UCLA LIVE DROPS ITS INTERNATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL (UPDATED)
After more than a decade of the region's premier international theater programming, that has brought to UCLA's stages choral theater from Poland to the Royal Shakespeare Company and Sir Ian McKellen to Russian clowns, the Chancellor's office is eliminating all theater from upcoming UCLA Live programming.
UCLA Live's Director, David Sefton, blamed the cuts on “the climate here given everything that's going on with the State of California. They're basically eliminating anything that looks like risk. We had reduced the content of the festival to make it a cheaper year, but they want no risk – when the performing arts is a risk-laden business.”
“Theater is the most expensive form [of the arts presented by UCLA Live],” Sefton added.
Dance, music and the lectures series remain intact. “What they've done is cut everything related to theater,” Sefton explained.
The UCLA administration has a slightly different explanation.
Writes Dean Christopher Waterman, the dean of UCLA's School of the Arts and Architecture:
“The reduction in state support had little to do with the decision
to eliminate the International Theatre Festival from the 2010-11
season, given that the UCLA Live program receives minimal support from
the State of California. Rather, a significant downturn in ticket sales
as a result of the poor economic climate is the real culprit. Because
of steeply declining revenues, all program and academic directors were
required to review their initiatives and, in many cases, make difficult
decisions to balance their budgets. While we recognize that the
International Theatre Festival has many supporters who will be
disappointed, we want to emphasize that eliminating the festival from
this season's offerings will allow UCLA Live to continue to provide a
broad range of unique and high-quality performances throughout the rest
of its program.”
According to Sefton, however, box office revenue never came close to paying for the theater programming. The majority of those costs was always borne by private funders, and Sefton was just going into fund-raising mode. “I have to put out a set of assumptions and targets,” he said. But the decision from the Chancellor's Office was made based on the money in the bank at this time.
Sefton aims to press on with his fund-raising efforts in order to pre-pay for an international theater festival in 2011-2012, thereby eliminating the the kind of risk that the Chancellor's office finds so chilling.
For more local stage happenings, and a list of plays scheduled to be reviewed over the weekend, press the More tab directly below.
AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY
The Santa Monica College Opera Theatre presents the opera based on Theodore Dreiser's classic American novel — a complex account of the life and death of a young antihero named Clyde Griffiths. Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Sat., May 8, 7 p.m.; Sun., May 9, 4 p.m.. (310) 434-3414.
This new dark comedy, written and performed by Fairfax High School students and set on ol' Hallows Eve, follows two sisters who spend a night warding off the undead. Greenway Court Theater, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Fri., May 7, 4 & 7 p.m.; Sat., May 8, 6 p.m.; Sun., May 9, 1 p.m.. (323) 655-7679.
THE MISMATCH GAME
Producer and host Dennis Hensley will be joined onstage by a panel of some of L.A.'s most creative, hilarious and desperate comic minds for what has become a cult favorite. L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, Renberg Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Pl., L.A.; Fri., May 7, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 8, 8 p.m.; Sun., May 9, 7 p.m.. (323) 860-7302.
CHECK BACK HERE MONDAY FOR REVIEWS OF THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTIONS:
BAD DATES Written by Theresa Rebeck, starring Samara Frame. Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A.; Thurs., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru May 23. (323) 960-5770.
CANNED HAM Tom Judson performs his autobiographical solo show. Cavern Club Theater at Casita del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru May 16. (323) 969-2530.
EVA PERON, ENIGMA OF A DESTINY The story of Evita, a world-premiere play set to music and tango. Knightsbridge Theater, 1944 Riverside Dr.,L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru May 16. (323) 667-0955.
FULL DISCLOSURE Ruth McKee's site-specific play invites the audience to a real home for sale in a secret suburban location. Chalk Repertory Theatre; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m..; Sun, 7 p.m..; 800-838-3006. In order to protect the privacy of the home hosts specific addresses will only be given at the time of purchase.
THE GIFT HORSE See Kay Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of Lydia R. Diamond's drama. Working Stage Theater, 1516 N. Gardner St., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Mon., Sun., 7 p.m.; thru May 24. (323) 851-2603.
GROUNDLINGS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT The comedy troupe invites you to
fasten your seat belt and put your tray table in the locked position as you take off for the latest main stage show. Groundling Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., L.A.; opens May 7; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 & 10 p.m.; thru July 10. 323) 934-9700.
LENNY BRUCE IS BACK (AND BOY IS HE PISSED) Ronnie Marmo is the comedy legend. Theatre 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru May 16. (323) 467-6688.
OJALA! Set in the mid-1960s, Ojala! Explores the cultural phenomenon of Mexican nany-maids and the affluent white children they care for. Casa 0101, 2009 E. First St., L.A.; opens May 7; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; thru June 6. (323) 263-7684.
SARAH, SARAH Daniel Goldfarb's comedy-drama about how families are linked across generations and continents. Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; opens May 7; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru June 27.
TOOTH AND NAIL Gena Acosta's New Jersey-family comedy. Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre St., San Pedro; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., May 16, 7 p.m.; Thurs., May 20, 8 p.m.; thru May 22. (310) 512-6030.
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY WAY Based on a little-known incident in LA history, this thriller explores the collision of reality and fantasy as two actors juggle various roles to entrap homosexuals for “social vagrancy” in the public restrooms of 1914 Long Beach. Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena; opens May 8; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru June 6. (626) 683-6883.