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VALLEY FOCUS | Woodland Hills

Riordan, Chick to Read 'Love Letters'

January 27, 1998|ALLISON COHEN

Mayor Richard Riordan and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Laura Chick will read an abridged version of A.J. Gurney's "Love Letters" tonight at a Warner Center Marriott fund-raiser for the new Canoga Park Madrid Theatre.

"We knew we wanted something for entertainment that connected the event to what the theater's all about," Chick said of her scheduled 20-minute performance with the mayor. "He [the mayor] enjoys this kind of thing. He likes having fun while he does his job."

Chick--who has led the funding effort to build the $2.9-million arts complex--said she has had the mayor's support for the project from the beginning.

"I'm looking forward to getting up on stage for such a great cause with Councilwoman Chick," the mayor said through a spokeswoman Monday. "We've been rehearsing together, and I have to say, 'Titanic' watch out."

The theater's site--21622 Sherman Way--has a notorious past. It was home to the first Madrid Theatre, a popular 1920s vaudeville and cinema house that degenerated over time and became the X-rated Pussycat Theater. Finally, in April 1995, the theater was razed because of severe damage from the Northridge earthquake.

Funding for the new theater came in part from a $30-million federal grant for earthquake recovery and from city coffers as part of an earthquake revitalization project of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.

The 499-seat theater should open by this fall, according to Chick, and will be a venue for drama, dance, musical and symphonic performances, as well as meetings and films.

Tonight's sold-out dinner is expected to raise more than $300,000 for programming and marketing of the new theater.

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