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L.A. traffic prompts the Geffen to push back curtain time to 8 p.m.

August 6, 2009 |  9:31 am


A few years ago, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told Times columnist Steve Lopez a memorable story to illustrate how bad L.A. traffic can get:

Yaroslavsky recalled that in the late 1990s, Los Angeles philanthropist Richard Colburn declined a request for a donation to Disney Hall, arguing that a concert hall ought to be on the Westside. That's where the subscriber base would be, he reasoned, and why would beach dwellers want to fight the traffic to get downtown, of all places? "We do now and again see some empty seats, but there isn't anything in terms of research that could tell you why," said Catherine Babcock of the Music Center, whose companies include the Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Master Chorale, L.A. Opera and Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Now, The Times' Diane Haithman at Culture Monster reports that the Geffen in Westwood is pushing back the start of its productions from 7:30 p.m. to 8 -- a nod to how hard it is to get around:

One popular refrain from the Westside is that the rush-hour commute makes it virtually impossible for Westsiders to make it downtown to the Music Center theater complex by curtain time on weekdays. That's usually 8 p.m. at the Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum, and 7:30 for Los Angeles Opera performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. But here's some welcome news for reverse commuters: The Geffen Playhouse in Westwood announced today that its evening performances on weekdays -- that is, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday -- will be moved from 7:30 to 8 p.m. for the 2009-10 season.

-- Shelby Grad

Photo: The Geffen Playhouse in Westwoo. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times