Three decades after its 1993 world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum, Anna Deavere Smith’s “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” returns to L.A. as part of Center Theatre Group’s 2022-2023 season at the Taper.

Originally performed solo by Smith, “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” has been reimagined for a cast of five performers: Hugo Armstrong, Lovensky Jean-Baptiste, Lisa Reneé Pitts, Jeanne Sakata, and Sabina Zúñiga Varela. Directed by Gregg T. Daniel. Dramaturgy by     Dorinne Kondo, Marcos Nájera and Lindsay Jenkins.

“At its best, theatre helps us understand the world around us and no production in our history has illuminated our city like Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992,’” said Center Theatre Group Managing Director/CEO Meghan Pressman. “Anna’s play introduces us to the individuals who shaped, responded to and were impacted by a pivotal moment in L.A. history. It is a piece that reminds us where we were then and helps us to understand where we are now.

Anna Deavere Smith

“In discussions about the upcoming seasons with the Artistic Team, we all agreed that we couldn’t let the 30th anniversary of the troubling Rodney King verdict pass by without making this announcement. ‘Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992’ offers us another opportunity to reflect on what is still required to meet our own Commitments to Change that were devised and agreed to as a response to the 2020 protests.”

Smith added, “Being asked by Gordon Davidson to move through the embers of the Los Angeles uprising was a watershed moment in my life as an artist and as a human being. The can-do, must-do spirit of Gordon, the entire institution and the community, sparked something I had never experienced and have not experienced since. Center Theatre Group provided a way for me, in tandem with other drama professionals and with local intellectual/activists, to respond to the civic disaster through theatre.

“Here is where I learned that theatre can be transformative if it exudes what I have come to call ‘a radical welcome.’ No doubt there were folks at the table who had not ever been invited to step up before.”

“Twilight” draws on over 350 interviews with politicians, activists, police, jurors, shopkeepers and countless other Angelenos to explore the uprising sparked by the acquittal of the men charged in the Rodney King police brutality case. Through the words of these real people, “Twilight” delves into the long-simmering tensions that set the stage for the L.A. Riots and explores the immediate impact on individual Angelenos and the community as a whole.

Originally commissioned by the Center Theater Group, the play’s sold-out run in Los Angeles was followed by many successful revisions, with each inviting a new group of collaborators. Those include a production at the Public Theater followed by a Broadway run and two Tony nominations; a national tour mounted at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre; a film produced by Smith and others in partnership with PBS; and the most recent reconceptualized production for five actors at the Signature Theatre in New York.

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s pre-eminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, which, under the leadership of Pressman and Producing Director Douglas C. Baker, and in collaboration with Associate Artistic Directors Luis Alfaro, Lindsay Allbaugh, Tyrone Davis, Neel Keller, and Kelley Kirkpatrick, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1,600 to 2,100-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

The Mark Taper Forum is located at 135 N. Grand Ave. Performance length is 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.

Previews (March 8-14) Sunday at 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. Opens Wednesday, March 15, at 8 p.m. Regular performances (March 16-April 9) Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. No Monday performances. Stage talks with cast members and/or creators March 28, April 4 and April 9.

Ticket prices: $35-$20 (subject to change). Available online at, by calling Audience Services at (213) 628-4400 or in-person at the Center Theatre Group Box Office (at the Ahmanson Theatre). Groups: (213) 972-7231. Deaf, hard of hearing and/or low vision community:  

About Jeanne Sakata

Sakata plays Yong Hee (understudy: Julia Cho).

Jeanne Sakata (Photo by Lia Chang)

Recent TV: Guest star/recurring roles on ABC-Shondaland’s “Station 19,” CBS’ “Magnum P.I.,” “NCIS Hawaii,” “NCIS Los Angeles,” Disney+’s “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” Marvel/Hulu’s “Hit Monkey,” Apple TV+’s “Stillwater,” Disney’s “Big Hero 6.”

Recent theatre: 2022 world premieres of Moisés Kaufman and Amanda Groenich’s “Here There Are Blueberries,” La Jolla Playhouse/Tectonic Theatre Project, and Carla Ching’s “Revenge Porn,” Ammunition Theatre; also 2022-23 new plays workshops with CTG Writers’ Workshop, Geffen Playhouse, and the Old Globe Theatre. Additional: Vineyard Theatre, People’s Light, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater, Northlight Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Berkeley Rep, A Contemporary Theatre, Portland Center Stage.

Playwright: “For Us All,” commissioned and produced in 2021, L.A. Theatre Works; “Hold These Truths,” one-man show about Gordon Hirabayashi (Drama Desk nomination, outstanding solo performance; San Diego and Bay Area Critics’ Circle Awards, outstanding solo performance; Theatre Bay Area Awards, outstanding production, direction, and lead performance); commissioned by CTG’s Asian Theatre Workshop; productions include Arena Stage, Barrington Stage Company, Guthrie Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, San Francisco Playhouse, San Diego Repertory, Lyric Stage Company, Portland Center Stage, Perseverance Theatre, ACT Seattle, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Honolulu Theatre for Youth (co-produced with Daniel Dae Kim), Epic Theatre Ensemble, East West Players (world premiere).

Special honors: Theatre L.A. Ovation Award, outstanding lead actress, Chay Yew’s “Red,” East West Players; 2019 Trailblazer Award, outstanding artistic achievement, East West Players; 2016 Lee Melville Award, outstanding contribution to the L.A. theatre community, Playwrights’ Arena.

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