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L.A. Theatre Works has lined up 7 plays and national tour for 2021,
with dates TBA when on-stage theater gets green light for safe return
LOS ANGELES (Aug. 26, 2020) — L.A. Theatre Works has selected seven plays and a national touring production for its upcoming season. Specific dates will be announced after the CDC and UCLA, home of the James Bridges Theater where LATW performs, give the go ahead and all safety protocols have been put into place. Each of the seven plays will be recorded in front of a live audience for future radio broadcast, digital download and podcasting.
In the new season, L.A. Theatre Works plans to record modern masterpieces by Charles Fuller, Eugene O’Neill and Tom Stoppard, as well as a popular Agatha Christie “whodunit” in a new, LATW-commissioned adaptation by the BBC’s Kate McAll. The remaining three productions will include plays originally announced for the 2019-20 season that was cut short by the pandemic: Pearle Cleage’s Flyin’ West, Ayad Akhtar’s Junk and Terence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy.
Plays lined up for the 2020-21 season include, in alphabetical order:
A Soldier’s Play — In this Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece by Charles Fuller, a Black sergeant is murdered on a Louisiana army base in 1942, and the ensuing investigation uncovers a web of self-hatred and recrimination as dangerous as the enemy across the sea.
Flyin’ West — A contemporary classic by Pearl Cleage about the strength of black women and their role as pioneers in the settlement of the American West. At the turn of the 20th century, four African-American women journey west to the all-Black town of Nicodemus, Kansas to seek the freedom promised by the end of the Civil War — only to be challenged by the harsh and unforgiving terrain, the social climate of the time and the men who claim to be with them for love.
Junk — Inspired by the junk bond scandal of the ’80s and set in the high-stakes shark tank of Wall Street, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar takes us on a whirlwind ride into the genesis of debt financing which was the root cause of the recent housing crisis in this country. The L.A. Theatre Works live-in-performance recording will mark the play’s Los Angeles premiere.
Mourning Becomes Elektra — The ancient story of Aeschylus’ The Oresteia is brought into contemporary New England in Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece. General Ezra Mannon and his son Orin return home as war heroes, only to find that their once-proud home is stricken with the festering wounds of bitterness, infidelity and unbridled lust. A shocking murder sets off an unrelenting chain reaction of madness and retribution. Lock the door, nail down the shutters, and prepare for the ancient to collide with the modern in this stream-lined adaptation by Gordon Edelestein.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead — In this fabulously inventive, Tony Award®-winning tragicomedy by Tom Stoppard, two of Shakespeare’s most incidental characters enter the limelight. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have been summoned by the King of Denmark to glean what afflicts their old college friend, Prince Hamlet. As the two meditate on fate and the inevitability of death, the events of Shakespeare’s play unfold around them, and audience members are left to piece together the half-glimpsed, incomplete actions of the major players.
The Murder on the Links — In this new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic “whodunit,” commissioned by L.A. Theatre Works and written by the BBC’s Kate McAll, detective Hercule Poirot receives an urgent letter from Paul Renauld, summoning him to France. When he arrives, Poirot and his companion Hastings find they are too late to save M. Renauld, as he now lies dead, face down in a grave on the edge of the golf course he was building. Certain facts do not add up, and the case is further complicated by the discovery of another body, which has apparently been stabbed in an impossible way.
The Winslow Boy — A highly charged moral drama by Terence Rattigan, based on a real-life incident. When a pilfered postal-order leads to a legal case that draws the attention of the nation, a family risks everything to clear their son’s name.
In addition, L.A. Theatre Works plans to bring its signature radio-theater hybrid style to more than 30 performing arts venues across the U.S. in Spring, 2021, as part of the company’s 17th annual national tour. Lucy Loves Desi: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom is the hilarious and true story behind one of America’s most beloved TV comedies, written 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. I Love Lucy remains 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? This crowd-pleasing show, written for L.A. Theatre Works, played to sold-out houses during its world premiere run at the James Bridges Theater in 2018.
Finally, L.A. Theatre Works plans to resume regular screenings of National Theatre Live, also at the James Bridges Theater.
L.A. Theatre Works stands apart in its approach to making great theater widely accessible and affordable, bringing plays into the homes and classrooms of millions of theater lovers, teachers and students each year. Each of the performances at UCLA’s state-of-the-art James Bridges Theater will be recorded live in front of an audience for future radio broadcast, distribution on CD, digital download, podcasting and online streaming. L.A. Theatre Works’ syndicated radio theater series broadcasts weekly on public radio stations across the U.S. (locally, in Southern California, on KPFK 90.7 FM); daily in China and worldwide on the Radio Beijing Network; and weekly on KCRW Berlin 104,1 FM, Berlin’s English language public radio station. Productions from the L.A. Theatre Works catalog can be downloaded as podcasts via iTunes and NPR One, or streamed on demand at www.latw.org. In addition, L.A. Theatre Works recordings are distributed, free of charge, along with study guides, to thousands of middle and secondary schools. The L.A. Theatre Works catalog of over 500 recorded plays is the largest archive of its kind in the world. The Philadelphia Inquirer calls L.A. Theatre Works “a national theatrical treasure.”
Performances of L.A. Theatre Works’ radio theater series will take place at the James Bridges Theater, located on the campus of UCLA, and be recorded live-in-performance.
For more information, call 310-827-0889 or go to www.latw.org.