I attended the new Geffen Playhouse opening last week with the Geffen Theater Co-Chair Pamela Robinson Hollander and the Music Center Chair Lisa Specht.
Founded by theater, film and television luminary Gil Cates, the Geffen Playhouse has been an integral part of Los Angeles theater since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its commitment to the development of new plays, the Geffen Playhouse continues to present a body of work that garners national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the organization is currently helmed by Artistic Director Randall Arney, Managing Director Ken Novice and Chairman of the Board Frank Mancuso. An active member of the community, the Geffen Playhouse has a groundbreaking education and outreach program that targets students, seniors and everyone in between who otherwise would not have access to live theater.
The Geffen Playhouse has been awarded more than 40 regional theater awards, including six accolades for best overall productions and a special Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle award for best new play in Los Angeles for Jane Anderson’s commission The Quality of Life. Other commissioned plays that have gone on to appear across the country include David Rambo’s Icebreaker and Donald Margulies’ Time Stands Still, which received a Broadway run in 2010. Other works created in house include Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress and Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking, which opened on Broadway in 2009.
Over the past decade, the playhouse has been host to award-winning actors including Debbie Allen, Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Annette Bening, Beau Bridges, Len Cariou, Peter Falk, Brenda Fricker, Laurence Fishburne, Uta Hagen, Ed Harris, Neil Patrick Harris, John Mahoney, Laurie Metcalf, Christine Lahti, Christopher Lloyd, Frank Langella, Chris Noth, David Hyde Pierce, Martin Short, Alicia Silverstone and Holland Taylor.
The Geffen’s artistic team has cultivated relationships with Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwrights including David Lindsay-Abaire, Jon Robin Baitz, Tracy Letts, Donald Margulies, David Mamet, Terrence McNally, Steve Martin, Lynn Nottage, Robert Schennkan, and Neil Simon. Acclaimed directors including Sir Alan Ayckborn, David Esbjornson, Doug Hughes, Neil LaBute, Michael Langham, Marcel Marceau, John Rando and Daniel Sullivan, not to mention late Geffen Playhouse Producing Director Gilbert Cates and Artistic Director Randall Arney, have lent their skilled expertise to helming Geffen Playhouse productions.
The Geffen Playhouse strives to produce original, quality works that inspire thought, evoke conversation and engage the community in the live arts.