This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez

IN THE NEWS


  • Independent Shakespeare Co. (ISC) will soon be enjoying expanded performance areas. At the conclusion of ISC’s upcoming 15th-anniversary presentation of the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival this summer, the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks will break ground on the $4 million Griffith Park Performing Arts Stage Project at ISC’s traditional performance site at the Old Zoo. In the meantime, the debut production in ISC’s new and larger indoor performance home will be Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, directed by Co-founder and Artistic Director Melissa Chalsma. Opens Mar 24 at the ISC Studio in the Atwater Crossing Arts + Innovation Complex in Atwater Village.
  • Playwright Katori Hall, artistic director of the Hattiloo Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee, will remount L.A.’s 2016 Matrix Theatre production of her play, The Mountaintop, at Memphis’ Orpheum Theatre in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Obie Award-winner Roger Guenveur Smith, who directed the Matrix production, will again be at the helm, with Larry Bates and Danielle Moné Truitt reprising their Matrix roles. Award-winning Matrix set designer John Iacovelli will design the set. Opens Mar 28.
  • The Soraya in Northridge will present two special events celebrating the career of legendary composer Richard Rodgers: South Pacific, the 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winner, produced by McCoy Rigby Entertainment (Apr 13-15), followed by an Apr 20-May 13 engagement at the La Mirada Theatre; and Tony Award-winner Billy Porter’s The Soul of Richard Rodgers, featuring Porter’s new takes on classic Richard Rodgers songs, from My Funny Valentine to Edelweiss. (Jun 2).

PREMIERES


  • The Road Theatre Company presents the third show of its 2017-2018 season, the premiere of Through The Eye Of A Needle, about a dysfunctional family dealing with the arrival of an unannounced Iraqi refugee on Christmas Eve. Directed by Ann Hearn and featuring Meeghan Holaway, David Gianopoulos, Kaitlin Huwe, Kara Hume, Erica Mathlin, Chet Grissom and Stephanie Erb. Opens Mar 23 at the Road Theatre on Lankershim in NoHo.
  • Kate triumphs, too, in South Coast Rep’s premiere of playwright Amy Freed’s Shrew!, a comic re-imagining of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. An anchor production of the 2018 Pacific Playwrights Festival, the production is directed by Art Manke. Opens Mar 31 at the Segerstrom Stage in Costa Mesa.
  • SkyPilot Theatre Company announces its premiere mainstage production, Midnight Requisition, by Craig Jessen, focusing on the dysfunctional family machinations that occur when three sisters and their estranged mother gather for their father’s wake. Directed by James Carey. Opens Apr 6 at the Arena Stage in Hollywood’s Theatre of Arts.
  • An unexpected reunion with the one that got away could derail a man’s plans to take over the family business in Bootleg Theater’s premiere of The Willows, by Kerri-Ann McCalla, directed by Jessica Hanna. The ensemble includes Paul Dillon, Stefanée Martin, Kacie Rogers, Thomas Sillcott, Lorinda Hawkins Smith, Napoleon Tavale and Cloie Wyatt Taylor. Opens April 12.
  • Center Theatre Group will present the premiere of Soft Power, a contemporary comedy-turned-musical fantasia that “rewinds our recent political history and plays it back through a Chinese lens.” The first collaboration between Tony winners David Henry Hwang (book and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music and additional lyrics). Directed by Leigh Silverman; choreographed by Sam Pinkleton. Opens May 16 at the Ahmanson Theatre.

AROUND TOWN


  • Fearless Imp Entertainment and CTB Productions present Macbeth: His Story. Her Tragedy, combining Shakespeare’s macabre text of Macbeth with movement and dance, challenging the audience “to end the cycle of violence perpetrated through toxic masculinity, often passed on from father to son.” Directed by Heidi Powers. Opens Apr 5 at McCadden Place Theatre in Hollywood.
  • In William Mastrosimone’s Extremities, a would-be rapist is subjugated by his intended victim and her friends. Directed by Nori T. Schmidt and Cat Elrod; features Nicholas Gianforti, Maroon Stranger, Maria Molund & Noa Kretchmer. Opens Apr 6 at Garage Theatre in Long Beach.
  • Tony Award nominee Orson Bean continues with the run of Alright Then, inspired by Bean’s multi-award-winning companion piece SAFE AT HOME: An Evening with Orson Bean. Co-starring Alley Mills at Pacific Resident Theatre. Guillermo Cienfuegos directs. Extended through Apr 15.
  • The Broad Stage in Santa Monica presents the West Coast debut of New York-based theater company, Bedlam, offering two plays in repertory: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, performed by four actors—Aubie Merrylees, Aundria Brown, Kahlil Garcia and Sam Massaro—playing 49 characters. Apr 5-15.

THE THING IS…


Elise Arndt discusses her solo show, SING, BIBI, SING! The Untold Story Of Bibi Osterwald, directed by Christine O’Grady, opening Mar 30 at Write Act Rep @ The Brickhouse Theatre in NoHo.

Julio Martinez hosts Arts in Review, celebrating the best in live theatre and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area, airing Fridays (2 to 2:30 pm) on KPFK 90.7FM.

An Interview with CTG’s Sherwood Award Winner, Mat Diafos Sweeney

“I think LA theatre is at its best when it’s reaching across forms and reinventing its relationship to a live audience, and at its worst when it’s trying to fit an existing mold or production model that made sense in New York a century ago. LA is the future- our garden is wilder, vaster, and more diverse so it should be tended differently.”

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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.