This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez

IN THE NEWS


  • The Road Theatre in NoHo is continuing its recurring The Word At The Road readings with Angela J. Davis’s The Spanish Prayer Book, inspired by true events and a late 20th-century court case, exploring “the allure of sacred objects, the ethical issues generated by cultural treasures displaced during wartime, and the power of art to forge human connections.” Directed by Lee Sankowich. The cast includes Allen Wasserman, Laura Gardner, Kimberly Alexander, Satiar Pourvasei, Alan Blumenfeld, Ivy Khan, and Cherish Monique Duke. Oct 8 at The Road on Magnolia.

PREMIERES


  • Veteran television writer Dennis Danziger (Taxi, Kate and Allie, My Sister Sam) returns to live theater to complete a stage work, Home Plate, along with his original one-act play, Pennant Fever, written 30-plus years earlier. The premiere two-act comedy, Double Play, starring Kim Hamilton and Johnathan Tchaikovsky, directed by Matthew Leavitt, focuses on two loners who meet at the crack of dawn in front of Yankee Stadium. Opens Oct 5 at the Stephanie Feury Theatre.
  • Red Dog Squadron and VS. Theatre Company present the West Coast premiere of Cal in Camo, exploring “the revelations we all resist when overcoming the obstacles we must conquer.” Written by William Francis Hoffman; directed by Amy K. Harmon. Opens Oct 13 at VS. Theatre in L.A. Cast includes Tim Cummings, Bree Turner, and Brad Raider.
  • Center Theatre Group will offer the West Coast debut of the hit Broadway musical, Come From Away, “the true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them.” Book, music, and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, with musical staging by Kelly Devine. Directed by Tony-winner Christopher Ashley. Opens Nov 28 at CTG’s Ahmanson Theatre in downtown L.A.

AROUND TOWN


  • Performance artist John Fleck investigates the gothic horror genre in Blacktop Highway, a tale of taxidermy, transformation and caged creatures, written and performed by Fleck; directed by Randee Trabitz. Opens Nov 9 as a visiting production at the Odyssey Theatre in West L.A.
  • A Noise Within (ANW) in Pasadena presents Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, the 1968 Tony-winning comedy that upends Shakespeare’s Hamlet, thrusting two minor characters to the forefront. The cast features a 15-member ensemble, starring Kasey Mahaffy (Rosencrantz) and Rafael Goldstein (Guildenstern). Directed by ANW Producing Artistic Director Geoff Elliott. Opens Oct 13.
  • 5-Star Theatricals (formerly Cabrillo Music Theatre) opens its 2018-19 season with Shrek The Musical, with music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, musical direction by Dan Redfeld, and choreography by Karl Warden. Directed by Kirsten Chandler. Opens Oct 19 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks.
  • Just in time for Halloween, The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles presents an “immersive” staging of William Shakespeare’s The Tragedie of Macbeth, with a transformation of its 20,000 square-foot building by former Disney Imagineer Chris Runco into multiple haunted performance spaces. The 70-minute production features nine actors performing all the roles. Directed by Kenn Sabberton. Opens Oct 20.
  • Antaeus Theatre Company opens its 2018-19 season with Lillian Hellman’s Little Foxes, focusing on a post-Civil War Southern family in crisis. Directed by Cameron Watson; featuring Kristin Couture, John DeMita, Judy Louise Johnson, Mike McShane, Rob Nagle, Calvin Picou, Deborah Puette, Jocelyn Towne, Timothy Adam Venable, and William L. Warren. Opens Oct 25 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale.
  • Skylight Theatre Company presents Sandra Tsing Loh’s Sugar Plum Fairy, the comedic coming-of-age story of a 12-year-old girl who dreams of dancing the lead in The Nutcracker. Directed by Bart De Lorenzo. Performed by Loh, Tony Abatemarco, and Shannon Holt. Opens Dec 1 at Skylight Theatre in Hollywood.

SOLO MOJO


  • Los Angeles LGBT Center, Andrew Carlberg, and Foment Productions present Tony-winning playwright/performer Sarah Jones’s one-woman show, Sell/Buy/Date, inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the sex industry. Directed by Carolyn Cantor. Hosted by Lily Tomlin, Laverne Cox, and Rashida Jones. Opens Oct 14 at Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre in Hollywood.
  • Angela Delfini Explains It All For You, a full-length one-woman show about a “clownesque five-step recovery program full of unique challenges and you-can’t-go-home-again transformations.” Created by Italian comic actress Angela Delfini and directed by physical comedy director John Towsen. Plays Nov 1-3 at The Lyric Hyperion as part of a U.S. cross-country tour this fall.
  • The NAACP theater award-nominated solo show, Journey This, written and performed by Cheray O’Neal, weaves together “the lives of three generations of women, their choices and what links them.” Presented as a philanthropic event in association with the American Cancer Society and Lyrical Hair, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Opens Oct 12 at the Lounge Theater in Hollywood.

THE THING IS…


Dustin Ebsen joins his sister Kiki in a new discussion of her one-woman musical tribute to their father, To Dad With Love: A Tribute To Buddy Ebsen, choreographed by Gregory Gast. Playing Oct 12-14 at Theatre West.

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).

 

An Interview with CTG’s Sherwood Award Winner, Mat Diafos Sweeney

“I think LA theatre is at its best when it’s reaching across forms and reinventing its relationship to a live audience, and at its worst when it’s trying to fit an existing mold or production model that made sense in New York a century ago. LA is the future- our garden is wilder, vaster, and more diverse so it should be tended differently.”

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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.