The Geffen Playhouse in Westwood may be closed for some much-needed improvements, but the show must go on. The productions have moved just down the road a piece to the Brentwood Theater. They’ve been getting into the swing of things with the West Coast premiere of “Take Me Out.” It’s the tale of slugger Darren Lemming, an all-American all-star with a secret he wants to share-he’s gay. “Take Me Out” has already hit a home run with the critics. It won a 2003 Tony Award for best play, best director and best featured actor, as well as the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
Whoa Nelly! The season continues with that toe-tapping favorite “Paint Your Wagon.” It’s a new adaptation of the classic 1951 Broadway musical by Alan Lerner and Frederick Lowe. It takes us back to the Gold Rush and the raucous mining camps of the Wild, Wild West. Directed by the Geffen’s Gil Cates, this production is sure to hit pay dirt.
The old time singing, dancing and romancing will be followed by another Pulitzer Prize winner called “You Can’t Take it with You.” It’s a Geffen twist on the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart comedy classic, which follows the daily doings of a family of zany, but lovable oddballs.
Next, comes an original Broadway production called “I am My Own Wife.” Written by Dough Wright and directed by Moises Kaufman, it’s the true store of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. A real life East-German transvestite, von Mahlsdorf managed to survive the Nazi onslaught in World War II and the repressive communist regime that followed. The award-winning story picked up the 2004 Tony for best play and actor, as well as the 2004 Pulitzer for best drama. The fifth production is still under wraps but will be in keeping with this season’s theme, which is being billed as “A festival of American Originals.”
Speaking of originals, no one’s more pumped up about the new productions than Cates. “We have a dynamite season,” he explains. “We’re kicking off a 10-year journey to celebrate American Theater and it’s going to be fantastic.” Cates says the plays will explore American values and ideals through the magic of theater in ways that are funny, dangerous, thought-provoking, suspenseful, dramatic and musical. From drama to comedy, there’s something for everyone so with that-let’s go on with the show.