Who's running Los Angeles Theatre Center?
Three months ago, most observers assumed that downtown developer Tom Gilmore -- who had survived several hurdles in a selection process -- would replace the city's Cultural Affairs Department at the helm of the four-stage municipal complex in downtown L.A. beginning in January.
But the Gilmore management proposal is stalled because of continuing disputes with the Latino Theater Company, which had earlier submitted its own proposal to manage the facility.
According to a City Council motion currently on the table, the Latino company and Will & Co. -- which specializes in student performances of classics -- would share the building's three larger theaters for nine months of the year, under Gilmore's overall management. Both companies would pay proportional shares of operating expenses. Both have long histories as producers within the building.
In a Feb. 11 letter to Gilmore, however, the Latino company insisted on exclusive authority over the three theaters for nine months of each year as well as a written assurance from the city that the company would be the artistic director of the building if the Gilmore management deal should fall apart.
Latino Theater Company President Jose Luis Valenzuela has told The Times that he wouldn't be able to raise enough money for the project if the theater didn't have a singular "artistic vision."
Gilmore is currently operating the building -- but only on an interim arrangement that he said last week might end this month. "At some point, we'll walk away" if the dispute isn't resolved, he said, adding that "it could be resolved next week if it weren't for the politics."
The City Council, he said, "will have to play Solomon."
-- Don Shirley