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UCLA Live lands rarities for season

Playwright Albee and Bregovic's full orchestra are on the 2008-09 lineup.

June 04, 2008|Chris Pasles | Times Staff Writer

A rare appearance by playwright Edward Albee, the return of Berlin's theater company Volksbuhne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz and the West Coast debut of Goran Bregovic and His Wedding and Funeral Orchestra will highlight the 2008-09 UCLA Live season.

"Sometimes you just get lucky," said series director David Sefton, speaking about Albee's Feb. 7 appearance in the spoken word series. "He was going to do a couple of engagements this season, and we were one of them. It's quite a coup."

The season, announced today, will begin Oct. 1 and consist of 51 events, or about 94 performances, compared with 58 events comprising 146 performances in 2007-08. The budget, according to Sefton, is just over $8.5 million, a decrease of about 9% from last season.

"It's a slightly smaller season because doing 'Black Watch' for about three or four weeks last year meant it was like 30 performances of one play, and the year before we had 'Slava,' which was 28 performances," Sefton said. "This year, there isn't anything that runs for that kind of length."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, June 06, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 50 words Type of Material: Correction
Druid Theatre Company: An article in Wednesday's Calendar section about the UCLA Live 2008-09 season said that Ireland's Druid Theatre Company will stage Synge's "Playboy of the Western World" and "Riders to the Sea." The company will present Synge's "Playboy of the Western World" and "The Shadow of the Glen."

Still, "five of the six theater events are either U.S. debuts or U.S. exclusives or both," he said. "The theater festival is really pushing things out in terms of introducing people people have never heard of."

The Volksbuhne company, which made its U.S. debut at Royce Hall in 2003 with an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel "The Insulted and Injured," will return with Anton Chekhov's first full-length staged play, "Ivanov," Dec. 3-7.

Sefton said he's especially happy to bring Yugoslav composer-guitarist Bregovic and his orchestra, which he presented at London's Royal Festival Hall before coming to UCLA in 2000.

"This guy is a superstar," he said. "I've produced thousands of shows, and this is one of my favorites. I spent five years trying to get him to L.A. There were always offers to bring the small band, but I passed because basically the spectacle of the full Wedding and Funeral Orchestra is really like nothing else."

The entire series -- to be presented primarily at UCLA's Royce Hall and Freud Playhouse -- will also offer classical, jazz, world, folk and popular music performances, dance events, lectures and family-oriented programs.

The theater lineup will include Australian-born Barrie Kosky in an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"; the return of Ireland's Druid Theatre in two plays by J.M. Synge, "Playboy of the Western World" and "Riders to the Sea"; and the Belgium-based Toneelhuis theater collective in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's "Myth," which is also on the dance series.

Other dance companies will include Irsael's Batsheva Dance Company, France's Ballet Preljocaj and Los Angeles' David Rousseve/Reality.

The classical music series will offer, among others, the Jerusalem Symphony led by Leon Botstein; the Kronos Quartet's "Awakening," based on the events of 9/11; violinist Vadim Repin and pianist Nikolai Lugansky in recital; and the Guarneri and Johannes string quartets appearing jointly.

On the jazz series will be saxophonist Branford Marsalis with Philharmonia Brasileira; pianist Chick Corea and the John McLaughlin 5 Peace Band; a Blue Note 70th anniversary celebration; and a McCabe's 50th anniversary concert.

Other personalities in the spoken word series are novelist, poet and critic John Updike, doctor and author Oliver Sacks, director Werner Herzog and humorist David Sedaris.

"I have to confess it's a very male spoken word series this year," said Sefton. "It wasn't by choice. It just happens that all of our selections were men. What can I say? I'm sorry."


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