This Week in LA Theatre

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Written By Julio Martinez

  • Pasadena Playhouse is announcing participants for the return of the Playhouse Block Party, in partnership with the Playhouse District Association. This all-day event takes place June 8 (noon to 10pm), free to the publicon El Molino Ave. at Colorado Blvd., featuring 25 performances on two stages, in addition to activity booths hosted by Pasadena’s arts organizations, theatre tours, a silent disco, and more. The Main Stage will offer performances from Ballet Folklorico Quetzal, Debatable Productions, The NoteAbles Children’s Choir from the Professional Child Development Associates, Rhythms of The Village, School of Rock Pasadena, and SiZa, among others.  The Family Stage will feature Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Jimmy H. Comedy Magician, Pasadena Civic Ballet Musical Theater, Tutu School Pasadena, Vroman’s Bookstore, and more! Throughout the day, guests can experience interactive and immersive activity booths and games created by community partners and local art organizations, including Rogue Artists Ensemble, Sierra Madre Playhouse, Boston Court Pasadena, Friends of The Pasadena Playhouse, and more.  In addition, backstage tours of the Pasadena Playhouse will be available, including production departments rarely seen by the public.
  • Center Theatre Group has set the 2019-2020 seasons at both the Mark Taper Forum and Kirk Douglas Theatre, beginning with A Play Is a Poem, a new collection of short plays by screenwriter/playwright Ethan Coen, directed by Neil Pepe. Premieres Sep 21 at the Mark Taper Forum.  Forum season continues with Latin History for Morons, written and performed by John Leguizamo, directed by Tony Taccone (Sep 8); August Wilson’s Jitney, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Nov 24); What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck, directed by Oliver Butler (Jan 15, 2020); The Antipodes by Annie Baker, directed by Lila Neugebauer (Apr 1, 2020); and the premiere of King James by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, in association with Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Summer 2020, TBA).
  • CTG’s Kirk Douglas Theatre Season begins with On Beckettconceived and performed by Bill Irwin (Sep 18). Season continues with Until the Flood, written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith, directed by Neel Keller (Jan 29, 2020); Block Party: Celebrating Los Angeles Theatre, featuring two productions from local 99-seat or smaller theatres (TBA). Openings are set for Mar 20 and Apr 10; Sakina’s Restaurant, written and performed by Aasif Mandvi, (originally developed and directed by Kimberley Hughes), now directed by Kimberly Senior (Summer 2020, TBA).
  • UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) unveiled the 2019–20 Season, lineup, honoring “We, the People,” through contemporary dance, music, theater, and literature. Theater events include 217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous, Ain Gordon’s largely unknown story of a courageous gay psychiatrist whose activism made a profound and lasting impact on LGBT civil rights; and Toronto’s Porte Parole Theater presenting Seeds, a dramatic re-enactment of the seven-year legal battle between Monsanto, one of the world’s most powerful biotech corporations, and a Saskatchewan farmer. American modernist painter Brice Marden and Tony–nominated actress Kathleen Chalfant create a performance from T.S. Eliot’s meditations on past and present, time and space, movement and stillness. Continuing a relationship between CAP UCLA and The Theater at Ace Hotel for a third season, eight performances will be presented in Downtown LA, including Philip Glass and Jerry Quickley’s Whistleblower, through the lens of Edward Snowden. This season’s artists-in-residence include Toshi Reagon whose Parable of the Sower is a genre-defying piece of political theater based on the book by Octavia Butler that will be workshopped at the Ucross Foundation over the summer and presented at Royce Hall in the spring. (All CAP UCLA performance dates and times are TBA).
  • The Inaugural Rogue Artists Ensemble Lab Readings Series, a four-day event that includes readings of seven new works written, directed, and designed by emerging LA artists, runs May 31-June 3at Plummer Park’s Community Center in West Hollywood. The lineup includes Far Worse Things by Chelsea Sutton, directed by Claudia de Vasco  (May 31); To Leave Is To Die A Little by John Guerra, directed by Ricky Pak (June 1); Not Cake by Jennie Webb, directed by Estela Garcia (June 1); The Secret Life of Freeways by Mildred Inez Lewis, choreographed by Rhonda Kohl, directed by Scarlett Kim (June 2); A Season (Working Title) by Lisa Sanaye Dring, composed by Anthony Storniolo, directed by Rebecca Wear (June 2); The Goblin Market by Eric Fagundes, directed by Jessica Hanna (June 2); and Awake by Taylor Coffman and Z. Lupetin, performed by Taylor Coffman (June 3).


  • In observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced casting for the L.A. premiere of Anne, a new play about Anne Frank that will celebrate what would have been her 90th birthday, written by Dutch playwrights Jessica Durlacher and Leon de Winter, adapted by Nick Blaemire. Eve Brandstein directs Timothy P. Brown, Rob Brownstein, Tony DeCarlo, Andrea Gwynnel, Ava Laezarzadeh, Kevin Matsumoto, Mary Gordon Murray, Aylam Orian and Marnina Schon. Opens June 16 at the Museum of Tolerance.
  • The Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City will be hosting a guest production LA premiere of Right Angle Entertainment’s off-Broadway hit Friends! The Musical Parody, created and written by Bob and Tobly McSmith. Opens July 17.


  • Long Beach Playhouse is presenting August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, written in 1995, set in 1948. Directing is Rovin Jay. The cast includes Rayshawn Chism, Latonya Kitchen, Ebonie Marie, Jay Reed, Gilbert Roy DeLeon, Justyn High and William Warren. Opens May 18.
  • A teen-helmed production of the Tony-winning rock musical, Spring Awakening, based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 controversial play about teenagers trying to find their way in the world amid the angst of sexual discovery. Directed by 14-year-old wunderkind George Baron, the cast also features up-and-coming teenage talents performing in the adolescent roles, with musical direction by Estani Frizzell, featuring music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater. Opens at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood on May 11.


  • Rogue Machine presents its Rant & Rave, Chapter 96: Cheat, the second Monday of each month. Plays May 13 (8 to 10pm) at The Electric Lodge in Venice. Writers include Reena Dutt, Solange Castro, Fred Goss, Jennifer Sorenson and Robert Morgan Fischer.

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.