant recipient Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins. This dramedy about ambition, style, status, success, and selling out to the highest bidder opens Sep. 15.
- Odyssey Theatre in West LA is hosting the premiere of Two Fisted Love, a dark comedy about a modern family in a state of moral crisis during the months leading up to the 2008 election, written and directed by David Sessions. Opens Feb 3.
- Co-written by Jerry Dean and Kurt Brungardt, My Father’s A Cop, a true story tracing the tumultuous relationship of local Greenwich Village legend Dean, and his father, a decorated NYPD detective, will have its West Coast premiere at The Lounge Theatre. Opens Jan 6. Dean stars in the production; Brungardt directs.
- The premiere of Michael Kearns’ autobiographical play, Bloodbound, tracking the lives of two misfit brothers destined to love in spite of the gnarled realities they cannot avoid sharing, opens Jan 19 at the Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica. Mark Bringelson directs; Gordon Thompson and Greg Ainsworth star.
- The Zephyr Theatre on Melrose Ave is hosting the premiere of Wicked Pagan Gays by Jeff Dinnell, examining the unlikely friendship between two gay men with very different worldviews as they embark on a search for meaning in a bewildering universe. Directed by Kiff Scholl. Opens Feb 23.
- Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills is presenting the LA premiere of Engaging Shaw, a duel of intellect and socio-sexual attraction in late 19th century England, written by John Morogiello, starring Jennifer Lynn Davis, Warren Davis, Grinnell Morris, and Susan Priver. Melanie MacQueen directs. Opens Mar 15 in the Reuben Cordova Theatre (on the campus of Beverly Hills High School).
- Now in its 16th year, The Manor—Murder and Madness at Greystone, an immersive crime drama based on real events (the historical characters have been renamed), opens Jan 13 in the site-specific environs of Greystone Mansion in Greystone Park. Written by Kathrine Bates; directed by Martin Thompson. Produced by Theatre 40.
- Woodbury University Library presents the Archway Theatre Company’s site-specific staging of The Merry Wives of Windsor, starring John Eddings as Falstaff, in the Enkeboll Courtyard in Burbank. Opens Jan. 19
- Moving past its third year in-house, LPNSImprov takes the stage with Makin’ A Movie: The MaD JaCKRaTS in CHeeR in the NeW YeaR Show, directed by Lauren Patrice Nadler. Jan 21 at Theater 68 in NoHo.
THEATER FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES
- The Garry Marshall Theatre is kicking off 2018 with its first marshallARTS Family Series production, The Enchanted Nightingale, set in ancient China where a powerful Emperor comes under the spell of an enchanted nightingale. Written by Artistic Director Joseph Leo Bwarie and Lori Marshall, helmed by Fran de Leon, and starring Marc Fajardo, Karen Huie, Ravi Kapoor, and Jully Lee. With choreography by Tara Nichole Hughes and music by Rachael Lawrence. Opens Jan 12.
THE THING IS…
Actor Sam Mandel discusses The Fountain Theatre’s production of The Chosen by Chaim Potok, adapted by Aaron Posner and directed by Simon Levy. Opens Jan. 20.
Julio Martinez hosts 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 Friday, January 5, Julio hosts Pam Levin, discussing her one-woman show, Tales of Modern Motherhood, opening Jan 6 at Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks.