KPFK Radio’s Arts in Review, Los Angeles’s longest-running radio showcase on live theater and cabaret, presents its annual Holiday Special, featuring the AIR Repertory Players under the direction of Irene Arranga, highlighted by the premiere of “Christmastime in the City” (the story of “Silver Bells”) and the encore of 2017’s “Christmas in Tinseltown” (the story of “White Christmas”), both written by Julio Martinez. Also featured is the holiday music of Al Jarreau and Jane Fuller.
Hosted by entertainment journalist Julio Martinez, the program airs Friday, December 24 (2-3pm). The broadcast premiere of “Christmastime in the City” is the story of overworked Paramount Pictures Oscar-winning songwriters, Jay Livingston and Ray Levin, who, in 1951, were forced to write a last-minute Christmas song for the Bob Hope film, “The Lemondrop Kid.” “Christmas in Tinseltown” takes a look back at early 1940s Hollywood, the making of the Paramount classic film, “Holiday Inn,” and the creation of the most popular Christmas song of all time, “White Christmas.” The Arts in Review Holiday Special also features the final AIR Repertory performance of Ed Krieger who passed away in 2020.
The AIR Repertory Players features the talents of Irene Arranga, Linnea Liu Dakin, Richard Heft, Cullen Kirkland, Ed Krieger, Richard M. Johnson, Lauren Lewis, Gigi Perreau and Chris Stark. Other Arts in Review radio dramatizations include “Che and Allen,” “All is Calm All is Bright,” “The Nutcracker’s Journey,” “Keeping Christmas Well,” O Henry’s T”he Gift of the Magi,” “The Christmas Eve Truce,” “One Horse Open Sleigh,” “Christmas at the Algonquin,” “Churchill and Roosevelt at the White House,” “What Child Is This”, “Dreidels and Donuts” and Mark Twain’s T”he Diary of Adam and Eve.”
Julio Martinez celebrates his 34th year as the weekly host of KPFK Radio’s Arts in Review, airing Fridays 2 to 2:30pm PT on KPFK 90.7fm, simulcast worldwide over kpfk.org. As an entertainment journalist, he writes the weekly L.A. Stage Insider column, pens the TeleVision features for latinheat.com and is a regular contributor to the Writers’ Guild monthly, Written By. Julio has published a book of his holiday radio plays, “The Eight Plays of Christmas.” His stories can be read in “The Story Salon Big Book of Stories” and heard on the Story Salon CD, “The Mario Sessions,” as well as being podcast on storysalon.com and Iloveagoodstory.com. In an earlier life, he performed as a guitarist, arranger and music director for such singers as Al Jarreau (7 years), Sarah Vaughn, Helen Reddy, Irene Kral and others. Martinez also served as director the federally funded Public Players and the improv comedy troupe, Spontaneous Combustion.
Broadcasting since 1987, Arts in Review airs regularly Fridays at 2pm, over KPFK (90.7FM), Pacifica Radio for the Greater Los Angeles area, in Santa Barbara (98.7FM), San Diego (93.7FM) and streamed live around the world on kpfk.org.
“Christmastime Origins” is the Group Rep’s adaptation of the book “The Eight Plays Of Christmas” written by longtime theatre journalist, radio host and critic Julio Martinez. The show is directed by Kathleen Delaney, with musical direction by Paul Cady, and produced by Stevie Stern.
The four pieces being performed are radio plays and deal with the source origins of the most beloved things about Christmas. Group Rep turns their upstairs theater venue into a radio studio (K-GRT) with actors at microphones, live music and foley sound.