Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, which has been playing a hit engagement at New York City's Westside Theatre since last fall, begins an open run at Los Angeles' Canon Theatre on Oct. 13. As in New York, the L.A. mounting will feature a new trio of actresses every three weeks. The inaugural threesome features Rosie Perez, Julie Kavner and Swoosie Kurtz, all of whom have appeared in the Off-Broadway version.
The Vagina Monologues began its Gotham engagement with author actress Ensler handling all the acting duties. Vagina reveals a series of different women's stories and experiences involving their genitalia. The piece was born when playwright Ensler realized that her work, mostly about women, was missing a physiological connection. Ensler told PBOL,"I couldn't be thinking about [liberating women] without thinking about vaginas. I wanted to know about what women were feeling about their vaginas. As I talked to women, I was so awed and amazed by what people were telling me that I began to think, 'there's a [theatre] piece here.'"
Ensler stayed with the show until early 2000, after which the actress tag teams took over. The initial trio -- featuring Kavner, Kurtz and Audra McDonald -- began on Feb. 8. Recently, the booking period grew from a two-week to a three-week stay. The Canon production will follow the three-week model, with Carol Kane, Felicia Rashad and Kimberly Williams to be the next trio, according to a box office spokesperson (reached Oct. 11). Future casts are to be announced.
The roster of actresses who have appeared in the New York production so far runs as follows: Feb. 8-20: Julie Kavner, Swoosie Kurtz and Audra McDonald
Feb. 22-March 5: Mary Alice, Amy Irving and Rosie Perez
March 7-19: Rita Moreno, Cynthia Nixon and Marlo Thomas
March 21-April 2: Shirley Knight, Andrea Martin and Alanis Morissette
April 4-16: Viola Davis, Gina Gershon and Annie Potts
April 18-30: Claire Danes, Jenifer Lewis and Mary McDonnell
May 2-14: Mo Gaffney, Marsha Mason and Lynn Whitfield
May 16-28: Diahann Carroll, Judith Ivey and Marisa Tomei
May 30-June 11: Joy Behar, Hazelle Goodman and Holland Taylor
June 13-15: Linda Ellerbee, Calista Flockhart and Lisa Gay Hamilton
June 27-July 9: Melissa Joan Hart, Carol Kane and Phylicia Rashad
July 11-23: Teri Hatcher, Ricki Lake and Regina Taylor
July 25-Aug. 6: Gloria Reuben, Julia Stiles and Mary Testa
Aug. 8-20: Brett Butler, Kellie Martin and Tonya Pinkins
Aug. 22-Sept. 3: Teri Garr, Julianna Margulies and Sanaa Lathan
Sept. 26-Oct. 15: Kathleen Chalfant, Nell Carter and Annabella Sciorra
Joe Mantello, who staged Love! Valour! Compassion! on Broadway, is the director of the show.
Tickets are $25-$49.50. The Canon is located at 205 N. Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. For information, call (213) 365-3500.
--By Robert Simonson