By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
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HIGH IN THE PADUA HILLS
I just wanted to thank you for the articles on the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival in your April 20–26 issue. (I was a student there way back when it was up on the mountain. It was one of the best experiences of my life.) I was losing hope for theater in Los Angeles until Murray grabbed me from the front page of the Weekly and brought me inside to see some old pals. Reading the articles took me to my real home for a while. I hope Padua never dies.
Re: the articles on Padua Hills. As one of the original students, the manager for several years, an actor in the company and the guy who suggested the location to Robbie Baitz, I’d like to say that Padua Hills was truly a magical place. I’d like to point out, however, that Padua Hills grew out of the brainstorming of two men: Murray Mednick and John R. “Jack” Woodruff. Jack had been one of my drama teachers and directors at Carleton College (and had been asked to retire the year I graduated, 1974). Unable to leave the world of the theater, Jack had come to the University of La Verne to resurrect its defunct theater department. Murray was guest-teaching at the time. Over several beers, Jack and Murray came up with an idea for a summer program where Murray would invite some of his playwright friends to lead seminars on the grounds of the Padua Hills Playhouse.
That first session (1978) was the greatest, most inspirational experience I have ever had — an amazing summer. Murray, of course, was a huge part of it, but I believe credit should also go to Mr. Woodruff, who at age 91 is still staging productions and readings of plays. He is a truly remarkable man.
—James F. Dean
I’d like to thank the L.A. Weekly and theater editor Steven Leigh Morris and his staff for their continuing dedication to theater in Los Angeles. This week in particular, the Weekly showed its commitment to the art form with a cover story on the Padua Playwrights Festival. Then, of course, there was the L.A. Weekly Theater Awards ceremony, as always a raucous celebration of the notion that theater, when well-done, is life-affirming, consequential and, well, fun. If all the people who think this isn’t a theater town could attend, their ignorance would evaporate.
President and CEO
Theater League Alliance
COOLING THEIR HEELS
When I finished reading the article on the 22nd annual L.A. WeeklyTheater Awards (April 27–May 3), I put down the paper and laughed. It reminded me just how different human perspectives can be.
Take my perspective, for instance. I was asked to donate my time to this event, along with the entire Midnight Sun Circus cast — to “do a show,” something I reluctantly did and now regret, for several reasons. First, we were there all day waiting to do our show. Second, we have a lot of equipment to haul around and keep organized. Third, we had to pay for parking. Fourth, we were treated with very little respect by a particular event coordinator. And, to top it all off, we never got to do a show. All this “for free.”
Oh well. “Live and burn,” I always say.
Midnight Sun Entertainment
I was a nominee in the category of play writing at last night’s award ceremony, and I would like to share my experience of the event. I arrived with my mom, dad and brother an hour and a half early, only to learn that there was no record of my reservations. I was told that I and my family, who had traveled from Central California to attend, would be put on a waiting list and that I would be allowed inside the theater when my category was announced. We tried to stay patient and have a sense of humor about the esoteric fashion show in the lobby, and to tune out the nauseating, evil rumble of ambient noise, but it was hard.
When most of the crowd had finally taken their seats inside, we found a small table in the lobby at which to rest, drink sodas and watch the video display (which was virtually invisible). My category was something like 36th on the list, so I was preparing myself for a long wait. Still, looking on the bright side, I saw this as a chance to really search my heart for who I would thank if I were to win and to visit with my family. Even this was impossible, however, because, before â we could even finish our drinks, our chairs were whisked away by order of the fire marshal.