San Francisco audiences have helped The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe extend through Dec. 31 at the Theatre in the Square, so star Lily Tomlin will give back to the Bay Area's theatre community with a benefit talk Dec. 10. The New Conservatory Theatre Center hosts the event, whose funds will be donated to the NCTC's YouthAware Educational Theatre Program.
Tomlin, known for her quirky characters on TV's "Laugh-In" and "Murphy Brown," and in films such as "Nashville" and "9 to 5," won a Best Actress Tony Award in 1985-86 for playing Wagner's varied series of scenes and characters in Search for Signs. The script is loaded with incisive seriocomic observations about post-1960s cultural attitudes, expectations and consequences. Wagner, her longtime collaborator, failed to get a nomination. The script of the play, however, became a best-seller and has been re-released by Harper Collins to coincide with this Broadway run.
The show set out on a successful national tour in 1990-91 and again in 2001, following the revival run. Among the roles, Tomlin plays a punker teen, a wise bag lady, hookers, a fitness freak, a husband, a lesbian editor and more.
Novelist, poet and critic Jewelle Gomez will moderate the talk. The floor will be opened to audience members who wish to question Tomlin about her life and work.
Tickets are $150 for the first four rows and $100 and include a reception following the discussion. The New Conservatory Theatre Center is located at 25 Van Ness Avenue near Market Street. For tickets, call (415) 861 8972. The New Conservatory Theatre Center is on the web at http://www.nctcsf.org. NCTC's YouthAware Theatre Program produces works for high school and elementary school students, reaching 30,000 young people a year. Recent productions include The Other Side of the Closet, the drug prevention play Buzz and And Then They Came for Me: Remembering Anne Frank.
— By Christine Ehren
and Kenneth Jones