The Playgoer: The Pee Wee and Annette Shows

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Pee Wee and Annette Shows

By Steven Leigh Morris

Pee Wee Herman: Photo by Greg Gorman

In the event that you're traveling to L.A. in the next few months, you might want to check out The Pee Wee Herman Show, which marks Paul Ruebens' (a.k.a. Pee Wee) first major stage appearance in 20 years, in the wake of his humiliating arrests in 1991 and 2002, respectively for indecent exposure (inside a Florida porno theater) and for possession of child pornography (which he adamantly denied). Performances start November 8 at the Music Box @ The Fonda rock club. The show opens to the press November 19 and is slated for only 10 days more, closing November 29. Tickets here

Reubens has appeared on stage during the past few years at special event performances at West Hollywood's intimate Groundlings Theatre on Melrose, a performance/lab space for improv and sketch comedy, where Reubens first performed The Pee Wee Herman Show in 1981 -- created partly from the anger of being rejected for that season's Saturday Night Live. Reubens' act transferred for a five-month run at the Roxy nightclub, was broadcast on HBO, and Pee Wee Herman was suddenly a national representative of our infantile inner selves, perpetually at war with a mercilessly macho world.

Mom, Are You Okay?

Annette Bening will appear as Euripides' Medea at Royce Hall, UCLA as part of UCLA Live's fall season: Previews start September 18, the productions opens to the press September 23 and plays through October 18.

The production, with a 12-woman chorus and onstage musicians, is to be created by Croatian theater and opera director Lenka Udovicki. Bening and Udovicki approached UCLA Live's curator David Sefton with a proposal for this original production, and he said yes. UCLA Live is the West Coast equivalent of BAM, and Medea marks the first time in UCLA Live's brief but illustrious ten-year history that Sefton will serve as producer instead of presenter.

CTG Follow-Up

On the heels of my last post about Center Theatre Group placing its bets on theater companies rather than playwrights for the development of new work, Culture Clash's playwright Richard Montoya wrote me with a very good further distinction, that CTG's commissions of Culture Clash speculate not so much on his troupe, but on the audiences the troupe might attract.
It's an interesting point that ties commissions more closely to marketing than I'd thought of.

Today, CTG announced that it has received a $1 million, three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the development of new works that are non-text based. This is good news for those in the multi-media vis biz, but not particularly encouraging for playwrights. That's probably a good thing. Playwrights have been getting far too much encouragement lately.

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