This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez


  • Center Theatre Group (CTG) has selected 12 local high school students to participate in the regional finals for the 2019 August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC), designed to inspire and educate Los Angeles youth using monologues from August Wilson’s American Century Cycle. For the eighth consecutive year, CTG is hosting the Southern California component of the national monologue competition, to be held at the Mark Taper Forum on Monday, Mar 11. Those selected to participate in the regional finals are Bene’t Benton (Carson), Kyle Branch (Los Angeles), Samuel Caruana (Canyon Country), Tiffany DeBerry (Santa Clarita), Dejean Deterville (Palmdale), Mylah Eaton (Studio City), Jofre Paul Francisco (Los Angeles), Jada Henry (Los Angeles), Laila C. Stewart (West Covina), Vanessa Valencia (Los Angeles), Daniel Velez (Los Angeles), and Ryan Wade (Los Angeles). The students represent seven local high schools within Los Angeles County. Eaton and Velez also participated in the 2018 competition. The top two students will participate in the national finals on Broadway on May 6.
  • Theatre Of Note in Hollywood presents the 24th Annual Hollywood Performance Marathon, featuring more than 50 performers, donating their time and talent to benefit Theatre of NOTE. This all-day, all-night extravaganza includes comedy, juggling, poetry, puppets, performance art, dance, music, monologues, and more.  Jan 19, 3 pm until dawn.
  • The Fountain Theatre follows its hugely successful 2018 celebrity reading of All the President’s Men with a one-night-only, all-star, gender-switching reading of Ms. Smith Goes to Washington, starring Bellamy Young (ABC’s Scandal) in the title role, along with Joshua Malina and Jeff Perry, with more TBA. Presented by the award-winning Fountain Theatre in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, the play is adapted by Fountain Co-Artistic director Stephen Sachs from Sidney Buchman’s screenplay for the 1939 Jimmy Stewart classic, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Directed by Sachs and hosted by L.A. City Council member Mitch O’Farrell, the performance takes place Jan 24 in the John Ferraro Council Chamber of Los Angeles City Hall, Room 340.


  • The Road Theatre Company in NoHo premieres the second show of its 2018-2019 season: Death House, focusing on the cathartic meeting between a death-house chaplain, the young pastor who will replace him, and an enigmatic inmate who challenges their convictions. Written by Jason Karasev, directed by Michael Peretzian, and featuring Sam Anderson, Verity Branco, and Chase Cargill. Opens Jan 18 at the Road on Lankershim.
  • Sacred Fools Theater Company continues its 22nd season with the West Coast premiere of Too Heavy for Your Pocket, revolving around two young African-American couples in rural Tennessee at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, struggling to understand justice, love, and their own responsibilities. Written by Jiréh Breon Holder and directed by Michael Shepperd. Cast includes Derek Jackson, Kacie Rogers, Jaquita Ta’le, and Shane Liburd. Opens Feb 1.


  • Parson’s Nose Theater in Pasadena continues its 2018-19 season with Carlo Goldoni’s 1750 farce, The Servant of Two Masters, a 75-minute adaptation by PNT Artistic Director Lance Davis, who also directs and is featured in the title role. Opens Feb 9.
  • Garry Marshall Theatre presents the West End and Broadway play, The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall, set on Apr 3, 1968, the night before the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Directed by Gregg T. Daniel. Stars Gilbert Glenn Brown and Carolyn Ratteray. Opens Feb 8.
  • The Pasadena Playhouse will transform the historic theater with an all-new version of Ragtime: The Musical, with book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. (Based on E.L. Doctorow’s novel, Ragtime.) Direction by David Lee, choreography by Mark Esposito, music direction by Darryl Archibald. Returning to L.A. more than two decades after its premiere at the Shubert Theatre and featuring 21 actors and a 16-piece orchestra, this is one of the most ambitious productions in the Playhouse’s recent history. Opens Feb 10.
  • The Group Rep presents two James McLure’s one-act comedies: Laundry & Bourbon and Lone Star. Directed by Barbara Brownell. Features Todd Andrew Ball, R.J. DeBard, Nick Paonessa, Kristin Towers-Rowles, Savannah Schoenecker, and Sarah Zuk. Opens Jan 25 in the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood.


  • Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest 2019 will be hosting Lemur Mom, one woman’s journey into life on the spectrum, written and performed by Megan Dolan, exploring the power of resilience, kindness, and the value of showing up. Wendy Hammers directs. Jan 27, Mar 31, and Apr 28.
  • Richard Cabral’s acclaimed solo show, Fighting Shadows, the brutal account of Cabral’s early life as a gang member in East LA and his transformation made possible by the good work of Homeboy Industries and Father Greg Boyle, is making a return engagement at the Rosenthal Theater at Inner-City Arts on Jan 31. Written by Cabral with Robert Egan. Diane Rodriguez directs.


Fountain Theatre’s FemFest, play readings by and about women, features 16 actresses and four theater companies. Runs through Feb 3.

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 18, Martinez welcome actors John (JW) Walker and Pamela Gaye Walker from the play, The Empty Nesters, written by Garret Jon Groenveld, directed by Richard Seyd, and opening Jan 17 at the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood.

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.