Notes on Theater

As the producer of "The Versus of Ogden Nash" at the Studio Coronet Theatre, I am particularly concerned by Don Shirley's implication that 99-seat theater is something less compared to larger theaters (Theater Notes, Dec. 17).

Los Angeles has a rich theatergoing and theater-producing environment that is not served by our leading newspaper and by Lars Hansen, the former president of the organization designed to support L.A.- based theater, looking down on performers and producers of Equity-waiver theater who contribute significantly to the cultural landscape of our great city.

Finally, it is quite important to note that this producer is certainly interested in commercial success. I don't know of a producer who doesn't want to make money.

CRAIG B. COOGAN

President/CEO, Unity International

Los Angeles

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Don Shirley quoted Brian Dennehy's disparaging remarks in the New York Times about Los Angeles theater audiences (Theater Notes, Dec. 10).

In a Nov. 4 Q&A; with donors of the Center Theatre Group, Dennehy expanded on these criticisms and singled out the older Ahmanson subscribers whom he identified as sitting closest to the stage. He said that they coughed frequently and required numerous bathroom breaks, both of which occurred at the worst possible moments and disrupted the cast's concentration.

His comments struck me at the time as ageist and elitist, and reading his quoted excerpts in the New York Times only reinforced my initial impression. I can only hope that other stage actors are more forgiving should they find Brian Dennehy in their audience on a night when he has a sore throat or had one too many pre-performance drinks at his favorite saloon.

CARL LEVINGER

Los Angeles

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