Ensemble Studio Theater, for 27 years a major force in New York theater, has opened a West Coast branch called The L.A. Project which is mounting its first full-length production, the world premiere of Michael Connor's Berkshire Village Idiot. The solo drama stars Connor and is set in a largely Irish-Catholic New England village. Connor plays a 15-year-old boy who finds himself at the heart of civic and family battles. Opening night is March 2 at the Gascon Center Theater in Culver City; the run is through April 9.
EST has developed and launched some of the country's most accomplished theatre artists, including Christopher Durang, Richard Greenberg, David Mamet, Marsha Norman, Keith Reddin, Jose Rivera, John Patrick Shanley and Wendy Wasserstein.
Connor, whose previous play Naked Body was praised, performed a workshop version of Berkshire Village Idiot at the HBO Workspace in Hollywood recently. In portraying various Berkshire villagers, Connor is aided by the onstage accompaniment of Irish fiddler Caron Cronyn.
Gascon Center Theater is located at 8737 Washington Blvd. inside the historic Helms Bakery building. For tickets and information call (323) 655-TKTS.
On March 3, Billy Campbell, star of ABC's "Once and Again," will host a benefit for Project ALS. On March 11, Emmy Award-winning actor Joe Spano hosts a benefit performance for Half The Sky. -- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent