Behind the TV: Sorkin's Farnsworth Invention Begins La Jolla Workshop

News   Behind the TV: Sorkin's Farnsworth Invention Begins La Jolla Workshop
The new Aaron Sorkin play, The Farnsworth Invention, begins its La Jolla Playhouse workshop Feb. 20. Andrew Lippa provides original music.

La Jolla Playhouse artistic director Des McAnuff directs the Page To Stage presentation of the new play at his California company's stage through March 25.

The Farnsworth Invention concerns the medium for which the creator of "The West Wing" is now widely known. Sorkin pens a tale about the battle for the patent for the invention of the television "that pitted Philo T. Farnsworth, a boy genius who invented television as a high school student in 1927, against David Sarnoff, the head of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA)," as materials describe.

Jimmi Simpson (Tartuffe at La Jolla, "Herbie Fully Loaded") stars as Philo T. Farnsworth with Stephen Lang (Defiance, A Few Good Men) as David Sarnoff.

Also featured in the cast are Alexandra Wilson, Nadia Bowers, Amy Ellenberger, Kyle Fabel, Maurice Godin, Brian Howe, Bruce McKenzie, Spencer Moses, Jim Ortlieb, Michael Pemberton, Katharine Powell, Steve Rosen and James Sutorius. Local actors A.J. Ditty and Morgan Thomas Hollingsworth play the young Farnsworth and Sarnoff, respectively. Understudies are Jennifer Austin and Ryan Drummond.

Composer Lippa (The Wild Party) provides original music for the play. Choreography is by Lisa Shriver. The design team includes Klara Zieglerova (scenic), David C. Woolard (costume), Howell Binkley (lighting) and Walter Trarbach (sound). Fight direction is by Steve Rankin and vocal/dialect coach is Ursula Meyer. Adam Greenfield serves as dramaturg. Marking his first stage work since A Few Good Men, Sorkin has been at work on television series like "Sports Night," "The West Wing" and the current "Studio 60 on Sunset Strip." The screenwriter of "Malice" and "The American President" also returns to the big screen with his screenplay for the forthcoming film "Charlie Wilson's War" in which Mike Nichols directs Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

New York native Sorkin has previously penned the plays Removing All Doubt, Hidden in This Picture and Making Movies. A Few Good Men opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre Nov. 15, 1989, starring Tom Hulce under the direction of Don Scardino. He adapted the play for the Rob Reiner 1992 screen version starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore.

For more information on the forthcoming workshop at La Jolla, visit

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