This Week in LA Theatre

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Written by Julio Martinez


  • Pasadena Playhouse announces that Oscar-nominated writer/actress Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) will reprise her New York Public Theater starring role as Sugar in the Playhouse production of Tiny Beautiful Things, an anonymous online advice columnist to whom thousands of people have turned for words of wisdom, honesty and hope, based on the New York Times Bestseller of the same name by Cheryl Strayed, conceived for the stage by Vardalos, in conjunction with Thomas Kail and Marshall Hayman, staged by Sherri Eden Barber (based on original direction by Kail at The Public Theater). Opens April 10.
  • Newly formed Scavengers Theater Company focuses on the production of the plays of Sam Shepard, and of original work generated from within the group, with a particular, but not exclusive, emphasis on veteran’s issues. Their debut production is Shepard’s early play, Back Bog Beast Bait, directed by Darryl Larsen opening April 12 at The Yard in Hollywood. In early June, the company will do a collaboration with the Odyssey, a retrospective dedicated to significant work that was ‘in the wind’ at the time of the original formations of the Odyssey in 1969, with a production of Shepard’s The Unseen Hand and Killer’s Head.  



  • The Road Theatre Company presents the third show of its 2018-2019 season, the premiere of Friends With Guns, a dark comedy exploring the complicated issue of gun proliferation when two young liberal couples are forced to confront their assumptions about who should own a gun and why?, written by Stephanie Alison Walker, directed by Randee Trabitz. Cast includes Brian Graves, Kate Huffman, Arianna Ortiz and Christian Telesmar. Opens March 15 at the Road Theatre on Magnolia, in The NoHo Senior Arts Colony, North Hollywood.
  • Sacred Fools Theater Company concludes its 22nd season with the premiere of Tangerine Sunset, the comically macabre story of a group of unlucky souls who find themselves the involuntary guests of a palatial estate on a mysterious private island, written by Peter Fluet, directed by JJ Mayes, featuring a 12-member ensemble. Opens March 15 on the Main Stage at the Broadwater Theater Complex in Hollywood.
  • Odyssey Theatre in West L.A., is hosting the premiere of The Things We Do, a comedic look at modern relationships by former attorney general-turned-playwright Grant Woods. A guest production, presented by Never Dark Productions, starring Blake Boyd, Marlene Galan, Liesel Koppand Stephen Rockwell, directed by Elina de Santos. Opens on April 6.
  • Santa Monica Playhouse is premiering Jerry Mayer’s 10th play, Mistakes Were Made – coulda-woulda-shoulda, a comedy about Schadenfreude and safely experiencing other people’s errors in judgment, directed by Chris DeCarlo, featuring Greg Berger, Matt Fowler, Rachel Galper, Kyle T. Heffner, Peter Jason, Christine Joëlle and Paul Linke. Plays April 7-June 30.
  • Long Beach Opera is offering the SoCal premiere of Philip Glass’ In the Penal Colony, in collaboration with California Repertory Company, a chamber opera for tenor, bass-baritone, string quintet and eight actors, weaving together Philip Glass’ adaptation of Franz Kafka’s short story with interviews by ‘Rising Scholars’, a group of formerly incarcerated students, directed by Jeff Janisheski, conducted by Andreas Mitisek. Opens April 25 at the CSULB Studio Theater in Long Beach.



  • Rubicon Theatre in Ventura continues the company’s 21st “Coming of Age” season with the politically incorrect comedy Fuddy Meers by playwright David-Lindsay-Abaire, helmed by Rubicon Artistic Associate Jenny Sullivan. Stars Precious Chong, Joseph Fuqua, Stephen Caffrey, Louis Lotorto, Tracy A. Leigh, Seryozha Laporte and Deedee Rescher.  Opens March 16.
  • Musical Theater West brings the musical Catch Me If You Can to the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, March 29-April 14.  Created Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (music) and Terrence McNally (libretto)cast includes Jacob Haren, Jeff Skowron and Katie Saper and 17-member ensemble, directed by Larry Raben.
  • Dean Productons is offering The Chekhov Comedies, an evening of five short pieces for the theatre, written by Anton Chekhov. Ensemble included Cassie Clark, Hayley Jackson, Lilja Rose Michaud and Sierra Laurin Parsons, directed by Rebecca Lynne, presented at Brand Park in Glendale. Opens April 11.
  • The Broad Stage in Santa Monica is presenting The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, weaving all of The Bard’s famous characters, greatest lines and magnificent speeches into a Shakespearean smorgasbord. Plays April 5 & 6.



  • Whitefire Theatre’s SoloFest series presents Billie! Backstage With Lady, an unpredictable journey about jazz/blues singer, Billie Holiday, the places and people in Billie’s life that provided both pain and pleasure, excitement and disappointments. Plays March 15 at Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks.
  • Plain Wood Productions announces its limited L.A. engagement for Blood/Sugar, a new solo performance about the growing diabetes epidemic, created and performed by L.A.-based theater director and Type 1 diabetic Diana Wyenn, co-written by Guy Zimmerman. Opens March 28 at Bootleg Theater. Each performance is followed by a conversation between Wyenn, the audience, and local diabetes educators.



  • Director Alana Dietze and cast members discuss the Echo Theatre Company’s L.A. premiere of The Wolves by playwright Sarah DeLappe, opening March 16 in Atwater Village Theatre.

Julio Martinez hosts Arts in Review, celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area, airing Fridays (2-2:30pm), 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.