Isenberg suggests that with the boom in new theaters, "all that's missing are the plays to fill the stages, the money to produce the plays and the audiences to see them." She fails to point out that what is really missing are the directors to stage the productions.
As of this writing, there are 11 professional productions playing in L.A. now. Four--"La Cage aux Folle," "Cats," "Torch Song Trilogy," "Noises Off"--are national or touring companies primarily packaged and directed in New York by New York or London directors. Of seven productions in mid-size houses, "Belly of the Beast," "Tamara" and "Isn't It Romantic?" have directors brought in from out of town. "Sherlock's Last Case," "Geniuses," and "White Chicks" are the only shows paying professional-scale salaries to directors based in Los Angeles. "Penn & Teller" is unique and had no director.
So, where are the directors? Well, if you do professional-level work, would you reside and seek work in a city in which there were only three jobs for your entire profession available to you? By the way, if more directors were here, they would certainly work, at times, in waiver theater and the waiver scene would benefit.
The problem with professional theater in Los Angeles (including waiver theater) is that there are too few professional directors.
Part II of Isenberg's series will appear next Sunday.