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‘The play’s the thing’ in 2015 Taper season

‘The play’s the thing’ in 2015 Taper season

Center Theatre Group to present three bold new plays and two classic dramas in Taper's 48th season

For those who love plays in Los Angeles, the 2015 season at the Mark Taper Forum promises to be "an irresistible year in the theatre," says CTG Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. "Each of the plays is distinct but together they add up to an exceptionally powerful season with a wide range of captivating stories to tell.

"We begin the year by celebrating American icon Arthur Miller with the presentation of The Price," Ritchie continued. "I am proud to welcome director Garry Hynes to CTG and to welcome back actors Kate Burton and Alan Mandell for this much anticipated production.

"Next up is Immediate Family, whose rich characters, led by one of our favorite directors, Phylicia Rashad, will traverse the comic minefields of a changing family dynamic.

"I can't think of a better artist than Moisés Kaufman to direct Bent," Ritchie said. "This is powerful theatre that has earned its rightful place in cultural history, and I am very happy that a major production of this important work is happening at the Taper next season.

"This will be the first time we have worked with Eric Ting, and I'm looking forward to his direction of Appropriate, a sly new play about squabbling siblings who are faced with a shocking family secret.

"We close the season with a compelling play that caught my attention with the larger-than-life questions it asks. I'm glad we have Les Waters returning to CTG to direct The Christians."

The Price by Arthur Miller

Two brothers who haven't spoken to each other in 16 years come together to settle their late father's estate. Victor, a police officer of 28 years; his brother, Walter, a successful surgeon; and Victor's wife, Esther (played by Kate Burton) gather in the attic of the family's New York brownstone, where they are met by Solomon, a wise and wily antiques dealer (played by Mandell).

Years of accumulation of family belongings need sorting out, as do the hidden motives that long ago fractured the brothers' relationship.

An American classic, The Price first opened on Broadway in 1968, and Clive Barnes, writing for The New York Times, said the play was "one of the most engrossing and entertaining plays that Miller has ever written."

The Price, directed by Garry Hynes, will play at the Mark Taper Forum Feb. 11-March 22, 2015. Opening night is set for Feb. 22, 2015.

DID YOU KNOW? 2015 marks the centennial of Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and National Medal of Honors winner Arthur Miller.

Immediate Family by Paul Oakley Stovall

This biting new comedy explores evolving ideas of marriage and family. When the Bryant siblings come together for the first time in five years to attend a wedding, the family reunion quickly becomes a hilarious family showdown.

Secrets are revealed and long-held beliefs are challenged as a spirited game of cards brings all of the family's dysfunctions to the table.

Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune said that Immediate Family, in its 2012 About Face Theatre production at the Owen Bruner Goodman Theatre, "is highly entertaining ... [it] just bursts with life."

Immediate Family, directed by Phylicia Rashad, will play at the Mark Taper Forum April 22-June 7, 2015. Opening night is set for May 3, 2015.

DID YOU KNOW? In addition to playwriting, Stovall has appeared in films such as Shortbus (directed by Cameron Mitchell)and the late Robert Altman's The Company, among others.

Bent by Martin Sherman

The harrowing drama Bent is a groundbreaking play about the rare power of love in the most inhumane conditions. The Taper production will be the first major U.S. revival since its Broadway premiere in 1979, when it was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

Set in Germany in the 1930s, Bent follows the struggles of gay men trying to survive in Nazi Germany, in particular two men who, in the midst of the darkest moments of mankind, manage to give and receive love and find strength in each other.

Benedict Nightingale of The New Statesman said of the London West End premiere in May 1979 that "Mr. Sherman's aim is ... to strike a blow for the human, and especially the homosexual, spirit in extremis ... a V-sign defiantly flourished at all forms of oppression."

Bent, directed by Moisés Kaufman, will play at the Mark Taper Forum July 15-Aug. 23, 2015. Opening night is set for May 3, 2015.

DID YOU KNOW? Martin Sherman's plays have been produced in over 60 countries, and he has been nominated for two Tonys, two Oliviers and two BAFTAs.

Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

The sins of the forebears echo throughout Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' razor-edged new comedy. As estranged family members convene in Arkansas to settle the patriarch's estate, they discover in the ruin and clutter of their crumbling plantation home an album filled with disturbing photos.

Sparks fly when the siblings debate possible family ties to this unwanted legacy, and their tenuous reunion brings up old rivalries and family secrets that soon toss them into a tailspin.

Ben Brantley said of the 2014 New York production that Appropriate is "subversively original ... remarkable and devious."

Appropriate, directed by Eric Ting, will play at the Mark Taper Forum Sept. 23-Nov. 1, 2015. Opening night is set for Oct. 4, 2015.

DID YOU KNOW? Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' honors include a Paula Vogel Award, a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the inaugural Tennessee Williams Award.

The Christians by Lucas Hnath

The pastor of a large and wildly successful church has a startling message for his congregation in this riveting new play. After 20 years of growing his congregation into the thousands, Pastor Paul does some soul searching and reaches a conclusion that shakes the church's very foundation with a message that challenges one of the basic tenets of his ministry.

As Pastor Paul summons the courage to lead his flock in a new direction, he faces questions about his motivations, and his personal and professional relationships begin to fray. The Christians is a compelling drama that conveys the deep emotions and consequences of one man's personal revelation.

Charles Isherwood said of the March 2014 premiere at the Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville that "[Lucas] Hnath is quickly emerging as one of the brightest new voices of his generation."

The Christians, directed by Les Waters, will play at the Mark Taper Forum Dec. 2, 2015-Jan. 10, 2016. Opening night is set for Dec. 13, 2015.

DID YOU KNOW? The Christians is staged as a church service, complete with a choir whose members will be drawn from local choral groups.