Written by Julio Martinez
Image credit: 2015 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards Ceremony held at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre on Monday, November 9, 2015, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)
- Christmas arrived early for South Coast Repertory when philanthropist Julianne Argyros, at the company’s annual opening performance of A Christmas Carol, announced a $5 million gift to the Tony Award-winning theatre. Julianne and George Argyros have been leading supporters of South Coast Repertory since the 1970s, including major contributions to the Next Stage Campaign, which led to the naming of the Julianne Argyros Stage, and to the Legacy Campaign to build the theatre’s endowment. Julianne is an Honorary Trustee and, in 2013, she served as Honorary Chair of SCR’s 50th Season Gala. The gift will make possible an entirely new production of A Christmas Carol which will premiere in December 2021. Additionally, it strengthens SCR’s strategic capacity-building initiatives, which include increasing the endowment to support programming.
- Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard announce changes to the Laguna Playhouse 2020 season of shows. Comedienne Rita Rudner will replace the previously announced Melanie Griffith in Neil Simon’s Barefoot In The Park, which will now open on March 1, 2020 and the world premiere musical To Sir, With Love is moving to the final slot of the season in June, 2020.
- Theatre Forty in Beverly Hills is offering the premiere of Sunday Dinner, a young priest in the Chicago Archdiocese, returns to his parents’ home in the Bronx after his grandfather dies and faces a series of family crises, written and directed by Tony Blake, starring John Combs, Dennis Hadley, Kevin Linehan, Meghan Lloyd, Michele Schultz, Sharron Shayne and James Tabeek. Opens Jan 17 in the Reuben Cordova Theatre, on the campus of Beverly Hills High School.
- The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica is presenting the California Premiere of 17 Border Crossings, created by and starring Thaddeus Phillips, a comical, visually surreal, sometimes harrowing, look at the imaginary lines that divide up the world and the very real barriers they create, directed by Tatiana Mallarino. Plays Jan 24 and 25.
- Center Theatre Group announced that the cast of the upcoming production of Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me will include a Los Angeles high school freshman, Jocelyn Shek, who is making her stage debut, rotating in the lead role with original Broadway cast member Rosdely Ciprian, performing opposite Tony-nominated actress Maria Dizzia and original Broadway cast member Mike Iveson. Ciprian, Dizzia and Iveson’s casting was previously announced. The engagement of award-winning work at CTG’s Mark Taper Forum is already being extended by a week due to overwhelming early sales. The Tony- nominated play, originally scheduled to run Jan 12–Feb 16, will now continue until February 23.
- Santa Monica Playhouse announces the return of Love In Bloom, a musical showpiece, written directed by Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie, paying tribute to the wenches and rogues of the Bard. The cast of Tara Brown, Patrick Censoplano, Rachel Galper, Zane Garcia, Graham Silbert, Cynthia Zitter, and DeCarlo & Rudie as King and Queen of the Faeries, in the Actors’ Repertory Theatre commedia-carnival style, creates a host of over thirty characters, “bringing to the stage all the stuff that dreams (and musicals) are made on.” Encores Jan 19 through Mar 1.
- Casting has been completed for Macha Theatre’s return engagement of Frida: Stroke of Passion, written and directed by Odalys Nanin. Ensemble includes Nanin (Frida Kahlo) and Oscar Basalto (Diego Rivera), as well as Tricia Cruz, Sandra Valls, Francisco Medina, Marjorie Burgos, Celeste Creel, David Reza, Kesia Elwin, Paul Cascante, Mantha Balourdou and David Santamaria. Plays Feb 7-16 at Casa 0101 Theatre in Boyle Heights.
- Jazz ‘n Paz, continues its’ seasonal intimate jazz series showcasing some of Los Angeles’ finest jazz musicians. To ring in the holidays, the December concert, Carols of the Belles, features the vocals of the iconic Barbara Morrison, Jamie Perez, and Renee Myara, taking place Dec 22 at Pasadena’s Neighborhood UU Church. In a jazzy program of standards and holiday favorites, the musicians behind the angelic voices feature Michael Ragonese on piano, James Yoshizawa on drums, Danny Janklow on sax and flute, and Luca Alemmano on bass.
- Troubadour Theatre Company unveils its latest mashup of traditional holiday fare and contemporary pop music, A Christmas Carol King, written and directed by Matt Walker, playing at El Portal Theater Mainstage in North Hollywood, through Dec 22.
Julio Martinez hosts Arts in Review, celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area. On Christmas Day, Arts in Review presents the premiere of AIR Repertory Theater’s holiday radio play, Churchill and Roosevelt at Christmas, and an encore of AIR Rep’s Christmas in Tinseltown, starring Gigi Perreau, Richard Heft, Richard M. Johnson, Lauren Lewis, Cullen Kirkland, Linnea Liu Dakin, John Sweet and Ed Krieger, directed by Irene Arranga. Plays Dec 25 (9 to 10am) on KPFK (90.7fm) and streamed live around the world in real time over Audio Archives on www.kpfk.org.