Stars Frank Langella and Debbie Allen are scheduled to light up the Geffen Playhouse stage in Westwood, CA. The theatre's second season consists of two West Coast premieres, a new play and a special holiday presentation by avant garde troupe Mabou Mines, running Sept. 30, 1997-June 28, 1998.
The season kicks off with the West Coast premiere of the off-Broadway hit and Pulitzer Prize-nominee Old Wicked Songs, by Jon Marans and directed by Seth Barris. The drama about an old Viennese teacher who softens the shell of an arrogant young American piano prodigy, runs Sept. 30-Nov. 2, with an official opening Oct. 8.
Hal Robinson and Justin Kirk play the professor and student, repeating their Off-Broadway roles (Michael Stuhlbarg played the prodigy in the initial, Off-Off-Broadway Barrow Group mounting). Seth Barrish, who directed the play in New York, does the honors once more at Geffen.
Langella will recreate his role as The Captain, in Richard Nelson's adaptation of August Strindberg's The Father which triumphed on Broadway last season. The award winning actor (Seascape, Present Laughter) will portray the father whose arguments with his wife over the education of their daughter provide the battleground for the couple's power struggles, and issues of love and hate. The Los Angeles production of The Father runs March 31-May 3.
Producer, choreographer, and performer Debbie Allen will return to the stage in Harriet's Return, playing Harriet Tubman in the West Coast premiere chronicling the heroines journey from slavery to freedom. Allen appeared on Broadway in West Side Story (Drama Desk Award and Tony nomination), Purlie, Sweet Charity, and Raisin. Harriet's Return by Karen Jones Meadows, will run Jan. 27-March 1. Next, the Geffen will present its Special Holiday Presentation, Dec. 2-28. After a successful New York run earlier this year, Peter and Wendy, a Mabou Mines production adapted by Liza Lorwin from the story by J.M. Barrie, will be directed by recent MacArthur "genius grant" recipient Lee Breuer. Mabou Mines, a theatre troupe known for its creative use of movement and avant-garde style, presents this one-woman show starring Obie award-winning Karen Kandel. Kandel plays all the parts, and is accompanied onstage by linen draped puppeteers, who enliven puppets and aid her in transforming props like bed sheets into pirate ships. Fiddle virtuoso Johnny Cunnigham provides the original Celtic score.
The fifth play of the season is a new play yet to be announced. It will run May 26 through June 28.
The Geffen Playhouse is "dedicated to enriching the Los Angeles theatrical spectrum by presenting the finest in contemporary and classic theatre." For subscriptions, tickets or more information, call The Geffen Playhouse Box office (310) 208-5454.
--By Blair Glaser