LA Stage Times
Lee Melville is practically a native Californian since his family moved
from Utah to the Los Angeles area when he was eight. During his high school
senior year, he was editor of the yearbook, bringing into focus his budding
career in journalism.
While attending UCLA, where he majored in English, he began his professional
acting career, appearing in 1961 at the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood in Lawrence & Lee’s
Only in America starring Herschel Bernardi. In the summer of 1962 he was
at White Oaks Theatre in Carmel Valley playing leads in Bell,
Book and Candle and Once Upon a Mattress. Next, he moved to New York and studied
acting with renowned teacher Sandy Meisner.
He was Producing Director of American Children’s Theatre which offered
well-known classics including his own adaptation of James Otis’ Toby
He also presented A Christmas Carol, sponsored by Con Edison for disadvantaged
children at the RKO 86th Street Theatre, and Peter
and the Wolf with members
of the American Ballet Theatre at New York City Center.
After 10 years of producing theatre on the East Coast, he returned to
LA and resumed his journalism career with a 12-year association as Editor-in-Chief
of Drama-Logue as well as a theatre critic. He was president of the Los
Angeles Drama Critics Circle and a member of American Theatre Critics
Association for 25 years. In 1989, he was hired by Franklin R. Levy to
write the tributes for the first Theatre LA Board of Governors Ovation
In 1999, he was asked by then Theatre LA executive director Lars Hansen
to explore publishing a bi-monthly magazine for the theatre audience.
The first issue of LA Stage was published in autumn 2000. With support
of the renamed LA Stage Alliance Board of Governors and the guidance of
its Executive Director Terence McFarland, the magazine continued publishing
for nine years until it launched into its present form of LA Stage Times
in June of 2009.
In 2007 he was honored with a Playwrights’ Arena Award for “Outstanding
Contribution to Los Angeles Theatre.” In May, 2011, it was renamed in
his honor, called the Lee Melville Award.