This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez


  • The Gordon Davidson Award Presentation, honoring its inaugural recipient, Oskar Eustis of The Public Theater, for “Lifetime Achievement and Distinguished Service in the Regional Theatre Nationally,” will be held at an invitation-only event Sep 22 at Center Theatre Group’s Annex in the Gordon Davidson Rehearsal Hall. The Gordon Davidson Award was established by a committee led by Sheldon Epps of the Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC) Foundation.
  • The Road Theatre Company in the NoHo Arts District announces its 2018/19 season of plays at the Road theatres on Magnolia and Lankershim, beginning with the premiere of The Rescued, following “six souls who spend the day singing, sleeping, and wrestling their past with the present,” written by Julie Marie Myatt and directed by Marya Mazor (Sep 21-Nov 11). The season continues with the premiere of Death House, written by Jason Karasev and directed by Michael Peretzian, exploring “justice, redemption, and the power of human connection” (Jan 2019); the premiere of Friends With Guns (“Can instant kinship between two liberal married couples survive a closet full of guns?”), written by Stephanie Alison Walker and directed by Randee Trabitz (Mar 2019); and a fourth show TBA (May 2019).
  • Greenway Arts Alliance’s 2018-2019 season will include The Color Purple, the 2005 Tony-winning musical, with book by Marsha Norman, music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray; directed and choreographed by Jeffrey Polk (Nov 9-Dec 9); Herland by Grace Mcleod, a “Rolling World Premiere” about “women growing up, growing old, and rocking out to the beat of their own drums,” directed by Tiffany Moon, Greenway Court Theatre’s Producing Director and Literary Manager for the Ojai Playwrights Conference (May 31-June 23, 2019); and the 3rd Annual L.A. Get Down Festival, a celebration of hip-hop and spoken word with Shihan Van Clief serving as Festival Director, produced in association with Da Poetry Lounge (Apr 2019). All productions are presented at Greenway Court Theatre on the campus of Fairfax High School.
  • Playwright Christian Levatino and his Gangbusters Theatre are bringing The Big Event to The Complex Hollywood, a repertory run of three dark comedy plays from Levatino’s Black Bag Pentalogy, “a series of works that holds a magnifying glass to five very distinct moments in American history between 1954 and 1972.” These include Sunny Afternoon, November 22nd, 1963, the kickoff of a 46-hour interrogation of Lee Harvey Oswald in the custody of Dallas Homicide Captain Will Fritz; King Dick, Christmastime, 1970, a surreal cold call from Elvis “the king” to the President of the United States; and …meantime at HoJo’s, Friday night June 16th, 1972, set across the street from the Watergate Complex, where eight men wait inside a Howard Johnson’s motel room. (In repertory, Oct 20-Nov 18).


  • The premiere of the musical, Tenor by Night, with book, music, and lyrics by James Chiao, and choreography by Becky Castells, will take place Sep 22 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. The production is “loosely based on the author-composer’s own life story as a Chinese businessman who immigrated to the United States and overcame the odds and obstacles to realizing his American dream.” Stars Filipino-American tenor Kevin Gino as James. Presented with a full orchestra conducted by Charles Fernandez.
  • Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks is hosting the premiere of Villainy, Or H.H. Holmes’ Own Story, the true tale of America’s first serial killer, written by John Strysik and directed by Jeff G. Rack. Stars Tor Brown, Jennifer Novak Chun, Mckenzie R. Eckels, Eric Keitel, Tanya Raisa, and Nathalie Rudolph. Opens Oct 3.


  • Victory Theatre Bare Company continues it recurring Backstory, “an evening of true stories, poetry, and flights of fancy told live around a theatrical theme,” created by Carl Weintraub and Laurie O’Brien. This month’s theme: A Delicate Balance, featuring storytellers Don Kingfisher Campbell, Kevin Herrmann, Maureen Kellen-Taylor, Christine No, and Bill Posley. Hosted by O’Brien. Plays Sep 23 at The Victory Theatre Center in Burbank.
  • Musical Theatre Guild opens its 2018/19 season with the 1966 Tony-nominated Mame, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, based on Auntie Mame, the novel by Patrick Dennis, and the subsequent stage play by Lawrence and Lee. Stars Kelly Lester as Dolly and Barbara Carlton Heart as Vera. Directed by Lewis Wilkenfeld. Musical direction by Cassie Nickols and choreography by Heather Castillo. Plays Sep 23 only at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.


  • Hudson Theatre in Hollywood is presenting the West Coast premiere of The Bench, A Homeless Love Story, based on true stories “exploring the emotional anguish of five homeless characters and the catastrophic hysteria surrounding the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s,” written and performed by Robert Galinsky, directed by Jay O. Sanders. Opens Oct 4.


Kiki Ebsen discusses her musical biographical homage to her father, To Dad With love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen, at Theatre West, Oct 12-14.

Composer Jerry Herman discusses the making of Mame, the musical.

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 21, Martinez hosts director Michael Van Duzer, actor David Mingrino, and actress Julia Silverman from Theatre West’s staging of The Man Who Saved Everything, by Benjamin Scuglia, running through Sep 23.

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.