A new nonprofit, the New Broadway Los Angeles Initiative, will be unveiled Saturday at a downtown forum on ideas for activating the emerging entertainment district on Broadway. The group is spearheaded by Hillsman Wright, the longtime and now former executive director of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, and Ed Kelsey, a theater preservationist who has had a hand in restoring or operating several of the Broadway district houses over three decades. The announcement follows by just a week the very well-attended Night on Broadway event pushed by Councilman Jose Huizar, but the focus of the new group seems to be turning Broadway into a year-round destination zone for theaters and entertainment. They are looking to follow models they say have worked in other cities.
"New Broadway Los Angeles, the initiative to be announced at the New Broadway Forum, plans to look ahead, make a fresh start, forget how impossible conventional wisdom insists it will be to revive Broadway's historic theaters, and build the constituency and leadership needed to move forward," Wright tells me.
"42nd St, Cleveland's Playhouse Square, Chicago, Boston and Minneapolis revived multi-historic theater districts with great success. The time has come to bring that experience to bear on Broadway. Downtown has come back to life. New Broadway LA aims to help find a way for the Broadway theaters to join the party."
The Saturday forum is being held at the Globe on Broadway at 2 p.m. Wright and Kelsey are looking for people to come and bring their ideas for using the Broadway theaters.