Theatreworks Presents '20 Century' at Mountain View 1/17

Theatreworks Presents '20 Century' at Mountain View 1/17TheatreWorks, the nationally-acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley, is proud to present the regional premiere of TWENTIETH CENTURY by Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur, based on a play by Charles Bruce Milholland in a new adaptation by Ken Ludwig. Broadway and Hollywood collide in this classic screwball comedy set in the 1930s, in which a rapidly declining Broadway impresario looks to revive his sagging career. Using mistaken identity, chicanery, and catastrophe, he attempts to coax his unforgiving former flame (now a mercurial silver screen starlet) into starring in his next stage production while aboard a train roaring across the U.S.

Nominated for two Tony Awards and a Drama Desk Award, TWENTIETH CENTURY hurtles from havoc to hilarity on the disorient express in a madcap battle of the sexes aboard the famed locomotive, the Twentieth Century Limited. Called "a thrilling funhouse ride!" by The New Yorker, TheatreWorks Artistic Director Robert Kelley will helm this hustling, bustling production, which features TheatreWorks veterans Dan Hiatt, Rebecca Dines, Suzanne Grodner, Bob Greene, Gene Carvalho, Ed Sarafian, Jackson Davis, Ayla Yarkut, Michael Gene Sullivan, and Tony Award-nominated Gerry Hiken completing the cast. TWENTIETH CENTURY plays January 14-February 8, 2009 (press opening: January 17) at TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets ($23-$61) and information, the public may call (650) 903-6000 or visit

TWENTIETH CENTURY tells the tale of Oscar Jaffe (Dan Hiatt), a Broadway impresario whose star once shown brightly, but has endured several flops in a row. Desperate to reclaim his throne as the king of the stage, Jaffe cooks up a scheme to get his former lover and current film starlet, Lily Garland (Rebecca Dines), to agree to star in his next production. Aboard the famous Twentieth Century locomotive, Jaffe tries to use his charm, wits, glib tongue, and ingenuity to cajole Garland into agreeing to return to him. Caught up in the chaos are Jaffe's assistants, droll Ida Webb (Suzanne Grodner) and brutish Owen O'Malley (Bob Greene), as well as several train employees and passengers, as the story builds to a crescendo with a very satisfying climax. The first Broadway production of TWENTIETH CENTURY opened in 1932, starring Moffat Johnston and Eugenie Leontovich, and featuring William Frawley (of later I Love Lucy fame), and ran for 152 performances. The original production was revived in 1952, and the Ken Ludwig adaptation premiered in 2004 showcasing Hollywood stars Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche in the leading roles, which earned two Tony Awards nominations.

Renowned playwright Ken Ludwig is the author of several Broadway hits, including Crazy for You, which won the Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Helen Hayes Awards for Best Musical of the Year, and was broadcast nationwide in 1999 on PBS' "Great Performances." His production Lend Me A Tenor won two Tony Awards, an Outer Critics Circle Award, and was nominated for England's prestigious Olivier Award for Comedy of the Year. TheatreWorks has produced several of Ludwig's works, including productions of Moon Over Buffalo and most recently, Shakespeare in Hollywood. His celebrated works have been translated into sixteen different languages, and performed in over thirty countries around the world.

TheatreWorks has assembled a talented ensemble for TWENTIETH CENTURY, including Bay Area native and TheatreWorks veteran Dan Hiatt (Oscar Jaffe), who has worked extensively throughout Bay Area theatres such as American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and Marin Theatre Company. He has appeared in TheatreWorks productions Spinning Into Butter, Psychopathia Sexualis, and most recently, Ambition Facing West.

Well-known to Bay Area audiences, Rebecca Dines (Lily Garland) is a veteran of several TheatreWorks productions, including appearances in The Elephant Man, The Sisters Rosensweig, Living Out, Present Laughter, and Ken Ludwig's Shakespeare in Hollywood. She won Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for her performances in TheatreWorks productions of As Bees in Honey Drown and The Man Who Came to Dinner, and has appeared in productions with theatre companies such as Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, and Magic Theatre.

Joining the cast is Tony Award-nominated Gerald Hiken (Matthew Clark), a veteran of the stage who has been acting professionally since 1951. His long and distinguished career includes playing the role of Andre in Lee Strasberg's 1964 production of Three Sisters on Broadway, and he is known to Bay Area audiences for his work with American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco and California Shakespeare Festivals, as well as Shakespeare Santa Cruz and the Carmel Festival. With TheatreWorks, he has been seen in Third, Once In A Lifetime, and Shakespeare in Hollywood.

Also in the cast is Suzanne Grodner (Ida Webb), who has been featured in TheatreWorks productions such as Emma, Into the Woods, Shakespeare in Hollywood, and Living Out. Local favorite Bob Greene (Owen O'Malley) is known to TheatreWorks audiences for his role in Memphis, while TheatreWorks has also been the stage of some of Geno Carvalho's (George Smith) best work, where he's been seen in All My Sons, A Little Night Music, Book of Days, My Ántonia, and The Grapes of Wrath. Edward Sarafian (Conductor) also returns to TheatreWorks, having been seen in previous productions of Southern Comforts, Ah, Wilderness!, The Man Who Came to Dinner, You Never Can Tell, and The Elephant Man. Rounding out the cast is Jackson Davis (Dr. Grover Lockwood), a veteran of over a dozen TheatreWorks productions, Bay Area actress Ayla Yarkut (Anita Highland), having previously been a part of The Elephant Man and the 2006 TheatreWorks New Works Festival, and Michael Gene Sullivan (Max Jacobs/Beard/Detective/Porter), seen last season in Twelfth Night at TheatreWorks and for many years with San Francisco Mime Troupe.

TheatreWorks founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley, who helmed the company's multiple record-breaking world premiere musical Emma and acclaimed production of Caroline, or Change, directs TWENTIETH CENTURY. Kelley earned Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for TheatreWorks' productions of Ragtime, Rags, Another Midsummer Night, the West Coast Premiere of Jane Eyre, and the Sondheim classics Sunday in the Park with George, Pacific Overtures, Into the Woods, and Sweeney Todd. Additionally, he is the recipient of Bay Area Drama-Logue Awards for his direction of Pacific Overtures, Ah, Wilderness!, and Once in a Lifetime, and Back Stage West Garland Awards for his direction of Side Show and Sunday in the Park with George. Since founding TheatreWorks in 1970, Kelley has directed over 150 productions for the company.Following TWENTIETH CENTURY, TheatreWorks will present the regional premieres of the sizzling Broadway hit musical IT AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT THE BLUES (March 11-April 11, 2009), and Lisa Loomer's DISTRACTED (April 1-26, 2009), which will close the season. With nearly 10,000 subscribers and over 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks has developed a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast from across the country.

TheatreWorks, the nationally-acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley, presents the Tony-nominated comedy hit TWENTIETH CENTURY. Adapted by celebrated farceur Ken Ludwig (Moon Over Buffalo, Crazy For You), this classic screwball comedy, based on the 1930's play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, tells the tale of a Broadway impresario on the decline, who, desperately seeking to revive his sagging career, uses mistaken identity, chicanery, and catastrophe to coax his unforgiving former flame and mercurial silver screen starlet into starring in his next production. Nominated for two Tony Awards and a Drama Desk Award, TWENTIETH CENTURY hurtles from havoc to hilarity on the disorient express as Broadway ballyhoo meets Hollywood hustle aboard the famed locomotive, the Twentieth Century Limited. TheatreWorks Artistic Director Robert Kelley will helm this madcap battle of the sexes, called "a thrilling funhouse ride!" by The New Yorker.

WHEN: Previews: January 14, 15, 16

Press Opening: Saturday, January 17

Closes: Sunday, February 8

SHOWS: Previews: 8 PM

Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 7:30 PM

Thursdays and Fridays: 8 PM

Saturdays: 2 PM, 8 PM
Sundays: 2 PM, 7 PM

"How TheatreWorks" for this show is at 6:30 PM on Thursday, January 15th. Join TWENTIETH CENTURY director Robert Kelley and Scenic Designer Andrea Bechert in a lively discussion on the topic of "The Challenges of Creating a Deco Train for the Mountain View Stage."

Post-show discussions after Wednesday performances - January 21st, 28th, and February 4th. Engage in dialogue and a question-and-answer period with the artistic staff and cast of TWENTIETH CENTURY.

"Visual Voice" audio-described performances for the visually-impaired are available Friday, February 6th at 8 PM; Saturday, February 7th at 8 PM; and Sunday, February 8th at 2 PM.

WHERE: TheatreWorks at the Mountain View 

Center for the Performing Arts
500 Castro St. (at Mercy)

TICKETS: $23-$61; savings available for youth, students, seniors, and members.

For tickets, information, and subscription information, the public may call
(650) 903-6000 or visit



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