Malibu Stage Co. sets a four-play reading series for the New Year

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Bruce McGill is slated to read "A Walk in the Woods" by Lee Blessing at the Malibu Stage Co. Jan. 29.

Malibu Stage Co. announces the start of the new year with a series of readings beginning Jan. 22 with “Darwin in Malibu”-the first in a series of Saturday evening performances of four plays read by acclaimed theatre, TV and film actors. The four readings consist of two new plays, an American premiere and a Pulitzer Prize nominee.

“Darwin in Malibu” by British playwright Crispin Whittell will be the first is the series. The London Daily News calls the author “a young dramatist of exceptional wit and promise.”

The following Saturday night, on Jan. 29, noted actors Don Most and Bruce McGill will read Lee Blessing’s “A Walk in the Woods,” a 1984 Pulitzer Prize-nominated play called “a minor miracle” by New York Magazine.

Malibu’s local playwright and Malibu Stage Co. board member Oren Safdie brings his new play, “Frank Barth,” to the stage that premiered his first success, “Private Jokes, Public Places,” a play that went on to perform in New York to rave reviews. For his new play, he has enlisted the talent of TV and film star Ed Asner to read the role of an aging writer still chasing his dream for theatrical recognition. “Frank Barth” is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5.

Popular TV and screen star Marion Ross will come to Malibu for the reading of a new play from Kelly Masterson, “Against the Rising Sea,” whose latest film, “Before the Devil Knows you’re Dead,” is soon to be released. Joe Cacaci will direct the Malibu production.

Since its inception 13 years ago, Malibu Stage Co. has created an enthusiastic audience from all over Los Angeles. However, according to the company’s president, Jacqueline Bridgeman, the company has struggled to keep its lights on. Malibu Stage has limped along solely on donations and the volunteer work of its board of directors and “The Angels,” a group of dedicated volunteer women.

Bridgeman, the company’s president and founder with Charles Marowitz, laments, “I do wish that we were able to engage the enormous resource of theatrical talent that call Malibu home. Alas, part of our community seems unaware of our existence, let alone the superior professional work we produce. We really need their support and recognition.”

The Saturday night readings begin Jan. 22 through Feb. 5 at 8 p.m.

A $10 donation is suggested. In order to assure a seat for any of the readings, a reservation is advised. Call: 310.589.1998 for tickets. Malibu Stage Co. is located at 29243 Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Heathercliff Road.