Moises Kaufman to Direct Daniel Beaty's THE TALLEST TREE Premiere at La Jolla Playhouse, 10/9-11/3
La Jolla Playhouse announces a fifth production for its 2013/14 season: the world premiere of The Tallest Tree, a new play with music written and performed by Daniel Beaty (Emergency, Through the Night), directed by Moisés Kaufman (I Am My Own Wife, The Laramie Project). A co-production with Kansas City Repertory Theatre, The Tallest Tree will run in The Playhouse's Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre October 9 - November 3, 2013. The piece is produced in association with Tectonic Theater Project.
As an internationally-renowned vocalist and star of stage and screen, Paul Robeson was one of the best known African American artists in the world in the early 20th century. Through his singing and acting talent, he became enormously popular and wealthy; but as a champion for human rights, he became despised by his people and his country. Featuring excerpts from some of Robeson's signature songs, including "Ol' Man River" and "Steal Away," The Tallest Tree showcases award-winning playwright and performer Daniel Beaty in a stunning piece that explores the bold choices that defined Robeson's remarkable life.
"Daniel Beaty is a powerhouse of a performer and a supremely talented writer," said Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. "In Paul Robeson, an iconic figure who was as galvanizing as he was polarizing, Daniel has found the perfect subject to inhabit, and I can't think of a better director than Playhouse favorite Moisés Kaufman to helm this probing piece about the power and responsibility of a great artist."
As previously announced, La Jolla Playhouse's 2013/2014 season will also include His Girl Friday (Mandell Weiss Theatre: May 28 - June 30), adapted by John Guare from the Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur play The Front Page and the Howard Hawks film His Girl Friday, with screenplay by Charles Lederer, produced by Columbia Pictures, directed by Christopher Ashley; Tribes (Mandell Weiss Forum: June 25 - July 21), by Nina Raine, directed by David Cromer; Sideways (Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre: July 16 - August 18), by Rex Pickett, directed by Des McAnuff; and a re-imagined production of the Tony Award-nominated musical Side Show (Mandell Weiss Theatre: November 5 - December 15), music by Henry Krieger, book and lyrics by Bill Russell and directed by Academy Award-winner Bill Condon, produced in association with The Kennedy Center. The final 2013/2014 season production will be announced at a later date.
Tickets to the 2013/2014 season are available only through a subscription purchase by calling the Patron Services Office at (858) 550-1010 or online at LaJollaPlayhouse.org.
Daniel Beaty is an award-winning actor, singer, writer, and composer who has worked throughout the U.S., Europe and Africa performing on programs with such artists as Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Jill Scott, Sonia Sanchez, MC Lyte, Mos Def, Tracy Chapman, Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant and Phylicia Rashad. Last season he had an extended off-Broadway run of his acclaimed solo play Through the Night, produced by Daryl Roth. For this production Beaty received 2011 Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations. For Through the Night, he also received the 2010 AUDELCO Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and the 2010 Ovation Award for Best Male Lead Actor. His critically-acclaimed solo play, Emergence-See!, ran off-Broadway in a sold-out, extended run at The Public Theater in the fall of 2006. For this production, he received the 2007 Obie Award for Excellence in Off-Broadway Theater for Writing and Performing and the 2007 AUDELCO Award for Solo Performance. Beaty is the recipient of the 2007 Scotsman Fringe First Award for the best new writer at the Edinburgh Festival and was presented with a Lamplighter Award from the Black Leadership Forum in Washington D.C. In the spring of 2008, Emergence-See!, now re-titled Emergency, had a sold-out, seven-week engagement at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and was awarded two 2009 NAACP Theater Awards, including Best Actor. He holds a B.A. with Honors in English and Music from Yale University and an M.F.A. in Acting from The American Conservatory Theatre. His ensemble play, Resurrection, received its world premiere at Arena Stage in August 2008 (where he was awarded the 2008 Edgerton Foundation's New American Play Award); followed by engagements at Hartford Stage, Philadelphia Theatre Company and ETA Theater in Chicago. His new solo play, Mr. Joy, appeared at the Riverside Theatre in May 2012. In the upcoming season, his ensemble musical, Breath & Imagination - The Story of Roland Hayes, will premiere as a co-production with Hartford Stage and Pittsburgh City Theater. Beaty is a proud member of New Dramatists. He has also written a Spoken World Ballet, Far But Close, that will premiere in the 2012/13 season for Dance Theater of Harlem. Beaty is a Visiting Professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. Both Emergency and Through the Night are published by Samuel French. His first children's book, based on his poem Knock Knock, is slated to be released by Little Brown Books in 2013. Follow Beaty at DanielBeaty.com and on Twitter at Twitter.com/DanielBBeaty.
Moisés Kaufman's long association with The Playhouse includes developing and/or directing The Nightingale, 33 Variations, I Am My Own Wife and The Laramie Project. His Broadway credits include The Heiress, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, 33 Variations (writer/director; Tony Award nomination for Best Play, Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award) and I Am My Own Wife (Obie Award, Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations). In the West End: Gross Indecency (writer/director, Gielgud Theatre); I Am My Own Wife (Duke of York Theater); This Is How It Goes by Neil LaBute (Donmar Warehouse). Off-Broadway and regional credits include Simon Gray's The Common Pursuit (Roundabout Theatre); Tennessee Williams' One Arm (Tectonic Theater Project/The New Group/Steppenwolf Theater Company); Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Kirk Douglas Theater, Mark Taper Forum); The Laramie Project (writer/director; Theater In The Square, Drama Desk nomination); The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later (writer/director; Alice Tully Hall); Gross Indecency: The Three Trials Of Oscar Wilde (writer/director; Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play, Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play and the Joe A. Callaway Award for Direction); Macbeth with Liev Schreiber (Delacorte Theater); Master Class with Rita Moreno (Berkeley Repertory Theater) and El Gato Con Botas Opera (New Victory Theater). For film and television, he directed The Laramie Project on HBO (2 Emmy Award nominations for writing and directing, Opening Night Selection at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, National Board of Review Award, Humanitas Prize, Special Mention the Berlin Film Festival) and The L Word. Mr. Kaufman is the Artistic Director of Tectonic Theater Project and a Guggenheim Fellow in Playwriting.
The nationally-acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is known for its tradition of creating the most exciting and adventurous new work in the theatre. Founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, The Playhouse is considered one of the most well-respected not-for-profit theatres in the country. Numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including the currently running hit Jersey Boys, as well as Memphis, Big River, The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Farnsworth Invention, 33 Variations, Bonnie & Clyde, Chaplin the Musical, Peter and the Starcatcher and the upcoming, Playhouse-commissioned musical Hands on a Hardbody. Located on the UC San Diego campus, La Jolla Playhouse is made up of three primary performance spaces: the Mandell Weiss Theatre, the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for La Jolla Playhouse, a state-of-the-Art Theatre complex which features the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. La Jolla Playhouse is led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg.
Pictured: Daniel Beaty