The California company will instead present the world premiere of The Joan Rivers Theater Project, which was workshopped this past summer at San Francisco's Magic Theater under the direction of Mark Rucker.
The comedy, which was co-written by and also stars the famed comic/actress, will play the Geffen Feb. 5-March 30, 2008, with an official opening Feb. 12. In a statement, Geffen producing director Gil Cates said, "In a season that's focused on females, we feel like Joan's story is the epitome of what it's like to be a woman in Hollywood. The Geffen audience is lucky to have the first look at Joan's incredible play as well as the rare treat to see her perform live so up close and personal."
Rivers added, "I'm so thrilled to be doing the project at the Geffen. One because it's a very prestigious and theatrically dedicated organization, and two because they're paying me."
The Joan Rivers Theater Project was written by Rivers, Douglas Bernstein and Denis Markell. The play is described as such: "Set immediately before a big awards preshow, Rivers uses her dressing room (B, not A), her cheese plate (puny, not plentiful) and her producer (the bigwig's nephew, not the bigwig), as impetus for an introspective look at aging, going through life's ups and downs and being a woman in Hollywood."
Rivers made her Broadway stage debut in Fun City and later was a replacement player in Neil Simon's Broadway Bound. A stand-up comic making guest-host appearances on "The Tonight Show," Rivers eventually hosted her own talk show, "The Joan Rivers Show." She received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress for her work in Sally Marr...and Her Escorts — which she also co-wrote. Although the Geffen will not present Female of the Species this season, the press announcement says, "There is still a possibility of rescheduling Joanne Murray-Smith's production next season. The Geffen has decided to move forward and replace the show while the play's Broadway producer is exploring casting options."
It was previously announced that The Female of the Species will begin previews at a Broadway theatre to be announced April 11, 2008, and officially open April 28. Recent Spring Awakening Tony winner Michael Mayer will direct the six-character play, which is being produced by David Richenthal and Mary Beth O'Connor.
Tickets for Joan Rivers Theater Project, priced $35-$74, are now on sale by calling (310) 208-5454 or by visiting www.geffenplayhouse.com.