Glenne Headly, Ed Harris, Bill Pullman Haunt The Jacksonian, Beth Henley's New Work, Opening Feb. 15

By Andrew Gans
and Kenneth Jones
15 Feb 2012

Glenne Headly
Glenne Headly
Photo by Michael Lamont

The world premiere of The Jacksonian, the new Southern-set play by Pulitzer Prize winner Beth Henley (Crimes of the Heart), officially opens Feb. 15 following previews that began Feb. 7 in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Bill Pullman, Amy Madigan and Ed Harris are among its players.

The run, originally announced to end March 18, now plays to March 25. Robert Falls directs the eerie play set in a seedy motel in Jackson, MS, circa 1964.

In the play, Bill Perch [played by Ed Harris], a dentist with ambiguous morality, goes to the Jacksonian Motel to bury his secrets. Estranged from his wife [played by Amy Madigan], "Perch makes his new home in the motel's unsettling world where the subversive becomes commonplace and the passage of time becomes hauntingly unpredictable," according to production notes. "As the Perches' lives become intertwined with the inhabitants of the motel — proprietor Fred Weber [played by Bill Pullman, of Broadway's Oleanna and HBO's "Too Big to Fail"] and bartender Glenne Headly [of the film "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"] — the audience is taken on a surreal trip that is rife with disturbingly dark humor."

Bess Rous (McCarter Theatre's The How and the Why) plays Rosy Perch, Susan and Bill Perch's daughter; her parents are played by Amy Madigan (Broadway's A Streetcar Named Desire and Oscar nominee for "Twice in a Lifetime") and four-time Oscar nominee and Broadway vet Ed Harris (Precious Sons, Wrecks, "The Right Stuff," "Pollock").



Falls is artistic director of Chicago's Goodman Theatre. The Geffen Playhouse production marks the world premiere of this play, but Harris, Headly, Madigan and Pullman were all involved with Henley in early readings of the project.

Henley was born in Jackson, MS, and came to fame with her dark comedy Crimes of the Heart, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play. Crimes of the Heart and The Wake of Jamey Foster were seen on Broadway. Off-Broadway productions include The Miss Firecracker Contest, Am I Blue, The Lucky Spot, The Debutante Ball, , Abundance, Impossible Marriage and Family Week. Her play Ridiculous Fraud was produced at McCarter Theatre and South Coast Repertory Theatre.

The creative team of The Jacksonian includes set designer Walt Spangler, costume designer Ana Kuzmanic, lighting designer Daniel Ionazzi, sound designer and composer Richard Woodbury and production stage manager Young Ji.

Visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.