Get to the Geffen
- By Arlene Winnick
- Photos By Yann Rabnier
The Geffen PLAyhouse just announced its new season of productions and it’s a blockbuster. From comedies to drama to immersive experiences to film adaptions, audiences are sure to be entertained and enthralled with some of the most innovate theater happening anywhere. Plus, there are lots of firsts for the theater: two world premieres, a Shakespeare play; a collaboration with the over-the- top Vampire Cowboys. Add in lots of star power as Idina Menzel, Andy Garcia, Maura Tierney and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (and more names to be announced) come to the Geffen stages.
I am most excited about Skintight starring Tony Award winner Idina Menzel (Wicked) who plays abandoned divorcé who seeks comfort from her family but ends up confronting the age-old questions of how to age gracefully in a world obsessed with youth. Get ready for family angst with lots of laughs!
Attention Key Largo fans. The Geffen brings us a world premiere adaption of the Maxwell Anderson Broadway hit play made into the iconic film noir starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. This bold reimaging has the disillusioned World War II veteran Frank McCloud confronting his demons and battling a gang of mobsters as a hurricane approaches them. Key Largo features Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia as the ruthless mobster Johnny Rocco.
The Geffen stage welcomes Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) in MacBeth, Shakespeare’s timely (and timeless) tragedy of murder, power, prophecy, and cover-ups. The second Shakespearean production – fresh from its Broadway triumph – is Bernhardt/Hamlet, a very well-timed (though it takes place in 1899) shrewd comedy about a woman’s place on the stage as the legendary Sarah Bernhardt shocks the world by demanding to play the lead role in Hamlet.
It’s simply hard to describe the incredibly inventive Revenge Song: A Vampire Cowboy’s Creation in a few words. The play introduces us to Julie d’Aubigny, a queer 17th century French swordswoman and opera singer – that ‘superhero’ description alone should draw anyone to the theater! Lots of historical comedy with hip hop, rock and epic fight scene. Truly immersive theater is a favorite of mine and adding magic and puzzles to the mix gives us The Enigmatist written and performed by David Kwong, renowned magician and New York Times crossword constructor. Clues are everywhere!
Starting the season this month is Witch, a fiendishly funny new play that finds a charming devil bargaining for the souls of a small town in exchange for their darkest wishes. An old story takes on a new twist with an unlikely heroine played by Maura Tierney (ER, The Affair).
Political correctness is the name of the game in The Thanksgiving Play as three white thespians must create an elementary school pageant about the first Thanksgiving while avoiding any cultural missteps. Nightfall is all about survival and identify the real villain. When a camping trip is interrupted by news of a mysterious virus causing humans to turn deadly, a family struggles to expose the real cause of their fears.
The new season also brings a new logo to the Geffen Playhouse now in its 24th year. The slate of plays represents the second season for Artistic Director Matt Shakman (Mad Men), and though there are lots of firsts for the theatre, “What isn’t new is our dedication to innovative theatricality, inspirational new voices, and to comedies and sweeping dramas that reflect the wonderful city of Los Angeles while transporting us to places we have only imagined.” Adds Geffen Playhouse’s Executive Director Gil Cates, Jr. “Matt continues to find a great fusion of classics and new work – all equally provocative. His choices fuel our commitment to growing and diversifying the Geffen audience.”
For all things happening at Geffen Playhouse, click here.