McDowell As Tynan and Kron World Premiere Featured in 2009-10 Kirk Douglas Season

News   McDowell As Tynan and Kron World Premiere Featured in 2009-10 Kirk Douglas Season The new 2009-10 season of work by Center Theatre Group at its Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles will feature a world premiere by Lisa Kron, Malcolm McDowell as drama critic Kenneth Tynan and a new play by In the Continuum writer Danai Gurira.
Malcolm McDowell
Malcolm McDowell Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The 2009-10 season at the Douglas was announced July 1 by CTG's artistic director Michael Ritchie, and it will include the world-premiere CTG commission by Kron, author of Broadway's Well; the American premiere of Tynan; and the West Coast premiere of Eclipsed, set in Africa, by Gurari, plus expanded DouglasPlus programming that includes "an eclectic mix of theatre choices ranging from fully-staged productions to bare-bones workshops and readings."

Limited-run, special events will also be a part of the second season of DouglasPlus. DouglasPlus, "with its limited number of performances and its use of both traditional and non-traditional performance spaces and seating configurations, allows more freedom with programming and scheduling."

The CTG-Kirk Douglas 2009-10 season follows:

Eclipsed, Gurira's "compelling portrait of transformation and renewal" will open the 2009-2010 season Sept. 13-Oct. 18. Gurira, the Obie Award-winning actress and writer whose In the Continuum played at the Douglas in 2006, reunites with director Robert O'Hara to bring the West Coast premiere of her latest work to Los Angeles audiences.

According to CTG, "Set in 2003 during Liberia's vicious civil war, Eclipsed follows the lives of a rebel commanding officer's 'wives' as the women form a tightly-knit community and struggle for a degree of humanity in a hostile war zone. Their world is soon affected, however, by the arrival of two newcomers and the unceremonious return of a former 'wife' turned rebel soldier. "At once chilling and humanizing, Eclipsed dives deep into the wreckage of war and finds with surprising humor and compassion how each woman navigates, and at times, defies, the most hostile of circumstances in order to survive."

Born in the United States to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe, Gurari has a M.F.A. in Acting from New York University. Eclipsed received an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award for its planned world premiere at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in August-September 2009.

Kron's new play (currently untitled) will be presented March 21-April 18, 2010. The play was commissioned by Center Theatre Group and will be co-produced with Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The "insightful, deeply affecting new play" by the Obie Award-winning playwright-performer will be directed by Leigh Silverman, who staged Kron's acclaimed Off-Broadway and Broadway production of Well.

According to CTG, "At the heart of the story is Ellen, a smart, politically engaged, freelance writer who has created a warm circle of friends — a 'puppy pile of people' — including her longtime partner, his sister and her partner. She gathers them together for a Thanksgiving dinner in 2000 but has trouble joining the festivities with her mind on the contested presidential election. She is adamant that her friends don't understand how bad the situation really is. It turns out that Ellen, in the midst of the political turmoil of the 21st century, is also unable to see the facts at the center of her own political and emotional life. Kron's searing new play unearths the assumptions of privilege and comfort that lie deep in the American character, and confronts the inescapable truth that no matter how intelligent, open or self-reflective you think you are, you'll never be able to see your own blind spot."

Kron's Well received two Tony Award nominations. She also penned and starred in 2.5 Minute Ride to acclaim.

Tynan is billed as "the wickedly candid play" about the influential drama critic Kenneth Tynan, to be played by acclaimed actor Malcolm McDowell. It will makes its U.S. debut May 6-June 6, 2010.

Tynan is based on the book "The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan" edited by John Lahr, and adapted for the stage by Richard Nelson with Colin Chambers. Nelson will direct.

According to CTG, "Tynan was a British theatre critic who was both respected and feared by playwrights whose careers he could make or break with his brilliant, razor-sharp prose. He was also a larger than life character who was a notorious gossip and eccentric, a connoisseur of wine and women, a producer of the first all-nude musical, Oh! Calcutta!, and a leader in the early days of the National Theatre of Britain, handpicked by Sir Laurence Olivier."

McDowell made his screen debut as the school rebel Mick Travis in "If….," followed by the lead role of the psychopath in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange," the title role in "Caligula" and over 100 other feature film, theatre and television credits.

The programming for the DouglasPlus events will take place from November 2009 through February 2010, with a second DouglasPlus slot planned for late June through July 2010.

Projects already confirmed include a staged workshop of Next Stop Amazingland, "which both satirizes and embraces the world of magic" and has been created by Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford with magician Steve Cuiffo; a special event, The Lunacy Commission, an insanity-themed cabaret created by director Lars Jan; and the world premiere production of the Obie Award-winning actress and playwright Dael Orlandersmith's powerful new work Bones.

Performance dates for these events will be announced in the fall. Next Stop Amazingland is a CTG-commissioned piece, while Lars Jan's work is being developed with the assistance of CTG's Richard E. Sherwood Award which he received in 2007, and Dael Orlandersmith is a former CTG/William J. Fadiman Award winner.

Other DouglasPlus events will be announced in the fall.

For information and to charge season tickets by phone, call the Exclusive Season Ticket Membership Hotline at (213) 972-4444. To purchase online, visit www.CenterTheatreGroup.org. Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd. in Culver City, CA.