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Stage Raw: Leonard Nimoy Treks into Local Theater History

Stage Raw: Leonard Nimoy Treks into Local Theater History

Leonard Nimoy (right) in a 1953 production of Sholom Aleichem's It's Hard to Be a Jew at Hollywood's Civic Theatre, then located on La Cienega Boulevard north of the Coronet Theatre. The director, Maurice Schwartz, appeared in the production's 1920 New York premiere for the Yiddish Art Theatre. Photo courtesy of Leonard Nimoy

On October 17, the Company of Angels is throwing a bash celebrating its 50th anniversary season. To mark the occasion, the company is honoring Culture Clash, Robert Ellenstein and Leonard Nimoy.  And what does the original Mr. Spock have to do with Company of Angels? Even Nimoy was a little surprised. "They must have dug my name out of the archives," he told me this morning at his Westwood office.

It turns out Nimoy, now 78, directed Company of Angels' first production in 1961, as well as working through the byzantine and impenetrable city bureaucracy in order to secure permits to operate what's now the city's oldest operating theater at its then location behind a restaurant on the corner of Waring and Vine. In order to employ as many of the company's large stable of actors as possible, the troupe staged Tennessee Williams' character-bountiful Camino Real.

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