By Steven Leigh Morris
Oscar and Grammy Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz’s new (and first) opera, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, will have its world premiere, Sept. 26 at The Granada in Santa Barbara. The music and libretto were both written by Schwartz; his son Scott Schwartz (Bat Boy: The Musical, Golda’s Balcony, Tick,Tick . . . Boom) will direct.
New York City Opera star Lauren Flanigan leads the cast which also includes baritone Kim Josephson. Other principal roles will be sung by Hila Plitman, John Kimberling and Craig Hart. Information here.
CTG Announces 2010 Season
On Friday, the Mark Taper Forum announced its 2010 season.
Feb. 21-March 21: a revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, directed by Neil Pepe.
April 25-May 30: a transfer of Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo from the Kirk Douglas, where it premiered last year.
April 28-May 16: (at the Ahmanson): Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps
July 11-Aug. 8: Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore (dropped from last season for financial reasons)
Sept. 12-Oct.17, 2010: Judith Ivey in the Long Warf Theatre production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie
Nov.21-Dec. 19: A world premiere musical (details to be announced)
Interestingly, on the L.A. Times' culture blog, Center Theatre Group's artistic director Michael Ritchie conceded that the unambitious program is a concession to economic times.
"The economy definitely affected this particular season; it forced a show from last year into this season," Ritchie said. "However, in this  season we have some large-scale shows, 'Inishmore' and a new musical, and we believe we weathered the worst of the economic crisis by being extremely proactive, cutting back on our administrative costs and offering our 100,000 tickets at $20 to spur audiences to get in the doors, and we managed our expenses very well."
(CTG announced announced another company-wide round of layoffs a few months ago.)
This sounds very much like the reasoning by newspaper publishers, on the heels of gutting classical music, books, dance and theater sections over the past three years. It also lends support to Mike Daisey's sardonic postulation in his one-man show, How The Theater Failed America, that the main purpose of arts institutions (and of newspapers too, it would seem) is self-preservation. Unlike CTG, however, a newspaper harbors no illusions of functioning under some non-profit umbrella. In many arts organizations, that distinction has grown increasingly irrelevant.
Sacred Fools Announces New Season
If you're looking for something a little more adventurous on L.A. stages, you need – as usual – to turn to the smaller players. Here's the upcoming 13th season from one of the funkier survivors of the economic downturn, Sacred Fools Theatre Company, situated in East Hollywood.
Sept. 18 – October 24: Savin’ Up for Saturday Night, a world premiere country cabaret dance hall, directed by Jeremy Aldridge, with music and lyrics by Richard Levinson and book by Jeff Goode.
November 19-December 19, Hamlet Shut Up, a world premiere of a “silent comedy with commedia dell'arte, music, slapstick multimedia and sharks,” By Jonas Oppenheim, directed by
Sean Kinney, in collaboration with Ten West.
January 15- Feb. 20, 2010, Bertolt Brecht’s Baal, translation by Peter Mellencamp, Jan. 15- Feb. 20, 2010. Directed by Ben Rock.
March 19 to April 24, 2010, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, West Coast premiere of Jennifer Haley's play, set in a subdivision with identical houses, where parents find their teenagers addicted to an online horror video game set in a subdivision with identical houses. Directed by Jaime Robledo.
May 21 to June 26, 2101 Forbidden Zone: LIVE in the 6th Dimension! A world premiere adapted from “one of the greatest midnight movies of all times . . . featuring the music of he Mystic Knights of the Oingo-Boingo!” Directed by Scott Leggett, adapted by Michael Holmes from the screenplay by Richard Elfman & Matthew Bright, et al.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
By Steven Leigh Morris