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Globe to Premiere Simon, Gurney Plays

January 12, 1988|HILLIARD HARPER | San Diego County Arts Writer

SAN DIEGO — World premieres by Neil Simon and A.R. Gurney Jr., three Shakespeare plays, a one-man comedy and a musical will make up an expanded seven-play summer season at the Old Globe Theatre.

This summer will also mark the end of the theater's repertory system in which different plays were shown on stages on different days of the week, a Globe official said Monday.

The Globe is extending its usual four-month season to five months to accommodate the original plays, Managing Director Tom Hall said.

"When you're fortunate enough to get major works from America's principal playwrights, that opportunity doesn't happen everyday," Hall said. "When you have Pete Gurney and Neil Simon wanting to do a play in your theater, you don't say no."

Dropping the repertory system will cut costs and make "a difference in the quality of the actor available," Hall added. "Over the past four or five years, we've had a very hard time convincing an actor to stay here 16 to 18 weeks" required for a repertory season. This year, actors, who might have more lucrative opportunities in television or films will only work 10 to 11 weeks in San Diego, Hall said.

The summer season will open June 2 in the Old Globe Theatre with the world premiere of Gurney's "Show Me the Way to Go Home." Described as a social comedy, the play recounts the visit of a writer with his parents, whom he wants to write about. They fear a play about them would be embarrassing.

Last season, the Globe premiered Gurney's "Another Antigone," which will soon open in New York.

Shakespeare's tragedy "Timon of Athens," about a wealthy man's bankruptcy, will open in the Cassius Carter Centre Stage on June 8.

The Bard's comedy, "Love's Labour's Lost," about young men giving up worldly pleasures, will open June 12 at the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre.

Shakespeare's Roman tragedy "Coriolanus" will play on the Old Globe stage, beginning July 28.

An as yet-unnamed actor of "significant stature" will play 12 characters in "Jeeves Takes Charge" at the Carter, opening Aug. 10. Based on the stories of P.G. Wodehouse, "Jeeves" tells of the relationship of Wodehouse's famous gentleman's gentleman and his upper class ne'er-do-well gentleman, Bertie.

"We're talking to three actors on 'Jeeves,' " Hall said. "All the actors are people audiences will recognized instantaneously, I can tell you that."

Stephen Metcalfe and Douglas Michilinda are preparing a major rewrite of "White Linen," a musical of the Old West.

The season will close with the world premiere of Simon's comedy "Jake's Women," a tale of a writer and the real and imagined women in his life.

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