Thursday, December 9, 2010

L.A. Music Center: Mark Taper Forum

Mark Taper Forum with its unique relief exterior.
This is one of a series of posts about the Los Angeles Music Center.

Each venue at the Music Center has a specific purpose on the kinds of arts performances staged. The Mark Taper Forum hosts experimental or smaller scale theatre productions. Productions have included the pre-Broadway tryout of the rewritten "Flower Drum Song" musical starring Lea Salonga and more recently "Harps and Angels," a revue based on songs of Randy Newman ("Short People", "I Love L.A.", music & songs of the Disney/Pixar films) starring Michael McKean and Katey Segal. Photos are from 2009 when a West Coast production of the Donmar Warehouse revival of the musical "Parade" (starring T.R. Knight of "Grey's Anatomy") was about to open.

The Mark Taper Forum appears to be be a theatre-in-the-round based on the circular exterior. However the auditorium is a thrust stage configuration with the audience seated on three sides. Opened in 1967 and renovated in 2008, it has seating for 750. The relief on the exterior is supposed to be a representation of dance. The theatre is named for L.A. real estate developer Mark Taper. His 1962 gift to the Music Center resulted in the theatre being named for him.

From a tour of the National Theatre in London, thrust stages are among the most intimidating performance spaces for actors because of how much of the stage is surrounded by the audience and often how close they are seated to the stage.

Circular lobby
Auditorium with thrust stage (above two image: Architecture Things)


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