Culver City Observer -

Douglas Theatre To Have Five New Plays


Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie has set the 2012-2013 season at the CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

In a season of contrasts – of surprising comedy and startling drama, the 2012-2013 season at the Kirk Douglas Theatre will include the magical and mystical hi-jinks of the CTG-commissioned “Elephant Room” by Trey Lyford, Geoff Sobelle and Steve Cuiffo;the acclaimed Gate Theatre Dublin production of the Beckett classic “Krapp’s Last Tape” withone of Britain’s greatest actors, John Hurt; the comic genius of The Second City with their unique, satirical twist on a Dickens’s favorite – “A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!” written byPeter Gwinn and Bobby Mort; the world premiere of the otherworldly drama “The Nether” by the 2012 Susan Blackburn Smith prize-winning playwright Jennifer Haley; and the world premiere of the powerful boxing drama “The Royale” by Los Angeles playwright Marco Ramirez.

In addition, the DouglasPlus programming will include a special Los Angeles version of the off-Broadway hit “Radiate”featuring Jomama Jones in a workshop at the Douglas, and an English language production of the Radar L.A. 2011 festival standout, “Neva.”

“I love the range and scope of this new season,” said Ritchie. “We have a fighter charging his way into the future and a 69-year-old writer fighting with his past. The best comedians in the world are redefining a holiday classic, and two plays are wreaking havoc with reality to starkly different effect.

“I am so pleased that John Hurt is joining us with the definitive production of ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ and to be working with The Second City on ‘A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!’ which perhaps will become an irreverent holiday tradition in L.A. What makes me the most proud is that four of these plays are works that CTG is developing: ‘Elephant Room,’ ‘Twist Your Dickens!,’ ‘The Nether’ and ‘The Royale.’ This is pretty good evidence that CTG is cooking at the Douglas. I can’t wait for the new season to begin.”

“Elephant Room”

August 22 through September 16, 2012

A CTG Commission

West Coast Premiere

“Elephant Room” is coming to the Kirk Douglas Theatre, bringing pure, unadulterated fun and transforming the space into a mystical place of wonder and amusement, August 22 through September 16, 2012. The opening is set for August 26.

The West Coast premiere of this “enchantingly goofy collaboration” (Alexis Soloski, Village Voice) by Trey Lyford, Geoff Sobelle and Steve Cuiffo will star magicians Louie Magic, Daryl Hannah and Dennis Diamond, and is directed by Paul Lazar.

“Elephant Room,” which was called “delightfully daft” by Eric Grode of The New York Times, was commissioned by Center Theatre Group and workshopped as “Next Stop Amazingland” in DouglasPlus in November 2009.

By turns fresh, silly and profound, “Elephant Room” is set in a basement rec room where three semi-pro conjurers hang out and practice their tricks with varying competence. These self-deluded illusionists are brimming with childlike wonder and undeserved self-confidence, but there is something mysterious about their Elephant Room. Things are not as they seem. “It gets weird, but it’s an enjoyable, laugh-out-loud kind of weird,” said Gwendolyn Purdom, of the Washingtonian. Grode said, “. . . their lovable-loser shtick as well as their nifty skills help turn ‘Elephant Room’ into one of the coolest places in town.”

Center Theatre Group presented “all wear bowlers,” created and performed by Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle, in the Kirk Douglas Theatre’s second season in September-October 2005. Lyford and Sobelle are joined by magician and actor Steve Cuiffo in the creation of the “Elephant Room.”

“Elephant Room” premiered at Philadelphia Live Arts in September 2011 and was also presented at the Arena Stage, Washington, D.C., in January 2012, and at St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York in March 2012.

Gate Theatre Dublin’s production of

“Krapp’s Last Tape”

Performed by John Hurt

October 9 through November 4, 2012

The great British actor John Hurt will appear in Samuel Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in what will be the two-time Academy Award-nominee’s first appearance on a Los Angeles stage.

Beckett’s searing meditation on the choices made in a lifetime, directed by the Gate Theatre Dublin’s Director, Michael Colgan, will be presented October 9 through November 4, 2012, with the opening set for October 10.

On his 69th birthday, Krapp continues his ritual of making a tape recording of his thoughts about the year just passed and listening to his taped thoughts on years gone by. For this birthday he chooses a tape made 30 years earlier, and with a mixture of regret and disgust, he hears his youthful voice, full of strength and bravado, talk about his aspirations and the woman he loved.

“Krapp’s Last Tape” is “. . . mesmerizing . . .,” said Frank Scheck of the New York Post. “Could there be an actor more perfectly suited for Samuel Beckett’s works than John Hurt? . . . In just 55 minutes, the piece captures the essence of life. That is the genius of Beckett and it is fully realized here.”



The Second City’s

“A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!”

November 24 through December 30, 2012

World Premiere

The CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre is planning a holiday party with the world premiere of The Second City’s “A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!” by Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort, November 24 through December 30, 2012. The opening is scheduled for November 29.

With its trademark humor, irreverence and originality, The Second City, in a creative collaboration with CTG, is taking the classic Charles Dickens’ tale of hope and redemption and giving it a hearty twist. In addition to Scrooge, Tiny Tim, the fat, plucked goose and those glum ghosts, the famous Victorian streets will spring to life with scheming politicians, sunbathing Santas, shop-lifting celebrities and hilarious improvs, all performed by a talented group of Second City alums and an ever-changing stable of starry, drop-in special guests.

The Second City, the legendary comedy theatre that specializes in sketch comedy and improvisation, has delighted audiences for over 50 years. With resident stages in Chicago and Toronto and touring ensembles, The Second City entertains over a million guests each year. It is also the largest training center in the world for improvisation, sketch and acting, with schools in Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, and 20,000 registrations per year. The Second City served as a training ground for a host of famous alumni, including Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Candy, John Belushi, Catherine O’Hara, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and more. Colbert said, “The Second City was everything to me,” and Murray said, “Second City is the best job anybody in the American theatre can get. It’s incomparable.” The New York Times reported that “The entire recent tradition of America satire can be summed up in three words: The Second City.”

“The Nether”

March 19 through April 14, 2013

World Premiere

The moral complexity of the increasingly pervasive and addictive world of virtual reality is explored in the new play “The Nether” by Jennifer Haley in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, March 19 through April 14, 2013. The opening is scheduled for March 24.

Directed by CTG Associate Artistic Director Neel Keller, “The Nether” tantalizes with timely, thought-provoking questions about the growing sophistication of the digital realm, and the possibility that it will become a more fulfilling place to “live” than the real world.

“The Nether” is set in the not-too-distant future where a cyber detective investigates a highly interactive digital site in which taboo acts of secret desires are blurring the boundaries of right and wrong, and of virtual and real. The detective soon finds herself in a battle of wills with a charismatic suspect and wrestles with the question, is it a crime if the blood is just bits of computer code?

This suspenseful police procedural ponders whether actions taken in the realm of fantasy have real-world consequences and whether being anonymous in a game means you can truly live for yourself and your deepest desires alone. The answers may reveal much more than we want to know about human nature.

Jennifer Haley won the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for “The Nether,” which was developed at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and the Lark Play Development Center.

The Royale”

April 28 through June 2, 2013

World Premiere

The powerful, intense new play “The Royale” by Marco Ramirez delivers a knock-out punch to the new Kirk Douglas Theatre season with its vivid depiction of a man fighting for his place in history. In its world premiere at the Douglas, “The Royale,” directed by Daniel Aukin, will be presented April 28 through June 2, 2013. The opening is scheduled for May 5.

Set in the boxing world of the early 1900s, Jay “The Sport” Jackson has talent and confidence and wants what he feels is owed to him: a shot at the championship. Even though blacks were not offered bouts with white boxers, Jay wants to be the first African American crowned undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and is pushing hard to have that dream realized, no matter the consequences.

“The Royale” is loosely inspired by the story of Jack Johnson, who was the first African American sports icon, and whose reign as the world heavyweight champion lasted from 1908 to 1915.


Jomama Jones


August 3 and 4, 2012

A Workshop Presentation

The off-Broadway hit show “Radiate” featuring Jomama Jones is coming to Los Angeles for two nights only in a workshop presentation as part of DouglasPlus programming, August 3 and 4, 2012.

Conceived by Daniel Alexander Jones with Bobby Halvorson, “Radiate” is an intimate concert – part happening, part revival – in which the writer and performance artist Jomama Jones embodies a legendary soul singer on her American comeback tour.

Jones performs songs from her CDs “Lone Star,” “Radiate” and the forthcoming “Six Ways Home,” while sharing tales from her life-journey and her surprising observations of the America to which she has returned.

For the DouglasPlus workshop, Jones will change the focus of the script to make it a Los Angeles concert version.


June 11 through 16, 2013

In a co-production with South Coast Repertory and La Jolla Playhouse, CTG will present the West Coast premiere of the English translation of “Neva” in DouglasPlus, June 11 through 16, 2013.

Chile’s Teatro en el Blanco’s Spanish language production of “Neva” was one of the highlights of the Radar L.A. festival in June 2011.

“Neva” takes place in 1905 in St. Petersburg where Anton Chekhov’s widow, the actress Olga Knipper, is huddled with fellow actors in a dimly lit rehearsal room, while in the streets outside striking workers are being gunned down by the tsarist regime.

In keeping with the setting of the play, “Neva” will be performed in the rehearsal room – Upstairs @ KDT – at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

2012-2013 Season is Currently Available by Season Ticket Memberships Only

The 2012-2013 season at the Douglas is currently available by season ticket memberships only. Season members can also purchase in advance discounted tickets to the DouglasPlus events.

For information and to charge season tickets by phone, call the Exclusive Season Ticket Membership Hotline at (213) 972-4444. For more information about season tickets visit


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