Geffen to Premiere The Country House, Donald Margulies' Spin on Seagull; 2013-14 Season Announced

By Kenneth Jones
04 Apr 2013

Donald Margulies
Donald Margulies
Photo by Monica Simoes

The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles will produce three world premieres, three West Coast premieres, the return of Donald Margulies' Coney Island Christmas and the classic thriller Wait Until Dark in 2013-14. An additional title will be named for the nine-show season.

Artistic director Randall Arney announced the programming on April 4.

The season features two titles by Pulitzer Prize winner Margulies, author of Brooklyn Boy, Dinner With Friends and Sight Unseen. He's adapted Anton Chekhov's The Seagull as The Country House (June 10-July 20, 2014), a title that was a recent Manhattan Theatre Club commission. His Coney Island Christmas will play Dec. 3-24, 2013, part of a new annual holiday tradition following its premiere there in late 2012. Both plays will appear in Geffen's mainstage Gil Cates Theater.

Artists participating in the coming season include Greg Pierce, Amy Brenneman, Peter DuBois, William Friedkin (directing Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party), Todd Robbins, Daniel Sullivan, Steven Drukman, William Petersen, Bart DeLorenzo, Matt Shakman, Gina Gionfriddo, illusionist Teller and more.



Here's the 2013-14 Geffen Playhouse season at a glance:

Rapture, Blister, Burn
Written by Gina Gionfriddo
Directed by Peter DuBois
Featuring Amy Brenneman
Additional Cast To Be Announced
Aug. 13-Sept. 22
West Coast Premiere in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse

"Three generations of women share their raucous and refreshing approaches to navigating work, love and family. Rock star academic Catherine envies her friend Gwen who finds her domestic responsibilities less than satisfying. Meanwhile the witty and wry student Avery wonders whether she has more in common with Catherine's aging mother than any of today's modern feminists. This new comedy takes a sharp look at how women, and men, find happiness and conquer disappointment."

Wait Until Dark
Written by Frederick Knott
In a New Adaptation Directed by Matt Shakman
Oct. 8-Nov. 17
World Premiere Adaptation in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse

"Don't let the quaint 1960s apartment of Susy and Sam Hendrix fool you; hidden within is a score for which thieves and conmen would kill. Employing disguise and deception, three newly acquainted crooks become all the more desperate and depraved, but must wait until dark to play out this classic thriller's chilling conclusion."

Play Dead
Created by Todd Robbins & Teller
Featuring Todd Robbins
Nov. 5-Dec. 15
West Coast Premiere in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse

"Invite death to come out and play in a creepy creation from Teller and performer/co-creator Todd Robbins who hosts a mesmerizing and terrorizing look at life, death and the horrific wonder between. Weaving together storytelling, illusion and telepathy proves that there is nothing more arousing than unholy resurrection and we're never so alive as when we're scared to death. The stories and events of this production contain some disturbing images, brief moments of nudity and a great deal of fun. Material may be inappropriate for the faint of heart — or those under 18."

Coney Island Christmas
Written by Donald Margulies
Based on the short story "The Loudest Voice" by Grace Paley
Directed by Bart DeLorenzo
Dec. 3-Dec. 24
An Annual Holiday Event in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse

"Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies weaves together nostalgia, music and merriment in the Geffen Playhouse's new seasonal classic. A holiday show for people of all ages and all faiths, Coney Island Christmas introduces us to Shirley Abramowitz, a young Jewish girl who, much to her immigrant parents' exasperation, is cast as Jesus in the school's Christmas pageant. The play captures a timeless and universal tale of what it means to be an American during the holidays and is a perfect tradition to begin with your friends and family."

The Birthday Party
Written by Harold Pinter
Directed by William Friedkin
Feb. 4-March 16, 2014
In the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse

"Academy Award winner William Friedkin directs a new production of Nobel laureate Harold Pinter's most famous and enigmatic work. Two imposing strangers arrive at an English seaside boarding house — disrupting the monotony and disturbing the puzzled Stanley — a former pianist who is out of a job and maybe out of his mind. In celebration of Stanley's birthday, a party is planned but menace arrives and mayhem ensues. Facts twist into half-truths and the night unravels into a mix of the characters' whimsical, eccentric, clownish and ultimately darkest desires. Like seeing through a broken lens or playing an instrument out of tune, this celebrated and darkly comic work mixes the familiar with the strange and the anticipated with the offbeat for an unconventional experience that is anything but expected and nothing but extraordinary."

Slowgirl
Written by Greg Pierce
Directed by Randall Arney
Featuring William Petersen
Additional Cast To Be Announced
March 4-April 13, 2014
West Coast Premiere in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse
"When seventeen year-old Becky is shipped-off to her Uncle Sterling's Costa Rican home — a sanctuary to which he escaped many years ago — the two lost souls navigate contrasting philosophies and a maze of regret. Geffen Playhouse artistic director Randall Arney returns to his old stomping grounds at Steppenwolf and brings home this intimate and elegant glimpse at two characters seeking forgiveness and finding each other. With sharp humor and authenticity, this West Coast premiere reminds us that escape is easy but redemption is hard."

Death of the Author
Written by Steven Drukman
Directed by Bart DeLorenzo
May 20- June 29, 2014
World Premiere in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse

"With a world of knowledge just a smart phone away, is there still such a thing as an original idea? When a young professor suspects a student of plagiarism, his inquiry sparks a chain of events affecting the lives of four people in very real terms. Drukman's beautifully drawn characters must navigate heartbreak, blind ambition and the cutthroat competition that thrives within these ivy-covered walls. Extending beyond postmodern literature and academic rigors, this smart, funny and engrossing world premiere becomes a personal battle to decide what is right, what is wrong and what must be done."

The Country House
Written by Donald Margulies
Directed by Daniel Sullivan
June 10-July 20, 2014
World Premiere in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse

"Inspired by The Seagull, Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies updates Anton Chekhov's famed classic in a funny and poignant world premiere directed by Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan. Gathering in their Berkshire home during the Williamstown summer theater season, a family of actors wrestles with fame, art and, as always, each other. But when the events of the weekend go off-script, secrets are spilled and bonds are broken — threatening an already fragile foundation of a home brimming with old memories, new love and discarded dreams."

One additional title will be announced shortly.

Subscriptions are currently available for renewal. Single tickets are not yet available. For more information, visit GeffenPlayhouse.com.

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The Geffen Playhouse opened in 1995, offering a mix of classic and contemporary plays.