This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez


  • Geffen Playhouse has announced the six Los Angeles writers who will participate in the September launch of The Writers’ Room, a one-year residency program led by the Geffen’s Manager of New Play Development Rachel Wiegardt-Egel. In addition to offering a forum for engagement and collaboration, the program will provide members with dramaturgical support from the Geffen’s artistic staff and the opportunity to further develop their work with directors and actors, culminating in a reading series that may be open to the public. Participants in The Writers’ Room inaugural cycle will be Angelica Chéri, Dipika Guha, Chelsea Marcantel, Brian Otaño, Liza Powel O’Brien, and Matt Schatz.
  • Musical Theatre Guild will open its 23rd anniversary season with Jerry Herman’s 1966 Tony-nominated musical, Mame, based on Patrick Dennis’ novel and subsequent stage play, Auntie Mame, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. The one-night-only concert will be directed by Lewis Wilkenfeld, with choreography by Heather Castillo and musical direction by Cassie Nickols. Starring MTG company members Kelly Lester (Mame), Barbara Carlton Heart (Vera Charles), and Will Collyer (Patrick Dennis). At Glendale’s Alex Theatre on Sep 23. The 2018-19 Musical Theatre Guild season continues with Zorba (Nov 11), Minnie’s Boys (Feb 10, 2019) and Sunday In The Park With George (May 5, 2019).


  • Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks is hosting the premiere of Martians—An Evening With Ray Bradbury, a guide through four interlocking stories set on the planet Mars, created and written by Charlie Mount and Jeff G. Rack, based on Bradbury’s short stories The Strawberry Window, The Blue Bottle, The Messiah, and Night Call, Collect. Directed by Rack, featuring a 10-member ensemble. Opens Sep 7.
  • IAMA Theatre Company opens its 2018-19 season with the L.A. premiere of Bess Wohl’s American Hero, a darkly comic celebration of the power of teamwork and unity to overcome adversity, directed by James Eckhouse. The ensemble includes Laura Mann, Anna Lamadrid, Graham Outerbridge, and Rodney To. Opens Sep 21 as a Pasadena Playhouse guest production in the Carrie Hamilton Theatre.
  • Odyssey Theatre Ensemble presents the West Coast premiere of Old Clown Wanted, by Romanian-French playwright Matei Vişniec in a new translation from the French by Jeremy Lawrence, directed by Romanian-born Florinel Fatulescu. The play, inspired by a 1970 Federico Fellini film, is an absurdly comic look at man’s fear of uselessness in society. Alan Abelew, José A. Garcia, and Beth Hogan star as Niccolo, Filippo, and Peppina, three elderly, washed-up circus clowns who run into one another at an audition for a “small part for an old clown.” Opens Sep 22
  • Boston Court in Pasadena presents the premiere of Everything That Never Happened, rethinking Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, “exposing the realities of Jewish history and drawing three-dimensional characters from the stereotypes depicted in the original,” written by Sarah B. Mantell and directed by Jessica Kubzansky. Stars Leo Marks (Shylock), Erika Soto (Jessica), Paul Culos (Lorenzo), and Dylan Saunders (Gobbo). Opens Oct 6.


  • Sierra Madre Playhouse is reviving The Gin Game, the 1978 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by D.L. Coburn about an aging man and woman whose regular card game escalates into an emotional high stakes competition. Directed by Christian Lebano, starring Alan Blumenfeld and Katherine James. Opens Sep 8.
  • Santa Monica Playhouse is hosting The Marriage Zone, a comedy in the “dimension of sight and sound and imagination,” written and directed by Jeff Gould, the fourth in a series of comedies exploring the dynamics of the relationships between men and women. Opens Sep 15.
  • A Noise Within in Pasadena presents A Picture of Dorian Gray, based on the 1890 novella by Oscar Wilde, adapted and directed by Michael Michetti. “Entranced by the beauty of his own portrait, Dorian Gray sells his soul to preserve his youth and pays a price.” Starring Colin Bates as Dorian Gray. Opens Sep 29.
  • Theatre West will be presenting Kiki Ebsen’s theatrical tribute to her father, To Dad With Love: A Tribute To Buddy Ebsen, directed by S.E. Feinberg, highlighting Ebsen’s seven-decade career in film, theatre, and television. Accompanied by a four-piece band led by keyboardist Jeff Collela. Plays three nights, Oct 12–14.


  • Bootleg Theater is presenting Good Enof, a whimsical journey into the mind of a child who longs to be “good enough.” A solo performance combining elements of spoken word, poetry, music and clowning, created and performed by Elisa Noemí. Directed by Kiki del Vecchio and Gabriel Marcel del Vecchio. Opens Sep 6 at Bootleg Theatre on Beverly Blvd.
  • Also at Bootleg, Unapologetically Black, created and performed by Misty Monroe, “a Black woman, with a white name, trying to assimilate into both South Central Los Angeles (predominately black) and the naval bases of Northern California (predominately “Other”). Directed by Karen Maruyama. Opens Sep 14
  • Celebration Theatre is offering a return engagement of Del Shores’ Six Characters In Search Of A Play, written and performed by Shores, directed by Emerson Collins. Riffing on Pirandello’s title, “Shores brings to life six one-of-a-kind characters he has met in real life that haven’t quite made it into one of his plays, films or TV shows.” Plays Sep 27-30 at Celebration Theatre @ the Lex Theatre in Hollywood.


Australian Theatre Company and Skylight Theatre Company showcase the West Coast premiere of the solo work, Swansong, written by Conor McDermottroe, directed by Greg Caroll, and starring André de Vanny. Opens Sep 8 at the Skylight Theatre in Hollywood.

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 90.7 (FM). On Aug 31, Arts in Review welcomes cast members Dan Tulis and Melissa Strauss from the comedy, Inspecting Carol, by Daniel Sullivan, opening Sep 7 at Hillcrest Center for the Arts.

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.