Clybourne Park and Raisin in the Sun Meet in CTG Season; Kirk Douglas Theatre Has Premieres

News   Clybourne Park and Raisin in the Sun Meet in CTG Season; Kirk Douglas Theatre Has Premieres Clybourne Park, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Bruce Norris, will be part of Center Theatre Group's 2011-12 season at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The announcement was made July 11, in tandem with the revelation of four titles in the eighth CTG season at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, CA.

The Night Watcher star Charlayne Woodard
The Night Watcher star Charlayne Woodard Photo by James Leynse

The new Douglas season will include actress-writer Charlayne Woodard in her play, The Night Watcher; a remount of the Ebony Repertory Theatre production of Lorraine Hansberry's classic A Raisin in the Sun (directed by Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad); the irreverent Culture Clash production of the new work written by Richard Montoya, American Night: The Ballad of Juan José; and Danai Gurira in her world-premiere play, The Convert.

Additionally, the more offbeat DouglasPlus works there this coming season are a full production of Rude Mechs' new world-premiere musical I've Never Been So Happy, and a reading of the Burglars of Hamm's The Behavior of Broadus. More DouglasPlus shows will be announced.

Clybourne Park, which also won the Olivier Award for Best New Play, will run March 7-April 22, 2012. The work is a riff of A Raisin in the Sun, so Ebony's Jan. 19-Feb. 19, 2012, revival of the Hansberry classic should provide unique contrast, complementing the Norris work.

CTF artistic director Michael Ritchie said in a statement, "CTG's New Play Production Program is in full gear with two CTG-commissioned works, The Convert and The Behavior of Broadus, and the further development of Rude Mechs' work on I've Never Been So Happy through a CTG Completion Commission. Part of our mandate is to form partnerships with L.A. theatre companies, and it's of particular pleasure to present the important work of Ebony Repertory Theatre."

Woodard returns to CTG with The Night Watcher, Nov. 17-Dec. 18. In it, "A best friend, advisor, confidant and sage to the many young people for whom she is an auntie or a godmother," Woodard "pays homage to the life-enhancing intimacy that can exist between children and the loving extended family of 'other' adults who are not related." A director for The Night Watcher will be announced at a later date. In American Night: The Ballad of Juan José, "the highly-charged story of the immigrant in America today is hilariously upended" by writer Montoya. Developed by Culture Clash and Jo Bonney, directed by Bonney and a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, American Night plays March 9-April 1, 2012. It "tells the story of Juan José, a resident alien on the night before his U.S. citizenship test," according to CTG. "As Juan crams for his exam he finds himself transported through history into some of the chapters left out of the history books."

The world premiere production of The Convert, a co-production with McCarter Theatre Center and Goodman Theatre, is directed by Emily Mann. "Set amid the colonial scramble for southern Africa in 1895," according to CTG, "The Convert tells the tale of Jekesai, a young girl who escapes a forced marriage arrangement by becoming the newest convert of a well-meaning black catechist for the Catholic Church. But when an anti-colonial uprising erupts she is torn by her loyalties to her family and her culture and is forced to decide which side of the conflict she will choose — and where her heart truly belongs."

Set in what is now Zimbabwe, the play will run April 17-May 13, 2011. Playwright Gurira co-created and performed in the award-winning play In the Continuum, for which she won the Obie Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award, among other awards.

Rude Mechs' world-premiere production of I've Never Been So Happy, "a Western musical transmedia shindig," plays the Douglas Theatre for 18 performances, Oct. 6-23. It part of the DouglasPlus slate.

I've Never Been So Happy has book and lyrics by Kirk Lynn and music and lyrics by Peter Stopschinski. It is curated and directed by Thomas Graves and Lana Lesley, and is created and performed by Rude Mechs.

Expect "music that ranges from a traditional gospel love song to a modern action-film score, from an operatic aria to a hip-hop party mix and from a traditional country duet to a death metal song." The show is billed as "a wild ride though the myths and realities of the American West," telling the story of Annabellee, who wants to escape her father's Country & Western Comedy Variety hour. At the same time, Jeremy Jessup has been exiled from his mother's commune. "With the help of the last mountain lion in Texas and a couple of dachshunds, Jeremy and Annabellee challenge every stereotype of what's manly, what's beautiful, what's free and what's wild."

The world premiere of I've Never Been So Happy was co-presented with CTG in April 2011 at the Off-Center in Austin. The project is "a CTG Completion Commission" — awards which are given to projects that have already been started but need additional support to be completed.

A reading of a new work by one of L.A.’s most beloved comic theatre companies is set for Sept. 17. The DouglasPlus offering of The Behavior of Broadus is billed as a new comedy "complete with lab rats, romance and music," is written by Burglars of Hamm (Carolyn Almos, Matt Almos, Jon Beauregard and Albert Dayan), with original songs by Matt Almos and GrooveLily's Brendan Milburn, with Burglars of Hamm. It's "the incredible, sort-of-true story of John Broadus Watson, the father of both behaviorism and modern advertising." It's a CTG commission.

Additional DouglasPlus programming for May and June 2012 will be announced later.

For more information, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/Douglas.

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