RACE, LUNA GALE, CHAVEZ RAVINE, GIRLFRIEND and More Set for CTG's 11th Season at Kirk Douglas Theatre

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RACE, LUNA GALE, CHAVEZ RAVINE, GIRLFRIEND and More Set for CTG's 11th Season at Kirk Douglas TheatreCenter Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie has set the 11th season at the CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

In a jam-packed season of exciting work - from widely varied voices and at every level of development - the 2014-2015 season at the Kirk Douglas Theatre will include four powerful mainstage productions, five lively DouglasPlus productions and readings, and a critically acclaimed show for families and people of all ages.

"We start the mainstage season with David Mamet and his tinderbox of a play 'Race' and continue with the Goodman Theatre's world premiere production of Rebecca Gilman's smart and absorbing 'Luna Gale,'" said Ritchie. "L.A.'s very own Culture Clash will bring to the Douglas a new version of their popular 'Chavez Ravine,' followed by Matt Almond and Matthew Sweet's charmer of a musical 'Girlfriend.'"

"DouglasPlus presentations are interwoven through the entire season," said Ritchie. "A five-year-old CTG program, DouglasPlus provides us with the flexibility to explore new work and push boundaries. We have developed and presented many stimulating pieces through DouglasPlus, and that tradition certainly continues with this season.

"Dael Orlandersmith returns to us with the world premiere of her startling show 'Forever,' and we welcome the engaging voice of Lucy Alibar with her work in progress 'Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up.' Season ticket holders will have a chance to choose one of these two as part of their subscription."

"Two other DouglasPlus presentations are subscription bonus options," said Ritchie, "the U.S. premiere of Gob Squad's absurdist 'Western Society' and the world premiere production of Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's passionate 'How to be a Rock Critic.'

"This July, DouglasPlus gives us a chance to reflect on the Trayvon Martin case and all of its ramifications when we present both "Facing Our Truth: Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege" and the youth summit associated with it."

"We are also busy this season with our L.A. Company Partnerships programming," said Ritchie. "We are working with our friends, the Burglars of Hamm and the 24th Street Theatre, to make sure they receive extra support in presenting their work. "Burglars of Hamm will be producing 'The Behavior of Broadus' at Sacred Fools, and we will be presenting the 24th Street Theatre's remounting of 'Walking the Tightrope' at the Douglas for families and people of all ages. Through these collaborations, CTG benefits from and contributes to the unique artistic vitality of Los Angeles."

"This new season at the Douglas is a full, rich season," said Ritchie, "and it reflects the phenomenal growth we've had at this beautiful theatre. I particularly love the warm, inviting environment we have created for our audiences with our lobby engagement activities and with our friendly staff.

"October 31, 2014, will mark the 10th anniversary of the day that this one-time movie theatre was reborn as a live theatre space. Since the inaugural production of presciently named "A Perfect Wedding," we have strived to fill the theatre with an eclectic blend of voices and visions, of humanity and imagination, and above all, we have worked to create a space where artists and audiences feel comfortable and inspired to expand the way they relate and express themselves. The Douglas is meant to be a space for a marriage of ideas and entertainment, like the art of theatre itself. And, as with all good marriages, it is constantly evolving. I can't wait to share the Douglas' second decade together."

2014-15 SEASON LINEUP:

"Race"
by David Mamet

The Kirk Douglas Theatre's new season gets an explosive start with Pulitzer Prize -winning playwright David Mamet as he tackles America's most controversial topic in "Race," a provocative tale of sex, guilt and bold accusations, August 31 through September 28, 2014. The opening is set for September 7.

Scott Zigler will direct.

In "Race," two lawyers find themselves defending a wealthy white executive charged with sexually assaulting a black woman. When a new legal assistant gets involved in the case, the opinions that boil beneath explode to the surface.

When Mamet turns the spotlight on what is thought but not said, dangerous truths are revealed, and no punches are spared.

David Mamet was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for "Glengarry Glen Ross," for which he later wrote the screenplay. His other plays include "Speed the Plow," "American Buffalo" and "Boston Marriage," among others. CTG has presented "Romance" (2005-2006 season), "Oleanna" (2009 season) and "November" (2012 season; also directed by Zigler) at the Taper, and "Keep Your Pantheon" with "The Duck Variations" (2007-2008 season) at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Mamet's screenplays include "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "The Verdict," "The Untouchables" and "Wag the Dog." He has also directed 10 films. Mamet created and was the executive producer of the critically acclaimed CBS-TV series "The Unit." He is a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company, and the author of the bestselling "Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business," "The Wicked Son," "Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama," "True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor" and "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture."

"Luna Gale"
by Rebecca Gilman

The powerful and arresting "Luna Gale" by Rebecca Gilman will arrive at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in the Goodman Theatre's world premiere production directed by Robert Falls, November 23 to December 21, 2014. The opening is scheduled for December 2.

Gilman, whose "work reaches the heart and head with equal force," according to Time magazine, explores with profound humanity the issues of faith, family and one child's uncertain future.

A veteran social worker, Caroline, thinks she has a typical case on her hands when she meets Peter and Karlie, two teenage drug addicts accused of neglecting their baby, Luna Gale. But when Caroline places their daughter in the care of Karlie's very religious mother, she sparks a family conflict that exposes a shadowy past and forces her to make a risky decision with potentially life-altering consequences.

Rebecca Gilman's plays include "A True History of the Johnston Flood," "Boy Gets Girl," "Spinning Into Butter," "Blue Surge" (all of which were commissioned and originally produced by the Goodman Theatre, where she is an artistic associate), "The Story of Living," "The Sweetest Thing in Baseball," "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," "Dollhouse," "The Crowd You're in With," and most recently, "Soups, Stews and Casseroles: 1976." She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Harper Lee Award, the Scott McPherson Award, the Theater Masters Visionary Award and an Illinois Arts Council playwriting fellowship, among others.

"Chavez Ravine"
by Culture Clash

Culture Clash, with their trademark irreverent wit, returns to CTG with a new version of their popular "Chavez Ravine," January 27 through March 1, 2015. The opening is scheduled for February 1.

This revisited, re-imagined and remixed "Chavez Ravine" is written and performed by Culture Clash and will be directed by Lisa Peterson, who was at the helm of its world premiere in 2003 at the Mark Taper Forum.

Energized with new material and music from the Rodarte Brothers, Culture Clash continues to examine the constantly changing landscape of urban Los Angeles, in particular, the transformation of a small, tightly knit neighborhood into what was initially to be a low-income housing project, but eventually became Dodger Stadium.

Culture Clash is celebrating its 30th year of bold and fun theatre-making. Since 1984, Culture Clash - Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza - has combined its own satiric sense along with a vaudevillian tradition of performance into a group that has continually redefined the boundaries of theatre and broken down the divisions between cultures. Culture Clash has performed all over the country at major resident theatres and performing arts centers, and wrote, executive-produced and starred in 30 episodes of the first ever Latino-themed sketch comedy show, "Culture Clash the T.V. Show" for Fox Broadcasting.

"Chavez Ravine" was originally commissioned by Center Theatre Group. The presentation at the Kirk Douglas Theatre is the seventh Culture Clash presentation at CTG. In addition to "Chavez Ravine" - "Water & Power" (world premiere), "Carpa Clash," "Culture Clash in Bordertown" and "Palestine, New Mexico" (world premiere) were presented at the Mark Taper Forum, and "American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose" was presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

"Girlfriend"
Book by Todd Almond
Music and Lyrics by Matthew Sweet

"Girlfriend," a gem of a musical with a touching and genuine story about first love, is the fourth production in the Douglas season, July 12 through August 9, 2015. The book for "Girlfriend" is by Todd Almond with music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet. The opening is scheduled for July 19. "Girlfriend" will be directed by Les Waters, who directed the world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2010 and a subsequent production last year at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Set in Nebraska in the 1990s, two teenage boys - one a social outcast, the other the quintessential jock - explore a relationship during a summer of self-discovery between high school graduation and the rest of their lives. Set to irresistible songs from Matthew Sweet's landmark pop album of the same name, this rock musical gives voice to those who grew up in small towns, to those who didn't quite fit in and to everyone who remembers the terror and thrill of first love.

Todd Almond is a composer, lyricist and playwright. He most recently wrote the music for Sarah Ruhl's "Stage Kiss" at Playwrights Horizons, and collaborated with director Lear deBessonet on an adaptation of "The Tempest" for the Public Theater's Public Works. His other work includes a musical version of Ruhl's "Melancholy Play," music and lyrics for "We Have Always Lived in The Castle," "On the Levee" and his own musical adaptation of "The Odyssey," among others. His albums include "Mexico City" and "Memorial Day."

Matthew Sweet's albums include "100% Fun" (1995), "Altered Beast" (1993), "Blue Sky on Mars" (1997), "Earth" (1989), "Girlfriend" (1991), "In Reverse" (1999), "Inside" (1986), "Kimi Ga Suki" (2004), "Living Things" (2004), "Son of Altered Beast" (1994) and "The Thorns" (2003). He has recorded two volumes of classic hit duets from the 60s and 70s, "Under the Covers 1 and 2," with Susannah Hoffs; his solo album, "Sunshine Lies," in 2008; and his most recent album, "Modern Art," in 2011.

DouglasPlus:

[Kirk Douglas Theatre season ticket holders will have their choice of one of the following DouglasPlus presentations as part of their season order.]

"Forever"
by Dael Orlandersmith

The world premiere of celebrated playwright and performer Dael Orlandersmith's "Forever" will be presented as the Kirk Douglas Theatre, October 9 through 26, 2014, as part of CTG's innovative DouglasPlus programming. The opening is scheduled for October 12.

Commissioned by CTG and directed by Neel Keller, "Forever" is inspired in part by Orlandermith's experiences in Paris at the famed Pe?re Lachaise Cemetery where strangers from around the world make pilgrimages to the graves of such legendary artists as Marcel Proust, Richard Wright and Jim Morrison. Orlandersmith also investigates the complex legacy she received from her mother and their life in Harlem. "Forever" is a riveting and powerful piece about family - the ones we are born into, the strange way powerful bonds are formed with people who, though unrelated by blood, come to feel like family, and the legacies that shape us all.

Orlandersmith has been seen at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in a staged reading of "Forever" (2013), preceded her plays "Stoop Stories" and the world premiere of "Bones" (2010). Her award-winning plays have been commissioned and presented by theatres across the U.S., including "Black n' Blue/Broken Men," "Horsedreams," "The Blue Album," "Yellowman," "The Gimmick," "Monster" and "Beauty's Daughter." She is the recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, the Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim and the 2005 PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for a playwright in mid-career and a Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights Fellowship.

"Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up"
by Lucy Alibar

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lucy Alibar ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") brings her work in progress to the Kirk Douglas Theatre, May 21 through 31, 2015, in a DouglasPlus presentation directed by Neel Keller.

Written and performed by Alibar, "Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up" blends a lecherous goat, Pentecostals on the radio, Daddy's .38 special and a house full of dogs, cats and Febreze, and countless other rich ingredients into a delicious and magical stew of stories about a singular childhood in Grady County, Florida.

Alibar's plays have been produced or developed at the National Theatre Studio in London, Joe's Pub, the Ojai Playwright's Festival, Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, Williamstown Theatre Festival, HERE Arts Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, among others. The film "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which is an adaptation of her stage play "Juicy and Delicious," also received the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, the Cannes Film Festival Camera D'Or, a Scripter Award and a BAFTA nomination.

DouglasPlus Bonus Options

[Kirk Douglas Theatre season ticket holders will be able to purchase these DouglasPlus presentations as a bonus option to their season order.]

"Western Society"
Devised and Performed by Gob Squad

The United States premiere of "Western Society," devised and performed by the ingenious international artists collective Gob Squad, will be co-produced by CTG and REDCAT, with the support of the British Council, and performed at REDCAT. The opening is September 17 and the presentation will run through September 20, 2014. In "Western Society," which premiered in October 2013 in Berlin, Germany, Gob Squad takes the least watched video on YouTube, a video set in an anonymous living room at a family gathering somewhere on the edge of the western world, and explores how it condenses a million years of human history into 10 minutes. Gob Squad reconstructs this tiny piece of history over and over again, and invites audience members to take part. The Berliner Morgenpost said, "The show has an irresistible magic and is quite simply a barrel load of fun."

"Western Society" is included in the DouglasPlus programming for the 2014-2015 season. It is a CTG production commission, made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Gob Squad is a group of U.K. and German artists who are based mainly in Berlin and who work collaboratively on the concept, direction and performance of their work. They explore the point where theatre meets art, media and real life. Everyday life and magic, banality and utopia, reality and entertainment are all set on a collision course, and the audience is often asked to step beyond their traditional role as passive spectators and bear witness to the results. Gob Squad's work is regularly shown throughout Europe.

The world premiere production of "Western Society" was originally produced by HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin; Spielart Festival, Munich; and brut Wien, Vienna. The premiere was co-produced with House on Fire, with the support of Culture Programme of the European Union and Kulturverwaltung Berlin.

"How to be a Rock Critic"
by Jessica Blank and Eric Jensen

The world premiere production of "How to be a Rock Critic," based on the writings of Lester Bangs, the rock critic who reached iconic status in the 1970s with his passionate, intellectually honest writing, will be presented as part of DouglasPlus, opening June 17 and continuing through June 28, 2015, in the theatre's rehearsal space, Upstairs@KDT.

Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, performed by Jensen and directed by Blank, "How to be a Rock Critic" follows the brief and outsized life of Bangs, who wrote about the The Clash, Bob Marley, Lou Reed, Blondie, Iggy Pop, The Ramones and many more, in publications such as Rolling Stone, Creem, Village Voice and Playboy. His writing was wild, funny, original, unpredictable and dedicated to stripping away the marketing jargon surrounding the artists.

Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen are actors, writers and directors, and together have authored "The Exonerated," a play based on interviews with over 40 wrongfully convicted death row inmates in the United States (Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Ovation Awards, among others). Blank and Jensen's documentary play "Aftermath" was based on interviews conducted with Iraqi civilian refugees in Jordan and directed by Jessica (a New York Times Critics' Pick and was nominated for two Drama League Awards).

Jessica co-wrote the play "Liberty City" with April Yvette (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards), and has written three books - "Almost Home," "Karma for Beginners" and a new one coming out this year. Jessica appeared regularly on the CBS series "Made in Jersey." Her other T.V. credits include "The Mentalist," "Rescue Me" and "Law & Order: CI." Her film acting credits include "The Namesake," "You're Nobody Till Somebody Kills You," "The Exonerated" and several indies.

Erik's TV acting credits include leads in the NBC pilot "The Frontier," the Fox pilot "Virtuality," the TNT pilot "The Dark" and "The Bronx Is Burning," as well as work on "NCIS: LA," "CSI," "Law & Order: CI" and many more. His film credits include "Black Knight," "The Love Letter" and several indies. Notable stage appearances include "Y2K" and "Corpus Christi" (Manhattan Theatre Club), "The Good Negro" (Public Theater) and the role of Lenny Bruce in "Schmucks" (Wilma Theater). Erik's sci-fi graphic novel "The Reconcilers" was published in 2010 to wide acclaim.

"How to be a Rock Critic" is a CTG completion commission, which is given to collective creators who have developed the piece elsewhere but desire further support to complete the work. Completion commissions are made possible by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

A Special DouglasPlus Presentation:

"Facing Our Truth: Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege"

To mark the first anniversary of George Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, Center Theatre Group is presenting a special DouglasPlus reading of "Facing Our Truth: Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre on July 13, 2014.

The six plays comprising "Facing Our Truth" were commissioned by New Black Fest (based in New York). CTG is one of several theaters nationwide joining in the presentation of "Facing Our Truth" including Wooly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C., Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

The playwrights, who were chosen for the range of perspectives they bring to this difficult topic, include Marcus Gardley, Mona Mansour with Tala Manassah, Winter Miller, Dan O'Brien with Grammy Award-winning composer Quetzal Flores, and A. Rey Pamatmat. "Facing Our Truth" is co-directed by Shirley Jo Finney and Michael Matthews.

A "Facing Our Truth" Youth Summit will be held on June 12 for 17 and 18-year-old delegates from across Los Angeles. Following the reading of the plays, teen facilitators will lead discussions on race, youth violence and activism through art. These facilitators will report their findings from the summit at a post-discussion following the public reading the next day.

Los Angeles Company Partnerships:

Center Theatre Group, through its Los Angeles Company Partnerships programming, commissions new work from local ensembles, supports productions at partner theatres and presents their work on CTG's stages. Los Angeles audiences are encouraged to see these other productions in town, all of which are presented in association with CTG.

- "The Behavior of Broadus" by Burglars of Hamm - Carolyn Almos, Matt Almos, Jon Beauregard and Albert Dayan. Original songs by Matt Almos and Brendan Milburn with Burglars of Hamm. Choreography by Ken Roht. Directed by Matt Almos.

A CTG commission, "The Behavior of Broadus" is the incredible, sort-of-true story of Broadus Watson, father of Behaviorism and modern advertising. A mind- bending new musical about love, science and rats.

CTG produced a DouglasPlus staged reading of "The Behavior of Broadus" in 2011.

This production of "The Behavior of Broadus" is a CTG completion commission, made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Performances are at Sacred Fools Theater Company in Los Angeles, September 9 through October 18, 2014. For more information, visit SacredFools.org.

- "Walking the Tightrope" by Mike Kenny, directed by Debbie Devine. A production of the 24th Street Theatre remounted for the Kirk Douglas Theatre presentation. For families and all ages.

Written by one of England's leading writers for young audiences, "Walking the Tightrope" is a sweet and funny story of a grandfather who, while trying to tell his five- year-old granddaughter that Grandma is gone, begins to build a beautiful new relationship with her.

Performances are at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, May 2 and 3, 2015. (Student performances April 28 through May 1.) For more information, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/Tightrope.

2014-2015 Season is Currently Available by Season Ticket Memberships Only

The 2014-2015 season at the Douglas is currently available by season ticket memberships only. The subscription includes the four mainstage productions - "Race," "Luna Gale," "Chavez Ravine" and "The Girlfriend," plus the subscriber's choice of one of these two DouglasPlus shows - "Forever" or "Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up." The bonus options for the season - "Western Society" and "How to be a Rock Star" are also available at this time when purchased with a season ticket package.

For information and to charge season tickets by phone, call the Exclusive Season Ticket Membership Hotline at (213) 972-4444. For more information about season tickets visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/Douglas. Tickets for "Facing Our Truth" will go on sale to the public June 10, and tickets for "Walking theTightrope" will be available later in the season. For "The Behavior of Broadus," contact the Sacred Fools Theater Company.

The Douglas Experience:

A popular feature of the Kirk Douglas Theatre is The Lounge, where patrons can enjoy a cocktail before and after the show in the comfortable lobby of the theatre, and chat with the well-informed and engaging staff. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks can be taken into the seating area.

Patrons are encouraged to come early and explore the interactive displays and activities in The Lounge that are specially crafted for each production. Past productions have included experiences as diverse as an electric guitar placed in the historic ticket booth outside the theatre for audiences to learn a few chords or show off their stuff (for "The Black Suits"), a community cookbook assembled from family recipes provided by audience members (for "different words for the same thing"), and a series of citizenship tests that patrons could take to win prizes (for "American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose?").

In addition, certain productions feature post-show conversations in The Lounge facilitated by CTG's knowledgeable and specially trained staff. Each production features Stage Talks (post-play discussions in the theatre) for two of the performances. Also available for each production is AfterWords, which takes place a week after the show has closed; audience members are encouraged to come back to the theatre for a fun, social hour of refreshments and a discussion of the play.

The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd. in Culver City. Parking is free in the nearby Culver City's City Hall garage, and a number of the restaurants within steps of the theatre offer exclusive discounts to Douglas Theatre ticket holders.

Center Theatre Group, a non-profit organization, is one of the largest and most active theatre companies in the nation, programming subscription seasons year-round at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and the 1,600 to 2,000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center of Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to providing theatre of the highest caliber to the rich, diverse communities of Southern California and beyond, CTG supports a significant number of play development and arts education initiatives.

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