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World premiere of Jessica Goldberg’s darkly
comic ‘Babe’ empowers women at Echo Theater
LOS ANGELES (August 2, 2022) — Old habits die hard. The Echo Theater Company presents a dark comedy about cultural evolution and the selves we thought we knew. Chris Fields directs the world premiere of Babe by Jessica Goldberg, running September 17 through October 24 at the Echo’s home at Atwater Village Theatre. Three Pay-What-You-Previews are set for September 14, 15 and 16.
Abby has been discovering new talent since the ’90s, when she became the right hand to A&R (“Artists & Repertoire”) legend Gus. Together, they signed big bands, loved, fought and lived hard. It was the best kind of work marriage—at least that’s how Abby sees it. That is until Gen Z Kaitlin shows up, hell bent on showing these old rockers it’s 2022, and there’s a new generation hell-bent on changing the world. Evolve or die. Who goes down?
“This play is about a new generation of women who are re-framing what used to be accepted social constructs,” says Goldberg. “I’m from the generation that was complicit, who went along and laughed at the joke. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life being called ‘Babe.’ The play takes place in the world of the music business, but it could just as well be Hollywood or Big Tech. With the overturning of Roe, we need to remain vigilant.”
“At its heart, Babe is a love story, the story of three people in love with music—and what society has taught them and allowed them to do with that,” says Fields. “Jessica’s strength has always been her ability to put a human face on difficult issues. Like all her plays, this one is relatable, funny and poignant.”
Julie Dretzin (The Sisters Rosensweig on Broadway, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, previously at the Echo in The Found Dog Ribbon Dance) plays Abby; Sal Viscuso (Father Flotsky on Soap, “Denny” in A Steady Rain at the Odyssey, upcoming: Sony’s Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile) takes on the role of Gus; and Wylie Anderson (soon to be seen in Watershed Motion Picture’s Chasing Oslo) is up-and-comer Kaitlin.
The creative team includes scenic designer Amanda Knehans; lighting designer Hayden Kirschbaum; sound designer Alysha Grace Bermudez; and costume designer Elena Flores. The assistant director is Elana Luo, the associate producer is Elliot Davis, and the production stage manager is Danielle Jaramillo. Chris Fields and Kelly Beech produce for the Echot Theater Company.
Babe marks the fifth collaboration between Goldberg and The Echo Theater Company: In 1999, Goldberg’s Good Thing was developed at the Echo-founded Ojai Playwrights Conference before it went on to the Taper Too; in 2003 the company commissioned her An Affair Play as part of that year’s Echo One-Acts; in 2008, the Echo’s world premiere of Goldberg’s Body Politic was Ovation-nominated; and, in 2014, the Echo produced the world premiere of Goldberg’s Better, which NPR affiliate KCRW 89.9 FM named to its “Best of 2014” list.
Jessica Goldberg is a playwright, screenwriter and television writer. Her other plays include Body Politic, Get What You Need, Sex Parasite, Good Thing, Refuge (winner of the 1999 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), The Hologram Theory and Stuck. She adapted and directed Refuge as a feature film starring Krysten Ritter. Her other film work includes Alex of Venice, directed by Chris Messina, and the recent Apple original movie Cherry, directed by the Russo Brothers and starring Tom Holland. She is currently writing a movie about Carl Sagan and the Golden Record with director Sebastian Lelio. Jessica’s television work includes NBC’s Parenthood, and she created and executive produced the critically acclaimed The Path on Hulu. She served as executive producer and showrunner of Away for Netflix starring Hillary Swank. Jessica’s work on Away earned her a Gracie Award for Showrunner and a Media Access Award. A graduate of NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program and the Juilliard School, she was a Tennessee Williams Fellow at the University of the South, and a recipient of The Le Compte de Nouy stipend, the first annual Helen Merrill Award and a 2,000 Berrilla Kerr Foundation Award. She has been a resident at The O’Neill Playwrights Conference, New River Dramatists, The Missoula Colony and The New Harmony Project. She is a member of The Dramatist Guild and PEN American Center.
Founded in 1997, the Echo Theater Company has gained a reputation for producing and developing exciting new work. Under the artistic leadership of Chris Fields, the company has championed playwrights for a quarter century, producing and commissioning numerous world premieres and introducing Los Angeles to playwrights David Lindsay-Abaire, Adam Rapp and Sarah Ruhl among others. The Echo has won countless Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Ovation, LA Weekly and Stage Raw awards, and is frequently cited on end-of-the-year “Best of Lists” including by the Los Angeles Times, LA Observed and NPR affiliate KCRW 89.9 FM, among others. The company was anointed “Best Bet for Ballsy Original Plays” by the LA Weekly and was a recipient of a “Kilroy Cake Drop” to honor its efforts to produce women and trans writers. KCRW declared that “Echo Theater Company is on a fierce journey,” and Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty wrote, “Artistic directors of theaters of all sizes would be wise to follow the [lead] of the Echo’s Chris Fields, who [is] building audience communities eager for the challenge of path-breaking plays.”
Babe opens on Saturday, Sept. 17, with performances continuing on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 4 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. through October 24. Three preview performances are set for Wednesday, Sept. 14; Thursday, Sept. 15; and Friday, Sept. 16, each at 8 p.m. Tickets are $34 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. All Monday night performances, as well as previews, are pay-what-you-want. Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039.
For reservations and information, including up-to-date Covid policies on the day of each performance, call (310) 307-3753 or go to www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.
Details for Calendar Listings
Old habits die hard. The Echo Theater Company presents a dark comedy by Jessica Goldberg about cultural evolution and the selves we thought we knew. Abby has been Gus’s right hand in the world of A&R music since the ’90s. Together they signed big bands, loved, fought and lived hard; it was the best kind of work marriage, at least that’s how Abby sees it. Until Gen Z Kaitlin shows up, hell bent on showing these old rockers it’s 2022, and there’s a new generation hell bent on changing the world—evolve or die. Who goes down?
• Written by Jessica Goldberg
• Directed by Chris Fields
• Starring Wylie Anderson, Julie Dretzin and Sal Viscuso
• Presented by The Echo Theater Company, Chris Fields artistic director
Previews: Sept. 14, Sept. 15, Sept. 16
Performances: Sept. 17–Oct.24
• Wednesday at 8 p.m.: Sept. 14 ONLY (preview)
• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Sept. 15 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 16 (preview); Sept. 23; Sept. 30; Oct. 7; Oct. 14; Oct. 21
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 17 (opening night); Sept. 24; Oct. 1; Oct. 8; Oct. 15; Oct. 22
• Sundays at 4 p.m.: Sept. 18; Sept. 25; Oct. 2; Oct. 9; Oct. 16; Oct. 23
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 19; Sept. 26; Oct. 3; Oct. 10; Oct. 17; Oct. 24
Echo Theater Company
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
FREE in the Atwater Crossing (AXT) lot one block south of the theater
Go to www.EchoTheaterCompany.com to find up-to-date Covid policies on the day of each performance.
• Call 310-307-3753 or go to www.EchoTheaterCompany.com
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