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Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks faces uncertain future

The Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks is facing an uncertain future if it fails to meet a short-term fundraising goal in two weeks' time. Company leaders are looking to raise a total of $250,000 by early August through individual donations and a series of benefits in Los Angeles and New York. If the goal isn't met, the Cabrillo will consider canceling its already announced 2014-15 seaon, which is scheduled to begin in November at the company's home at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Lewis Wilkenfeld, the company's artistic director, said in an interview that the theater is aiming to raise 80% of the goal by Aug. 1, with the remainder to be raised through benefit concerts and other fundraising events. Wilkenfield said the company recently recovered from $300,000 of debt but is contending with a shortfall in fundraising and continued weakness in season subscriptions. He also said rent for its theater space is rising. "It didn't feel responsible going forward," he said,...

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Where is the love? Hit show 'Passing Strange' still hasn't played L.A.

“Hey, Mr. L.A., I know a place that you can stay.” Thus begins the hypnotic number “Keys” from “Passing Strange,” the critically acclaimed 2008 Broadway musical by Stew and Heidi Rodewald (created in collaboration with Annie Dorsen) about the coming-of-age of an L.A. musician who refuses to be imprisoned by limiting racial and artistic expectations. The narrator, portrayed originally by Stew, the founder and leader of the cult pop-rock combo the Negro Problem, picks up the song about the warm welcome he received as an arty yet still unformed American wanderer in Amsterdam with the following stanza: “Now in Beverly Hills, they gave him chills. / And South Central put his soul in the deep freeze. / But she gave him her keys.” Who would have thought that these lyrics would have proved prophetic for the show, which unbelievably has yet to have its L.A. premiere? The question of this musical's conspicuous absence from L.A. was taken up by James Taylor in The Times shortly after the Spike...

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Lou Moore departs as head of Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, which only recently completed its inaugural season, confirmed Thursday that Executive Director Lou Moore has left the fledgling arts organization. Moore, who spent more than a decade raising money to construct the new center and then led its 2013 opening and first season, left the organization on Tuesday. Company leaders declined to explain the circumstances surrounding her departure, except to say that there were multiple reasons. Moore said that her departure was due to a difference in the overall vision for programming at the Wallis. In an interview, the center's board chairman Jerry Magnin said that "Lou did a fantastic job of getting us to where we are." He later added that running the center after its opening required "totally different responsibilities. The pressures on both sides change."  Leadership shifts "like this are difficult. And you want to get all your pieces in place," he said. When reached for...

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'Shakespeare in Love' opens in London to mostly raves

"Shakespeare in Love" -- the Oscar-winning 1998 movie that imagined the Bard's romance with a young woman who was secretly aspiring to become an actor -- is the latest film to be reborn as a major stage production. The new play, adapted from the movie by Lee Hall, opened this week at the Noel Coward Theatre on London's West End. "Shakespeare" stars Lucy Briggs-Owen in the role originated on screen by Gwyneth Paltrow, and Tom Bateman in the title role that was played in the movie by Joseph Fiennes. Hall had success at adapting another popular movie for the stage -- "Billy Elliot," which went on to become a hit on Broadway. "Shakespeare," which is a joint production from Disney Theatrical and Sonia Friedman, boasts a pedigreed creative team in the form of director Declan Donnellan and desiger Nick Ormerod, who are from Cheek by Jowl, the British theater company known for its innovative productions of Shakespeare's plays. The 1998 Miramax movie won seven Oscars, including awards for best...

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Dudamel conducts 'Cav' and 'Pag' at the Hollywood Bowl

When Cornell musicologist Donald Jay Grout wrote his 850-page “A Short History of Opera” in 1947, the textbook, which introduced generations of undergraduate music students to opera, made short shrift of Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci.” But the two one-act operas -- which are commonly joined on a double bill, as they will be Sunday night at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles Philharmonic performances conducted by Gustavo Dudamel -- cannot be ignored by history. Written respectively in 1880 and 1882, they ushered in what became known as verismo opera, opera based on realistic, everyday, melodramatic events. Grout groused that Mascagni and Leoncavallo drowned out more reserved and aristocratic Italian music with “the bellow of verismo.” “Verismo is to naturalism what the ‘shocker’ is to the realistic novel,” he wrote. And Grout gloated that just as these short operas about sexual infidelity and murder “burn out with a fierce and unnatural...

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Lord Rothschild to receive second annual J. Paul Getty Medal

Lord Jacob Rothschild -- a member of the prominent British banking family -- has been selected to receive the second annual J. Paul Getty Medal in recognition of his broad contributions to museology, philanthropy, conservation and art historical research. The award, announced Thursday by James Cuno, chief executive of the Getty, will be given at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Nov. 9.  The Getty first awarded the medal last year to Harold M. Williams and Nancy Englander for their leadership and contributions in creating the Getty. Lord Rothschild has served terms as the chairman of the National Gallery of Art in Britain and the National Heritage Memorial Fund. He has also served as chairman of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture and has been actively involved with the State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg, the Qatar Museums Authority and other cultural organizations. Cuno said in an interview that the award doesn't come with a monetary prize. The recipient is decided in a process that...

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L.A. theater openings, July 27-Aug. 3: 'Taming of the Shrew' and more

Independent Shakespeare Co. is livin' la dolce vita with its new staging of "The Taming of the Shrew" in Griffith Park. Plus, Neil Simon's “Broadway Bound” is bound for the Odyssey Theare in a new revival directed by Jason Alexander, and an all-star production of "Hair" takes over the Hollywood Bowl. HYPERBOLE: bard Rogue Artists Ensemble celebrates all things Shakespeare in this family-friendly show; tickets at www.newswanshakespeare.com. UC Irvine, Gateway Commons, next to Aldrich Park, Irvine. Sun., next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Aug. 24. $20. Summer Playwrights Festival The Road Theatre Company presents new works by emerging and established artists. Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Today, 7 p.m.; Mon.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat.-next Sun., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 4. Also, the Road on Magnolia at the NoHo Senior Arts Colony, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (866) 506-1248. Ghost: The Musical Stage adaptation of the hit...

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'Bullets Over Broadway' to close in New York on Aug. 24

"Bullets Over Broadway," the first stage musical based on one of Woody Allen's movies, is a comedy about the difficulties of mounting a stage production in New York. It's a challenge that the musical's producers may know well given the show's own difficulties in attracting audiences in recent weeks. On Tuesday, producers of "Bullets" announced that the show will close on Aug. 24 following 156 regular performances at the St. James Theatre in New York. The musical, which opened on April 10, was adapted by Allen from his movie and was directed by Susan Stroman. In recent weeks, "Bullets" has seen its attendance drop off significantly, playing to houses that were between half and two-thirds full.  The show, which was one of the most anticipated of the recent Broadway season, received mediocre to negative reviews and failed to win any Tony Awards in June. Spokesmen for the musical didn't respond to questions about the show's finances. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the show...

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Linda Ronstadt, Bill T. Jones to receive National Medal of Arts

A diverse roster of big names in the arts, literature and entertainment – including Linda Ronstadt, dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones, author Maxine Hong Kingston, Broadway composer John Kander and L.A.-nurtured visual artist James Turrell -- will receive the National Medal of Arts from President Obama. The winners of the award, the nation’s top honor in the arts, were announced Tuesday along with generally less-famous winners of the National Humanities Medal, which recognizes career achievement in scholarship, cultural commentary, filmmaking and historic preservation. The president will confer the medals -- which technically are the selections for 2013 -- in a ceremony Monday at the White House. Literary critic M.H. Abrams, whose 102nd birthday is Wednesday, may be the most widely recognized of the humanities medal recipients. Untold numbers of college lit students have cracked open the Norton Anthology of English Literature, a bulky tome that Abrams edited for decades starting in...

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Opponents to the Corcoran Gallery of Art takeover will get a hearing

The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington received a surprising setback in court this week when a judge ruled that members of a group opposing the institution's planned takeover deal with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University have legal standing and will be able to have their grievances heard. On Monday, Judge Robert Okun in D.C. Superior Court ruled that nine members of the group Save the Corcoran must be allowed as intervening parties to the Corcoran's plan. According to the group, the nine include current students, a faculty member and a member of the gallery staff. Okun's decision maintained that the individuals have a special interest in the proceedings and could be affected by the outcome. The decision means that the opposing sides will convene in a hearing that will include witness testimony and other evidence. Earlier this year, Corcoran officials embarked on a plan that would see the art institution being absorbed by the National Gallery of Art and GWU....

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Garry Marshall to direct 'Billy & Ray' in New York

"Billy & Ray" -- a stage play about Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler and the making of "Double Indemnity" -- opened at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank last year to rave reviews, running for a little more than a month at the 130-seat theater space. The drama, directed by filmmaker Garry Marshall, will have its New York debut this coming season in an off-Broadway production at the Vineyard Theatre, near Union Square. The company said on Tuesday that the play will kick off its 2014-15 season, with an official opening scheduled for Oct. 20. "Billy & Ray" was written by Mike Bencivenga and starred Kevin Blake and Shaun O'Hagan during its run in Burbank. (No casting has been announced for New York.) The drama follows the often fractious relationship between Wilder and Chandler as they set about adapting James M. Cain's novel for the big screen. A Times review called the production "a vivid, suspenseful portrait of the creation of the movie that may have invented film noir." Marshall, the...

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Norton Simon Museum seeks rehearing after 'Adam and Eve' setback

A bite of the apple is said to have gotten Adam and Eve thrown out of the Garden of Eden. Now the Norton Simon Museum wants another bite at the apple as it tries to have a legal threat to one of its most prized artworks thrown out of court. At stake are Lucas Cranach the Elder’s 1530 paired paintings “Adam” and “Eve,” which have hung in the Pasadena museum since the 1970s. The museum has asked for a rehearing of a June decision that went against it in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, when two members of a three-judge panel revived Marei Von Saher’s claim to “Adam” and “Eve” after it had been dismissed two years earlier in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The museum’s petition seeks a rehearing of the legal issues by a 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit, in hopes a majority will take a different view. It's pinning its hopes on the expanded panel seeing things the way the dissenting judge on the three-member panel did. “Adam” and “Eve,” painted on separate wooden panels, were...

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