Footlights Not Klieg Lights

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I cannot tell a lie: I have pooh-poohed theatre in Los Angeles. That’s probably because I assume (and I think, not entirely wrongly) that actors in Los Angeles do not want to be theatre actors. Actors in Los Angeles want to be in film and television, otherwise they’d be on stage in New York or London. But then we have South Coast Repertory and A Noise Within, the latter of which has just sent out its 2004/2005 season schedule.

To paraphrase Cole Porter, I love brushing up my Shakespeare, so I think I’ll be making the short drive to Glendale for at least “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Julius Caesar,” and maybe even Moliere’s “The School for Wives” and Pinter’s “The Homecoming.” Why the heck not?

But submitting to the lure of the glossy brochure is easy. My question for those of you in the know is this: Where else can one find consistently good theatre in L.A.? (Will, I can hear you typing already…)

Oh, and why don’t L.A. companies roll out the histories more often? Where all my Henrys and Richards at?

4 Replies to “Footlights Not Klieg Lights”

  1. I’ve been to A Noise Within once as a jr. high field trip. I remember the place selling brownies and cookies.

  2. I’ve seen about half a dozen outstanding productions at Evidence Room, and I’ve never seen a bad one. Circle X and Black Dahlia (friend plug)are also really good.

  3. Ah, Bronwyn! Now you’re talking! As a former theater critic and an even formerer actor, theater in greater L.A. and SoCal at-large has long been given the brush-off. A Noise Within in Glendale and South Coast Rep in OC are two of the finest in the land, but there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of productions going up each night all around รณ numbers that dwarf the amount of theater New York produces. Big ticket touring shows like those making stops at the Pantages or the Ahmanson may get all the glory, but are a small part of the picture. Sure with tons of stages there’s also tons of crap strutting and fretting, and in a search for consistently good theater, you’re bound to step in some. Here’s some other houses that usually host more hits than misses:

    Pasadena Playhouse
    Tamarind Theatre (Franklin Ave. in Hollywood)
    Eclectic Theatre (Laurel Cyn. in NoHo)
    Fremont Center Theatre in South Pasadena
    Falcon Theatre in Toluca Lake
    Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum (Topanga Canyon)
    Geffen Playhouse (Westwood)
    Laguna Playhouse (Laguna Beach)
    Ivy Substation (Culver City)
    Coronet Theatre (La Cienega Blvd.)
    Company of Angels (Hyperion in Silver Lake)
    Odyssey Theatre (Sepulveda in West L.A.)

  4. Bronwyn –

    While those of us with true appreciaition for the arts love our classics, audience attendance in LA does not often bring in the box office $$$ needed to sustain the theaters struggling to survive – therefore most must choose shows that appeal to the masses – i.e. if it’s ever been made into a movie, they will come.

    However, if it’s the classics you crave, check out The Kingsman Shakespeare Company, who perform outdoor theatre at Cal Lutheren, Santa Suzanna. The performances are excellent, the actors are well trained, and the audiences are very appreciative. AND IT’S FREE!!! Okay, not exactly LA, but don’t be afraid… just like Mikey – try it, you’ll like it!

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