Center Theatre Group's 33 VARIATIONS Opens, 2/9


The five-time Tony-nominated production of "33 Variations," with Jane Fonda, opens this Wednesday, February 9, 2011, at 8 p.m. at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre. Written and directed by Moisés Kaufman, performances continue through March 6 for this compelling new piece.

Fonda, who is a two-time Academy Award-winner, was nominated for the Tony Award for her role in the 2009 Broadway run of "33 Variations." The Tectonic Theater Project production was also nominated for a Tony, as was Zach Grenier for his portrayal of Beethoven, and Derek McLane for scenic design and David Lander for lighting.

Fonda and Grenier are joined by Samantha Mathis, Don Amendolia, Susan Kellermann,

Greg Keller, Grant James Varjas, Diane Walsh, Scott Barrow, Caitlin O'Connell and Yvonne Woods Slaten.

            Scenic design for "33 Variations" is by Derek McLane, costumes by Janice Pytel, lighting by David Lander, sound by André J. Pluess and projection design is by Jeff Sugg.

In "33 Variations," the audience is transported back and forth from present-day New York to 19th century Austria, when a musicologist (Fonda) is determined to solve the musical mystery of why Beethoven (Grenier) spent his last years feverishly writing 33 variations of what appeared to be a mediocre waltz.

Diagnosed with a serious disease, the scholar dismisses her daughter's (Mathis) concerns and flies to Europe to study Beethoven's original papers.  It is here that a heartfelt and moving story unfolds of how two remarkable individuals separated by 200 years defy mortality for a short, precious time and revel in their respective passions.

Praising Jane Fonda's "robust and confident performance," Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News said, "The Oscar winner brings everything to this role that's made her an iconic film star: Pure enthusiasm, toughness tempered by vulnerability, and that distinctive voice which makes every line fascinating." 

Jane Fonda's work on stage and screen has earned numerous nominations and awards, including Academy Awards (Best Actress in 1971 for "Klute" and in 1978 for "Coming Home") and an Emmy Award for her performance in "The Dollmaker."  Along with starring roles in dozens of highly acclaimed productions, Fonda also took on responsibilities as a film and television producer for projects, including "Coming Home," "The China Syndrome," "Nine to Five,"  "Rollover," "On Golden Pond," "The Morning After" and "The Dollmaker."

Artistic Director of Tectonic Theater Project, Kaufman received Tony Award nominations for "33 Variations" (Best Play 2009) and for "I Am My Own Wife" (Best Director 2004), and recently directed the acclaimed "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" at the Mark Taper Forum and earlier at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. He also directed his play "Gross Indecency" at the Taper in 1998.

Presented in association with David Binder, "33 Variations" is the second production of the 2011 Mark Taper Forum season, though the play will be presented at the Ahmanson Theatre.

"33 Variations" premiered on August 30, 2007, at Arena Stage, Washington, D.C.,

Molly Smith, Artistic Director and Guy Bergquist, Interim Managing Director; Alan Filderman, Casting Director. A production of "33 Variations" was produced in 2008 by The La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, California, Christopher Ashley, Artistic Director and Joan Cumming, Interim Managing Director. "33 Variations" was developed with assistance from The Sundance Institute Theatre Program, The Orchard Project Theatre, Residency Program, The Davis Performing Arts Center and Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown University,

and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaigh.

The piano used in "33 Variations" is provided by Steinway & Sons.

Tickets, which are priced from $20 -- $80, are available by calling Center Theatre Group Audience Services at (213) 972-4400, in person at the Center Theatre Group box office or on-line at

Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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