LOS ANGELES: Geffen Playhouse has announced the seven plays of its 20th anniversary season in 2015–16. Highlights include a world premiere play by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, plus news plays from Laura Eason, John Patrick Shanley, Bess Wohl and Rajiv Joseph.
“We seek plays that speak to our audience. Recently, a critic said that our plays have also begun to ‘speak to each other,’ and that is the dialogue these plays celebrate,” said Geffen artistic director Randall Arney in a statement. “Our landmark 20th anniversary season speaks with the creative community of playwrights, directors, actors and designers that bring our theatres a vibrancy as full and rich as any I have experienced in my career.”
The season will open with the West Coast premiere of These Paper Bullets!, a Beatles-inspired musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing from Rolin Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong (Sept. 8–Oct. 18). The production, coming from its debut at Yale Repertory Theatre last year, will be co-produced by Atlantic Theater Company. Jackson Gay, who directed the Yale run (and will helm it in New York City), will oversee the Geffen production.
Next is Guards at the Taj, a new play from Rajiv Joseph (Oct. 6–Nov. 15). The two-hander is about two 17th-century sentries at the Taj Mahal who are given a series of strange and increasingly gruesome tasks. Giovanna Sardelli, who has helmed more than half a dozen of Joseph’s plays, will direct.
Outside Mullinger by John Patrick Shanley will play during the holiday season (Nov. 10–Dec. 20). This modern romantic comedy is about two adjacent Irish farms and their heirs. Shanley’s Four Dogs and a Bone opened the inaugural Geffen Playhouse season in October 1995. Arney will direct.
Bess Wohl’s Barcelona is next (Feb. 2–March 13, 2016). The play, about a one-night-stand involving an American woman and an older Spanish man in the eponymous city, will be directed by Trip Cullman.
A short romance is also the topic in the next production, Sex with Strangers by Laura Eason (March 1–April 10, 2016). The play is about a fling between an older female novelist and a twentysomething blogger. Kimberly Senior will direct.
Next, Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss (April 5–May 15, 2016) will receive its Los Angeles premiere. The play follows two actors who must play lovers onstage, and traces the way the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Frequent Geffen helmer Bart DeLorenzo will direct.
The season will close with the world premiere of Big Sky (June 7–July 17, 2016) by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, directed by John Rando. The play, a fable, is about a tumultuous marriage at the end of the 21st century.
An eighth production will be announced at a later date.