The Odyssey Begins Move to New Quarters; ‘6 Women With Brain Death’ Going to Backlot
The Odyssey’s odyssey begins this week as the Westside theater makes its first moves out of its old quarters and into its new digs at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
One of the theater’s three current shows, “Disability,” will close Saturday. “Kvetch” and “Personality” will close temporarily on the following Saturday, July 29, but will then move to Sepulveda. The tentative reopening dates are Aug. 11 (“Kvetch”) and 12 (“Personality”).
The first new production to open on Sepulveda will be Brian Friel’s “The Faith Healer,” scheduled for Aug. 26. Christopher Neame will take the title role; also in the cast are Judy Geeson and Neil Hunt. A series of monologues about an Irish mystic, Friel’s play was on Broadway for 20 performances in 1979 starring James Mason.
Anyone who wants a souvenir of the old Odyssey should take a look at the props, costumes and other merchandise offered at the theater’s parking lot sale, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the lot west of the Ohio Avenue building.
In other Odyssey news, Sue Reinish of Chatsworth won the theater’s “Grand Kvetch-Off,” a spirited complaining contest that climaxed a two-month “Kvetchathon,” in which audience members at “Kvetch” could offer their own brief kvetches after the show. Members of the cast judged the “Grand Kvetch-Off,” as well as the nightly whines.
Reinish’s winning kvetch was on the subject of the non-synchronized time clocks of herself and her husband Shelly.
MORE MOVES: The Los Angeles production of the musical revue “6 Women With Brain Death, or Expiring Minds Want to Know,” which recently played two months in a rented 99-seat space at Los Angeles Theatre Center, will reopen at the 200-seat Backlot Cabaret in West Hollywood.
The engagement will begin with an AIDS benefit Aug. 4, then preview Fridays and Saturdays through August, with the opening slated for early September.
New to the cast are Patty Holley and Sharon Murray (who was in the first cast in San Diego, where the show will finally close Sunday, after 520 performances dating from October, 1987). They replace Mary Bond Davis and Cathy Susan Pyles, respectively. The women will be working under an American Guild of Variety Artists contract.
The show will be streamlined with the deletion of a first-act number about a soap opera fanatic; producer Nan O’Byrne’s eventual plan is to do two performances on weekend nights. The ticket price will be lower than at LATC: $15, compared with $22-$25. However, the Backlot’s two-drink minimum will apply.
In other moves, the Theatre 40 production of Agatha Christie’s “The Unexpected Guest” goes to the Tiffany for a July 29-Sept. 3 engagement; two of the three producers are in the cast. And Michael Kearns’ “Intimacies” will open at Theatre/Theater for an Aug. 6, after a run last month at Highways.
CARLA’S BIG BREAK: When he saw the second preview of Howard Korder’s “Boys’ Life” at Los Angeles Theatre Center, Jack Tantleff had a question for LATC’s Bill Bushnell:
Tantleff is Korder’s agent, and he knew that a character named Carla is supposed to show up in the last scene. But she wasn’t there.
It turned out that LATC was using an early version of the script--written prior to revisions that Korder made when the play was staged at Lincoln Center in New York last year. Upon hearing of the later version, Bushnell promptly hired an understudy, Roxanne Augesen, to play Carla and changed the ending.
“I think it was a mistake,” said Tantleff, when asked about the incident. “Obviously I was horrified. But to the theater’s credit, they rectified it immediately.”
Bushnell declined to say which ending he preferred. “I don’t have any choice,” he said. “In the theater, we lease scripts, we don’t buy them.”
ALSO AT LATC, Christopher Durang has bowed out of the role of Matt in his “The Marriage of Bette and Boo,” opening Aug. 11. According to director Dennis Erdman, Durang’s withdrawal from the cast was due to a conflict with a movie he’s writing, “The Adventures of Lola.” However, Durang will be in Los Angeles during a week of rehearsals for “Bette and Boo.”
David Marshall Grant replaces Durang in the role; Christine Ebersole and Guy Boyd play his parents, the title characters.
SEAT-SAVING?: It’s a long way from Rolling Hills Estates, home of Albert V. Cline, to the corner of Vine and Selma in Hollywood, site of the Doolittle Theatre. And just because the Ahmanson Theatre season has moved into the Doolittle while the Ahmanson itself is occupied by “The Phantom of the Opera,” Cline doesn’t feel he should have to make the same move.
So Cline, a 20-year Ahmanson subscriber, asked if he could retain his seats at the Ahmanson, when the subscription programming returns there after “The Phantom” departs, without purchasing seats for the interim season (or seasons) at the Doolittle.
Cline attended the first Ahmanson production at the Doolittle, “Hapgood,” and found the theater “grim, unattractive and in a forbidding area,” he wrote in a letter to the Ahmanson. He also thought his seats weren’t as good as those at the Ahmanson.
He balked at spending $820 to renew his four subscriptions (Cline and his wife often take guests to the theater), but he wanted the Ahmanson to save his old seats for him. The Ahmanson said no.
Robert Schlosser, director of the Ahmanson subscription campaign, defends the Doolittle as “infinitely more intimate than the Ahmanson.” Regarding Cline’s complaint about the “Hapgood” seats, Schlosser replied that “we decided not to renew (subscribers’) seat locations from what they had at ‘Hapgood’ but to try to go back to (Doolittle seats that are comparable to) the Ahmanson locations.” If Cline drops out now, he said, “we would try hard to accommodate him in getting good seats back when he returns.”
But “we won’t save his seats for him.” He said only two or three such requests had been received.
Schlosser repeated a suggestion that had already been made to Cline: He could renew and then return his Doolittle tickets to the Ahmanson for a tax deduction; they could then be resold as single seats. But Cline said he has already rejected this idea--"I’m not going to buy $820 worth of tickets under improper pressure.”