This Week in LA Theatre

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By Julio Martinez

  • Ford Theatres is seeking Letters of Intent (LOIs) for the 2020 Artists Partnership Program (APP) from L.A. County independent artists, nonprofit organizations, presenters, producers and producing collectives with a history of presenting arts events, who are interested in co-presenting their performances as part of the Ford Theatres 100th Anniversary Season, from June-October, 2020. The Artist Partnership Program is a competitive application process that provides the opportunity to co-present with the Ford Theatres in its historic outdoor 1,200-seat amphitheatre. Each year, the Ford Theatres presents an eclectic season of music, dance, theatre and film events that celebrate the region by reflecting on stage the cultural and artistic diversity of the people of Los Angeles. Approximately one half of main stage evening programming in the 2020 Season will be comprised of APP presentations. The APP has a two-tier application format to minimize the work for applicants. Upon review, selected applicants will be invited to submit a full application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Ford Theatres Artists Partnership Program guidelines before submitting an LOI. Program guidelines and LOI instructions are available at deadline to submit a LOI is June 10, 2019.
  • Center Theatre Group has announced the second annual L.A. Writers’ Workshop Festival: New Plays Forged In L.A., which celebrates voices in modern American theatre coming out of Los Angeles and Center Theatre Group’s long-standing L.A. Writers’ Workshop. Held at the Kirk Douglas Theatre and open to the public, the festival features readings of three new plays by three L.A. Writers’ Workshop participants from throughout the program’s 14-year history. This year’s festival will take place on June 29 featuring readings of Campaign by Laura Jacqmin, Sleeping Giant by Steve Yockey and Confederates by Dominique Morisseau. Over the last 14 years, Writers’ Workshop has been a creative home to 96 playwrights, including Sheila Callaghan, Eliza Clark, Jennifer Haley, Qui Nguyen and Marco Ramirez.
  • Ensemble Theatre Company in Santa Barbara announces its 2019-20 Season of plays, the company’s seventh year at The New Vic in downtown Santa Barbara, opening with William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, set in contemporary society, directed by Artistic Director Jonathan Fox (Oct 3-20). For the holiday season, ETC presents Joe Landry’s It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, adapted from the screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra, and Jo Swerling, directed by Brian McDonald (Dec 5-22). The season continues with Emma: The Musical, a musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, created by Tony nominee Paul Gordon, directed by Andrew Barnicle (Feb 6-23, 2020); the West Coast premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown’s American Son, a co-production with The English Theatre Frankfurt, directed by Jonathan Fox (Apr 9-26, 2020); and Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical, written by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, directed by Jenny Sullivan (June 11-28, 2020).
  • Odyssey Theatre Ensemble has announced “Circa ’69!” an 18-month retrospective beginning in June, 2019 that will celebrate its founding, 50 years ago, by artistic director Ron Sossi, who has remained at the helm since the company’s first production in 1969. The company is revealing the first five out of a total of ten productions from the U.S and abroad that premiered around the time of the Odyssey’s inception, kicking off with Joe Orton’s Loot, directed by Bart DeLorenzo (June 8). Series continues with Fefu and her Friends by María Irene Fornés, directed by Denise Blasor (Aug 3); the Obie award-winning musical In Circles, adapted by composer Al Carmines from A Circular Play by Gertrude Stein, directed by David Schweizer (Sep 7); a re-envisioning of the Odyssey Theatre’s 1969 West Coast premiere of Jean-Claude van Itallie’s experimental The Serpent, once again helmed by Ron Sossi (Mar 7, 2020); and Day in the Death of Joe Egg by Peter Nichols, directed by Robin Larsen (Apr 18, 2020). A brief respite in the productions of “Circa 69!” for the holidays will feature the return of avant-garde Irish writer/performer Pat Kinevane with his newest work, Before (Nov 14). The final five productions of this special “Circa ’69!” season will be announced later this year.


  • Hudson Mainstage in Hollywood is offering the premiere Shooting Star: A Revealing New Musical, a semi-autobiographical musical love story by Florian Klein, music by Thomas Zaufke and lyrics by Erik Ransom, directed by Michael Bello. Cast includes: Karole Foreman, Michael Scott Harris, Ryan Kanfer, Garrett Marshall, Davey Miller, Nathan Mohebbi, Bettis Richardson, Carson Robinette and Christopher Robert Smith. Opens May 25.
  • Greenway Arts Alliance Presents The National New Play Network’s Rolling World premiere of playwright Grace Mcleod’s Herland, directed by Tiffany Moon, about coming of age and coming out, featuring Gladys Bautista, Lisa Richards, Judith Scarpone, Laura James and Victoria Ortiz. Opens May 3 at Greenway Court Theatre on the campus of Fairfax High School.
  • IAMA wraps its 2018-19 season with the premier of Mama Metal, Sigrid Gilmer’s meta-theatrical comedy that entwines issues of identity with pop culture icons to tell a truly unique mother-daughter story, directed by Deena Selenow. Starring Cesar Cipriano, Chris Gardner, Courtney Sauls, Lee Sherman, Graham Sibley, Christian Telesmar, Rodney To and Jamie Wollrab.  Opens May 23 in Atwater Village Theatre.


  • Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum opens its summer 2019 season with William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, in Topanga amphitheater on June 1, directed by Ellen Geer, with original music by Marshall McDaniel.  On June 2, Theatricum’s signature production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream openon the same stage. Moby Dick–Rehearsed, adapted by the great Orson Welles from Herman Melville’s novel, opens on June 8. On June 22, Ellen Geer’s new, freely adapted version of Henrik Ibsen’s powerful An Enemy of the People joins the season; and Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Skin of Our Teeth kicks off on July 13. All five productions will play in repertory through Sept. 29.
  • Laguna Playhouse is reviving Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1945 comedy, Harvey, starring French Stewart and Vanessa Stewart, directed by Andrew Barnicle.  Opens May 29.


  • Writer Champ Clark and actor John Mese discuss Wild Son: The Testimony of Christian Brando, the story of Marlon Brando’s troubled, headline-making son.  Now open, running through May26 at Santa Monica Playhouse.

  • Director Natalia Lazurus discusses 12 Angry Men/12 Impassioned Women, performing through June 15 at The Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica.

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.