Center Theatre Group has selected two local productions for the fourth annual Block Party: Celebrating Los Angeles Theatre at the Kirk Douglas Theatre from March 18 through April 19, 2020. Block Party 2020 will remount Sacred Fools Theater Company’s “The Art Couple” and IAMA Theatre Company’s “Canyon.” The visiting companies will receive the full support of Center Theatre Group and its staff in order to fund, stage and market each production.
Pictured above: L-R: Ryan Patrick Welsh and Clayton Farris in the original Sacred Fools Theater Company production of The Art Couple. Photo by Darrett Sanders.
“Block Party offers an exciting opportunity for our organization to connect with other members of the Los Angeles theatre community and celebrate the art and artists and that help make this city such a vibrant theatre town. We look forward to welcoming Sacred Fools and IAMA into the Douglas and sharing ‘The Art Couple’ and ‘Canyon’ with our audiences.”Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Richie.
“No matter how much theatre you go to in Los Angeles, you are bound to miss lots of amazing work. Block Party offers a fantastic opportunity to revisit some of the pieces I’ve seen throughout the year and look at many of the amazing productions I’ve missed. As tough as it is to narrow down to just a couple productions, it is a pleasure to see and discuss local theatre with my colleagues throughout Center Theatre Group and then have the opportunity to invite artists from other companies into our family to remount their work.”Center Theatre Group Associate Artistic Director Lindsay Allbaugh.
“The Art Couple”
Sacred Fools Theater Company March 18 – 29, 2020
“The Art Couple” from Sacred Fools Theater Company will take the first slot and will begin previews March 18, 2020, open March 20 and continue through March 29, 2020.
Written by Brendan Hunt and directed by Lauren Van Kurin, “The Art Couple” is a dramedy about Neil Simon’s struggle to break a terrible case of writer’s block he is suffering after accepting a huge commission for his completely unwritten third play: “The Odd Couple.” Encouraged by a mysterious busboy with a western twang (who also happens to be an aspiring playwright), Simon decides the play should be more than schtick, it should be about art. When he learns that Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin shared an ill-fated cohabitation, he endeavors to write about that real-life (but very odd) couple. Neil and the busboy battle for control of the play in parallel scenes and the odd couples begin to resemble something closer to “True West,” building irrevocably to a suitably ridiculous conclusion.
“It’s rare to find a show that appeals to so many different kinds of people. If you like silly, funny, relatable work, this is a great night out. If you like history, art, theatre and the finer things in life, it’s just as compelling.”Co-Artistic Director Aviva Pressman.
Pressman, Vanessa Claire Stewart and Adriana Colón are Co-Artistic Directors of Sacred Fools Theater Company.
IAMA Theatre Company April 8 – 19, 2020
A compassionate look at gender, race, citizenship and the costs of trying to live a conventional, American life, “Canyon” from IAMA Theatre Company (originally produced in association with the Latino Theater Company) will take the second slot and will begin previews April 8, 2020, open April 10 and continue through April 19. Written by current L.A. Writers’ Workshop participant Jonathan Caren and directed by Whitney White, “Canyon” follows Jake and Beth, a seemingly progressive thirty-something married couple, and Eduardo and Rodrigo, a Mexican father and son, who they’ve hired to renovate a deck. The play explores what happens when ideals and consequences collide and the lives of two families are rocked by an unpredictable accident.
“This production is very special to us because it was written by Los Angeleno and company member Jonathan Caren. We spent four years workshopping and developing this play with our company. It embodies all the values of IAMA not only as artists, but as a group of people looking to effect change through theatre.”Co-Artistic Director Stefanie Black.
“We are so excited to be a part of Block Party. It’s truly an honor to represent L.A. intimate theatre on such a big stage. And as a company that strongly values telling stories for and about our Los Angeles community, we hope participating in Block Party will highlight the importance of producing Los Angeles playwrights.”Co-Artistic Director Katie Lowes.
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.
Previous Block Party productions have included “For the Love Of (or, the roller derby play)” (Theatre of NOTE), “Rotterdam” (Skylight Theatre Company), “Native Son” (Antaeus Theatre Company), “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 the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, Managing Director Meghan Pressman and Producing Director Douglas C. Baker, 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 here, 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 $30 – $75 (ticket prices are subject to change). A Block Party Party Pass is available for $50, which includes a ticket to each production 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 29.
The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd. in Culver City, CA 90232. Free three hour covered parking at City Hall with validation (available in the Kirk Douglas Theatre lobby).