The production of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," scheduled to open Thursday at the James A. Doolittle Theatre, has been canceled because of poor advance ticket sales.
"It really hurts my heart, but we had to bow to practical necessity," said Los Angeles Theatre Center general manager Carol Baker Tharp. Claude Purdy's staging of August Wilson's drama played a successful extended run at the LATC last summer. The Doolittle booking, scheduled through Nov. 22, would have been a joint presentation of LATC, James A. Doolittle's Southern California Theatre Assn. and UCLA Center for the Performing Arts.
UCLA, which books the Doolittle, has nothing on hand to fill the slot. But UCLA's Gail Kustin, program and promotion manager for the theater, held out hope that "this magnificent production of 'Ma Rainey's' can be presented at a future date in the Doolittle."
Timing of this booking, "on the heels of the Los Angeles Festival," may have dashed its chances, Kustin said. She also pointed out that the show's initial advertising had to compete with earthquake news and a heat wave.
Refunds are available at point of purchase.