Malibu Stage goes international

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Oren Safdie (left) Ronnie Cohen. Photo courtesy of Malibu Stage Co

Malibu Stage Co.’s Interim Artistic Director Oren Safdie is off to Timisoara, Romania, where he has been invited by the National Theatre of Romania to attend the Eastern European Premiere of his play “Private Jokes, Public Places,” which debuted at Malibu Stage in 2001 and went on to a critically acclaimed off-Broadway run.

Safdie was chosen among four other U.S. playwrights to be part of the Theatre Festival showcasing American playwrights. Others include Romulus Linney, Jean Claude van Italie and Arthur Kopit.

Safdie will return to New York in November to direct the world premiere of his new musical comedy, “West Bank, UK,” with music and lyrics by Mar Vista resident Ronnie Cohen. Malibu Stage co-founder Jackie Bridgeman will produce.

The play, a co-production between New York’s La MaMa E.T.C theatre and Malibu Stage, is about a Palestinian and an Israeli who must share a rent-controlled apartment in London’s West Bank. Safdie and Cohen previously collaborated on the musical “Jews & Jesus.”

Malibu residents will hopefully get a chance to see the new work in February. Other works on the slate for the spring season include a new adaptation of Jean Annouile’s “Antigone, “The Red Beard of Venice” about the life of Antonio Vivaldi, and a new work to be determined that will include a return of Malibu Stage favorite Daniel J. Travanti of “Hill Street Blues.”