Well, sort of. More on that in a moment.
Finally had my power brunch with the grand poobah over at The Complex, Matt Chait, and I’m happy to report that we both survived and perhaps came out the better for it. Though I must admit the Tempeh Bacon is threatening to make a curtain call.
The impetus for the meet was of course this article which I published last month. It was meant to provoke – and did – and Matt was able to receive the provocation in a surprisingly magnanimous manner and I believe a lot was accomplished today as far as finding common ground, clearing up misconceptions and most importantly laying the groundwork for The Complex to perhaps begin to emerge as a leader in the revitalization of Theatre Row.
Unfortunately, there was a casualty in the aftermath of the article. Longtime manager of the complex, David Svengalis, was let go from his position due to an internal clash between the two which I will allow them to expand upon further if they so see fit. David is an ambitious, enterprising producer in his own right and I’m guessing he will land squarely on his feet and hit the ground running. Those looking for a hard working innovator experienced in Los Angeles Theater should seek him out.
Which gets back to today’s headline. Matt informed me that he has recently hired the lovely and talented, self proclaimed “Stage Goddess”, Monica Martin as the new manager of The Complex. Formerly the manager of Artworks, booking agent for The Underground and current booking associate with Theatre Asylum, Monica is intimately connected to the Los Angeles Theater Community as a producer and performer and manager and clearly knows her way around Theatre Row. If there had to be a replacement for David, she, in my opinion, is an excellent choice to help Matt shape the future of The Complex.
I contacted Monica and this was what she had to say:
“I am thrilled to be the new Manager at the Complex. Having a long history in the LA Theatre community it is exciting to be back on Theatre Row. I am looking forward to working with Matt and John to facilitate a positive experience here, for both renters and productions, and am ready to face any challenges towards a positive outcome for all. I would also like to welcome everyone to stop by, say hello and take a look at all the changes taking place and being planned here at the Complex!”
Matt was able to admit that over the last twenty plus years running The Complex he may have become somewhat disconnected from the emerging and evolving theatre community and readily admits that there is plenty of room for improvement in how things are done at The Complex, especially when it comes to melding old school marketing and management with the advances in social media and technology and Twenty First Century theater production. That said, his involvement in Theatre Row area beautification and renovation as a member of the Hollywood Media District remains active, productive and committed and is well documented here and here. He mentioned that there are imminent plans in the works to replace the ragged Theatre Row banners with something more modern and vastly more attractive, a cause he led the way in making happen . Stay tuned on that front.
It will be interesting to see how things evolve over there and we here at the Lemon are able to declare publicly, as we already have privately, that Matt and Monica and the folks at The Complex have an open line to the Lemon and its resources and we will help in any way we can. But we will of course be “watching” in our own special way. I challenged Matt to really use Monica as an emissary for the Complex and allow her some room to lead as far as perhaps seeking out up and coming artists and productions to bring into the Complex rather than remaining at the whim of renters. He seemed open to some of this which I find to be a very good sign.
During our chat Matt mentioned something in passing that I found most telling, and I am paraphrasing him a bit here: ”Many of the people making the decisions on what happens to Theatre Row rarely go see theatre on theatre row.”
Indeed. Always a major dilemma; how to engage those beyond the regular makers and attenders of theater in Los Angeles. Grist for future discussion.
On a final note, for those of you thin-skinned detractors out there afraid of challenge and provocation, understand that it was an act of well-intentioned provocation that started this ball rolling. Major kudos to Matt Chait for responding in a similarly provocative manner. It may not be revolutionary or ground breaking at the moment, but it’s an example of how things get done sometimes.
Whether you like it or not.
About the Author: COLIN MITCHELL: Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Father, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Broadway veteran, Marvel comics scribe, Van Morrison disciple, Zen-Catholic, a proud U.S. Army Brat conceived in Scotland and born in Frankfurt, Germany, currently living in Los Angeles and doing his best to piss off as many people as possible.