This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez


  • Independent Shakespeare Company has been named the 2018 recipient of the Paul Robeson Citation Award from Actors’ Equity Foundation and Actors’ Equity Association, presented on Oct 15 at AEA’s National Membership Meeting in L.A. Previous winners include Robeson himself in 1971, Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, James Earl Jones, Athol Fugard, Lena Horne, Joseph Papp, Sidney Poitier, Pete Seeger, and more. ISC is only the second organization to receive this honor. Up next for ISC is its Oct 26 premiere of Letters From Home, written and performed by Kalean Ung. The multimedia show weaves together Ung’s Cambodian family’s refugee story and music by Chinary Ung. Directed by Marina McClure. Developed and presented at ISC Studio at the Atwater Arts + Innovation Complex in Atwater Village.
  • The site-specific theatrical event, Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta, set in 1942, celebrates the life of Eugene Plummer, the original resident of West Hollywood. Written by Diana Burbano, Tom Jacobson, and Chelsea Sutton with the Rogue Artists Ensemble, and directed by Sean T. Cawelti, the production is based on the book, Señor Plummer: The Life and Laughter of an Old Californian, “Eugenio Plummer’s (mostly) true account of his life in early Los Angeles,” and is “told through a patchwork of tall-tales, large-scale puppets, masks, music, and a cast of 20 actors.” Opens Oct 19 at Plummer Park in West Hollywood.


  • Long Beach Ballet presents its 36th annual holiday production of The Nutcracker, at the Terrace Theater at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, Dec 15-23. Features a full symphony orchestra and a cast of over 200. Staged by Artistic Director David Wilcox, with orchestra conducted by Dr. Roger Hickman.
  • Santa Monica Playhouse presents Patrick Censoplano in the return of David Sedaris’s The SantaLand Diaries, a tart, twisted holiday tale, directed by Chris DeCarlo, adapted by Joe Mantello, playing Nov 30-Dec 16.


  • The Latino Theatre Company will offer the U.S. premiere of Desert Rats and the world premiere of Members Only, opening Oct 27 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. Desert Rats, written by Nate Rufus Edelman and directed by Angie Scott at LATC’s Avalos Theatre, is a noir comedy set in a squalid Barstow motel focusing on a kidnapping gone awry. With Derek Chariton, Lila Gavares, and Walt Gray IV. Members Only, Oliver Mayer’s sequel to his boxing drama, Blade to the Heat, takes place in 1982, 20 years later. Staged by Artistic Director José Luis Valenzuela in LATC’s Theatre 3, the production features Ronnie Alvarez, Marlene Forte, Gabriela Ortega, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Jon Huertas, Hansford Prince, Ray Oriel, and Geoffrey Rivas.
  • Playwrights 6 is presenting the premiere of G. Bruce Smith’s Where the Dead Men Lost Their Bones, opening Nov 9 at McCadden Place Theatre in Hollywood, and centering on “the hidden pain surrounding the disappearance of a young Englishman in Africa amidst a strange obsession with a Sioux Indian chief who lies buried in a neglected grave in a London cemetery.” Directed by Brian Reynolds; starring Mari Marks, David Mack, Elyse Ashton, and Ainsley Emrys.
  • Parson’s Nose Theater, Los Angeles’ professional, classical comedy theater company, kicks off its 2018-19 season with the premiere of Mark Twain and Friends: A River Journey, by Los Angeles playwright and actor Greg White. Directed by Gary Lamb, the production stars Paul Perri as Mark Twain. Partly sponsored by the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Department. Opens Oct 20 at Parson’s Nose Theatre in Pasadena.


  • Laguna Playhouse presents the third show in its 98th season, the Tony Award-nominee, The Seafareran Irish ghost story, written by Conor McPherson and directed by Ovation Award-winner Michael Matthews (The Graduate). Opens Oct 21.
  • The Garage Theatre in Long Beach is reprising Tom Stoppard’s Darkside, which the company premiered in 2015, incorporating Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. Directed by Eric Hamme. Cast includes Maribella Magaña, Eddie Vona, Paul Knox, Robert Young, Matt Anderson, Craig Johnson, and Sherry Diamond. Opens Nov 9 at the Found Theatre in Long Beach.
  • Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills is hosting a staged reading of playwright Tony Blake’s Sunday Dinner, a dark comedy about a working-class family with one-too-many secrets. Blake directs. Oct. 23 at Theatre Forty on the campus of Beverly Hills High School. Admission is free.


  • Barbara Minkus’s one-woman sojourn through her career, 18 Minutes Of Fame, is playing at the Pico Theatre on Oct 21, before moving to New York’s The Triad.
  • The Italian In Me, Dina Morrone’s solo remembrance piece of being a young American actress in Rome, is playing at Theatre West, Nov 10-11.  Peter Flood directs.



Writer/performer Robert Galinsky explains The Bench, A Homeless Love Story, directed by Jay O. Sanders, opening Nov 9 at The Hudson Guild 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).

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.