Feb 082017
 
“Zoot Suit” Opens February 12th At Mark Taper Forum

L-R (foreground): Andres Ortiz and Oscar Camacho (in background Roco Lpez, Raul Cardona, Daniel Valdez and Tiffany Dupont) in the revival of “Zoot Suit.” Written and directed by Luis Valdez and presented in association with El Teatro Campesino, “Zoot Suit” opens February 12, 2017, as part of Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum’s 50th anniversary season. For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 628-2772.
Photo by Craig Schwartz. All Uses © 2017 Craig Schwartz

“ZOOT SUIT” OPENS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2017

AT CENTER THEATRE GROUP/MARK TAPER FORUM

“I have tried my best to defend what is most precious in our American society – a society now at war against the forces of racial intolerance and totalitarian injustice,” (George Shearer, defense attorney for the 38th St. Gang in “Zoot Suit”)

Currently in previews, Center Theatre Group’s “Zoot Suit” opens February 12 at the Mark Taper Forum. This legendary play with music will continue through March 19, 2017, (extending one week from the originally announced closing date). Written and directed by Luis Valdez, “Zoot Suit” is presented in association with El Teatro Campesino.

The cast includes (in alphabetical order), Brian Abraham, Mariela Arteaga, Demian Bichir, Melinna Bobadilla, Oscar Camacho, Stephani Candelaria, Raul Cardona, Fiona Cheung, Tiffany Dupont, Caleb Foote, Holly Hyman, Kimberlee Kidd, Rocío López, Jeanine Mason, Tom G. McMahon, Andres Ortiz, Michael Naydoe Pinedo, Matias Ponce, Rose Portillo, Gilbert Saldivar, Richard Steinmetz, Evan Strand, Bradford Tatum, Raphael Thomas and Daniel Valdez.

Choreography for “Zoot Suit” is by Maria Torres, the production includes songs composed by Lalo Guerrero, the music director is Daniel Valdez, casting is by Rosalinda Morales, Pauline O’con, CSA, and Candido Cornejo, Jr., CSA. Scenic design is by Christopher Acebo, costume design is by Ann Closs-Farley, lighting design is by Pablo Santiago, sound design is by Philip G. Allen and projection design is by David Murakami. The associate director is Kinan Valdez and the production stage manager is David S. Franklin.

 

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Jan 272017
 

12 Regional Finalists In A. Wilson Monologue Competition

CENTER THEATRE GROUP SELECTS 12 STUDENTS FOR

AUGUST WILSON MONOLOGUE COMPETITION REGIONAL FINALS

TO BE HELD AT THE MARK TAPER FORUM ON FEB. 27

Top Two Students Will Participate in National Finals on Broadway on May 1, 2017

 

Center Theatre Group has selected 12 local high school students to participate in the regional finals for the 2017 August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) to be held at the Mark Taper Forum on Monday, February 27.

This is the sixth consecutive year Center Theatre Group is hosting the Southern California component of the national monologue competition. The program is designed to inspire and educate Los Angeles youth using monologues from August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle,” a 10-play dramatization of the African American experience in the 20th century.

Those selected to participate in the regional finals are Joey Aquino (Los Angeles), Luke Baxter (Moreno Valley), Kelly Bouslaiby (Fontana), Hollis Dohr (Sherman Oaks), Asa Ferguson (Los Angeles), Hannah Franklin (Long Beach), Elija Hall (Los Angeles), Habin Lee (Los Angeles), Arjang Mahdavi (Granada Hills), Ehvinny Mora (Rowland Heights), Alexander Villaseñor (Los Angeles) and Aryana Williams (Carson). The students represent seven local high schools within Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.

Aquino and Williams both participated in the 2016 competition where Williams took third place.

The students selected will receive training and rehearsal sessions provided by Center Theatre Group throughout January and February. The sessions will allow the students to refine their performances while gaining valuable acting techniques.

 

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Jan 262017
 
PABLO SANTIAGO IS 2017 RICHARD E. SHERWOOD AWARD WINNER

Pablo Santiago accepts the Richard E. Sherwood Award during the 27th Annual LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards held at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in January 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

PABLO SANTIAGO SELECTED AS 2017 RICHARD E. SHERWOOD AWARD WINNER

Center Theatre Group’s $10,000 Award for Emerging L.A. Theatre Artists

Center Theatre Group recognizes and celebrates the recipient of the 2017 Richard E. Sherwood Award, Pablo Santiago, for his exceptional contribution to the Los Angeles theatre landscape and his work as innovative and adventurous artist.

Created in memory of Richard E. Sherwood, the $10,000 award aims to cultivate emerging theatre artists working in Los Angeles who push formal and aesthetic boundaries and demonstrate dedication to improving their respective artistic fields. The winner of the $10,000 award was announced at the 2016 Ovation Awards on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, at the Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center. The two additional finalists, Jenny Foldenauer and Keith Skretch, each received a $2,000 honorarium.

Pablo Santiago is a lighting designer originally from Chiapas, Mexico who designs for theatre, opera, dance and gallery work. Santiago found a home in Los Angeles where he worked in the film industry for 15 years before obtaining an MFA in lighting design from UCLA and transitioned into live stage design. Santiago integrates color theory into his designs and surprises collaborators with innovative plots. Santiago is particularly interested in projects that highlight social justice issues and experiment with time onstage. His design in “Premeditation” was nominated for an Ovation Award in 2014, and he won a Stage Raw Award for “Brother’s Size” in 2015. Upcoming projects include the opera “Breaking the Waves” at the Perelman Theater for OperaPhila and Skirball Center in NYC, and “Zoot Suit” at the Mark Taper Forum.

Originally created in 1996, the Sherwood Award has met a vital need in the theatre landscape to support emerging artists.

 

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Jan 132017
 
“Fun Home” At The Ahmanson Theatre

L-R: Alessandra Baldacchino as ‘Small Alison’, Pierson Salvador as ‘Christian’ and Lennon Nate Hammond as ‘John’ in the national tour of “Fun Home.” “Fun Home” is part of the Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre’s 2016-2017 Season and will be presented February 21 through April 1, 2017.
Photo by Joan Marcus. ©2016 Joan Marcus

“Fun Home”

Music by Jeanine Tesori; Book and Lyrics by Lisa Kron;
Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel
Choreography by Danny Mefford; Directed by Sam Gold

Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, “Fun Home” introduces Alison at three different ages in her life, as she explores and unravels the mysteries of her childhood. A refreshingly honest musical, Alison eventually sees her parents through the eyes of a grown-up. Winner of five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Book, Score and Director of a Musical, “‘Fun Home’ is extraordinary, a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway” (The New York Times).

DATES / TIMES:
Previews February 21 at 8 p.m. Opens February 22 at 8 p.m.
Through April 1, 2017.
Regular Performances (February 23 – April 1):
Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.;
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. No Monday performances.
Exceptions: Added 8 p.m. performance on Monday, March 27 and 2 p.m. performance on Thursday, March 30.

 

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Dec 232016
 
Fountain Theatre production of “Citizen: An American Lyric.”

L-R: Leith Burke, Bernard K. Addison, Lisa Pescia, Tina Lifford, Tony Maggio and Simone Missick in the Fountain Theatre production of “Citizen: An American Lyric.” Written by Claudia Rankine, adapted for stage by Stephen Sachs and directed by Shirley Jo Finney, “Citizen” is part of Center Theatre Group’s Block Party and will play April 28 to May 7 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Photo by Ed Krieger.

CENTER THEATRE GROUP SELECTS THREE LOCAL PRODUCTIONS FOR

INAUGURAL BLOCK PARTY AT THE KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE

Center Theatre Group Will Remount Productions from Coeurage Theatre Company,

Echo Theater Company and Fountain Theatre for Block Party Celebration April 14th –May 21st 2017

 

Center Theatre Group has selected three local productions for the inaugural Block Party: Celebrating Los Angeles Theatre at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Block Party will remount Coeurage Theatre Company’s production of “Failure: A Love Story” by Philip Dawkins, Echo Theater Company’s production of “Dry Land” by Ruby Rae Spiegel and Fountain Theatre’s production of “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine and adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs. Each production will have a two-week run presented April 14th through May 21st 2017.

The selected shows will receive the full support of Center Theatre Group and its staff in order to fund, stage and market each production. Full casting for “Failure: A Love Story,” “Dry Land” and “Citizen: An American Lyric” will be announced at a later date.

Coeurage Theatre production of “Failure: A Love Story.”

The original cast in the Coeurage Theatre production of “Failure: A Love Story.” Written by Philip Dawkins and directed by Michael Matthews, “Failure” is part of Center Theatre Group’s Block Party and will play April 14-23 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Photo by Matthew Denman.

“Failure: A Love Story” from Coeurage Theatre Company will take the first slot and will begin previews April 14, open April 16 and close April 23. Written by Philip Dawkins and directed by Michael Matthews, the show chronicles the lives, loves and deaths of the three Fail sisters and the one man who fell in love with each of them. Set against the backdrop of 1920s Chicago, this touching, whimsical tale explores the impermanence of life and the permanence of love.

“We’re completely thrilled to be a part of this program,” said Coeurage Artistic Director Jeremy Lelliott of being selected. “Center Theatre Group is a standard-bearer in the L.A. arts scene, and to benefit from their support and input on our growth and this upcoming production marks an exciting new chapter for Coeurage and the 99-seat community as a whole.”

Echo Theater production of “Dry Land.”

L-R: Connor Kelly-Eiding and Teagan Rose in the Echo Theater production of “Dry Land.” Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel and directed by Alana Dietze, “Dry Land” is part of Center Theatre Group’s Block Party and will play May 12-21 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Photo by Darrett Sanders.

Fountain Theatre’s “Citizen: An American Lyric,” a meditation on race that fuses poetry, prose, movement, music and the video image, will begin previews on April 28, open April 30 and close May 7. Adapted by playwright and Fountain Theatre Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs and directed by Shirley Jo Finney, it is a provocative stage adaptation of Claudia Rankine’s internationally acclaimed book of poetry about everyday acts of racism in America. Of Rankine’s “Citizen,” The New Yorker wrote that it was “brilliant… [and] explores the kinds of injustice that thrive when the illusion of justice is perfected.” The New York Times wrote that “Rankine brilliantly pushes poetry’s forms to disarm readers and circumvent our carefully constructed defense mechanisms against the hint of possibly being racist ourselves.”

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Center Theatre Group on its first-ever Block Party at the Kirk Douglas Theatre,” said Sachs. “It’s particularly meaningful to us that ‘Citizen’ was chosen because racism and white dominance in America is as timely now, since the election, as it ever was. The project also reflects the diversity of our work at the Fountain Theatre.”

Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel and directed by Alana Dietze, Echo Theater Company’s “Dry Land” will take the final slot of Block Party and will begin previews May 12, open on May 14 and close on May 21. It is a haunting play about female friendship and an abortion that takes place in the locker room of a central Florida high school. Written when Spiegel was just 21 years old and still an undergraduate at Yale, the play is a deeply truthful portrait of the fears, hopes and bonds of teenage girls — as gut-wrenching as it is funny. In his New York Times “critic’s pick” review, Ben Brantley called “Dry Land” “tender, caustic, funny and harrowing, often all at the same time.”

“The Echo is delighted and honored to be selected for Block Party,” said Echo Theater Artistic Director Chris Fields. “The fulfillment of being recognized and the deep gratification of being part of a special affirmation of our entire Los Angeles theatre community is just wonderful.”

“As we celebrate Center Theatre Group’s 50 years of creating theatre in Los Angeles, we want to turn the spotlight on some of the remarkable work being done on other stages,” said Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie in discussing Block Party. “Coeurage Theatre, Echo Theater and Fountain Theatre, as well as others throughout L.A., regularly produce excellent, boundary-pushing work and we’re so glad they are sharing some of that work with us.”

 

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Dec 032016
 
A Screening Of “Amélie” at Ace Hotel

L-R Adam Chanler-Berat, Sam Pinkleton and Phillipa Soo at a workshop for “Amélie, A New Musical,” which will be produced at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre December 4, 2016, through January 15, 2017. For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 972-4400. Photo by Joan Marcus. ©2016 Joan Marcus

 

CENTER THEATRE GROUP AND THE THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL PRESENT

A SPECIAL “AMÉLIE” FILM SCREENING SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3 AT 7:30PM

“Amélie, A New Musical” Coming to the Ahmanson December 4

 

In anticipation of “Amélie, A New Musical” coming to the Ahmanson Theatre, Center Theatre Group and The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles will present a special screening of the five-time Oscar-nominated film “Amélie” on Saturday, December 3 at 7:30 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Center Theatre Group’s production of “Amélie, A New Musical” at the Ahmanson Theatre begins previews December 4, 2016, opens December 16 and continues through January 15, 2017. Based on the motion picture written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, “Amélie, A New Musical” will have its Broadway premiere at the Walter Kerr Theatre, beginning performances on March 9, 2017 and opening April 3, 2017.

Amélie captured our hearts in the 2001 French film. Now Amélie (played by Tony Award nominee Phillipa Soo) comes to the stage in an inventive and captivating new musical directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “Clybourne Park”), with a book by three-time Tony Award nominee Craig Lucas (“An American in Paris”), music by Daniel Messé (of the band Hem), lyrics by Nathan Tysen (“Tuck Everlasting”) and Daniel Messé, musical staging and choreography by Sam Pinkleton, musical direction by Kimberly Grigsby, vocal arrangements by Kimberly Grigsby and Daniel Messé, and orchestrations by Tony Award winner Bruce Coughlin.

In addition to Phillipa Soo in the title role, the cast will feature, in alphabetical order, Emily Afton, David Andino, Randy Blair, Heath Calvert, Adam Chanler-Berat, Alison Cimmet, Savvy Crawford, Manoel Felciano, Harriett D. Foy, Alyse Alan Louis, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Lily Sanfelippo, Tony Sheldon, Jacob Keith Watson and Paul Whitty.

The musical follows the mesmerizing journey of the inquisitive and charmingly shy Amélie who turns the streets of Montmartre into a world of her own imagining, while secretly orchestrating moments of joy for those around her. After discovering a mysterious photo album and meeting a handsome stranger, Amélie realizes that helping others is easier than participating in a romantic story of her own.

 

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Nov 202016
 
Gordon Davidson

Gordon Davidson. Photo by Craig Schwartz

CENTER THEATRE GROUP TO HOLD MEMORIAL IN HONOR OF GORDON DAVIDSON
MONDAY, JANUARY 9th 2017, AT 7:30 P.M. AT THE AHMANSON THEATRE

Center Theatre Group will hold a memorial in honor of its Founding Artistic Director, Gordon Davidson, on Monday, January 9th 2017, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Ahmanson Theatre. The theatre will open at 7 p.m. The memorial will not be a ticketed event and will be open to the public. (Free admission) Additional details will be released at a later date.

“Gordon Davidson was one of the most renowned and respected artistic directors in regional theatre, in part because he was one of the original founders of the entire concept,” said Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. “He led Center Theatre Group for 38 years and produced one of the broadest arrays of plays, particularly new plays, of any theatre in the country. Without his prolific vision for Center Theatre Group 50 years ago, the theatrical landscape in Los Angeles, and the country, would be very different. He remains one of theatre’s great leaders and I am proud to call him a mentor, friend and colleague.”

From 1967 to 2005 Gordon Davidson was the Artistic Director of the Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum at The Music Center. Davidson was also the Producing Director of the Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre for 15 years, and the Artistic Director of the inaugural season (2004-2005) at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. In addition to redefining theatre in Southern California, he was one of the founders of the regional theatre movement and had a permanent impact on theatre throughout the country and the world.

Gordon guided hundreds of productions to the Taper stage while overseeing numerous special projects sponsored by the Taper. This work, and his direction of many plays staged at the Taper, were acclaimed both in Los Angeles and New York, garnering the Taper a Tony Award for theatrical excellence in 1977.

Gordon was born on May 7, 1933, and passed away Sunday, October 2, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Judi; their children, Adam and Rachel; and five granddaughters.

 

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Nov 192016
 
Demián Bichir

Demián Bichir has been cast in the iconic role of El Pachuco in “Zoot Suit.” Photo courtesy of CTG

Demian Bichir To Play El Pachuto In Center Theatre Group’s production of “Zoot Suit” at Mark Taper Forum

International stage and screen star Demián Bichir (Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” FX’s “The Bridge,” Showtime’s “Weeds” and Soderbergh’s “Che”) is set to play the indelible role of El Pachuco in Center Theatre Group’s production of “Zoot Suit” at the Mark Taper Forum, with previews beginning January 31, opening set for February 12 and performances continuing through March 12, 2017. Written and directed by Luis Valdez, “Zoot Suit” is presented in association with El Teatro Campesino.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to portray such an iconic character of modern American theatre. I grew up dreaming of playing El Pachuco when I was a young member of the National Theatre Company in Mexico City. Having the opportunity to work with legendary director Luis Valdez represents my biggest challenge in the theatre to date. These times couldn’t be more perfect to present this play to a whole new generation of theatre lovers,” said Bichir.

“Zoot Suit” was originally commissioned and developed by Center Theatre Group, playing for nearly a year in Los Angeles first at the Taper from August 6 to October 1, 1978, then from October 10, 1978, through July 1, 1979, at the Aquarius in Hollywood. It went on to become Broadway’s first Chicano play, was made into a major motion picture and became a cultural phenomenon.

Written and directed by Luis Valdez and presented in association with El Teatro Campesino, “Zoot Suit” will play January 31 through March 12, 2017, as part of Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum’s 50th Anniversary Season.

For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 628-2772.

 

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Nov 192016
 
August Wilson

August Wilson in whose honor the August Wilson In-School Residency Program is being held

CENTER THEATRE GROUP SELECTS FOUR LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS TO PARTICIPATE IN 2017 AUGUST WILSON IN-SCHOOL RESIDENCY PROGRAM

Residency is Part of Center Theatre Group’s Annual August Wilson Program

 

Center Theatre Group has selected four local high school teachers from three different high schools in Los Angeles to participate in the 2017 August Wilson In-School Residency Program. The in-school residency is a semester-long program that provides students with an in-depth study of the work of prolific African American playwright August Wilson and provides opportunities for them to discover their own creative voices.

The participating teachers are Damiek Barrow from Washington Preparatory High School in Los Angeles, Melanie Dubose and Juan Perez from East Los Angeles Performing Arts Magnet in Los Angeles and Craig Robinson from Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood.

The four selected teachers will each partner with a Center Theatre Group Teaching Artist as they deliver curriculum related to one of August Wilson’s plays during 15 in-class sessions spanning four months. In addition to the in-class sessions, the four teachers will participate in two full-day team building meetings to plan and evaluate the curriculum, practice new skills related to the art form and exchange ideas.

Center Theatre Group’s in-school residency is part of the larger August Wilson
Program, which also includes the August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC). AWMC is an annual monologue competition hosted in cities throughout the country, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Dallas and Greensboro, North Carolina and is designed to provide intensive learning opportunities for high school students to study and practice the craft of acting, specifically through monologue performances. Furthermore, the classrooms selected for the in-school residency will attend the August Wilson Monologue Competition Los Angeles Regional Finals at the Mark Taper Forum as part of their residency experience, witnessing the power of theatre as their peers bring August Wilson’s characters to life.

“These programs are part of our tradition of nurturing new voices in the American theatre,” said Director of Social Strategy, Innovation and Impact Leslie K. Johnson. “They enable students from all walks of life to discover August Wilson’s profound and deeply relevant works of art, explore their own creative voices, and learn more about our shared history and themselves.”

This is Center Theatre Group’s sixth year serving as facilitator of the August Wilson In-School Residency program, as well as the Southern California home to the AWMC.
CTG honors its long-standing relationship with August Wilson through its August Wilson Program, as well as through its continued production of Wilson’s work. CTG has presented nine of Wilson’s plays, including two world premiere productions of his work. In September/October 2016, Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” had a successful run at the Mark Taper Forum.

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

 

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Nov 092016
 

AHMANSON THEATRE’S STUDENT SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR $75CENTER THEATRE GROUP INTRODUCES THE BACKSTAGE CLUB AN AHMANSON THEATRE STUDENT SUBSCRIPTION FOR $75

 

Center Theatre Group is launching the Backstage Club, a new subscription program that allows students ages 12-18 to purchase a three-show season ticket package to the Ahmanson Theatre for just $75.

The Backstage Club will include the following productions from the 2016/17 Ahmanson season: “Amélie, A New Musical,” “Into the Woods” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” For an additional $25, “Fun Home” will also be available as an optional add-on. The Backstage Club subscription will include Orchestra and Mezzanine seating, no handling fees and subscriber benefits including free ticket exchanges and priority seating. Up to two adults will be able to join each student at the same price of $25 per performance.

The Backstage Club subscribers will be given total flexibility to pick whichever performance dates work best for them. There will also be the option to attend designated Student Meet-Ups on select dates and enjoy a pre-show, behind-the-scenes experience featuring artist Q&As as well as raffles, snacks and merchandise.

“Center Theatre Group is thrilled to launch this brand new student subscription program for our 50th anniversary season,” said Deborah Warren, Center Theatre Group’s Director of Marketing. “We hope that the Backstage Club will give young people the opportunity to experience some of the incredible productions we have coming up at the Ahmanson Theatre at a low price and help to build a life-long relationship with the arts.”

The deadline to join the Backstage Club is December 1, 2016.

The Backstage Club Student Meet-Ups are scheduled as following: Thursday, December 8, 2016 for “Amélie, A New Musical,” Thursday, April 6, 2017 for “Into the Woods,” and Thursday, August 10, 2017 for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” The meet-up for the optional add-on “Fun Home” is Thursday, February 23, 2017.

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

For further information about Center Theatre Group and the Backstage Club please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/BackstageClub or call (213) 972-4444.

The Ahmanson Theatre is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.

 

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Nov 012016
 
centertheatregroup11

L-R: Pablo Santiago, Jenny Foldenauer and Keith Skretch are the finalists for Center Theatre Group’s 2017 Richard E. Sherwood Award, a $10,000 award that provides support for emerging artists living and working in Los Angeles. Photo by Ryan Miller.

FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR 2017 RICHARD E. SHERWOOD AWARD
Center Theatre Group’s $10,000 Award for Emerging L.A. Theatre Artists

Three finalists have been selected for Center Theatre Group’s 2017 Richard E. Sherwood Award: Jenny Foldenauer, Pablo Santiago and Keith Skretch. Center Theatre Group recognizes and celebrates this year’s finalists for their exceptional contributions to the Los Angeles theatre landscape and their work as innovative and adventurous artists.

Created in memory of Richard E. Sherwood, the $10,000 award aims to cultivate emerging theatre artists working in Los Angeles who push formal and aesthetic boundaries and demonstrate dedication to improving their respective artistic fields.

The winner of the $10,000 award will be announced at the 2016 Ovation Awards on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, at the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center. The two additional finalists will receive a $2,000 honorarium.

Jenny Foldenauer is an L.A.-based costume designer and recipient of the 2014 Ovation, LADCC and Stage Raw awards for Best Costume Design for Theatre @ Boston Court and Rattlestick Playwrights’ “Everything You Touch.” Foldenauer applies a variety of influences to her design work, especially considering how found objects and alternative materials can elevate design.

She is currently experimenting by incorporating fiber optics and LED lighting into costumes. She holds an MFA in Theatre Design & Production from California Institute of the Arts and a B.S. in Design from University of California, Davis.

Pablo Santiago is a lighting designer originally from Chiapas, México who designs for theatre, opera, dance and gallery work. Santiago found a home in Los Angeles while he worked in the film industry for 15 years be fore obtaining an MFA in Lighting Design 2017 Sherwood Award Finalists Announced from UCLA and transitioning into live stage design.

Santiago integrates color theory into his designs and surprises collaborators with innovative plots. Santiago is particularly interested in projects that highlight social justice issues and experiment with time onstage. His design in “Premeditation”was nominated for an Ovation Award in 2014 and he won a Stage Raw Award for “Brother’s Size”in 2015. Upcoming projects include the opera “Breaking the Waves” at the Perelman Theater for OperaPhila and Skirball Center in NYC, “Destiny of Desire” at South Coast Rep and Goodman Theatre in Chicago and “Zoot Suit” at the Mark Taper Forum.

Keith Skretch is a video designer that combines practices in video art, installation, interaction design, animation and live performance to craft compelling relationships between image, body and space.

As a theatrical video designer he’s worked with artists including Mallory Catlett, Big Dance Theater, Palissimo, Phantom Limb Company, LA Contemporary Dance Company, Grand Lady Dance House, Son of Semele Ensemble, John Gould Rubin, Jay Scheib, Daniel Fish, Travis Preston and Zoe Aja Moore. His multichannel installations have been presented in New York and Los Angeles, and his experimental short “Waves of Grain” screened internationally and went viral online.

Skretch has been a repeat collaborator of WNYC’s Radiolab and worked as a visual designer for The Hettema Group. He’s received a Bessie and a Henry Hewes Design Award for his stage work, and he holds degrees from the University of Chicago and CalArts. Originally created in 1996, the Sherwood Award has met a vital need in the theatre landscape to support emerging artists.

Richard E. Sherwood was a patron of the arts with a special appreciation for emerging artists who are in the vanguard of theatre. He was president and then chairman of the Center Theatre Group Board of Directors from 1980 until his passing in 1993. The award is established as an endowed fund at Center Theatre Group by his family, friends, colleagues and fellow board members, to honor Sherwood’s passionate commitment to theatre.

Past recipients of the Richard E. Sherwood Award include Los Angeles artists Miwa Matreyek of Cloud Eye Control, Sean Cawelti of Rogue Artists Ensemble, Miranda 2017 Sherwood Wright of Los Angeles Performance Practice, Lars Jan of Early Morning Opera, lighting designer Christopher Kuhl and costume designer Ann Closs-Farley, among others.

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

 

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Oct 182016
 

centertheatregroup1

L-R Adam Chanler-Berat, Kimberly Grigsby, Sam Pinkleton, Pam MacKinnon, Phillipa Soo and Doug Baker at a workshop for “Amélie, A New Musical,” which will be produced at the Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre December 4, 2016, through January 15, 2017. Photo by Joan Marcus.

FULL CAST IS SET FOR CENTER THEATRE GROUP’S PRODUCTION OF “AMÉLIE, A NEW MUSICAL” AT THE AHMANSON THEATRE DECEMBER 4, 2016 THROUG H JANUARY 15, 2017

Casting has been set for Center Theatre Group’s production of “Amélie, A New Musical” at the Ahmanson Theatre which begins previews December 4, 2016, opens December 16, and continues through January 15, 2017.

In addition to the previously announced Phillipa Soo (Tony Award nominee for “Hamilton”) in the title role, the cast will feature, in alphabetical order, Emily Afton, Alys Alan Louis, David Andino, Randy Blair, Heath Calvert, Adam Chanler-Berat, Alison Cimmet, Savvy Crawford, Manoel Felciano, Harriett D. Foy, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Tony Sheldon, Jacob Keith Watson and Paul Whitty.

Based on the motion picture written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, “Amélie, A New Musical” will have its Broadway premiere in 2017 with full casting, Broadway theatre and dates to be announced soon. Amélie captured our hearts in the five-time Academy Award-nominated 2001 French film.

Now she comes to the stage in an inventive and captivating new musical directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “Clybourne Park”), with a book by three-time Tony Award nominee Craig Lucas (“An American in Paris”), music by Daniel Messé (“Hem”), lyrics by Nathan Tysen (“The Burnt Part Boys”) and Daniel Messé, musical staging and choreography by Sam Pinkleton, musical direction by Kimberly Grigsby, vocal arrangements by Kimberly Grigsby and Daniel Messé, and orchestrations by Tony Award winner Bruce Coughlin.

“Amélie, A New Musical” features scenic and costume design by Tony Award winner David Zinn, co-lighting design by Tony Award nominee Jane Cox and Mark Barton.

Sound design by Tony Award nominee Kai Harada and projection design by Drama Desk Award winner Peter Nigrini.The musical follows the mesmerizing journey of the inquisitive and charmingly shy Amélie who turns the streets of Montmartre into a world of her own imagining, while secretly orchestrating moments of joy for those around her.

After discovering a mysterious photo album and meeting a handsome stranger, Amélie realizes that helping others is easier than participating in a romantic story of her own.

In 2015, “Amélie, A New Musical” had its critically acclaimed world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and topped “Best Theater of 2015” lists in the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times called it “… a sparkling musical comedy,” that “… slyly revels in the infinite possibilities of theatrical merrymaking … The score … flowers with originality.” Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle said, “A dreamy movie becomes a dream of a stage musical … wit crackles and charm fills the house, emanating  from the book, lyrics and melodies.Director Pam MacKinnon creates a seamless blend of visual, narrative and performance delights.”

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

CREATIVE TEAM BIOGRAPHIES

CRAIG LUCAS (Book). Craig’s plays include “Missing Persons,” “Reckless,” “Blue Window,” “Prelude to a Kiss” (Tony no mination), “God’s Heart,” “The Dying Gaul,” “Small Tragedy” (Obie Award), “Stranger,” “Prayer for My Enemy,” “The Singing Forest,” “The Lying Lesson,” and “Ode To Joy.”

His movies include “Longtime Companion,” “The Secret Lives of Dentists” and “The Dying Gaul,” which he also directed. He wrote the libretti for “The Light in the Piazza” (Tony nomination), “An American in Paris” (Tony nomination), “Three Postcards” and the opera “Two Boys” (Metropolitan Opera).

He directed the world premiere of “The Light in the Piazza,” Harry Kondoleon’s “Saved or Destroyed” and “Play Yourself,” and the film “Birds of America.”Craig has received three Tony nominations, the New York Film Critics Best Screenplay Award, the Sundance Audience Award, the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Steinberg Award, three Obies (one for direction), and the Laura Pels Mid-career Achievement Award from PEN; he has been a Pulitzer finalist.

DANIEL MESSÉ (Music and co-lyricist) is the founder and principal songwriter of the band Hem, which has garnered worldwide acclaim over the course of six studio albums.

Starting as a DIY project out of Dan’s bedroom, Hem was signed to DreamWorks Records by legendary music producer Lenny Waronker and has been featured in every major media outlet including the “New York Times,” the “New Yorker,” NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

In 2009 the Public Theater tapped Hem to score “Twelfth Night” for Shakespeare in the Park (starring Anne Hathaway and Audra McDonald, directed by Daniel Sullivan) for which they earned a Drama Desk Award nomination.Daniel has written four shows for Theatreworks USA (including “Black Beauty” and “Nate the Great”) with collaborator Mindi Dickstein.

They were the recipients of a Jonathan Larson Grant from the American Theatre Wing and were commissioned by Play wrights Horizons to write the full-length musical “Trip” through the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Commissioning Program.

NATHAN TYSEN (Co-lyricist) was represented on Broadway last season with the new musical “Tuck Everlasting.”Recent projects include “Stillwater” with band Joe’s Pet Project at Kansas City Rep.In 2014, Nathan was awarded both the Edward Kleban Prize for most promising lyricist and the Fred Ebb Award for excellence in musical theatre songwriting (co-won with Chris Miller).Work with Miller includes lyrics for “The Burnt Part Boys” (2009 Lucille Lortel nomination for Best New Musical), and “Fugitive Songs” (2008 Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Revue), both of which have cast albums available at iTunes and Amazon. Additional work with Miller includes songs for “Sesame Street” and “The Electric Company,” as well as two circuses for Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey.

Nathan was a contributing lyricist to the musical revue “Stars of David,” and has written material for the Broadway Inspirational Voices and BCEA’s Gypsy of the Year. He has worked for over a decade writing and directing for the Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts, helping to create over a dozen new musicals with young adults. MFA: NYU Tisch, BFA: Missouri State Univ.

PAM MACKINNON (Direction) won Tony and Drama Desk Awards and received an Outer Critics Circle nomination for her direction of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Other Broadway credits include Bruce Norris’ “Clybourne Park” for which she won an Obie Award and garnered Tony and Lucille Lortel Award nominations, David Mamet’s “China Doll,” Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance” and Wendy Wasserstein’s “The Heidi Chronicles.”Her many off-Broadway and regional credits include Bruce Norris’ “The Qualms” (Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Playwrights Horizons), Sarah Treem’s “When We Were Young and Unafraid” (Manhattan Theatre Club), Craig Lucas’ “The Lying Lesson” (Atlantic Theater Company), Horton Foote’s “Harrison, TX” (Primary Stages) and Itamar Moses’ “Completeness” (South Coast Repertory and Playwrights Horizons).

Pam is an alumna of the Drama League, and the Women’s Project and Lincoln Center Theater Cast Set for “Amélie, A New Musical” 4 Directors Labs, and is an associate artist at the Roundabout Theatre, as well as an executive board member of Stage Directors a nd Choreographers Society, and board chair of the NYC downtown company Clubbed Thumb.SAM PINKLETON (Musical staging and choreography) is a New York City-based director and choreographer.As a choreographer his recent work includes “The Heidi Chronicles” (Broadway); “Machinal” (Broadway); “Pretty Filthy” (The Civilians); “Kansas City Choir Boy” (Prototype Festival, with Courtney Love);“Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812” (Kazino); “Heisenberg” (Manhattan Theatre Club); “Significant Other” (Roundabout Theatre Company); “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play;” “Fly By Night;” and “Stage Kiss” (Playwrights Horizons); “Marie Antoinette” (Soho Rep); “I Promised Myself to Live Faster” (Pig Iron/Humana Festival);

“HAIR: Retrospection” (Kansas City Repertory Theatre); “The Understudy” (McCarter Theatre Center); “The Lightning Thief” (Theatreworks USA); “Spring Awakening”(Olney Theatre Center); and “Buyer and Cellar” (Barrow Street Theatre/tour). He is an associate artist with The Civilians and Wit-Cartel’s “ONTHEFLOOR.” Sam teaches “Bustin’ Moves” at NYU.