This Week in LA Theatre

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Written by Julio Martinez

Image credit: Four Larks’ frankenstein

  • Boston Court Pasadena announces a 2020 Spring Series, celebrating the birthdays of Ludwig Van Beethoven, Stephen Sondheim, and William Shakespeare. To celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday, Artistic Director Michael Michetti will direct a rare production of Sondheim’s 1994 Tony Award-Winning Best Musical, Passion, based on Ettore Scola’s neo-romantic movie Passione d’Amore, opening Mar 14, 2020.
    In addition to this rare musical production, Boston Court Pasadena is honoring the birthdays of the greats with concerts, including Golden Globe winner Amanda McBroom, who returns to Boston Court to celebrate the Bard, performing her own contemporary songs of Shakespeare’s heroines backed by a fabulous trio (Apr 25, 2020).  There will be several more concerts and events TBA.


  • The Wallis and Four Larks present the premiere of Frankenstein, featuring an exuberant amalgamation of physical theatre, live music and immersive design that brings Mary Shelley’s creature to life. Created, staged and composed by Mat Sweeney, design and choreography by Sebastian Peters-Lazaro. Opens Feb 12 in the Lovelace Studio Theater.
  • Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre will be hosting the West Coast premiere of The Last Ship, an epic account of a family, a community and a great act of defiance, Inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences and the shipbuilding industry in Wallsend. Stars Sting, with a new book by Lorne Campbell, original book by John Logan and Brian Yorkey, music and lyrics by Sting, directed by Lorne Campbell. Opens Jan 22


  • Actor Al Pacino will be joining fellow Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush for Simply Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice, a one-night only staged benefit reading to support The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles.  Tony Award winning director Dan Sullivan reunites Pacino (Shylock) with his Merchant of Venice Broadway stars Lily Rabe (Portia) and Hamish Linklater (Bassanio). Rush steps in to read the role of Antonio and Keith David will read the roles of the Duke of Venice and Solerio.  New to the cast are Finn Wittrock, Charlayne Woodard, Michael McKean and Harry Groener. Simply Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice will take place Monday, Oct 28 at The Gindi Auditorium, American Jewish University.
  • Rubicon Theatre in Ventura opens its 22nd Season with an environmental production of the Tony-winning musical Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, music by Roger Miller, based on the writings of Mark Twain. Directed by Kirby Ward, starring David Aron Damane as Jim and Josey Montana McCoy as Huck, with a company of 23, opening Oct 26.
  • 24th Street Theatre will be celebrating is13th annual Dia de los Muertos block party to celebrate the tradition of Mexico’s most famous holiday. Entertainment will take place on two stages. The evening kicks with a procession led by ceremonial dancers Los Chinelos, Nov. 2
  • Hero Theatre presents Troy, a musical riff on Euripides’ The Trojan Women, chronicling the story of a single-mother struggling to save her family from homelessness amidst rent-increases in her neighborhood, inspired by true stories of homeless families in Los Angeles. Written by Amina Henry, directed by Hero’s Artistic Director, Elisa Bocanegra. Ensemble includes Jack Landrón, Mildred Marie Langford, Gwendolyn McCann-Mulamba, Carene Rose Mekertichyan, Adam Mendez Jr., Larrieux Ross, DeForrest. Opens Nov 8 at the Rosenthal Theater at Inner City Arts Center.
  • Musical Theatre Guild continues its 24th Anniversary season with The Goodbye Girl, based on Neil Simon’s 1977 award-winning film, with musical score by Marvin Hamlish and David Zippel. Stars Wendy Rosoff and Will Collyer, with fellow MTG company members Tal Fox, Anthony Gruppuso, Jennifer Knox, Gabriel Navarro, Jeffrey Scott Parsons and Mark C. Reis in supporting roles, directed by Linda Kerns with musical direction by Dennis Castellano, choreography by Michelle Elkin. The one-night-only concert will take place at Glendale’s historic Alex Theatre on Nov 10.


  • Troubadour Theater Company continues its 25th Silver anniversary season with their 18th annual holiday offering, A Christmas Carole King, combining the sounds of songstress Carole King with Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” adapted & directed by Matt Walker, with musical direction by Derrick Finely, choreography by Walker, Suzanne Jolie Narbonne and Luis “L.T.” Martinez. The cast will feature Rick Batalla, Chelle Denton, Beth Kennedy, Janelle Lillian, Luis “L.T.” Martinez, Mike Sulprizio, Cloie Wyatt Taylor, Matt Walker and David C. Wright. Opens Dec 13 at El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood.


  • Director Jason Klarwein discusses The 7 Stages of Grieving, written by Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman, holding a mirror up to America by sharing Australia’s Aboriginal people’s fight for equality and recognition, presented by United Stages and Skylight Theatre Company. Runs through Nov 24. 


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.