The Playgoer: LA rising?

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Monday, November 30, 2009

LA rising?

LA critic Charles McNulty says the NY Times can laud Seattle all it wants, but he'll still take La La Land:

According to an Actors’ Equity Assn. spokesperson, there are roughly 79 theaters in Los Angeles that use one form of equity contract or another, a number that doesn’t include any big sit-down productions or the 40 or so theaters that sometimes use an Equity member or a guest artist or special appearance contract. Nor does it include the huge number of 99-seat productions each year (verging around 1,000, was the estimate).

"In Seattle,” the spokesperson continued, "there are 15 equity theaters and an additional 16 that sometimes use the special appearance or guest artist contracts."

I'll let Colburn work out the math. But since numbers aren’t always as persuasive as anecdotes, let me get personal about this: I moved to Los Angeles from New York, where I was fairly established as a theater editor, critic and professor. I love Seattle and admire the undeniable vitality of its theater scene. And I have a few friends up north, including Misha Berson, the theater critic for the Seattle Times. But in all honesty I can’t imagine I would have left my settled life in New York for a drama critic post in Seattle (though the beauty of the natural scenery would have made it awfully tempting).

Hey, the more the merrier, right?

But at least it's nice to know maybe stage actors can move out to LA for film/tv work and not have to give up worthy theatre entirely. Right? (Seriously, bicoastal actors, chime in.)

1 comment:

Parabasis said...

As an outsider to both cities, I will just say that one of the big differences between the two seems to be one of community. Most people I talk to who work in LA do not think of it as any kind of cohesive "scene" or community of artists. It's more like 100 completely independent organizations. Whereas in Seattle, there's a strong sense of a community.

I don't know why this would matter toa critic, but I understand why it might to artists trying to figure out where to live.