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South Coast Repertory gets second Time Warner grant to develop new work

South Coast Repertory, known for its prolific commissioning of new works by both emerging and established writers, now has more firepower behind it.

The Time Warner Foundation has awarded the Tony-winning theater company with a two-year, $150,000 grant. The funds will go to SCR’s CrossRoads Commissioning Project, which develops plays from new playwrights with a focus on cultural diversity in the Orange County area.

This is the second grant that Time Warner has awarded SCR; the first, which was also part of the cable company’s New Works/New Voices Initiative, was given to the theater company in 2013.

That grant also went toward SCR’s CrossRoads program and it helped spawn two new works that will be included in SCR’s Pacific Playwrights Festival (now through Sunday), Aditi Brennan Kapil’s “Orange: an illustrated play” and Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone,” which will see its world premiere in SCR’s 2015-16 season.

“CrossRoads had been a remarkable project to date,” SCR Artistic Director Marc Masterson...

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'Last Train to Nibroc' at Rubicon: Lost souls, homeward bound

A chance encounter on an overcrowded cross-country train from Los Angeles makes unlikely travel companions out of two displaced souls in their early 20s, each retreating homeward from setbacks that mirror national upheaval and uncertainty in “Last Train to Nibroc.”

Set against the end of the Great Depression and the outbreak of World War II, “Last Train to Nibroc” never surrenders its intimate specificity, even as it resonates with broader concerns. That rare balancing act is as much a credit to the understated eloquence of Arlene Hutton’s romantic two-hander as it is to the focused, buoyant staging of Rubicon Theatre Company’s touching revival.

Written in 1999, this first installment in Hutton’s “Nibroc” trilogy takes its name from a prominent annual festival in southeastern Kentucky, the region from which its protagonists hail.

Shared place of origin notwithstanding, the differences between the two train passengers are immediately apparent when Raleigh (Erik Odom), a recently discharged...

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Norman Rockwell's 'Rosie the Riveter' model dies at 92

Mary Doyle Keefe was a 19-year-old telephone operator in Arlington, Vt., when in 1943 she posed as a model for Norman Rockwell, her neighbor. She sat only twice for the painter, earning $5 a session. But her image as "Rosie the Riveter," the symbol of female independence and patriotism during World War II, lives on.

Keefe died Tuesday in Simsbury, Conn., after a brief illness, her daughter, Mary Ellen Keefe, told the Associated Press. She was 92.

Rockwell’s painting, which depicts a much beefier version of the then-slender, red-headed Keefe, appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943. It shows Keefe in denim work overalls seated in front of an American flag; she has a sandwich in one hand, aviator glasses on her head and a rivet gun on her lap.

The painting is now part of the permanent collection at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.  

“The artist apologized for making her arms and shoulders much larger than they were in-person, but Keefe...

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99-seat theaters and actor pay: The debate so far

National leaders of Actors' Equity Assn. on Tuesday imposed a $9 hourly minimum wage for members who perform in Los Angeles County theaters with fewer than 100 seats. The mandate, set to take effect in June 2016, overrides the recent advisory vote of L.A. union members who rejected a pay hike by a vote of 2,046 to 1,075. Not since the late 1980s, during a similar dispute over so-called 99-seat theaters, has L.A.'s stage community been so at odds. Here is a primer on the debate, past and present, and what's at stake.

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L.A. theater openings, April 26-May 3: 'Abigail/1702' and more

Arthur Miller's “The Crucible" gets a sequel, an adventure tale attributed in part to William Shakespeare gets a new adaption, and a "Glee" star sings for her supper.

Ferguson Theatre Verité Collective presents a staged reenactment of the Michael Brown shooting using actual grad-jury testimony. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sun., 7 p.m.; Mon.-Wed., 8 p.m. $65. (310) 477-2055.

Maria Howell The singer and actress (“The Color Purple,” “Devious Maids”) performs in this cabaret show. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. 3rd St., Burbank. Sun., 7 p.m. $39-$59. (818) 518-7000.

My Child — Mothers of War Monologues based on the true stories of mothers of U.S. armed-forces members; featuring Frances Fisher, Melina Kanakaredes, Mimi Rogers and Jean Smart on selected nights. Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends May 31. $30; opening night, $50. (818) 963-8219.

The Spring Frolic Independent Shakespeare Co. stages a benefit for the Griffith...

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Early reaction to new minimum wage for stage actors: 'Sad day' for L.A.

Leaders of small theaters across Los Angeles County began reacting to their new reality Wednesday morning: drastically increased costs from a new $9 hourly minimum wage imposed by leaders of Actors' Equity, the national stage actors' union.

"It's a sad day for Los Angeles," said Gary Grossman, producing artistic director of Skylight Theatre Company in Los Feliz. Like scores of other companies, Skylight has long depended on union actors who've been willing to rehearse for nothing and perform for stipends of just $7 to $15 per show — $240 or less for a typical 16-performance run.

The so-called 99-Seat Theater Plan had been unique to L.A. National union leaders decided Tuesday to end the anomaly and secure better wages for members.

Modest as it seems, applying the $9 hourly minimum to rehearsals, which can run up to 36 hours per week, could boost each actor's earnings to more than $1,000 for shows requiring intensive preparation.

But by a 2-1 margin, more than 3,000 L.A. union members who...

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