LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Times marked the upcoming move of the East West Players to a 220-seat theatre in Little Tokyo by publishing two features on the company in a recent edition of its Sunday Calendar section.
The first story, by Jan Breslauer, recapped the 30-year history of EWP, which to date has been based in a Silverlake ex-warehouse, operating under Actor's Equity sub-100 seat plan.
The second feature, by Don Shirley, profiled EWP's artistic director, Tim Dang, who first joined the company as a budding actor in 1980 after graduating from USC.
EWP's new theatre is located in the refurbished Union Church, a downtown landmark now known as the Union Center for the Arts. The transition from Equity-waiver to mid-size house cost the EWP $1.7 million, which represents a one-third share in the new building. Other occupants are the nonprofits Visual Communications and Artcore Gallery.
EWP's major donors include playwright David Henry Hwang's family ($150,00) and George and Sakaye Aratani ($160,000). EWP named its theatre after David Henry Hwang and its courtyard after the Aratanis. Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures, the first show in the new house, opens Mar. 18. Dang will direct.
"The crossover appeal of Sondheim's work is important," Dang said. "If East West is to survive on this new level, we too have to open up, as Japan [in the Sondheim musical] did in 1853. We're now in a city-owned facility. We have to share it with the other people of Los Angeles."
Pacific Overtures runs through April 5 at 120 N. Judge John Aiso St. Performances are Thu.-Sat. at 8 PM and Sat. and Sun. at 2 PM (no matinee Mar. 21). For tickets, $20-$32, call (800) 233-3123.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent