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Ovation Fellow Builds Bridges Into the L.A. Theater Scene

SofyaLos Angeles’ film and television industry is well known, but the city also has a vibrant and diverse theater community. As an L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Fellow, Loyola Marymount University sophomore Sofya Levitsky-Weitz is exploring the theater scene in a personal and professional way.

“Networking is crucial in theater, and this fellowship combines all of my interests: seeing shows, writing, and meeting creative people,” said Levitsky-Weitz, a theater arts major. “Theater needs to be more accessible to people my age. We need to see more theater and keep it alive.”

The Ovation Fellows program creates relationships between L.A. college students and the professional theater community. After a competitive selection process, each fellow is paired with a mentor who works in theater. Together, they attend at least six performances. After each performance, the mentor and fellow then network with writers, actors, directors, designers and stage managers. The fellow writes a blog about the experience that is posted on L.A. Stage Alliance’s Web site.

“[My hope is that] the program excites the next generation of theater artists about L.A. performing arts,” said Kelly Younger, associate professor of English and founder of the program. “Also, I hope it connects new artists with working, professional mentors in our city, and creates opportunities for future collaboration, careers and performing art events.”

Levitsky-Weitz was paired with Tom Buderwitz, a scenic designer for both theater and film. She said she was most impressed with Buderwitz’s extensive professional background. “I’m very lucky to have Tom as my mentor. He knows a lot of people and a lot about the business,” Levitsky-Weitz said. “And, he has a good eye for a quality production.”

One of the benefits Levitsky-Weitz has as an Ovation Fellow is the direct access to each production. “When I used to see shows I never got the chance to speak with the people involved and hear their first-hand opinions and creative ideas,” she said. “Now I get to see what’s going on first-hand, ask as many questions as I want and build relationships with people actually working in the business.”

Levitsky-Weitz said her passion is directing, but that she also enjoyed acting and creative writing. Ultimately, she said she’d like to run her own theater company and workshop original plays. She credits Robin Miskolcze, associate professor of English, as being her most influential teacher.

“Professor Miskolcze helped me improve the most as a writer. She is clear in what she wants and very open about which topics we choose to explore. The freedom to write about what you love and what interests you the most definitely helps you write a paper, especially when its 14 pages,” Levitsky-Weitz said.

To read Levitsky-Weitz's blog, click here. To find out more about L.A. Stage Alliance's Ovation Fellowships, click here.

Posted Jan. 11, 2010