The Culver Theater in Culver City will get a remodeling and a new owner. The Center Theatre Group, owners and operators of Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum, will develop the space, creating a third venue of the CTG.
Built in the 1940's as a three-screen movie theatre, the Culver Theatre ceased operations in 1989 and was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. In 1997, the Center Theatre Group began investigating the theatre's possible use as a live venue.
With Culver City's approval, the CTG will rebuild the space to accommodate the company's educational and youth programs, as well for workshop productions of new plays. The Culver Theatre will feature two stages: a main floor theatre that will seat between 300 and 425 persons and a theatre lab on the upper level with a capacity of about 100.
The larger space will be flexible, able to play as an end stage, thrust or theatre-in-the-round. The lab would be used for rehearsals, workshops and readings, plays an events for and by young people.
In a released statement, Center Theatre Group artistic director and producer Gordon Davidson said, "This takes the Center Theatre Group one step closer to realizing my dream of the past 35 years to acquire a suitable space to house our educational, youth and new play development programs...[This will] enable us to expand the artistic range of our presentations and to include works that for a variety of reason - aesthetic, budgetary and thematic - are not suitable for a subscription run of seven weeks in a 750-seat theatre." In 2001-02, the Center Theatre Group will stage the revised Flower Drum Song, Athol Fugard's latest, Sorrows and Rejoicings, Israel Horowitz's My Old Lady and the Chay Yew adaptation of Frederico Garcia Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba in the Mark Taper with the Broadway-bound revival of Into the Woods, the American premiere of Adventures in Motion Pictures' The Car Man, the national tour of Aida and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife in the Ahmanson.
— By Christine Ehren