Dec 252016
 

“Zoot Suit” Previews Begin In January At Mark Taper Forum

 

“Zoot Suit”

Written and Directed by Luis Valdez

Presented in association with El Teatro Campesino

Nearly 40 years after its world premiere, the original creator Luis Valdez will once again fill the Taper stage with a company of 25 actors, singers and dancers weaving fact and fiction together as they portray the events surrounding the infamous 1942 Sleepy Lagoon murder in Los Angeles. Filled with heart, sly wit and the infectious songs of Lalo Guerrero, “Zoot Suit” remains an urgent portrayal of the clash between generations in a Chicano family, the rifts between cultures in America and how racism and injustice can haunt a city and a society.

DATES / TIMES:
Previews begin on January 31, 2017.
Opens Sunday, February 12 at 7 p.m. (Not 8 p.m.) Through March 12.
Previews (January 31 – February 11): Tuesday through Saturday at 7 p.m.; Sunday at 6:30 p.m. No performance on Monday.
Exceptions: Added performances at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 5 and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 11.
Regular Performances (February 14 – March 12): Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. No performance on Mondays.
Exceptions: No public performances February 21 and 22 (student matinees only).

Nov 202016
 
Gordon Davidson

Gordon Davidson. Photo by Craig Schwartz

CENTER THEATRE GROUP TO HOLD MEMORIAL IN HONOR OF GORDON DAVIDSON
MONDAY, JANUARY 9th 2017, AT 7:30 P.M. AT THE AHMANSON THEATRE

Center Theatre Group will hold a memorial in honor of its Founding Artistic Director, Gordon Davidson, on Monday, January 9th 2017, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Ahmanson Theatre. The theatre will open at 7 p.m. The memorial will not be a ticketed event and will be open to the public. (Free admission) Additional details will be released at a later date.

“Gordon Davidson was one of the most renowned and respected artistic directors in regional theatre, in part because he was one of the original founders of the entire concept,” said Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. “He led Center Theatre Group for 38 years and produced one of the broadest arrays of plays, particularly new plays, of any theatre in the country. Without his prolific vision for Center Theatre Group 50 years ago, the theatrical landscape in Los Angeles, and the country, would be very different. He remains one of theatre’s great leaders and I am proud to call him a mentor, friend and colleague.”

From 1967 to 2005 Gordon Davidson was the Artistic Director of the Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum at The Music Center. Davidson was also the Producing Director of the Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre for 15 years, and the Artistic Director of the inaugural season (2004-2005) at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. In addition to redefining theatre in Southern California, he was one of the founders of the regional theatre movement and had a permanent impact on theatre throughout the country and the world.

Gordon guided hundreds of productions to the Taper stage while overseeing numerous special projects sponsored by the Taper. This work, and his direction of many plays staged at the Taper, were acclaimed both in Los Angeles and New York, garnering the Taper a Tony Award for theatrical excellence in 1977.

Gordon was born on May 7, 1933, and passed away Sunday, October 2, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Judi; their children, Adam and Rachel; and five granddaughters.

 

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Nov 192016
 
Demián Bichir

Demián Bichir has been cast in the iconic role of El Pachuco in “Zoot Suit.” Photo courtesy of CTG

Demian Bichir To Play El Pachuto In Center Theatre Group’s production of “Zoot Suit” at Mark Taper Forum

International stage and screen star Demián Bichir (Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” FX’s “The Bridge,” Showtime’s “Weeds” and Soderbergh’s “Che”) is set to play the indelible role of El Pachuco in Center Theatre Group’s production of “Zoot Suit” at the Mark Taper Forum, with previews beginning January 31, opening set for February 12 and performances continuing through March 12, 2017. Written and directed by Luis Valdez, “Zoot Suit” is presented in association with El Teatro Campesino.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to portray such an iconic character of modern American theatre. I grew up dreaming of playing El Pachuco when I was a young member of the National Theatre Company in Mexico City. Having the opportunity to work with legendary director Luis Valdez represents my biggest challenge in the theatre to date. These times couldn’t be more perfect to present this play to a whole new generation of theatre lovers,” said Bichir.

“Zoot Suit” was originally commissioned and developed by Center Theatre Group, playing for nearly a year in Los Angeles first at the Taper from August 6 to October 1, 1978, then from October 10, 1978, through July 1, 1979, at the Aquarius in Hollywood. It went on to become Broadway’s first Chicano play, was made into a major motion picture and became a cultural phenomenon.

Written and directed by Luis Valdez and presented in association with El Teatro Campesino, “Zoot Suit” will play January 31 through March 12, 2017, as part of Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum’s 50th Anniversary Season.

For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 628-2772.

 

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Oct 052016
 
Gordon Davidson Tony Award Winner

L.A. Loses An Icon: Gordon Davidson Died

Center Theatre Group mourns the loss of its Founding Artistic Director, Gordon Davidson, who passed away Sunday, October 2, 2016. Plans for a memorial event will be announced in the coming days.

“Gordon Davidson was one of the most renowned and respected artistic directors in regional theatre, in large part because he was one of the original founders of the entire concept,” said Center Theatre Group Artistic Director, Michael Ritchie.

“He led Center Theatre Group for 38 years and produced one of the broadest arrays of plays, particularly new plays, of any theatre in the country.

Without his prolific vision for Center Theatre Group 50 years ago, the theatrical landscape in Los Angeles, and the country, would be very different. He remains one of theatre’s great leaders and I was proud to call him a mentor, friend and colleague.”

From 1967 to 2005 Gordon Davidson was the Artistic Director of Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center of Los Angeles.

In addition to his role at the Taper, Davidson was the Producing Director of the Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre for 15 years, and the Artistic Director of the inaugural season (2004-2005) at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. In addition to redefining theatre in Southern California, he was one of the founders of the regional theatre movement and had a permanent impact on theatre throughout the country and the world.

Gordon guided hundreds of productions to the Taper stage while overseeing numerous special projects sponsored by the Taper. This work and his direction of many of the Taper plays were acclaimed both in Los Angeles and New York, garnering the Taper a Tony Award for theatrical excellence in 1977.

Under Gordon, the Taper was distinguished by having two of its plays “The Kentucky Cycle” and “Angels in America” (Part One – “Millennium Approaches”) receive in consecutive years the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, the first time for plays produced outside of New York. “Angels in America,” when subsequently produced on Broadway, also received in consecutive years two Tony Awards for Best Play, for Part One and Part Two – “Perestroika,” respectively.

In fact, in 1994 when “Perestroika” won the Tony Gordon Davidson Award, three of the four plays nominated for Best Play were Taper plays (with “The Kentucky Cycle” and “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” joining “Perestroika”). Davidson’s direction of “Children of a Lesser God” (which received two Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, including Distinguished Production) brought him a Tony Award nomination (one of four nominations for the play) and a New York Drama Desk Award nomination (one of five). “Children of a Lesser God” won three 1980 Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Actor and Best Actress.

In 1977, Davidson won a Tony Award for his direction of “The Shadow Box,” which also won the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for Best Play for its author, Michael Cristofer.

In that same season, Davidson 2 was the recipient of an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Director for “The Shadow Box” at the Morosco Theatre and “Savages” at the Hudson Guild Theatre, and an Obie for his direction of “Savages.” Earlier he had received two Margo Jones Awards for his work in encouraging new plays and playwrights.

Davidson also staged The Phoenix Theatre productions of “Murderous Angels” and “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine,” winning an Obie Award and a Tony Award nomination for the latter play, and he was honored with a New York Drama Desk Award for “In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer,” staged at Lincoln Center.“The Shadow Box,” “Savages,” “Murderous Angels,” “Oppenheimer” and “Catonsville” premiered at the Taper under Davidson’s direction, whose other credits there include “The Devils,” “Who’s Happy Now?,” “Rosebloom,” “Henry IV, Part I,” “Mass,” “Hamlet,” “Too Much Johnson,” “And Where She Stops Nobody Knows,” “Getting Out,” “Black Angels,” “Terra Nova,” “Children of a Lesser God,” “The Lady and the Clarinet,” “Chekhov in Yalta,” “Tales From Hollywood,” “The Hands of Its Enemy,” “Traveler in the Dark,” “The Real Thing,” “Ghetto,” “Dutch Landscape,” “Unfinished Stories,” “Nine Armenians,”
“QED” and “Stuff Happens.”

For the Ahmanson Theatre, he directed a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” at the Doolittle Theatre, and after supervising the remodeling of the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center, he staged the 30th anniversary production of “Candide” in November 1995 as the first production in the new Ahmanson.He directed the first play presented in the new Kirk Douglas Theatre – the world premiere of “A Perfect Wedding.”

The Taper was the co-producer of the theatre portion of the Olympic Arts Festival in Los Angeles in the summer of 1984. Davidson directed the West Coast premiere of Arthur Miller’s “The American Clock” for the Taper’s 1984 Repertory Festival, which was a participant in the Olympic Arts Festival.

For television, he directed “It’s the Willingness” by Marsha Norman for the PBS Visions series. He also directed the feature film version of “Catonsville” and the television version of “Who’s Happy Now?” for the NET Theatre in America series.

In 1976 he directed “Otello” for the Israel Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta conducting. In Gordon Davidson – 3 1985, Davidson directed the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s “Harriet, The Woman Called Moses” for the Virginia Opera Association. His staging of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” opened the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and he directed “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” for the LA Opera. In Los Angeles, Davidson was honored by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle with a Special Award for his outstanding contributions to American playwrights and three Distinguished Direction Awards.

He also received a LADCC Award for the Taper’s New Theatre For Now In the Works festival. He was given The Governor’s Award for the Arts in 1990 honoring his contributions to the performing arts in California, and in 1997 the Founders League of the Music Center of Los Angeles County honored him for 30 years of artistic leadership. He was also awarded the 1993 Casting Society of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Honorary Gold Card membership into IATSE, Local 33, and the “Mr. Abbott” Award for Lifetime Achievement, among many other awards.

In January 2000 Davidson was inducted in to the Theater Hall of Fame on Broadway. Davidson was appointed to the National Council on the Arts by President Clinton and was a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He served as president of Theatre Communications Group and the League of Resident Theatres, and was a board member of several arts organizations including the Non-Traditional Casting Project.

He received honorary doctorates from Brooklyn College, California Institute of the Arts and Claremont University Center. He regularly served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, as an artistic advisor for the Fund for New American Plays, and he was a member of the advisory boards for the Cornell Center for the Performing Arts and the Jewish Theatre Association.

Gordon was born on May 7, 1933, and is survived by his wife, Judi; their children, Adam and Rachel; and five granddaughters.

 

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Oct 022016
 
MARK TAPER FORUM “THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE” CAST

L-R: Marie Mullen, Aisling O’Sullivan and Marty Rea in the Druid production of “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” by Martin McDonagh. Directed by Garry Hynes, the production will run November 9 through December 18, 2016, at the Mark Taper Forum. Photo by Stephen Cummiskey.

CAST ANNOUNCED FOR THE DRUID PRODUCTION OF
“THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE” AT CENTER THEATRE GROUP / MARK TAPER FORUM
NOVEMBER 9 THROUGH DECEMBER 18, 2016

Tony-Winning Director Garry Hynes Returns to Martin McDonagh’s Classic Play with Original Cast Member Marie Mullen

Center Theatre Group has announced the casting for the Druid production of “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” by Martin McDonagh. Directed by Druid artistic director Garry Hynes, “Beauty Queen” begins previews November 9, opens November 16 and continues through December 18, 2016, at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum.

The cast includes, in alphabetical order, Aaron Monaghan, Marie Mullen, Aisling O’Sullivan and Marty Rea. Mullen, who played the daughter Maureen in the original 1996 production and earned a Tony Award for her performance, will now play the role of Maureen’s mother Mag; O’Sullivan will play Maureen; Rea will play Pato; and Monaghan will play Ray.

The design team includes Francis O’Connor for sets and costumes, James F. Ingalls for lighting, Greg Clarke for sound. Paddy Cunneen is the composer and Bryan Burroughs is fight director.

“Beauty Queen,” which is set in the mountains of Connemara, County Galway, is the tale of Maureen Folan, a plain and lonely woman in her early 40s, and Mag, her manipulative, aging mother, whose interference in Maureen’s first and potentially last romantic relationship sets in motion a chain of events that are as tragically funny as they are horrific.

Peter Marks of The Washington Post said of McDonagh, “Please avail yourself, and brace yourself, for the virtuosic turbulence of one of modern theater’s most giddily diabolical minds.”

“McDonagh’s writing is a tightrope act of unnerving skill and maturity,” said John Peter of London’s Sunday Times. Benedict Nightingale, writing for The New York Times, said, “[Martin McDonagh is] the most wickedly funny, brilliantly abrasive young dramatist on either side of the Irish Sea.”

Hynes won a Tony Award for her direction of “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” on Broadway in 1998. She also directed McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2011, as well as Arthur Miller’s “The Price” at the Taper in 2015. Center Theatre Group presented McDonagh’s “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” at the Taper in 2010.

McDonagh is an award-winning writer and director. His work with Druid includes “The Beauty Queen of Leenane,” “A Skull in Connemara,” “The Lonesome West” (Druid/Royal Court/Broadway) and “The Cripple of Inishmaan” (Druid/Atlantic Theater Company/U.S. Tour).
Other theatre includes “The Cripple of Inishmaan” (National Theatre, London/West End/Broadway), “The Pillowman” (National Theatre, London/Broadway), “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” (RSC/Garrick/Broadway), “A Behanding in Spokane” (Broadway) and “Hangmen” (Royal Court). His film work (as a writer/director) includes “Six Shooter” (a short), “In Bruges” and “Seven Psychopaths.” His awards include the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy (“The Lieutenant of Inishmore”), Olivier Award for Best New Play (“The Pillowman”), Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film (“Six Shooter”), BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay (“In Bruges”).

The production is currently touring Ireland starting in Galway, where the Druid Theatre Company was founded in 1975. The Taper run will be the first U.S. engagement in the tour. Subsequent tour dates will be announced at a later date.

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

Tickets for “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” are available by calling (213) 628-2772 or online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org. Tickets range from $25 – $85 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Mark Taper Forum is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.

Jul 212016
 

CENTER THEATRE GROUP CELEBRATES 50 YEARS
AT THE MARK TAPER FORUM

 

THE 2017-2018 SEASON AT THE MARK TAPER FORUM FEATURES TWO WORLD PREMIERES,
A PULITZER PRIZE WINNER,
A NEW WORK BY A MACARTHUR “GENIUS”
AND THE RETURN OF A GROUNDBREAKING TAPER PLAY
IN ADDITION TO FIVE PLAYS IN THE THEATRE,
“REMOTE L.A.” WILL TAKE THE CELEBRATION TO THE STREETS

 

The 2017-2018 Season at the Mark Taper Forum
Begins January 31, 2017, and Runs Through May 13, 2018

 

Center Theatre Group celebrates 50 years in the iconic Mark Taper Forum with the 2017-2018 season announced today by Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. The new season features five plays that represent the past, present and future of the theatre, plus a special immersive event on the streets of Los Angeles.

“Theatre has always created an extraordinary connection between artists and audiences,” said Ritchie. “Nowhere is that more clear than in the uniquely intimate space of the Mark Taper Forum. And that connection continues well beyond the curtain call in plays like Luis Valdez’s ‘Zoot Suit,’ which changed the cultural landscape when it premiered at the Taper almost four decades ago and will continue to offer a vital insight when it opens our 50th season at the Taper in 2017.”

“I am also excited to welcome back Rajiv Joseph with the world premiere of ‘Archduke,’” Ritchie continued. “Drawing on Rajiv’s signature dark comedy and ability to draw parallels between current and historical events, this new work offers a fascinatingly personal look at the path to terrorism.”

“MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant winner Tarell Alvin McCraney comes to the Taper for the first time with his powerful new work ‘Head of Passes.’ Phylicia Rashad is recreating tour de force performance from the production at The Public Theater earlier this year. And we will present our first play by Quiara Alegría Hudes with her Pulitzer-winning ‘Water by the Spoonful.’”

“We conclude the season with the world premiere of ‘Soft Power,’ created for the occasion by Los Angeles-born David Henry Hwang,” said Ritchie. “Seeing shows at the Taper as a young man helped launch David’s journey toward a life in the theatre. Now he is one of the most important voices in American theatre and the ideal playwright to send the Mark Taper Forum into its next half century.”

“Our 50th anniversary also includes a special event,” added Ritchie. “‘Remote L.A.’ is a production that literally takes the performance out of the theatre, changing the way we see our city and interact with the community at large.”

“Over the past 50 years the Taper has been a place to explore diverse perspectives, experience new ideas and be entertained by amazing storytellers. This theatre has sparked countless conversations, and as I look at our upcoming season and many seasons to come, I know it will spark a million more,” Ritchie concluded.

“Zoot Suit”
Written and Directed by Luis Valdez
Center Theatre Group’s 50th anniversary season at the Mark Taper Forum kicks off with one of the most iconic works from the Taper’s past, “Zoot Suit,” written and directed by Luis Valdez, January 31 through March 12, 2017. Presented in association with El Teatro Campesino, the opening night of “Zoot Suit” is February 12.

Zoot Suit

Luis Valdez (center right) with the cast of the 1978 production of “Zoot Suit” at the Mark Taper Forum. Written and directed by Valdez and presented in association with El Teatro Campesino, “Zoot Suit” will play January 31 through March 12, 2017, as part of Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum’s 2017-2018 season at the Los Angeles Music Center. Photo by Jay Thompson.

“Zoot Suit” was originally commissioned and developed by Center Theatre Group, playing for nearly a year in Los Angeles first at the Taper from August 6 to October 1, 1978, then from October 10, 1978, through July 1, 1979, at the Aquarius in Hollywood, and went on to become Broadway’s first Chicano play, was made into a major motion picture and became a cultural phenomenon.
Nearly forty years after its world premiere, the original creator will once again fill the Taper’s stage with a company of 25 actors, singers and dancers weaving fact and fiction together as they portray the events surrounding the infamous 1942 Sleepy Lagoon murder in Los Angeles. Filled with heart, sly wit and the infectious songs of Lalo Guerrero, “Zoot Suit” remains an urgent portrayal of the clash between generations in a Chicano family, the rifts between cultures in America and how racism and injustice can haunt a city and a society.

Luis Valdez founded the internationally renowned and Obie Award-winning El Teatro Campesino (The Farm Workers’ Theater) in 1965 during the United Farm Workers (UFW) struggle and the Great Delano Grape Strike in California’s Central Valley. His involvement with Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the early Chicano Movement left an indelible mark that remains embodied in all his work: his early actos (short plays written to encourage campesinos to leave the fields and join the UFW), his mitos (mythic plays) Chicanos their own contemporary mythology, his examinations of Chicano urban life in “I Don’t Have To Show You No Stinkin’ Badges,” his Chicano re-visioning of classic Mexican folktales in “Corridos” and his exploration of his indigenous Yaqui roots in “Mummified Deer.”
Valdez’s screen credits include “Zoot Suit” (featuring Edward James Olmos), “La Bamba” (starring Lou Diamond Phillips), “The Cisco Kid” (featuring Jimmy Smits and Cheech Marin) and “Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution” (with Linda Ronstadt).

Awards include LA Drama Critic Circle Awards, Bay Area Critics Awards, the George Peabody Award for excellence in television, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, the Governor’s Award from the California Arts Council and Mexico’s prestigious Aguila Azteca Award given to individuals whose work promotes cultural excellence and exchange between the U.S. and Mexico. He was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In 2007, he was awarded a Rockefeller fellowship as one of the 50 U.S. artists so honored across the United States. Valdez was recently inducted into the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as a director.

“Archduke”
By Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Giovanna Sardelli
World Premiere
Pulitzer finalist Rajiv Joseph returns to Center Theatre Group with the world premiere of “Archduke.” Directed by Giovanna Sardelli, Joseph’s insightful and darkly comic play, a Center Theatre Group commission, begins April 18, 2017, and runs through May 28. Opening night is April 30.

Rajiv Joseph

Pulitzer finalist Rajiv Joseph returns to Center Theatre Group with the world premiere of “Archduke.”

“Archduke” follows the unlikely path to terrorism as three strangers, already struggling to get by, receive a death sentence in the form of a tuberculosis diagnosis. But being young men with nothing to lose in Belgrade, 1914, makes them the perfect recruits for a secret organization looking to strike a blow in the name of Serbian nationalism.

“Archduke” explores the short journey from individual hardship to public harm as personal desperation is cultivated into an act with international significance and a few average men spark World War I.

Rajiv Joseph’s “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” premiered at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2009 before moving to the Taper in 2010 and Broadway in 2011. “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” was named a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and was also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. Joseph’s play “Guards at the Taj” was a 2016 Obie winner for Best New American Play and 2016 Lucille Lortel winner for Best Play. His other plays include “The North Pool,” “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” “Animals Out of Paper” and “The Lake Effect.” His plays have been translated and produced worldwide.

Rajiv Joseph has written for television and film and is the librettist for the opera “Shalimar the Clown,” adapted from the novel of the same name by Salman Rushdie, which had its premiere this past June at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

He has been awarded artistic grants from the Whiting Foundation, United States Artists and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Joseph received his B.A. in creative writing from Miami University and his MFA in dramatic writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal.

“Head of Passes”
By Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Tina Landau
Tony Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad returns to the Taper stage in “Head of Passes,” an astonishing, deeply moving new drama about family, acceptance and the power of faith by MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney (“The Brother/Sister Plays”). Directed by Tina Landau, “Head of Passes” begins performances on September 13 and continues through October 22, 2017. The opening night is set for September 24.

Tarell Alvin McCraney

Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play “Head of Passes” will be a part of Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum’s 2017-2018 season at the Los Angeles Music Center. Directed by Tina Landau, “Head of Passes” will play September 13 through October 22, 2017. Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux.

Family and friends are gathering to celebrate Shelah’s (Rashad) birthday under the leaky roof of her home at the mouth of the Mississippi River. But an unwanted birthday party and unrelenting rains are only the first challenges in this contemporary parable inspired by the Book of Job in which unexpected events turn the reunion into the ultimate test of faith and love. As her world seems to collapse around her, Shelah must fight to survive the rising flood of life’s greatest challenges in this poetic and piercing new play.

When “Head of Passes” was presented at The Public Theater, Ben Brantley of The New York Times said, “… in her remarkable, pull-out-all-the-stops performance in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s ‘Head of Passes,’ Ms. Rashad gives the impression that she could definitely hold her own on Shakespeare’s blasted heath. Portraying a sorely tested Southern matriarch, she can be found railing against God and the elements with a harrowingly Lear-like rage.” Linda Winer of Newsday observed, “If Phylicia Rashad had not already taken us on formidable journeys through the world of August Wilson and so many other formidable dramas, it would be tempting to call Shelah, the matriarch in ‘Head of Passes,’ the role of a lifetime.”

Phylicia Rashad last performed at the Taper in 2003 in the world premiere production of August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean,” a role that would earn her a 2005 Tony nomination. She won the 2004 Tony for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Lena Younger in “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Tarell Alvin McCraney is an ensemble member at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and founding member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects. In addition to the MacArthur “Genius” Grant, he has received the Doris Duke Artist Award, Whiting Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Windham Campbell Award. He was International Writer in Residence for the Royal Shakespeare Company (2009 to 2011) where he remains an associate artist. He is a professor of theatre and civic engagement for the University of Miami’s department of theatre. McCraney is the Artistic Director of the Youth Arts Leadership Summer Program.

His Public Theater productions include “Head of Passes,” “The Brother/Sister Plays” and an edit of “Antony and Cleopatra.” “The Brothers Size” was a part of the Under the Radar Festival and other credits include “Choir Boy” and “Wig Out.”

“Water by the Spoonful”
By Quiara Alegría Hudes
Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz
The 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes will be presented at the Taper January 31 through March 11, 2018. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, the opening of “Water by the Spoonful” is set for February 11.

Quiara Hudes

Quiara Alegría Hudes, whose play “Water by the Spoonful” will be a part of Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum’s 2017-2018 season at the Los Angeles Music Center. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, “Water by the Spoonful” will play January 31 through March 11, 2018. Photo by Joseph Moran.

A janitor, a software mogul, a college grad and an IRS paper-pusher have one thing in common. Although they live thousands of miles apart, these four people share a secret: they’re recovering addicts who have found a safe haven in an online chat room. There, with liberal doses of jokes and bullying, they help each other navigate the broken terrain of their lives. But when an Iraq War veteran’s tragedy spills over into their cyberhome, everything changes. In this fearless play by Quiara Alegría Hudes (“In the Heights”), worlds virtual and real unfold onstage, challenging our notions of family, forgiveness, community and courage.

When it played off-Broadway, Charles Isherwood of The New York Times said, “‘Water by the Spoonful’ gives off a shimmering, sustaining warmth. Ms. Hudes writes with such empathy and vibrant humor that regeneration and renewal always seem to be just around the corner.”

Quiara Alegría Hudes is the author of a trilogy of plays including “Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue” (2006), “Water by the Spoonful” (2011) and “The Happiest Song Plays Last” (2012). “Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue” premiered off-off Broadway by Productions and was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “Water by the Spoonful” premiered at Hartford Stage Company and won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “The Happiest Song Plays Last” premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in Mark Taper Forum 50th Anniversary Season 2013. Hudes wrote the book for the Broadway musical “In the Heights,” which received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical, a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical, and was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Other works include the plays “26 Miles” and “Yemaya’s Belly” and the children’s musical “Barrio Grrrl!” Hudes grew up in West Philadelphia where she studied music with Don Rappaport, Dolly Kranzapolski and Linda Hudes. She was later mentored by playwright Paula Vogel at Brown University. Hudes is an alumna of New Dramatists and sits on the board of Philadelphia Young Playwrights, which produced her first play in the tenth grade.

“Soft Power”
By David Henry Hwang
Directed by Leigh Silverman
World Premiere
Center Theatre Group’s 50th Season at the Mark Taper Forum comes to a close with the world premiere of “Soft Power,” a new work by David Henry Hwang. Directed by Leigh Silverman, this time and genre-bending play runs April 4 through May 13, 2018 with opening set for April 15.

David Henry Hwang

David Henry Hwang, whose play “Soft Power” will have its world premiere in Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum’s 2017-2018 season at the Los Angeles Music Center. Directed by Leigh Silverman, “Soft Power” will play April 4 through May 13, 2018. Photo by Gregory Costanzo.

Hilariously provocative, what begins as a contemporary play slowly becomes a play with music set 150 years in the future in this seductive new work by Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang (“Yellow Face,” “M. Butterfly”). A beloved East-meets-West musical, China’s 21st-century rise and a theatre company gala collide to make mayhem—and some beautiful music. Inspired by the West’s often ridiculously inauthentic portrayals of Asia, “Soft Power” has been commissioned as the final production of Center Theatre Group’s 50th anniversary season and is the ideal work to launch the theatre into the next half century.

David Henry Hwang returns to the Taper where he premiered Pulitzer Prize finalist “Yellow Face” and his Tony-nominated revival of “Flower Drum Song.” Hwang’s other work includes the plays “M. Butterfly,” “Chinglish,” “Kung Fu,” “Golden Child,” “The Dance and the Railroad” and “FOB,” and the Broadway musicals “Aida” (co-author, Ahmanson 2001 – 2002 season) and “Disney’s Tarzan.” He is also America’s most produced living opera librettist, and a writer/producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series “The Affair.” Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hwang is a Tony Award winner (“M. Butterfly”) and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner and a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Recent honors include the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, the 2012 Inge Award, the 2012 Steinberg

Distinguished Playwright “Mimi” Award, a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award and the 2015 IPSA Distinguished Artist Award. He is Chair of the American Theatre Wing and sits on the boards of Young Playwrights Inc. and the Lark Play Development Center. Hwang was recently the Residency One Playwright at New York’s Signature Theatre, and currently as head of playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts. In 1998, East West Players named its new mainstage The David Henry Hwang Theatre.

“Remote L.A.”
By Rimini Protokoll
Concept, script and direction by Stefan Kaegi
Co-directed by Jörg Karrenbauer
Presented outside of the Mark Taper Forum as a bonus production in addition to the regular subscription, “Remote L.A.” runs March 12 through April 2, 2017. Opening is set for March 14.

Written and directed by award-winning international documentary theatre team Rimini Protokoll, “Remote L.A.” invites audience members to join a group of 50 people venturing out into Los Angeles on a guided audio tour that seems to follow its audience members as much the audience is following it. Audience members meet up, put on headphones and have their perspectives changed as they are provided with a soundtrack to the streets, parking garages and rooftops of Los Angeles. A computer-generated voice guides the group’s movements on a course through the city in real time. The performance reveals a “secret Los Angeles,” continuing to places normally unseen, places where humans encounter their limits, places where crowds gather, hidden alleys, back hallways and common areas seen through a new lens. At times the group is given tasks — take the Metro, travel at a new pace. They are not just audience members—they become actors and spectators, observers and observed, individuals and hordes, all at the same time.

Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel have been working as a team since 2000, and since 2002 they have written collectively under the label Rimini Protokoll. At the focus of their work is the continuous development of the tools of the theatre to allow for unusual perspectives on our reality. They have created works in dozens of cities around the world, winning the NRW Impulse Preis, the European Theatre Prize for “New Realities,” the Faust Theatre Prize and the European Prize for New Theatre Forms among others.

Jörg Karrenbauer has collaborated with Rimini Protokoll since 2003. Together with Stefan Kaegi he’s focused on site-specific projects. He adapted Kaegi’s “Remote“ for more than 30 cities in Europe, India and the US.

Center Theatre Group’s 2017 – 2018 Mark Taper Forum Season Available on Membership Only

Tickets for the Mark Taper Forum’s 50th season are currently available by season ticket membership only. For information and to charge season tickets by phone, call the Exclusive Season Ticket Hotline at (213) 972-4444. To purchase season memberships online, visit www.CenterTheatreGroup.org/Taper.

Center Theatre Group offers a number of services to accommodate persons requiring mobility, vision, and hearing access. For more information, please visit www.centertheatregroup.org/access

Center Theatre Group
Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

Center Theatre Group’s 2017 – 2018 Season

at the Mark Taper Forum

First Season Production
January 31 — March 12, 2017 “Zoot Suit”
(Opens February 12.) Written and Directed by Luis Valdez
Presented in association with El Teatro Campesino

Bonus Production
March 12 — April 2, 2017 “Remote L.A.”
(Opens March 14.) By Rimini Protokoll
Concept, script and direction by Stefan Kaegi
Co-directed by Jörg Karrenbauer

Second Season Production
April 18 — May 28, 2017 “Archduke”
(Opens April 30.) By Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Giovanna Sardelli
World Premiere

Third Season Production
September 13 — October 22, 2017 “Head of Passes”
(Opens September 24.) By Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Tina Landau

Fourth Season Production
January 31 — March 11, 2018 “Water by the Spoonful”
(Opens February 11.) By Quiara Alegría Hudes
Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz

Fifth Season Production
April 4 — May 13, 2018 “Soft Power”
(Opens April 15.) By David Henry Hwang
Directed by Leigh Silverman
World Premiere