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UPDATED: Kirk Douglas Theatre 'breaks out of the box' with new programming

February 2, 2009 |  2:29 pm


Culver City's Kirk Douglas Theatre will offer a new series of lower-priced, limited-run performances of work in varying stages of development in the spring, Center Theatre Group announced today.

The series, called DouglasPlus, will run  March 14 through April 18 and will include both fully staged and minimally staged events, as well as workshops and readings. Productions will take place onstage as well as in rehearsal rooms, the lobby and other spaces within the theater building, with seating configurations designed to meet the needs of that production. Tickets to the productions will cost $20, with general-admission seating.

The lineup includes the work of solo artist Mike Daisey, Los Angeles playwright Michael Sargent and hip-hop theater artist Matt Sax.  The first presentation of DouglasPlus will be the youth theater piece  "Darwin," a family show created by Corbin Popp and Ian Carney  and featuring an electroluminescent dinosaur (the two March 14 performances will be offered free of charge to Culver City residents). Some shows will be presented in conjunction with round-table or post-show discussions.

In an interview today, CTG artistic director Michael Ritchie said  the plan will offer an opportunity to present work that does not lend itself to a traditional subscription model.  Those include shows  geared toward younger audiences who tend not to be season subscribers as well as shows that do not lend themselves to a longer run or do not ideally fit on the Kirk Douglas stage. Ritchie said  the series will emphasize work that CTG already had in development, new work and work by Los Angeles artists. 

The idea, he said, is "to break down some of the natural barriers at the Douglas, in the types of shows that we do, how we produce them and what kind of audiences we want to attract."

Ritchie said  the plan to offer stripped-down programming did not arise because of the dismal economic climate. "In fact, we were making this plan last January, February and March, when things were about as rosy as they were going to be in the economy," he said. He said that the theater plans to continue the program in future years. "No matter what happens in the economy, this will be good for us," he said. 

Read on for the list of DouglasPlus offerings:   

--"Darwin," March 14 only, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

--Mike Daisey's "How Theater Failed America," directed by Jean-Michele Gregory. March 18-21, 8 p.m.

--Workshop performance of Daisey's newest work, "The Last Cargo Cult," March 22, 3 p.m.

--World premiere of  "The Projectionist," by L.A. playwright  Michael Sargent, directed by Bart DeLorenzo, March 26-28, 8 p.m.; April 2-3, 8 p.m.; April 4, 7:30 and 9 p.m.

--Staged public workshops of the hip-hop musical "Venice," by Matt Sax and Eric Rosen ("Clay"), April 15-18, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $20. (213) 628-2772. UPDATE: Tickets are now on sale online here.

-- Diane Haithman

Photo: The Kirk Douglas Theatre during its 2004 dedication. Credit: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times