Los Angeles: A Top Notch Destination for Live Theatre
The Los There is always something to do in Los Angeles! Particularly when it comes to live theater. Sometimes overshadowed by the perception of Hollywood and
the movie industry, it is important to note that Los Angeles has one of the most vibrant and intimate theater scene not only in the nation but in the world.
Some New Yorkers or Londoners might scoff at the this statement, but the fact remains if you are looking to take in culturally fulfilling theatre, look no
further than LA. Reputable, avant-garde and brand new live theatre production companies, troupes and organizations have been gracing the LA landscape for many
years and will continue to do for many years to come making Los Angeles one of the most culturally rich destination for performing arts in the world. This is
confirmed yearly by the Ovation Awards, the only peer-judged theatre awards in Los Angeles. This is the highest-profile contest in local theater and
highlights outstanding achievement in this arena.
Due to the sheer magnitude of Los Angeles and the number of production companies, it would be impossible to mention all of them, however, here are few notable theatre companies to always keep an eye on.
Having won numerous awards and recognition, Pasadena Playhouse is certainly not to be overlooked and is under the guidance of Artistic Director Sheldon Epps, whose commitment to cultural and theatrical diversity brings vitality and direction to the theatre. This commitment is reflected in seasons featuring Tony and Pulitzer award-winning plays as well as in outreach and artistic programs, which have doubled in size in the last two years. A recent article in the American Theatre Magazine states "...The Playhouse...is thriving artistically, with a multicultural and youthful audience any theatre would envy. In the [recent] past, a sold-out production of Fences starring Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett and directed by Epps won rave reviews throughout Southern California, while a premiere co-production (with Atlanta's Alliance Theatre) of SISTER ACT: The Musical, and a rewritten revival of Cole Porter's Can-Can, broke box-office records. Meanwhile, the director's ongoing "legacy of artistic and theatrical diversity" won him and the Playhouse a $125,000 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award this past July ."
Another cornerstone in the Los Angeles theatre scene is The Colony Theatre in Burbank. The Colony recently won the Ovation Award for Best Play in a Larger Theatre for the second year in a row, beating out such competition as The Ahmanson Theatre and The Taper. In 2002, The Colony won the top honor for its production of The Laramie Project, and in 2003 the award went to Toys in the Attic. The Encyclopedia Britannica Almanac has listed The Colony as one of the "25 Notable US Theaters" for 2 years in a row. And The Colony has been named "Best in Burbank" for three years in a row. The Colony produces plays in all genres: contemporary and classical, comedy and drama, intimate and spectacle, and is well-known for its World and West Coast premieres and ambitious musical presentations. To date, The Colony has won numerous awards, including 13 Theatre LA Ovation, 18 L.A. Drama Critics Circle, and over 100 Drama-Logue and LA Weekly awards.
The New LATC in Downtown LA is a microcosm of the new Los Angeles through performing arts; a destination center for those pursuing artistic excellence; a laboratory where both tradition and innovation are honored and honed. The LATC theatre programming captures the creative vitality that comes from people telling their own stories and digging deep into their own traditions to address important issues of our day. The planned Summer Conservatory will pass these skills and experiences to young and emerging artists. Together the theatre, conservatory, museum, cafe and store will create a space amidst the excitement of downtown Los Angeles; a space where the convergence of people, cultures and ideas give birth to the future.
Theatre of NOTE is an enduring ensemble of diverse theatre artists in the heart of Hollywood who inspire, inform, and ignite our audiences by discovering courageous voices and creating entertaining, provocative, and revelatory theatrical work. Theatre of NOTE has received numerous awards and award nominations over the past twenty-five years from a variety of notable publications and organizations. We are proud of our strong tradition of theatrical excellence in both performance and technical achievement.
Established in 1965, East West Players has been called "the nation's pre-eminent Asian American theater troupe" (New York Times December 2001) for our award-winning productions blending Eastern and Western movement, costumes, language, and music. East West Players has premiered over 100 plays and musicals about the Asian Pacific American experience and has held over 1,000 readings and workshops. The emphasis is and has been on building bridges between East and West, and one measure of their success is an audience of 56% Asians and a remarkable 44% non-Asian attendance.
The Actors' Gang is one of Los Angeles' most enduring theatre ensembles. Founded in 1981 by a group of renegade theatre artists, the Gang's mission is to create bold, original works for the stage and daring reinterpretations of the classics. The work is raw, immediate, socially minded, and crafted with the highest artistic standards. Over the course of our first 20 years we have produced 68 plays and won over 100 awards, winning acclaim for our interpretations of Shakespeare, Bruchner, Brecht, Moliere, Aeschylus, Ibsen and Chekhov, while developing in workshop new plays that address the world today through a prism of satire, popular culture and raucous stagecraft.
These are just a handful of theatre companies to watch out for. Other more reputable companies include the Centre Theatre Group, the Long Beach Playhouse, the Geffen Playhouse, Skirball Cultural Center, the Falcon Theatre, RedCat, UCLA Live, the Santa Monica Playhouse and the Odyssey Theatre to name but a few. Other notables doing amazing work in theatre include the Furious Theatre Company, Filthy Rogue Productions, A Noise Within, Highways Performance Space, Rude Guerilla, The Fake Gallery, Moving Arts Theatre Company, Sky Pilot Theatre Company and Rogue Artists Ensemble. The list goes on. As you can ascertain, there is no shortage for theatre in Los Angeles. So grab your tickets, your keys and your coat and head out to enjoy some of the most wonderful theatre on the planet. It is truly one of the greatest gifts this town has to offer.