Joe Iconis' THE BLACK SUITS, Barry McGovern in I'LL GO ON & More Set for Center Theatre Group's 2013-14 Season!
Since the theatre's birth in late 2004, over 70 productions, workshops and readings have been presented - new, edgy, boundary-pushing pieces along with the best of American classics and of international fare. Twenty of these productions were world premieres. Three works moved to Broadway: the world premieres of Alex Timbers' and Michael Friedman's musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" and Rajiv Joseph's dark comedy (and Pulitzer Prize finalist) "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," and the revival of William Inge's "Come Back, Little Sheba." Other works were produced off-Broadway and at regional theatres throughout the country.
"We stated early on that the Douglas would offer as broad a scope of theatre as possible," said CTG Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. "With the announcement of the 2013-2014 season, we are definitely continuing that commitment."
Three world premieres, seven productions in all, are scheduled for the 10th season at the Douglas. The works range from a new rock musical to a sweeping new drama to a masterful interpretation of the works of Beckett, plus the bonus option of The Second City's one-of-a-kind Christmas show. In addition, three Los Angeles solo artists will be presented in the popular DouglasPlus program, and will represent CTG in the Radar L.A. festival.
"I'm really looking forward to the premiere of the rock musical 'The Black Suits,'" said Ritchie. "Joe Iconis is a young musical theatre artist to watch, and his and Robert Maddock's story of a suburban garage band takes us all back to younger days and the powerful effect that music has on our lives.
"Kimber Lee's story in the premiere of her "different words for the same thing" is a beautiful, haunting homage to sweeping, multi-generational tales of families and communities, and I welcome the work of this important, rising young playwright."
"We are also very lucky to have Barry McGovern with us again," said Ritchie. "His poignant Vladimir in Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot' last year at the Mark Taper Forum was unforgettable. This season, Ireland's beloved son returns with his celebrated one-man show, 'I'll Go On,' based on three Beckett novels. I can't wait to see this talented actor at the Douglas.
"The best holiday gift we can give is the happy return of The Second City's 'A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!' by Second City alums Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort. The audiences loved this show in its world premiere last year, and for good reason. It'll be fun to see what is meant by this year's promise of 're-loaded and re-twisted.'
"An important part of the Kirk Douglas Theatre experience is our DouglasPlus programming. We often feature works that have shorter runs but have maximum effect. This season we will be presenting three important solo artists from Los Angeles: Luis Alfaro and the world premiere of his 'St. Jude,' Trieu Tran and his 'Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam' and Roger Guenveur Smith and his 'Rodney King.' One-person shows cut to the heart of theatre: a performer, a stage and a story that needs to be told."
"As we planned this special 10th anniversary season at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, many happy memories popped into my mind," said Ritchie. "Memories of exciting plays and musicals created on the Douglas stage, of emerging theatre artists spreading their wings, and of audiences enjoying live theatre in that special intimate space. Over the last nine years artists and audiences together have brought life, light and magic back to our transformed movie house. It has been a wonderful adventure. Here's to the new season and to the all seasons (and decades) to follow."
The high energy, soaring dreams and emotional intensity of being in a high school garage band are captured in the world premiere of the engaging "The Black Suits," a new rock musical presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, October 27 through November 24. Opening is set for November 3.
With music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, and book by Iconis and Robert Maddock, "The Black Suits," directed by John Simpkins, is set in a garage in suburban Long Island where four boys (lead singer, guitar, bass and drums) are preparing for stardom by way of the St. Anne's Battle of the Bands.
The band and the music give focus and sustenance to the boys whose lives are filled with teenage angst and longing, struggles with friends and girlfriends, and the need to make choices. For one brief summer they find escape in the camaraderie of the band, the sheer fun of creating and playing music and the core belief in the "transformative coolness of rock 'n' roll."
Joe Iconis is a musical theatre writer and concert performer. He has been nominated for two Drama Desk Awards, a Lucille Lortel Award, and is the recipient of an Ed Kleban Award, a Jonathan Larson Award, an ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award, and a MAC John Wallowitch Songwriting Award. Joe's songs appeared on the second season of NBC's "Smash." He is the author of "Bloodsong of Love" (directed by John Simpkins; Ars Nova and NAMT Festival of New Musicals), "ReWrite" (Urban Stages, Goodspeed Opera House Festival of New Artists), Theaterworks USA's "The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks" and "We The People" (The Lortel, national tour). The original cast recording of his theatrical rock concert "Things To Ruin" and his pop/rock album "The Joe Iconis Rock and Roll Jamboree" are both available on Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records. He is currently working on a musical adaptation of Ned Vizzini's "Be More Chill" (with Joe Tracz) and a musical about Hunter S. Thompson (with Gregory S. Moss).
RoBert Emmett Maddock is a Jonathan Larson award-winning lyricist and a graduate of the Tisch program at NYU. He is the lyricist of the Nightlife award-winning cabaret/concert "Triumphant Baby" (music by Joe Iconis) and the Daryl Lee Roth award-winning musical "Plastic! The Musical" (music by Iconis and Reza Jacobs). Maddock's writing has been featured in NYMF, NAMT and SPF events, as well as the Bound For Broadway concert series at Lincoln Center. The Dramatist magazine included Maddock on their list of "writers to watch."
Gate Theatre production of
Barry McGovern in
"I'll Go On"
by Samuel Beckett
From "Molloy," "Malone Dies" and "The Unnamable"
Texts Selected by Gerry Dukes and Barry McGovern
Directed by Colm Ó Briain
January 10 - February 9, 2014
Celebrated Beckett interpreter Barry McGovern returns to Center Theatre Group following his memorable performance last year as Vladimir in the acclaimed production of "Waiting for Godot" at the Mark Taper Forum.
This season, for the first time in Los Angeles, McGovern performs in his tour-de-force, one-man show, "I'll Go On" by Samuel Beckett in the Gate Theatre production presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, January 10 through February 9, 2014. The opening is set for January 12.
"I'll Go On," which is based on three of Beckett's novels - "Molloy," "Malone Dies" and "The Unnamable," is directed by Colm Ó Briain. Texts from the works have been selected by Gerry Dukes and McGovern.
First performed at the Gate Theatre in Dublin in 1985, "I'll Go On" has toured worldwide to great critical acclaim.
Charles Isherwood of The New York Times said, "Certainly language turns plenty of somersaults in the skilled interpretations by Mr. McGovern ... [McGovern] embodies these variously abject, embittered and infuriated story spinners with an intensity that both tickles and stings." "... An outright triumph ... arrestingly funny," remarked William A. Henry III of Time magazine. Adam Perlman of Backstage said, "... McGovern - technically flawless, emotionally dazzling - is the consummate Beckett clown. His entire performance is an instinctive shriek of pain that, on second thought, he converts to a belly laugh."
Barry McGovern, a leading figure in Irish theatre for many years, has performed at the Gate Theatre in Dublin in "Waiting for Godot," "Endgame," "Happy Days" and two one-man Beckett shows, "I'll Go On" and "Watt," which have played worldwide, most recently at the Perth and Edinburgh festivals. He has appeared in a number of films including "Joe Versus the Volcano," "The General" and "Far and Away." Recent theatre work includes "An Enemy of the People" and "Glengarry Glen Ross." On TV he has appeared in "Gift of the Magi," "The Tudors" and "Game of Thrones."
The Gate Theatre has been, artistically and architecturally, a landmark for over 250 years. Established as a theatre company in 1928, the Gate offered Dublin audiences an introduction to the world of European and American theatre as well as classics from the modern and Irish repertoire. It was with the Gate that Orson Welles, James Mason and Michael Gambon began their prodigious acting careers. Michael Colgan has been the Director of the Gate Theatre for 30 years and in that time he has produced a great many award-winning productions and festivals. Notably, these included five Pinter Festivals and six Beckett Festivals. Many of the productions have been seen throughout the world from Beijing to New York, Sydney to Toronto and London to Melbourne. Most recently, the Gate produced B.P.M. - a Beckett Pinter Mamet Festival, which comprised a season of works dedicated to the writings of these great writers.
"different words for the same thing"
by Kimber Lee
Directed by Neel Keller
May 4 through June 1, 2014
The world premiere of Kimber Lee's remarkable new play, "different words for the same thing," directed by CTG Associate Artistic Director Neel Keller, will be presenTed May 4 through June 1, 2014, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The opening is set for May 11.
Set in the small town in southwestern Idaho, and the vast spaces that surround it, "different words for the same thing" depicts the intersecting lives of the townspeople as they deal with the web of love, tradition, religion, politics and heartbreak that connect them all.
In a series of intimate, deeply felt scenes, Lee introduces Marta and Henry, three generations of their family, and many of their friends and neighbors, including a Mexican-American restaurant owner and his teenage daughter, a funeral director, a hairdresser's assistant, a donut shop owner, a priest, and the town busybody. All are linked to the heartbeat and daily life of the community in ways reminiscent of Thornton Wilder's classic "Our Town."
Alice, the Korean American woman adopted by Marta and Henry as a child, no longer lives in Idaho. She has not been home for years but compelling family news is now calling her back. Her return will unearth secrets and smoldering conflicts but it will also heal wounds, bring happiness and help her find her true home.
With a subtle, sometimes mysterious mixture of the present and the past, "different words for the same thing" wrestles with the joys and compromises of love, family and being an American in the 21st century.
Kimber Lee's other plays include "fight," "tokyo fish story" and "brownsville song (b-side for tray)." Her work has been presented by: Lark Play Development Center, Page 73 Productions, Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Dramatists Guild Fellows, Represent Playwrights Festival at ACT/Seattle, The Playwrights' Center, Theatre of the 1st Amendment/1st Light, Great Plains Theatre Conference (mainstage), Southern Rep, and Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company. She received the 2010 Holland New Voices Award, and has been a finalist for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Ruby Prize, Soho Writer/Director Lab, and Premiere Stages Play Festival. Kimber is a 2012-2013 Lark Playwrights' Workshop Fellow, member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and the 2013-2014 recipient of the PoNY Fellowship. She has her MFA from the University of Texas, Austin.
The Second City's
"A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!"
by Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort
Directed by Marc Warzecha
December 8 through 29, 2013
The genius of The Second City will once again take over the Kirk Douglas Theatre as the legendary comedy theatre group gleefully delivers its special brand of holiday cheer with "A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!" for three weeks only as a special season bonus option, December 8 through 29, 2013. The opening is set for December 12.
Last year's world premiere of "Twist Your Dickens!" was an audience favorite, broke all box office records, and according to Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times, "... brought me the gift of laughter."
The creative team describes this year's offering as "reloaded and re-twisted - the same show you loved last year, just better." "Twist Your Dickens!" is written by a team of Second City alums, Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort, directed by Second City alum Marc Warzecha, and performed by a cast of talented Second City performers yet to be announced.
Created in collaboration with CTG, The Second City's satirical twist on Dickens, features Scrooge, the Cratchits and all the time-traveling ghosts normally found in this uplifting holiday fare. "Twist Your Dickens!" also breathes new life into the classic tale of hope and redemption with celebrity guests, audience-interactive improvisation, a few new characters, and a festive party atmosphere in the lobby - complete with the cocktails Tiny Timtinis and Scroogedrivers.
As McNulty noted last year, "... this twist on Dickens is good medicine for a harried season. ..." CTG is thrilled that the yuletide comedy pharmacy will be open and dispensing liberally again this year.
The Second City, which specializes in sketch comedy and improvisation, has delighted audiences for over 50 years. With resident stages in Chicago and Toronto and touring ensembles, The Second City entertains over a million guests each year. It is also the largest training center in the world for improvisation, sketch and acting, with schools in Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, and 20,000 registrations per year. The Second City served as a training ground for a host of famous alumni, including Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Candy, John Belushi, Catherine O'Hara, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and more. Colbert said, "The Second City was everything to me," and Murray said, "Second City is the best job anybody in the American theatre can get. It's incomparable." The New York Times reported that "The entire recent tradition of America satire can be summed up in three words: The Second City."
Peter Gwinn is one of the original writers for "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central, for which he won two Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards and three Writers Guild Awards. He has performed and taught improv and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York, the iO Theater in Chicago, as well as with the Second City National Touring Company, where he got into trouble because back then, his bio was Roddy McDowell's bio with his name on it.
Bobby Mort is an actor and comedian living in Los Angeles. He's written for "The Colbert Report" and is the writer behind several action movies involving people punching each other. Bobby grew up in South Carolina before moving to Chicago where he trained at iO and performed for a number of years with the improv group People of Earth and sketch comedy trio Maximum Party Zone. He is extremely excited to be working with Peter Gwinn and the fine folks of The Second City.
Created and Performed by Roger Guenveur Smith
September 14 - October 6, 2013
An exciting repertory of performances by some of the hottest solo theatre artists in Los Angeles will open the Kirk Douglas Theatre's new season, September 14 through October 6, 2013, with the DouglasPlus presentations of Luis Alfaro's "St. Jude," Trieu Tran's "Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam" and Roger Guenveur Smith's "Rodney King."
The opening for "St. Jude" is September 20, and the openings for "Rodney King" and "Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam" will take place on September 22.
The DouglasPlus trio of solo performances will be part of the Radar L.A. festival, the international Contemporary Theatre festival presented this fall by REDCAT and CalArts in association with Center Theatre Group.
In "St. Jude," written by Luis Alfaro and directed by Robert Egan, Alfaro faces his father's stroke and a flood of family memories with poignant clarity and gentle humor. "St. Jude" was nurtured at the Ojai Playwrights Conference in 2012 and will have its world premiere at the Douglas.
In "Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam," written by Trieu Tran with Robert Egan, and directed by Egan, Tran recalls the harrowing journey he took from Vietnam to Canada to the United States, and his quest to find some place to belong. The piece had its premiere last year at ACT Seattle.
In "Rodney King," created by Roger Guenveur Smith, new light is shed on the man whose famous question "Can't we all get along?" continues to resonate 21 years after it was first posed to a riot-torn Los Angeles in 1992.
Luis Alfaro is a Chicano writer/performer known for his work in poetry, theatre, short stories, performance and journalism. He is also a producer/director who spent 10 years at the CTG/Mark Taper Forum as Associate Producer, Director of New Play Development and Co-Director of the Latino Theatre Initiative. His plays and performances include "Oedipus El Rey," "Bruja," "Electricidad," "Downtown," "No Holds Barrio," "Body of Faith," "Straight as a Line," "Bitter Homes and Gardens" and "Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner," among others. He wrote the film script for "From Prada to Nada," and wrote and directed the short film "Chicanismo," for which he was nominated for a local Emmy. He is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship, popularly known as a "genius grant."
Trieu Tran earned his B.A. in Performing Arts from American University. He has appeared in numerous theatrical productions including the role of Alan Strang in "Equus" (LADCC nomination) with George Takei, the title role in "Oedipus The King, The Legacy Codes" (Dean Goodman Award) with TheatreWorks, "Rashomon," "As You Like It," "Henry IV, Part One" (Hotspur), and the title role in "Richard III." He is also a frequent participant at the Ojai Playwrights Conference. His film work includes "Trade Of Innocents," "Tropic Thunder," "The Chaos Factor," "Desperation," "How High," "Hancock" and "Last Call," and he has a recurring role on the HBO series "The Newsroom."
Actor, writer, and director Roger Guenveur Smith adapted his Obie Award-winning solo performance of "A Huey P. Newton Story" into a Peabody Award-winning telefilm. For CTG he has created and performed "Juan and John," "The Watts Towers Project," "Iceland" and "Christopher Columbus 1992." At Bootleg Theater, Roger has presented "Rodney King," "Who Killed Bob Marley?," "In Honor of Jean-Michel Basquiat," "Frederick Douglass Now," "Patriot Act" and, with Mark Broyard, "Inside the Creole Mafia" (LA Weekly Production of the Year). He directed "Radio Mambo: Culture Clash Invades Miami" (Ovation Award) and the acclaimed "The Mountaintop." He has appeared in eight films with Spike Lee, the HBO series "K Street," and "American Gangster," for which he was nominated for the Screen Actors' Guild Award.
The 2013-2014 season at the Douglas is currently available by season ticket memberships only. Season members can also purchase in advance discounted tickets to The Second City's "A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!" and also the DouglasPlus solo performances.
Center Theatre Group's 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.
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.