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Youth must be served, these groups agree

There are countless programs that offer youth theater in Los Angeles and environs. Here's a sampling of some of the projects that tend to go beyond the traditional children's theater concept:

October 06, 2005|F. Kathleen Foley


The Center Theatre Group's P.L.A.Y. (Performing for Los Angeles Youth) has been around, under one name or another, since 1971. In addition to its busy schedule of school tours and on-site educational programs, P.L.A.Y.'s current season will include two shows at the new Kirk Douglas Theatre.

The first offering at the Douglas, "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings," adapted by Nilo Cruz from a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, concerns two children's discovery of a winged old man -- possibly an angel -- who has fallen from the sky. The show is appropriate for ages 6 and up and will run 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 and 5 p.m. on Sundays, from Nov. 13 to Dec. 18.

The second play is "The Stones," in which a childish prank turns deadly. The show, appropriate for ages 11 and up, runs March 18 to April 9.

Kirk Douglas Theatre: 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. $20 to $40. (213) 628-2772.


South Coast Repertory

South Coast Repertory has long offered school tours and education programs at its Costa Mesa theater. But with the addition of the Julianne Argyros Stage in 2003, SCR inaugurated a three-play series devoted to young people.

The first show in this year's series is "Bunnicula," adapted from the novel by Deborah and James Howe. It's a musical mystery, with book and lyrics by Jon Klein and music by Chris Jeffries, that revolves around a bunny who might be Dracula in rabbit's clothing. It runs Nov. 12 through Nov. 20.

The other offerings are "The Adventures of Por Quinly" (Feb. 18 to 26), which tells the story of a young boy on a madcap trek to become president, and "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales" (June 17 to 25), adapted by SCR associate artistic director John Glore. Based on the children's book by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, the latter show finds Rumpelstiltskin in Cinderella's story and Jack sending the giant back up the beanstalk, as well as other bedtime stories that are twisted and turned. Appropriate for all ages.

South Coast Repertory: 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. $12 to $25. (714) 708-5555,


Troubadour Theater Company

Noted for its boisterous blends of classic stories set to contemporary rock music, the Troubadour Theater Company, under the artistic directorship of Matt Walker, has beguiled area audiences with such memorably wacky shows as "A Midsummer Saturday Night's Fever Dream" and "Fleetwood Macbeth."

A hot ticket whatever their venue, the roving Troubies have set up shop at the Falcon Theatre for the next few months. The group's kid-friendly, slapstick-oriented current production, "Funky Punks in Bright Ideas," runs 1 and 3 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 13. Cost is $10 to $12.

The Troubies' Christmas shows have become a tradition. Appropriate to all ages, this year's offering, "Little Drummer Bowie," the traditional Christmas yarn set to the music of David Bowie, is being directed by Walker, the clown extraordinaire at the helm of this hilarious company. The show will be performed at 8 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 2 through Dec. 23. $25 to $37.50.


Falcon Theatre: 4252 Riverside

Drive, Burbank. (818) 955-8101.


24th Street Theatre

Now in its eighth season, the 24th Street Theatre's Saturday Explorer Series is the brainchild of executive director Jay McAdams and family programming director Deborah Devine, two of the most dedicated proponents of youth theater in town. Set for the spring, the series' schedule is still tentative, but this year's sure-to-be-eclectic program will include Juli Crockett's nonlinear staging of the Odysseus legend.

24th Street Theatre: 1117 W. 24th St., Los Angeles. Explorer Series, Saturdays only at 1 p.m., March 18 through May 6. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. (213) 745 6516.


Geffen Playhouse

The Geffen's Saturday Scene has an eclectic bill, running from Dec. 3 to May 6, at its newly remodeled digs. It includes an adaptation of Moliere's "The Miser" -- "The Family Mi$er" -- presented by the troupe of classically trained theater artists known as Parson's Nose. Appropriate for ages 6 and older, the play runs at 11 a.m. on Feb. 11, 18 and 25.

Geffen Playhouse: 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. $7 to $12. (310) 208-5454,


Silverlake Children's

Theatre Group

The only youth troupe in this year's Edgefest will premiere "The Window" there. The work, which explores mortality and generational conflict, will receive an extended run, along with its original one-act "The Rocke," in Hollywood.

Lounge Theatre: 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Runs 7:30 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 2 to Dec. 11. $15. (323) 634-2595.


-- F. Kathleen Foley

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