Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Thomas Hawk

A guide to Center Theatre Group

Get to know Center Theatre Group in L.A. and how you can best enjoy its shows at Mark Taper, Ahmanson and Kirk Douglas

Written by
Michael Ordoña

Outsiders often criticize Los Angeles for its less-than-vital theater scene. Center Theatre Group would take issue and offer its current season of top-line musicals, cutting-edge dramas and comedies, and prestigious revivals as a rebuttal. CTG is a major nonprofit organization that has been part of the bedrock of the area’s stagescape for nearly 50 years. It presents seasons at three venues: the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theatre (both opened in 1967 at the Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles) and the Kirk Douglas Theatre (opened 2004 in Culver City).

CTG has presented a wide swath of productions, from big-budget musicals to smaller, experimental dramas. It has premiered the likes of Biloxi Blues (one of six Neil Simon world premieres), Children of a Lesser God, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo and that seminal work of modern American stage, Angels in America. It has collected seemingly countless Tony, Ovation and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awards, as well as five Pulitzer Prizes.

Artistic director Michael Ritchie (not the film director) has been in the post since 2005. During his time at the helm, CTG’s accomplishments include the debuts of 9 to 5: The Musical, 13, Curtains and The Drowsy Chaperone, all of which went to Broadway and together collected 25 Tony nominations. The last 10 years have seen 40 world premieres and five American premieres at the three theaters, with current annual attendance figures estimated at more than 700,000.

All three theaters are considered some of the best performing arts center in Los Angeles, so it'll be worth your time to get to know the productions that CTG puts on at them.