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More Unfortunate News from the Community

SoCal Stages_blog I was saddened last week to hear that 12 full-time staff members of L.A.'s venerable theater mecca, Center Theatre Group (producers of the Ahmanson and Kirk Douglas Theatres and the Mark Taper Forum), lost their jobs amid the theater industry's ongoing economic challenges. Reportedly among the layoffs were  Ken Werther, one of the city's finest publicists for many years; marketing whiz C. Raul Espinoza; and associate producer Anne Wareham (with the company for 27 years). We're hoping that each of these accomplished artists--and the others affected by the cutbacks--can very soon find new opportunities suitable to their talents.

I have confidence that the measures CTG had to take this year to remain fiancially solvent will lead to renewed strength for an organization that has offered many fine productions and great promise for artistic growth under Michael Ritchie's four-year tenure at the helm, as artistic director.

A statement issued by the CTG press office is encouraging: "It is true that 12 people were laid off (and we did have a force of 120). It is true that we cut down the projected deficit for next fiscal year (2010) to $1.9 million from $4 million, but that decrease was accomplished by three things.: the postponement of The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Mark Taper Forum and Heddatron at the Kirl Douglas Theatre; some overall expense cuts throughout the organization; and finally, as the last measure, the staff layoffs, the furloughs, and the cutting of CTG's contribution to the employees' 401k."

Here's hoping for better days ahead for the ever-challenged arts community in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, I can't wait to see Spamalot, Parade, Mary Poppins, August:Osage County, Palestine, New Mexico, and the other exciting fare that CTG has on tap for this year and next.

--Les Spindle

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