Jun 8, 2011

Closer To Home

This should be interesting: The LA Times will host a panel discussion on my pet subject next week:
Is Los Angeles a “theater town”?

New York. Chicago. Seattle. San Francisco. For many, those cities come to mind when people mention “theater town.” But where does L.A. fit in?

That’s the topic of our upcoming theater roundtable. On June 14 at 6 p.m., Culture Monster will host a conversation about the city’s place in the national theater scene -– and in the shadow of Hollywood.

Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty will moderate a panel that features Michael Ritchie, artistic director of Center Theatre Group; Tim Robbins, Oscar-winning actor and artistic director of the Actors' Gang; Broadway producer Marc Platt (“Wicked,” “Three Days of Rain,” “Pal Joey”); Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley; and Sheldon Epps, artistic director of Pasadena Playhouse and Broadway director (“Baby It’s You!”).

It's being put on to coincide with the Theatre Communications Group conference, in which, alas, I may be too immersed to attend this colloquy. I just remembered that the very first ActorFest event I helped stage (as editor of Back Stage West) in the mid-'90s at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel featured a panel on exactly the same topic (the panelists, if memory serves, included Josh Schiowitz, John Rubinstein, Ellen Geer, and the Cast Theatre's Diana Gibson). That the L.A. Times still considers this a relevant question is an answer in itself, alas.

UPDATE: This panel, staged the following Monday after the conference and moderated by KPCC's Steve Julian, looks like a serious contender:
This month, Los Angeles will host at least five national and international theatre gatherings aimed at celebrating the progress and innovations of the art form through a variety of interactive and presentational offerings. While many consider L.A. to be a “film” or “T.V.” town, it is clear that this summer we are the go-to destination for theatre makers…but why?


Terence McFarland, Executive Director, LA Stage Alliance

Kappy Kilburn, Founder/Co-Producer, Director's Lab West

Ben Hill, Festival Director, Hollywood Fringe Festival

Mark Murphy, Executive Director, REDCAT/Co-Curator RADAR L.A.

Diane Rodriguez, Associate Producer/Director of New Play Production, Center Theatre Group/TCG Board Member and National Conference Co-chair, co-curator for RADAR L.A.

Wish I'd planned to be there for that one!

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