Ludwig's Twentieth Century with Harriet Harris Pulls Into Los Angeles, Dec. 8-12
By Ernio Hernandez
Harriet Sansom Harris, Jeff Perry and Nancy Bell star in the Los Angeles Theatre Works presentation of Ken Ludwig's adaptation of Twentieth Century, which plays Dec. 8-12 at the Skirball Cultural Center.
Part of the L.A.T.W. radio theater series "The Play's The Thing," live performances of the Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur classic comedy will be recorded for future radio broadcast. Gordon Hunt directs.
Twentieth Century is the 1932 comedy set aboard the title luxury train en route from Chicago to New York. In an effort to revive his failing career, a Broadway producer hops on the Twentieth Century Limited to convince a famous movie actress (who also happens to be his former protege) to sign a contract with him.
Perry and Bell star as producer Oscar Jaffe and starlet Lily Garland while Harris takes on assistant Ida Webb. The cast of Twentieth Century also features Paul Eiding (as Conductor), Brent Hinkley (Matthew Clark), Joe Liss (Max Jacobs et al.), Sarah Rafferty (Anita Highland), Josh Stamberg (George Smith), Tom Virtue (Owen O'Malley) and Kenny Williams (Dr. Grover Lockwood).
Harris starred on Broadway in Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Man Who Came to Dinner and is known for her recurring guest appearances as ferocious agent Bebe Glazer on "Frasier." Perry is a co-founder of Chicago's lauded Steppenwolf Theatre Company where he served as artistic director for 1982-85 and 1986-87. He has been seen on Broadway in The Caretaker and The Grapes of Wrath. Bell starred in the world premiere of David Ives' Polish Joke and its subsequent Off-Broadway debut.
First based on a play by Charles Bruce Millholland, the show originally opened on Broadway Dec 29, 1932, at the Broadhurst Theatre. The work was later adapted into the 1978 Tony Award-winning musical On the Twentieth Century by Adolph Green, Betty Comden and Cy Coleman, and starring John Cullum, Madeline Kahn and Imogene Coca.
Upcoming performances in "The Play’s the Thing" series include Bryony Lavery's Frozen with the original Broadway stars Swoosie Kurtz, Brían O'Byrne and Laila Robins (Jan. 5-9, 2005), Eliam Kraiem's Sixteen Wounded with Ron Rifkin and original 2004 Tony Award nominee Omar Metwally (Jan. 26-30, 2005), Annabelle Gurwitch's Fired with Richard Kind, Julia Sweeney, Ileana Douglas and more (March 16 20, 2005), Christopher Nixon's new translation of Antigone (April 6 10, 2005), Arthur Miller's The Ride Down Mt. Morgan with Marsha Mason (May 11-15, 2005), Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics (June 15-19, 2005) and a play to be announced (July 13-17, 2005).
L.A.T.W.'s nationally syndicated radio show "The Play's The Thing" series is performed live at the Skirball Cultural Center. All performances are recorded for future broadcast to cities including Boston, Seattle, Santa Fe as well as on XM Satellite radio. The two-hour radio broadcasts include special backstage features and interviews with actors, playwrights, and directors. The L.A. Theatre Works Audio Theatre Collection is available in the Playbill On-Line store at www.playbillstore.com.
For tickets to any of "The Play's The Thing" series productions at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Boulevard, in L.A., CA, call the L.A. Theatre Works' Box Office at (310) 827-0889. For more information, visit www.latw.org.
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