As "The Kentucky Cycle" makes its upcoming rounds--beginning with UCLA's Freud Playhouse in October--the primary co-producers will be the Center Theatre Group, the Kennedy Center, and the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.
The first two are no surprise. CTG presented the two-part, Pulitzer Prize-winning epic earlier this year at the Mark Taper Forum. The Kennedy Center will host the "Cycle" in November, following its warm-up at UCLA, and the center also sponsors the Fund for New American Plays (supported by American Express), which contributed a critical $135,000 to the development of the "Cycle" prior to its premiere at Seattle's Intiman Theatre last year.
It's the third producer who's the unknown element here. No one from the Laurie Foundation, based in Roseland, N.J., has even seen the "Cycle." Yet the foundation is awarding it a $250,000 grant.
Gene Korf, the foundation's executive director, said the "Cycle" was recommended by "a number of friends," especially Theodore Mann, who runs the Circle in the Square theater in New York. The Pulitzer Prize "fueled my interest," Korf said, and former CTG board member Timothy Childs served as the intermediary. The foundation will not be a profit participant, Korf said.
The production will go to Boston after Washington and may land on Broadway next spring, if additional capital is found. Its transition from the Intiman and Taper thrust stages to the tour's proscenium stages will presumably be mastered during the Oct. 17-25 run at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, which will be financed by a $25,000 contribution from local angels William and Barbara Pauley Pagen.
Six complete "Cycles" will be presented at UCLA, with four matinee-and-evening marathons on Saturdays and Sundays and two split-night presentations on weeknights. Director Warner Shook is returning, as are the principals in the Taper cast, with two exceptions: Michael Winters and Sheila Renee Johns won't be back. Replacements are still being picked.
Tickets will be available at the Taper beginning Sept. 27.
PTE PLANS: Pacific Theatre Ensemble, forced by fire inspectors to move its public performances out of its cramped Venice Boulevard quarters, will do a season farther east on the same street, in a facility adjacent to the Helms Bakery building in Culver City. The new, donated space is twice as large as the old one. The season opens Sept. 15 with an environmental staging of an 1867 American romance, Augustin Daly's "Under the Gaslight." The group also has a new managing director, Jon White-Spunner, who comes from a two-year stint in the same job at the celebrated Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
MIME TROUPE AT IVAR: The San Francisco Mime Troupe will bring its summer show, "Social Work--An Election Year Fantasy" to the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood for an Oct. 15-18 run. The production will use a $7,500 grant the Troupe received from L.A.'s Cultural Affairs Department last year. The grant was slated for a Mime Troupe production at Los Angeles Theatre Center, but that idea died along with the LATC company last fall.
PAY WHAT YOU CAN: You may select your own ticket price for next Sunday's performances of Holly Near's "Fire in the Rain . . . Singer in the Storm," at the Taper. Tickets will be available at the Taper box office at 10 a.m. next Sunday, sold on a cash only basis, maximum two per person, subject to availability.