McReele Spins Politics for Los Angeles with Stoltz, Tom and Butler, Nov. 9

By Ernio Hernandez
November 9, 2005

Eric Stoltz, Lauren Tom and Chris Butler star in the Los Angeles Theatre Works west coast premiere staging of Stephen Belber's McReele, Nov. 9-13.

The show plays as part of the radio theater series, "The Play’s The Thing," live performances at the Skirball Cultural Center to be recorded for future radio broadcast.

Butler — a 2005 Los Angeles Ovation Awards nominee for his turn in Yellowman at Fountain Theatre — stars as the title character with Stoltz as journalist Rick Dayne and Tom as television reporter Katya. Deidrie Henry and Charles Janasz also appear.

In a world where political figures' pasts are constantly being scrutinized by the media, McReele presents an outspoken African-American who has been exonerated for an 18-year-old murder charge that landed him on death row. When the intelligent and politically-minded man becomes a front-runner for a Maryland Senate seat — bolstered by his sympathetic past and magnetic persona — questions begin to arise about his role in the murder.

Stoltz last played Broadway opposite Richard Dreyfuss in Sly Fox and Off Broadway in Flight. The actor is known for his roles in such films as "Pulp Fiction," "Kicking and Screaming," "Mask," "Little Women," "Say Anything," and "The House of Mirth." Other stage credits include Our Town, Two Shakespearean Actors, Three Sisters and The Importance of Being Earnest.

Tom is known for her turn in the film "The Joy Luck Club" and her television role as Ross' girlfriend Julie on "Friends." Other credits include film work in "Bad Santa," "When A Man Loves a Woman," television appearances on "DAG," "Grace Under Fire" and Broadway turns in A Chorus Line, Hurlyburly and Doonesbury. Her one-woman show, 25 Psychics, debuted at HBO'S U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

Belber is the playwright of Match — which gave two-time Tony Award winner Frank Langella his fourth nomination in 2004. The Tectonic Theatre Company member who helped pen The Laramie Project is also known for his Tape — which enjoyed an Off-Broadway run and film adaptation. Other plays include Finally, The Death of Frank, The Transparency Of Val, Through Fred, The Wake, Broken Fall, Steve, Wind and Stone Cold Lyricism. Two other plays in development include A Small, Melodramatic Story and Stabbing.

The 31st season at L.A.T.W. (subject to change) also includes Twelve Angry Men (Nov. 30-Dec. 4), Top Girls (Jan. 11-15, 2006), Arms and the Man (Feb. 1-5, 2006), The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial (March 1-5, 2006), Romance (April 5-9, 2006), Fired Again (May 3-7, 2006, The Real Dr. Strangelove (June 7-11, 2006) and another work to be announced (July 12-16, 2006).

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 bookstores, libraries, through their catalog, digitally on audible.com and on the L.A. Theatre Works website.

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.