[Ford Amphitheatre fountain by Paul Antico via Zev Yaroslavsky, and Zev's sexy librarian]
Levin & Associates Architects was chosen this week to create a new master plan for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission-run John Anson Ford Theatres, and an article on Supe Zev Yaroslavsky's website says that "like the under-appreciated secretary who finally whips off her glasses in Act III, the Ford has been keeping its charms under wraps for a good long time." Hot! The 1,200 seat Ford Amphitheatre and 87 seat [Inside] the Ford theater are tucked into the mountain off Cahuenga Boulevard East, so making the site easier to find, easier to get to, and easier to park at are priorities. According to Yaroslavsky's site, other "wish list" items include new rehearsal and office space, a year-round restaurant, a sound barrier so both theaters can operate at once, expansions and upgrades to the theaters, and some environmentally-friendly technologies. A press release adds that the master plan will include recommendations for preserving and emphasizing historic elements.
The county has already spent more than $6 million on the Ford in the last decade, making improvements that included "a $1.2 million electrical renovation; new signage and sound consoles; remodeling the box office, concession area and restrooms; and adding new picnic plazas, an ADA-compliant pathway and an elevator to make the steep terrain accessible to more people," according to Yaroslavsky's site. He tells the LA Times that the master plan is aimed at making updates more comprehensive and in line with programming.
The Ford turns 90 this year--it was built in 1920 by Christine Wetherill Stevenson (who, with others, bought the Ford land and the Hollywood Bowl land), to perform her Pilgrimage Play about the life of Jesus; the press releas says "the distinctive towers that flank the amphitheater’s stage resemble the gates of Jerusalem." That wood theater burned down in 1929 and was rebuilt in 1931. During World War II, servicemen lived in the converted amphitheater. The county was deeded the land in 1941, but the Pilgrimage Play stayed on until 1964, when, Yaroslavsky's site says, "factors that included a legal challenge to staging a religious show on county property shut down the production." It was used sporadically until 1993 when the county created Summer Nights at the Ford. A new master plan should be finished by the end of the year.
· Rehab time for another Hollywood star [Zev Yaroslavsky]