By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Photo by Raul Vega
Actors Co-op See article by Steven Mikulan (SM).
Alliance Repertory Company alliancerepertory.com The company seems to physically rebuild its theater to best serve each production; high acting standard.
Blue Sphere Alliance bluesphrealliance.com Frequently stages festivals of one-acts and solo performances with mixed results; solid production values.
Also in this issue:
Company Town: How did sprawling Los Angeles become a mecca for small theater? Nearly 100 self-sustaining companies, many with distinguished reputations, are at work in the city. STEVEN LEIGH MORRIS addresses the question of why L.A. is such fertile ground for ensembles, and profiles some of the best, along with ERIN AUBRY KAPLAN and STEVEN MIKULAN. Plus, MORRIS on Gordon Davidson, who will be designated this year’s Queen of the Angels at the 25th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards.
Cal Rep calrep.org Intriguing productions that veer toward the academic.
Camelot Artists Productions (310) 855-1556, Ext. 24. Has a long history of elegantly produced large-cast revivals of modern plays.
Cavern Club Theater at Casita del Campo cavernclubtheater.com Goofball drag and movie parodies.
Chautauqua Theater Alliance (323) 960-8865. A gypsy theater company with a local history dating back to the 1920s. Now leans toward a TV-style/movie drama aesthetic.
Circus Theatricals circustheatricals.com Conventional interpretations of classics that stress the acting.
City Garage See article by SLM.
Classical Theater Lab classicaltheatrelab.org Focuses on readings and workshops of classics.
Company of Angels See article by SM..
Company Rep nohoartsdistrict.com/theatre Good actors and ideas, but the company is still finding its way.
Culture Clash cultureclash.com A core of three very smart comedians make this troupe one of the nation’s busiest, angriest and funniest Latino companies.
Diversity Players geocities.com/diversityplayers Their name says it all. We liked their production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,but found it like so many others.
East L.A. Classics eastlaclassic.org Targets the schools to bring literary-based theater classics (incorporating pop culture and a commedia style) to underserved youth.
Electric Lodge electriclodge.org A laboratory for performing and visual arts in Venice, its experiments have proven unreliable, but that’s what experimentation is about.
Ensemble Studio Theater – The Los Angeles Project See article by SLM.
Evidence Room evidenceroom.com Its taste ranges from Charles Mee’s whimsical poetry to Edward Bond’s visceral explorations of urban violence. With works sometimes baffling, sometimes penetrating, ER is always fearless, and has largely accomplished its goal of creating a “scene” around its theater.
Fabulous Monsters fabulousmonsters.org With its Burning Man aesthetic, it dresses up Hindu myths in ornate costumes, puppetry, lavish choreography and techno pop. The Monsters are either enchantingly hypnotic or relentless, depending on your mood at the time.
The Found Theater foundtheatre.org Wacky comedies in Long Beach.
Interact Theater Company interactla.org Does American chestnuts very well.
Knightsbridge Theater Company knightsbridgetheatre.com Has undergone an amazing transformation over the years, from an overabundance of shoddily performed classics to an arresting theatricality in its musicals and summer-stock dramas.
Lodestone Theater Ensemble lodestonetheatre.org This young Asian-American company produces rarely but memorably.
Los Angeles African American Repertory (818) 761-0704. In each of two new plays reviewed by the Weeklyin the past two seasons, our critics have loathed the material and praised the company.
Los Angeles Repertory Company larep.org One of L.A’s oldest extant classical repertory companies (founded 1966) with a reputation for staging classics well, the troupe has been dormant for a couple of years.
Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company lawsc.net Is that a banana in Hamlet’s pocket? If the show’s by LAWSC, it probably is. All gals doing the Bard is great fun for the actors and makes the gender-point overabundantly clear.
Lucid by Proxy lucidbyproxy.com Young, vibrant troupe unafraid of tweaking convention.
MACHA Theater Company machatheatre.org A women’s company “advancing culture, history and art” through community and educational outreach. Only one full production that we know of, since its inception in 2000.
Matrix Theater Company (323) 852-1445. Has been quiet lately. A tradition of excellent stage productions by working TV actors; originated the policy of strategic double-casting that spread around the city like wildfire.
Meadows Basement See article by SM.
MET Theater themettheatre.com Very active company does everything under the sun; production standards vary.
MetaTheater Company (323) 993-7113. This young, ambitious company got off to a good start with a visceral production of Dogs Barkingand The Dead Eye Boylast year.
Naked Angels nakedangels.org This NYC-based troupe staged an impressive production of Stephen Belber’s Tapehere two years ago, and just opened a bill of one-acts (co-produced by FOX Broadcasting Company) aimed at turning playwrights toward TV, where presumably they’ll be more useful to society.
Neurotic Young Urbanites nyurbanites.com A smart, fun-filled troupe that consistently asks us to examine the way we watch the theater, and things beyond it.
A Noise Within See article by SM.
Pacific Resident Theater See article by SLM.
The Powerhouse Theater powerhousetheatre.com Very snappy company that’s just taken its topflight musical (about a pathetic all-girl rock band) to Chicago’s Lookingglass Theater.
Quantum Theater Company quantumtheatre.org Anything’s possible: They made Timberlake Wertenbaker’s verbal gymnastics in Our Country’s Goodlook easy, but also made corned beef hash out of Romeo and Juliet.
Sacred Fools Theater sacredfools.org Its core aesthetic is sci-fi. Very busy company that occasionally demonstrates its capacity for brilliance.
Shakespeare Festival/L.A. shakespearefestivalla.org Festive alfresco stagings of the Bard go down easy.
The 68 Cent Crew 68centcrew.com New and new-ish plays range from hokey to riveting.
Son of Semele Ensemble sonofsemele.org Keeps knocking at society’s edge in kinetic and sometimes upsetting productions.
Sons of Beckett email@example.com Stages existential farces. Our reviews have been mixed.
Theater Banshee at the Gene Bua Theater theatrebanshee.org Has been staging British farces with shining moments, but not entirely effectively.
Theater District (at the Cast) thetheatredistrict.com Has a front-porch drama aesthetic.
Theater 40 theatre40.org Some excellent actors, mostly staid play selection.
Theater Neo theatreneo.com A big, stylish company that does many new plays.
Theater of NOTE theatreofnote.com Excellent production values. Appears at the moment to be working through a tear between its punk-poetry heritage and an opposing impulse toward something sweeter, more light-hearted and box-office friendly.
Theater West theatrewest.org Old-fashioned fare by one of L.A.’s most senior rep companies.
Towne Street Theater See article by EAK.
Unity Players Ensemble See article by EAK.
The Victory Theater thevictorytheatrecenter.org A Burbank tradition, financial pressures have kept it in on the limb recently with social comedies, though its recent partnership with Lodestone Theater Company and Orphan Theater Company last year resulted in a magical fantasia.
West Coast Ensemble wcensemble.org Treads cautiously in its play selection; this is our version of an off-Broadway house that loves Sondheim and West Coast premieres, and does them well.
Write Act writeactrep.org Literate and imaginative productions in a church-hall setting.
Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater Group zombiejoes.com Specializes in snappily produced short works packed with goth surrealism and fanciful staging.
Zoo District zoodistrict.org A smart, serious company. Stresses innovation and theatricality. Just opened its first ensemble-created piece.
—Research by Luis Reyes