This Week in LA Theatre

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Written by Julio Martinez

Image: Pasadena Playhouse for Ragtime. The LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards held at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on January 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

 

  • Skylight Theatre Company in Hollywood announced its Season 2020, highlighted by new plays created and developed for their Resident Playwriting Group, SkyLAb.  Kicking off the new season is the premiere of West Adams, a dark comedy about race and class written by Penelope Lowder. The cast includes Allison Blaze, Clayton Farris, Johnathan Medina, and Jenny Soo, directed by Michael A. Sheppard, opening Feb 8. Season continues with Lavender Men, An Emancipation Play, written by Roger Q. Mason, directed by Lovell Holder (Apr 25); Emmylu, written by Boni B. Alvarez, directed by Alana Dietze (Opens in the fall, 2020, to be announced); and a fourth play produced before the end of 2020 (TBA). 
  • Open Fist Theatre Company opens its 30th anniversary season with three programs of short works, performed in rotating repertory, by playwrights renowned for pushing the boundaries of theatrical invention. Rorschach Fest, featuring seminal work by John O’Keefe, Daniel MacIvor, Harold Pinter and Caryl Churchill, opens Feb. 14 at Atwater Village Theatre, where performances continue through April 5.
    • Inkblot A features Ghosts, written and directed by John O’Keefe (Feb. 14, 15).
    • Inkblot B is made up of two one acts: Harold Pinter’s Landscape, directed by Christopher Cappiello; and Never Swim Alone, written by Daniel MacIvor, directed by Amanda Weier (Feb 15, 16).
    • Inkblot C, includes two plays by Caryl Churchill: This Is A Chair, directed by Open Fist artistic director Martha Demson; and Here We Go, directed by Son of Semele artistic director Matthew McCray (Feb 16, 17).

 

 

  • The Broadwater Second Stage Theater in Hollywood is hosting the premiere of Law and Order: the Musical! (A parody in accordance with fair-use law), created by Ilyse Mimoum (book and lyrics) and Jeremy Adelman (music). The cast of includes Annie Bond, Tara Cox, Steve Fite, Godfrey Flax, Kerr Seth Lordygan, Tifanie McQueen, Ilyse Mimoun, Kira Powell and Bradford Rolen. Plays Feb 14-Mar 15.
  • The 6th Act presents the premiere of The $5 Shakespeare Company, a comedic heartfelt love letter to all things 99-seat theatre, exposing the trials and tribulations of doing intimate theater in Los Angeles, written by Matthew Leavitt. The cast features Kenajuan Bentley, Emerson Collins, Carolina Espiro, Natalie Lander, Luke McClure, Cindy Nguyen, Andy Robinson, Liza Seneca, Adam J. Smith and Jamie Zwick, directed by Joel Zwick. Opens Feb 7 at Theatre 68 in NoHo.
  • IAMA Theatre Company presents the West Coast premiere of Found, a new musical inspired by Davy Rothbart’s popular Found magazine, which features scores of actual discarded notes and letters that have been “found” in the real world by everyday people, created by Hunter Bell & Lee Overtree (book), and Eli Bolin (music and lyrics).  Tony-nominated Moritz von Stuelpnagel directs with orchestrators/musical directors Frank Galgano and Matt Castle and choreographer Kathryn Burns. Cast includes Jonah Platt, Jordan Kai Burnett, Michael Millan, Sheila Carrasco, Parvesh Cheena, Desi Dennis-Dylan, Tom DeTrinis, Zehra Fazal, Ryan W. Garcia and Karlaa Mosley. Opens Feb 20 at Los Angeles Theatre Center in Downtown Los Angeles. IAMA’s 2019-20 season will conclude in Spring 2020 with the premiere of The Untitled Baby Play by Nina Braddock, running May 14 through June 15 at Atwater Village Theatre.

 

  • La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts & McCoy Rigby Entertainment present the third show of their 2019-2020 season, reviving the hit 1939 Broadway dark comedy, Arsenic and Old Lace, written by Joseph Kesselring and directed by Casey Stangl.The Cast features Carol Mansell, Lynn Milgrim, Jamison Jones, James Lancaster, Ty Mayberry, Ed F. Martin, Rachel Seiferth,” Matthew Grondin, Michael Thomas-Visgar, Mike Genovese, Nick McKenna and Time Winters. Opens Jan 25 at 8pm.
  • Parson’s Nose Theater (PNT) launches the second half of its 2019/2020 season with Molière’s final comedy, The Imaginary Invalid, an attack on corruption in the 17th-century medical profession, translated and adapted by Lance Davis.  Cast includes Lance Davis, Jill Rogosheske,  Kristen Egermeier, Barry Gordon, Marisa Chandler,  Barry Gordon, John Rafter Lee/Thomas Diafoirus, James Calvert and Colin Thomas Jennings, directed by Mary Chalon. Opens Feb 8 at Parson’s Nose Theater in Pasadena.

 

  • Odyssey Theatre Ensemble presents Grammy award-winning chanteuse Julia Migenes, re-opening her farewell series of concert performances, La Vie en Rose, for five additional weeks (All songs performed in French), accompanied on piano by Victoria Kirsch and directed by Academy Award-nominated director Peter Medak. Plays Mar 12-Apr 15.

 

  • Claudia Martino discusses her solo show, It’s Only Lipstick, directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, performing Jan 23 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks.

Julio Martinez hosts Arts in Review, celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area, airing on KPFK (90.7fm) on Fridays 2-2:30pm, streamed live around the world in real time over www.kpfk.org.  On Jan 24, Julio welcomes playwright /director Tony Blake and actress Michele Schultz, discussing the stage play, Sunday Dinner, playing at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills, through Feb 16.

An Interview with CTG’s Sherwood Award Winner, Mat Diafos Sweeney

“I think LA theatre is at its best when it’s reaching across forms and reinventing its relationship to a live audience, and at its worst when it’s trying to fit an existing mold or production model that made sense in New York a century ago. LA is the future- our garden is wilder, vaster, and more diverse so it should be tended differently.”

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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.