The McCoy Rigby series at La Mirada Theatre is taking a turn toward somewhat less familiar fare during much of the 2000-01 season, which will begin with two Southern California premieres.
Tom Dudzick's "Over the Tavern," Oct. 6-22, is about a Polish American family in Buffalo during the '50s. The family lives . . . over a tavern. The play premiered in 1994 in Buffalo, but McCoy Rigby's Tom McCoy saw it last year at San Jose Repertory Theatre.
"Everything's Ducky," in a Nov. 24-Dec. 10 slot, has excited McCoy so much that McCoy Rigby and Broadway producer Richard Frankel have joined forces to buy the touring and Broadway rights. Based on "The Ugly Duckling" story and set in a barnyard, the show has a sophisticated sense of humor akin to "The Simpsons," said producer McCoy, who classified it as "a family show, but not a kiddie show." It premiered in Palo Alto earlier this year.
The creators of "Everything's Ducky" are composer Henry Krieger and lyricist Bill Russell, who teamed up for "Side Show" in 1997. Krieger is best known for his score for "Dreamgirls."
Connie Ray's "Smoke on the Mountain" is slated for Jan. 26-Feb. 11. A musical play set in a church in Appalachia circa 1938, it was conceived by Alan Bailey, who is best known here for his stagings of "Radio Gals," including one at La Mirada.
The season will conclude with "Evita," March 23-April 8, and Neil Simon's "I Ought to Be in Pictures," June 1-17.
McCoy Rigby also has obtained touring rights for the recent Broadway revival of "Jesus Christ Superstar," and touring and Broadway rights for an upcoming revival of "Camelot," McCoy said. He hopes to launch both the "Jesus Christ Superstar" tour and the new "Camelot" from La Mirada during the 2001-02 season.
RUBICON CROSSED: Ventura's Rubicon Theatre Company is completing its first season of full productions at the 220-seat Laurel Theatre with "Lies and Legends," opening this weekend. The Harry Chapin revue is staged by original cast member George Ball.
The company's second season will begin Oct. 14 with Stephanie Zimbalist in "The Rainmaker," staged by Jenny Sullivan and running through Nov. 5. The season will end with a premiere: "J for J," which Sullivan has adapted from a journal her father wrote about her retarded brother. John Ritter has agreed to play the part of the brother, but the dates are still up in the air, depending on the length of Ritter's upcoming Broadway appearance in "The Dinner Party."
Also next season: The Kander-Ebb revue "The World Goes Round," Dec. 2-24; "The Glass Menagerie," March 3-25; and "The Boys Next Door," May 5-27.
Looking at the current season, the theater's executive director and artistic co-director Karyl Lynn Burns said she was especially pleased that "the community was willing to take a leap with a premiere"--Dan Gordon's "Murder in the First." One premiere is now planned for each season, befitting the idea of risk-taking that's inherent in crossing the Rubicon.
NEW VALDEZ WORK: San Diego Repertory Theatre will premiere a play by Luis Valdez, "The Mummified Deer," Oct. 27-Nov. 19. It examines an 84-year-old woman's fight for life, abetted by the ancestral spirit of a Yaqui deer dancer and the disclosure of some family secrets.
The author of the groundbreaking "Zoot Suit," Valdez hasn't launched a new play since "Bandido!" opened in 1994 at the Mark Taper Forum.
San Diego Rep's silver anniversary season will begin with returns of two recent hits: the solo show "R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe" with Ron Campbell (Sept. 17-Oct. 8) and the musical revue "It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues" (Sept. 22-Oct. 22).
Slated after "The Mummified Deer" and "A Christmas Carol" in December are "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" (Feb. 9-March 4); the premiere of Yehuda Hyman's "The Mad Dancers" (March 30-April 22); and a yet-to-be-picked show. "The Mad Dancers" played L.A.'s Taper, Too in 1995 as a work-in-progress, but the new version is very different, said a spokesman.