SEMINAR's Jeff Goldblum, END OF THE RAINBOW's Tracie Bennett and More Set for Center Theatre Group's 2012-13 Ahmanson Season!
The new season, the 46th season at the Music Center of Los Angeles, will include Jeff Goldblum in the West Coast premiere of the smart, sexy, new Broadway comedy "Seminar," Rachel York in the beloved 1930s musical romp – Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," the American premiere and pre-Broadway presentation of the dramatic musical "Backbeat" which features classic rock 'n' roll in its story of the birth of the Beatles, Tracie Bennett starring as the iconic Judy Garland in the West Coast premiere of the acclaimed play with music – "End of the Rainbow," and the daring new musical that explores a shocking event in American history – Kander and Ebb's "The Scottsboro Boys." In addition, the exuberant musical "Fela!" will return for a limited engagement as a bonus option to the season subscription.
October 10 through November 18, 2012
Academy Award and Emmy Award-nominee Jeff Goldblum will star in the sexy, smart, new comedy "Seminar" by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Peabody Award-winner Theresa Rebeck in the kickoff of the Ahmanson Theatre's new season, October 10 through November 18, 2012. The opening is set for October 17.
Directed by Obie Award-winner Sam Gold, "Seminar" arrives in Los Angeles for its West Coast premiere directly from its hit Broadway run.
In "Seminar," four aspiring young writers sign up for private writing classes with Leonard (played by Goldblum), an international literary figure. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored. The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this provocative new comedy.
"Seminar" had its world premiere on Broadway in November 2011. Goldblum joined the cast in April 2012.
The production of "Seminar" at the Ahmanson will feature the complete Broadway design team: set and costume design by Tony Award nominee and two-time Obie Award-winner David Zinn, lighting design by Drama Desk Award-nominee Ben Stanton and original music and sound design by two-time Drama Desk Award-winner John Gromada.
Further casting for "Seminar" will be announced at a later date.
Jeff Goldblum is a celebrated actor in theatre, film and television, who also appeared on Broadway in "The Pillowman" in 2005, and more recently in two productions for The Old Vic in London, "Speed-the-Plow" (2008) and "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" (2010). His diverse film credits include some of the highest-grossing films of all-time – "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" and "Independence Day," as well as such classics as "Nashville," "Death Wish," "The Big Chill," "Annie Hall," "The Life Aquatic," "Igby Goes Down" and "The Fly." He was nominated for an Oscar for his direction of the live action short film "Little Surprises." On television, he most recently starred on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." He earned an Emmy nomination for his guest appearance on "Will & Grace" and recently guest-starred on the hit series "Glee."
For nearly a decade, Theresa Rebeck's more than a dozen plays have been produced in New York, regionally and internationally, including the world premiere of "Poor Behavior" last year at the CTG/Mark Taper Forum. She made her Broadway debut with the Manhattan Theatre Club presentation of "Mauritius." "Seminar" marks the first time one of her works was produced as a commercial Broadway production. In 2003 she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her work "Omnium Gatherum." In addition to her work as a playwright, Rebeck is also a respected, award-winning television writer and producer – "NYPD Blue," (Peabody Award) and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," and she is the creator of NBC's new hit TV series "Smash." Her film writing credits include "Harriet the Spy" and "Seducing Charlie Barker," and her books include "Twelve Rooms with a View" and "Three Girls and Their Brother."
Director Sam Gold is one of the most consistently praised directors to emerge on the New York theatrical scene in the last several years. He made his mark with an impressive string of critically embraced off-Broadway productions prior to making his Broadway debut with "Seminar." He notably won a 2010 Obie Award for directing two Annie Baker productions, "Circle Mirror Transformation" and "The Aliens." His other acclaimed New York productions include the recent "The Big Meal," "Look Back in Anger," "Kin," "The Coward" and "Tigers Be Still," as well as Anita Baker's upcoming adaptation of "Uncle Vanya."
November 27, 2012, through January 6, 2013
The holiday season will be celebrated in grand style at the Ahmanson Theatre with the presentation of the Roundabout Theatre Company's 2011 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical masterpiece, "Anything Goes," November 27, 2012, through January 6, 2013. The opening is scheduled for November 28.
"Anything Goes" stars the critically acclaimed Broadway performer Rachel York in the heralded revival of the 1934 musical comedy about the lovers, liars and clowns on a transatlantic cruise.
Direction and choreography for "Anything Goes" is by Kathleen Marshall, who won the 2011 Tony Award for Best Choreography.
In "Anything Goes," when the S.S. American heads out to sea, etiquette and convention head out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set a course to true love . . . proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and some good old-fashioned blackmail.
Cole Porter's roundup of nostalgic hits in the production include "You're the Top," "Friendship," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "It's De-Lovely," "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" and, of course "Anything Goes."
The creative team for "Anything Goes" includes Bill Elliott (additional orchestrations), Rob Fisher (musical director) and David Chase (dance arranger). The set design is by Derek McLane, costume design by Martin Pakledinaz, lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski and sound design by Brian Ronan.
Rachel York is best known for her critically acclaimed Broadway performances in "City of Angels," "Les Misérables," "Victor/Victoria" (Drama Desk Award), "The Scarlet Pimpernel," "Sly Fox" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." She also turned heads on television with her courageous portrayal of Lucille Ball in the CBS movie "Lucy." Her film credits include "One Fine Day," "Happy Feet," "Billy Bathgate," "Killer Instinct," "Second Honeymoon" and "Au Pair II." Her debut solo album is called "Let's Fall in Love."
January 16 through February 24, 2013
The birth of one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands in history is told in the new dramatic musical "Backbeat," which will have its American premiere and pre-Broadway presentation at the Ahmanson Theatre, January 16 through February 24, 2013. The opening is set for January 23.
"Backbeat," the story of how the Beatles 'became' the Beatles, is co-written by Iain Softley and Stephen Jeffreys, based on the 1994 Universal Pictures film by Softley, Michael Thomas and Stephen Ward. "Backbeat" is directed by five-time Tony Award nominee David Leveaux.
Featuring the all-time rock 'n' roll classics that the Beatles cut their teeth on – "Money," "Long Tall Sally," "Twist and Shout," "Good Golly Miss Molly," "Please Mr. Postman," "Rock 'n' Roll Music" and more, "Backbeat" is set in 1960 when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best (the drummer before Ringo Starr joined the group) and Stuart Sutcliffe (the band's original bassist) embarked on their journey from the docks of Liverpool to the red light district of Hamburg. There they worked in the clubs of the tawdry Reeperbahn, performing rock 'n' roll covers night after night, all the while honing what would become the Beatles' sound.
"Backbeat" is also the compelling story of Sutcliffe, who falls in love with the striking German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, and must choose between being with her and resuming his painting, or staying with his best friend, John Lennon, and playing in the band. This triangular relationship became an intrinsic part of the Beatles story, and the decisions made and the music played put them on an unstoppable trajectory onto the world stage.
Casting for "Backbeat" will be announced at a later date.
"Backbeat" is presented by Karl Sydow in association with Glasgow Citizens Theatre, where it first opened in February 2010. "Backbeat" made its West End debut in London in October 2011. It will open in Toronto in July 2012. Following the presentation at the Ahmanson in early 2013, "Backbeat" will move to Broadway.
"End of the Rainbow"
March 12 through April 21, 2013
"End of the Rainbow," the acclaimed new play with music by Peter Quilter, starring two-time Olivier Award-winner and current Tony Award-nominee Tracie Bennett as Judy Garland and directed by Tony Award-winner Terry Johnson, will be presented in its West Coast premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre, March 12 through April 21, 2013. The opening is set for March 20.
Bennett's remarkable performance has garnered her the 2012 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, a 2012 Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance, along with Tony, Drama Desk and Drama League Award nominations.
The setting of "End of the Rainbow" is December 1968, and Judy Garland is about to make her comeback . . . again. In a London hotel room preparing for a series of concerts, with both her new young fiancé and her adoring accompanist, Garland struggles to get "beyond the rainbow" with her signature cocktail of talent, tenacity and razor-sharp wit. This savagely funny drama offers unique insight into the inner conflict that inspired and consumed one of the most beloved figures in American popular culture. "End of the Rainbow" features some of Garland's most memorable songs, performed with the show-stopping gusto for which she will always be remembered.
The balance of the cast for the show will be announced at a later date.
Tracie Bennett made her Broadway debut with "End of the Rainbow" and first appeared in the show on London's West End. Other West End productions include "La Cage Aux Folles," "Hairspray," "Les Misérables," "Cash on Delivery" and "She Loves Me." She has appeared on numerous tours and in regional theatre in the UK, and her film and television credits include "Shirley Valentine," "Knights and Emeralds," "Dalziel and Pascoe," "Northern Lights" and many others.
Peter Quilter's work has been produced in major theatres throughout the world, playing in 34 countries and translated into 22 languages. Three of his shows have been presented on London's West End, and he had twice been nominated for an Olivier Award. His other plays include "Glorious! (the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the worst singer in the world)," "The Morning After," "Celebrity," "Boyband," "The Nightingales" and the two-actor comedy "Duets."
April 25 to May 5, 2013
A Bonus Option
"Fela!," the 2010 Tony Award-nominated Best Musical that was an audience favorite and critically acclaimed at the Ahmanson Theatre in December-January of the 2011-2012 season, will return for 12 performances only in the new season as a bonus option to the Ahmanson Theatre season subscription.
The musical, produced by Shawn "Jay- Z" Carter, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Stephen and Ruth Hendel, is filled with the exuberant music of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and will be presented from April 25 through May 5, 2013. The opening is set for April 26.
"Fela!" is based on the life of the charismatic Kuti and is highlighted by many of Kuti's most captivating songs. It has a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, music and lyrics by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, additional lyrics by Jim Lewis, additional music by AaRon Johnson and Jordan McLean, and was conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel.
"Fela!" features the visionary direction and choreography of two-time Tony Award-winner Jones ("Fela!" and "Spring Awakening"), who was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2010.
A triumphant tale of courage, passion and love, "Fela!" is the true story of Kuti, who created a new type of music, Afrobeat, and mixed these pounding eclectic rhythms (a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies) with incendiary lyrics that openly attacked the corrupt and oppressive military dictatorships that rule Nigeria and much of Africa. His songs of rebellion were an inspiration to millions.
"Fela!" received a total of 11 Tony Award nominations in 2010.
"The Scottsboro Boys"
May 21 through June 30, 2013
The bold and wildly entertaining "The Scottsboro Boys," with music and lyrics by musical theatre giants John Kander and Fred Ebb, and book by David Thompson, closes out the Ahmanson's 46th season, May 21 through June 30, 2013. The opening is scheduled for May 29.
Five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman will reprise her direction and choreography for this special engagement presented exclusively at the Ahmanson.
"The Scottsboro Boys," which Michael Kuchwara of the Associated Press called ". . . a staggeringly inventive piece of musical theatre . . .," explores a shocking and pivotal chapter in American history with arresting originality, innovative staging and piercing new songs. The show is based on the infamous "Scottsboro" case in the 1930s, and tells the story of the nine unjustly accused African American men whose lives would eventually spark the Civil Rights Movement.
"The Scottsboro Boys" received 12 Tony Award nominations in 2011, including Best Musical. "The Scottsboro Boys" had its world premiere at the Vineyard Theatre in New York in February 2010. It was presented on Broadway in October through December 2010.
John Kander and Fred Ebb have collaborated for the theatre on "Flora, the Red Menace," "Cabaret" (Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist), "Chicago," "Woman of the Year" (Tony Award for Best Original Score), "Kiss of the Spider Woman" (Tony Award for Best Original Score), "Curtains" (which had its world premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre in 2006), and many more. Their films include "Funny Lady," "Cabaret," "New York, New York" (the title song became the official anthem of New York City in 1985), "Chicago," "Kramer vs. Kramer," "Places in the Heart" and more. Ebb died in 2004 and "The Scottboro Boys" was their last collaboration.
David Thompson received Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations, and Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards for Best Musical for the book of "The Scottsboro Boys." His other work includes "Steel Pier" (Tony nomination) and "Thou Shall Not," plus an adaptation of the script for the current revival of "Chicago" now on Broadway. His upcoming Broadway credits include "The Prince of Broadway." Off-Broadway credits include "And the World Goes 'Round" (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards) and the revival of "Flora, the Red Menace" (Drama Desk nomination).
Tickets for the Ahmanson Theatre's 46th 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 on-line, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org. 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.