Theatre lovers are everywhere. Yes, even in Los Angeles. No, especially in Los Angeles. Sure, they support our theatre scene by attending but a lot of them have a personal stake in it somehow, but some are being cornered into seeing shows by friends and family. But then there are theatre lovers like Steve Julian, who love it because of something more…
You may recognize Steve’s name from your morning commute here in Los Angeles. Julian is a public radio morning host. “A lot of interesting stories come across my desk; it’s real life drama,” Julian says. “But theatre encompasses this untouchable element that has intrigued me my entire life.”
Growing up in Southern California, Julian found himself working as a teen actor where he fostered his love of theatre. As he grew into a young man, he attended California Poly Pomona reaching for a theatre degree. “I never did graduate with that degree though but I think a lot of my current work reflects that pursuit. I am fascinated with choice and how it affects our lives.”
After ditching his dream of a life in the theatre for a more secure career path, Julian worked in radio for a few years, then joined the police force. He returned to radio years later. “It wasn’t until I was established in radio, in my 40’s, that I felt I could really reinvest in my love of theatre,” Julian says. And reinvest he has.
Julian has served on several theatre company boards over the years. He currently is a board member of Coeurage Theatre and Good People Theatre Company here in town. Julian is also an active member of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA Playwriting Unit. His play, What Kind Of God, sprung from his work with EST/LA and last fall had a run at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. “There is something happening exciting happening here in LA with this new wave of theatre energy throughout the city. I am grateful for events like The Hollywood Fringe,” Julian says.
This month Julian will have his second full length play, Ribbon Of Life, mounted as a part of The Hollywood Fringe Festival. “I’m thrilled that Ben Hill felt inspired to put it together a few years ago. It’s a remarkable opportunity for writers and directors to become producers of works that range from big-scale musicals to simple staged readings,” Julian says.
In Ribbon Of Life, Julian explores the polarity of the transgender lifestyle and how it affects a conservative religious family. “The social and familial pressure of religion is something I have experienced. Too often it inhibits conversations about where we end up as people,” Julian says. “I was very interested in seeing how these two worlds collide.”
Julian attended Protestant and Catholic schools growing up and has recently been exploring how people who identify as Christians are accused of acting in non-Christian ways. “I have written plays with similar themes but Ribbon Of Life almost seemed to write itself. A central character is a transgender woman and we see the difficulties she faces in being accepted in her lover’s family,” Julian says. The play was inspired by Johann Georg Melchior Schmidtner’s painting, Mary, Untier of Knots, a painting that Pope Francis felt a strong attachment to when he was working on his Ph.D in Germany.
“Theatre is a unique beast,” Julian says. “I love it all from story inception through the writing process with multiple drafts, casting, producing and then putting it before an audience. Where else can we go someplace and meet ourselves?”