Theater News: The Mark Taper Forum's $30 Million Face Lift; Galatea aims for Fringe NYC festival; Company of Angeles former president Paul Brennan dies.
On Tuesday morning, Center Theatre Group rolled out its $30 million re-design of the Mark Taper Forum, that has been dark for two years for remodeling, for press, CTG staff and sundry County Supes., including Gloria Molina, Yvonne B. Burke and Zev Yaroslavsky. Female patrons will be most pleased by the new women's bathroom and its 16 stalls (up from four), upping the odds that theater-going femmes now stand a chance of making it back on time for Act 2.
The facility now includes elevators between the upper loges and parking lot . Most of the perks, however, are for the folks creating the shows. Back in the day, the entire set for Tony Kushner's epic, Angels in America had to be cut down to fit through a 4' by 9' loading door, then reconfigured on the other side.
Worse, entry to the backstage required climbing a small flight of steps. That loading door is now a more comfortable now 6' by 9', and the entire backstage floor has been lowered by 2' 9”, accommodating easier access. The lobby floor has also bee lowered and expanded, and the lobby now includes a subterranean bar for meeting and greeting.
At the podium, donor Brindell Gottlieb joked that she had to pay $5 million to appear on the Taper mainstage; Zev Yaroslavsky later countered that the county only put in $4.9 million – $100,000 less. “That's because we're shrewd businessmen,” he quipped.
(Photos by Steven Leigh Morris and Center Theatre Group)
GALATEA in NYC
In May, just after Dreamhouse Ensemble voted to disband after four years of operations, its acclaimed production of Galatea (garnering an L.A. Weekly Theater Awards nomination for NYC-based playwright Frank Tangredi) was invited to participate in the New York International Fringe Theater Festival (FringeNYC) next month. But they had no theater company to make it happen. The family drama is about a threat to the already jittery marriage of a firefighter when a young artist asks his wife to pose for a sculpture. The actors (Ross Kramer, Ronald Quigley, Adrian Lee, Lorianne Hill and Jacqueline Hickel) were able to cobble together the $550 FringeNYC “commitment fee” -- and to use the 501(C) not-for-profit umbrella of a company based on both coasts, but they remained about $11,500 short of a workable budget. Tangredi has stepped in to help with enough fundraising and accommodations to assure the L.A. cast that the show could be a reality; at this point, it's a reality tortured by the shoestring budget, and the need to replace one actor (for personal reasons) and the director. The project is nonetheless moving ahead.
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According to actor Adrian Lee, the production still needs funds, and westside L.A. theater space for preview performances during the first week of August. The play will perform at the Barrow Street Theatre (Fringe NYC Venue #11) from August 16 through the 23rd. For more information go to http://fringenycdata.com/basic_page.php?ltr=G. or contact www.adrianlee.com/galatea.
The former leader and board of the Company of Angels Theater died of a heart attack on Tuesday. Former board member Molly Brandenburg served on the board with Brennan, during a significant time in the theater's history.
“Paul headed the theater during a run of critically acclaimed productions, Brandenburg said, "including Street Scene, Waiting for Lefty and Gods of the Lightning. In 1989 our old theater on Vine and Waring in Hollywood burned down, so we held a fundraiser at the LATC and raised funds to start a new theatre on Hyperion in Silverlake. Paul was a decorated Vietnam veteran, and later became a greatly respected teacher of special education in the LAUSD schools.”