Michael McFall in Theatricum Botanicum's "A Midsummer NIght's Dream" Photo by Miriam Geer

Wonder why your doctor hasn’t been in the office this week? Maybe s/heis rehearsing for the upcoming Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra concert on Friday, June 13, at 8 p.m. at the Moss Theateron the New Roads School campus. This is the closing concert of the orchestra’s 62nd season.

They’re putting down their stethoscopes and picking up their musical, not medical, instruments to present a unique performance featuring music by composer Ernst Toch and others.

Recently discovered and never-before performed, the √©migr√© Austrian composer wrote “Three Pieces for Doctors’ Symphony” in 1961. One of the Jewish artists who fled Hitler’s Germany in 1933, Toch settled in Los Angeles and became Professor of Music and Philosophy at USC from 1936 to 1948. Toch called himself “the world’s most forgotten composer,” although he did write music for film, including the score of Shirley Temple’s “Heidi” in 1937 and he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1957 for his Third Symphony.

In addition to the doctor-musicians, the orchestra is joined by students from the Harmony Project, which provides free instruments and musical education to at-risk youth in underserved communities.

The featured soloist will be L.A.-born violinist Joan Kwuon, performing Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy”; also on the bill is Symphony No. 6 by Anton√≠n Dvor√°k. Admission and parking are both free, with a suggested donation of $10. There’ll also be a silent auction to benefit the orchestra.


At Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum you can inhale the scent of manzanita while taking in drama and music in a sylvan amphitheater under Topanga’s trees.

The theme of Theatricum’s 42nd Annual Summer Repertory Season is Americana, as the company sets out to explore who we are as Americans with a mix of American plays, Shakespeare performed with an American twist, toe-tapping Americana roots and folk music, buffet dinners in the gardens and more.

Included are William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” set in the Reconstruction-era South with live music of the period; “To Kill A Mockingbird,” Christopher Sergel’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic; “August: Osage County,” Tracy Letts’ biting portrait of the dysfunctional American family at its finest – and absolute worst; and “Green Grow the Lilacs,” the play by Lynn Riggs that inspired Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma.

Theatricum’s signature production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is back by popular demand for its ninth year. Audiences flock to this annual family favorite, a beguiling romantic comedy set in Theatricum’s own Topanga forest.

All five plays are set to open back-to-back in June and early July. Unlike most theaters in L.A. that stage continuous runs of a single play, Theatricum’s company of actors will perform each of the plays in repertory, making it possible to see all five main stage plays in a single summer weekend.

The season kicks off this Saturday, June 6 with a matinee performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Melora Marshall and Willow Geer. The most magical outdoor setting in Los Angeles is once again transformed into an enchanted forest, inhabited by lovers both fairy and human.

The next afternoon, Sunday, June 7 is the opening of “As You Like It.” Director Ellen Geer moves the tale of two sets of brothers – one alienated by ambition, the other estranged by envy – to the divided South of the post-Civil War era, adding traditional American folk music and dance.

On June 13, the company opens “To Kill A Mockingbird,” with Geer again at the helm. Set in a small Southern town during the depression, the idyllic childhood of eight-year-old Scout and her brother Jem is changed forever when their lawyer-father defends a poor black man accused of raping a white woman. Through the drama of the trial and its aftermath, the children experience the harsh realities of prejudice that surround them.

June 20 sees the opening of “August: Osage County,” directed by Mary Jo DuPrey. A vanished father. A pill-popping mother. Three sisters harboring shady little secrets. Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play unflinchingly – and uproariously – exposes the dark side of the Midwestern American family.

“Green Grow the Lilacs” directed by Ellen Geer opens July 11; this rarely performed original play inspired Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma.” Native American playwright Lynn Riggs infused his 1931 hit play with a mix of drama, romance and America’s most popular folk music. The courtship between a rancher and his gal is threatened by a menacing farmhand, jeopardizing the young lovers’ future.

Details and tickets are atwww.theatricum.com.


In case you missed the Venice Art Walk which supports the Venice Family Clinic, you can still tour artists’ studios this Sunday during ArtBlock Venice.

Now in its fifth incarnation, this artist-driven free event takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. You’ll have the opportunity to see studios and meet and talk to the artists, such as Jean Edelstein, whose wonderful accordion-fold art books are truly one-of-a-kind.

Jewelry designers, ceramic, glass, wood sculpture artists, metal collage makers and even painters open their doors to share the incredibly vibrant art scene that is Venice, offering you the chance to buy your collectibles directly from the artist.

For more information, visit www.veniceartblock.com.

Photo credit:Miriam Geer

Sarah A. Spitz spent her career as a producer at public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica and produced freelance arts reports for NPR. She has also written features and reviews for various publications.

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