February 19, 2015

Benjamin Rodriguez

benjamin.rodriguezMajor and Classification

Theatre

Faculty Mentor

  • David Roman, Ph.D.

Department

  • English

McNair Project

Theatre and the City: How Los Angeles Affects its Contemporary Stage

Though theatre has long been present all over the U.S. for centuries, Broadway in New York has long had the championing theatre district. But over the past 40 years that has undoubtedly changed as American Theatre culture has shifted beyond the popular musicals to a nationwide dispersal of a myriad of theatre. However, the current Los Angeles theatre culture has yet to be detailed and defined as the city’s large landscape and demographics make for a decentralized, geographically dispersed theatre culture lacking a shopping district for its patrons. This study addresses and explores how components of the city of Los Angeles, known as the Hollywood film town, affect its contemporary live theatre culture. By viewing five theatre productions from five different regions of Los Angeles and analyzing the productions’ story and plot lines, cast diversity, as well as several other key components, a better understanding of how the contemporary stage functions within the city is understood. Interviews with directors and playwrights also served to define the contemporary theatre culture and to determine similarities throughout Los Angeles theatre. Results demonstrate that the success rate of a venue can be correlated to its demographic marketing to audiences native to its region. The results of this study may identify tactics to strengthen theatre in American society as well as improve communication and marketing strategies between their productions and the population of Los Angeles.