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Manilow's HARMONY, DeVito and Griffiths in THE SUNSHINE BOYS, WE WILL ROCK YOU, PORGY & BESS & More Set for Ahmanson in 2013-14

The 2013-2014 Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre season was announced today by CTG Artistic Director Michael Ritchie.

The new season, the 47th season at the Music Center of Los Angeles, will include Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths, fresh from London's West End, in the United States premiere of the hilarious new production of Neil Simon's "The Sunshine Boys"; the imaginative Broadway hit and grown-up's prequel to Peter Pan, "Peter and the Starcatcher"; the hauntingly beautiful musical by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, "Harmony"; the 2012 Tony Award-winner for Best Revival of a Musical, a stunning new adaptation of an American classic, "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess"; and London's long-running hit Queen and Ben Elton's "We Will Rock You."

In addition, two special bonus options are scheduled for the new season: "Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty," a gothic romance from the master director/choreographer and storyteller, and the United States premiere of "The Last Confession" starring David Suchet in a tale that is part thriller and part meditation on the nature of faith.

"This is a strong season that is jam-packed with the best of recent Broadway and West End hits," said Michael Ritchie, CTG's Artistic Director.

"I am eager to see such pros as Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths take on Neil Simon and his sidesplitting 'The Sunshine Boys.' And what an honor to be presenting 'Harmony,' a very special musical crafted with such love and care by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman."

We also have 'Peter and the Starcatcher,' said Ritchie, "which is an out and out celebration of imagination and what makes theatre unique. In addition, we are presenting two exquisite adaptations of legendary classics, 'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess' and 'Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty.'

"The season closes with a fascinating drama and an infectious musical - 'The Last Confession,' set in the Vatican and starring one of the U.K.'s finest actors, David Suchet, and the first North American tour of a rock musical much beloved in London, 'We Will Rock You.' "

Manilow's HARMONY, DeVito and Griffiths in THE SUNSHINE BOYS, WE WILL ROCK YOU, PORGY & BESS & More Set for Ahmanson in 2013-14Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths in
THE SUNSHINE BOYS
by Neil Simon
Directed by Thea Sharrock

Marking his return to the American stage after 42 years, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Danny DeVito is reunited with Tony Award and Olivier Award-winner Richard Griffiths in a new production of Neil Simon's hilarious and touching comedy "The Sunshine Boys," which will be presented at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre following a critically acclaimed production in London's West End last summer.

Olivier Award-winning Thea Sharrock, who was at the helm of the West End production, will direct the United States premiere of this production of "The Sunshine Boys" at the Ahmanson, September 24 through November 3, 2013. The opening is scheduled for October 2.

Willie Clark (DeVito) and Al Lewis (Griffiths) are former vaudevillian stars who, after a partnership of over 40 years, are now no longer speaking with each other. When a lucrative television offer for one last show lures them into a grudging reunion, sparks fly in this classic comedy of showbiz and friendship.

Danny DeVito won both a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Louie De Palma in the hit comedy "Taxi." He co-starred in two Academy Award-winning films, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," in a role he also played on stage, and "Terms of Endearment." His other film credits include "The Ratings Game," "Throw Momma From the Train," "The War of the Roses," "Hoffa," "Death to Smoochy" and "Matilda." He is currently starring in the eighth season of FX's acclaimed cult comedy "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and recently wrapped production on his first horror feature, "The November Project," which he directed and produced. He also voiced the Lorax in the animated feature "The Lorax."

Richard Griffiths won the Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Actor for his portrayal of Hector in "The History Boys" at The National Theatre and on Broadway, a role he also played on screen. Griffiths has previously been directed by Thea Sharrock in "Equus" in London and on Broadway. His other theatre credits include "Heroes," "The Habit of Art," "Luther," "Henry VIII" (title role), "Volpone," "Red Star," "The Man Who Came to Dinner," "Katherine Howard," "Heartbreak House," "Galileo" (title role) and "Rules of the Game." His numerous movies include the Harry Potter films, "Withnail and I," "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Private Peaceful," "Stage Beauty," "Sleepy Hollow" and "Gorky Park," among many others.

Thea Sharrock won the 2011 Olivier Award for Best Revival for "After the Dance" at London's National Theatre where she has also directed "13," "Happy Now?" and "The Emperor Jones." She directed "Heroes" at the Geffen Playhouse, starring George Segal, Richard Benjamin and Len Cariou. Her other theatre credits include "Cause Célèbre" for the Old Vic and "The Misanthrope" at the Comedy Theatre.

Center Theatre Group has presented 15 plays by Neil Simon including his Tony Award-winning "The Odd Couple," "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Biloxi Blues," and the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning "Lost in Yonkers." Simon is the only living playwright to have a Broadway theatre named after him. He also received a Special Tony for his contributions to theatre, has been inducted in the Theater Hall of Fame, and is a Kennedy Center honoree.

"The Sunshine Boys" was first produced on Broadway in 1972 and was later adapted for film and television. Sam Levene and Jack Albertson played Lewis and Clark in the stage premiere directed by Alan Arkin. Neil Simon's 1975 Academy award-winning film adaptation starred George Burns as Lewis and Walter Matthau as Clark and was directed by Herbert Ross.

"The Sunshine Boys" is produced by Richard Willis, Sonia Friedman Productions and Tulchin Bartner Productions.

Manilow's HARMONY, DeVito and Griffiths in THE SUNSHINE BOYS, WE WILL ROCK YOU, PORGY & BESS & More Set for Ahmanson in 2013-14PETER AND THE STARCATCHER
by Rick Elice
Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers

The five-time Tony Award-winning musical play "Peter and the Starcatcher," a swashbuckling prequel to Peter Pan, will be presented at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre during the holiday season, December 3, 2013, through January 12, 2014. Opening is scheduled for December 4.

Based on The New York Timesbest-selling Disney-Hyperion novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the imaginative play tells the tale of an orphan who heads to a faraway land, where he finds love, friendship, and, ultimately, himself. "Peter and the Starcatcher" is comprised of a company of 12 actors playing more than a hundred unforgettable characters, all on a journey to answer the century-old question: How did Peter Pan become The Boy Who Never Grew Up?

The award-winning design team for "Peter and the Starcatcher" includes Wayne Barker (Music), Steven Hoggett (Movement), Marco Paguia (Music Supervision), Donyale Werle (Scenic Design), Paloma Young (Costume Design), Jeff Croiter (Lighting Design) and Darron L. West (Sound Design).

"Peter and the Starcatcher" is produced by Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Greg Schaffert, Eva Price, Tom Smedes and Disney Theatrical Productions.

Playwright Rick Elice's Broadway credits include "Jersey Boys" (with Marshall Brickman, directed by Des McAnuff; Tony Award, Best Musical) and "The Addams Family" (with Marshall Brickman and Andrew Lippa, directed by Jerry Zaks). He is currently working on "Superfly" (with Seth Zvi Rosenfeld, directed by Bill T. Jones). He was nominated for two Tony Awards for his work on "Peter and the Starcatcher" (Best Play and Score).

Co-Director Roger Rees' off-Broadway credits include "Mud, River, Stone" (Playwrights), "Arms and the Man" (Roundabout) and "Here Lies Jenny" (Zipper). In the U.K., Rees has directed at the Bristol Old Vic "Julius Caesar," "Turkey Time" and "John Bull." Regionally, he was the Artistic Director of Williamstown Theatre Festival from 2005-2007 where he directed "The Film Society," "Rivals," "Taming of the Shrew," "Double Double," "Late Middle Classes" and "Anything Goes." He also directed "Herringbone" (WTF, McCarter, La Jolla); "Red Memories" (NYSF); "Merry Wives" and "Love's Labour's Lost" (Old Globe); "Primrose Path" (Guthrie); and "Treemonisha," "Juniper Tree," "White House Cantata" and "Firebrand of Florence" (Collegiate Chorale, NY). Rees has directed episodes of "Oz" for HBO. He received a Tony Award nomination for his co-direction of "Peter and the Starcatcher."

Co-Director Alex Timbers is a two-time Tony Award-nominee and the recipient of Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, as well as two Obie Awards. For "Peter and the Starcatcher," he received a Tony Award nomination and an Obie Award. He also directed "The Pee-Wee Herman Show," "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" (for which he was also the book writer, and he won Drama Desk, Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and a Tony Award nomination), "A Very Unmerry . . ." (Obie Award), "Gutenberg! The Musical!" (Drama Desk nomination) and "Hell House" (Drama Desk nomination).

Manilow's HARMONY, DeVito and Griffiths in THE SUNSHINE BOYS, WE WILL ROCK YOU, PORGY & BESS & More Set for Ahmanson in 2013-14HARMONY
A New Musical
Music by Barry Manilow Book and Lyrics by Bruce Sussman
Directed by Tony Speciale

The hauntingly beautiful "Harmony," with music by Barry Manilow and book and lyrics by Bruce Sussman, will be presented at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre in a co-production with the ALLIANCE THEATRE of Atlanta, March 5 through April 13, 2014. The opening is set for March 12.

Directed by Tony Speciale, "Harmony" is inspired by the true story of The Comedian Harmonists, six young men in 1920s and 1930s Germany who rose from unemployed street musicians to become world-famous entertainers, selling millions of records, starring in over a dozen films, and selling out the most prestigious concert halls around the world.

Yet while The Comedian Harmonists' sophisticated music, paired with hilarious comedy, made them the brightest of stars, the group's mixture of Jews and non-Jews put them on a collision course with history.

Longtime collaborators Manilow and Sussman state that "the story of The Comedian Harmonists is about the quest for harmony in what turned out to be the most discordant chapter of human history. Writing 'Harmony' has been the highlight of our creative lives, and it has been an indescribable honor to spend time in the company of these six extraordinary men, and the women they loved."

Barry Manilow is an internationally known star whose talents and success have reached every facet of entertainment. He has sold 80 million records. Rolling Stone called him "The Showman of our generation." He is a Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winner, as well as an Academy Award nominee. His theatrical roots go back to his days in the mailroom at CBS in New York, when, at 18, he wrote the entire original score for a musical adaptation for the melodrama "The Drunkard." The show ran off-Broadway for eight years. He made his film scoring debut in 1994 with the Warner Brothers animated film "Thumbelina," for which he contributed songs written with his "Harmony" collaborator Bruce Sussman. His second animated feature, "The Pebble and the Penguin"(MGM), once again featured songs by Manilow and Sussman. "Copacabana," (written with Sussman) played a sold out run in London's West End for 18 months, toured the U.S. and is currently touring all over the world. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. Manilow recently finished a six-week, sold-out run in New York at the St. James Theatre. The show called "Manilow on Broadway" received glowing reviews and played to wildly enthusiastic audiences. He considers "Harmony" the most rewarding creative experience of his career.

Bruce Sussman is the co-author of well over 200 published and recorded songs written for dozens of artists, films, television programs and stage musicals. The majority of these projects were written with his collaborator of 40 years, Barry Manilow. For the stage, he co-authored the scores for Ted Tally's "Coming Attractions" (Outer Critics Circle Award, Pulitzer Prize nominee) and Wendy Wasserstein's only musical, "Miami." His songs have been featured in numerous stage revues including "The Madwoman of Central Park West," "Tuxedos for Hire," and the long-running off-Broadway and London productions of "Whoop-Dee-Doo!" (Drama Desk Award, Obie Award). For television, he is the author of scripts and scores for several Emmy Award-winning children's series, including "The Unicorn Tales," "Hip Patches," "Cranberry Christmas" and "Nick and Noel." He wrote a song for the televised bicentennial celebration of the United States Constitution. The song, "Let Freedom Ring," was later performed at the televised Inaugural Gala for President Clinton. With Manilow, he wrote the song score for the animated feature films "The Pebble and the Penguin," "Thumbelina" and Disney's "Oliver and Co." His songs have been featured in over two dozen feature films and have been recorded by an array of pop, jazz, country and International Artists, earning Grammy Awards and multiple gold and platinum records from around the world.

Tony Speciale is the founder of Plastic Theatre, where he conceived, co-authored and directed the world premiere of "Unnatural Acts: Harvard's Secret Court of 1920" (Classic Stage Company, 2011 Drama Desk nominee for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Director and Outstanding Featured Actor; GLAAD Media Award nominee for Outstanding New York Theater; Off Broadway Alliance Award nominee for Best New Play). Other directing credits at Classic Stage Company include "A Midsummer Night's Dream" featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac, "Macbeth," "Twelfth Night," "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Taming of the Shrew." Speciale's work has been seen at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Theatre Row, New York Musical Theatre Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, NY International Fringe Festival, HERE Arts Center and La MaMa. He is the former Associate Artistic Director at Classic Stage Company. He studied musical theatre at The Boston Conservatory and holds an MFA in Directing from Columbia University. He received a 2009 Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium.

THE GERSHWIN'S PORGY AND BESS
by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin
Book Adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and Musical Score Adapted by Diedre L. Murray
Directed by Diane Paulus

A stunning and stirring new staging of "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess," winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, will grace the Ahmanson stage, April 22 through June 1, 2014. Opening is scheduled for April 23.

"The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin, features one of Broadway's most accomplished creative teams, led by Tony-nominated director Diane Paulus ("Hair"), Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks("Topdog/Underdog"), and two-time Obie Award-winning composer Diedre L. Murray ("Running Man"). The creative team also includes choreographer Ronald K. Brown, set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer Esosa, lighting designer Christopher Akerlindand sound designer ACME Sound Partners.

Based on DuBose Heyward's novel "Porgy" and the play of the same name, which he co-wrote with his wife, Dorothy Heyward, the Broadway revival of "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" includes such legendary songs such as "Summertime," "It Ain't Necessarily So" and "I Got Plenty of Nothing." The classic story is set in fabled Catfish Row, where the beautiful Bess struggles to break free from her scandalous past, and the only one who can rescue her is the courageous Porgy. Threatened by her formidable former lover, Crown, and the enticements of the colorful troublemaker Sporting Life, Porgy and Bess' relationship evolves into a deep romance that becomes one of theatre's most exhilarating love stories.

Following its sold-out world premiere engagement at Boston's American Repertory Theater, "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" moved to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway for a limited engagement in January 2012. The production was extended two times, making it the longest running production of "Porgy and Bess" to ever play Broadway. The 2012 Broadway cast recording of "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" is now available on PS Classics.

"Porgy and Bess" first premiered at the Colonial Theatre in Boston on September 30, 1935. Broadway performances followed featuring a cast of classically trained African-American singers - a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time. This new adaptation of the show, "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess," was specifically created for Broadway and features a revised book in a musical theatre format and jazz-oriented musical arrangements.

Diane Paulus is the Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater, where she helmed "Death and The Powers: The Robots' Opera," "Prometheus Bound," "The Donkey Show," "Best of Both Worlds" and "Johnny Baseball" since her inaugural season in 2009. This spring she will launch her ART production of "Pippin" on Broadway. Her recent theatre credits include The Public Theater's revival of "Hair"on Broadway (2009 Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical and nominated for eight Tony Awards including Best Director), London's West End and the national tour. Her other recent work includes "Kiss Me, Kate" (Glimmerglass Opera) and "Lost Highway" (ENO co-production with the Young Vic). She has numerous opera directing credits.

Suzan-Lori Parks, a MacArthur "Genius" grant recipient, is the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for the Broadway hit "Topdog/Underdog." Other plays include "In the Blood" (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist), "Venus" (1996 Obie Award) and "Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom" (1990 Obie Award for Best New American Play), among others. Her screenplays include "Girl 6" for Spike Lee and her adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's classic novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God" for ABC's Oprah Winfrey Presents. Her project "365 Plays/365 Days" was produced in over 700 theatres worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theatre history.

Diedre L. Murrayis a Pulitzer Prize finalist, two-time Obie Winner and master musician. A composer, cellist, producer and curator, her credits include "Unending Pain," "Let's Go Down to the River," "The Eves of Nhor," "Five Minute Tango," "You Don't Miss the Water," "Women in the Dunes," the jazz-opera "Running Man" (for which she wrote the original story, score, and book with Cornelius Eady, and which won two Obie Awards and was named a finalist for the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and music arrangements for "Eli's Coming" (for which she won an Obie Award), among others. Her work with Diane Paulus includes "The Blackamour Angel," an adaptation by Paulus of James Baldwin's "Another Country" and "Best of Both Worlds" with Randy Weiner, directed by Paulus.

Manilow's HARMONY, DeVito and Griffiths in THE SUNSHINE BOYS, WE WILL ROCK YOU, PORGY & BESS & More Set for Ahmanson in 2013-14Queen and Ben Elton's WE WILL ROCK YOU
Created by Ben Elton
Musical Supervisors - Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor

The long-running, West End smash hit musical Queen and Ben Elton's "We Will Rock You" is being presented in its first North American tour and will land at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre next summer, July 15 through August 24, 2014. Opening is scheduled for July 16.

The "rock theatrical," which is built around 24 of the biggest hits of the rock group Queen, delivers a show that boasts the scale and electrifying spectacle that marked the band's legendary live performances.

"We Will Rock You" is created by celebrated British comedian Ben Elton and includes such songs as "Another One Bites The Dust," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "We Are The Champions," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and, of course, "We Will Rock You." Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor are the musical supervisors.

"We Will Rock You" is set in the future on a planet once called Earth that is now controlled by a big corporation. Computer-generated music reigns, no rock music is heard, all musical instruments are banned and conformity is enforced. A pair of young renegades, Galileo and Scaramouche, dare to break free and bring the power of rock back to the people.

"We Will Rock You," which received the 2011 Olivier Audience Award, has been playing to enthusiastic crowds for 11 years in London, and has had productions in more than 15 countries.

The North American tour of "We Will Rock You" is produced by Queen Theatrical Productions, Tribeca Theatrical Productions, Phil Mcintyre Entertainment and NETworks Presentations.

Ben Elton, a British comedy star, co-wrote the hit BBC situation comedy "The Young Ones," which won BAFTA's Best Comedy Award, and such TV series as "Happy Families," "Filthy Rich and Catflap" and "The Thin Blue Line" (British Comedy Award). With co-writer Richard Curtis, he created three seasons of "Blackadder," winning four BAFTAs and an Emmy Award. Elton has written three West End plays, "Gasping," "Silly Cow" and "Popcorn" (Olivier Award for Best Comedy), and 13 novels.

Brian May is a founding member of Queen, and world-renowned guitarist, songwriter, producer and performer. He penned 22 of Queen's Top 20 hit singles including "We Will Rock You." Namesake to the worldwide hit "rock theatrical" musical, the track has been declared the most-played song at American sporting events, and was performed by May and Taylor for a TV audience estimated at one billion in the closing ceremonies of London's 2012 Olympic Games.

Roger Taylor, powerhouse drummer for Queen, wrote such landmark Queen hits as "Radio Ga Ga," "A Kind of Magic" and "Days of Our Lives." He has also released five solo albums - "I Wanna Testify," "Fun in Space," "Strange Frontier," "Happiness?" and "Electric Fire." For the musical "We Will Rock You," Taylor worked closely with May and Elton to shape the piece, and has served, along with May, as Musical Supervisor for the first production in London, and subsequent productions throughout the world.

SPECIAL BONUS OPTIONS TO THE SEASON:

Manilow's HARMONY, DeVito and Griffiths in THE SUNSHINE BOYS, WE WILL ROCK YOU, PORGY & BESS & More Set for Ahmanson in 2013-14Matthew Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY
A Gothic Romance
Music composed by Tchaikovsky
A New Adventures Production

The genius that is Matthew Bourne, and his company New Adventures, returns to the Ahmanson Theatre with a timeless tale for all ages, "Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty," A Gothic Romance.

"Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty" will be presented by Center Theatre Group and Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center as a special bonus option to the Ahmanson season subscription for two weeks only, opening November 21 and continuing performances through December 1, 2013.

Bourne has enjoyed a special relationship with Los Angeles audiences and the Ahmanson Theatre in particular. In addition to "Swan Lake," which had its American premiere at the Ahmanson in 1997, a total of six other Bourne productions have been presented - "Cinderella," "The Car Man," "Play Without Words," "Nutcracker!," "Edward Scissorhands" and "Mary Poppins."

"As an artist, I have long considered L.A. and the Ahmanson Theatre to be my second home," said Bourne. "Many of the most important and memorable performances of my career have taken place here. I am therefore delighted and thrilled to be returning to the L.A. audiences who first embraced my work so generously with the USA debut of my company and our production of 'Swan Lake.' It has long been my dream to complete the Tchaikovsky trilogy of ballet masterpieces, and bringing this new production of 'Sleeping Beauty' to the Music Center is a perfect way of saying thank you to those audiences who have supported us from the beginning in the USA."

A New Adventures production, "Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty" joins two other Tchaikovsky ballet masterworks that have been staged by Britain's most famed choreographer -

"Nutcracker!" in 1992, and, in 1995, the international hit "Swan Lake."

Bourne is the only British artist to have won a Tony Award on Broadway for both Best Choreographer and Best Director ("Swan Lake"), and has won over 50 international awards for his choreographic work, including the Broadway production of "Mary Poppins."

In "Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty," the traditional tale of good vs. evil, and of rebirth, is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story, across the decades, that even the passage of time itself cannot hinder.

Perrault's fairy tale about a young girl cursed to sleep for one hundred years was turned into a legendary ballet by Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa in 1890. Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the christening of Aurora, the story's heroine, in the year of the ballet's first performance at the height of the fin de siècle period when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination.

As Aurora grows into a young woman in the more rigid, uptight Edwardian era, a mythicAl Golden age of long summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day, a world more mysterious and wonderful than any fairy story.

With "Sleeping Beauty," Bourne works again with three of his regular collaborators and New Adventures Associate Artists, the Tony and Olivier Award-winning designers Lez Brotherston (Set and Costumes), Paule Constable (Lighting) and Paul Groothuis (Sound Design).

David Suchet in
THE LAST CONFESSION
by Roger Crane
Directed by Jonathan Church

David Suchet will star in a gripping new play of intrigue and mystery in the United States premiere of "The Last Confession" by Roger Crane at the Ahmanson Theatre, June 10 through July 6, 2014. The opening is scheduled for June 11.

The Chichester Festival Theatre production, directed by Jonathan Church, is part of the Mark Taper Forum 2014 season and will be presented as a bonus option to Ahmanson season ticket holders.

Set within the corridors of power in the Vatican, "The Last Confession" explores the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. He died only 33 days after being elected and before he could set his liberal reforms into place. Suspicions are aroused when it is revealed that the new Pope had warned three of his most influential but hostile Cardinals that they would be replaced on the evening before his death.

The Vatican refuses to conduct an official investigation into the death but the politically savvy Cardinal Giovanni Benelli (played by Suchet), who had engineered the election of Pope John Paul I, is determined to find the truth.

"The Last Confession" is produced by Paul Elliott, Duncan C. Weldon and Liza McLean. It premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre in April 2007, and then transferred to London's West End in June of the same year.

David Suchet, who is well known to American audiences for his role as Hercule Poirot in the long-running TV series "Agatha Christie's Poirot," is a leading British actor with an extensive career in theatre, film and television. Among his numerous theatre credits, he appeared on the West End in "Man and Boy," "The Play What I Wrote," "Amadeus" (also on Broadway and at the Ahmanson Theatre in 1999), George in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (Critic's Circle Award and Olivier Award nomination), "Oleanna" and several more. He also has extensive credits in the regional theatres of the U.K. His films include "Effie," "The Bank Job," "A Perfect Murder," "Sunday," "The In-Laws" and many more. In addition to "Poirot," for which he received a Best Actor BAFTA nomination, his TV credits include "Richard II," "Great Expectations," "Hidden," "Diverted," "Going Postal," "Maxwell," "Blott on the Landscape"(Best Actor, BAFTA), among many others.

Roger Crane is a New York-based lawyer and "The Last Confession" is his first play.

Jonathan Church is the Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre where he has directed "The Grapes of Wrath," "The Circle," "Hobson's Choice," "Pravda," "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" (co-directed, with Philip Franks), "The Critic"/ "The Real Inspector Hound" (co-directed with Sean Foley) and "Singin' in the Rain." West End productions include "Of Mice and Men" (Savoy Theatre and The Old Vic), "The Witches" (Wyndhams Theatre), "A Busy Day" (Lyric Theatre), "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" and "Singin' in the Rain" (Palace Theatre). U.K. touring productions include "The Crucible," "The Witches," "Of Mice and Men," "The Diary of Anne Frank," "Hobson's Choice," "God and Stephen Hawking," "Romeo and Juliet," "The Circle" and "Master Class."

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Tickets for the Ahmanson Theatre's 47th season are currently available by subscription only. For information and to charge season tickets by phone, call the Exclusive Season Ticket Hotline at (213) 972-4444. To purchase subscriptions online, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/Ahmanson. For information regarding audio description and Project D.A.T.E. (sign language interpreted, open caption and audio description performances) call TDD (213) 680-4017 or voice (213) 972-4444.

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