Photo Flash: Mark Taper Forum Presents BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO
It was announced today that Rajiv Joseph's darkly comic "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" has been named as a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Other finalists include "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" by Kristoffer Diaz, and "In the Next Room or the vibrator play" by Sarah Ruhl.
The winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Drama is "Next to Normal," music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey. The national tour of "Next to Normal" launches at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre beginning November 23, 2010, and continuing through January 2, 2011.
"Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" had its world premiere at the CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2009. The production, with its original cast and creative team intact, re-opens at the CTG/Mark Taper Forum at the Los Angeles Music Center on April 25. Previews begin this Wednesday, April 14, and performances continue through May 30, 2010.
"It's an honor to be in the company of these great playwrights and great friends," said Rajiv Joseph.
Center Theatre Group Associate Producer Neel Keller said, "We are thrilled for Rajiv [Joseph] and extremely proud of ‘Bengal Tiger.' When we first read the play we knew we had something very special. It has been incredibly exciting to see that belief confirmed by the audiences, reviewers and now the Pulitzer Committee."
The set design is by Derek McLane, costume design is by David Zinn, lighting design is by David Lander, sound design is by Cricket S. Myers and Kathryn Bostic serves as composer. Casting is by Bonnie Grisan, and the production stage manager is David S. Franklin.
In "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," the lives and, in some cases, the afterlives, of two American soldiers, an Iraqi translator, the ghosts of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Ousay, and a Bengal tiger all intersect in a surreal, darkly humorous and gently balanced view of war and its aftermath.
Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times said that "Bengal Tiger" is ". . . no ordinary play. I'm tempted to call it the most original drama written so far about the Iraq war, but why sell this work short? The imagination behind it is way too thrillingly genre-busting to be confined within such a limited category." Regarding Moisés Kaufman, McNulty said ". . . let's give credit . . . [Kaufman's] direction allows us to appreciate both the wonderful comic audacity and diffuse sensitivity of Rajiv Joseph." Dany Margolies of Back Stage said, "The brain jolts to a start at the top of this world premiere and doesn't cease whirring . . . Rajiv Joseph has penned a monumental work that muses on cruelty and nature, language and creativity, religion and remorse. . . ."
Tickets for "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" are available by calling CTG Audience Services at (213) 628-2772 or online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org or in person at the CTG box office located at the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center.
Photo credit: Craig Schwartz
Kaevin Tighe and Glenn Davis