|Photo by Julian Andrews|
Stage and screen star Annette Bening had originally been announced to star in both the Geffen Playhouse mounting and the subsequent Broadway staging of Species. Bening withdrew from the production in September 2007. In a statement at the time, Bening said, "I am unfortunately withdrawing from Female of the Species for personal reasons. I think it is a fantastic play and I wish everyone associated with it all the best." (The California company will instead present the world premiere of The Joan Rivers Theater Project, which was workshopped last summer at San Francisco's Magic Theater under the direction of Mark Rucker. Rivers will play the Geffen Feb. 5-March 30.)
Spring Awakening Tony winner Michael Mayer was scheduled to direct the six-character Species, produced by David Richenthal and Mary Beth O'Connor. No replacement for actress Bening has been announced.
The Female of the Species, according to press notes, concerns "Margot Mason, a feminist literary giant suffering an extreme case of writer's block as deadline after deadline comes and goes on her next book. When a young fan arrives unexpectedly at her country home, Margot's world slowly and comically begins to unravel as family and friends show up and debate the virtues of her best-sellers, her inconsistent world view, and her decidedly un-motherly touch."
Playwright Murray-Smith is also the author of Honour.