A guide to Kirk Douglas Theatre
The intimate Kirk Douglas Theatre—a former cinema theater with just 317 seats—is the only venue Center Theatre Group uses that is not located at the Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles. The Culver City house has been around for just over 11 years and has already seen three productions go to Broadway, including the Pulitzer-nominated Bengal Tiger. It's definitely earning it's place on the list of LA's best performing arts centers. Kirk Douglas Theatre informationAddress: 9820 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232Ticket prices: Kirk Douglas Theatre's CTG ticket prices vary depending on the production, with top-end seats reaching $55. The "Hot Tix" program makes a limited number of seats available at $25. For tickets or more information, visit the website or call the box office.Box office: 213-628-2772Website: www.centertheatregroup.org RECOMMENDED: A full guide to Center Theatre Group
A guide to Mark Taper Forum
At the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum in Downtown Los Angeles, Center Theatre Group has specialized for decades in top-flight dramas, including many, many West Coast premieres and world premieres of works like Angels in America, Zoot Suit and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992. The performing arts center has enjoyed collaborations with artists such as Tony Kushner, Luis Valdez, Anna Deavere Smith, Eric Bogosian and more. Though it may be smaller than its neighbor in the Music Center, the Ahmanson, it's just as mighty when it comes to the work being put on by CTG. Mark Taper Forum informationAddress: 135 N. Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012Ticket prices: Mark Taper Forum's CTG ticket prices vary depending on the production, with top-end seats reaching $85. The "Hot Tix" program makes a limited number of seats available at $25. For tickets or more information, visit the website or call the box office.Box office: 213-628-2772Website: www.centertheatregroup.org RECOMMENDED: A full guide to Center Theatre Group
A guide to Hollywood Pantages Theatre
The Hollywood Pantages Theatre is the go-to theater in LA for major musical fare. Even its Hollywood location is iconic, near Hollywood Boulevard and Vine. It has hosted touring productions of some of the biggest shows from Broadway, including smash runs of The Producers and Wicked—which enjoyed two sold-out runs, including a two-year stay that holds every major box-office record at the venue. The Pantages didn’t start this way; in its infancy (it opened in 1930), it switched off between vaudeville shows and movies. It became predominantly a cinema due to the Great Depression and hosted the Oscars throughout the ‘50s. In 1977, the theater converted to a live-entertainment venue, and is now known for bringing Evita, The Lion King, Cats, Mamma Mia!, Les Misérables, Rent, Kinky Boots and many other blockbuster shows to Los Angeles. The theatre’s 2016-17 season is dominated by musicals closely related to the big screen, but will also see the return of recent favorite The Book of Mormon and—wait for it—the arrival of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. Pantages Theatre informationAddress: 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028Ticket prices: Ticket prices vary per production. For tickets or more information, visit the website or call the box office.Box office: 800-982-2787Website: hollywoodpantages.com
A guide to the Ahmanson Theatre
With its 2,000-seat theater, the Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles is capable of housing massive productions and musicals, including premieres of the Broadway-bound Curtains, Chaperone and Leap of Faith (2012 Best Musical Tony nominee). Major touring productions also visit the venue; think War Horse, American Idiot, Spring Awakening and Monty Python’s Spamalot. And top-notch stars, too, have graced its stage, starting with Ingrid Bergman in its inaugural production, Eugene O’Neill’s More Stately Mansions (1967), plus Jack Lemmon, Rosemary Harris, Jon Voight, Faye Dunaway, Richard Chamberlain, Vanessa Redgrave, Katharine Hepburn and so many others. But the theater isn't slowing down and remains one of the best theaters in Los Angeles as it continues to bring big stars to its stages. Below is more information about Center Theatre Group's current season at the venue. Ahmanson Theatre informationAddress: 135 N. Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012Ticket prices: Ahmanson ticket prices vary depending on the production. Top-end tickets can reach $130, with balcony seats often in the $30 range. The "Hot Tix" program makes a limited number of seats available at $25. Box office: 213-628-2772Website: www.centertheatregroup.org RECOMMENDED: A full guide to Center Theatre Group
Listings and reviews (11)
Fort Lauderdale finally gets its shot at Broadway’s hottest ticket, Hamilton. The hip-hop historical hootenanny by Lin-Manuel Miranda (everything winner for In the Heights) uses several musical genres to craft a totally new and unexpected look at the Founding Fathers and the creation of America… though Miranda has said, “We take it as a given that hip hop is the music of the Revolution.” There’s British pop (for King George), soul, modern girl-group groove and a full-on rap smackdown about the role of the federal government between the first secretary of the treasury (Alexander Hamilton) and Thomas Jefferson himself. The cast album won the Grammy and the off-Broadway production won eight Drama Desks (along with six other nominations), including Outstanding Musical, Music, Lyrics and Book (Miranda collecting each of the last three).
The King and I
The original musical (based on the novel “Anna and the King of Siam”) was of course a major hit and Best Musical winner on Broadway in the early ‘50s. It was adapted into the beloved film starring Yul Brynner (in his Oscar-winning role) and Deborah Kerr. Two different Broadway productions have won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical, including the current one. Rogers and Hammerstein's The King and I is set in 1960's Bangkok and tells the story of the unconventional story of the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a schoolteacher. This production is recommended for ages 5 and up, children under 5 will not be allowed into the theater.
An American in Paris
The multiple Tony-winning An American in Paris is making its Los Angeles premiere March 22-April 9, 2017. Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss, The Light in the Piazza) wrote the book; the show features classic George and Ira Gershwin songs, including several from the iconic 1951 film, such as “I Got Rhythm” and “S Wonderful.” The stage adaptation was nominated for 12 Tonys, winning four. There may be no replacing Gene Kelly, but one of “American’s” Tony wins was for Best Choreography (Christopher Wheeldon) and it collected three Fred and Adele Astaire Awards for its dancing.
Lawrence Kasdan’s screenplay serves as the play’s basis of The Bodyguard, but the stage version concentrates on the superstar singer, not the man protecting her. No Kevin Costner or Whitney Houston, of course, but the musical augments one of the biggest-selling film soundtracks of all time with other hits from Houston’s catalog. The production had its premiere on London’s West End, where reviews were largely positive, citing the vocal talent, design and staging. The American tour precedes a planned Broadway engagement (Canadian singer Deborah Cox inhabits the lead for the Pantages leg). Whether audiences will always love it remains to be seen.
The La Jolla Playhouse-originated Broadway hit Finding Neverland flies in for its Los Angeles premiere Feb. 21-March 12, 2017. The musical is inspired by the 2004 Oscar-nominated film starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, which was in turn based on Allan Knee’s play, The Man Who Was Peter Pan. Neverland is written by James Graham (book), Gary Barlow (music, lyrics) and Eliot Kennedy (lyrics) and directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair).
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
This glam-rock musical spins the travails of East German singer-songwriter Hansel (Darren Criss), who falls in love with an American soldier and becomes Hedwig after a botched sex-change operation—only to find herself stranded and abandoned in Kansas City. This is framed and followed by a rock 'n' roll odyssey of self-discovery sprinkled with ample humor and gender politics. The songs by Stephen Trask are glam-rock gold, with foot-stompers such as “Tear Me Down” and gorgeous, thoughtful works such as “Wicked Little Town” and “Origin of Love.”
Samuel Beckett’s Endgame will enjoy a resurrection, er, revival April 24-May 22—if “enjoy” is an appropriate word to use in connection with the world of that morbid, absurdist classic. The production represents the return of LA theater fixture Alan Mandell (who also directs), reuniting him with Barry McGovern, his 2012 Waiting for Godot costar at the Taper. The 1957 Endgame is set in what feels like the dying embers of a postapocalyptic world. Whether it’s the result of a nuclear holocaust or plague or whatever is never specified; rather it’s the relationships—the futile, unchanging, sterile relationships—among the slowly dying, last known specimens of humanity that amuse and horrify. The play’s engine is the blind and tyrannical Hamm, unable to leave his pseudo-throne and lording it over his servant and legless parents, who exist inside trashcans. It’s comedy at its blackest, a grim but unforgettable joke at humanity’s expense.
Women Laughing Alone with Salad
From March 6-April 3, the theater will find an Internet meme come to life in Women Laughing Alone with Salad. Sheila Callaghan’s rude comedy, receiving its West Coast premiere here, funnels modern expectations of women through the prism of the stock photo trope of, well, women laughing with salad, often alone. “Nobody likes salad that much; it’s not built for that,” the playwright told the Washington Post, explaining that her comedy confronts portrayals of women in media: “I don’t think salad’s the villain in the play; I think shaming is the villain.” The New York Times described the Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company production as “exuberantly vulgar… rich in expletives and frank discussions of sex acts,” while praising its stylistic boldness.
The Mystery of Love & Sex
Bathsheba Doran’s The Mystery of Love & Sex features a pair of college-age lifelong friends (she white and Jewish; he black) and the girl’s parents; the drama concerns revelations about them and their relationships—their multiple relationships—over a five-year span. The Broadway production received significant acclaim, including a New York Times notice calling it “among the season’s finest so far” and saying it “is so packed with humanity that it seems infinitely larger, like a chart depicting the sexual and emotional anatomy of us all.” That’s a lot to live up to, and the Taper’s cast, including Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue) and Mae Whitman (Arrested Development) gets its crack as of Feb. 21 (running through March 20).
Father Comes Home From The Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3
Pulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks continues in her audacious vein with the first part of a projected trilogy (that’s right, “Parts 1, 2 and 3” are apparently to be followed by parts four through nine). This section, Father Comes Home From The Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3, borrows from classical Greek tradition–there’s the equivalent of a chorus, a character named Homer, a protagonist named Hero (eventually Ulysses) with a wife named Penny and even a cockeyed dog named “Odd-See.” It’s a Civil War-set epic tale of a man faced with an impossible decision: Hero, a slave, is promised freedom if he will fight alongside his master–for the Confederacy. Of its 2014 Off-Broadway run, the New York Times’ critic said it seemed “the finest work yet from this gifted writer … might just be the best new play I’ve seen this year.” The play won the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for a theatrical work inspired by American history.
Grey Gardens–The Musical
Summer will find the multiply Tony- and Drama Desk-nominated Grey Gardens–The Musical (July 6-August 14) sprouting. Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie’s show is an adaptation of the famed 1975 Albert and David Maysles documentary that also inspired a 2009 HBO telefilm that won six Emmys and two Golden Globes. It concerns the insular life led by reclusive former socialites Edith “Big Edie” Beale and daughter Edith “Little Edie” Beale. Broadway vets Rachel York and Betty Buckley (1983 Tony winner for “Cats”) have been announced as the main cast, in the roles that earned their Broadway performers Tony nominations.