Last night's opening of Dead End at the Ahmanson Theatre certainly attracted a crowd. It was the debut play of Michael Ritchie's reign as Artistic Director of Center Theatre Group, and also had the added buzz that set designer James Noone recreated the East River on stage, complete with splashing water. Signs warned that patrons might get soaked if they sat in the wet zone, but that didn't stop Mayor and Corina Villaraigosa from sliding into the third row just before curtain. They were beside LAPD Chief William Bratton and CTG President Richard Kagan, and not far from county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and cast members from "The West Wing." I wasn't there, but also spotted were editors and reviewers from the Times and Los Angeles Magazine, many Industry types and no doubt some friends of actors Jeremy Sisto (and his dog, Winston), Joyce Van Patten and Leo Marks. With many children in the large ensemble cast, the after-party catering theme was burgers, hot dogs and hot fudge sundaes. Yes, the Villaraigosas stuck around for the schmoozing (Corina is now on the CTG Board of Directors.)
* Also: Dara Weinberg reviews at LAist and likes the play a lot. 6:10 p.m.
** 'Big, bold, mostly boring': James C. Taylor's review in the LAT says "this revival...prompts no wonder about why the play hasn't been done on Broadway since its original staging closed almost 70 years ago." Friday 10:50 a.m. Also: Mike at FishbowlLA gets email from CTG that, uh, overlooks Taylor's pan.