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Theater League Hopes to Open Half-Price Ticket Booth in NoHo Area


Term limits be damned, Edmund Gaynes was recently reelected for his third term as president of the Valley Theatre League. A relentless proponent of live theater in the area, Gaynes has been involved in the league since its beginning six years ago.

On the league's agenda this year is opening a half-price ticket booth in the NoHo Arts District--a local alternative to Theatre L.A.'s Times Tix outlet in the Beverly Center. "The one in the Beverly Center is very inconvenient for us," Gaynes said. "I mean, I don't want to go there."

Ideally, the NoHo half-price outlet will open in the next two months someplace near the intersection of Magnolia and Lankershim boulevards. It would operate for only a few hours each day and sell half-price tickets to that night's performances.

"That way you're not dealing with tourists or Beverly Center-types, but people who live and work in the area," he said.

Already, the league has a toll-free number that lists currently running shows. It's (888) 677-SHOW, or for local calls, (818) 759-7592. Or, on the Internet, the information is at


Family History: Cynthia Gates Fujikawa's father was an actor--and one of his best performances was at home.

Her autobiographical solo show, "Old Man River," delves into her father's secret life, the one that came before his acting career in television and movies.

She was 12 when her mother told her the truth about her father. Before World War II--which he spent first in an internment camp and later in the U.S. Army--he had been married to another woman and had three children, two of whom had died.

Fujikawa started researching and writing the play, which starts previews at Theatre West tonight, in 1991. Eventually she tracked down her surviving half-sister, Tirsa DeJong, who is 20 years her senior. "The events wrote the play as they were happening," Fujikawa said.

DeJong even came to see "Old Man River" when Fujikawa performed it at the New Victory Theatre, a 500-seat house along the revitalized stretch of 42nd Street in New York.

In addition to a close relationship with her sister, Fujikawa said she gained an understanding of her father. "I learned that what I knew about him and felt about him all along was probably who he was," she said.

"It's sort of like 'The Wizard of Oz,' leaving the nest to find the bigger picture. . . But what you find out in the end is that it was right in front of you all the time. You just didn't have the right perspective on it."

* "Old Man River," Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Universal City. Preview tonight and Friday, 8 p.m. Then, Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m. Ends March 1. $18, $12 students/senior citizens. (213) 851-7977.


Poetry in Motion: Before his death last year, noted poet James Dickey gave Theatre West's John Gallogly permission to adapt a handful of his works for the stage.

Best known for his novel "Deliverance" and its film adaptation, Dickey actually spent most of his writing energies on poetry. Drama was the one arena he missed--that is, until director Gallogly staged one of his poems as the solo show "May Day Sermon" at Theatre West in 1992.

Now, Gallogly has reunited Dickey's writing with "Sermon's" actress, Bridget Hanley, in "Bronwen, the Traw and the Shape-Shifter." The production--the second in Gallogly's Youth Theatre series--follows the fantastic adventure of a little girl fighting off the terrifying powers of darkness. "The real theme of the piece is that without courage, everything is dark," he said.

Dickey wrote the poem for his daughter, Bronwen, when she was young, and the play is appropriate for children 8 and older. "Bronwen, the Traw and the Shape-Shifter," opens Feb. 1 and runs Sundays through March 8 at 12:30 p.m. at Theatre West (213) 851-7977.

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