By Julio Martinez
IN THE NEWS
- The real-life Hollywood romance of Ronald and Nancy Reagan has been turned into the musical, In A Booth At Chasen’s, with music and lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Al Kasha and Phil Swann, and book by Sam Bennett. Directed by Kay Cole, the production, presented by John Herklotz’s American Happenings, will premiere Nov 9-25 at El Portal Theatre in NoHo.
- Echo Theater Company is bringing back its West Coast premiere staging of Daniel Talbott’s What Happened When. (“On a snowy night in a rural farmhouse, three siblings huddle together in the dark with a flashlight, while the audience (unseen by them) gathers closely around.”) Chris Fields directs. The ensemble includes Ian Bamberg, Joey Stromberg, and Libby Woodbridge. Opens Jul 26. Also at the Echo: during the Jul 22, 4 pm matinee of the West Coast premiere of Molly SmithMetzler’s Cry It Out, Metzler and director Lindsay Allbaugh will be among those providing free childcare for patrons attending this funny and moving look at motherhood, friendship, and economic class.
- Took A Cab Productions and the Improv Comedy Club present the premiere of Jews, Christians and Screwing Stalin, a comedy based on a true story about “family dysfunction, atonement, and matzo balls,” by Mark Lonow and Jo Anne Astrow, directed by Lonow. The ensemble includes John Pleshette, Cathy Ladman, Hunter Milano, Sammi-Jack Martincak, Travis York, Laura Julian, and Sally Schaub. Opens Aug 18 at the Matrix Theatre.
- Former Hells Angels leader George Christie presents the Los Angeles premiere of his one-man show, Outlaw, chronicling his nearly 40-year reign as head of the Ventura chapter of the Hells Angels, at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Written and directed by Richard LaPlante; based on Christie’s memoir, Exile on Front Street: My Life as a Hells Angel…and Beyond. Opens Aug 18.
- Open Fist Theatre Company presents a stage adaptation Dylan Thomas’s 1954 radio drama, Under Milk Wood, recounting the dreams and innermost thoughts of the inhabitants of the fictional Welsh fishing village of Llareggub. Directed by Ben Martin and featuring a 16-member ensemble, the production opens Jul 27 at Atwater Village Theatre.
- Laguna Playhouse will be offering Peter Quilter’s 2012 Tony-nominated End Of The Rainbow, starring Angela Ingersoll as Judy Garland during her 1968 effort to make another comeback. Directed by Michael Matthews. Opens Aug 8.
- Sierra Madre Playhouse is extending the run of the 1982 Tony-nominated Pump Boys and Dinettes, a musical by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann; directed and choreographed by Allison Bibicoff, with musical direction by Sean Paxton. Now playing through Aug 12.
- After earning top Fringe accolades, Met Again, Jacob Smith’s cathartic love story taking a look at the entirety of a unique but familiar relationship from beginning to end, encores Jul 20-21 at 8 pm at studio/stage. Directed by Sean Fitzgerald.
- Garnering Best Comedy honors at the Fringe, Josh Carson’s A Very DIE HARD Christmas, a parody of the film classic, directed by Gregory Crafts, is also encoring Jul 20-21 at studio/stage, with a 10 pm curtain.
Noted local thespian and acclaimed educator Flora Plumb passed away on July 8, following an 18-month battle with cancer. Born on October 14, 1944, Flora made her TV debut in 1969 and appeared over the years in several TV series and films, but it was as a stage actress that she received the greatest acclaim. For over 35 years, Flora appeared as an actress and director at Theatre 40, even serving as president of the Beverly Hills-based, 99-seat theater company. Flora was perhaps known best by generations of theater students at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), where she taught acting and directing for 25 years. A memorial service is planned by her husband, Richard Johnson. (Details to be announced.)
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).