This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez


  • The Actors’ Gang Theater kicks offs its 2018/19 season with The Madwoman of Chaillot, the 1943 satire written by Jean Giraudoux, celebrating “love, life, defiance, and rebellion,” adapted by Maurice Valency and directed by Tim Robbins. Opens Sep 27 at the Ivy Substation in Culver City. The season continues with Aphrodite’s Holiday Show, written and directed by Lee Margaret Hanson and Adam J. Jefferis (Nov 29-Dec 16); Accidental Death Of An Anarchist, written by Dario Fo, directed by Will Thomas McFadden (Jan 24-Mar 9); One Act Festival/The Classic (No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre, directed by Brian Finney; and Krapp’s Last Tape, by Samuel Beckett, directed by Cynthia Ettinger), (Mar 14-Apr 20); One Act Festival/ The Original (Tradition, written by James Edward Bane, directed by Tess Vidal; A Perfect World, written by Lynde Houck), (Mar 16-Apr 20); The Misadventures Of Spike Spangle, Farmer (formerly Violence), by Tim Robbins and Adam Simon, directed by Bob Turton (May 2-Jun 22); and special performances of The New Colossus, written by The Actors’ Gang Ensemble, co-written and directed by Tim Robbins (Oct 24, Dec 5, and Apr 17, 2019).
  • A collaboration of grad students from the humanities at UCLA College and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television has brought forth LA Escena 2018, “Los Angeles’ first Hispanic classical theater festival,” directed by UCLA professor Barbara Fuchs. Works include Mexican theater company EFE Tres’ production of Lope de Vega’s El Príncipe Inocente (The Innocent Prince) and El Merolico (The Mountebank), both performed in Spanish with English supertitles. Sylvia Blush and Jean Carlo Yunen Arostegui will direct Women and Servants, also by Lope de Vega, translated into English by Fuchs. The festival also includes Golden Tongues, a series of staged readings featuring English-language adaptations of Hispanic classical plays by L.A. writers. Playwrights’ Arena will present Madhuri Shekar’s School for Witches, based on María de Zayas’ La traición en la amistad; Janine Salinas Schoenberg’s Like/Share, a riff on Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Los Cabellos de Absalón; and Michael Premsrirat’s La locura de los ángeles, adapted from Lope de Vega’s Los locos de Valencia. Sep 21-23 at Greenway Court Theatre on the campus of Fairfax High School.
  • IAMA Theatre Company’s 2018/19 season will forge new partnerships while presenting three premieres, beginning with the already-announced L.A. premiere of Bess Wohl’s American Hero, a guest production at Pasadena Playhouse’s Carrie Hamilton Theatre (Sept 21–Oct 21). Upcoming is IAMA’s partnership with Latino Theater Company for the premiere of Canyon, a “play about a man in search of a better view from his deck deep within a canyon and the people who either help him get it, or stand in his way,” written by Jonathan Caren, directed by Weyni Mengesha at Los Angeles Theatre Center (Mar 8-Apr 7); and the premiere of Mamatallica, a black comedy that entwines issues of identity with pop culture icons, by 2017 Humanitas Play LA award-winner Sigrid Gilmer, directed by Deena Selenow at Atwater Village Theatre (May 23-Jun 23). In addition, IAMA will present a New Works Festival of staged readings (Nov 8-11), a Holiday Cabaret (Dec 9) and its fifth annual One Day Plays event (Feb 10, 2019).


  • Son of Semele Ensemble will present premiere of The Woman Who Went to Space as a Man, a play with music investigating “gender, longing, and creativity as self-exploration through one of the science fiction world’s greatest literary tricksters”: science fiction writer Alice B. Sheldon (AKA James Tiptree, Jr.). Written and directed by Maureen Huskey, with music by Yuval Ron; musical direction by Richard An. Opens Oct 27 at Son of Semele Theater on Beverly Blvd., near downtown L.A.
  • Laguna Playhouse is premiering I Dig Rock ‘n Roll Music, chronicling the songs of the “protest and passion” years from 1965 to early ‘80s. Written by James O’Neil, George Grove, and Dan Wheetman. O’Neil directs. Sep 19-23.
  • New Los Angeles theater company Door Number 3 presents the L.A. premiere of Radiant Vermin, a comedy by British playwright Philip Ridley, directed by Artistic Director Tim True. The cast includes Britt Harris, Laura Faye Smit, and Kapil Talwalkar. Opens Oct 19 as a visiting production at the Odyssey Theatre in West L.A.


  • Martin McDonagh’s 1998 Tony-nominated play, The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, a darkly comic tale of four characters trapped in the hopeless town of Leenane in County Galway, Ireland, directed by Mark Kemble. With Casey Kramer, Angela Nicholas, Tim Hildebrand, and Curtis Bel. Opens Sep 14 at studio/stage in L.A.
  • Santa Barbara’s Ensemble Theatre Company announces the opening play of its 40th anniversary, 2018-2019 season, The School For Lies, an adaptation in rhyming verse of Molière’s classic comedy, The Misanthrope. Written by David Ives; directed by Jonathan Fox. Opens Oct 6 at The New Vic in Santa Barbara.



 Writer Michael J. Feldman and director Annie McVey discuss Fairy Tale Theatre 18 & Over: The Musical, premiering Sep 14 at The Pico in West L.A.   


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 Sep 14, Arts in Review hosts director Michael Michetti and Amin El Gamal from the stage adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, opening Sept 23 at A Noise Within in Pasadena.

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.