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'Native Son' Opens at Douglas Part of Block Party 2019


Written by Nambi E. Kelley, Based on the Novel by Richard Wright and Directed by Andi Chapman “Native Son” Will Play Through April 28, 2019 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Antaeus Theatre Company’s production of “Native Son,” which Center Theatre Group is remounting at the Kirk Douglas Theatre as part of the third annual Block Party: Celebrating Los Angeles Theatre, will open Saturday, April 20 at 8 p.m. Written by Nambi E. Kelley, based on the novel by Richard Wright and directed by Andi Chapman, “Native Son” is currently in previews and will close April 28.

The cast includes Noel Arthur, Gigi Bermingham, Jon Chaffin, Ellis Greer, Matthew Grondin, Mildred Marie Langford, Ned Mochel, Victoria Platt and Brandon Rachal.

The design team includes scenic design by Edward E. Haynes Jr., costume design by Wendell C. Carmichael, lighting design by Andrew Schmedake, sound design by Jeff Gardner, and projection design by Adam R. Macias. The production stage manager is Taylor Anne Cullen.

“Native Son” is set in 1930s Chicago, where a longing for social justice ignites a palpable rage within protagonist Bigger Thomas. “Native Son” is a gripping adaptation of the classic Richard Wright novel and focuses on the inner workings of Thomas’ mind as events violently and irrevocably seal his fate.

Block Party 2019 also remounted Theatre of NOTE’s production of “For The Love Of (or, the roller derby play)” from March 7 through 17 and Skylight Theatre Company’s production of “Rotterdam” from March 28 through April 7. The three visiting companies received the full support of Center Theatre Group and its staff in order to fund, stage and market each production.

“Now in its third year, Block Party continues to be a real treat for our entire organization,” said Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. “We all look forward to working with Theatre of NOTE, Skylight and Antaeus and sharing their exciting work with our audiences.”

Center Theatre Group received submissions for Block Party from intimate theatre companies throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The selected productions come from Hollywood (Theatre of NOTE), Los Feliz (Skylight Theatre Company) and Glendale (Antaeus Theatre Company).

With Block Party, Center Theatre Group will continue to strengthen its relationships within the Los Angeles theatre community by creating additional avenues for the organization to work with local playwrights, actors, directors and designers. Block Party also helps to foster relationships between Center Theatre Group staff and the staff of theatre companies throughout Los Angeles.

Block Party receives major support from Aliza Karney Guren and Marc Guren with generous funding also provided by Joni and Miles Benickes. This programming is also made possible in part by a Culver City Performing Arts Grant with support from Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Previous Block Party productions have included “Ameryka” (Critical Mass Performance Group), “Bloodletting” (Playwrights’ Arena), “Citizen: An American Lyric” (The Fountain Theatre), “Die, Mommie, Die!” (Celebration Theatre), “Dry Land” (The Echo Theater Company) and “Failure: A Love Story” (Coeurage Theatre Company).

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, which, under Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2100-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

Tickets for Block Party are available by calling (213) 628-2772, online at, at the Center Theatre Group Box Office at the Ahmanson Theatre or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre Box Office two hours prior to performance. Tickets for each individual production range from $27 – $77 (ticket prices are subject to change).

The first Friday performance of each Block Party production (April 19 for “Native Son”) is a pay-what-you-want performance. Another way to share these exciting productions and connect with the Los Angeles Theatre community, the pay-what-you-want performances offer patrons the opportunity to decide what their theatre experience was worth before, during or after the performance. Tickets for the pay-what-you-want performances are available in person only at the Center Theatre Group Box Office at the Ahmanson Theatre or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre Box Office.

The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd. in Culver City, CA 90232. Free three hour covered parking at City Hall with validation (available in the Kirk Douglas Theatre lobby).

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April 19, 2019