This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez


  • The 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival commences June 13-30, but official registration begins Feb 1. Venue workshops have begun at Thymele Arts, moderated by Outreach Director Ellen Den Herder. There is also a planned Town Hall, hosted by Festival Director Ben Hill on Sat, Jan 26, 2-4 pm at Lounge Theatre, that will focus on everything one needs to know about registering for Fringe. For more information, go to the HFF’s “All About Registration” support page.
  • Actor Sam Waterston is joining Scandal co-stars Joshua Malina, Jeff Perry, and Bellamy Young for a one-night-only, all-star reading of Fountain Theatre’s staging of Ms. Smith Goes to Washington, written and directed by Stephen Sachs, at Los Angeles City Hall on Jan 24.
  • The 26th annual Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, the longest-running annual solo festival for women in Los Angeles, will take place Mar 22-24 at Theatre 68 in NoHo, opening with a Champagne Gala and Awards Ceremony “In Tribute to…” on Mar 22, honoring five women of exceptional achievement and contribution to the world of theatre (names TBA). The theme of the Festival will be “I, Woman.”


  • Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica will present the premiere of The Joy Wheel, following the travails of a once-loving couple, “pulled in different directions as the winds of change blow through their hometown of Joy, Illinois.” Written by Ian McRae, directed by Jason Alexander. Stars Dann Florek, Lee Garlington, Gina Hecht, and Maury Sterling. Opens Feb 15.
  • Boni B. Alvarez’s America Adjacent is premiering at Skylight Theatre in Hollywood, directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera. In pursuit of the American Dream, six pregnant Filipina women risk everything to secure a better life for their unborn children. Stars Evie Abat, Angela T. Baesa, Toni Katano, Hazel Lozano, Samantha Valdellon, Sandy Velasco, and Arianne Villareal. Opens Feb 16.
  • Celebration Theatre presents the first show of its 2019 season, the L.A. premiere of Born To Win, focusing on a mom’s head-on competition at a child’s beauty pageant. Written by Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock, directed by Michael Matthews, choreography by Janet Roston. Stars Drew Droege, Wilkas, Juliane Chidi Hill, and Daiva Dupree. Opens Feb 15 at Celebration Theatre @ the Lex Theatre in Hollywood.


  • Actors Co-op presents Anna Karenina, “a fast-paced, eight-person examination of love, adultery, and marriage,” adapted by Helen Edmundson from the classic novel by Leo Tolstoy. Directed by Heather Chesley. Opens Feb 8 at Crossley Theatre (on the campus of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood) in Hollywood.
  • International City Theatre opens its 34th season with the jukebox musical, Life Could Be A Dream, written and created by Roger Bean. Cast includes Rodd Farhadi, J. Thomas Miller, Josey Montana McCoy, Trevor Shor, and Marisa Matthews. Directed by Jamie Torcellini, with musical direction by Bill Wolfe. Opens Feb. 22 in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.
  • In celebration of Black History Month, Sophina Brown is producing a revival of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, set in 1969 in the Pittsburgh Hill District, where a restaurant’s regulars struggle to cope with the turbulence of a world that is rapidly changing around them. Directed by Michele Shay. Opens Feb 2 as a guest production at Matrix Theatre in Hollywood.
  • Thursday Night Theater Club will present Bernard Pomerance’s 1979 Tony winner, The Elephant Man, based on the life of Joseph Merrick, at the El Portal Theatre MainStage in NoHo. Directing is Robyn Cohen, featuring a cast of 12. Opens Mar 21.
  • Sketches Eleven, the Long Beach Playhouse’s 6th annual collaborative with Held2gether improv troupe, offers an evening of comedy directed by the troupe’s founder/creative director, Darren Held. Opens Feb 28 in the Long Beach Playhouse Studio Theatre.


  • Coffee Gallery Backstage is hosting its recurring Off My Head Storytelling, hosted and produced by Ty Fance. Featured storytellers are Ruby Cooper, Nate Craig, Anthony Griffith, Katya Duft, Oscar Sagastume, and Pam Noles. Jan 31 only.
  • Story Salon, the longest running weekly solo storytelling venue in L.A., holds its monthly theme night on the last Wednesday of the month, Jan 30 at the Art Parlor in Valley Village. Hosted by founder Beverly Mickens and comic Dan Farren.


Playwright Brian Letscher discusses the West Coast premiere production of his play, Smart Love, starring Melissa Weber Bales, Zachary Grant, and Michael Mantell, directed by Elina de Santos. Runs through Feb 24 at Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice.

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.

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.