Exit another theater critic, enter a theater insider. Those are the stage directions coming from KCRW-FM (89.9). The Santa Monica-based public radio outlet announced Friday that the curtain has closed on James C. Taylor's seven-year run of four-minute weekly reviews and commentaries in the Thursday afternoon "Theatre Talk" spot. Opening Tuesday at 4:44 p.m. is a new take on the stage, "Opening the Curtain on L.A. Theatre," with Anthony Byrnes.The whole LATimes article is here.
The idea is to keep the focus strictly on the Los Angeles stage, rather than the wider view "Theatre Talk" would sometimes take, said Matt Holzman, a longtime KCRW staff member who recently became director of program development after Jennifer Ferro succeeded Ruth Seymour as general manager in February.
Byrnes certainly has been in the belly of the L.A. theater beast: He's a producer of "Live at the Sahara," the L.A.-spawned musical about Louis Prima and Keely Smith that has Broadway ambitions, and from 1999 to 2005 he was associate producer for new play development for Center Theatre Group, the biggest stage company in town.
All of which raises the question: Will a fully immersed fellow like Byrnes pull punches that an arm's-length observer like Taylor (a regular freelance contributor to the Los Angeles Times since 2003) would not hesitate to land?
"Somebody who is part of the L.A. theater community...might be a little more of a booster or promoter of L.A. theater," Taylor said Friday, allowing that being on the inside can also lend a useful perspective. Given how "spread out" the L.A. theater scene is, Taylor said, the job of commenting on it weekly is "hard to do. I wish anyone who comes next luck."
Saturday, May 08, 2010
with James Taylor is no more, according to KCRW and the LATimes. I was rarely a fan of the segment, and wrote about it here, but I wouldn't have minded him sticking around and striving for more immediacy and greater relevance. Instead it looks like they gave him the boot in favor of someone they think will bring that to the party. See below: