Sorkin and McAnuff Collaborate on LaJolla's 'Invention'
La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Des McAnuff collaborates with "The West Wing" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" creator/writer Aaron Sorkin to shape his new play about the advent of television.
The Farnsworth Invention will run from February 20th through March 25th, 2007.
Sorkin returns to the medium of theatre after a considerable amount of time in TV and film; his 1989 Broadway play A Few Good Men was made into a critically- acclaimed feature film in 1992, kick-starting his Hollywood career.
Tony-winner McAnuff (Jersey Boys, The Who's Tommy) remarks, "I am thrilled to be working with Aaron Sorkin on his latest project for the theatre, The Farnsworth Invention. His incomparable ability to reflect and record the collective anxiety of a society infuses this play with a timeliness and urgency that gives us all pause in the midst of the ongoing media blitz that is our daily lives."
"In 1920, a young Idaho farm boy named Philo dreams of a device that projects images transmitted through the air. Meanwhile, across the country a Russian immigrant named David, who has clawed his way out of the shtetl to become a media mogul, dreams of spreading information to the masses using pictures. In a race that would change humanity forever, two men battle one another for honor, glory and a place in the history books. Written by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Aaron Sorkin, this riveting new drama uncovers the story behind one of the world's most powerful inventions," La Jolla notes state.
"The play centers around the bitter conflict that pitted Philo T. Farnsworth, a boy genius who invented television as a high school student in 1927, against David Sarnoff, the head of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). The legal battle between Farnsworth and RCA would later become known as one of the great, tragic examples of legal and industrial force combining to crush a rightful patent owner.
This epic story will take shape through the Page To Stage New Play Development Program, La Jolla Playhouse's signature program in which audiences experience the 'birth' of a play, taking part in its shaping as playwright and director make constant changes in response to audience reactions and feedback."
"La Jolla Playhouse is one of America's great stages," comments Sorkin. "The chance to work with Des McAnuff on a play of this size and in front of such a sophisticated audience is the opportunity of any playwright's dreams."
Aaron Sorkin graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater. After a brief stint as an actor, he quickly established a reputation as a young, promising playwright on the New York theatre scene with his 1989 Broadway play A Few Good Men, later made into a critically-acclaimed feature. He went on to write the films Malice and The American President. Sorkin is probably best known for his critically-lauded TV drama, "The West Wing," which was honored with 13 Emmy Awards for its debut season, making the show a record holder for most Emmys won by a series in a single season. The Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series has been awarded to each of the first four seasons of "The West Wing." Sorkin also created and wrote many of the episodes of the critically-acclaimed but short-lived TV comedy-drama "Sports Night," which ran from 1998-2000 on ABC.
As a writer, Sorkin has received numerous nominations and awards from the Hollywood Foreign Press, the Television Critics Association, the Producers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America. He is currently in production on his new series, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."
The Playhouse began Page To Stage in 2001 to facilitate the development of new plays and musicals, offering audiences the rare opportunity to experience the "birth" of a play and take part in its evolution. As a Page To Stage workshop, this production will feature minimal sets and costumes, and will be revised throughout its entire process, including performances. After the performance, audience feedback sessions will provide insight and suggestion for both the creative team and the actors.
In the five years since the program began, two Page To Stage Productions have gone on to win Tony Awards. Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Leading Actor in a Play (Jefferson Mays); and Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, a 2004 Page To Stage Production, won the 2005 Tony Award for Special Theatrical Event.