On the docket for L.A. Theatre Works in 2017-18 is a season of seven audio theater productions, including an original commission of a 19th century novel about Zionism, a new docudrama about the BP oil spill, two recent Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, the revival of a cautionary tale against fascism, a romantic comedy, and a tribute to I Love Lucy — each featuring a star-studded cast. In addition, LATW will honor Woman in Gold attorney E. Randol Schoenberg and launch the company’s 14th national tour.
In January, 2018, LATW marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a national tour of Katori Hall’s Olivier Award-winning The Mountaintop, which will travel to 37 venues across the U.S over the course of four months.
The schedule for the 2017-18 season is as follows:
Wed, Sept. 27
Special Benefit Performance at The Wallis
Pursuit of Justice — LATW kicks off its 2017-18 season with a special one-night only event. The evening’s honoree is famed attorney E. Randol Schoenberg, who successfully litigated the return of five Gustav Klimt paintings from the Austrian government to the rightful heirs, as featured in the film Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren. The evening will include a performance of LATW’s 2016-17 acclaimed national touring production of Judgment at Nuremberg by Abby Mann, followed by a, discussion about the pursuit of justice then and now with Mr. Schoenberg and Geoffrey Cowan (Chair of USC Annenberg School’s Center on Communication Leadership and Policy).
Oct. 12 – 15
Watch on the Rhine
Set in Washington, D.C. on the brink of U.S. involvement in World War II, Lillian Hellman’s suspenseful drama is a timely reminder to keep our eyes open, to remain vigilant and involved. As the clouds of war gather in Europe in the late 1930s, a leader in the German resistance arrives in Washington DC, accompanied by his American wife, Sarah and their children. The Müllers stay at the home of Sarah’s wealthy mother, Fanny Farrelly, who, like most Americans at that time, is unaware of the storm brewing in Europe. Four-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Marsha Mason reprises the role of Fanny she performed in last season’s Arena Stage production. Directed by Rosalind Ayres.
Nov. 16 – 19
West Coast Premiere
Between Riverside and Crazy
In the Pulitzer Prize-wining drama by Stephen Adly Guirgis, ex-cop “Pops” Washington and his ex-con son Junior are barely holding on to one of the last great rent stabilized apartments in Manhattan. Pops has his hands (not to mention his apartment) full as he navigates a steady stream of sketchy houseguests and sweats out the impending verdict on his law suit against the police department. A celebration of the glorious contradictions that make up human nature, this rowdy dark comedy looks at the slippery nature of justice and the grit it takes to finally move on. Featuring Seamus Dever (Castle).
Jan. 25 – 28
The Goodbye Girl
Marsha Mason directs Neil Simon’s screenplay for the 1977 Academy Award-nominated, Golden Globe Award-winning romantic comedy in which she starred. Known as The Goodbye Girl because of all the live-in boyfriends who have left her, Paula McFadden and her young daughter must make room in their cramped quarters for a new roommate. But can they make room in their hearts for another man who may just walk out that door again?
March 15 – 18
An LATW-commissioned stage adaptation of George Elliot’s novel, one of the most controversial of the 19th Century. Scornful of men and the love they profess for her, Gwendolen Harleth is a beautiful but spoiled young woman, frustrated by her limited options in Victorian England. Daniel Deronda is an intelligent, handsome young man who has been raised by his guardian, Sir Hugo Mallinger, but knows nothing of his true origins. Deronda’s search leads him into the world of 19th-century Zionism and the Jewish mystical tradition known as Kabbalah, a discovery that will alter the course of his life. Adapted and directed by Kate McAll; featuring Joanne Whalley.
April 19 – 22
Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize and Obie Award-winning drama has become one of the most produced plays in the world – and one of the most passionately discussed. Amir Kapoor is a brilliant, successful Muslim American attorney who has turned his back on his faith in order to thrive in post-9/11 Manhattan. On the surface, he has it all: a beautiful wife, a swanky apartment and a lucrative career. But the charmed life he so artfully constructed is put in jeopardy when a dinner party turns tumultuous and the guests’ ideals of culture, marriage, career and family collide. Brian Kite directs. Behzad Dabu and Emily Swallow reprise their roles from the Mark Taper Forum’s Los Angeles premiere for this live-in-performance recording.
May 17 – 20
West Coast Premiere
What is the true human and environmental cost of oil? This powerful work by Emmy Award-nominated writer Leigh Fondakowski (head writer of The Laramie Project) goes beyond the headlines to tell vivid personal stories from all sides following the explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon in 2010. Based on interviews, photographs and court documents collected in the aftermath, Spill explores the rich culture of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast and the resilient nature of its inhabitants in the face of natural destruction and tragedy. Directed by Martin Jarvis and featuring Jane Kaczmarek.
July 12 – 15
I Love Lucy: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom
The hilarious true story behind America’s most beloved TV comedy by Gregg Oppenheimer, son of I Love Lucy creator-producer-head writer Jess Oppenheimer and one of the world’s foremost experts on the show. The onscreen pairing of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz is at the heart of one of the most popular TV shows in history. Who would have thought that to get on the air they had to battle both a network and a sponsor who thought the show couldn’t possibly succeed?
Jan. 12 – April 23
L.A. Theatre Works commemorates the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death with this tour of the Olivier Award-winning play by Katori Hall. On the evening of April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated outside room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. What happened inside that room the night before the killing is a mystery. In her internationally acclaimed play, Hall imagines what might have transpired between the legendary civil rights leader and a seemingly inconsequential hotel maid during the overnight hours.