Venue Details

3767 Star Starred
Ahmanson Theatre
at the Music Center 135 North Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-628-2772 (CTG plays and musicals), 213-972-0711 (Dance at the Music Center events)
Venue website Get directions

Reviews & Ratings

621 ratings
3.8 average rating
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3 events
1 review
20 stars
attended Oct 08 2005

it was hard to hear all of the dialog, sound system was poor. it would have been better as a musical performance along with the play! it was definetly missing something... continued

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456 events
385 reviews
62 stars
attended Sep 29 2005

I loved this event! What an amazing set re-creation of the time period. I especially loved the "river."

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345 events
149 reviews
8 stars
attended Sep 01 2005

Wonderful show ... who would have thought that an orchestra pit could filled with water! The set design is amazing

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More Information

Quotes & Highlights

Dead End was the first play to receive a command performance at the White House.
This “sixty-year-old street-of-no-returns saga still works as entertaining, well-paced and emotionally engaging theater…powerful [and] touching.” —CurtainUp

Description

Dead End

By Sidney Kingsley

Directed by Nicholas Martin

Against a brilliant New York skyline, a gathering of tenements and a magnificent luxury apartment building stand side by side along the East River overlooking the Queensboro Bridge. Today the area is Sutton Place. But in the early ’30s it was home to the Dead End Kids, a group of scruffy teenage boys whose lives were the streets — playing cards on the stoop, roasting potatoes in a can, and swimming in the river.

Sidney Kingsley’s stirring drama, a popular hit on Broadway in 1935, returns triumphantly to the stage in this stunning production featuring 42 actors and one of the largest sets ever created for the Ahmanson, including an orchestra pit filled with 10,000 gallons of water to simulate New York’s East River.

The cast of “Dead End” includes (in alphabetical order) Carol Androsky, Ian Barford, Walter Beery, Beck Bennett, Scott Burman, Dennis Cockrum, Nick Daze, Ryan Eggold, Wyatt Fenner, Ben Giroux, Shiloh Goodin, Pamela Gray, Kathryn Hahn, Megan Marie Harvey, Sarah Hudnut, Jeffrey Hutchinson, Charley Lang, Clay Larsen, Geoffrey E. Lind, Jr., Melanie Lora, Leo Marks, Luce Morgan, Cole Morgen, Sam Murphy, Dohn Norwood, Trevor Peterson, Donna Pieroni, Benjamin Platt, Greg Roman, Adam Rose, Tom Everett Scott, Jeremy Sisto, Ed Sorrell, Barry Squitieri, Josh Sussman, Juliana Long Tyson, Ricky Ullman, Danielle Van Beest, Joyce Van Patten, Teddy Vincent, Craig Vogeley and Ryan Wilkins.

The scenic design is by James Noone, costume design by Michael Krass, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and sound design by Kurt B. Kellenberger. The music is composed by Mark Bennett and fight direction is by Rick Sordelet. Grayson Merritt is the production stage manager.

Generous support from Brindell and Milton Gottlieb, Founders, Artistic Director’s Circle. Additional funding from Barbara and Peter Fodor, The Hargrove Pierce Foundation, Martin Massman, Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation and Sheila and Wally Weisman.

Did you know…

All the streets on New York’s Manhattan Island that run east and west, dead end at either the Hudson or East Rivers.

Dead End on Broadway a was so popular and it infiltrated American culture so much in the mid 1930’s that it added a new phrase to our lexicon. The six young actors featured in Sidney Kingsley’s original production were imported en masse to Hollywood for the film in 1937. They were so popular, the group – known as the “Dead End Kids” – went on to star in successful spin-off films for more than 10 years, making nearly 90 feature films, forever cast in their roles. The group added the term dead end kid to the language, as it came to refer to any group of rebellious, boisterous youth.

Productions of Dead End are very rare because theatres must employ a huge cast of over 40 actors, plus accommodate a full-scale set so realistic with enough fly space for 40 feet of New York skyline and a stage large enough to recreate the East River. One of the most famous designs in theatre history, Norman Bel Geddes’s Dead End set recreated a Manhattan street scene with astonishing precision. And Center Theatre Group’s upcoming production in the Ahmanson will utilize the orchestra pit, filling it with 10,000 gallons of water, to simulate New York’s infamous East River — a summertime swimming haven for the dead end kids.

Dead End, an immediate hit on Broadway, was quickly adapted for the movies starring screen legend Humphrey Bogart. Directed by William Wyler in 1937, the film version of Dead End was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Ultimately, the movie took home two golden statues, one for Set Design and one for Cinematography. Produced long before The African Queen and Casablanca, Dead End marked one of Bogie’s first films. Every film biography of Bogart contains scenes from Dead End, especially the famous heart-wrenching exchange between his gangster-character Baby Face Martin and his broken-hearted mother, played by Marjorie Main, who rejects him for the smarmy rogue he has become.

Dead End is the play that literally changed American history by inspiring Congress to pass a housing bill. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt saw the original production of Dead End three times and requested the first-ever command performance at the White House. President Roosevelt subsequently created a commission on slum housing, ultimately crediting Dead End for the passage of the Wagner Housing Bill, which ensured the development of safe, sanitary low-income housing.