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THEATER | Theater Notes

Noise Within's Ruling Troika Now a Duo

August 19, 2001|DON SHIRLEY | Don Shirley is The Times' theater writer

A Noise Within has just become more of a mom-and-pop operation.

Art Manke has resigned as one of the Glendale theater's three artistic directors. The triumvirate that has run A Noise Within for 10 years has been reduced to two: Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez Elliott, who are married.

Manke will continue as one of the company's resident directors and will stage "Pericles" this fall. However, he wants to be free to accept more outside assignments, he said. He's staging "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln," starring Marcia Rodd, at El Portal Center. And he has begun on-set observations of TV shows with the idea of eventually adding TV directing to his resume. He also has choreographed three productions at South Coast Repertory this year and isn't averse to returning to acting, which he hasn't done in four years.

Manke said that he and the Elliotts always shared all of the responsibilities of running a company, but he has specialized in marketing and working with the group's tour booking agent.

"We'll just have to take up the slack," said Geoff Elliott, adding that the company may hire a business manager. "I'm happy that Art's doing what he wants to do."

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PASADENA NOTES: David Houk, owner of the Pasadena Playhouse building, recently was quoted about his desire to sell it. But he told Theater Notes that he is equally interested in leasing it. Either option would be OK with him, he said. Houk is also discussing with city officials the possibility of converting parts of the building into housing units.

None of Houk's plans have any bearing on the continued operation of the building's resident theater company, for the theater itself is leased virtually free and indefinitely to the city, which subleases it to the company. In 1999, Houk said that the terms of this arrangement had discouraged interest from potential buyers.

The dates of the company's shows next season have been altered slightly since they were announced last month. The new 2002 opening dates are "Now You See It" on Jan. 13, "The Blue Room" on March 17, "The Waverly Gallery" on May 12, "A Class Act" on July 14 and "Blue" on Sept. 15.

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BROADWAY/L.A. PROGRAMS: Broadway/L.A. is introducing two new subscription programs.

For theatergoers who hesitate to commit to specific dates months in advance, one new plan will enable subscribers to redeem vouchers for the best available seating at any performance except on Saturday evenings.

However, if no seating is available at your preferred performance, you're out of luck.

Students will be able to subscribe with a plan that requires a $10 membership fee and a student ID. They can buy balcony seats at selected performances for $20 instead of the usual $40 to $45 for musicals or $23 for the nonmusicals.

The upcoming Broadway/L.A. season includes "Tommy," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Guys and Dolls," "Proof" and "South Pacific"--all at the Wilshire Theatre except "Tommy," which will take place at the Shubert. Information: (213) 365-6311.

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ANTI-CANDY MAN: Couldn't help but notice that it was the voice of Des McAnuff, artistic director of La Jolla Playhouse, who urged theatergoers to turn off electronic equipment and unwrap candy before performances of two productions at La Jolla. One message was in person, the other was on tape.

How come the boss himself is doing such a mundane duty?

"Hearing the stage manager do it on a 'God' mike doesn't seem welcoming. It seems icy," he said. "The more I can talk to people about the theater, the more it personalizes the relationship."

Not that McAnuff does it all the time. He did it at the beginning of the current "Be Aggressive," but now an actress in the show does it, in character.

McAnuff said he thinks candy wrappers are the worst intrusive noise, especially when theatergoers "think it'll be quieter if they unwrap slowly, so it takes them five minutes, spoiling three monologues."

On the other hand, hacking coughs that might be quieted by the candy aren't especially welcome either, he acknowledged.

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