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Music Center marks 50th anniversary with rededication ceremony

Live performances are ephemeral, no matter how brilliant. The Music Center’s 50th Anniversary Civic Rededication Ceremony on Wednesday showed that philanthropic civic-mindedness can have more palpable staying power.

The proceedings in front of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the oldest of the Music Center’s four performance halls, focused more on the county-owned arts hub’s past and future as a community asset and symbol than on recalling specific great performances over the past half-century.

The much-praised star of the day, which included brief speeches by all five members of the Board of Supervisors and County Chief Executive William T Fujioka, was the building’s namesake, Dorothy Buffum Chandler, who died in 1997.

The department store heiress, who married into the family that owned the Los Angeles Times, willed the Music Center into being, first prodding the Board of Supervisors to provide the land, then leading a funding drive that raised the equivalent of $142.2 million in...

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'Doctor Zhivago' musical sets Broadway opening for April

The musical "Doctor Zhivago," based on the novel by Boris Pasternak, tells a quintessentially Russian tale of romance and loss set against the upheaval of the early 20th century.

But the big-budget show's passport has taken on the stamp of other far-flung nationalities since the musical was first seen at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2006.

In addition to its American debut, "Zhivago" has been produced in Australia, where it ran in Sydney and also toured in 2011. It slso was seen in Seoul, South Korea, the following year. 

On Wednesday, the musical's producers confirmed rumors that "Doctor Zhivago" will be heading to Broadway. The show is set to open in New York at the Broadway Theatre on April 21. Tony Award winner Des McAnuff will direct the production, as he did in previous stagings of the musical.

"Doctor Zhivago" has undergone a number of revisions since 2006, and on Wednesday producers said that the creative team continues to refine the show in advance of Broadway. No casting for the...

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Guggenheim Museum reportedly planning new space in New York

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York is planning to expand with a new building that would house its art collection and staff, according to a report this week in the Art Newspaper.

The new space would be a multi-purpose building that also would feature space for public programming. 

A spokeswoman at the Guggenheim said the museum doesn't have a comment. The Art Newspaper cited a museum spokeswoman who said that it was too early to provide further details.

The Art Newspaper is reporting that the Guggenheim is planning to research office-friendly designs and that the museum is also considering holding a competition for an architect.

The Guggenheim is currently located on New York's Upper East Side in a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building was completed in 1959 and is one of the city's most famous and photographed structures. 

In 2002, museum officials abandoned plans for a downtown New York building designed by Frank Gehry. The building, which had a reported...

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Charles Manson musical opens in Hamburg, Germany

Musicals and murderers may not seem like a natural fit, but a number of them have managed to find their audiences. "Sweeney Todd" and "Assassins," both by Stephen Sondheim, are considered classics and are frequently revived. Last season on Broadway, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," a dark comedy about a serial killer, took home the Tony Award for new musical and is still running in New York.

But a musical about Charles Manson? The former cult leader who is serving a life sentence in a California prison is still a touchy subject, at least in the U.S. In Germany, a new stage musical about the convicted killer recently opened and provides a glimpse into Manson's failed music career and his relationship with his followers who became known as the Manson family.

"Charles Manson: Summer of Hate – The Musical" opened on Friday at the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg. Billed as a "musical trip between L.A. and the Death Valley," the production features songs in English and spoken dialogue in...

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Harvey Weinstein sets April opening for Broadway's 'Finding Neverland'

Following months of speculation, Harvey Weinstein is set to officially open his long-gestating musical "Finding Neverland" on Broadway in April.

The opening date for "Finding Neverland" has been scheduled for April 8 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The musical, which is based on the 2004 movie of the same name, recently had a run at the American Repertory Theater in Massachusetts with a cast that included Jeremy Jordan in the role played on screen by Johnny Depp.

No casting has been announced for the Broadway engagement. Diane Paulus, the Tony Award-winning director who staged the musical at ART, will return to stage the production in New York.

April is typically a busy month on Broadway as productions jostle for audiences and awards consideration.

"Finding Neverland" has had a somewhat complicated road to Broadway. The musical opened in London in 2012 but has been revised since then. A new creative team was put in place, including Paulus and playwright James Graham, who has reworked the...

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Leonardo da Vinci's 'Woman With an Ermine' reveals its secrets

A 15th century painting by Leonardo da Vinci depicting a woman holding an ermine is the subject of a new study by a scientist who claims that the Renaissance master created multiple versions of the painting, including one without the small mammal.

In a new book published this month in Europe, French scientist Pascal Cotte said that he used imaging technology to explore different layers of the famous painting, which is commonly referred to as "Woman With an Ermine."

His research shows that Da Vinci created a version in which the female subject isn't holding anything, according to an article in Le Figaro. Another layer shows her holding a darker version of the small animal. 

The finished oil-on-wood painting, which is owned by the Czartoryski Foundation in Poland, shows the woman holding a light-colored ermine in her arms.

In addition, the final version of the artwork features a blue shawl on the woman's shoulder that wasn't visible in previous layers.

Cotte, who is an engineer at the...

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'Children of a Lesser God' heading back to Broadway

In 1979, the Mark Taper Forum made a last-minute change to its schedule, adding the new drama "Children of a Lesser God" by Mark Medoff when another title became unavailable due to a rights issue.

The decision proved to be a fortuitous one: the production, directed by Gordon Davidson, was a critical success. The play later transferred to Broadway, where it ran for more than two years, and eventually became an Oscar-winning movie.

"Children of a Lesser God" will be heading back to Broadway in the 2015-16 season, producer Hal Luftig announced Monday. The revival production will be staged by Kenny Leon, the Tony Award winner who recently directed the revival of "A Raisin in the Sun" with Denzel Washington.

Medoff's play follows the stormy relationship between a young deaf woman and a hearing teacher who has arrived at the school where she works.

No dates or casting have been announced for the Broadway revival. In Los Angeles, the lead roles were played by John Rubinstein and Phyllis...

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LAXArt Gala, a night of art-magic and mystery at Greystone Mansion

“Would you like to waltz?” asked the stranger in a Venetian carnival mask, white gloves and a Renaissance-style suit.

Then he wrapped a blindfold around my eyes and led me into a pitch-black ballroom filled with other masked dancers leading other blindfolded guests in a waltz. It was quiet except for what sounded like live viola music and the communal swooshing of ballgowns and feet on the hardwood floor.

The piece, Liz Glynn’s “Waltz No. 9 (Blindness),” was one of several experimental interactive art installations Saturday night at the LAXArt Gala. The evening of art and excess, held at the lavish Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, with tickets costing $1,000 apiece, was the inaugural biannual fundraiser for the nonprofit contemporary art institution. Twenty-eight artists were asked to respond to the 1920s Tudor-style mansion perched overlooking Doheny Drive and Sunset Boulevard -- the home a gift from oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny to his son Edward “Ned” Doheny Jr. in 1928.


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Atlanta Symphony Orchestra CEO resigns amid labor woes

The president and CEO of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has resigned his position as the orchestra continues to grapple with a labor dispute with its musicians.

Stanley Romanstein joined the orchestra in 2010, having previously served as the head of the Minnesota Humanities Center. His resignation, which the orchestra's board of directors announced Monday, is effective immediately. 

"I believe that my continued leadership of the ASO would be an impediment to our reaching a new labor agreement with the ASO's musicians," Romanstein said in a prepared statement.

Orchestra leaders failed to reach a new contract with its musicians earlier this month, resulting in a lockout. Like a number of classical music organizations, the Atlanta Symphony is experiencing financial difficulties and has posted annual operating deficits for the last 12 years.

The symphony's 2014 fiscal year saw a $2-million deficit, according to company leaders. In 2012, the orchestra locked out its musicians in a contract...

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Broadway-hopeful musical 'Waterfall' to run at Pasadena Playhouse

"Waterfall," a new musical from writer Richard Maltby Jr. and Oscar-winning composer David Shire, will have its U.S. premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in June before transferring to Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre in the fall of 2015, organizers announced Monday.

The musical, an epic romance set in Thailand and Japan during the '30s, has Broadway ambitions, with producers aiming for a New York bow in 2016.

Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre has served as an out-of-town launching pad for a number of high-profile, Broadway-bound shows, including "Catch Me If You Can," "Hairspray" and Disney's "Aladdin." 

"Waterfall," directed by Tak Viravan, is scheduled to open at the Pasadena Playhouse on June 7. 

A previous version of the musical was seen in Thailand under the title "Behind the Painting." The story, about a young Thai student who falls in love with the American wife of a diplomat, is set against the political upheaval in Asia prior to World War II.

Maltby and Shire are reworking the musical...

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Disney's 'Aladdin' to open in Tokyo in 2015

The box-office success of "Aladdin" in New York has had Broadway watchers wondering where the Disney musical will pop up next on the international map. 

On Monday, Disney announced that "Aladdin" will open in Tokyo in May 2015 in what will be the musical's first overseas production. Audiences at Tokyo's Densu Shiki Theatre Umi will see the production that Casey Nicholaw directed and choreographed in New York, but the musical will be performed in Japanese with locally cast actors.

Based on the 1992 Disney animated movie, "Aladdin" bowed on Broadway in March at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where it has consistently grossed more than $1 million on a weekly basis since opening. The production was nominated for five Tony Awards, with actor James Monroe Iglehart taking home a prize for his role as the genie.

The family-friendly musical features many of the same songs from the original animated movie, including "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me." It also contains some numbers that were...

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Tyson's inviting 'Trip to Bountiful' at the Ahmanson Theatre

Michael Wilson’s revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” which has just opened at the Ahmanson Theatre, premiered on Broadway in 2013 to a bounty of praise and nominations, especially for Cicely Tyson, who won the Tony Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Carrie Watts.

Originally written as a teleplay in 1953, “Trip” tells the story of an elderly woman’s return to her hometown of Bountiful, Texas. A trustworthy vehicle for star turns—by Lillian Gish and Geraldine Page, among others—it has been recast in this production with black characters.

The transformation, conceived by the playwright’s daughter, Hallie Foote, not only tempted Tyson back to the stage after a 30-year hiatus but also imparts new resonance to the deceptively sentimental story.

Any fear that Tyson might not live up to the hype dissolves within moments of her appearance—once, that is, the excited audience has adjusted to the modest scale of the scene.

Looking tiny and brittle in a fuzzy robe, Carrie sits in a...

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