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Split venues for Geffen season

October 17, 2004|Don Shirley

The Geffen Playhouse's current season will not occur entirely at the 499-seat Brentwood Theatre, as initially announced.

Two productions next year will be at the 1,400-seat Wadsworth Theatre, on the same Veterans Administration campus that houses the Brentwood. And those plays are the season's only solo shows -- the two that might seem best suited to the intimacy of a smaller space.

"Golda's Balcony," a transfer from Broadway starring Tovah Feldshuh as onetime Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, was already headed for the Wadsworth before the Geffen decided to add it to the season.

Wadsworth and Brentwood operators Richard Willis and Martin Markinson also run the 683-seat New York theater where the play last week marked its 400th Broadway performance. They picked the Wadsworth as "Golda's" L.A. venue because "we had to have more seats to make the economics work." Willis says.

Although that concern was mitigated somewhat by the addition of the presold Geffen subscribers, Feldshuh was not available to perform the show for the six weeks that's standard for the Geffen. The February run is slated for three weeks.

The other solo show that switched to the Wadsworth is the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning "I Am My Own Wife." Its renown will make the demand for tickets "quite extraordinary," predicts Geffen producing director Gilbert Cates, so the larger theater was selected. "I Am My Own Wife" is slated for four weeks, June 14-July 10.

Geffen subscribers will receive seats in the front half of the house for the two solo shows, Cates says. So if the larger size poses a problem, that will primarily affect nonsubscribers.

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