Merton of the Movies, the Geffen Playhouse revival of the George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly comedy, begins previews June 29 for a run through Aug. 1. Opening night is set for July 7. John Rando (Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight) directs.
Written by "Algonquin Round Table" members Kaufman and Connelly (Dulcy, Beggar on Horseback) in 1922, Merton of the Movies takes place in the infancy of movie-making when a small town Midwestern boy tries to break into films with all the money he's been able to save. Instead he ends up entangled in the maniac world of an egomaniacal director, a young starlet, a clumsy, accident prone camera crew and a group of over-the-hill actors.
Merton premiered on Broadway at the Cort Theatre in 1922. The play has been adapted three times for various films but has not been seen in Los Angeles since the 1977 Ahmanson theatre production directed by Burt Shevelove and starring Richard Thomas.
Barry Del Sherman, who plays the title role, recently appeared as Peter Sloan in La Jolla Playhouse's Light Up the Sky. Other credits include The Rimers of Eldritch by Lanford Wilson, Harry Kondoleon's Love Diatribe, Kingfish and Why Things Burn by Marlane Meyer and Chelsea Walls by Nicole Burdette.
As the ensemble surrounding Merton are David Garrison (Titanic, TV's "Married With Children"), Richard Libertini, Heidi Mokrycki, Meagen Fay, Lucy Lee Flippin, Eugene Roche, Jim Fyfe, Don Lee Sparks, Anita Barone, Gerritt VanderMeer, Emil Ahangarzadeh and Susannah Conn. Rando directed All in the Timing at the Geffen Theatre last season. Other credits include the New York Encores! productions of Strike Up the Band and Do Re Mi with Nathan Lane. An artistic associate of the Berkshire Theatre Festival, he will direct David Ives' Lives of the Saints there this summer.
Designing Merton are Kent Dorsey (sets), Jonathan Bixby (costumes), Daniel Ionazzi (lighting) and Jon Gottlieb (sound).
Tickets ($40-$30) are available by calling the Geffen Playhouse Box Office at (310) 208-5454 or Ticketmaster at (213) 365-3500.
-- By Christine Ehren