The Los Angeles production of Hair marks not only the premiere of a play that has been called the first new direction in American theater in a decade, but also the birth of Los Angeles' newest legitimate theater.
The Aquarius Theater began its life as the glittering landmark, The Earl Carroll Theater. In 1938 Earl Carroll decided to open a theater and supper club at 6230 Sunset Boulevard and in just 75 days he converted an empty acre of ground into a dazzling night club and theatre. In those short weeks he created a building so advanced that 30 years later no one has yet matched its glory or technical virtuosity.
The facade of the original theatre held two of Hollywood's most renowned landmarks: the 20-foot high "painting in neon" od Beryl Wallace, one of Carroll's "most beautiful girls in the world" and Sunset Boulevard's "Wall of Fame" presenting in cement the personal inscriptions to Earl Carroll of more than 150 of Hollywood's most glamorous stars.
The 60-foot wide double revolving turntable on the 80-foot main stage, the three swings which lower from the auditorium ceiling, the elevator, revolving staircase and the rain machine are part of a stage machinery complex not duplicated in any other theater in America. Combined with the recently added motion picture projection equipment and stage lighting system, the Aquarius Theater today is the match of any in the country.
The design and renovation of the Aquarius Theater, under the direction of talented young scenic designer, Michael Baugh, was in the breathtaking tradition of Earl Carroll's 75-day wonder. In just 60 days, with crews working around the clock, the entire interior of the theater was redesigned and reconstructed to ready it for the arrival of Hair and to prepare it for its future as Los Angeles' newest, yet most historically fascinating legitimate theater.
MICHAEL BURGH, Designer of the Aquarius Theater:
Michael Burgh has worked eight years in scenic design, stage lighting and interior design. Educated at Yale University and the Yale Graduate School of Drama, Michael has designed scenery and lighting for more than sixty productions in New York and stock theaters throughout New England. Since 1965 he has worked in Los Angeles as an Art Director and Assistant Art Director on many television series and specials including Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, the King Family, Danny Thomas, and the Smothers Brothers shows. He has designed office interiors for Don Adams and Bill Dana, and for the new headquarters of Kragen, Smothers & Fritz. This is his third theater design.
About this theater Michael says: "Designing the Aquarius Theater was an intriguing assignment - to turn a shabby and fading Hollywood landmark into a fully equipped modern legitimate theater, and yet still to retain some of the glamour of the original. This Age of Aquarius is a time of rebirth, a time in which new ideas are carried downstream and rearranged by the waters of change. The landmarks of the old Earl Carroll Theater have been restored. The stage machinery, advanced for its day and still unduplicated anywhere in the country, has been revived. The satellite stages in the right and left house walls have been reopened. The decor in moss green and mirror reflects the water theme and defines a composed and restful environment in which to confront the dawning of the Age of Aquarius."
Copyright Natoma Productions.