Geffen Playhouse's Upcoming Season Will Include New Work from Donald Margulies and More


The Geffen Playhouse announces an unprecedented eight plays – five in the Gil Cates Theater and three in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater – for its 2012/2013 season.  With an ongoing focus on introducing audiences to new plays, reimagined classics and emerging voices, the Geffen's season features three world premieres – including a commission by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies (Coney Island Christmas), a classic adaptation by Tony Award nominee Neil LaBute (August Strindberg's Miss Julie) and a new work byMichael Golamco (Build); two American premieres – one marking the return of Olivier Award nominee Joanna Murray-Smith (The Gift) and the other a riotous British import by AnTony Jay and Jonathan Lynn (Yes, Prime Minister); two West Coast premieres – including Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage's new work (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark) and comedienne Judy Gold's acclaimed off-Broadway memoir (The Judy Show); and a brand new production of David Mamet's defining work American Buffalo helmed by Geffen Playhouse Artistic Director Randall Arney.

In addition to Arney, the Geffen is hosting three returning directors including Obie Award winner Jo Bonney who will helm Nottage's By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, L.A. favorite Bart DeLorenzo who will helm Margulies' commission and Neil LaBute, who will be directing his own adaptation.  Internationally acclaimed directors Maria Aitken and Jonathan Lynn will make their Geffen debut helming Murray-Smith's The Gift and Yes, Prime Minister, respectively, along with Will Frears who will direct Golamco's world premiere Build in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater.

"Every year we read dozens of scripts that move and inspire us, and this season I think we have selected eight remarkable shows that together promise something exciting for everyone," said Artistic Director Randall Arney. "With world premieres as well as classics that encompass social satire both serious and hilarious, this season welcomes back old friends and introduces new voices in a way that's designed to enlighten and, of course, entertain."

The complete Geffen Playhouse 2012-2013 season includes:

THE Gil Cates THEATER AT THE Geffen Playhouse

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (West Coast Premiere)
Written by: Lynn Nottage
Directed by: Jo Bonney
Run: September 18 – October 28, 2012
Opening Night:  September 26, 2012

It's Hollywood's heyday and the streets of Los Angeles are filled with glitz, glamour and the chance at stardom – that is as long as you have the "right" look.  But when former maid Vera Stark lands a groundbreaking role in a new Southern epic, she turns Hollywood on its head and paves the way for future generations of black actresses.  More than five decades later, Vera's influence on race, film and feminism has seeped its way into pop-culture.  But who is the real Vera Stark?  Part comedy and part commentary, Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage's West Coast premiere uses today's fascination with celebrity and controversy to get to the truth behind the legend.

Coney Island Christmas (World Premiere Commission)
Written by: Donald Margulies
Directed by: Bart DeLorenzo
Based on the short story "The Loudest Voice" by Grace Paley
Run: November 20 – December 30, 2012
Opening Night:  November 28, 2012

Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies weaves together nostalgia, music and merriment in the world premiere of this new seasonal classic.  A holiday show for people of all ages and all faiths, Coney Island Christmas introduces us to Shirley Abramowitz, a young Jewish girl who (much to her immigrant parents' exasperation) is cast as Jesus in the school's Christmas pageant.  As Shirley, now much older, recounts the memorable story to her great-granddaughter, the play captures a timeless and universal tale of what it means to be an American during the holidays.

The Gift (American Premiere)
Written by: Joanna Murray-Smith
Directed by: Maria Aitken
Run: January 29 – March 10, 2013
Opening Night:  February 6, 2013

Acclaimed Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith brings this comedic American premiere to the Geffen Playhouse.  When two couples meet while vacationing at a ritzy resort, they instantly transition from strangers to the best of friends.  Despite their almost comical differences – Ed and Sadie are middle-aged, rich and traditional, while Martin and Chloe are young artists glowing with their potential to change the world – they find themselves spending the rest of their week together.  When one seemingly inconsequential event throws both their lives into a tailspin, the couples find themselves wrestling with a moral dilemma:  while it's human nature to want what you don't have, is it unnatural to abandon something that you do?  This provocative new work draws audiences in with a beguiling hilarity that gives way to an unsettling twist, posing searing questions rather than providing comfortable answers.

American Buffalo
Written by: David Mamet
Directed by: Randall Arney
Run: April 2 – May 12, 2013
Opening Night:  April 10, 2013 

One of Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet's defining works, American Buffalo was instantly hailed as a new American classic when it opened on Broadway in 1975. Now, Geffen Playhouse Artistic Director Randall Arney takes a fresh look at these misguided misfits who are a little out of luck and way out of their league as they plot the theft of a rare coin collection.  As the time of the heist approaches, tension and anticipation build revealing loyalties and testing friendships.   Negotiating explosive humor, frenetic energy and surprising tenderness, this play, which has not had a major Los Angeles production in more than a decade, promises a mesmerizing night whether seeing it for the first time or rediscovering this groundbreaking work. 

Yes, Prime Minister (American Premiere)
Written by: AnTony Jay and Jonathan Lynn
Directed by: Jonathan Lynn
Run: June 4 – July 14, 2013
Opening Night:  June 12, 2013

This quirky comedy based on the acclaimed BBC television series draws liberally - and conservatively - from current events as well as age-old political gaffes.  Join the mostly clueless Prime Minister and an always hilarious cast of characters, ranging from the morally questionable Kumranistan ambassador to the scheming cabinet secretary, as they sort out the world's problems despite their best intentions.  Will this coalition of comedy manage to unite Europe under one currency, resolve the energy crisis, solve the debt crisis, and avoid a crisis in the press?  Maybe not, but Brits and Yanks alike can bank on the laughs in this uproarious political satire.


Build (World Premiere)
Written by: Michael Golamco
Directed by:  Will Frears
Run: October 9 – November 18, 2012
Opening Night:  October 17, 2012

Kip and Will became Silicon Valley legends after the viral success of their blockbuster video game.  But success has driven them apart: Will has become a suit obsessed with the bottom line, and the death of his wife has turned Kip into a total recluse.   Now they've been thrown back together in a high-stakes gamble to complete and ship a new multi-billion dollar game; but as Will re-enters Kip's life, he realizes that his old friend has built a whole other world – complete with an Artificial Intelligence to whom Kip escapes to ease his loss.  Now Will and Kip must work to resolve their differences, confront the past and face the fact that technology's brave new world often leaves us with little else but a yearning for the old one. 

Miss Julie (World Premiere)
Written by: August Strindberg
Adapted and Directed by: Neil LaBute
Run: February 26 – April 7, 2013
Opening Night:  March 6, 2013

August Strindberg's classic play about sex, greed and manipulation is adapted by the modern master of such tantalizing topics: Neil LaBute.  This scandalous turn of the century play that chronicles the night-long flirtation and seduction between the wealthy lady of the house and one of her father's footmen was banned in Britain until 1936. Set in its original time and place and featuring one of theater's most commanding female characters, this world premiere adaptation couples provocateurs Strindberg and LaBute to capture the timeless consequences of passion and power.

The Judy Show – My Life as a Sitcom (West Coast Premiere)
Starring Judy Gold
Written by Judy Gold & Kate Moira Ryan
Directed by Amanda Charlton
In Association with Daryl Roth and Eva Saks
Run: May 7 – June 16, 2013 
Opening Night:  May 15, 2013

Judy Gold has always dreamt big. Maybe because she is BIG (and by that, we mean tall). This six foot three inch Jewish mother of two is bringing her big, critically acclaimed off-Broadway hit to LA.  A nonstop 90-minute ride,  The Judy Show is Gold's chance to broadcast her hilarious life story through the sitcoms we all knew and loved. As an awkward kid growing up in New Jersey, Gold has fantasies of running away to The Brady Bunch house or climbing aboard the The Partridge Family bus, all while unabashedly recounting the mix of riotous, touching and otherwise embarrassing moments that taught her The Facts of Life. Infused with pop-culture references as well as her signature irreverent humor, The Judy Show covers life, love, showbiz and ultimately her quest for her very own show - all in a way that might make Rhoda proud.

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