Center Theatre Group Selects Three Local Productions For Block Party 2019
Center Theatre Group has selected three local productions for the third annual Block Party: Celebrating Los Angeles Theatre at the Kirk Douglas Theatre from March 7 through April 28, 2019. Block Party 2019 will remount Theatre of NOTE's "For The Love Of (or, the roller derby play)," Skylight Theatre Company's "Rotterdam" and Antaeus Theatre Company's "Native Son." Each production will have a two-week run with 12 performances. The three visiting companies will receive the full support of Center Theatre Group and its staff in order to fund, stage and market each production.
"Now in its third year, Block Party continues to be a real treat for our entire organization," said Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. "We all look forward to working with Theatre of NOTE, Skylight and Antaeus and sharing their exciting work with our audiences."
Full casting for the three productions will be announced at a later date.
"For The Love Of (or, the roller derby play)"
Theatre of NOTE
March 7 - 17, 2019
"For The Love Of (or, the roller derby play)" from Theatre of NOTE will take the first slot and will begin previews March 7, 2019, open March 9 and continue through March 17. Written by Gina Femia and directed by Rhonda Kohl, the play follows Joy and Michelle, long-term partners who find their lives turned upside down when Joy joins a roller derby team called the Brooklyn Scallywags. Joy becomes close with the star of the team, Lizzie Lightning, and must decide how much she's willing to sacrifice to follow her heart.
With an all-female cast, creative and design team, "For The Love Of" has "a cultural makeup that we feel represents greater L.A.," said Theatre of NOTE Artistic Management Committee Member Alexis DeLaRosa.
"NOTE is honored and excited to be a part of Block Party 2019. It is a huge opportunity for our company, and we are thrilled to be able to present our production to a much larger audience," said Artistic Management Committee Member Lynn Odell. DeLaRosa and Odell, along with Sierra Marcks, Bill Voorhees, David Wilcox and Fiona Lakeland, comprise Theatre of NOTE's Artistic Management Committee, which leads this democratic ensemble of L.A. theatre artists.
Skylight Theatre Company
March 28 - April 7, 2019
A bittersweet comedy about love and identity, Skylight Theatre Company's "Rotterdam" will take the second slot and will begin previews March 28, 2019, open March 30 and continue through April 7. Written by Jon Brittain and directed by Michael A. Shepperd, the play begins in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on New Year's Eve when Alice finds the courage to come out to her parents. Alice's decision inspires her girlfriend Fiona to make an announcement of her own. Before Alice hits send on her email, Fiona reveals that she has always identified as a man and now wants to live as one, sending their relationship into a tailspin.
"Every day we hear debates over human rights, conversations about including/excluding, who belongs and who doesn't," said Executive Director Sandee Grossman. "The right to affirm one's identity is at the forefront of those debates." Co- Artistic Director Tony Abatemarco added, "'Rotterdam' reveals some of the challenges faced by a person who is transitioning and explores how that transition affects those close to them."
"We are always looking for new artists and compelling contemporary works that take the pulse of our time and our city, stories that help reveal what it means to be human," said Producing Artistic Director Gary Grossman. "We're hoping to gain new audiences through being a Block Party participant, but we also hope to expand our capacity to launch the plays we develop into more theatres regionally and nationwide."
Antaeus Theatre Company
April 18 - 28, 2019
Antaeus Theatre Company's "Native Son" will take the final slot of Block Party and will begin previews on April 18, open on April 20 and continue through April 28. Written by Nambi E. Kelley and directed by Andi Chapman, "Native Son" is set in 1930s Chicago, where a longing for social justice ignites a palpable rage within protagonist Bigger Thomas. "Native Son" is a gripping adaptation of the classic Richard Wright novel and focuses on the inner workings of Thomas' mind as events violently and irrevocably seal his fate.
"Antaeus is a classical theatre ensemble, used to doing Shakespeare, Chekhov and Shaw-but we're thrilled to present a modern, cinematic adaptation of the classic American novel 'Native Son' that reimagines what a classic can be," said Co-Artistic Director Bill Brochtrup, who leads Antaeus alongside Co-Artistic Directors Rob Nagle and Kitty Swink. Swink adds, "Block Party celebrates the spirit of adventure and exploration that is the hallmark of theatre in Los Angeles. We're excited to be a part of it!"
Center Theatre Group received submissions for Block Party from intimate theatre companies throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The selected productions come from Hollywood (Theatre of NOTE), Los Feliz (Skylight Theatre Company) and Glendale (Antaeus Theatre Company).
With Block Party, Center Theatre Group will continue to strengthen its relationships within the Los Angeles theatre community by creating additional avenues for the organization to work with local playwrights, actors, directors and designers. Block Party also helps to foster relationships between Center Theatre Group staff and the staff of theatre companies throughout Los Angeles.
Block Party receives major support from Aliza Karney Guren and Marc Guren with generous funding also provided by Joni and Miles Benickes. This programming is also made possible in part by a Culver City Performing Arts Grant with support from Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Previous Block Party productions have included "Ameryka" (Critical Mass Performance Group), "Bloodletting" (Playwrights' Arena), "Citizen: An American Lyric" (The Fountain Theatre), "Die, Mommie, Die!" (Celebration Theatre), "Dry Land" (The Echo Theater Company) and "Failure: A Love Story" (Coeurage Theatre Company).
Center Theatre Group, one of the nation's preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles' leading nonprofit theatre company, which, under Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2100-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation's leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.
Tickets for Block Party are available by calling (213) 628-2772, online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, at the Center Theatre Group Box Office at the Ahmanson Theatre or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre Box Office two hours prior to performance. Tickets for each individual production range from $25 - $72 (ticket prices are subject to change). A Block Party Party Pass is available for $75, which includes a ticket to all three productions as well as a complimentary cocktail (or non-alcoholic beverage) at each performance. The Party Pass is available by phone or in-person now through March 17.