May 22, 2014
"If you build it, they will come" may be true in the movies, but in Hollywood, building it is just the beginning - you've got to throw a good party, too. So, when the buzz around the crown jewel of Los Angeles's Music Center - the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert hall - seemed in danger of waning, a group of entertainment-industry insiders united to form the Proscenium Club, a members-only support group for the Center's music, theater, and dance programs. The organization's launch event, last September, achieved the seemingly impossible: it got 250 young execs to weather downtown traffic for something other than courtside Lakers seats.
James Deutch, a 35-year old Hearst Entertainment V.P. whose mission was to shape a new generation of arts patrons out of his culturally interested (if inert) peers, created the Proscenium club with six like-minded co-founders. The $250 annual fee entitles members to performances of such works as Giselle and Aida, as well as Judy Carmichael playing stride on a Steinway. "This may be new ground for some people, but seeing it with friends makes it feel more like a house party," notes Deutch. And, in fact, some salons do take place in members' homes.
Will Deutch's newly minted gang of Hollywood insurgents eschew a coveted Spielberg premiere for a Bill T. Jones recital or an Esa-Pekka Salonen-conducted symphony? "In Los Angeles," Deutch says, "you have to bring the horse to water."