By Julio Martinez
IN THE NEWS
- Center Theatre Group has selected three local productions for the third annual Block Party: Celebrating Los Angeles Theatre at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Block Party 2019 will remount Theatre of NOTE’s For The Love Of (or, the roller derby play), written by Gina Femia, directed by Rhonda Kohl (Mar 7-17); Skylight Theatre Company’s Rotterdam, written by Jon Brittain, directed by Michael A. Shepperd (Mar 28-Apr 7); and Antaeus Theatre Company’s Native Son, written by Nambi E. Kelley, directed by Andi Chapman (Apr 18-28). Each production will have a two-week run with 12 performances. The three visiting companies will receive the full support of Center Theatre Group and its staff to fund, stage and market their productions.
- Better Lemons and Thymele Arts will host Meet the Publicists, featuring several of LA’s premier performance art publicists (dance, theatre, music, film, and art) for a panel discussion of theatre publicity, marketing, and promotion. Publicists include Tim Choy (Davidson & Choy Publicity), Lucy Pollak (Lucy Pollak Public Relations), Philip Sokoloff, and Lynn Tejada (Green Galactic). Dec 15 (10 am to noon) at Thymele Arts in Hollywood.
- Open Fist Theatre is offering the premiere of Last Call, a semi-autobiographical dramedy of aging parents who “hatch a not-so-funny way to avoid the retirement home,” written by Anne Kenney, directed by Lane Allison. Debuts in Atwater Village Theatre on Jan 18. Directed by Lane Allison and featuring Laura Richardson, Ben Martin, Lynn Milgrim, Art Hall, Bronte Scoggins, Stephanie Crothers, and Bryan Bertone.
- The Geffen Playhouse’s Spotlight Entertainment Series is presenting Rita Wilson’s Liner Notes, featuring songwriters Billy Steinberg, the Warren Brothers, and additional artist/s to be announced in an intimate evening of song sets and personal stories behind their biggest hits, staged in the round. Jan 10-13 at Geffen’s Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater in Westwood.
- Theatre 40 announces the return of The Manor- Murder and Madness at Greystone—now in its 17th year. The hit immersive crime/scandal drama, set in the historic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, is written by Kathrine Bates and directed by Martin Thompson. Opens Jan 10 at Greystone Mansion in Greystone Park.
- Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks is hosting the L.A. premiere of the solo musical comedy, Forever Brooklyn! A Kosher Musical Comedy, the story of Melvin Kaplofkis, a young man growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s who emerges in the 1960s as Mel King, The King of Brooklyn. Written and directed by Mark Wesley Curran, starring Danny DiTorrice. Opens Jan 5.
‘TIS THE SEASON
- The Broad Stage presents Theater Latté Da’s All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce Of 1914, created and directed by Theater Latté Da’s founding Artistic Director Peter Rothstein with vocal arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach. This musical theatre work marks a moment in history when Allied and German soldiers met in “No Man’s Land” and laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together by trading carols, sharing food and drink, playing soccer, and burying the dead. Dec 22, 4 and 7 pm.
Character actor James Greene, a Broadway veteran and a mainstay of the Interact Theatre Company, died at age 91 at home on November 9. Greene made his Broadway debut as a member of the chorus in a 1951 production of Romeo and Juliet, starring Olivia de Havilland. He appeared in 22 other Broadway plays, including the original production of Inherit the Wind, and in revivals such as The Iceman Cometh, starring Jason Robards (1985). He also appeared in another 29 plays off-Broadway. Born on Dec 1, 1926, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Greene graduated from Emerson College in 1950. As a runner, he participated in the Boston Marathon, placing 28th. Taking up acting full time, he became an original member of the Lincoln Center Repertory Company under Elia Kazan. At L.A.’s Interact Theatre, he performed in over a dozen productions, including the Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. He also played Mark Twain in the KPFK’s AIR Repertory radio production of The Diary of Adam and Eve. He was last featured in Center Theatre Group’s 2016 staging of Endgame, also starring Alan Mandell, Barry McGovern, Anne Gee Byrd, and Charlotte Rae. Greene is survived by his wife, Elsbeth M. Collins—a veteran stage manager who is the head of production at the USC School of Dramatic Arts—and his son, Christopher. His family is planning a life celebration in January (TBA). Donations can be made in his name to the Actors Fund.
Julio Martinez hosts Arts in Review, on KPFK 90.7FM, celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area. For his upcoming, two-day Holiday Special, Julio will broadcast an encore of AIR Repertory Radio Theater’s All Is Calm, All is Bright (the story of Silent Night) (Dec. 21, 2-2:30 pm) and The Christmas Eve Truce (Dec 21, 2:30-3 pm); and a Christmas Day presentation of AIR Rep’s premiere of Christmas at the Algonquin (Dec 25 10-10:30am) and the 15th annual presentation of Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales (Dec 25, 10:30-11am).