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


  • Executive Producer Michael Sterling and Co-Executive Producer Barbara Van Orden have announced that auditions for LA’s Next Great Stage Star 2018, presented by Princess Cruises, will take place Jul 7-8 at Madilyn Clark Studios in North Hollywood. Ten men and 10 women between 18 and 32 years of age will be chosen as contestants; potential contestants must excel in voice, acting and dance, and be prepared to sing 16 bars of a song from any genre of Broadway musicals that best showcase their voice. (An accompanist will be provided.) They will also be asked to recite a one-and-a-half-minute monologue from a Broadway musical. Wear form-fitting, but comfortable attire to the required dance call, which will take place between 6 and 7 pm on both days of auditions. Musical theatre pro Jeffrey Scott Parsons will serve as choreographer and will conduct the dance auditions. Auditions are by advance appointment only and that you must be available for the dance call if called back. Call (818) 754-5777 to request an appointment. More details here. The competition will be presented Monday nights between Jul 23 and Aug 27th at El Portal Theatre North Hollywood, marking the event’s 12th consecutive year.
  • Son of Semele announces the nine artists that will make up the performers for the 2018 edition of its popular Solo Creation Festival, performed Jul 12-29 at the Son of Semele Theatre on Beverly Blvd. This curated showcase “for the diversity and creative potential of solo performance,” will feature Gregory Canillas, Candace Carnicelli, Stacie Chaiken, Cheryl Fidelman, Tim Mooney, Allison Nishimura, Pam Severns, Brenda Varda, and Joe Von Appen. They will perform in three groups of three, organized in complementary programs. One program performs per week of the festival. Ashley Steed is the festival manager.
  • East West Players announces Culture Shock, its 53rd anniversary season, taking place from this fall through summer 2019. Consisting of three productions, the season begins with the Los Angeles premiere of Vietgone, a modern twist on the classic boy-meets-girl story as refugees fleeing the Vietnam War fall in love in a relocation camp in Arkansas. Written by Qui Nguyen and directed by Jennifer Chang. (Oct 18–Nov 11). In the world premiere of Man of God, written by Anna Moench and directed by Jesca Prudencio, a hidden discovery in a hotel bathroom changes the lives of four Korean Christian girls on a mission trip to Thailand (Jan 31–Feb 24, 2019). EWP’s 53rd season closes with an award-winning Broadway musical (TBA, running May 9-Jun 9, 2019).  All performances will take place at East West Players’ David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts in Little Tokyo.


  • Chance Theater in Anaheim announces the fourth show of its 20th anniversary season, the OC premiere of Big Fish, a fantastical musical that illustrates the larger-than-life anecdotes of Edward Bloom, a man nearing the end of his life. Written by John August, who wrote the film script, and based on the novel by Daniel Wallace. Music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Directed by Chance Theater founding Artistic Director Oanh Nguyen, choreographed by Kelly Todd, with musical direction by Robyn Manion. Opens Jul 7 at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center on the Cripe Stage.
  • Barnsdall Theatre is hosting the two-night debut of Tesla: The Musical, an original rock opera “about the life, mind, and legacy of turn-of-the-century inventor Nikola Tesla,” with music by Aaron Guzzo, lyrics by Craig Hissong and Guzzo, directed by David Wendell Boykins. Jul 6-7.
  • In the wake of its successful Toronto and off-Broadway runs, the Manson Family-themed You Are Perfect will have its West Coast premiere, pulling the focus from Charles Manson and placing it on his impressionable young disciple, Susan Atkins. Written and directed by Cyndy A. Marion. The ensemble features Lindsay Danielle Gitter, Kristin Samuelson, and Michael Wiener. Opens Aug 2 at The Actors Company in Hollywood.


  • Tony-winner Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd) is offering Broadway and the Bard, combining his two great loves—Shakespeare and American musical comedy—into one concert, with classical soliloquies and sonnets and musical pairings from writers of the Great White Way. Opens Jun 28 at the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood.
  • Odyssey Theatre in West L.A. is reviving the 1977 Tony-nominated musical revue, Side by Side by Sondheim, highlighted by the music of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, directed by Dan Fishbach, featuring Sarah Busic, Mark D. Kaufmann, Chris Kerrigan, and Rachel McLaughlan. The creative team includes musical director Richard Berent and choreographer Imani G. Alexander. Opens Jul 21.
  • Meanwhile, Joshua Harman’s Bad Jews, directed by Dana Resnick, has been extended until Jul 1 at the Odyssey. The ensemble includes Jeanette Deutsch Noah James, Austin Rogers, and Lila Hood.
  • Firescape Theatre and Yolk Productions in association with the Beverly Hills Playhouse present the remounting of the San Francisco production of David Henry Hwang’s Yellow Face, about race, politics, and the media, based on a disastrous casting decision Hwang once made. Directed by Rob Zimmerman. Cast includes Jeffrey Sun, Roman Moretti, Alfonso Faustino, Lisagaye Tomlinson, John Pendergast, Jennifer Vo Le and Dennis Nollette. Opens Aug 10 at The Beverly Hills Playhouse.
  • Gloria Gifford Conservatory is presenting The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Stephen Adly Guirgis’s 2011 Tony-nominated dark comedy, directed by Gloria Gifford. Opens Jul 14.


Playwright Edwardo Machado and ensemble discuss Lysistrata Unbound, directed by John Farmanesh-Bocca, starring Brenda Strong, playing at the Odyssey Theatre through Aug 4.


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 29, writer Leslie Ayvasian and actor John Perrin Flynn discuss the play, 100 Aprils, having its premiere run at Rogue Machine through Jul 16.