By Julio Martinez
IN THE NEWS
- The official 2018-2019 National Academic Decathlon literature selection is Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, wherein Shakespeare’s Hamlet is turned topsy-turvy, thrusting two minor characters to the frontlines. It is being produced by A Noise Within in Pasadena and directed by ANW co-founder Geoff Elliott. Academic Decathlon high school students from Los Angeles, Alhambra, Bakersfield, Bellflower, Granada Hills, Glendale, Grand Terrace, Lake Balboa, Northridge, Oxnard, Pacific Palisades, Perris, Redlands, Sherman Oaks, South Gate, Torrance, Valley Glen, and Woodland Hills are attending the show, which is running through Nov 18.
- Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA presents Launchpad, a two-week series of new plays featuring seven full-length and four short plays. The featured playwrights include Don Cummings, Marla DuMont, Anne Flanagan, Tony Foster, Elin Hampton, Michael Kaplan, Ron Lagomarsino, Ken Levine, Gabriel Neustadt, Mary Portser, and Ashley Rose Wellman. Runs Nov 8-18 in the Atwater Village Theatre Complex.
- Boston Court Pasadena announces its 2019 theater season, programmed by Artistic Directors Jessica Kubzansky, Michael Michetti, and Mark Saltzman. The schedule includes David Hare’s The Judas Kiss, helmed by Michetti (Feb 15-Mar 24); the 15th Annual New Play Reading Festival (Apr 4-13); the premiere of Kit Steinkellner’s Ladies, directed by Kubzansky (May 23-June 30); and the premiere of E.M. Lewis’ How the Light Gets In, directed by Literary Manager Emilie Beck (Sep 19-Oct 27).
- Casa O101 Theatre in Boyle Heights is premiering Remembering Boyle Heights, an audience participatory, immersive, and theatrical celebration that unlocks the early history, stories, and memories of Boyle Heights, “revealing the mythical and human dimensions of L.A.’s own Ellis Island of the West.” Co-written by Josefina Lopez and Corky Dominguez; directed by Dominguez. Features a 12-member ensemble. In attendance on opening night, Nov 9, will be Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, daughter of former Boyle Heights resident Edward Ross Roybal, the first Mexican-American to be elected to the Los Angeles City Council in the 20th Century. The production runs through Feb 3.
- Sacred Fools Theater Company continues season 22 with the premiere comedy, The Value of Moscow, focusing on three grown sisters who have been thrust back into living together as a last resort after their various lives have fallen apart. Written by Amy Dellagiarino, directed by Carrie Keranen, and starring Julie Bersani, Madeleine Heil, and Devin Sidell with Gregory Guy Gordon and Andres Paul Ramacho. Opens Nov 9 in the Second Stage at the Broadwater Theater Complex.
- Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival presents Hot Off The Press, hosted by Jessica Lynn Johnson and Juliette Jeffers, featuring a program of new solo writings presented by women playwrights, including Carla Delaney, Dee Freeman, and Terrie Silverman, with musical interludes performed by Clare Means. Opens Nov 18 at the Secret Rose in NoHo.
- Musical Theatre Guild presents the 1968 Tony-nominated Zorba, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joseph Stein, based on Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel and the subsequent film, Zorba the Greek. Opens Nov 11 at Alex Theatre in Glendale.
- L.A. Theatre Works will present a recorded-before-a-live-audience-for-future-radio-broadcast production of Sisters Matsumoto, Philip Kan Gotanda’s play about a Japanese-American family returning home after incarceration in an Arkansas internment camp during World War II. Stars Keiko Agena, June Angela, Ron Bittitta, Kurt Kanazawa, Suzy Nakamura, Greg Watanabe, and Ryun Yu. Directed by Tim Dang, the production runs Nov 16-18 at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater in Westwood. Special guest George Takei will take part in a post-show discussion, Sat., Nov 17, 3 pm.
- In Theatre 40’s presentation of Down to My Last Egg, written and performed by Remy O’Brien, a woman hears her last egg screaming to be fertilized. Jonathan Medina directs. Opens Nov 18 in the Reuben Cordova Theatre on the campus of Beverly Hills High School.
‘TIS THE SEASON
- The holiday perennial, Bob’s Holiday Office Party, written by Joe Keyes and Rob Elk, focuses on the shenanigans that ensue “when insurance agent Bob Finhead’s whacked out friends and clients stop by his small-town Iowa office for their annual holiday celebration.” Cast includes Keyes and Elks, as well as Michael Bonnabel, Melissa Denton, Mark Fite, Maile Flanagan, Michael Halpin, Andrea Hutchman, Sirena Irwin, Pat O’Brien, and Pat Towne. Now in its 23rd year, directed by Matt Roth, the production opens Dec 6 in Atwater Village Theatre.
- The Broad Stage in Santa Monica is presenting Peter Rothstein’s All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, recounting a moment in history when Allied and German soldiers lay down their arms to celebrate Christmas together. Weaves together firsthand accounts by 30 World War I soldiers, with patriotic tunes, trench songs, and Christmas carols arranged by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach. Plays Dec 22.
THE THING IS…
Kevin Comartin and Keith Szarabajka, Co-Artistic directors of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, discuss Launchpad. Runs through Nov 18 in Atwater Village Complex.
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 Nov 9, Arts in Review welcomes French Stewart and Vanessa Stewart, starring in Rogue Machine Theatre’s West Coast premiere of Joe Gilford’s Finks, opening Nov 10 at the Electric Lodge in Venice.