LOS ANGELES -- The world premiere of a new musical set in the silent-movie era, The First Picture Show, heads the slate of plays on the Mark Taper Forum's 1998/99 season.
Other shows scheduled include Athol Fugard's The Captain's Tiger; Paula Vogel's award-winning Off-Broadway hit How I Learned to Drive; Putting It Together, a Stephen Sondheim revue starring Carol Burnett; Ellen McLaughlin's Tongue of a Bird, starring Cherry Jones; and Anna Deavere Smith's House Arrest, a play about the U.S. presidency and the media.
Artistic director Gordon Davidson said the season could be seen as "a celebration of women." Three of the six productions are by female writers. The score for The First Picture Show is being written by Jeanine Tesori and the book (by David and Ain Gordon) deals with the role of women in the early movie industry.
Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, scheduled for Feb. 25- April 4 deals with the sexual molestation of a young girl. It received best play awards last year from the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Drama Desk, as well as an Obie, and it recently won the 1998 Susan Smith Blackburn award for an outstanding play written in English by a woman. Mark Brokaw directs.
Fugard's play is planned for June 27-July 25, 1999. It's an autobiographical work about his experience as a young man in the merchant marine. It will get an earlier Southland production, also with Fugard starring and directing, at the La Jolla Playhouse in July. -- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent