INTERVIEWS with ARTISTS

PHYLICIA RASHAD

BILLY CRUDUP

CAROL LAWRENCE

ANDRUS NICHOLS

MARTY RAYBON

ALONZO KING

JAKE LANDERS

KERRY GILBERT

YI-MIN CAI

MICHAEL SHANE NEAL

TONYA S. HOLLY

CAROLYN PALMER

Spotlight On
International
Artists

INTERVIEWS with ARTISTS

PHYLICIA RASHAD

BILLY CRUDUP

CAROL LAWRENCE

ANDRUS NICHOLS

MARTY RAYBON

ALONZO KING

JAKE LANDERS

KERRY GILBERT

YI-MIN CAI

MICHAEL SHANE NEAL

TONYA S. HOLLY

CAROLYN PALMER

Spotlight On
International
Artists


Articles

Frantic Assembly

Mark Taper Forum at LA’s Centre Theatre Group 50th Anniversary

MCC Theatre

St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn

The Everyman Theatre

Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

1st Stage Theater

59 E 59 Theater

Young Vic of London

Theatre Huntsville

Dance Place in Washington, D.C.

Alabama School of Fine Arts 50th Year Celebration

Rennie Harris at Baltimore Center Stage

Ronald Rand’s new book “CREATE! How Extraordinary People Live to Create and Create to Live”

What is FAFA? The Florence Academy of Fine Arts in Alabama

Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance – London’s International Drama School

Alabama Music Hall Of Fame

Historic Zodiac Playhouse — The “Z” in Florence, Alabama

Shoals Symphony Orchestra at UNA

“Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch” – Edwardian Period Style Salon

 

“To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.”  
– Marlon Brando

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
– Helen Keller

“The theatre should be treated with respect. The theatre is a wonderful place, a house of strange enchantment, a temple of illusion.”
– Noel Coward

“Cultivate an ever continuous power of observation...see the sunlight and everything that is to be seen.”
– John Singer Sargent

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
– T.S. Eliot

“Feel is if you are reborn each day and rediscover the world of nature which are joyfully a part.”
– Pablo Casals, at the age of 96

“The secret of all natural and human law is movement that meets with devotion”
– I Ching

Ronald Rand in Let It Be Art

 

 

 

Mark Taper Forum at LA’s Centre Theatre Group 50th Anniversary

The Mark Taper Forum, under the inspired leadership of Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, produces world premieres, second productions, and remounts important new work at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. Committed to creating an extraordinary connection between artists and audiences sering as one of the nation’s most influential nonprofit theatre companies, over the past decade, Center Theatre Group has commissioned over sixty-five shows and produced forty world premieres, making the theater one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works.

Founding Artistic Director Gordon Davidson led Center Theatre Group from 1967–2004. Over the past eleven seasons, Artistic Director Michael Ritchie has selected over nearly a hundred and eventy-five productions for their three theatres, including thrity-eight world premieres and five American premieres.

At its opening performance, the Mark Taper Forum presented an innovative production of John Whiting’s “The Devils.” Other productions that garnered wide-acclaim and played across America included “Murderous Angels,” “Savages,” “The Kentucky Cycle” and “Angels in America,”

The cast of the touring production of “Something Rotten!” photo by Jeremy Daniel

The Mark Taper Forum has played host to many premiere productions including “The Shadow Box” in 1975, “Zoot Suit” in 1978, Neil Simon’s “I Ought to be in Pictures” in 1980, “Burn This” in 1987, “Jelly’s Last Jam” in 1991, “Angels in America” in 1992, “Twilight Los Angeles” in 1993, “August Wilson’s Radio Golf “ in 2005), and “13” in 2007 which moved to Broadway, “Water & Power,” and “Yellow Face,” as well as the first major U.S. revival of “Bent.”

Adam Pascal and cast in the touring production of “Something Rotten!” photo by Jeremy Daniel

The Taper has received many theatrical awards over the years including the 1977 special Tony for theatrical excellence. Additionally, the Mark Taper Forum is distinguished by having two of its plays, “The Kentucky Cycle” and “Angels in America (Part One—Millennium Approaches,” receive in consecutive years the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, marking the first time this prestigious award was given to productions outside of New York. Both plays subsequently moved to Broadway.

The Ahmanson Theatre opened in 1967 and has staged a wide variety of dramas, musicals, comedies, classic revivals, and world premieres, including six by Neil Simon, who has had thieteen of his plays presented there. Under the artistic leadership of Robert Fryer (1971–1989), the Ahmanson played host to many of the greats in the entertainment world including Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Lemmon, Ingrid Bergman, Charlton Heston, Angela Lansbury, and Peter Ustinov.

Carmen Cusack in Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s “Bright Star” directed by Walter Bobbie 
photo by Craig Schwatz

In 1989, Center Theatre Group Founding Artistic Director Gordon Davidson assumed the role of Artistic Director for the Ahmanson and was responsible for programming “The Phantom of the Opera” for a record-breaking four-year stay. Under Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, the Ahmanson has been home to a number of musicals that moved to Broadway, including “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Curtains,” “9 to 5: The Musical,” “God of Carnage,” “Mary Poppins,” and “Jersey Boys.”

In 2004, Center Theatre Group opened its third theatre—the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City—through the generosity of Kirk and Anne Douglas and with the help of the Culver City Redevelopment Agency. The theatre was created by transforming a historic 1940s movie house into an intimate theatre venue of 317 seats. In its short history the Douglas has had three works move to Broadway: the world premieres of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” and Pulitzer Prize finalist “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” and the revival of William Inge’s “Come Back, Little Sheba.”

Artists and the creative process are at the heart of their identity. Over the past decade, Center Theatre Group has commissioned sixty-five shows and produced forty world premieres, making us one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works.  Artists currently working on Center Theatre Group commissions include David Henry Hwang, Danai Gurira, Richard Montoya and Roger Guenveur Smith, Tracey Scott Wilson, and Lucy Alibar.

LtoR Hari Dhillon, Emily Swallow, Karen Pittman and J Anthony Crane
in the Pulitzer-winning play, “Disgraced.”
Photo by Craig Schwartz

In 2017, Center Theatre Group launched the Edgerton Foundation Playwrights Initiative, creating for separate co-commissioning partnerships with four renowned theatres— Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, London’s Royal Court Theatre and National Theatre, and New York’s Second Stage Theater. Each organization is individually collaborating with Center Theatre Group to commission multiple works over the next decade. Co-commissioned playwrights include Jon Robin Baitz, Will Eno, Danai Gurira, Lisa Kron, Young Jean Lee, Lynn Nottage, Qui Nguyen, Al Smith, and Paula Vogel.

The L.A. Writers' Workshop at the Mark Taper Forum invites seven local playwrights to spend a year researching and writing a new work. The program kicks off with a salon where playwrights interview community members who have expertise in their chosen subject matter and culminates in a weekend-long retreat where the playwrights' first drafts are read by a diverse company of actors.

Center Theatre Group founded the L.A. Writers’ Workshop in 2005 to foster new voices, provide support to local playwrights, encourage bold writing, and cultivate relationships among emerging artists, Center Theatre Group, and the L.A. theatre community. Alumni include Jennifer Haley (“The Nether”), Marco Ramirez (“The Royale”), Sheila Callaghan (“Women Laughing Alone With Salad”), Steve Yockey (“Blackberry Winter”), and Lisa Loomer (“The Waiting Room”).
Center Theatre Group is also the Los Angeles home for the National August Wilson Monologue Competition since 2011. An educational journey that includes workshops with teaching artists guiding students with their storytelling skills, and an introduction to August Wilson and The American Century Cycle.

Ashley Shaw and Dominic North in Matthew Bourne’s production of “The Red Shoes”
photo by Johan Persson

Among their recent productions included “Zoot Suit” and “Archduke.” The Mark Taper Forum’s current season includes Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s  musical,  directed by Walter Bobbi; Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour;” “Water by the Spponful” by Pulitzer Prize-winning Quiara Alegría Hudes; “Spamilton,” created, written and directed by  Gerard Alessandrini, with choreography by Gerry McIntyre; “Something Rotten” with Tony® nominee Rob McClure and Broadway’s Josh Grisetti, and Tony nominee Adam Pascal; Five-time Tony Award® winner Susan Stroman’s production of  “Crazy for You” by two-time Tony nominee Ken Ludwig; on May 20, 2017 Center Theatre Group’s Evening Celebration of their 50th Anniversary. Artists scheduled to appear include  Jon Robin Baitz, Annette Bening, Sir Matthew Bourne, Matthew Broderick, Bill Cain, Anthony Crivello, Culture Clash, Tyne Daly, Tim Dang, Merle Dandridge, Keith David, Shaila Essley, Barrett Foa, Davis Gaines, Louis Gossett Jr., Harry Groener, Danai Gurira, Charlie Hofheimer, Clint Holmes, Jennifer Hudson, David Henry Hwang, Gregory Itzin, Tony Kushner, Doug LaBrecque, Tzi Ma, Alan Mandell, Dakin Matthews, Alfred Molina, Edward James Olmos Jr., Valerie Perri, Phylicia Rashad, Christy Carlson Romano, Thomas Sadoski, Christina Saffran, Benjamin Schrader, Jimmy Smits, Shoshannah Stern, Desean Terry, Rodney To, Luis Valdez, Lisa Vroman, Ed Waterstreet, Aryana Williams. Upcoming Productions also include Matthew Bourne’s adaptation of “The Red Shoes with a new score arranged by Terry Davies.

Ashley Shaw in Matthew Bourne’s production of “The Red Shoes”

For info: Mark Taper Forum: 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012, Mark Taper Forum: 213.972.7355. Ahmanson Theatre: 213.972.7289. Fax: 213.972.3107, www.centerthetregroup.org



“One wishes to know something but the answer is in a form of being more aware – of being open to a richer level of experience.” 
- Peter Brook

The Soul of the American Actor Newspaper