Culver City Observer -

Here's The List Of Upcoming Douglas Theatre Plays

In The New Season Are Four New Works

 

Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie has set the 12th season at the CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

"I am pleased to announce a season with the range and imagination and talent that have come to define the Kirk Douglas Theatre," said Ritchie.

"In 2005, Center Theatre Group opened the Kirk Douglas Theatre with the promise of adventurous, boundary-pushing fare – tantalizing, thought-provoking, moving and witty work that is making its mark on the local and national theatrical scene. With our 2015-2016 season, we continue that tradition with great pride."

"We welcome back the always intriguing Geoff Sobelle with open arms," said Ritchie. "His new piece 'The Object Lesson' is an immersive theatrical installation that will transform the Douglas, and the audience, as he humorously reminds us how the clutter of stuff can take over our lives.

"Next is a rare treat: Todd Almond and rock icon Courtney Love in a new musical piece, 'Kansas City Choir Boy,' with music and lyrics by Almond. Talent and charisma will flow as the Douglas becomes an intimate club setting, and the story of love found and love lost is told. 'Kansas City Choir Boy' is a special DouglasPlus event and once again proves just how unique our DouglasPlus programming is."

"I've had my eye on the work of Young Jean Lee for some time now," said Ritchie. "It is great that we are not only welcoming Young Jean to the Douglas and presenting her newest work, 'Straight White Men,' but CTG has also co-commissioned this piece about the father-son relationship and the mantle of white privilege. Her sly perspective is eye-opening.

"It's particularly exciting to present a work that was nurtured at CTG. Sheila Callaghan's 'Women Laughing Alone With Salad' came out of our Writers' Workshop. Sheila's bold theatrical style and humor take on the effects of societal pressures on both women and men. Plan on a jaw-dropping time in the theatre.

"We close the season with an event that is so steeped in theatrical history that I am in a bit of awe," said Ritchie. "Samuel Beckett's 'Endgame' will be performed by renowned Beckett interpreters Alan Mandell, who is also directing, Barry McGovern, Rick Cluchey and Charlotte Rae. Just think of it, most of these actors worked directly with Beckett and we have them on the Douglas stage, passing that insight down to us."

"The Object Lesson"

by Geoff Sobelle

Directed by David Neumann

"The Object Lesson" written and performed by Geoff Sobelle, a "breathtaking ... one of a kind ..." experience (The Times, London) directed by David Neumann, opens the Center Theatre Group's 12th season at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, September 4 through October 4, 2015. The opening for this West Coast premiere is September 9.

Actor-illusionist-inventor Sobelle ("all wear bowlers" and "Elephant Room") returns to the Douglas and transforms the space into an epic storage facility of gargantuan proportion. Boxes are stacked to the ceiling and audiences are free to roam and poke through the clutter in this immersive theatrical installation that unpacks our relationship to everyday objects.

Hilarious and heartbreaking, "The Object Lesson" is a meditation on the stuff we cling to and the stuff we leave behind.

The installation designer for "The Object Lesson" is Steven Dufala.

"The Object Lesson" was presented in November 2014 at the Next Wave Festival at BAM, where Ben Brantley of The New York Times said, "It's a ruefully, comically sentimental piece that plucks a fleeting connective poetry in the seeming randomness of what we hoard." Helen Shaw of Time Out New York said, "Go to the show. And I mean, right away, this minute ... you won't be prepared for how beautiful it is."

In August 2014, "The Object Lesson" was presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it was the winner of the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award, a Scotsman Fringe First Award and a Total Theatre Award. Lyn Gardner of The Guardian called it an "... offbeat, often surreal and gently whimsical show ... this is a hugely enjoyable, highly intelligent, ultra-connected meditation on our attachment to the

past. ..."

"Kansas City Choir Boy"

Music and Lyrics by Todd Almond

Performed by Todd Almond and Courtney Love

Directed by Kevin Newbury

DouglasPlus Special Event

"Kansas City Choir Boy," with music and lyrics by Todd Almond, and performances by Almond and rock icon Courtney Love, will be presented as a special DouglasPlus event, October 15 through November 8, 2015. The opening for the West Coast premiere is scheduled for October 18.

Kevin Newbury directs this operetta, an "irresistible gem" said Joe Lynch of Billboard, which tells of lovers in small town America who become separated when the woman decides to travel to New York City in search of her destiny, and then she disappears. Almond and Love will be joined by a chorus of sirens, and a string quartet with musical direction by David Bloom.

Will Hermes of Rolling Stone called "Kansas City Choir Boy" "unsurprisingly awesome" when it premiered at the Prototype Festival of new opera and musical theatre at the HERE Arts Center in January 2015.

Paula Mejia of Newsweek said, "The show, which sold out its entire run soon after it was announced ... [has] music ranging from bouncy electro-pop to orchestral crescendos. It most closely resembles a Greek tragedy, with its chorus of six sprites, swells of elation and agony, and its dash of melodrama ... Like Love, her character is feral and fearless alongside her onstage lover, the talented composer and actor Todd Almond, in this enchanting allegory about human resilience amid grief."

"Straight White Men"

Written and Directed by Young Jean Lee

Young Jean Lee's acclaimed new play "Straight White Men" will be presented in its West Coast premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in collaboration with the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, November 20 through December 20, 2015, as previously announced. The opening is scheduled for November 22.

In "Straight White Men," written and directed by Lee and co-commissioned by CTG, Lee offers a traditionally structured take on the classic American father-son drama. Ed and his three adult sons come together to celebrate Christmas. They enjoy cheerful trash-talking, pranks and takeout Chinese, but find themselves confronting a problem that even being a happy family can't solve: when identity matters, and privilege is problematic, what is the value of being a straight white man?

When "Straight White Men" was presented at The Public Theater in November 2014, Charles Isherwood of The New York Times stated, "Although the title might suggest a scalpel-sharp dissection of the privileged elite, Ms. Lee's play was more than an anatomy of a class: it was a compassionate study of one man's uneasy search for meaning, and his discovery that, in the world of straight white men, failure may be acceptable, but being content with a disappointed life is most definitely not."

"Straight White Men" was co-commissioned by Center Theatre Group (with a CTG completion grant made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), The Public Theater, the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University, steirischer herbst, Festival d'Automne à Paris and Les spectacles vivants du Centre Pompidou.

"Women Laughing Alone with Salad"

by Sheila Callaghan

Directed by Neel Keller

The gender-bending comedy "Women Laughing Alone With Salad" by Sheila Callaghan will be presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, March 6 through April 3, 2016. The opening is scheduled for March 13.

Directed by Neel Keller, the madcap new play swirls around a man named Guy and three very different women in his life whose feral drives, distorted priorities and passionate love affairs with salad are driving Guy over the edge.

Tossed with Callaghan's signature bite, humor and rambunctious theatricality, "Women Laughing Alone With Salad" explores our image-obsessed culture in a world saturated by social media and seductive marketing.

"No matter the topic at hand," said Alexis Soloski of The New York Times, "Ms. Callaghan's writing, whether in plays like 'Roadkill Confidential' and 'That Pretty Pretty' or the cable series 'Shameless' and 'The United States of Tara,' is florid and highly inflammable ... Themes and fixations crash together like vehicles in a multi-car pile-up."

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"Endgame"

by Samuel Beckett

Directed by Alan Mandell

Samuel Beckett's masterful "Endgame," directed by Alan Mandell, one of Beckett's most celebrated interpreters, will be presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, April 24 through May 22, 2016. The opening is scheduled for May 1.

Alan Mandell (CTG's "Waiting for Godot," "The Price" and "The Cherry Orchard") will also perform at the Douglas with other prominent actors of the Beckett world: Barry McGovern, who returns to the Douglas after his captivating performance in the Beckett piece "I'll Go On" in 2014 and his performance as Vladimir opposite Mandell as Estragon in the acclaimed production of "Waiting for Godot" at the Mark Taper Forum in 2012; and Rick Cluchey, who was directed by Beckett (as was Mandell) and who was the co-founder of the San Quentin Drama Workshop (admired greatly by Beckett). Charlotte Rae, whose performance in Beckett's "Happy Days" in 1990 at the Taper was critically acclaimed, completes the cast.

In the absurdist world of "Endgame," somewhere between existence and death, four characters, Hamm (played by Mandell), Clov (McGovern), Nagg (Cluchey) and Nell (Rae), cling to sanity while performing daily rituals, sometimes comically, as they wrestle some sort of order from the cyclical, repetitious, seemingly nothingness of life.

2015-2016 Season is Currently Available by Season Ticket Memberships Only

The 2015-2016 season at the Douglas is currently available by season ticket memberships only. The subscription includes the four mainstage productions – "The Object Lesson," "Straight White Men," "Women Laughing Alone with Salad" and "Endgame." The DouglasPlus special event, "Kansas City Choir Boy," will also be available at this time as a bonus option, when purchased with a season ticket package.

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

 

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