Center Theatre Group continues streaming digital stage productions

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Sharon Lawrence and Galen J. Williams appear in Larry Powell’s “The Gaze …” on Center Theatre Group’s Digital Stage. (Courtesy Center Theatre Group)

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum, the 1600 to 2100-seat Ahmanson Theatre, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. But while the pandemic requires in-person theatre to be shuttered, CTG’s Digital Stage is brining outstanding, innovative, and affordable virtual theatre productions into homes around the world. 

For more information and to book tickets for all Center Theatre Group Digital Stage productions, visit https://www.centertheatregroup.org/digitalstage/videos 

Continuing through March 25 is Larry Powell’s “The Gaze… No Homo” produced by Tell Me A Story Productions. Set in the prestigious Evergreen Theatre Festival tucked in a bucolic small town, which prides itself on developing the brightest and boldest new American voices, a young actor is cast in the virtual production of an emerging Black queer playwright. 

As the established director dreams of Broadway and tensions rise in heated Zoom-based rehearsals, the play examines the process of building culturally specific and queer works of color in historically white spaces. 

The streaming video, adapted for the digital stage by Powell, will be available on demand with tickets priced at $20, which includes a post-play discussion with the writer/creator and the cast.

The Stratford Festival’s “Romeo and Juliet,” Shakespeare’s much-loved play about two teenagers falling headlong in love who defy the long-simmering hatred between their families, continues through March 8. 

But daring to love one’s enemy comes with a terrible cost, as the needless sacrifice of young lives brings this heartbreaking story to its tragic conclusion. Directed Scott Wentworth.

 Two more lavish Stratford Festival films included are Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” available on demand through April 14, and “Antony and Cleopatra” available on demand through May 12. All three are free to Center Theatre Group subscribers and supporters, and $10 for all others.

Not a Moment, But a Movement is a series of events that amplify and center on Black artists, with each event featuring a host who guides the audience through the work of a visual artist, a musician and a theatre artist. Each event is paired with a panel discussion to create a uniquely comprehensive cultural experience. 

The first episode, introduced by Vanessa Williams, hosted by Bruce A. Lemon Jr., is directed by Cezar Williams and performed by Sheria Irving. 

Featured is a reading of Angelica Chéri’s one-person play “Crowndation; I Will Not Lie to David” paired with the music of Jessica Lá Rel and the work of visual artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle. It continues on demand through March 22, free to Center Theatre Group subscribers and supporters, and $10 for all others.

“Christa McAuliffe’s Eyes Were Blue” will be accessible through April 4, with the video offered free to Center Theatre Group subscribers and supporters, or $10 for all others. Part of Center Theatre Group’s L.A. Writers’ Workshop Festival: New Plays Forged in L.A., the virtually produced reading of “Christa McAuliffe’s Eyes Were Blue” is written by Kemp Powers and directed by Jennifer Chang. 

The play follows Bernard and Steven Gentry, twins who have lived starkly different lives, offering a haunting meditation on race and privilege in America. 

Featured in the cast are Giovanni Adams, Jovan Adepo, Amaia Arana, Lorena Martinez, Connor Paolo, Adam J. Smith, Cory Michael Smith, Larry Bates and Justin Lawrence Barnes. 

“Until the Flood” which was performed live at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Jan. 2020, explores a community in turmoil following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. 

Written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith and directed by Center Theatre Group Associate Artistic Director Neel Keller, the play draws on Orlandersmith’s interviews with residents across the greater St. Louis area to create composite characters that reflect a wide range of perspectives and experiences of race to discuss the roots of unrest and the search for healing. 

The film streams free to the public until 2023. I attended and reviewed a live performance of this outstanding production and encourage everyone to see it.