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Broad Stage will get a $12.3-million neighbor in Santa Monica

The building planned for the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center will have a 165-seat music hall. The center also announces an L.A. Opera collaboration.

April 18, 2012|By David Ng, Los Angeles Times
  • The Broad Stage in Santa Monica will add a new building that will include a 165-seat music hall.
The Broad Stage in Santa Monica will add a new building that will include… (DLR Group )

A new $12.3-million building is set to rise next to the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica, allowing the organization to expand its cultural offerings and host more events. On Wednesday officials with the Broad will announce the new wing, with construction on the two-story structure expected to begin next year and be completed in 2014 at the earliest.

The new complex, which will be situated on the east side of the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, comes at a time when the Broad is looking to expand its programming. As part of those plans, the organization will kick off a new collaboration next year with Los Angeles Opera that will bring intimately scaled productions to Santa Monica.

Officials with the Broad said the new building will feature a 165-seat music hall as well as a rehearsal room and storage.

The structure will be financed by money raised from a 2008 public bond issue, according to Donald Girard, a senior director at Santa Monica College. Funding does not include private fundraising, he said. The college has hired the architecture firm DLR Group WWCOT to design the facility.

The junior college owns the Broad facilities, which opened in 2008 and consists of the main Broad Stage, with 499 seats, and The Edye, a smaller performance space with 99 seats. The Broad has its own board of directors that is involved with fundraising for the programming, a mixture of theater, dance, music and film.

The theaters are named after billionaire Eli Broad, and his wife, Edythe, who gave $10 million to create an endowment for programming and arts education.

The design for the expansion, which is completed and has been submitted for state review, provides for more than 19,000 square feet of space, including a mezzanine level between the first and second floors.

"The building is very respectful of the original architecture" of the Broad, said Andrea Cohen Gehring, lead architect on the project. "It's really a complementary building." (The Broad Stage was designed by Renzo Zecchetto Architects of Santa Monica.)

Designs show the new structure will make ample use of glass to allow views into the building. The music hall will feature a movable wall so that the space can be converted into a semi-outdoor facility.

The new structure will take the place of part of the Madison Building, an existing educational facility on the campus of the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center.

The east part of the Madison Building will be demolished to make way for the new structure, which is being called the East Wing for now.

Dale Franzen, director of the Broad, said that the structure will eventually be renamed after a donor. She said rehearsals and classes currently held at the Broad and the Edye will move to the new space, thus freeing the other theaters for more performances.

There will also be concerts at the new space, Franzen said, but nothing concrete has been planned.

She said the new collaboration with L.A. Opera arose from her friendship with Plácido Domingo, general director of the opera company. Franzen was an opera singer before joining the Broad.

The L.A. Opera series will debut with a production of a new work, "Dulce Rosa," adapted from the Isabel Allende short story "An Act of Vengeance," composed by Lee Holdridge with a libretto by Richard Sparks. The opera will be conducted by Domingo and will be co-produced with the Broad.

The opera will be the inaugural presentation of L.A. Opera Off Grand, an initiative by the company to bring productions to various parts of Southern California. Ticket prices will be less than those for opera productions at L.A. Opera's home base, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and will range from $20 to $150.

As part of its planned expansion, the Broad is also exploring adding additional parking facilities. The existing parking lot, which is free to visitors, is frequently full during evening performances.

david.ng@latimes.com

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