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


  • 5-Star Theatricals (formerly Cabrillo Music Theatre) Board of Directors announced that Patrick Cassidy will assume the responsibilities of Artistic Director for the award-winning organization effective immediately. Will North has resigned his position as managing director to pursue other creative opportunities. Cassidy, the son of Oscar winner Shirley Jones and Tony winner Jack Cassidy, has amassed impressive credits as a director, producer, and acting teacher. He lives in the Conejo Valley with his wife, dancer-choreographer Melissa Hurley Cassidy. 5-Star Theatricals’ 2017-2018 season will continue with Susan Egan starring in Beauty And The Beast (Jul 20 – 29) in the 1,800 seat Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
  • The Geffen Playhouse, under the leadership of new Artistic Director Matt Shakman, has revealed its directors for the nine plays of the 2018/2019 season, performed in the Geffen’s Gil Cates and Audrey Skirball Kenis Theaters. The Gil Cates lineup leads off with the world premiere of The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona, written by Obie winner José Rivera, directed by Jo Bonney (Sep 4-Oct 7); followed by the world premiere adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted & performed by Tony-winning Jefferson Mays, directed by Michael Arden (Oct 30-Dec 2); the West Coast premiere of Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, written by Patricia McGregor and Colman Domingo, directed by McGregor, featuring Dulé Hill & Daniel J. Watts (Feb 5-Mar 10, 2019); a new adaptation of Antigone, directed by Kate Whoriskey (Apr 9-May 19, 2019); and the world premiere of Mysterious Circumstances, a Geffen Playhouse commision, written by Michael Mitnick (inspired by The New Yorker article “Mysterious Circumstances: The Strange Death of a Sherlock Holmes Fanatic” by David Grann), directed by Matt Shakman (Jun 11-Jul 14, 2019). The Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater season includes Echo Theater Company’s The Cake, written by Bekah Brunstetter, directed by Jennifer Chambers, featuring Ovation Award-winner Debra Jo Rupp (Sep 10-Oct 21, 2018); Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie and Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, a double-bill directed by Steven Robman, starring Brian Dennehy (Nov 5-Dec 16, 2018); the world premiere of Black Super Hero Magic Mama, written by Inda Craig-Galván, directed by Robert O’Hara (Mar 5-Apr 14, 2019); and the world premiere of Invisible Tango, created and performed by Helder Guimarães, directed by Frank Marshall (May 7-Jun 16, 2019).


  • Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks is hosting the premiere of Henry Ong’s The Blade of Jealousy, a modern-day adaptation of Spanish Renaissance playwright Tirso de Molina’s madcap comedy, La Celosa De Si Misma (“Jealous of Herself”), directed by Denise Blasor, with original music by Longo Chu. Opens Jun 24.
  • LA Theatre Works is premiering I Love Lucy: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom, with Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy) and Oscar Nuñez (The Office) portraying Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Written by Gregg Oppenheimer, directed by Michael Hackett. Plays Jul 12-15 at the James Bridges Theater on the campus of UCLA. The five performances will be recorded before the live audience for future radio broadcast, digital download, and online streaming.
  • Antaeus Theatre Company presents the West Coast premiere of Three Days in the Country, an update of Ivan Turgenev’s classic comedy, A Month in the Country, written by Patrick Marber. Andrew Paul directs the partner ensemble casts. Opens Jul 12-13 (one opening night for each cast) at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale.


  • On the occasion of the 20-year mark of Matthew Shepard’s tragic death, the Ford Theatres, in association with Chris Isaacson, presents Considering Matthew Shepard, performed by the 30-member, Grammy-winning Conspirare choir, and composed and conducted its artistic director, Craig Hella Johnson. Plays Jun 15-16.
  • Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon continues its 2018 summer season with Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a parable of mass hysteria that draws a parallel between the Salem witch hunts of 1692 and McCarthyism, which gripped America in the 1950s. Artistic Director Ellen Geer directs. Runs in repertory; opens Jun 16.
  • This year the 2018 ComedySportz World Championship takes place in LA, with over 25 teams competing at the El Portal Theatre in NoHo from Jun 28 through Jun 30. It’s comedy as a sport, with referee, Astroturf, a ballpark organ, and the national anthem. Competing teams come from across the United States and the United Kingdom for three days of training and then begin the tournament matches on Jun 28. ComedySportz, directed by Artistic Director James Thomas Bailey, is the longest-running improv-based show in L.A. history, founded by Bailey in 1988.


Playwright Will Manus, director Stu Berg, and cast members discuss the Write Act Repertory premiere of Their Finest Hour: Churchill and Murrow, featuring Michael Karm, Tyler Cook, Chantelle Albers, and Beau Hogan, opening Jun 16 at The Brickhouse Theatre in NoHo.

Julio Martinez hosts Arts in Review, celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area. Airs Fridays (2-2:30 pm) on KPFK (90.7FM). On Jun 15, Culture Clash discusses Bordertown Now, running at Pasadena Playhouse through Jun 22; Katt Balson discusses her Hollywood Fringe Festival one-woman show, Balls’On, running at the Broadwater.