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 Stage

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By Julio Martinez


  • L.A.-based playwright Tom Jacobson has chronicled the troubled history of Bimini Baths (1902-1951)—the premiere but segregated hot springs resort in the City of Angels—in three plays under the umbrella title of The Ballad Of Bimini Baths. Performed in three local theaters, the plays are: Plunge, set in 1918, a noirish, surreal journey “though a dark night of the soul,” directed by Matthew McCray, featuring Gary Patent and Dan Via, at Son of Semele Ensemble (May 26-Jun 17); Tar, about one night in 1939 when “two men of color are tasked with cleaning up a stranger fished out of the La Brea Tar Pits,” directed by Edgar Landa, at Playwrights’ Arena in the Atwater Village Theatre Complex (Jun 9 – Jul 2); and Mexican Day, set in 1948, when Los Angeles Tribune reporter Hisaye Yamamoto puts her job at risk when she joins forces with civil rights pioneer Bayard Rustin to desegregate Bimini Baths. Directed by Jeff Liu and starring Darrell Larson, Jully Lee, Jonathan Medina, and Donathan Walters, at Rogue Machine in the MET, (May 26-Jul 1).


  • Rubicon Theatre in Ventura has cast the premiere engagement of The Baby Dance: Mixed, Jane Anderson’s new adaptation of her acclaimed 2004 play, The Baby Dance, about race, class, and wanting the perfect child. With Obie-winner Tracey A. Leigh, Brian Robert Burns, Krystle Simmons, Gabriel Lawrence, and Carl Palmer; directed by Jennie Sullivan. Opens May 5.
  • CTG’s Ahmanson Theatre is premiering the musical Soft Power, a first-time collaboration between David Henry Hwang (play and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music and additional lyrics), rewinding our recent East-West political history “and playing it back through a Chinese lens.” Directed by Leigh Silverman and choreographed by Sam Pinkleton. The cast: Billy Bustamante, Kara Guy, Jon Hoche, Kendyl Ito, Francis Jue, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Alyse Alan Louis, Jaygee Macapugay, Daniel May, Paul HeeSang Miller, Kristen Faith Oei, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Conrad Ricamora, Trevor Salter, and Emily Stillings. Opens May 16.
  • Skylight Theatre is set to present the premiere of Hostage, based on the true story of the backlash a family endured after a mother’s trip to Tehran to gain the release of her captive marine son during the Iran hostage crisis. Written by Michelle Kholos Brooks, directed Elina de Santos. With Vaneh Assadourian, Jack Clinton, Zachary Grant, Christopher Hoffman, Tracie Lockwood, and Satiar Pouvasei. Opens May 26.


  • MainStreet Theatre Company in Cucamonga presents Frederick, a country/folk, family musical by Suzanne Maynard Miller (book), Sarah Durkee and Paul Jacobs (music and lyrics), adapted from the book by Leo Lionni. Directed by Robert Castro. Opens May 5 at the Lewis Family Playhouse.
  • David Sedaris (The Santaland Diaries) returns to The Soraya in Northridge for the first time since 2015, in An Evening with David Sedaris, surveying the humorist’s unique views on life. One night only, May 12.
  • LA’s Impro Theatre continues its residency at The Edye at The Broad Stage, this month paying homage to an American genius in Dorothy Parker UnScripted, recreating an impressionistic night of Parkeresque scenes and observations, reminiscent of the Roaring ’20s. Directed by Jo McGinley and Paul Rogan. May 18-20.
  • After Hours Theatre Company presents a “first-of-its-kind hybrid immersive” production of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, based on the novel by Ken Kesey and adapted by Dale Wasserman. Directed by Jonathan Muñoz-Proulx. Opens May 25 at Six01 Studio in Burbank. Stars Mick Torres as Randle P. McMurphy and Courtney Lloyd as Nurse Ratched.
  • Panic! Productions has announced its opening musical production of 2018: the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning Next To Normal, exploring how one suburban household copes with crisis and mental illness, by Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics) and Tom Kitt (music). Directed by Corey L. Howe, with musical direction by Jan Roper. Opens June 2nd at Hillcrest Center For The Arts in 1000 Oaks.


Playwright Laureen Vonnegut’s Death Before Cocktails, directed by Alex Rotaru and Vonnegut and featuring Ariel Hart, Paul Keany, Damien Diaz, Rose Hunter, and Tom Kearney, is playing through May 13 at Theatre 68 in NoHo.


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 May 4, director Felix Solis and cast members discuss Ammunition Theatre Company’s The Giant Void in My Soul by Bernardo Cubría, opening May 11 at The Pico in West L.A.