By Julio Martinez
IN THE NEWS
- Following a record-breaking six-week, sold-out engagement in L.A., Center Theatre Group announced today that the national tour of the Tony-winning Dear Evan Hansen will play a return engagement in CTG’s 2020-2021 season at the Ahmanson Theatre. The production, which opened Oct 19, became the first show in Ahmanson Theatre history to gross more than $2 million in a single playing week. The show went on to break its own record for each of the next four consecutive weeks, topping out at over $2.5 million in the final week. Play dates and ticketing for the return run will be announced at a later date.
- Lythgoe Family Panto presents the premiere of The Wonderful Winter Of Oz, directed by Bonnie Lythgoe and choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo, with book by Kris Lythgoe and musical direction by Michael Orland. The production stars Juan Pablo Di Pace as the Cowardly Lion, Mackenzie Ziegler as Dorothy, and Tony Award-winner Marissa Jaret Winokur as Glinda, and features Kermit the Frog as the Wizard of Oz, Jared Gertner as the Scarecrow, Phil LaMarr as the Tin Man, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer as the Wicked Witch of the West, and Rescue Dog Pickle C. Irwin as Toto. Plays Dec 15-30 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
- The Beetlebung Road LLC. production of Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love has completed a run at New York’s Theater for the New City and will take up residence at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. Directed by Kymberly Harris and starring Sophia Silver, Andrew Dits, George Oliver, and John Ruby. Opens Dec. 6.
- That trio of satirical Latinos, Culture Clash (Richard Montoya, Ricardo Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza), returns to South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa in Culture Clash (Still) in America, taking a look at the men and women who make up this nation. Directed by Lisa Peterson. Opens Dec 30 on the Julianne Argyros Stage.
- Laguna Playhouse is offering its fifth annual New Year’s Eve celebration, Rita Rudner: Her Absolutely Positively Last Show Of 2018, a one-night performance featuring special musical guest 92629 (Molly Bergman and Peyton Goss). Plays Dec 31.
- Odyssey Theatre Ensemble in West L.A celebrates the art of dance with its third annual festival, Dance at the Odyssey 2019, beginning with Berlin-based choreographer and dancer Shade Théret in maybe, a site-specific work presented in collaboration with the artist Lukas Panek (Jan 5 & 6). The festival continues with Be Seen, telling the stories of people who exist only in the margins, from choreographer, performer and visual artist Rebecca Lemme (Jan 11 & 12); L.A. Contemporary Dance Company’s The Only Constant, an evening of new work skating the line between composure and chaos, by choreographer Genevieve Carson (Jan 17-20); The TL Collective and The JA Collective celebrating the hybrid of contemporary dance and hip-hop with CollectivesDrift (Jan 25-27); Rosanna Tavarez/La Dansa Dansa’s Hybrids of Plants and Ghosts, visceral movement executed in a visually striking dance theater work (Feb 2 & 3); and Kevin Williamson & Company’s Gnarled, an evening of collaborative duets ruminating on themes of detachment, pleasure, withdrawal and aging (Feb 8-10).
- Theatre West is presenting Independence, The True Story of Dr. Mary Walker, a solo show chronicling the life of the first female surgeon in the U.S. Army and the only woman to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Starring Kathie Barnes; written and directed by Lloyd J. Schwartz. Opens Jan 12.
‘TIS THE SEASON
- Laguna Playhouse brings back last year’s comedy duo in an all holiday event, The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf. Broadway’s Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley return for two nights, offering “undie-rock, comedy pop…stripped down, mashed up versions of holiday favorites” with guest performers. Dec 10-11.
- For the seventh year, Long Beach Playhouse is offering its “non-traditional” A Christmas Carol with some cast members playing multiple roles. Adapted by Phie and Larry Mura; directed by Larry Mura. Featuring a nine-member ensemble. Opens Dec 8.
THE THING IS…
Co-creators/directors Jackie Learmond and Megan James discuss A Holiday Comedy Shitsh*W, featuring a 21-member ensemble. Opens Dec 4 at The Complex 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). On Nov 30, Julio welcomes Sandra Tsing Loh, whose Sugar Plum Fairy, directed by Bart De Lorenzo, opens Dec 1 at the Skylight Theatre in Hollywood.