The movers and shakers of the L.A. theatrical community will be among the first to see a show in the new Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, when they pass out their peer-judged Ovation Awards there on Nov. 12--just three days after the venue is scheduled to open.
Although the Kodak is best known as the future home of the Academy Awards, it will present some theatrical runs, including "The Full Monty" next year. The Ovations "will be an opportunity for us to welcome them into the theatrical community," said Lee Wochner, president of Theatre LA, the organization sponsoring the awards.
Operators of the Kodak are donating the use of the space, Wochner said. However, Theatre LA must pay production costs, about which he declined to be specific.
Ed Murphy, managing director of the Kodak, wouldn't comment on fees but acknowledged that the Kodak, like previous Ovation venues, was giving Theatre LA a financial break.
"We thought it was a great opportunity to host our peers and let them know we are a legit theater," Murphy said. Although the Kodak will have a seating capacity of up to 3,500, the Ovation ceremony will probably use about 2,100 seats on the orchestra level and first mezzanine. The public is invited, with tickets costing $35 to $125.
The event will include a large party in the Kodak lobbies, open to all ticket-holders, Wochner said. THAT SAME NIGHT: Nov. 12 will also be the night when the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP holds its 12th annual Theatre Awards ceremony, at the 500-seat Directors Guild of America auditorium in West Hollywood.
NAACP award winners are selected from a pool of 43 shows, most of them with African American talent or themes--compared with the 292 productions registered to compete for this year's Ovations.
However, the dueling theater awards shows have the potential of honoring some of the same people, in which case the honorees may find themselves "shuttling back and forth," Theatre LA's Wochner said. Fortunately, the two theaters are fairly close to each other: The Kodak is at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, while the Directors Guild is at 7920 Sunset Blvd.--about 11/2 miles away.
Joyce Fuller, executive producer of the NAACP Awards, said the group began publicizing its event in the early summer, and "if we had known about the conflict, I wouldn't have had a problem pushing ours up to Nov. 5." But now celebrities and performers have committed to being at the NAACP event.
Fuller found out about the conflict only when members of "The Lion King" company pointed it out to her in late summer. Performers from that show are scheduled to perform at the NAACP awards and may also perform at the Ovations.
Wochner said he regrets the conflict. But Theatre LA has no flexibility in its schedule, he said. Most of the other venues considered for the Ovations--Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Carpenter Center, Alex Theatre and Luckman Theater--had few open dates, he said. FOREVER 'FOREVER': The upcoming holiday show at the Pasadena Playhouse was announced as "Plaid Tidings," but now its name is "Forever Plaid--A Special Holiday Edition."
"Plaid" creator Stuart Ross said the use of "Plaid Tidings"--which is a phrase from the script of "Forever Plaid"--would have meant it was a separate show, which would have created "too many legal ramifications." Using the familiar title, "I can appease all the royalty people." The holiday-themed production is intended "as a party only for Pasadena," Ross said, not as an ongoing property.
Don't expect a carbon copy of the original, though. The production will feature songs that were removed from the original, as well as an extended tribute to the late Perry Como, Ross said. *
The Venue Is the Star
For the Kodak's architect, an interest in the stage led to grand designs. Page 5