This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez


  • The Geffen Playhouse in Westwood has revealed that Broadway diva Idina Menzel, film star Andy Garcia, and actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) will be featured in its 2019/2020 season, curated by Artistic Director Matt Shakman at the Audrey Skirball Kenis and Gil Cates Theaters. The line-up begins with the West Coast premiere of Witch, written by Jen Silverman (inspired by The Witch of Edmonton, by Rowley, Dekker, and Ford) and directed by Marti Lyons (Aug 20-Sep 29). Up next, the West Coast premiere of Joshua Harmon’s Skintight, starring Idina Menzel and directed by Daniel Aukin (Sep 3-Oct 6); The Thanksgiving Play, written by Larissa FastHorse and directed by Michael John Garcés (Oct 22-Dec 1); Shakespeare’s Macbeth, starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, directed by Matt Shakman (Nov 5-Dec 8); the premiere of Key Largo, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher and Andy Garcia (based on the play by Maxwell Anderson and the screenplay by Richard Brooks and John Huston), starring Andy Garcia (Feb 4-Mar 8, 2020); a production TBA (Mar 3-Apr 12, 2020); the West Coast premiere of Teresa Rebeck’s Bernhardt/Hamlet, directed by Sarna Lapine (Apr 7-May 10, 2020); the West Coast premiere of The Enigmatist, written and performed by David Kwong (May 5-June 14, 2020); and the premiere of Revenge Song: A Vampire Cowboys Creation, by Qui Nguyen, featuring the Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, directed by Robert Ross Parker (June 16-July 19, 2020).
  • The Hollywood Fringe Festival has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant of $20,000 to support the Fringe Scholarships program. Created in 2016, the Fringe Scholarships Program exists to expand and diversify the pool of artists producing work at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Fringe Scholarships are available to first-time Hollywood Fringe producers who “contribute to the ethnic, cultural, racial, mentally or physically disabled, sexual orientation, or gender identity diversity of the Fringe community.”
  • Musical Theatre Guild will present a special benefit, MTG Rewind, an intimate celebration of over 20 years of MTG’s best musical moments to support the organization’s extensive youth outreach programs. The event will feature more than 25 MTG artists, including Eileen Burnett, Teri Bibb, Susan Watson. Directed by Joshua Finkel; musical direction by Cassie Nickols. Mar 25 at Rockwell Table and Stage in Hollywood.


  • UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, in association with Center Theatre Group, presents the West Coast premiere of Lars Jan’s multidisciplinary adaptation of The White Album, Joan Didion’s essay about California’s shifting cultural landscape of the late 1960s. Delivered in its entirety by Obie Award-winning actress Mia Barron, featuring the visual participation of twenty-five young audience members nightly. Opens Apr 5 at the Freud Playhouse, UCLA.
  • Latino Theater Company is presenting the premiere of The Mother Of Henry, written by Evelina Fernández. In 1968, a working-class mother, whose son has been drafted and sent to Viet Nam, navigates work, love, war and her new independence through the guidance of La Virgen de Guadalupe. Features Esperanza America, Mary-Beth Manning, Xavi Moreno, Ella Saldaña North, Gary Patent, Robert J. Revell, and Cheryl Umaña Bonilla. Directed by José Luis Valenzuela. Opens Mar 15 in Theatre 3 at LATC in downtown L.A.
  • The Lounge Theatre in Hollywood is hosting the L.A. premiere of Michael Weller’s Fifty Words, a play revealing how closely love and hate can be linked in marriage. Stars Eric Larson and Olga Konstantulakis; directed by Shane Stevens. Opens Mar 1.
  • Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group premieres Cemetery Of Tortured Souls, the company’s latest horror-theatre spectacular haunted by The Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930s. Directed by Zombie Joe & Elif Savas, and featuring a 10-member ensemble, with live music by Kevin Van Cott. Opens Mar 1 at ZJU Theatre Group in North Hollywood.


  • The 6th Act will be the New American Theatre’s resident company for 2019. Its inaugural production is a multicultural look at Shakespeare’s Hamlet, exploring “the universal nature of this singular character,” as June Carryl, Janet Greaves, Cam Deaver, Desiree Mee Jung, Luke McClure, Cindy Nguyen, and Jonathan Medina portray the Prince of Denmark for one act each. Directed by Matthew Leavitt. Opens Mar 2 at The New American Theatre in Hollywood.
  • Theatre Unleashed opens its 2019 season with Ada and the Engine, “a unique introspective on the relationship between pioneers Ada Byron Lovelace and Charles Babbage at the dawn of the computer age.” Written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Heidi Powers, opens March 21 at studio/stage in Hollywood.
  • Son of Semele Ensemble announces its upcoming production of Nick Payne’s Incognito, weaving together “three personal narratives to get at the heart of the mind,” exploring the link between the physical organ we call the brain and the intangible identities we call “ourselves.” Features Debba Rofheart, Sarah Rosenberg, Dan Via, and Alex Wells, directed by Don Boughton. Opens Mar 16 at the Son of Semele Theater.


  • Santa Monica Playhouse is hosting Crazy Woke Asians, a solo performance festival showcasing 15 Asian American comedians, actors, and writers, and featuring food from Ish Kitchen. Opens Mar 14.


Director Robyn Cohen discusses Thursday Night Theater Club’s production of Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man, opening Mar 21 at El Portal Theatre in North 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.

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.