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

IN MEMORIAM


  • Nancy Hereford, longtime Press Director for the Center Theater Group, passed away on August 14. Originally assigned as press representative for the Mark Taper Forum, Hereford was promoted to Press Director on July 1, 2005, when the press departments of the Center Theater Group were being merged. In that capacity, Hereford oversaw publicity for the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theater, and the Kirk Douglas Theater. At her passing, Michael Ritchie, Artistic Director of CTG, commented, “To imagine that she is no longer here is difficult. The beauty is that we know that we were lucky enough to have her.”

IN THE NEWS


  • Artistic Directors Joseph Leo Bwarie and Dimitri Toscas have set the 2018/2019 season at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank, with a four-play mainstage line-up that explores “the extraordinary things that happen in ordinary places.” The season opens with Josefina López’s coming-of-age comedy Real Women Have Curves, featuring an all-women team, including the playwright, director, the designers and stage manager (Oct 12). The season continues with The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall (Feb 8, 2019); Pang Spa, by David Johann Kim (May 25, 2019); and The Spitfire Grill, with music and book by James Valcq, lyrics and book by Fred Alley, based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff (July 12, 2019). Holiday programming includes Impro Theatre’s 1966 Holiday Variety Extravaganza (Nov 30-Dec 9); A Blu Christmas, featuring singer Jonny Blu and a 7-piece band (Dec 13 & 14); and a special 10th anniversary holiday concert event, Holidaze Harmony X , starring recording artists and Terron Brooks and Kamilah Marshall (Dec 21 & 21). The marshallARTS Family Series includes Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Oct 13); Gaston, with words by Kelly DiPucchio and pictures by Christian Robinson (Mar 2, 2019); and The Root Beer Bandits, A Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West Musical, with book and lyrics by Bwarie and Lori Marshall; music by Rachael Lawrence (Apr 5-28, 2019).

PREMIERES


  • Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood continues its 2018 season with the West Coast premiere of Marian, Or The True Tale Of Robin Hood, a gender-bending, patriarchy-smashing new take on the classic Robin Hood myth, wherein Robin Hood is (and has always been) Maid Marian in disguise, leading a motley group of Merry Men (a few of whom are actually men) against the greedy Prince John. Written by Adam Szymkowicz and directed by Christopher Johnson, the production stars Kirsten Vangsness as Robin Hood/Marian. Opens Aug 23.
  • Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks is hosting the premiere of Infidel, about a kidnapping in Baghdad that evolves into an exchange of ideas resulting in a spiritual quest for the meaning of faith. Written and directed by Christopher Vened. Opens Sep 1.
  • REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown center for contemporary arts, is presenting the premiere of Herb Alpert and award-winning choreographer David Roussève’s newest work, Halfway to Dawn, written, choreographed and directed by Roussève, performed by his diverse nine-member company, Reality. Plays four performances, beginning Oct 4.

AROUND TOWN


  • Griot Theatre is presenting Othello, William Shakespeare’s tragic tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and revenge, set in an East Asian dystopian future and featuring women in key roles, including the notorious villain Iago. Helmed by Artistic Director Malik B. El-Amin, Plays Sep 15-Oct 7 at The Actor’s Company in Hollywood.
  • Celebration Theatre announces the final extension for the third and final show of its 2017-2018 season: Cabaret, with book by Joe Masteroff (based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood), music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, choreography by Janet Roston, and musical direction by Anthony Zediker. Michael Matthews directs. Now running through Sep 16 at Celebration Theatre @ the Lex Theatre in Los Angeles.

SOLO MOJO


  • Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team, in association with Pacific Resident Theatre, presents the premiere of UK Underdog, a theatrical solo show based on true events: the story of a young Jewish boy in London who transforms himself, “through sheer force of will from bullied underdog to martial artist, boxer, community leader and animal rights activist.” Written and performed by Steve Spiro. PRT’s Ann Bronston directs. Opens Sep 20 at the Zephyr Theatre. All proceeds from the production will benefit START Rescue as well as selected animal charities and anti-bullying groups.
  • Montana Roesch and Dragon Bait Productions present the premiere of Wolf Cub, a one-woman show starring American actress Devin Ketko, “making the painful transformation from child to adult, from human to wolf in a feral murderous world where no one is to be trusted,” written and directed by the English playwright, Che Walker. Opens Sep 21 at the McCadden Place Theatre in Hollywood.

THE THING IS…


Director Desean Kevin Terry and production members discuss Rogue Machine and WLCAC Theatre’s production of American Saga–Gunshot Medley: Part 1, playing at Rogue Machine (Sep 8-23), moving to WLCAC (Oct 5-14).

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 Aug 24, Arts in Review welcomes director Michael Myers and actress Nina Brissey from the Ruskin Group Theatre’s revamping of its earlier production, Paradise–A Divine Bluegrass Musical, playing through Sep 22.

Shakesqueer – A Queer, Feminist Reading

“We know from his plays that he struggled intimately with the social conditions that produce identity in the first place. A queer reading of Shakespeare dwells not on the orientation of the man but rather of the works. And Shakespeare’s works are queer AF.”

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