Three Holiday Weekend Premieres in LA

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The weekend of Feb. 14-16 Los Angeles will host three theatrical premieres: Gene Franklin Smith's Rubicon, Henry Ong's People Like Me, and the American Premiere of the Jewish Latin American Theatre's inaugural production Insomnia.

The weekend of Feb. 14-16 Los Angeles will host three theatrical premieres: Gene Franklin Smith's Rubicon, Henry Ong's People Like Me, and the American Premiere of the Jewish Latin American Theatre's inaugural production Insomnia.

Beltway LA in association with Island Park Productions and Michael O'Hagan will present the world premiere of Rubicon by Gene Franklin Smith, running at the Coast Playhouse through Mar. 30.

This political play finds the American presidency in a chaotic state. The president has mysteriously died, and the vice president who takes his place is gay, though few people know it. One of the few who do is the widowed First Lady, who wants the presidency for herself. The plot thickens with a racist senator and his Southern Belle wife with agendas of their own.

Smith says, "Rubicon tries to alert the people to what I think is part of the problem" and has "gut issues that push a person's button, so that they will sit up and take notice, and then try to make a change."

Jenny Sullivan, who received the Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Direction for The Baby Dance, which moved to Off-Broadway, directs. Rubicon stars Michael Kearns, who has been 25 years producing/directing/ performing in L.A., and was one of the nation's first openly gay and HIV-positive actors. A compilation of his AIDS monologues "T Cells & Sympathy," were recently published. Myron, his first multiple character play, has been produced in LA, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington DC.

Denise Crosby, "Star Trek"'s original Lt. Tasha Yar, also stars. Crosby made her theatrical debut with the L.A. Women's Shakespeare Company in Richard III, playing the Duke of Clarence.

For tickets or more info, please refer to The Coast Playhouse regional listing on Playbill On-Line.

The Jewish Latin American Theatre presents the American Premiere of Insomnia by JLAT artistic director Jorge Luis Albertella, as its inaugural production, running at the Hollywood Court Theatre, through Mar. 23.

Albertella, is a novelist and playwright originally from Argentina. He and director Johanna Siegman, from Mexico, present this story of a Jewish psychologist from Latin America now practicing in Califorina. The doctor, who suffered torture and incarceration in his country, discovers that a current patient was a torturer in his country. The doctor finds himself in an ethical dilemma regarding how to handle his patient.

JLAT members Jerome Cleary, Kess M. Garcia, Dennis Gersten and Caroline Westheimer complete the cast. For tickets or mote informaiton, please refer to the Hollywood Court Theatre regional listing on Playbill On-Line.

Henry Ong, a Los Angeles playwright known for his Madam Mao's Memories, debuts his play People Like Me at Playwrights' Arena through Mar 22.

The world premiere play is based on real interviews of gay and lesbian teenagers, creating a collage of different teen stories. The interviews were conducted through a City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Development grant.

Playwright Ong also directs the ensemble, which includes Jennifer Aquino, Hector Contreras, Reggie Lee, Aaron McPherson, Erica Ortega and Michael Tolfo.

People Like Me helps Playwrights' Arena celebrate its fifth anniversary. The Arena is dedicated to nuturing and discovering Los Angeles playwrights. For tickets or more information, please refer to the Playwrights' Arena regional listing on Playbill On-Line.

--By Blair Glaser

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