Friday, July 12, 2024

Theater in Los Angeles? It Exists, After All


When you think of Los Angeles, you think of movies and television.  Theater, Opera, and spectacular performance art thrive in LA, and our Leah Sydney catches us up on what is being buzzed about.

“I recently saw ‘Rock Of Ages’ at the Pantages in Hollywood, what fun and a huge crowd pleaser.  Cloris Leachman was dancing in her seat! The Pantages is a gorgeous art deco theater that puts on Broadway shows and events, Jerry Seinfeld just played there.  Christie Brinkley is coming up in ‘Chicago,’ along with ‘The Addams Family,’  ‘Million Dollar Quartet,’ ‘Billy Elliott,’ ‘La Cage Aux Folles,’ and ‘Memphis.’  The always entertaining ‘Mamma Mia is’ opening there tonight.  The prestigious Ahmanson Theater, a part of the Center Theater Group in downtown Los Angeles, has the largest theatrical season ticket base on the West Coast. This stunning theater currently has ‘American Idiot,’ with ‘Follies,’  ‘War Horse’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ coming up.  Next-door is The Mark Taper Forum, which currently has ‘Waiting For Godot’ with ‘The Artist’s’ James Cromwell, and ‘Los Otros’ coming up. The much lauded Los Angeles Opera is located in the same complex, with no less then Placido Domingo as their Eli and Edythe Broad General Director.  LA Opera has ‘La Boheme,’ coming up.

The third theater in the group, The Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City, has ‘American Night’ and ‘The Convert’ waiting in the wings.  At the famed Kodak Theater in Hollywood, ‘Iris,’ the new production from Cirque du Soleil, brings dance, acrobatics, live video, filmed sequences and animation which takes the audience on a thrilling voyage throughout the history of cinema and into the heart of the movie-making process. The Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, where the late wonderful Gil Cates was the longtime Producing Director, always mounts noted productions. ‘Good People’ is there now with Jane Kaczmarek and Jon Tenney, with ‘The Pianist of Willesden Lane’ and ‘The Exorcist’ coming up. There is the Celebration Theater in Hollywood, which now has a talked about production of ‘The Color Purple.’

Going towards the Valley, The Colony Theater in Burbank has the stalwart ‘Dames At Sea.’  The Thousand Oaks Civic Center always has interesting shows, from the upcoming Cabrillo’s ‘Once Upon A Mattress’ to Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham. The terrific Rubicon Theater in Ventura currently has ‘Hello! My Baby,’ with Cheers star George Wendt. Upcoming for the Rubicon is August Wilson’s ‘Gem of the Ocean’ and Noel Coward’s ‘Private Lives.’  Farther out, past Santa Barbara in Santa Ynez, the Chumash Casino Resort Hotel attracts a-listers such as the upcoming Doobie Brothers, The GoGo’s, Wanda Sykes and more.  Yes indeed, there is truly great theater, opera, performance art, entertainment acts and more in LA.  Los Angeles’s artistic scene is more alive and well than it’s ever been!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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