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ENTERTAINMENT
September 19, 2013 | By David Ng
The late Hollywood talent agent Sue Mengers will rise again in Los Angeles when Bette Midler reprises her recent Broadway starring role in "I'll Eat You Last" at the Geffen Playhouse. The production is scheduled to run for three weeks at the Geffen with an opening set for Dec. 5. "I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers," written by the prolific John Logan, is a solo show in which Midler incarnates the colorful Hollywood agent as she holds court in her Beverly Hills home. Mengers, who died in 2011, was an agent to some of the biggest movie stars of the 1970s, including Barbra Streisand, Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw and Faye Dunaway.  The play opened at the Booth Theatre in New York in late April and ran for two months.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 23, 2014 | By David Ng
Mel Brooks will appear in a one-man autobiographical show at the Geffen Playhouse on Monday, "Mel Brooks: Live at the Geffen. " The show will have only one performance. It will be the 87-year-old Brooks' first solo stage production. The Tony and Academy Award winner created the show, which will be seen at the Geffen's Gil Cates Theatre. When asked about the late announcement of the production, Ken Novice, the Geffen's managing director, said in an email statement that the production "came together really quickly.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 18, 2014 | By David Ng
A new drama inspired by the life of author Patricia Highsmith and written by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith will be among the offerings of the Geffen Playhouse's 2014-15 season, which was announced on Friday. The season will also include recent works by playwrights Tarell Alvin McCraney, Conor McPherson and Stephen Belber. Murray-Smith's "Switzerland" will be a co-production with the Sydney Theatre Company and will debut in Australia this fall before running in Los Angeles from March 3 to April 12, 2015.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 18, 2014 | By David Ng
A new drama inspired by the life of author Patricia Highsmith and written by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith will be among the offerings of the Geffen Playhouse's 2014-15 season, which was announced on Friday. The season will also include recent works by playwrights Tarell Alvin McCraney, Conor McPherson and Stephen Belber. Murray-Smith's "Switzerland" will be a co-production with the Sydney Theatre Company and will debut in Australia this fall before running in Los Angeles from March 3 to April 12, 2015.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 5, 2014 | By Mike Boehm
Forced to jettison a master of disquieting stage menace, Harold Pinter, when its revival of “The Birthday Party” broke an axle or two during rehearsals last month, the Geffen Playhouse is filling the hole in its season with “Reasons to Be Pretty” by Neil LaBute, another playwright whose hallmark is confronting audiences with some of humanity's darker habits and impulses. Running July 29 to Aug. 31 on the Geffen's main stage, the Gil Cates Theater, it will be the sixth LaBute drama that the company has staged since 2007 -- the most recent being last year's adaptation of August Strindberg's “Miss Julie,” transplanted to 1920s Long Island.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 27, 2012 | By David Ng
The Geffen Playhouse and the La Jolla Playhouse are reaching out to military families as part of a new, nationwide program offering discounted or complimentary tickets to active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families. Blue Star Theatres is a nationwide program that officially will be launched Friday. The program is organized by Theatre Communications Group, the nonprofit organization that promotes theater around the country, and Blue Star Families, a support organization for military families.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 1, 2013 | By David Ng
Lily Rabe, who has earned acclaim for her New York stage performances and whose Hollywood cachet has risen thanks to the popularity of the FX series "American Horror Story," will star in a new adaptation of August Strindberg's "Miss Julie" at the Geffen Playhouse. "Miss Julie" is scheduled to open May 1 and will have a limited run through June 2. The classic 19th century play has been adapted by Neil LaBute and will be directed by Jo Bonney. Rabe will play Strindberg's heroine, the daughter of a wealthy aristocratic type.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 6, 2012 | By Ellen Olivier
From on stage at "Backstage at the Geffen," the annual gala for the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, host Jane Lynch of "Glee" said she had participated in the theater's previous fundraisers, alongside such stars as Annette Bening, Alfre Woodard, Julie Andrews and others. "But now I'm the clearly most famous person in the room," Lynch said, sliding into the personality of her "Glee" alter-ego, Sue Sylvester. In truth, the Geffen had quite a lineup of A-list stars for Monday's event, which broke the theater's fundraising record by raking in $1 million from silent auction sales, sponsorships and tickets, which sold for $350 and up.  On hand to make presentations, provide musical entertainment and regale the audience with behind-the-scene tales of theatrical life were actors Bening, Helen Mirren, Andy Garcia, Warren Beatty, Dick Van Dyke, Matthew Morrison, Dana Delany, Joe Mantegna and Beth Behrs, jazz great Arturo Sandoval, singer Monica Mancini, and Bruce Vilanch, the 17-time writer for the Academy Awards telecasts.
OPINION
August 11, 1996
Westwood Village is no doubt one of Los Angeles' most cherished neighborhoods and the recent revitalization effort is a most welcome endeavor. I was pleased The Times took notice of these recent changes ("Westwood, the Sequel," Aug. 4), but was perplexed as to the article's failure to mention one of the most visible signs of Westwood's renaissance, namely the Geffen Playhouse. The Geffen Playhouse was purchased by UCLA in 1993 and renamed in recognition of a $5-million donation from the Geffen Foundation.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 16, 2010
True to its name, the musical revue "Broadway Holiday" celebrates show tunes and seasonal cheer. Musical director Neil Berg will be joined by a three-piece band and a talented lineup of Broadway alumni to perform favorite songs from "My Fair Lady," "West Side Story," "Wicked" and others, as well as a selection of holiday tunes. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. 8 p.m. Fri., 3 and 8 p.m. Sat., 2 and 7 p.m. Sun. $65 to $75. (310) 208-5454. http://www.geffenplayhouse.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 18, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Watching Annette Bening perform the monologues of Ruth Draper at the Geffen Playhouse put me in mind of that lovely music tradition born out of reverence for the past: the tribute album. One doesn't expect a replica on these recordings - no two voices are ever the same. And part of the interest is seeing how one sensibility interprets another, how the greatness of the original is illuminated by the talent of the one paying homage. The rewards of these offerings naturally depend as much on the performance as on the auditor's expectations.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 5, 2014 | By Jeffrey Fleishman
Annette Bening will tell you about Sinatra's phrasings, the beauty and brutality of "The Iliad," homeless enchanters, acting classes, the knife edge between the hilarious and the tragic and those transcendent roles such as her adulterous real estate agent in "American Beauty," when "the roof comes off and there's this whole other dimension. The larger part of life. I get it. It's tangible. I'm in it. " Dimensions are the tricks of craft for a woman who contains multitudes, precisely the character Bening will channel in her solo performance of "Ruth Draper's Monologues" at the Geffen Playhouse.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2014 | By Margaret Gray
In Greg Pierce's "Slowgirl" at the Geffen Playhouse, 17-year-old Becky (Rae Gray) comes to visit her Uncle Sterling (William Petersen), who left the U.S. years earlier for Costa Rica. She's freaked out by his primitive jungle lifestyle, which is charmingly evoked by Richard Woodbury's sound design and the tropical leaves that hang above Takeshi Kata's delicate, bare-bones set, configured tennis-court style with the audience on either side (an approach that heightens naturalism but also impedes sightlines)
ENTERTAINMENT
March 12, 2014 | By David Ng
Blythe Danner will return to Broadway in the new Donald Margulies play "The Country House," which is scheduled to open Oct. 2 in a production by the Manhattan Theater Club. But before bowing in New York, Danner and the play will open at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles for a month-long run starting in June. As previously announced, "The Country House," directed by Daniel Sullivan, is set to open at the Geffen on June 11. (The staging will be a co-production between the Geffen and MTC.)
ENTERTAINMENT
March 6, 2014 | Matt Cooper
"Slowgirl" saunters into the Geffen, "Orpheus" descends at the Getty Villa, and "Macbeth" struts and frets his hour upon the stage at A Noise Within. Dorian's Descent Staged reading of a new musical inspired by Oscar Wilde's “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Met Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., L.A. Sunday, 7 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m. Free; reservations required. (323) 802-4990. Hot Girls in Hollywood Benefit reading of Summera Howell's play about young women navigating life, love, etc. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 5, 2014 | By Mike Boehm
Forced to jettison a master of disquieting stage menace, Harold Pinter, when its revival of “The Birthday Party” broke an axle or two during rehearsals last month, the Geffen Playhouse is filling the hole in its season with “Reasons to Be Pretty” by Neil LaBute, another playwright whose hallmark is confronting audiences with some of humanity's darker habits and impulses. Running July 29 to Aug. 31 on the Geffen's main stage, the Gil Cates Theater, it will be the sixth LaBute drama that the company has staged since 2007 -- the most recent being last year's adaptation of August Strindberg's “Miss Julie,” transplanted to 1920s Long Island.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 12, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
The Geffen Playhouse confirmed Monday that the $397 it's currently charging for the best seats to Bette Midler's upcoming one-woman show have set a house record, blowing beyond the previous pricing pinnacle of about $250. Pricing for “I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers” ranged from $87 to $325 when tickets went on sale to the general public Oct. 28, after subscribers had taken first dibs. The subsequent 22% markup on the most expensive seats stems from “dynamic pricing,” the now-common system in which intense demand for a limited supply will drive up the cost of a play, pop concert,  sporting event or airline ticket.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 12, 2003 | Don Shirley
The Geffen Playhouse's planned second stage has moved downstairs. The Audrey Skirball-Kenis Theatre, a 120-seat house that will be added as part of a renovation of the Westwood venue, will be on the same level as the existing, larger auditorium -- and immediately adjacent to it on the east. An earlier plan placed the Skirball-Kenis on the second floor of a new building that is part of a $17-million construction project.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 1, 2014 | By David Ng
Hold your RSVPs to the Geffen Playhouse's revival of Harold Pinter's "The Birthday Party. " The highly anticipated production, staged by Oscar-winning director William Friedkin, has been abruptly called off only two weeks before its official opening. Leaders at the Geffen said that the production has been postponed to an unspecified future date. The cause of the postponement was the sudden departure of British actor Steven Berkoff, with accounts differing as to whether he resigned voluntarily or was effectively dismissed from the production.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 31, 2014 | By David Ng
"Play Dead," the ghoulish stage show that has run in Las Vegas, New York and most recently at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, explores the grisly side of the occult and features macabre magic tricks and illusions performed by a menacingly charming Todd Robbins. The creators of the show -- Robbins and the illusionist Teller -- are now working on turning the production into a TV series. In an email, Robbins described the series' premise as "Breaking Bad" meets "True Blood," with copious amounts of blood and sex. "The series chronicles a traveling theatrical troupe that, under the guise of performing a quirky magic show of spooky amusement, presents experimentations of alchemistic procedures for the resurrection of the dead," wrote Robbins.
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