The 1998-99 season of L.A. Theatre Works' "The Play's the Thing" live radio series will feature a new work by Jon Robin Baitz. The Three Hotels author returns to the travel and accommodations industry with A Small Hotel, which concerns an apolitical American couple whose Riviera hotel is taken over by a deposed dictator. Nathan Lane and Julie Kavner will play roles written specifically for them. The play, an LATW commission, will run Jan. 20-24, 1999, at the Skirball Cultural Center.
Baitz is the author of The Substance of Fire, The End of the Day and House, a collaboration with Terrence McNally which is being given its premiere this summer at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, Long Island. Both Lane and Kavner appeared in the LATW premiere of Baitz's Mizlansky/Zilinsky last year.
The LATW season will open with a performance of Wendy Wasserstein's political comedy An American Daughter (Oct. 6-10), in that play's L.A. premiere. Lynne Thigpen, who won a Tony for her performance in the play, will recreate her role. Also starring in the production are Mary McDonnell and Arye Gross.
John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation (Oct. 21-25) will follow. Swoosie Kurtz, who took over the role of New York socialite Ouisa from Stockard Channing on Broadway, will repeat that role. Chuma Hunter-Gault will co-star.
Linda Lavin, Harris Yulin and Jonathan Kaplan will recreate their performances in the recent Broadway revival of The Diary of Anne Frank (Nov. 18-22) when LATW performs that Goodrich-Hackett drama. Jane Kaczmarek and Paul Sand will also star. Next on the roster is the Shaw classic The Doctor's Dilemma (Dec. 2-5). Rosalind Ayres will direct a cast of British actors including Roy Dotrice, Martin Jarvis, Alfred Molina, Douglas Weston and Paxton Whitehead.
Following A Small Hotel will be George C. Wolfe's The Colored Museum (Feb. 17-21, 1999). The show will feature Loretta Devine and Vickilyn Reynolds, veterans of the Off-Broadway production. Charlie Robinson and Charlayne Woodward will also star. Reggie Montgomery directs.
Working (Mar. 3-7), the musical based on Studs Terkel's book, will complete the season. The LATW staging will include Jason Alexander, Nell Carter, Joe Mantegna and JoBeth Williams.
All performances are recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center for future broadcast on KCRW 89.9FM. For information, call (310) 827-0889.
--By Robert Simonson