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'Tell-Tale Heart' off; actor's visa denied

September 29, 2008|Diane Haithman | Times Staff Writer

The U.S. debut of Barrie Kosky's adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," scheduled to open UCLA Live's International Theatre Festival on Wednesday, has been canceled because the Department of Homeland Security has rejected the visa application for Austrian actor-singer Martin Niedermair, whose solo performance is the heart of the show.

UCLA Live executive and artistic director David Sefton said Friday that the organization learned early that afternoon that the visa had been denied by the Department of Homeland Security, which he said reviews applications for all visiting actors performing in English. "He was supposed to get on a plane, like, an hour later, so there wasn't time to appeal," Sefton said.

UCLA Live will not replace the performances, scheduled for Wednesday through Oct. 4 at the Freud Playhouse, Sefton said, but will appeal the decision in hopes that the show might be rescheduled.

Ticket holders will be contacted by the box office but also may call (310) 825-2101 or e-mail tickets@uclalive.org for further information.

"I shudder to think that our homeland is a more secure place now that we've rejected the visa of this one soul, this celebrated and rather pleasant Austrian actor," Sefton said. "I've been dealing with him for quite some time, and he doesn't strike me as a particularly terrifying individual."

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diane.haithman@latimes.com

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