Oct. 06, 1998



Where the Talent Is

A select guide to Los Angeles theaters with a history of getting attention from Hollywood agents and casting directors


Actors' Gang (6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood)--Avant hipsters with strong commedia influence and an expansive space; founded by actor-director Tim Robbins. Recent shows: "Salome," "Bat Boy: The Musical."


The Blank Theatre Company (6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood)--Bankrolled by "ER" star Noah Wyle, this youngish company with a black-box home is best-known for casting and programming coups (Susan Egan in "Hello Again," Dennis Christopher in "Breaking the Code," Marcia Mitzman and Douglas Sills in "Chess").


The Cast Theatre (807 N. El Centro Ave., Hollywood)--The unofficial home of acclaimed L.A. playwright Justin Tanner, this two-theater space has mounted a baker's dozen of Tanner's down-at-heels domestic comedy/dramas ("Pot Mom," "Heartbreak Help") and nurtured a peerless acting ensemble.


Celebration Theatre (7051B Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood)--L.A.'s resident gay theater company goes beyond the obvious to develop strong plays and interesting writers, though it's not above trotting out a pandering cash cow like the recent "Naked Boys Singing!"


Circle X (No resident space)--A scrappy, savvy group of actors with an eye for good material and a knack for lining up great directorial and design support. Its "Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22" swept the small-theater division of the recent Ovation award noms.


Cornerstone Theatre Co. (1653 18th St., Santa Monica)--In L.A.'s boldest ongoing theater experiment, this multidisciplinary, multicultural company mounts plays in and for arts-forsaken L.A. neighborhoods, with community participation and surprisingly rich results. Recently: "Los Biombos," "Everyman in the Mall."


East West Players (120 N. Judge John Aiso St., Little Tokyo)--Now in a new Downtown space, the nation's premier Asian Pacific/American company develops new plays by and for its core constituency ("Ikebana," "A Language of Their Own") and mounts musicals for a wider audience ("Pacific Overtures," "Cabaret").


The Hudson Guild (6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood)--A husband-and-wife team with chutzpah and formidable acting chops, known for wild, unstuffy stagings of classics from Ibsen to Moliere.


The Matrix Theatre Company (7657 Melrose Ave., Hollywood)--Regional theater-level work by busy TV and film actors in a minuscule storefront on Melrose, with an emphasis on 20th century work. Recently: "The Yield of the Long Bond," "Dangerous Corner."


Pacific Resident Theatre (703 Venice Blvd., Venice)--Contemporary classics from Chekhov to Odets to O'Casey, in a three-theater complex. Recently: "Indiscretions," "Ivanov."