This Week in LA Theatre

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Written By Julio Martinez

Image credit: Urban Bush Women: Hair and Other Stories (at the Ford Theatres)

  • There is going to be a Hollywood Fringe Festival Town Hall Meeting: Post Fringe. Festival Director Ben Hill leads a discussion about the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival on July 27 in the Blackwater Box. There will be time for feedback and questions. There will also be a mixer following the event at the Broadwater Plunge from 5-7pm.
  • The Wallis in Beverly Hills will be presenting The Wallis Studio Ensemble production of Watership Downthe long and perilous journey of a small band of wild rabbits to find sanctuary and freedom on Watership Down, based on the book by Richard Adams, directed by Madeleine Dahm.  Plays Nov 6-10 in the Lovelace Studio Theater. The Wallis November schedule also includes Australia’s contemporary circus company, Circa with their production of Humans (Nov 1 & 2 in the Bram Goldsmith Theater); and the Debbie Allen & Friends’ Dance Sundays (Nov 10, Promenade Terrace).
  • Pasadena Playhouse announces preliminary casting for Little Shop of Horrors. . Broadway actor George Salazar has been announced for the role of “Seymour Krelborn.” Mj Rodriguez has been announced for the role of “Audrey.” Amber Riley has been announced for the role of “Audrey II.” Additional casting will be announced at a later date. Little Shop of Horrors (book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken), directed by Mike Donahue, opens comes Sep 25.


  • As the opening play in its 2019/20 Season, Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice presents the World Premiere of Andy Warhol’s TomatoA teenage Andy Warhol finds himself in the basement of a working class bar in Pittsburg, PA, wherein a chance meeting from a surprising source garners Warhol inspiration and guidance that may change the course of his life, written by Vince Melocchi, directed by Dana Jackson. Cast: Keith Stevenson (as Bones) Derek Chariton (as Andy Warhol). Opens Aug 10.
  • Moving Arts announces the world premiere of Early Birds, an irreverent comedy about two senior women, each at a crossroads, both escaping their past on a high-seas cruise, written by Dana Schwartz. The cast features Wendy Elizabeth Abraham, Jean Gilpin and Jayne Taini, directed by Elizabeth Swain. Opens Aug 17 in the Atwater Village Theatre.


  • Vs. Theatre Company presents Sam Shepard’s masterpiece True West. Sparks fly and passions rage when Lee and Austin, two estranged brothers, reunite at their mother’s empty house in suburban California. The cast features Johnny Clark, Carole Goldman, Andrew Hawkes and David Starzyk, directed by Scott Cummins. Open July 26 at Vs. Theatre in Los Angeles.
  • 5-Star Theatricals concludes its 2018-2019 season with 1957 Tony-winning musical, West Side Story, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, musical direction by Jeff Rizzo, choreography by Karl Warden and directed by Larry Raben. The cast features Giselle Torres, Brandon Keith Rogers, Lauren Louis, Aleks Pevec, Patrick Ortiz, Ivan Thompson, Rich Grosso, Antonia Vivino and John Paul Batista, plus a 35-member ensemble. Opens July 26 at the 1,800-seat Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
  • International City Theatre is offering Richard Kalinoski’s award-winning Beast on the Moon, a bittersweet love story about two survivors of the Armenian genocide. “a universal tale of hope, healing and redemption.” Cast includes Travis Leland, Rachel Weck, Tony Abatemarco and Nico Ridino, directed by artistic director caryn desai. Opens Aug 23 at International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.
  • Ford Theatres presents Urban Bush Women: Hair & Other Storiesa radical reimagining of an earlier work (HairStories, 2001, originally conceived by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, an experience that blends dance-theatre with conversations that challenge existing American values and celebrate our choices around “who we be” and “how we do.” Choreographed by Urban Bush Women Artistic Directors Chanon Judson-Johnson and Samantha Speis, in collaboration with the company, with guest performers Marjani Forté-Saunders and Kesha McKey, featuring new music compositions by The Illustrious Blacks, with stage direction by Raelle Myrick-Hodges, dramaturgy by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. Plays one performance only, Aug 30.


  • The Hudson Theatre is presenting the premiere of Good Mourning, after his nine year-old daughter Lilly lost her battle with Leukemia, one man’s 37-day exploration through grief, denial and acceptance, written and performed by Hosea Chanchez, directed by Danielle Moné Truitt. Opens Aug 11 at The Hudson MainStage Theatre in Hollywood.
  • Feinstein’s at Vitello’s is presenting A Night With The Phantom, known as “the best Phantom since Michael Crawford,” Chris Mann Sings Broadway at Feinstein’s at Vitello’s in Studio City, Aug 9.


  • Actors Johnny Clark and Andrew Hawkes discuss their VS. Theatre production of Sam Shepard’s “True West,” opening July 26, directed by Scott Cummins.

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.