Pasadena Playhouse's need to generate money on its second stage ends Furious Theatre's run as its resident company
The Pasadena Playhouse will take over the programming of its 75-seat second stage, the Carrie Hamilton Theatre, after parting ways with the Furious Theatre Company, which had been the upstairs room's resident company since 2004.
Stephen Eich, the playhouse’s executive director, and Furious managing director Nick Cernoch said Tuesday that the split was amicable, although the playhouse’s need to begin generating revenue to cover about $5,000 a month in rent it pays for the Hamilton hastened the change.
Eich said that after “Dangerous Beauty,” the musical that had its first preview on Tuesday, is up and running, he and artistic director Sheldon Epps will focus on how to program the second stage. “We can expect classes, music, comedy, maybe a longer-running show,” he said.
Furious, meanwhile, has put the lights and sound equipment it owned into storage and is looking for a new venue. Cernoch said the first priority is finding a space –- perhaps a temporary one –- for the company’s next show, “No Good Deed,” a new play by Furious member Matt Pelfrey.
The show aims to translate a comic book or graphic novel sensibility to the stage, Cernoch said, and needs a bigger, higher-ceilinged performing space than the Hamilton –- one reason why Furious wasn’t in a position to generate revenue that could help meet the Pasadena Playhouse’s goal of turning the second space into an earner by this spring.
On Monday,Furious launched a new monthly series of free play- and script-readings in an upstairs room at St. Nick’s Pub near West Hollywood; Cernoch said the reading of Greg Keller's “The Seduction Community” packed the space with about 90 people and “we had to turn a few away.” Pelfrey’s screenplay, “Shatter Street,” is next in the “Mondays: Naked and Furious” series, on Feb. 28.
The Pasadena Playhouse is trying to re-establish itself after running out of money last year and closing for eight months. It declared and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and resumed producing plays in October. It does not pay rent on its main stage, which is governed by a lease held by the city of Pasadena. But the Hamilton is directly under the control of the building’s owner, meaning there’s rent to pay. Damaso Rodriguez, a Furious co-founder and the company's main play director, lost his job as the Pasadena Playhouse's associate artistic director amid the layoff of most of the playhouse's staff a year ago.
-- Mike Boehm
Photo: Pasadena Playhouse entrance (top); Furious Theatre co-founders in 2002. Credits: Bret Hartman / For The Times (building); Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times (Furious members)