The Wiz Revival and Aaron Sorkin's New Invention Joins La Jolla Season

News   The Wiz Revival and Aaron Sorkin's New Invention Joins La Jolla Season
Des McAnuff's long-expected new staging of the musical The Wiz will come to life at his La Jolla Playhouse as part of the company's new season along with the latest stagework from Aaron Sorkin and the announced world premieres of the musical Zhivago and Zorro in Hell.

The artistic director of the California company announced the additions to the 2006-07 Season Jan. 12. Also joining the schedule are a production of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and all wear bowlers. Lee Blessing's Great Falls will not appear, as previously was expected.

"The Wiz has been a dream of mine for some time.  I cannot wait to engage the minds of some of America's premiere theatre artists in re-imagining a modern Oz." Based on L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," Charlie Smalls scored the urban take on the classic Dorothy tale featuring orchestrations by Harold Wheeler — who will be part of the process. McAnuff stated, "Our production will reflect the shifts that have occurred in the dominant pop culture, in both music and theatre, since The Wiz's history-making Broadway debut in the 1970s.  This is modern Oz, with a modern look and modern sounds."  

News about the forthcoming revival broke in April 2003 and was expected to reach Broadway in spring 2004 but never came to fruition. Now following McAnuff stagings of Dracula, the Musical Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays and Jersey Boys, the work will see the stage. (All three of those works first appeared at La Jolla.)

The musical Zhivago — which was seen in a Page To Stage developmental workshop incarnation at La Jolla last season — graduates to its world premiere to kick off the new season.

Based on the famous 1958 Nobel Prize-winning novel by Russian author Boris Pasternak, Zhivago is set against the backdrop of the snowy country before and after the Russian Revolution. The work follows the story of a surgeon-poet and his muse Lara. The new work combines the talents of bookwriter Michael Weller (Moonchildren, Loose Ends), composer Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden) and lyricists Michael Korie (Doll - Ravinia Festival) and Amy Powers (Lizzie Borden).

The creator of "The West Wing" and "Sports Night" takes part in the Playhouse's latest Page To Stage presentation with his The Farnsworth Invention. A Few Good Men playwright Aaron Sorkin pens a tale about the battle between the patent for the invention of the medium he is widely known for: television. La Jolla artistic director McAnuff will stage the work presented in collaboration with Ireland's Abbey Theatre

The new season will also feature a staging of Mother Courage as directed by Lisa Peterson (Be Aggressive), Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford's Off-Broadway hit all wear bowlers and the previously announced world premiere co production of Zorro in Hell with Zorro Productions, Inc. and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Berkeley Rep's artistic director Tony Taccone stages the latter work featuring the Chicano/Latino theatre and comedy troupe of Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza (Culture Clash in AmeriCCa) in a look behind the legend who "rides out of the pages of pulp fiction, through the Hollywood image machine and beyond the barriers of class, race and ethnicity to become a hero for the oppressed in every land," as production notes reveal.

The 2006-2007 lineup (subject to change) is as follows:

  • Zhivago (May 9-June 25) - Mandell Weiss Theatre
  • Mother Courage (June 20-July 23) - Mandell Weiss Forum
  • all wear bowlers (Aug. 1-Sept. 3) - Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre
  • Zorro In Hell (Sept. 30-Oct. 29) - Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre
  • The Wiz (Sept.-Nov., exact dates to be announced) - Mandell Weiss Theatre
  • The Farnsworth Invention (2007, dates TBA) Subscriptions for the 2006-07 season at La Jolla Playhouse, on the corner of La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla, CA are currently on sale. For more information on the company, visit

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