Neil Patrick Harris, Ron Rifkin Deliver The Paris Letter; World Premiere Baitz Begins in CA

News   Neil Patrick Harris, Ron Rifkin Deliver The Paris Letter; World Premiere Baitz Begins in CA
 
Neil Patrick Harris, Lawrence Pressman, Josh Radnor, Ron Rifkin and Patricia Wettig star in the world premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's The Paris Letter in California.
Promotional art for The Paris Letter.
Promotional art for The Paris Letter. Photo by Craig Schwartz

Michael Morris directs the L.A. run of the work, which begins Dec. 9 and opens Dec. 12 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City for a run through Jan. 2, 2005. The play — in a staging by Doug Hughes (Frozen, Doubt) — is also set to appear Off-Broadway at Roundabout Theatre Company's Laura Pels Theatre in 2005.

Paris Letter centers on a Wall Street hotshot whose past catches up with him and threatens both his personal and professional lives.

The design team includes Michael Brown (set), Alex Jaeger (costumes) and Christopher Akerlind (lighting). The work features original music composed by Nathan Wang. Lisa J. Snodgrass serves as the production stage manager.

Harris was last seen in the Tony Award-winning revival of Assassins as The Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald. The actor, remembered by television audiences as "Doogie Howser, M.D.," has amassed a formidable theatre resume, having appeared in Broadway's Cabaret, Proof, Lincoln Center's Sweeney Todd and the Los Angeles staging of Rent.

Rifkin currently stars on the ABC drama "Alias" but is also known for his Tony Award-winning turn as Herr Schultz in the recent revival of Cabaret. Other credits for the actor include Wrong Mountain and Baitz's The Substance of Fire and Three Hotels. He has appeared on film in "L.A. Confidential," "Husbands and Wives," "Manhattan Murder Mystery," "Keeping the Faith," "JFK" and the film version of "The Substance of Fire." Pressman appeared on Broadway in Never Live Over a Pretzel Factory, The Man in the Glass Booth and Play It Again, Sam as well as TV shows ("Doogie Howser, M.D.," "Mulligan's Stew") and films ("Shaft," "American Pie"). Radnor took over the lead role in Broadway's The Graduate and appeared Off-Broadway in Eight Days (Backwards). Wettig — who enjoys a recurring role on "Alias" — is known for her work on the TV shows "thirtysomething" and "St. Elsewhere." A former Circle Repertory Company member, she appeared in stagings of The Woolgatherer, Threads and The Diviners.

Boston's Huntington Theatre Company commissioned the new work, which was seen in a New York City reading in December 2003. The drama was developed at California's Ojai Playwrights Conference.

The Paris Letter was thought to be headed for Broadway under the auspices of Elizabeth McCann, Scott Rudin and Hal Luftig. The Off-Broadway run of The Paris Letter is slated to begin May 13, 2005, toward a June opening for a run through Aug. 7 at the Laura Pels.

Baitz's one-act Show People was performed as part of a Mike Nichols-produced benefit called Short Talks on the Universe in November 2002. He also penned the adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler seen on Broadway in 2001. His Ten Unknowns was produced by Lincoln Center Theater, which also presented the scribe's A Fair Country and The Substance of Fire. Other works include Mizlansky/Zilinsky or 'Schmucks,' Three Hotels and The Film Society.

Ron Rifkin (Cabaret, "Alias") — a fixture of Baitz's works — starred in the reading with Kate Nelligan (An American Daughter) and Richard Easton (The Invention of Love, Henry IV). Jonathan Kent (Man of La Mancha directed the reading.

Tickets to The Paris Letter at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd. in downtown Culver City, CA, are available by calling (213) 628-2772. For more information, visit the website at http://www.KirkDouglasTheatre.org.

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