Of the three new works, Zhivago was presented at the California venue in a workshop production, while the other two were commissioned by the company. Three additional shows for the forthcoming season are yet to be announced.
Based on the famous 1958 Nobel Prize-winning novel by Russian author Boris Pasternak, Zhivago is set against the backdrop of the snowy country before and after the Russian Revolution. The work was later adapted for the screen for the 1965 film starring Omar Shariff as the surgeon-poet Yurii Zhivago and Julie Christie as his muse Lara.
The new work combines the talents of bookwriter Michael Weller (Moonchildren, Loose Ends), composer Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden) and lyricists Michael Korie (Doll - Ravinia Festival) and Amy Powers (Lizzie Borden). La Jolla artistic director (Jersey Boys, 700 Sundays) will again direct the work.
For the July workshop, Chris Hoch (Dracula, Beauty and the Beast) starred as the title character of Zhivago opposite Rena Strober (Les Miserables, My Life with Albertine) as his wife Tonya and Jessica Burrows (The Ten Commandments, La Boheme) as his love Lara. Tony Award winner Anthony Crivello (Kiss of the Spider Woman) was also featured in the cast. No casting for the full staging has been announced.
Following up this season's collaboration on the world premiere of Lee Blessing's The Scottish Play, La Jolla will next present their commission from the playwright: Great Falls. In the new drama, a man takes his stepdaughter on a road trip to his former stomping grounds in the hopes of building a better relationship with her. The Playhouse has also previously produced his A Walk in the Woods and the world premieres of Going to St. Ives, Two Rooms, Down the Road and Fortinbras.
From the trio behind Culture Clash in AmeriCCa comes the new work Zorro in Hell. The world premiere co-production with Zorro Productions, Inc. and Berkeley Repertory Theatre features the Chicano/Latino theatre and comedy troupe of Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza as directed by Berkeley Rep's artistic director Tony Taccone. (The work will play at his homestage March 17-April 16, 2006).
In Zorro in Hell, the performance troupe takes a look behind the legend who "rides out of the pages of pulp fiction, through the Hollywood image machine and beyond the barriers of class, race and ethnicity to become a hero for the oppressed in every land," as production notes reveal.
Zhivago will perform at La Jolla's Mandell Weiss Theatre, Great Falls will appear on the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre stage and Zorro in Hell will debut at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre.
The La Jolla Playhouse 2005 season currently presents the Theatre de la Jeune Lune production of Moliere's The Miser. (Oct. 11-Nov. 13). Next up will be the Aquila Theatre Company production of Much Ado About Nothing (Jan. 17-Feb. 19, 2006).
La Jolla Playhouse is located on the corner of La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla, CA. For more information on the company, visit www.lajollaplayhouse.com.