Bening, Modine, Fishburne & 'NIGHTMARE ALLEY' Premiere Part of Starry Geffen 2009/2010 Season

The Geffen Playhouse's 2009 / 2010 season boasts award-winning actors (including Annette Bening, Laurence Fishburne and Matthew Modine), acclaimed directors (including Geffen Playhouse's own Gil Cates and Randall Arney), and contemporary new works, including two world premieres, a North American premiere and a West Coast premiere.

The season, which runs the gamut from satire and farce to musical and biography, kicks off with the world premiere of Blair Singer's Hollywood parody Matthew Modine Saves the Alpacas, which is followed by a work still to be announced, then segues into the North American premiere of Joanna Murray-Smith's wild comedy The Female of the Species, which leads into the world premiere of Jonathan Brielle's gritty musical Nightmare Alley (postponed from the current season), and concludes with the West Coast premiere of the George Stevens, Jr's stunning biography Thurgood.

"When putting together our season, we focus on each play as part of a larger experience - and this year we're taking our audience on quite a ride," said Geffen Playhouse Producing Director Gil Cates. "We'll collectively be transported and provoked by the work on stage, and we'll walk out with a little different perspective than when we walked in. And, that's why we go to the theater."

The Geffen Playhouse, which begins on September 16, 2009 and runs through August 8, 2010. With one title still to be announced, the current season includes:

Matthew Modine Saves the Alpacas

Written by Blair Singer

Directed by TBD

Runs Sept 8 - Oct 18

Opening Night - Sept 16

Matthew Modine stars as Matthew Modine in Matthew Modine Saves the Alpacas, the world premiere of this rollicking satire that parodies celebrity humanitarianism, Hollywood and hand sanitizer. As the big screen star of Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, heartthrob Matthew Modine was ‘A-List' all the way. But, that was 1987. Now, he's so far off the A-list, he's not even on The List . He needs to get back in the limelight - he needs ... a Cause. With the help of uber-publicist Whimberly North, Matthew channels his talents toward the common good and heads off to a small South American village to meet the Chimborazzi tribe and save their alpacas. Now, if only there wasn't so much dirt in Ecuador...


Play 2 - TBD

Runs Nov 10 - Dec 20

Opening Night - Nov 18


The Female of the Species

Written by Joanna Murray-Smith

Directed by Randall Arney

Runs Feb 2 - March 14

Opening Night - Feb 10

Academy Award nominee Annette Bening returns to the Geffen Playhouse in this wildly wicked farce. Loosely inspired by a real-life incident involving feminist philosopher Germaine Greer, The Female of the Species tells the story of Margot Mason - famed auteur of such influential works as "Madame Ovary," "Love and Other Four Letter Words" and "The Complete Insignificance of Male Sexuality" - who has retreated to her country home to pen her next masterpiece. Problem is, nothing's coming. Nothing, that is, except for a young former student who is intent on taking Margot hostage as punishment for her mixed message ideology. Enter Margot's overlooked daughter, her simplistic son-in-law, her longtime publisher and a disgruntled cab driver ... and all of a sudden a simple kidnapping turns into a battle over who can throw the first punch and get the last word.


Nightmare Alley

Music, Book and Lyrics by Jonathan Brielle

Directed by Gilbert Cates

Runs April 13 - May 23

Opening Night - April 21

Step into Nightmare Alley and enter the titillating world of carnies, cons and clairvoyants. With a score as wild as a funhouse and as evocative as a beautiful tightrope walker, this world premiere musical tells the tale of a young carnie couple who tempt the fickle hand of fate. Based on the darkly evocative 1946 William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name, Nightmare Alley is a night at the theater full of special effects, wondrous feats and enough spirit to make believers of us all. But remember, here, things are never as they seem.



Written by George Stevens Jr

Directed by TBD

Runs June 27 - August 8

Opening Night - July 7

Witness one of America's greatest stories told from the stage by one of our greatest story tellers. Tony Award Winner, Emmy Award Winner and Oscar Nominee Laurence Fishburne transforms into Thurgood Marshall to tell the triumphant story of how a boy from the backstreets of Baltimore changed history. From arguing the 1954 landmark case Brown v. Board of Education to becoming the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall's tenacious advocacy broke open the civil rights movement, paving the way for the young African-American leaders of our future. Fishburne's acclaimed Broadway performance of Thurgood earned him a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, as well as a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.

The Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and musicals, the Geffen Playhouse continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company is helmed by Producing Director and President of the Board Gilbert (Gil) Cates, Artistic Director Randall Arney, Managing Director Susan Barton and Chairman of the Board Frank Mancuso. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen Playhouse welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains an extensive education and outreach program, designed to engage young people and the community at large in the arts. For more information, please visit



Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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