A veteran movie character actor and two familiar television faces head the cast of the Geffen Playhouse's production of Jon Robin Baitz's comedy Mizlansky/Zilinsky, which begins previews March 21 for a March 29 opening and a run through April 23. Michael Lerner, whose film credits include "Barton Fink" and "Eight Men Out," will play the hapless movie producer Mizlansky to David Groh's smooth Zilinsky. Groh is best known as Valerie Harper's husband Joe on the television sitcom, "Rhoda."
Also in the cast is television's original "Trapper John" from "M*A*S*H," Wayne Rogers, as well as Richard Kline, Will McCormack, George Wyner, Maury Ginsberg and Dina Platias. Nicholas Martin (The Time of the Cuckoo) directs.
Baitz's play concerns Mizlansky, a down and out producer of schlock B movies, who is desperately trying to run one more big scam before retiring from the business. Standing in his way are the IRS, hot on his heels, and his high-principled ex-partner, Zilinsky, who wants out of the deal.
First written as a one-act, Miz/Zil was later enlarged into a full length play and premiered in New York in 1998 at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Lerner won an Oscar nomination for Barton Fink, in which he also played a movie producer. On stage, he appeared opposite Sean Penn in David Rabe's Hurlyburly. Groh has starred on Broadway in Chapter Two and Twilight of the Golds. Tickets are $20-$25. The Geffen Playhouse is located at 10886 Le Conte Avenue in Westwood. For information call the Geffen Playhouse Box Office at (310) 208-5454 or Ticketmaster at (213) 365-3500.
--By Robert Simonson