By Julio Martinez
IN THE NEWS
- The Fountain Theatre has revealed a 2019-20 season of new works by a diverse group of playwrights, offering up a series of Los Angeles, California, Southern California, West Coast, and world premieres. The season begins with the West Coast premiere of Hype Man, written by Idris Goodwin, about a diverse hip-hop trio on the verge of making it big on national TV when they become unhinged by a police shooting of a black teen. Directed by Deena Selenow. Opens Feb 23. The rest of the season: the Southern California premiere of Daniel’s Husband, by Michael McKeever, starring Bill Brochtrup, Tim Cummings, and Jenny O’Hara (May 4); the California premiere of Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, by Jiehae Park (July 13); the L.A. premiere of Between Riverside and Crazy, the 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Stephen Adly Guirgis (Sep 21); the premiere of Jane Doe, a contemporary retelling of the 1941 Frank Capra classic film, Meet John Doe, adapted by Fountain Theatre Co-artistic director Stephen Sachs (Jan 18, 2020); and the L.A. premiere of If I Forget, by Steven Levenson, directed by Simon Levy (Mar 28, 2020).
- The Loft Ensemble in Sherman Oaks is presenting the premiere of the comedy, To All the Lights in the Window, written by Chris Haas and directed by Mitch Rosander, exploring what happens when people say what they’re really thinking 100% of the time. Features a 12-member ensemble. Opens Jan 12.
- Lightning Rod Theater presents the premiere of Nude/Naked, playwright/director Paul Hoan Zeidler’s examination of the dangers––and new tools––of the mob mentality. Opens Jan 18 at McCadden Place Theatre in Hollywood. Cast includes Sorel Carradine (daughter of Keith Carradine), Bjorn Johnson, Jonathan Grey and more.
- Odyssey Theatre in West L.A. is hosting the West Coast premiere of Paradise, written by Laura Maria Censabella, exploring what science can tell us about love. Directed Vicangelo Bullock; starring Medalion Rahimi and Jeff Marlow. Opens Jan 26, presented by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions and American Oasis.
- In Man of God, an East West Players premiere play by Anna Moench, a hidden discovery in a hotel bathroom changes the lives of four Korean American Christian girls on a mission trip to Thailand. Directed by Jessica Prudencio. Opens Feb 7 at David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo.
- Anaheim’s Chance Theater offers the Orange County premiere of Lizzie, The Musical, with music by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt; lyrics by DeMeyer and Tim Maner; book and additional music by Maner. Directed by Jocelyn A. Brown, with musical direction by Robyn Manion and choreography by Hazel Clarke. Opens Feb 9 on the Cripe Stage at the Bette Aitken theater arts Center.
- Alfred Uhry’s 1988 Pulitzer Prize-winning Driving Miss Daisy, starring four-time Emmy winner Michael Learned and Lance E. Nichols, is the Laguna Beach Playhouse’s fourth show of its 98th season. Directed by Michael Bloom. Opens Jan 13.
- Canon Theatricals presents Miss America’s Ugly Daughter: Bess Myerson & Me, Barra Grant’s darkly comedic mother-daughter story, featuring Grant and Monica Piper. Directed by Eve Brandstein, with original music by Mark Adler. Opens Feb. 8 at the Greenway Court Theatre.
- Next up for L.A. Theatre Works: a recorded-before-a-live-audience-for-future-radio-broadcast production of Lee Blessing’s A Walk in the Woods, focusing on a meeting between a cynical Russian and an idealistic young American to explore the obstacles their countries face on the path to peace. Cameron Watson directs Alfred Molina and Steven Weber. Opens Jan 25 at James Bridges Theater on the campus of UCLA.
- Long Beach Playhouse presents Agatha Christie’s 1954 British whodunit, Spider’s Web, directed by Ryan Holihan. Opens Jan 12.
- South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa is reviving the Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler 1979 Tony winner, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, directed by Kent Nicholson. Opening weekend is Jan 26-27 on the Segerstrom Stage.
- SHINE Storytelling kicks off the 10th Annual Fireside at the Miles, Santa Monica’s cultural festival at Miles Memorial Playhouse. The evening’s theme will be “Last Call,” with storytellers sharing true stories of what they did when they thought it might be their last chance. Hosted by storyteller Deana Barone, with live music by Zana Messia. Jan 26 only.
THE THING IS…
CNN Host Brooke Baldwin and director Stan Zimmerman talk about the Latinx staging of The Diary Of Anne Frank, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (based upon the classic, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl), newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman. Opens Jan 12 at the Dorie Theatre @ The Complex in Hollywood.
Julio Martinez hosts Arts in Review, celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area, airing Fridays (2-2:30 pm), on KPFK 90.7FM. On Jan 11, playwright Brian Letscher and cast members discuss the West Coast premiere of Smart Love, directed by Elina de Santos, opening Jan 12 at Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice.