This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez


  • The Ojai Playwrights Conference (OPC) announces two “Intersection” events during its annual New Works Festival (Aug 5-12), including an opening night cabaret with original works and performances by twelve OPC playwrights (Zalk Theater, Aug 5), and a special performance event featuring new plays by Jon Robin Baitz and Bill Cain and a new music theatre piece by Grammy-winning Quetzal (Matilja Auditorium, Aug 9). The opening cabaret, directed by Casey Stangl, features performances and original works by Jeff Augustin, Jon Robin Baitz, Stephen Belber, Keith Bunin, Bill Cain, Steph Del Rosso, Patrick “Millz” Miller, Lily Padilla, Ruby Rae Spiegel, Alice Tuan, Gideon Wabvuta, and Charlayne Woodard.
  • Jim Steinman’s award-winning new musical, Bat Out Of Hell, The Musical, bringing to life the anthems of Steinman and Meat Loaf, will have its West Coast premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre. Directed by award-winning theatre and opera director Jay Scheib, choreographed by Emma Portner, with musical direction by Ryan Cantwell, the production will have a limited four-week engagement from Jan 8 through Feb 2. 2019.


  • The Road Theatre Company will kick off its 2018-2019 season with the premiere of Julie Marie Myatt’s The Rescued, following “six souls wrestling their past with the present: how to trust, how to love and be loved, and how to finally feel free.” Marya Mazor directs. Opens Sep 21 at the Road Theatre on Magnolia, located in the NoHo Senior Arts Colony in North Hollywood. The cast includes Leandro Cano, J.D. Hall, Meeghan Holaway, Rahul Rai, Kacie Rogers, and Patrick Rieger.
  • A new musical, Tenor by Night, with book, music, and lyrics by James Chiao, is taking a journey to production. This fantasy musical, choreographed by Becky Castells, is loosely based on Chiao’s own life story as a Chinese businessman who immigrated to the U.S. and overcame the obstacles to realizing his American dream—and passion for opera. It will preview at Westminster’s Rose Center Theater (Aug 17-26), and then have a run at El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood (Sep 22-23). The production stars Filipino-American tenor Kevin Gino as James and is presented with a full orchestra conducted by Charles Fernandez, who arranged and orchestrated the score.
  • The incredible true story of H.H. Holmes (1861-1896), America’s first serial killer, is chronicled in the premiere of Villainy, or H.H. Holmes’ Own Story, written by John Strysik, directed by Jeff G. Rack. Cast includes Tor Brown, Eric Keitel, Jennifer Novak Chun, McKenzie R. Eckels, Amelia Meyers, and Nathalie Rudolph. Opens Oct 3 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks.


  • REPRISE 2.0 announces its production of The World Goes ‘Round, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb; conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman, and David Thompson. Directed by Richard Israel, with choreography by John Todd and musical direction by Gerald Sternbach, it will play Sep 5-16 at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse, replacing the previously announced Victor/Victoria. It is expected that Victor/Victoria will be a part of the 2019 REPRISE 2.0 season.
  • Center Theatre Group reveals the cast for Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Sweat, about a group of factory worker friends who spend “their nights sharing drinks, secrets, and laughs,” until they face layoffs and picket lines. Lisa Peterson directs; the ensemble includes Kevin T. Carroll, Grantham Coleman, Will Hochman, John Earl Jelks, Mary Mara, Peter Mendoza, Michael O’Keefe, Amy Pietz, and Portia. Opens Sep 5 at the Mark Taper Forum.
  • Musical Theatre West’s Reiner Staged Reading Series presents Frank Loesser’s Most Happy Fella, based on the play They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard. David Lamoureux is director/musical director; Julie Lamoureux is the production’s vocal director, and Daniel Smith choreographs. Music will be performed by a 23-piece orchestra. Opens Aug 19 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach.


Actor Barry Pearl talks about the Panic! Productions presentation of Daniel Sullivan’s comedy, “Inspecting Carol,” opening Sep 7 at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts in Thousand Oaks.

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).

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.