Arts In LA
Audition news

Newly formed ‘Independent Theatres of Los Angeles’ to hold citywide auditions

Elizabeth Lande, Derek Manson, Kelly Van Kirk, and Roderick Menzies in DaddyO Dies Well, one of Murray Mednick's "The Gary Plays," originally created and produced by Padua Playwrights. The company is among one of the 10 forming the new Independent Theatres of Los Angeles.
Photo by Darrett Sanders

LOS ANGELES (April 28, 2017) — Intimate theater companies in Los Angeles that have been denied membership status by Actors Equity Association, and/or find themselves financially unable to sign AEA’s new Los Angeles 99-Seat Theater Agreement, are banding together under the title “Independent Theatres of Los Angeles.” Sixteen theaters have joined ITLA to date, with more companies expected to become members soon.

   Under the auspices of ITLA, citywide auditions will be held on May 7, May 10, May 13 and May 17 at four different locations.Ten members of ITLA—Crown City Theatre Company, Matrix Theatre Company, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Padua Playwrights, Playwrights Arena, Robey Theatre Company, Skylight Theatre Company, Towne Street Theatre, Victory Theatre Center, and Whitefire Theatre—will be represented at each audition call.

   Additional members of ITLA include Bright Eyes Productions, Collaborative Artists Ensemble, Orpheum Theatre Corp., Santa Monica Playhouse, Teatro de la O, and Zubber Dust Playhouse.

   “These auditions are a way for us to become familiar with the vast and as yet untapped pool of talent in Los Angeles, and they with us,” explained Odyssey Theatre Ensemble artistic director Ron Sossi. “The auditions are open to both union and non-union actors. However, actors who are members of Actors’ Equity and have not declared financial core status should be aware that they could face sanctions for volunteering their services in our productions.”

   “The purpose of ITLA is to say to Los Angeles and all other cities listening that our theaters will continue to provide an opportunity for all artists to volunteer their craft,” said Skylight Theatre Company artistic director Gary Grossman.

   “Because Equity has arbitrarily chosen to waive its rules for only a select group of theaters does not mean that other 99-Seat theater companies won’t continue to flourish,” pointed out Victory Theatre Center artistic producer Tom Ormeny. “That’s why we are holding these auditions.”

   According to Matrix Theatre Company artistic director Joe Stern, “ITLA theaters will continue to operate with the same high standards we have always championed, protecting the safety and integrity of all the artists in our theatrical families while also providing high quality theater at affordable prices for our growing audiences.”

ITLA auditions will take place on Sunday, May 7, 11am–5pm at Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; on Wednesday, May 10, 4pm–10pm at Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles; on Saturday, May 13, 11am–5pm at The Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank; and on Wednesday, May 17, 4pm–10pm at  Skylight Theatre, 1816-1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles (Los Feliz).

Actors wishing to audition should prepare either one 2-3 minute monologue or two 1-2 minute monologues (maximum 5-minute slots for each audition) and bring 10 copies of their picture and résumé, one for each participating theater company. Actors need only attend one of the sessions to be seen by all 10 theaters. No phone calls please.


 Happy Fifth Birthday!
Ballet review
L.A. Ballet’s all-Balanchine program

Various Los Angeles venues [closed]

Reviewed by Dany Margolies

The dancers of Divertimento No. 15
Photo by Reed Hutchinson/
Los Angeles Ballet

Those who talk ballet often refer to the Balanchine style. Los Angeles Ballet’s current offering magnificently reminds us that choreographer George Balanchine (1904–1983) created in many styles.
   Born and schooled in Russia, Balanchine came to America in 1933, soon founding the School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet. Trained in the strict traditions of the Imperial Ballet in Russia, given freedom to break rules in an America that was a haven for artistic rule breakers, Balanchine pushed classical lines and rhythms into what we now call “modern” and “jazz” forms.
   Los Angeles Ballet’s mixed-bill program, running through March, features three one-acts: an abstract tribute to the Imperial style, an early forerunner of modern-dance storytelling and an homage to American musicals.

The jewel in this crown is Prodigal Son, Balanchine’s depiction of the Biblical parable, set to music by Sergei Prokofiev. Patricia Neary stages this 1929 ballet for LAB, using Georges Rouault’s set and costume designs from the ballet’s 1950 revival.
   Unlike many Balanchine ballets, which are usually abstract, this one clearly tells a story, of a wild restless lad (Kenta Shimizu) who cannot wait to leave his father’s (Zheng Hua Li) control and see what the world has to offer. The Prodigal Son gets an eyeful out there.
   His Drinking Companions are false friends. They lure him into too much boozing and very bendy adventures with the very tall Siren (Elizabeth Claire Walker). Playing those louts, the male corps de ballet thoroughly commits to the grotesque movements
—to their, and the audience’s, extreme glee.
   If you take your young child to this evening of dance, you might have to explain your fellow adults’ tittering reactions to the unambiguous gymnastics of the Siren and the Son. On the other hand, it teaches the young ones a painless lesson about the wear-and-tear extreme depravity causes.
   Shimizu is all emotion, so no mime is needed here, nor does stager Colleen Neary re-impose any from various early revivals. So we don’t need to see Shimizu kiss the ground to feel how grateful this Son is to come home, to know how much he regrets dabbling in debauchery, to understand his hope for forgiveness.

Kenta Shimizu and Elizabeth Claire Walker in Prodigal Son
Photo by Reed Hutchinson/
Los Angeles Ballet
The program opens with Divertimento No. 15 Divertimento No. 15, Balanchine’s take on 18th-century courtliness, set to music by Mozart. Balanchine choreographed the piece in 1956, seeming to look back fondly at his Russian roots. Understated elegance is the style here. Still, the piece needs undercurrents of energy, other than opening-night nerves.
   Two days prior, the company lost one of its two principal ballerinas to an injury. Lia Cirio, a principal with Boston Ballet, flew in to heroically replace the injured Allyssa Bross. This may have led to the distractions and strain visible onstage. A ballerina’s slip was the first evidence of tension, followed by stiffness in a few corps members.
   Cirio is a vibrant dancer and a good soul for helping out a company in need across the country. Her style, however, with the exaggerated limbs sometimes (perhaps wrongly) associated with Balanchine, contrasts with what LAB co–Artistic Director Colleen Neary had developed in her company: a stately, more-classical demeanor. But this unshowiness too often translated as lacking performing fire.

Lia Cirio and Tigran Sarsgyan in Who Cares?
Photo by Reed Hutchinson/
Los Angeles Ballet

Who Cares? closes the show. Though choreographed in 1970, it captures the newness and excitement of jazz in its early years. Set to music by George Gershwin, the 12 dances here celebrate the syncopations and contrasting rhythms of the musical form, plus the sensuality and off-balance dance style that once made jazz seem dangerous.
   That contained, purposeful danger was mostly absent on opening night, replaced by a near complacency that felt as if the dancers had settled for learning the steps. They learned them well, and there were moments of lovely synchronization among the corps.
   But only two dancers brought excitement to the stage. Julia Cinquemani shows sultriness and musicality in her solo, “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” and pairs perfectly with Tigran Sargsyan for “The Man I Love.”
   He then partners Cirio for “Embraceable You” and Bianca Bulle for “Who Cares?” And then he takes his solo, “Liza,” displaying all the hoped-for jazziness and a musicality that toys delightfully with the music. At last, who could ask for anything more?

March 13, 2017

Republished courtesy of Daily News

Fitzmaurice Voicework
with Lisa Pelikan


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