John Lithgow

 

 

Alan Alda

Emerging from under the forbidding shadows of TV and movies, L.A. Theatre Works has played a major role in the revival of a nearly lost art form: radio drama. Since including two full-length novels, 200-plus plays and numerous short stories. Backed by the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, L.A. Cultural Affairs Department, L.A. County Music & Performing Arts Commission and many private foundations, corporations and individuals, the arts organization has adapted major works from America's regional theatres, making them accessible to millions of Americans via National Public Radio - and locally on KCRW 89.9 FM. The plays are also broadcast internationally through NPR, BBC Radio and BBC World Service.


According to founder and producing director Susan Albert Loewenberg, radio. Part
of that challenge is to translate the visual effects of a stage production into sound.


"We spend a lot of time and energy making that translation," Loewenberg said. "A set evokes a certain mood. An interesting example of that is Athol Fugard's "The Road to Mecca," where the central image of the play is when the stage goes dark, illuminated only by dozens of candles. To help the listening audience understand this potent visual image and its meaning for the play, we used music that had a swirling, spiritual quality, which perfectly evoked the moment."


Actors accustomed to communicating with the help of gestures and facial expressions must follow BBC Radio director Martin Jenkins' famous dictum about using their voices: "half the volume, twice the intensity."


The American premiere of "Sheindele," a rare glimpse into life in the ultra-orthodox Jewish Mea Shearim Quarter of Jerusalem, will be performed March 4, 5, 6 and 7 at the Doubletree Guest Suites in Santa Monica. The play coincides with Israel's "Time Flies," an evening of six comic one-acts by David Ives, starring Ed Begley, Jr. and Christopher McDonald, launches the spring-summer season to be performed at the group's new venue at the end of March: the Skirball Cultural Center.


Recent past productions include: "M. Butterfly" by David Henry Hwang with John Lithgow and B.D. Wong from the original Broadway production, Athol Fugard's "The Road to Mecca" featuring Julie Harris, Amy Irving and Harris Yulin; and Annette Bening in "Fallen Angels."
L.A. Theatre Works boasts the participation of many stars from TV and film, including: Julie Harris, Richard Dreyfuss, Hector Elizondo, Paul Winfield, Amy Irving, Charles During, Annette Bening, Walter Mathau, Ed Asner, Jason Robards, John Lithgow, Marsha Mason, Tyne Daly, JoBeth Williams and Kelsey Grammer. For ticket purchase information, call the LA. Theatre Works box office at (310) 827-0889.

 

 

 

 Amy Irving

 Annete Bening

  JoBeth Williams


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