Around Town - Shakespeare on a Saturday Night

For years Los Angeles battled a bad reputation as a cultural wasteland. 
Certainly no one can say that today with 3 world class museums (Getty, LACMA and MOCA)
a handful of smaller art institutions (Hammer, Weisman, SMMOA, Huntington)
and the Music Center with its multiple stages for the LA Philharmonic, the LA Opera, and multiple dance companies and theater productions.
Yet no one can argue about the problem with traffic in this city, making any drive to downtown or Mid-Wilshire to see an event at Disney Hall or LACMA a unpleasant experience.
So, what could make me happier than to discover a world class cultural venue right down the street from chez BHB, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

The architecture of the intimate 500 seat main stage is amazing. Literally, there's not a bad seat in the house.
Inspired by Italian “horseshoe” theaters, yet conceived in an absolutely contemporary vernacular, The Broad Stage is an artist’s dream and an audience’s delight. Unlike any performance space in the country, it is sublimely intimate with 499-seats and strikingly grand at the same time – allowing eye contact with artists from the boxes to the back row –forging a new kind of artist and audience experience in Los Angeles. Theater, dance, film, operas, musicals, symphony and chamber orchestras will be presented on one of the city’s largest proscenium stages.
And the programs are diverse from opera recitals to modern jazz, from Shakespeare to world music, from Baryshnikov to Savion Glover (tap dancing), yes there is something for everyone.

Last night at the Broad I saw a contemporary Wall Street style staging of The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham as Shylock. Academy Award winner Abraham was excellent, as was Kate MacCluggage who played Portia.  The rest of the cast was good, but none of them were Kenneth Branagh, if you know what I mean.  Still it was definitely worth seeing.  Here's the review from the LA Times.

Past performances have included the classic with Musica Angelica: A Grand Handel Gala and The Glory of the Hapsburgs: Imperial Music of the Vienna Court and the contemporary Sam Harris with the Section Quartet and Cambodian Rock Dengue Fever.
Like I said, something for everyone.

So if you are looking for something to do in Santa Monica, besides sauntering down the 3rd Street Promenade or shopping at Santa Monica Place, I suggest that you check out the upcoming performances at Broad Stage.