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THEATER NOTES

Ovations From the Edge of L.A.

August 13, 1995|Don Shirley | Don Shirley is a Times staff writer.

Last year's first-ever competitive Ovation Awards were presented at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. This year they'll be awarded at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 13.

Most of L.A.'s theatrical activity is located far to the northwest of Cerritos. So why distribute L.A.'s peer-judged theater awards there?

Barbara Beckley, the recently retired president of the Ovations-sponsoring Theatre LA, discerns "metaphorical" meaning in the selection of Cerritos. Like the area itself, the theater community is "spread out," Beckley said. "But we have the freeways, and we can get there. It's not necessarily a bad thing not to have a central theater district."

Besides, "it's such a superb facility, and [Cerritos Center] is a member of Theatre LA," Beckley said. The Alex is not a member.

Theatre LA's new president, Brad Burlingame, said buses may be made available to transport Ovation celebrants to Cerritos from L.A. He said the location of the awards ceremony may change annually, "to truly represent the diversity of Los Angeles."

Unlike Beckley, who is a well-known producer and actress in L.A. theater, the little-known Burlingame is not currently a theater professional. He was an actor for 10 years, leaving the boards a decade ago, and he recently served as executive director of the Mojo Ensemble. But now he's the vice president for sales and marketing at Japanese Assistance Network, a firm that provides support services for Japanese-related activities in Los Angeles.

Burlingame said he hopes to recruit more non-theatrical "community" representatives to serve on the Theatre LA board, with the hope that they can bring financial resources and business relationships that could benefit the group.

*

NEW DIRECTOR: Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble, one of L.A.'s most respected small theater companies, has a new artistic director, Marilyn Fox. But the group is still on the lookout for a new home for its mainstage productions.

PRTE has used temporary locations for its last two shows, ever since its site on Venice Boulevard just northwest of the Culver City city limits was torn down. Workshop productions continue to be held at the group's former cramped quarters farther west on Venice Boulevard, in Venice. Fox wants a Westside building that includes both a mainstage and a smaller workshop space.

Culver City is on the front burner in the PRTE search, particularly the warehouse district south of Washington Boulevard. Fox said she would announce a new season by the end of the year, even if the group has to continue using temporary spaces in the meantime.

Fox is an award-winning actress ("Awake and Sing") and director ("Ondine") whose latest staging is "The Swan," currently at the Odyssey.

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