Originally performed solo by Anna Deavere Smith, “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” has been reimagined for a cast of five performers. Thirty years after its world premiere, Center Theatre Group will celebrate the West Coast premiere of the revised production by giving away 1,000 tickets to Angelenos. Casting has been set for the West Coast premiere of the revised production of playwright Anna Deavere Smith’s transformative “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992,” coming to Los Angeles at Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum March 8 through April 9, 2023 and opening March 15, 2023.
The cast of the new take of “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” features an ensemble of actors including Hugo Armstrong, Lovensky Jean-Baptiste, Lisa Reneé Pitts, Jeanne Sakata, and Sabina Zúñiga Varela. “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” draws on more than 300 interviews with politicians, activists, police, jurors, shopkeepers, and countless other Los Angelenos to explore the uprising sparked by the acquittal of the men charged in the Rodney King police brutality case. Through the words of these real people, “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” delves into the long-simmering tensions that set the stage for the L.A. Riots and explores the immediate impact on individual Angelenos and the community as a whole.
To celebrate the homecoming of this groundbreaking production, and to ensure Angelenos can experience the story that is about and for the citizens of L.A., Center Theatre Group will be giving out 1,000 free tickets to various educational institutions, social justice organizations, and community groups. “We are beyond excited to welcome Anna Deavere Smith back to the Mark Taper Forum, where her landmark play rocked Los Angeles 30 years ago, and offered an opportunity for the community to gather, grieve, and bond over one of this city’s darkest and most challenging times,” said Center Theatre Group Managing Director / CEO Meghan Pressman. “Today, the show is, unfortunately, as timely and relevant as it was back in 1993. As such, we want to ensure everyone in Los Angeles who wants to see this show is able to do so. We are proud to offer free tickets to students, community partners, and others to attend and see this iconic work that was made in Los Angeles for the people of Los Angeles.”
The creative team for “Twilight: Los Angeles 1992” at the Mark Taper Forum, who are all Southern California-based creatives, includes Efren Delgadillo Jr. (scenic design), Samantha C. Jones (costume design), Brandon Baruch (lighting design), Jeff Gardner (sound design), Tru (original music), Yee Eun Nam (projection design), and Stephen Buescher (movement). Casting is by Nicole Arbusto, CSA, and dramaturgy is by Dorinne Kondo, Marcos Nájera, and Lindsay Jenkins. Shawna Voragen is the production stage manager. Erin Nicole Washington is the dialect coach and Sharifa Johka is an EDI Consultant. It has been previously announced that Los Angeles-based director and NAACP Best Director winner Gregg T. Daniel will direct the new production of “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” at the Taper.
Smith commented on the revision of the play for five performers, “…the work was never meant to be restricted to a one person show format. I wanted all of my works to be done by groups of actors, especially in schools and universities, or in communities where discussion might follow. Democracy is all about a variety of individuals working towards a goal. The cast of a play can exemplify that.”
Originally commissioned by Center Theatre Group where the solo show made its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in May 1993, “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992”’s sold-out run in Los Angeles was followed by many successful revisions of the play, with each inviting a new group of collaborators. Those include a production at The Public Theater followed by a Broadway run and two Tony nominations; a national tour mounted at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre; a film produced by Ms. Smith and others in partnership with PBS; and the most recent reconceptualized production for five actors at the Signature Theatre in New York. New York Magazine hailed the reworked production as an “excellent revival. There’s a moral thrill in the work that will never fade,” while The New York Times named it a Critic’s Pick and called the production, “as necessary now as when Los Angeles was actively smoldering.”
Tickets for “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” are currently on sale and start at $35. They are available through CenterTheatreGroup.org, Audience Services at (213) 628-2772 or in person at the Center Theatre Group Box Offices (at the Ahmanson Theatre) at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012. Performances run Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.