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Culture Monster roundtable: The role of L.A. in the national theater scene [VIDEO]

June 16, 2011 | 10:13 am

Sheldon Epps Michael Ritchie

Panelists in the Culture Monster round table came together Tuesday night at Zipper Hall in the Colburn School to discuss "The role of Los Angeles in the national theater scene."

Marc Platt, producer of the hit Broadway musical "Wicked," Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley, Actors' Gang co-founder and artistic director Tim Robbins, Pasadena Playhouse's Sheldon Epps and Michael Ritchie of Center Theatre Group looked at image problems facing Los Angeles theaters.

"L.A. is very much a 'company town', at least to the outside world, in terms of being the home of film and television," said Platt, who has also produced plays at the Odyssey and the Hudson theaters.

"New York sort of bolsters itself by still existing under the false belief that theater there is superior to theater in other parts of the country... especially when you look at the fact that a great deal of what winds up in New York -- successful or not -- is nurtured to get there by our theaters," said Epps, who staged this season's Broadway musical "Baby It's You." "It is the 'national theater movement,' which is resident theaters of all sizes all around the country, that creates for New York."

"The best we can do," Robbins said, "is keep plodding forward.

Charles McNulty, the Los Angeles Times theater critic, moderated the panel.


Culture Monster roundtable contemplates state of L.A. theater

Is Los Angeles a 'theater town'?: A Culture Monster event

--Lisa Fung

Photo: Sheldon Epps, left, discusses theater in Los Angeles as Michael Ritchie listens in. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times