This Week in LA Theatre

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Written by Julio Martinez

Image Credit: The 27th Annual LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards held at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre on January 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

  • The Latino Theater Company’s Summer on a Spring: Reading Festival will gather together local artists for a weekend of celebrating brave new work with a family of artists and community, free of charge. Seven new works by Los Angeles playwrights have been selected and will be given a staged reading by professional directors and actors on the various stages of The Los Angeles Theatre Center. The works include:
    • Thisability by Gabriel Rivas Gomez (Aug 23)
    • Fresno by Augusto Federico Amador (Aug 23)
    • Bautista The Real-Life Walking High-Cholesterol Freak And The Rodeo Inside by Israel Lopez Reyes (Aug 24); Altruism In Animals by Mark Robert Swiech (Aug 24)
    • She by Marlow Wyatt (Aug 24)
    • Dipped In Honey by Cristina Alicia Martinez (Aug 25)
    • Sleep With The Angels by Evelina Fernandez (Aug 25)

Five plays from last year’s Summer Reading Series received premieres during their 2018/19 season.

  • Garry Marshall Theatre will host NBC weathercaster Fritz Coleman in a one-night benefit with his comedy show, Defying Gravity. The Honorary Mayor of Toluca Lake for the last 25 years will take the stage to benefit The Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofit Garry Marshall Theatre. Defying Gravity, Coleman’s take on growing up and growing old, is the latest installment in Coleman’s live stage shows. Plays Oct 13 at Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank.


  • Theatre of Note in Hollywood continues its 2019 season with the premiere of Driving Wilde by Jacqueline Wright, transforming Oscar Wilde’s classic novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, into a present-day meditation on the pursuit of beauty, directed by Bart DeLorenzo. The cast includes Michael Kodi Farrow, Owen Ginley, Carl J. Johnson, Raven Moran, Stephen Simon, and David Wilcox. Opens Aug 22.
  • Casa 0101 Theater and Tía Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore will present the premiere of Always Running, based on the memoir written by Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, adapted for the stage by Luis J. Rodriguez and Hector Rodriguez, directed by Hector Rodriguez, starring Rufino Romero as Luis J. Rodriguez, and a supporting cast of 11 actors playing 32 roles.  Opens Aug 31 at Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. Concurrently during the run of Always Running, there will be an art exhibition in the Jean Deleage Art Gallery, located in the lobby of the theater, entitled, A Visual Exhibition Inspired by Ngugi Wa Thiogo’s Short Story:  Upright Revolution, Or Why Humans Walk Upright, curated by Jimmy Centeno.
  • Rogue Machine presents the West Coast Premiere of Miss Lilly Gets Boned, written by Bekah Brunstetter, exploring the tenuous and permeable boundaries that separate our civilized side from our more animalistic one, and the ways that faith can limit or uplift humanity, directed by Robin Larsen. Cast includes Ovation Award-winner Tasha Ames, Brady Amaya, Kavi Ladnier, Larisa Oleynik, Reza Safai and Justice Quinn. Opens Sep 14 at Rogue Machine, in Electric Lodge, Venice. Five plays from last year’s Summer Reading Series received premieres in our 2018/19 season.
  • Boston Court Pasadena continues its 2019 theatre season the world premiere of E.M. Lewis’s How The Light Gets In.  Four lonely people, their stories written on paper, earth, and skin, find each other when one of them falls apart, directed by Emilie Pascale Beck. The work, which was one of the four plays workshopped at Boston Court Pasadena’s 2018 New Play Reading Festival, features Amy Sloan, Ryun Yu, Chelsea Kurtz and Dieterich Gray. Opens Sep 28 in The Theatre @ Boston Court.
  • Skylight Theatre Company in Hollywood presents the premiere of Never Is Now by Wendy Kout, adapted from Survivors by Kout—linking then and now so we may understand what breaks us apart and embrace what bonds us together—commissioned, developed and produced by the CenterStage Theatre at the Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester. The cast stars Evie Abat, Adam Foster Ballard, Eliza Blair, Michael Kaczkowski, Joey Millin and Sarah Tubert, directed by Tony Abatemarco and Celia Mandela Rivera. Opens Sep 21.


  • Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica is having great success with its revival of Arthur Miller’s 1949 Pulitzer winner, Death of a Salesman, starring Rob Morrow, Lee Garlington, Robert Adamson, Dylan Rourke, Donovan Patton, Jack Merrill, Darrin Hickok, Lucas Alifano, Kerry Knuppe, Sara Young Chandler and Emily Anna Bell. Directed by Mike Reilly, the production extends through Sep 15.
  • La Mirada Theatre & McCoy Rigby Entertainment present the West Coast premiere of Grumpy Old Men: The Musical, book by Dan Remmes, music by Neil Berg, lyrics by Nick Meglin, (Adapted from the Warner Bros. motion picture written by Mark Steven Johnson), starring Tony winner Hal Linden, Cathy Rigby and Broadway’s Ken Page, directed by Matt Lenz, choreography by Michele Lynch, musical direction by Benet Braun. The cast will also feature: Mark Jacoby, Gregory North, Leslie Stevens, Craig McEldowney, April Nixon and Ashley Moniz.  Opens Sept 21.


  • Santa Monica Playhouse Benefit Series is presenting two solo shows this month: Wake Up Little Susy and Corina, Lap Dance to Sundance, performed by Susy Porter and Carina Calderon, respectively. Both shows have been directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.
    • Taking on such topics as sexual trauma, fundamentalist Christianity, depression, and dysfunctional family dynamics, Susy travels through five dramatic decades of self-discovery. Wake Up Little Susy plays Sep 7.
    • Corina, From Lap Dance to Sundance recounts the journey of how Corina Calderon went from working as a stripper in Austin, Texas, to being cast as the lead in a feature film that was nominated for the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Plays Sep 14.

The Santa Monica Playhouse Benefit Series is an innovative program that presents extremely limited engagements of new and developing works by emerging and renowned local, national and international artists.

  • Actor Kyle T Heffner, Chris DeCarlo and Paul Linke in a scene from Jerry Mayer’s Mistakes Were Made at Santa Monica Playhouse now through the end of September.

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.