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)


  • Son of Semele’s Quick Creation Festival presents a handful of short new works in two distinct programs, exploring the depths of plays up to 20 minutes in length.

Program A, performing Dec 12, 14, 15, includes:

    • Sergeant Comb and Pant Leg, written by Taylor Gregory, directed by Jacob Ortuno, featuring David Meyers and Matt Morrison.
    • Bruce Lee Solo, written/performed by MJ Kang, directed by Rebekah Chang.
    • In Her Ear, written by Kelsey Siepser, directed by Cecilia Fairchild, featuring Kelsey Siepser and Francisco Pryor Garat.
    • In Transit, conceived by Hannah Priscilla Craig, written by riders of LA Public Transit, devised by ensemble, directed by Hannah Priscilla Craig, featuring Anne Marie Iniguez, Sydney Weinberger, Bri Price, Josh Duron and Laura Dickinson-Turner.
    • Sorrow and the Stinging Nettle, written by Megan Breen, directed by Ashley Steed, featuring Taylor Hawthorne and Kelsey Siepser.
    • Softer, written & directed by Roger Q Mason, featuring Ian Bamberg and Alex Barlas.

Program B, performing Dec 13, 14, 15, includes:

    • Reboot, written by Abe Zapata Jr., directed by Susan Marie Jagosz, featuring Michelle Bonebright-Carter, Josh Duron and Taylor Hawthorne.
    • If I Can Get to Ojai, written by Melina Bielefelt, directed by Don Boughton, featuring Kristi Schultz and Melina Bielefelt.
    • Baggage, written & performed by Carissa Pinckney, directed by Elisa Noemi.
    • The Woods, written & directed by Matthew Scott Montgomery, featuring Matthew Scott Montgomery, Andrew Puente and Misha Reeves.
    • Envy, written by Mia Ellis, directed by Addie Johnson, featuring Mia Ellis and Annie Worden.
    • Please Enjoy Responsibly, written by Sean Michael Lewis, directed by Sophie Goldstein, featuring Josh Duron, Laura Dickinson Turner and Becky Poole.
  • Skylight Theatre Company Season 2020 will present three plays, created and developed by Skylight’s resident playwriting group, SkyLAb.
    • West Adams by Penelope Lowder, a dark comedy about race and class, a hostile takeover of a neighborhood block party. Cast includes Allison Blaze, Clayton Farris, Johnathan Medina and Jenny Soo, directed by Michael A. Shepperd, artistic director of Los Angeles’ Celebration Theatre (Opens Feb 8).
    • Emmylu by Boni B. Alvarez, a timely look at the conversations and issues tearing at the fabric of our country, directed by Alana Dietze (opens Fall 2020, TBA).
    • Lavender Men, An Emancipation Play by Roger Q. Mason, entering the historical fantasia of Taffeta, a self-proclaimed “fabulous queer creation of color,” as she invades the private world of Abraham Lincoln to confront issues of LGBTQ+ inclusion and visibility that still challenge us today, directed by Lovell Holder (opens Apr 25). There will be a fourth play in Season 2020, scheduled for the summer (TBA).


  • Odyssey Theatre Ensemble celebrates the art of dance with its fourth annual festival, Dance at the Odyssey 2020, presenting new work from String Theory; Acts of Matter and Dance Aegis; Ja Collective and Slauson Rec.; L.A. Contemporary Dance Company; and Victoria Marks. Works include premiere of Landscapes and Layers by L.A.’s genre-bending String Theory (Jan 10, 11, 12); the premiere of Tethering, the fifth celebration of the founding of Rebecca Lemme’s Acts of Matter and Andrea Knowlton’s Dance Aegis (Jan 17, 18, 19); the premiere of Wrenz Kaloogy by JA Collective (choreographers Jordan Johnson and Aidan Carberry) and the premiere of Principium by Slauson Rec., choreographed by Scott Felix, Diana Valencia and Dominick Peterson (Jan 24, 25, 26); the premiere of Premiere: 15 from L.A. Contemporary Dance Company and kicking off the company’s 15th season with four premiere works by Roya Carreras, Alice Klock, Roderick George and Whyteberg (Jam 30, 31, Feb 1); and the premiere of Pastoral by choreographer Victoria Marks in collaboration with set designer Isla Hansen (Feb 7, 8, 9).


  • Odyssey Theatre Ensemble in West L.A. is presenting two works by Sam Shepard, featuring The Unseen Hand, a funny yet foreboding one-act sci-fi Western about a trio of legendary cowboys resurrected to help a mutant extraterrestrial free his people from slavery. Stars Matt Curtin, Jordan Morgan, Andrew Morrison, Chris Payne Gilbert and Carl Weintraub. The evening also includes Killer’s Head, a murderer’s monologue delivered as he awaits electrocution, performed by a rotating cast of prominent actors including Steve Howey, Dermot Mulroney and more (TBA). Both plays directed by Darrell Larson. Shepard’s works join the Odyssey‘s 50th Anniversary “Circa ’69” Season of significant and adventurous plays that premiered around the time of the company’s inception. Opens Jan 18.
  • Santa Monica Playhouse’s 2019 premiere comedy, Mistakes Were Made – coulda, woulda shoulda,  written by Jerry Mayer, is making a comeback, featuring Gregg Berger, Rachel Galper, Kyle T. Heffner, Christine Joëlle, Paul Linke and Beau Smith, once again directed by Chrs DeCarlo.  Returns Jan 18, running for 12 weeks.


  • The Broadwater Black Box in Hollywood is hosting the fourth run of The Christmas Present, written and directed by Guy Picot, the heart-warming tale of a sex worker, a hotel room, and some holiday magic. Stars Troy Blendell, Mandi Moss and Sophie Cooper. Opens Dec 13.
  • Sierra Madre Playhouse is hosting the L.A. premiere of Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!), written and performed by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez, directed by Gary Lamb. Music by Will Knapp with musical direction by Sean Paxton. Plays Thu-Sun, through Dec 29.


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.