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FDR

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Our thirty-second president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was elected to serve as the country's chief executive four times (the only one to serve more than two terms in that office). During his twelve-year tenure, Roosevelt guided the nation through the Great Depression and World War Two. He is considered to be among the greatest of U.S. presidents – the Lincoln of the twentieth century.

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Handle with Care

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Up until the mid-60's small cast comedies were an important part of the Broadway economy. These shows could run for a season and make a tidy profit for the investors. As the cost of producing on Broadway rose and multi-year runs became necessary to return an investment, the smaller plays moved to Off-Broadway and regional theaters.

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Doctor Faustus

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In spite of, or perhaps because of, his short life, Christopher Marlowe lives on as a particularly intriguing Elizabethan enigma. The verifiable facts are few. The speculation surrounding his life and violent death is legion. Was he a godless atheist? A secret Catholic? A proto-James Bond in the service of Queen Elizabeth? A lover of boys? The actual author of Shakespeare's plays? These, and other theories, have been argued over the centuries.

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Le Nozze di Figaro

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Walking up for the opening night of Dallas Opera's 58th Season, the audience was greeted with an outdoor diorama featuring models costumed to represent each of the operas in the Season. Apparently one could bid on the outfits. I talked myself out of trying for the Salome ensemble and joined the festive throng inside the striking and the commodious Winspear Opera House. Across town, a reported crowd of 4,000 to 5,000 additional audience members were gathered at Klyde Warren Park to view a live simulcast under the stars. Inside or out, all the operagoers were treated to a production of Mozart's enduring masterpiece, Le Nozze di Figaro, which easily eclipsed the opening night ballyhoo.

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Ragtime: The Musical

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One of the most powerful emotional experiences this critic has had in the theater was during the United States premiere production of Ragtime: The Musical, at Los Angeles' now demolished Shubert Theatre. That was 1997, and the stirring staging – based on the E.L. Doctorow 1975 novel of the same title, with a book by Terrance McNally and music and lyrics Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, respectively – starred Brian Stokes Mitchell and an unknown Audra McDonald. When it transferred to Broadway a year later, Ragtime led that year's Tony Award line-up with 13 nominations, winning for Original Score, Book, and Orchestrations, as well as a earning a trophy for McDonald as Best Featured Actress.

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Plan 9 From Outer Space

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Scripted and directed in1959 by the notoriously bad film maker Ed Wood, Plan 9 from Outer Space was originally titled Grave Robbers from Outer Space. Now the hammy conceit of Plan 9 is being sublimated into a wacky satire, live and onstage, at Fullerton's marvelous Maverick Theater.

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Dido/Bluebeard

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Combining Henry Purcell's miniature baroque gem, Dido and Aeneas with Bela Bartok's 20th Century primal scream, Bluebeard's Castle seems rather incongruous. Despite their musical importance, neither is frequently seen on operatic stages because their length requires that they be paired with another piece. While there are a number of other short 20th Century operas which have been successfully paired with Bluebeard, Dido is essentially sui generis.

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Zealot

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Acts of diplomacy are more difficult and complicated than the uttered word might suggest. At the international level, protocols and promises are colored and contoured via language barriers, cultural differences, and the interpersonal politics of petty enmities. These are the issues that propel Theresa Rebeck’s latest script, now in its world premiere staging at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Repertory Theatre, through November 16.

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The Golden Apple

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Every musical theater zealot has two or three Holy Grail Shows. These are usually Broadway flops which continue to tantalize long after their closing nights. Poring over their original cast albums, devotees ponder how such a terrific aural experience could translate into failure on stage. Was the show ahead of its time? Did the book sink it? How could Musical X, the ho-hum show playing across the street from Holy Grail A, become a perennial favorite, when HGA is forgotten?

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Venus in Fur

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The tango is a dance which is at once elegant, playful, sensual and filled with power plays. It also has a  unique power to capture an audience. It's true that any two-character play can easily be described as some type of dance. But the tango is a particularly apt metaphor for David Ives' erotically charged Venus in Fur.

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Spotlight

2014 LA STAGE ALLIANCE OVATION AWARD NOMINEES ANNOUNCED
Nominees for the 2014 LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards were announced on the evening of Monday, September 22 at Native Voices at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. The nominations were revealed by past Ovation Award recipients Gigi Bermingham, Brighid Fleming, Parmer Fuller, Jennifer Haley, Brian Kite, Glynn Turman, and John Zalewski, along with LA STAGE Alliance Chief Executive Officer Terence McFarland.


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East West Players Announces “2042: See Change” Initiative Kicking Off with National Playwriting Competition

East West Players (EWP), the nation’s premier Asian American theatre organization, announces 2042: See Change, an initiative by East West Players to promote diversity in American theatre. According to census reports, it is estimated that by 2042, for the first time people of color will make up a majority of the United States population.  With this shift in demographics, the face of America will look and feel different.

“We want to challenge other theaters to prepare for this change by thinking differently in their artistic programming and their audience development strategy,” says EWP Producing Artistic Director, Tim Dang. “In many areas, the change has already happened. The future is here.  2042: See Change is the perfect launch to initiate and innovate new works for the American theatre that include more opportunities for people of color, women, youth and ideas for the next generation of art making.

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The Pasadena Playhouse Announces David DiCristofaro and Board of Directors Chairman and Brad King as Vice Chair

The Pasadena Playhouse (Artistic Director Sheldon Epps and Executive Director Elizabeth Doran) announced today that David DiCristofaro, currently serving as the Board’s Vice-Chairman, will be taking on the role of Board Chairman as of September 1, 2014.  Board member Brad King will fill DiCristofaro’s position as Vice-Chairman.

 

This announcement comes simultaneously with steps taken by The Playhouse in the planning of their centennial in 2017, beginning with the installation of new carpet and seating set to be completed just before the start of the theatre’s season opener KISS ME, KATE starring Wayne Brady.

 

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Center Theatre Group Announces the 11th Season at the Kirk Douglas

2014-2015 Douglas Season is Jam-Packed with 10 Exciting Events

David Mamet’s Explosive “Race”

The Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Production of Rebecca Gilman’s “Luna Gale”

A ‘Remix’ of Culture Clash’s Popular “Chavez Ravine”

Todd Almond’s and Matthew Sweet’s Musical Charmer “Girlfriend” and DouglasPlus Presentations –

The World Premiere of “Forever” by Dael Orlandersmith

Lucy Alibar’s Work in Progress “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up”

The U.S. Premiere of Gob Squad’s “Western Society”

World Premiere Production of Jessica Blank and Eric Jensen’s “How to be a Rock Critic”

“Facing Our Truth: Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege”

and

CTG’s Los Angeles Company Partnership Presentation of

the 24th Street Theatre’s Special Family Show “Walking the Tightrope”

 

[The New Season Begins July 13, 2014, and Runs Through August 9, 2015.]

Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie has set the 11th season at the CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

In a jam-packed season of exciting work – from widely varied voices and at every level of development – the 2014-2015 season at the Kirk Douglas Theatre will include four powerful mainstage productions, five lively DouglasPlus productions and readings, and a critically acclaimed show for families and people of all ages.

“We start the mainstage season with David Mamet and his tinderbox of a play ‘Race’ and continue with the Goodman Theatre’s world premiere production of Rebecca Gilman’s smart and absorbing ‘Luna Gale,’” said Ritchie. “L.A.’s very own Culture Clash will bring to the Douglas a new version of their popular ‘Chavez Ravine,’ followed by Matt Almond and Matthew Sweet’s charmer of a musical ‘Girlfriend.’”

“DouglasPlus presentations are interwoven through the entire season,” said Ritchie.  “A five-year-old CTG program, DouglasPlus provides us with the flexibility to explore new work and push boundaries. We have developed and presented many  stimulating pieces through DouglasPlus, and that tradition certainly continues with this season.

“Dael Orlandersmith returns to us with the world premiere of her startling show ‘Forever,’ and we welcome the engaging voice of Lucy Alibar with her work in progress ‘Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up.’ Season ticket holders will have a chance to choose one of these two as part of their subscription.”

“Two other DouglasPlus presentations are subscription bonus options,” said Ritchie, “the U.S. premiere of Gob Squad’s absurdist ‘Western Society’ and the world premiere production of Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen’s passionate ‘How to be a Rock Critic.’

“This July, DouglasPlus gives us a chance to reflect on the Trayvon Martin case and all of its ramifications when we present both “Facing Our Truth: Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege” and the youth summit associated with it.”