Last week, The LA Times reported that CTG is planning a series of minimally staged new works at the Kirk Douglas Theater. Any return to supporting new work is a good thing, but this is a far cry from the commitment to diversity and emerging artists that CTG used to offer. It's a good thing that they're willing to program things that might not entice an audience through the subscription model, but I want to note that the shows they announced sound like more of the same boys' club that Ritchie programs at the Douglas and the Taper. Here's the lineup:
--"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.
First of all, note that ALL of the shows are by men. In fact, as a far as I can tell from the descriptions, all of the shows are by and/or about straight and/or white men. If that's not more of the same, I don't know what is. Is it really that hard to program even one show by a woman? One of the shows is by L.A. artists, which is good and I highly approve of the choice of Bart DeLorenzo as a director, but otherwise, it seems to me that this programming isn't particularly different from the rest of Richie's programming.
These shows are clearly trying too hard to be "young" and "edgy" and trying to appeal to a young audience. But really, Richie seems overly enamored with the gimmicky aspects of hip-hop theater, and Darwin's "electroluminescent dinosaur." They're not even really particularly cheap, even through they're promoting lower ticket prices as appealing to younger crowds. The $20 ticket price is the same discount price they're offering on their expanded HotTix program for all CTG shows. If you were actually interested in seeing all of these works, it would be $100, which isn't exactly affordable for a young audience. They might succeed in some one-off new attendees who already happen to be fans of these particular artists or have heard of but not seen their work, but this doesn't seem like it will manage to really build a new audience for CTG programming or even for the artists they're supporting.
Thanks to Frank's Wild Lunch for pointing me to the article.