H’w’d theater district info center set

Plans were unveiled at the weekend’s second annual West Coast Theatre Conference for a Hollywood Theater District Information Center, to open by August.

The panel session — moderated by Lester Burg, assistant project manager of the Community Redevelopment Agency Hollywood Redevelopment Project — was held in conjunction with the 10th annual Showbiz Expo (June 5-7) at the L.A. Convention Center.

Members of the CRA’s Hollywood Theatre Committee unwrapped plans for the Information Center, which will be underwritten by the Rail Construction Corp. (builders of the Metro Rail Subway). Office will be housed inside the Metro Rail Field Office in the Taft Building at 6272 Hollywood Blvd., said Gil Saldana, public affairs officer for the RCC.

The Center will provide performance dates and times, site locations and reservation information for the 30-plus legit houses within the official Hollywood Theatre District area (from Franklin Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard, and between Gower Street and La Brea Avenue).

The district will include such large legit houses as the Pantages, Henry Fonda and Doolittle theaters, midsize Las Palmas and Ivar, and houses with 99 seats or less, including those on Santa Monica Boulevard’s Theatre Row (between Cahuenga and Highland).

Susan Obrow, representative from the Center Theatre Group and chair of the CRA’s Hollywood Theatre Committee, announced plans to set off the Hollywood Theatre District with banners and flags placed at freeway exits, street locations and theater sites.

Much of the Hollywood Theatre District’s success will depend upon the support of the Community Redevelopment Agency, which is responsible for overseeing L.A.’s $ 1 billion, 30-year blueprint for upgrading the quality of life in 17 key areas of the city.

Rumors of future cuts in CRA funding raise some concerns about the agency’s commitment to the long-range goals of the Hollywood Theatre Committee.

What is encouraging is the tangible support of Metro Rail. “We are committed to providing the space for the Hollywood Theatre District Information Center rent-free for four years,” said Saldana.