When L.A. Theatre Works Producing Director Susan Albert Lowenberg saw Interact Theatre Company's 1995 production of Elmer Rice's Counsellor-At-Law, she was impressed. "This is the best thing to come out of L.A. theatre in more than a decade," Lowenberg says, "It deserves to be on Broadway, but the chances of that happening are small for such a big show."
Instead, the entire award-wining production (garnering more than 23 L.A. Theatre Awards including Best Production), co-directed by and starring John Rubinstein, is reviving itself April 30-May 3, for L.A. Theatre Works' The Plays the Thing Series--star-studded productions of radio plays, taped live at the Doubletree Guest Suites in Santa Monica.
Counsellor at Law is a depression-era, suspense filled drama about moral and political behavior. John Rubinstein (the original Broadway Pippin) stars as an ambitious attorney who has attained a precarious peak in his profession, working up from a life in the streets.
Rubinstein co-directs the rest of the 23 original Interact theatre company members with Anita Khanzadian. He says, "It's very similar to L.A. today...there's the same mixing together of ethnic groups...There's also very much a class war going on right now--and the play is about that, people who are downtrodden, fighting their way up from the streets....it's not predictable or nostalgic. It's tough talking blood and guts."
Counsellor at Law was originally scheduled to run a month later in the series, but was switched to an earlier date since Rubinstein was cast in L.A.'s production of Ragtime. In addition to creating the role of Pippin, he also created the roles of James Leeds in Children of a Lesser God, Andrew Ladd III in Gurney's Love Letters, and Molina in Kiss of the Spider Woman when it was directed by Harold Price at S.U.N.Y. Purchase. He has worked extensively in television and films as well. L.A. Theatre Works began "The Play's The Thing" in 1990, produced in association with Santa Monica College's National Public Radio station KCRW. Winner of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Gold & Silver Awards, the series is devoted "to the discovery and presentation of new plays and new interpretations of classic works."
For tickets ($23-$26) and information on these 8 PM performances at Doubletree Guest Suites in Santa Monica, call (310) 827-0889, or refer to the L.A. Theatre Works regional listing on Playbill On Line.
The show will be recorded for future broadcast on KCRW 89.9 and National Public Radio network.
--By Blair Glaser