Cultural Arts: Stages
On June 21, 1998, the Los Angeles LGBT Center opened history’s first cultural/educational/social center specifically serving the LGBTQ community and its friends. The Village at Ed Gould Plaza (named for the late Center Board member Edward S. Gould, whose vision and generosity helped make it a reality) is home to a multitude of programs and services, including the Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center. With responsibility for two theatres and the Advocate & Gochis Galleries, the Tomlin/Wagner Center has grown to become a leading Los Angeles-area presenter of performance and visual arts.
Not long after the program’s opening, the celebrated creative team of Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, who share the Center’s commitment to improving lives through art, lent their names to create the Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center at The Village.
Created and helmed by Jon Imparato, the Tomlin/Wagner Center has produced more than 375 theater, music, comedy, and special events that have been honored with more than 115 theatre awards.
Our theatres, the 200-seat Renberg Theatre and the 50-seat, black box Davidson/Valentini Theatre, have mounted an extraordinary array of productions. Whether launching new careers or spotlighting established talent, its offerings illuminate the truths of the lives of our community, celebrate our uniqueness, and contribute to making our environment a place of empowerment and joy.
Highlights of the Renberg’s shows include the West Coast premiere of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues and three official, 25th anniversary productions: Jack Heifner’s Vanities (starring Kathy Bates), the classic lesbian drama Last Summer at Bluefish Cover by Jane Chambers, and an all-star staged reading of Larry Kramer’s incendiary AIDS drama, The Normal Heart, directed by Joel Grey and starring Lisa Kudrow. The Renberg has also spotlighted new shows by Jenifer Lewis, Adelina Anthony, Leslie Jordan, Billy Porter, Margaret Cho, Kathy Griffin, Miss Coco Peru, Alec Mapa, Carol Channing, Sam Harris, Megan Mullally, Jackie Hoffman, Sarah Jones, Joanna Gleason, and many more.
The Renberg has also hosted Conversations with Coco, in which the celebrated drag artist Miss Coco Peru conducted onstage interviews with such legendary performers as Lily Tomlin, Liza Minnelli, Jane Fonda, Allison Janney, and the late Bea Arthur.
The Davidson/Valentini Theatre has been the home of most of our fully produced plays, as well as experimental, innovative, and emerging artistic works. It is a space where artists can creatively collaborate and fully realize their unique vision. Its scores of productions include such acclaimed shows as Ike Holter’s Hit the Wall; The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia by Edward Albee, The Lost Plays of Tennessee William; Ira Levin’s Deathtrap; The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later; The Sonneteer by Nick Salamone; Jane Wagner’s The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe: Revisited (the only time in the play’s 40-year history that Ms. Tomlin and Ms. Wagner have allowed their one-woman show to be produced with 12 actors playing the individual roles); To T, or Not to T? by D’Lo; Adelina Anthony’s Bruising for Besos; and many more. In the Tomlin/Wagner Center’s role as Hollywood hub for the city-wide Edge of the World Theater Festival and the Hollywood Fringe Festival, the Davidson/Valentini Theatre has presented a diverse array of new plays and revivals encompassing the breadth of L.A’s abundant creativity.
All net proceeds from both theatres, and from art sales in the Advocate & Gochis Galleries, are used to support the Center’s wide array of free and low-cost programs and services.