Mays to Star in Premiere of Gentleman's Guide Musical at La Jolla Playhouse; Season Announced

News   Mays to Star in Premiere of Gentleman's Guide Musical at La Jolla Playhouse; Season Announced
The 2010-11 season of California's La Jolla Playhouse will include two world premieres, including a musical that will star Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays. The season was announced by artistic director Christopher Ashley on Jan. 24.
Jefferson Mays
Jefferson Mays Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Mays (I Am My Own Wife) will play multiple roles in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, a musical comedy with book by Robert L. Freedman, music by Steven Lutvak, lyrics by Freedman and Lutvak, set for September-October in the Playhouse's Mandell Weiss Theatre.

Darko Tresnjak will direct the production. A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder is billed as "a deliciously witty romp through manners, mores and murder in Edwardian England." According to La Jolla Playhouse, "In a tale with strikingly contemporary resonance, a young man of little means discovers he's eighth in line for a great fortune and title. Driven by revenge and torn between two beautiful women, he discovers just how low he is willing to go on his climb to the top."

The season open with the world premiere of Annie Weisman's comic drama Surf Report, to play June-July in the Mandell Weiss Forum.

Ashley will direct Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which will feature an on-stage orchestra playing the music of Mendelssohn, running July-August in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre.

A new adaptation of Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, adapted by Robert Woodruff and Bill Camp, will be directed by Robert Woodruff in September-October in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined will run November-December in the Mandell Weiss Theatre.

The final production of the 2010-11 season — a musical — will be announced shortly.

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Here's the 2010-11 season at a glance:

  • Surf Report: Weisman, author of the Playhouse's 2001 world premiere Be Aggressive, "returns with another world-premiere comic drama that centers on Judith, who spends her days serving as assistant and caretaker for her demanding venture capitalist boss in a coastal southern California town. Her husband Hal spends his nights trying not to pick a fight with Judith; and her daughter Bethany, a struggling artist in New York, spends every waking moment trying to stay as far away from home as possible. But when Bethany returns to California for a family emergency, the shadows of the past and the specter of an uncertain future threatens the very core of this turbulent threesome. This funny and poignant play examines the sacrifices we make — or avoid — for our families."
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream: Ashley will re-imagine "this timeless celebration of love and dreams in an innovative and gravity-defying production. In a Victorian court of rules and constraints, Hermia faces the threat of an arranged marriage. When she and her forbidden lover escape into the forest, her jilted fiancé follows in hot pursuit. But the woods and its mischievous fairies have their own surprises, and the lovers soon find themselves in a world turned upside-down — literally. The piece will be interwoven with music from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream score, performed live by an on-stage orchestra."
  • Notes from Underground: "A haunting, compelling play based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's landmark 1864 novella. Nearly 150 years later, Dostoevsky's 'Underground Man' is brought to the stage in an astonishing adaptation by acclaimed director Robert Woodruff, a frequent Playhouse artist during the '80s and '90s and a leading avant-garde director, and Obie Award-winning actor Bill Camp, who gives a tour-de-force performance as the Underground Man. Having resigned his position as a civil servant to live in isolation, the Man holes up in a squalid office cluttered with discarded equipment and wet snow, ready to take vengeance on a corrupt world. Obsessively reliving old wounds and spurning any chance at affection, the Man begins a descent into madness that is at times heartbreakingly funny, at times disquieting, but always honest, searing and unforgettable."
  • Ruined: Set during the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the play features Mama Nadi, who runs "a canteen where any soldier can put down his weapon, have a beer and spend an evening in the company of beautiful women — for a price. But the good-time atmosphere of this cozy brothel cannot hide the battles waged on the women who work there. They have been torn from their families, brutalized at the hands of violent men and bartered as a commodity by the shrewd Mama Nadi, but despite the atrocities inflicted on them, their courage, humor and hope survive." *

    The Tony Award-winning not-for-profit La Jolla Playhouse, known for its commitment to new work, as well as contemporary and classic plays, was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer. Numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including Big River, The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Dracula, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, Jersey Boys, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Farnsworth Invention, 33 Variations and Memphis.

    Located on the UC San Diego campus, La Jolla Playhouse is made up of three primary performance spaces: the Mandell Weiss Theatre, the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre, and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for La Jolla Playhouse, a complex which features the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre.

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