Geffen Playhouse artistic director Randall Arney directs. Opening night will be Feb. 10. Performances play to March 14.
Three-time Academy Award nominee Bening ("Being Julia," "American Beauty," "The Grifters") returns to the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles as Margot Mason, feminist theorist and author of such influential works as "Madame Ovary" and "The Complete Insignificance of Male Sexuality."
According to production notes, "Loosely inspired by a real-life incident, The Female of the Species begins with Margot at her country home attempting to pen her next masterpiece in the peace and quiet. Problem is, nothing's coming. Nothing, that is, except for Molly (Merritt Wever), a former student who is intent on taking Margot hostage as punishment for her mixed message ideology. Enter Margot's overlooked daughter (Mireille Enos), her simplistic son-in-law (David Arquette), her longtime publisher (Julian Sands) and a disgruntled cab driver (Josh Stamberg) ... and all of a sudden a simple kidnapping turns into a battle over who can throw the first punch and get the last word."
"The characters in this play function like the instruments in a good piece of jazz — just as one melody settles in, another element is introduced that changes the dynamic entirely," stated Arney. "These spectacular actors, many of whom are new to L.A. theatre audiences, promise to bring a freshness to Joanna's fantastic ensemble comedy." The Female of the Species had its world premiere at the Melbourne Theatre Company in 2006, which was followed by a production on London's West End in 2008.
The creative team includes set designer Takeshi Kata, costume designer David Mickelson, lighting designer Daniel Ionazzi, composer/sound designer Richard Woodbury and production stage manager James T. McDermott.
Tickets are on sale now at the Geffen Playhouse box office, online at www.geffenplayhouse.com, via credit card phone order at (310) 208-5454, at all Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.
Murray-Smith, predominantly a playwright, has also worked as screenwriter, novelist, librettist and newspaper columnist. Her plays, which include Honour, Rapture, Bombshells, Nightfall, Redemption, Love Child and Flame, have been produced around the world.
Arquette was recently seen in the film "Hamlet 2." His film credits include the "Scream" trilogy, "Eight Legged Freaks," "The Grey Zone," "Stealing Sinatra," "Never Been Kissed," "Dream with Fishes," "Never Die Alone" and "The Darwin Awards." In January 2003, he formed the production company, Coquette Productions, with his wife, Courteney Cox.
Bening will return to the Geffen Playhouse after previously appearing in Hedda Gabbler. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in Coastal Disturbances. Her Los Angeles theatre credits include The Cherry Orchard (Mark Taper Forum), Talking Heads (Tiffany Theater) and most recently Medea (UCLA Live). Her film credits include "American Beauty" (Academy Award nomination), "The Grifters" (Academy Award nomination), "Running with Scissors," "Being Julia" (Academy Award nomination), "Richard III," "The American President," "Postcards from the Edge" and "The Siege."
Enos earned a Tony Award nomination for playing Honey in the Broadway revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Tony Award nomination). She starred as twins, Kathy & Jodean Marquet, in the critically-acclaimed HBO hit "Big Love."
Sands was first known in the United States for his romantic turn in the film, "A Room with a View." He also appeared in "The Killing Fields," "Boxing Helena," "Naked Lunch," "Timecode" and "Leaving Las Vegas." On stage, Sands was recently seen in Los Angeles as British Prime Minister Tony Blair in David Hare's Stuff Happens at the Mark Taper Forum.
Stamberg appeared with Cynthia Nixon in Distracted at New York City's Roundabout Theater. On television, he recently finished the first season of Lifetime's series "Drop Dead Diva." He also had recurring roles on "Six Feet Under," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," "Monk" and "Over There."
Wever can currently be seen in Showtime's hit series "Nurse Jackie." Her theatre appearances include Sam & Lucy, Bad Girls, Smashing, Cave Dweller, Roulette, Cape Cod Souvenirs, To Gilian on her 37th Birthday, Running on Earth, Here We Are and Children of the Flames. Wever's upcoming films include "Greenberg" opposite Ben Stiller and Jennifer Jason Leigh and "The Missing Person" co-starring Amy Ryan and Michael Shannon.