Geffen Playhouse in Westwood is premiering a new work by Donald Margulies as the season-closing highlight of its nine-production 2013-14 season, the theater’s largest season ever, performed in the Gil Cates and the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theaters.Â The lineup begins with the West Coast premiere of Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn (opening Aug. 21), helmed by Peter DuBois, starring Amy Brenneman — re-creating her 2012 performance from Playwrights’ Horizon in New York. It’s about three dissatisfied modern women. The season continues as follows: Wait Until Dark (Oct. 16), a new adaptation of the 1966 Frederick Knott suspense drama,Â directed by Matt Shakman; Play DeadÂ Â (Nov. 20), a theatrical piece created by the magician-illusionist Teller and Todd Robbins, starring Robbins; a revival of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, helmed by Oscar-winning film director William Friedkin (Feb 12, 2014); the West Coast premiere of Greg Pierce’s Slowgirl (Mar 12, 2014), about a teenager visiting her uncle in Costa Rica, starring William Petersen, helmed by Randall Arney, who will also stage it at his previous artistic home, Chicago’s Steppenwolf; Â Steven Drukman‘s Death of the Author (May 28, 2014), focusing on the machinations of a plagiarism case at a college; and the debut of Margulies’ The Country House (June 18, 2014), helmed by Daniel Sullivan, inspired by Anton Chekhov‘s pastoral comedies, examining a family of actors reuniting for the summer during the Williamstown Theatre Festival season (which, in real life, was once run by Center Theatre Group’s Michael Ritchie).Â Geffen’s season also includes the return of Margulies’ Coney Island Christmas (Dec. 4-24), again staged by DeLorenzo. A final production will be announced at a later date.
COLONY TO COMPLETE SEASON: Colony Theatre is going ahead with its previously announced final production of the 2012-2013 season, Falling For Make Believe, although it has not raised the $500,000 that had been identified last October as the amount that had to be raised in order to complete the season. When the financial crisis was announced, $500,000 was declared the target “in order to discharge our obligations, produce the final two shows of the season, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight and Falling for Make Believe, andÂ ensure that we will be here in the future.” Artistic director Barbara Beckley acknowledged today that the goal had not been reached, although I’ll Be Back Before Midnight has already been produced and Falling For Make Believe is now scheduled to open on April 27 and continue through May 19. She declined to say how much money had been raised, but in an email she wrote that “the $500,000 was to stabilize our operation and secure the future.Â We managed to make it to the end of the season, but our future is uncertain at this time.” In the Colony release announcing Make Believe, executive director Trent Steelman added that “we are working on a plan to move forward, and will announce a new season when we are confident that we can deliver it.Â At this time I would say that we are cautiously optimistic.” As previously announced, Falling for Make Believe is a musical primarily about lyricist Lorenz Hart, with songs by Richard Rodgers and Hart and a new book by Mark Saltzman. Jim Fall is directing. Hart and Rodgers will be played by Ben D. Goldberg and Brett Ryback, respectively…
S.T.A.G.E“¦The all-star lineup is complete for the cast of the 29th annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.), Broadway, My Way, this Saturday at Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, helmed by founder David Galligan, with John McDaniel returning as musical director. With the recent addition of Alex Newell (Glee), the ensemble includes Jim Bailey, Patrick Cassidy, Mary Jo Catlett, Carole Cook, Karen Culliver, Tyne Daly, Joely Fisher, Davis Gaines, Kathy Garrick, Marsha Kramer,Â Florence Henderson, Shirley Jones, Jane Lanier, Vicki Lewis, Kimberley Locke, Tom Lowe, Pat Marshall, Patricia Morison, The MuMos, Janis Paige, Madison Claire Parks, Valarie Pettiford, Andrew Rannells, Bruce Vilanch, Lisa Vroman, JoAnne Worley, and Terri White.Â The concert benefits AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA)“¦
PREMIERES”¦Emmy winner Susan Clark will appear in Latino Theater Company‘s LA premiere of Habitat by Canadian scripter Judith Thompson, helmed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, opening Apr 20 at Los Angeles Theatre Center. It focuses on the problems caused by a group home for troubled teens established in a neighborhood whose NIMBY (not in my back yard) residents initiate a protest… Jane Press’s My Mother’s Keeper, helmed by Robin McKee –Â looking through the lens of four generations of the mother-daughter dynamic makes its LA debut at the Electric Lodge in Venice, May 9″¦Skylight Theatre Company (formerly Katselas Theatre Company) is premiering Allen Barton’s Years to the Day — a tale of two 40-something men who re-meet after years of communicating only as social media friends — helmed by Joel Polis,Â opening Apr 6 at Beverly Hills Playhouse.Â The two-hander dark comedy features Jeff LeBeau and Michael Yavnieli“¦Theatre by the Blind — 12 visually impaired actors and musicians — introduce Yesterday’s, an ensemble comedy focusing on the efforts of “a gaggle of offbeat employees to keep a failing jazz club open,” scripted by Colin Simson and Lindsay Nyman. Co-helmed by Greg Shane and Nyman, opening April 18 at Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica”¦
AROUND TOWN”¦ Dolby Theatre within the Hollywood/Highland complex may no longer be home to Cirque du Soleil’s Iris, but it’s playing host to the touring Scooby–Doo Live! Musical Mysteries — wrought by writer/director Theresa Borg, composer Craig Bryant, and choreographer Katie Ditchburn — based on the animated TV series, on May 12 (Mother’s Day)”¦Ebony Repertory Theatre’s Dance@theHolden presents the first ever Street Dance LA event, with Versa-Style, Lux Aeterna and The Underground, featuring such styles as popping, locking, krumping, footwork, flexing, house and b-boying, one night only on Apr 5, Nate Holden Performing Arts Center”¦24th Street Theatre, in its mandate to “re-invent” theater for young audiences in Los Angeles, concludes its 15th anniversary season with Huraclown, an international co-production from Mexico sponsored by the LA County Department of Cultural Affairs,Â starring Mexican-born clown/performance artist Aziz Gual, Apr 21 and 28″¦LA Theatre Works is presenting five record-before-a-live-audience-for-future-broadcast performances of Pierre Corneille’s 17th century farce, The Liar, a comedic romp through romantic duplicity, translated by Richard Wilbur, helmed by Martin Jarvis, Apr-18-21, at the James Bridges Theater on the campus of UCLA”¦Chromolume Theatre is reviving Do Lord Remember Me, a play with music by James de Jongh, helmed by Wilson Bell, based on the memories of ex-slaves recorded in the 1930s, opening Apr 19. It was also produced by the company in 2006 and 2007 … Former Frank Sinatra opening comic Tom Dreesen is offering an evening of Sinatra reminiscences and other stories, Apr 12 and 13 at Theatre West”¦
EXTENSIONS“¦ Melancholia — approaching the topic of post-traumatic stress disorder with drama, humor, music, dance, movement and a little Shakespeare, developed by Latino Theater Company, helmed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, is extending at LA Theatre Center through Apr. 14″¦Seat of Your Pants Productions, visiting the Elephant Theatre in Hollywood, is continuing Roger Mathey‘s staging of Trainspotting, Harry Gibson’s graphic dramatization of the novel by Irvine Welsh, through June 2″¦And DOMA Theatre Company’s ambitious staging of Dreamgirls, with two dozen cast members and a six-piece onstage band,Â is holding its own, extending until May 5″¦
THE THING IS“¦ “I was pretty familiar with the play.Â I had seen it when I was a kid at a community theater growing up in Iowa.Â In college, the play was used a lot in scene study.Â I cut my acting teeth doing scenes playing Starbuck and other characters. The play has some great male roles. Then, about 13 years ago, I saw the play on Broadway starring Woody Harrelson.Â So when the director Jack Heller called me about doing the play and asked, “˜What do you think about this guy, Noah, the older brother to the central character, Lizzie (Tanna Frederick)?’ I feel very lucky playing him and it is a very challenging role. It is also very personal.Â I have come from many generations of folks from western Kansas. My grandfather told me many family stories about struggling to survive during the 1930s dust bowl years, when this play is set. I use his dialect when playing Noah. This is a very intense, moody person who feels the responsibility of the world on his shoulders.Â He is not kind to his sister.Â Yet he depends on her so much. So he does not really know how to communicate his needs and his feelings. The emotional journey Noah and Lizzie travel together makes this one of the most rewarding roles I’ve ever played.” -Â David Garver is performing in N. Richard Nash’sÂ The Rainmaker, which is extending at Edgemar Center in Santa Monica through May 5″¦.
INSIDE LA STAGE HISTORY”¦LA’s Lincoln Park is established in 1881, built around Lincoln Park Lake, serving the residents of East LA, with the park’s boathouse evolving into a community gathering area. In 1968, LA Recreation and Parks Department’s plans to demolish the historic boathouse are opposed by Mexican-born actress/singer Margo Albert and labor union organizer Frank Lopez, who petition that the space be converted into a community-based cultural arts and education center. On May 20, 1970 Plaza de la Raza is founded.Â During the ensuing three decades, Plaza establishes its School of Performing and Visual Arts, which services the economically- challenged community that surrounds it and provides a performance outlet for an ethnically diverse range of live professional theater and dance projects.Â Plaza de la Raza’s Margo Albert Theatre, located at 3540 N. Mission Blvd., plays host to such projects as Bella Lewitzky’s Dance Company, balletÂ folklÃ³ricoÂ troupes and master artists from Mexico, performances by Francisco Martinez Dance Company and the National Chinese Dance and Orchestra Ensemble in its first visits to the United States. Margo Albert Theatre also presents The Wonderful Ice Cream SuitÂ by Ray Bradbury (hosted by the author in 1974); the premiere ofÂ Alfredo Ramos’ The Last Angry Brown Hat; a residency ofÂ José LuisÂ Valenzuela’sÂ Latino Theater Initiative during 1995-1996; and the solo bio comedy, Â¡Cantinflas! by Herbert Siguenza of Culture Clash. Over the years, Plaza also hosts the LA Philharmonic Orchestra, Dr. Loco and the Rockin’ Jalapeno Band, Los Lobos.Â Today, Plaza de la Raza’s creative outreach includes the Target Feria de la Familia, now in its sixth year, featuring theatrical and musical performances by students each quarter, assisted by professional artists from the community”¦
Julio Martinez-produced and hosted Arts in Review, celebrates the best in LA-area theater and cabaret, Fridays (2 to 2:30 pm) on KPFK Radio (90.7FM).