Next up in L.A. Theatre Works' "The Play's The Thing" Radio Theatre Series will be an updated revival of Guns, the 1975 musical satire of American gun culture. Recorded live, June 4-7, at Doubletree Guest Suites in Santa Monica, CA, the piece will be aired in the near future on KCRW 89.9 FM.
Starring in Harry Aguado & Doris Baizley's musical will be Edward Asner, Tyne Daly and Yeardley Smith. Asner is best known for playing Lou Grant on TV's "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and his character's eponymous sequel. In Guns, he plays the gruff character, Military Rifle. Daly, of "Cagney & Lacey" fame (she was Lacey) starred on Broadway in Gypsy and won an L.A. Drama-Logue Award for Come Back Little Sheba. Here she plays "cheap, wanton Saturday Night Special." Smith, the voice of TV's Lisa Simpson, appeared on Broadway in The Real Thing. She stars here as playful but still-dangerous, Toy Gun.
Guns takes place in 2076 -- America's TriCentennial -- when guns are outlawed. A few weapons remain, on view at the city zoo. When they plot to escape, "they discover for the first time what they were really made for and why they can never be free."
First commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum in 1975, Guns will have new musical material and new songs in this mounting. Composer Aguado sees this as an ideal time for a revival of the show, to coincide with the country's more receptive stance on issues of gun control. Aguado says, "This play really drives home the idea that society changed in a radical way when it became possible to kill simply by pulling a trigger, without the need for any actual physical contact."
Ironically, 1975 was also the year another gun-oriented show emerged ahead of its time -- Chicago. "The Play's The Thing," begun in 1990, is produced in association with Santa Monica College's National Public Radio station KCRW. Winner of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Gold & Silver Awards, the series is devoted "to the discovery and presentation of new plays and new interpretations of classic works." The National Endowment For The Arts recently awarded LATW $100,000 to maintain the country's largest library of classic stage plays on audio tape -- which includes the ability to market and distribute the works on cassette and CD.
For tickets ($23-$26) and information on these 8 PM performances at Doubletree Guest Suites in Santa Monica, call L.A. Theatre Works at (310) 827-0889.
--By David Lefkowitz