By Julio Martinez
IN THE NEWS
- Center Theatre Group has completed casting for the pre-Broadway run of ain’t too proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations, opening at the Ahmanson Theatre on Aug 24. Leading the cast are Derrick Baskin as Otis Williams, James Harkness as Paul Williams, Jawan M. Jackson as Melvin Franklin, Jeremy Pope as Eddie Kendricks, and Ephraim Sykes as David Ruffin. The production, with book by playwright Dominique Morisseau and a score featuring hit songs by the Temptations, will also feature a 14-member ensemble. Two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff directs, with choreography by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo.
- Santa Monica Playhouse announces that it has been awarded grants from the City of Santa Monica Community Access and Participation (CAP) Grant Program and the Santa Monica Arts Commission to fund the Playhouse’s third annual BFF: Binge Fringe Festival of Free Theatre, Oct 18-28. (The grants also support 10 free school theatre field trips for SMMUSD third-graders during the 2018-19 academic year.) Featured productions include the premiere of Jerry Mayer’s newest comedy, Mistakes Were Made, directed by Chris DeCarlo; Theatre RAW’S encore productions of 50 Shades of Perfection and Jack and the Great Bean Stock Crash of 2018; and UK’s Playbox Theatre presentations of Monkey—Journey to the West and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tickets to all events are free to the public, but reservations are required.
- Come to the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank this weekend and “take home a piece of theatre history” at the Theatre’s Yard Sale on Jul 28-29, 8 am to 4 pm, where you’ll find vintage furniture, original marquee letters of the Falcon Theatre (the venue’s former name), Fonzie’s leather jackets from Happy Days, the Musical…and more.
- In the premiere of Famous, written and directed by Michael Leoni, “a world fueled by sex, money, and power, where image is everything,” is seen through the eyes of a Hollywood star with a dark secret. Set in 1994, the production features a 12-member ensemble and the music of indie singer-songwriter Conner Youngblood. Opens Jul 27 at The 11:11, a new performance space on Kings Road in West Hollywood.
- Circle X Theatre Co. presents the premiere of Hole in the Sky, a site-specific theatrical event written by Octavio Solis, focusing on a small town trying to figure out how to live with nature when nature doesn’t seem to want them there. Directed by Artistic Director Kate Jopson, staged at Courtship Ranch (a working horse ranch located 20 minutes from Burbank and Glendale in Lake View Terrace). Opens Aug 24.
- 3-D Theatricals of Los Angeles concludes its 2017-2018 season with the 1983 musical, Mamma Mia!, with music by Abba and book by Catherine Johnson. Directed by David F.M. Vaughn, with choreography by Dana Solimando and music direction by Allen Everman. Aug 3-12 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center and Aug 17-26 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.
- Chance Theater, Anaheim’s official resident theater company, is extending its summer musical, Big Fish, chronicling the larger-than-life anecdotes of Edward Bloom, a man nearing the end of his life. Adapted from Daniel Wallace’s novel and Tim Burton’s acclaimed film, featuring a book by the film’s screenwriter, John August; music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Directed by Oanh Nguyen. Chance Theater will be adding performances through Aug 5 at Bette Aitken theater arts Center on the Cripe Stage.
- Independent Shakespeare Co. presents Titus Andronicus as the second show of its Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival, featuring David Melville as Titus. Directed by Independent Shakespeare Co.’s Artistic Director, Melissa Chalsma. Celebrating the 15th anniversary season of free Shakespeare in Los Angeles City Parks, the production will open on Aug 4 at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park. All ISC summer Shakespeare productions are free to the public.
- Seussical, the award-winning musical based on the works of Dr. Seuss, will be presented by South Coast Repertory’s Theatre Conservatory Summer Players. Book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty; music by Flaherty and lyrics by Ahrens. Co-conceived by Ahrens, Flaherty and Eric Idle. Directed by Hisa Takakuwa, with musical direction by Erin McNally. Opens Aug 11 on SCR’s Julianne Argyros Stage.
THE THING IS…
Cast members discuss the Open Fist Theatre production of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, directed by Ben Martin, opening Jul 27 in Atwater Village Theater.
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 July 27, Arts in Review spotlights the New Play Reading Festival at Boston Court with dramaturge Emilie Beck and playwrights.