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LACLO Drops a Musical, Music Center Books Two

Los Angeles musical theater fans can turn to the Music Center, but not to the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, this summer.

The Music Center has announced the booking of “Gypsy” with Tyne Daly, July 5-16, and “Fiddler on the Roof” with Topol, July 25-Aug. 6, in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, across the plaza from the Ahmanson Theatre’s “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera has announced that the non-musical “Steel Magnolias,” starring Barbara Rush, will replace Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” as the final offering of its season, opening July 19 for a six-week run at the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills.

“Steel Magnolias” will be the second non-musical in a row for LACLO subscribers, arriving in the wake of the current offering, “Driving Miss Daisy.” The LACLO’s musical offerings this season were limited to “Can Can” and “Michael Feinstein . . . Isn’t It Romantic?” both of which opened in December.

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Some subscribers may have seen “Steel Magnolias” with Rush already. The touring production that will play the Wilshire is based on the staging that played the Pasadena Playhouse for six weeks last fall, filling 88.72% of the seats available during its run (compared with a normal Pasadena Playhouse rate of 75% to 80%). The playhouse receives 1% of the gross from the national tour.

Los Angeles Civic Light Opera has nothing to do with the two shows at the Music Center, which was the primary LACLO venue from 1964 to 1987. “We’ve been inundated with calls from people who don’t understand the difference--CLO subscribers who want their old seats back,” said Sandra Kimberling, president of the Music Center Operating Company. “We’ll try to accommodate them in the same seating area as well as we can.”

The Music Center’s two musicals are pre-Broadway productions, produced by Fran and Barry Weissler of New York. Tickets are available to Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson subscribers at a reduced rate. The box office opens May 22, but mail order sales to the general public are available in the interim. Information: (213) 972-7211.

Both of the Music Center shows will move next to the Orange County Performing Arts Center for previously announced engagements--July 18-23 for “Gypsy” and Aug. 8-13 for “Fiddler.”

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