This Week in LA Theatre

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Written By Julio Martinez

Image credit: Pacific Resident Theatre presents Andy Warhol’s Tomato by Vince Melocchi

  • In 2017, Center Theatre Group was awarded a grant from Disney to bring the Disney Musicals in Schools program to the Los Angeles area, an initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Productions to create sustainable theatre programs in under-resourced elementary schools. Center Theatre Group will select four public elementary schools to participate in this year’s program. The selected schools will participate in a 17-week musical theatre residency, led by a team of teaching artists trained by Center Theatre Group and Disney Theatrical Productions, at no cost. Each school will receive performance rights, education support materials and guidance from the teaching artists. The program features a professional development focus, through which participating school teachers partner with Center Theatre Group teaching artists to learn how to produce, direct, choreograph and music direct, culminating in their first 30-minute Disney KIDS musical at their school. As a capstone to the experience, Center Theatre Group will host a Student Share Celebration in which each school performs one number from their show on the Ahmanson Theatre stage for an audience of students, teachers, family and community members. For more information or to apply, visit or email


  • Theatre 68, in special partnership with Autism Works Now and the Ed Asner Family Center, is premiering Self-Injurious Behavior, based on playwright and star, Jessica Cavanagh’s own story of loss, love and survival in dealing with her son’s autism diagnosis. Cast includes Jessica Cavanagh, Jude Segrest, Jonathan Brooks, Janie Haddad Tompkins, Jullian Cavanagh, Gisla Stringer, Madison Calhounand, Mitch Lerner, directed by Marianne Galloway, executive produced by Ronnie Marmo and Joe Mantegna. Opens Sep 6 at Theatre 68 in NoHo, with an after performance talk-back with Ed Asner, Ronnie Marmo and the playwright/star, Jessica Cavanagh, moderated by Autism Works Now’s Joanne Lara.


  • Cy Coleman’s musical, Barnum, will open Musical Theatre Guild’s 24th season. The 1980 Tony Award-winning tuner, created by Coleman, Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, starring Kirby Ward (P.T. Barnum) and Tracy Lore (Charity Barnum) and a supporting cast of seven, will be directed by Alan Bailey, with music direction by Jan Roper, and choreography by Cheryl Baxter. Plays one night only, Sep 22 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.  Upcoming MTG Season 24 productions are The Goodbye Girl (Nov 10), It Shoulda Been You (Feb 9, 2020) and Kismet (May 3, 2020).
  • Vs. Theatre Company announces that its critically acclaimed production of Sam Shepard’s True West, starring Johnny Clark, Carole Goldman, Andrew Hawkes and David Starzyk, directed by Scott Cummins, is extending through Sep 28 at Vs. Theatre in Los Angeles.
  • Santa Monica Playhouse continues the run of Magic Monday, extending through Sep 30. Hosted by Magic Castle lifetime member, actor Albie Selznick, this magical show presents a new and different lineup of world-class magicians and outstanding variety acts each week. Lineup includes:
    • Aug 26 – Steven Himmel, Michael Raynor, Gregory Wilson and Dr. John
    • Sep 2 – El Ropo, Robert Ramirez, Ron Saylor, Adam Wylie and Kole Lee
    • Sep 9 – Dave Cox, Victor Ian, Michael O’Brien, The New Bad Boys of Magic and Michael Vile
    • Sep 16: David Stryker, Siegfried Tieber and Katrina Kroetch
    • Sep 23 – An Evening with mentalist Max Maven and John Kippen
    • Sep 30 – Magic Monday 2019 Grand Finale with Eric Buss, Simon Coronel, Ivan Pecel and Lauro Castillo
  • Dean Productions Theatre Company is presenting a modern-dress presentation of the classic tragedy, King Lear, written by William Shakespeare, starring Carl Weintraub as Lear. Ensemble includes Veronica Maccari, Chineze Enekwechi, Jasmine Ilarde, Jennifer Ashe, Carlo D’Alba, John Ogden, Kelton Jones, Madison Young and Massimo Napoli, directed by Rebecca Lynne. Opens Sep 26 at Brand Park, Glendale.


  • In celebration of the life of Buddy Ebsen and the 80th Anniversary of the historic 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, in which Ebsen originated the role of the Tin Woodsman, StKi, LLC will present the newly envisioned production of To Dad With Love: A Tribute To Buddy Ebsenstarring Kiki Ebsendirected by S.E. (Steve) Feinberg.  Opens Sep 6 as a Guest Production at Theatre West in the Cahuenga Pass.


  • Playwright Vince Melocchi and director Dana Jackson discuss Andy Warhol’s Tomato,  running through Sep 22 at Pacific Resident Theatre, in Venice.

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. On Aug 30, Artistic Director Marilyn Fox discusses Pacific Resident Theater’s Youth Conservatory.

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.