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To live and act in L.A.: Hollywood luminaries on stage

May 2, 2009 | 12:00 pm

Nicole Broadway is bursting right now with movie and TV stars. Yet, if Los Angeles has more celebrities per square mile than any other city in the world, why don't more luminaries with real acting skill take advantage of the vibrant theater scene here when between Hollywood gigs?

In a Sunday Calendar critic's notebook, I propose more overlap between the biz and the boards.  

Call it fantasy producing or starstruck casting, but here’s a wish list for our local theaters. Some of these performers have stage chops, others are theatrical novices; some live in L.A., others only work here. But it’s hard to imagine anyone accusing an artistic director of selling out with one of the following high-voltage combinations:

Russell Crowe as Stanley opposite Charlize Theron’s Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire.”

StarsWill Smith and Terrence Howard in a new Suzan-Lori Parks two-hander.

Jim Carrey as one of Shakespeare’s fools.

Johnny Depp in anything other than a musical.

Nicole Kidman and Tom Hanks in a classic George S. Kaufman & Co. comedy.                                   

Morgan Freeman as King Lear.

Anjelica Houston and Jack Nicholson as Clytemnestra and Agamemnon.

GosRyan Gosling as Hamlet.

A Sam Shepard festival (including "Buried Child," "Curse of the Starving Class" and "Fool for Love") with James Franco, Evan Rachel Wood, Emile Hirsch, Benicio Del Toro and Melissa Leo.

Daniel Day-Lewis and his "There Will Be Blood" co-star Paul Dano in "Long Day's Journey Into Night." 

Meryl Streep and Colin Farrell in "Sweet Bird of Youth."

Gillian Anderson in Ibsen’s “Rosmersholm” or Shaw’s “Mrs. Warren’s Profession.”

Katherine Heigl, Emily Blunt and Adrian Grenier (aided by voice coach Kristin Linklater) in "As You Like It."

What are your casting dreams?

-- Charles McNulty 

Top photo: Nicole Kidman. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Middle photos: Charlize Theron. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press; Russell Crowe. Credit: Joel Ryan / Associated Press

Bottom photo: Ryan Gosling. Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images