This Week in LA Theatre

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Written by Julio Martinez

Image credit: Peter Pan & Tinker Bell: A Pirates’ Christmas at Laguna Playhouse. Photo courtesy of Lythgoe Family Panto.


  • La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts announces its most ambitious season of special events ever for the first six months of 2020, beginning with The Island Crooners, hits from Bobby Darin, Don Ho and others, backed by a band led by musical director Don Randi (Jan 10). The season will feature the three-film Sing-Along series of Moulin Rouge (Jan 10), The Little Mermaid (Jan 11, 1pm) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jan 11, 9:30pm). Two solo shows follow, including An Evening With C.S. Lewis, starring David Payne (Jan 12) and A Man With Standards, John O’Hurley’s retrospective on the songs of The Great American Songbook along with the musings from his eclectic life and career (Jan 18). The season continues with Little Black Dress, a “Girls Night Out” musical (Feb 21); country singer Travis Tritt (Feb 22); ventriliquist/singer/comedian Terry Fator (Mar 7); Brandon Heath – Live In Concert (Mar 12); James Garner’s Tribute To Johnny Cash  (Mar 13);  The Clairvoyants starring Thommy Ten and Amelie Van Tass (Mar 14);  The Righteous Brothers Live!, starring Bill Medley & Bucky Heard (Mar 20 & 21);  So Now You Know, members of the La Mirada community telling their personal stories of individual discovery in words and movement (Mar 22); The Tap Pack (Mar 25);  The Legend Continues…Engelbert Humperdinck (“The Angel on My Shoulder” Tour) (Mar 27); The Four Freshmen in Concert with the Benny Goodman Tribute Orchestra (Mar 29);  Bossa Nova Wave (Apr 3); Classic Albums Live performs Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” (Apr 4);  The Brubeck Brothers, starring Dave’s sons Chris and Dan Brubeck with their own Brubeck Brothers Quartet (May 12); Dance Dance Dance, presenting the unique style of L.A. commercial dancers and choreographers, such as Spencer Liff and Tessandra Chavez (Mar 22);  Mariachi Sol De México de José Hernández (June 27).  


  • Arena Stage Hollywood is premiering Musket and the Rat, the travails of Musket Cherry, a young woman who lives in a gritty, rugged, ungentrified neighborhood in Chicago, who is wronged and now seeks justice. The cast includes Maya Schnaider (Musket), Lucas Jackson, Adam Pasen, Garrick LeWinter, Angel Lizarrag), Michelle Holmes, Adrian Burks, Simon Lees and Chas Mitchell, directed by Simon Lees. Opens Jan 4, 2020.
  • Following a Holiday hiatus, Opens Fist Theatre Company’s premiere of Neil Simon’s Musical Fools — a musical adaptation of the Neil Simon play, Fools, with book and lyrics by Simon, and music and lyrics by Phil Swann and Ron West, directed by West — reopens Jan. 11 for a limited 3-week run through Jan. 26 in Atwater Village Theatre. 



  • Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica continues its monthly Library Girl series with Dark Days Are Over, a last-show-of-the-year collaboration between Library Girl creator Susan Hayden and David Rocklin (Roar Shack), featuring readings by Zachary Asher, Angela Bullock, Kuahmel, Gwenyth Mapes, Peg Alford Pursell, Janice Rhoshale, and Jim Turner, plus the music by Mason Summit and Stephen Feldman.  Plays Dec 8. 
  • Rogue Machine’s monthly Rant and Rave series features six writers and one topic (this month: assassination), hosted by Ron Bottita. Reading from their works are Alan Aymie, Daniel Jordan Booth, Lily Holleman, Michael Kass, Joe Hernandez-Kolski aand Marilyn Mandel.  Plays Dec 9 at The Electric Lodge in Venice.  


  • Laguna Playhouse will be offering Lythgoe Family Panto’s Peter Pan And Tinker Bell: A Pirates’ Christmas, written by Kris Lythgoe, with choreography by Kitty McNamee, musical direction by Doug Peck and directed by BT McNicholl. Cast includes Lincoln Clauss (Peter Pan), Dakota Lotus (John Darling), Bryce Charles (Wendy), Ben Giroux (Smee) and Clarice Ordaz (Tiger Lily). They join previously announced  John O’Hurley (Captain Hook) and Ashley Argota (Tinker Bell). Opens Dec 5.
  • Rubicon Theatre in Ventura presents the musical comedy Plaid Tidings, the story of a nerdy “guy group” from the 50s and 60s who were struck down in the prime of life and are now sent back to Earth to perform the big holiday concert they never got to perform in life, directed by the original creator Stuart Ross.  Musical director is Andrew M. Chukerman. The cast includes Sean Bell, Adolpho Blaire, Joshua David Cavanaugh and Zachary Edwards. Opens Dec 14.


  • Playwright and cast members discuss the premiere of Neil McGowan’s Disposable Necessities, a comedic look at greed and the value of life…and desire, opening Dec 14 at Rogue Machine @ The Electric Lodge 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. 


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.