CTG Shakes Up Season by Adding $20 DouglasPlus Events, Including Sax, Rosen, Daisey, Sargent

News   CTG Shakes Up Season by Adding $20 DouglasPlus Events, Including Sax, Rosen, Daisey, Sargent With the goal of fostering new work, new theatrical forms and new audiences, Michael Ritchie, artistic director of Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, announced a new initiative called DouglasPlus, for the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

In an effort to broaden the spectrum of what CTG can develop, produce and present at the Douglas, CTG's DouglasPlus "will provide an eclectic mix of theatre choices, ranging from fully-staged or minimally-staged events to workshops and readings that will utilize both traditional and non-traditional performance spaces and seating configurations within the theatre."

Reinvention of programming is hot at not-for-profits lately: Manhattan's Lincoln Center Theater and Roundabout Theatre Company have added new programming in intimate spaces in recent seasons, seeking to bring in a new (often younger) crowd and nurture new works.

Each DouglasPlus presentation will have a very limited number of performances to be sold at a modest price with general admission seating.

From March 14-April 18, DouglasPlus will include the works of provocateur Mike Daisey, Los Angeles playwright Michael Sargent and hip-hop theatre artist Matt Sax, along with a special youth theatre piece featuring "an electro-luminescent wire dinosaur named Darwin."

"We're hoping DouglasPlus will be a part of every Douglas season," Ritchie said in a Feb. 3 statement. "It gives us options at the theatre, allowing us more freedom with programming and scheduling. With this flexibility, we'll be able to experiment more, and to make the bold moves necessary to participate more fully in the evolution of the art form." The first presentation of DouglasPlus is Darwin, "an adventure for all ages," with two public family performances scheduled for Saturday, March 14 at 10:30 AM and 2 PM, following Culver City student performances March 9-13.

Created by Corbin Popp and Ian Carney with a cutting-edge blend of puppetry, technology and dance, Darwin is the heartwarming story of a dinosaur named Darwin, who is created piece by piece by a famous scientist with magic powers. "When Darwin is complete, he is sent off on an adventure, meeting all types of other creatures, and learning what is really important in life," according to CTG.

Monologuist Mike Daisey makes his first appearance in Los Angeles with his cautionary piece How Theater Failed America, directed by Jean-Michele Gregory, for four performances only, March 18-21 at 8 PM.

In addition, a roundtable discussion about the general state of theatre, presented in conjunction with LA Stage Alliance, will be held after the March 20 performance. There will also be a workshop presentation of Daisey's newest work, The Last Cargo Cult, at 3 PM on March 22. Post-show discussions will be held after each of Daisey's performances and after the March 22 workshop.

According to CTG, "In How Theater Failed America, Daisey sinks his razor-sharp wit into his workplace in a monologue about theatre, failure, passion and hope. In this controversial piece he makes his case that theatre has lost its audiences and its way by valuing buildings above artists, growth over artistry, and corporations over individuals."

The world premiere of Los Angeles playwright Michael Sargent's The Projectionist will be presented for seven performances March 26-April 3.

Directed by Bart DeLorenzo, The Projectionist is billed as "a wry comedy about an unlikely hero, Randy, living and working in a seedy, second-run movie house on the edge of Hollywood and Vine. Randy develops a relationship of sorts with the punk vixen he hires to sell popcorn, but his attention is diverted when Sal, the owner, shows up with a loaded pistol and a plan for opening the office safe. Soon the action in the lobby becomes more violent than that on the screen."

The Projectionist will be staged in the lobby of the Kirk Douglas Theatre, a theatre which was originally the Culver Theater, a movie house built in 1947.

The final presentation of DouglasPlus in this season will be staged public workshops of Venice by Matt Sax and Eric Rosen, the team who brought the West Coast premiere of Clay to the Douglas in the 2007-08 season.

The workshops will take place April 15-18 at 8 PM.

Directed by Rosen, Venice is a "Hip-Hop musical about betrayal and politics in a post-Apocalyptic world and is loosely based on Shakespeare's Othello."

Post-show discussions will be held after each workshop presentation of Venice.

Tickets to DouglasPlus are priced at $20 and are available by calling (213) 628-2772 or online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.

The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd., in Culver City, CA.

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CTG also programs Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.