This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez


  • Now in its 37th season, Celebration Theatre, under the artistic direction of Michael A. Shepperd, revealed its 2019 season of shows at the Lex Theatre in Hollywood, beginning with the LA premiere of Born To Win, written by and starring Matt Wilkas and Mark Setlock. The production focuses on the beauty pageant duel between two mothers who will stop at nothing to see their individual daughters crowned “Supreme Queen.” Directed by Michael Matthews. Opens Jan 18. The season continues with the L.A premiere of the comedy, The Secretaries, written by The Five Lesbian Brothers (April 2019); and the 2001 Tony-winner, The Producers, with book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, music and lyrics by Mel Brooks. Michael Matthews directs. (June 2019).
  • The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles presents Bard Talks, a new interactive Shakespeare webinar series led by noted teachers and scholars from universities, libraries, and institutes. Presented in conjunction with the Shakespeare Center’s professionally-staged reading series, featuring Antony and Cleopatra (Feb 10), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Apr 28), Cymbeline (Sep 22), and Twelfth Night (Dec 8, 2019), directed by Louis Fantasia.


  • The Inkwell Theater is offering the premiere of Sisters Three, paying homage to the Brontë sisters and their brother Patrick, an off-center dramedy about family, social media, fame, and the holidays. Written by Jami Brandli; directed by Annie McVey. Opens Dec 14 at VS. Theatre in LA. The ensemble features Robyn Cohen, Dana DeRuyck, and Kara Hume.
  • The Complex in Hollywood is hosting the premiere of Matt Chaitt’s A Misunderstanding, a playful journey of ideas that challenges our fundamental understanding of reality. Directed by Elina de Santos; featuring Chait, Bruce Katzman, Amy-Helene Carlson, and Dennis Renard. Opens Jan 4 at The Ruby Theatre in The Complex.


  • Santa Barbara’s Ensemble Theatre Company announces the second show of its 40th anniversary season, The Legend Of Georgia McBride, written by Matthew Lopez, directed by Jenny Sullivan, and choreographed by Jamie Torcellini. In a run-down bar in the Florida Panhandle, an Elvis impersonator’s career is not going well until he meets an aging drag queen. The cast includes Stephen Michael Spencer, Bill Brochtrup, J. Stephen Brantley, and Carlton Byrd. Opens Dec 8 at The New Vic in Santa Barbara.
  • The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica presents Red Hen Press: An Afternoon of Poetry and Performance at The East Wing at The Broad Stage. Features Morten Lauridsen’s music paired with the voices of Rod Gilfry and mezzo-soprano Carin Gilfry, in conversation with the lyric poetry of Amber Flora Thomas and the works of California State Poet Laureate Dana Gioia. Dec 16 only.
  • Theatre 40 is presenting Rod Serling’s Stories from the Zone, stage adaptations of two classic episodes of Serling’s TV series: Mr. Garrity and the Graves; and Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? Written by Serling, adapted by Jeff G. Rack, and directed by Rack and Charlie Mount. Features a 12-member ensemble. Opens Jan 21 in the Reuben Cordova Theatre on the campus of Beverly Hills High School. Note: This show runs in repertory with Alex Goldberg’s thriller, It Is Done.
  • Celebration Theatre, as part of its Celebrating New Works reading series, is offering a one-night-only presentation of Skin Like Milk, set during one fateful night in a 1941 Berlin makeshift gay bar. Written by Ryan Fogarty; directed by Ryan Bergmann. Dec 1 at The West Hollywood City Chambers in West Hollywood.


  • The Geffen Playhouse Spotlight Entertainment Series continues with Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider, Sweeney’s take “on parenting, religion, cancer, feminism, and even her iconic SNL characters’ place in today’s modern landscape.” Opens Feb 5 in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater.


  • Mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán and actor Brian White have been set to co-host the 59th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration, the largest multicultural holiday celebration in the county, featuring 21 music, dance, and choral ensembles—over 500 performers—reflecting the diversity of holiday traditions celebrated in LA. Dec 24 (3 to 6 p.m.) at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown LA. Admission is free.
  • The Actors’ Gang Theater is offering Aphrodite’s Holiday Show, bringing back Aphrodite, Dionysus, and their 45-year old human daughter, Poinsettia, as they continue to work through their god/mortal issues, inspiring hope, love, and life. Written and directed by Lee Margaret Hanson and Adam J. Jefferis; co-written by Rynn Vogel. Features an 18-member ensemble. Now open, playing through Dec 16 at the Ivy Substation in Culver City.


Creator Sandra Tsing Loh and actors Tony Abatemarco and Shannon Holt discuss Loh’s Sugar Plum Fairy, running through Dec 23 at Skylight 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.