Performances have begun for the world premiere of Ethan Coen’s “A Play Is a Poem” at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum. Directed by Neil Pepe and presented in association with Atlantic Theater Company, “A Play Is a Poem” is currently in previews with the opening set for September 21 at 8 p.m. Performances will continue through October 13.
The cast includes, in alphabetical order, Ro Boddie, Max Casella, Micaela Diamond, Peter Jacobson, Jason Kravits, Nellie McKay, Saul Rubinek, Miriam Silverman, Joey Slotnick, Sam Vartholomeos and CJ Wilson. The creative team features scenic design by Riccardo Hernández, costume design by Sarah Laux, lighting design by Tyler Micoleau, sound design by Leon Rothenberg with original music by Nellie McKay, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe and fight direction by Steve Rankin. The production stage manager is David S. Franklin.
“A Play Is a Poem” is a new collection of five one acts by Ethan Coen set in the hillbilly hollows of Appalachia, the executive suites of Hollywood, a New York tenement apartment, the smoke-filled office of a Los Angeles private eye and a magnolia-scented gazebo in Natchez, Mississippi. Each place holds a different story – together they offer an eccentric look at life across America that only Ethan Coen could deliver. Ethan Coen has written three previous evenings of one acts, “Happy Hour,” “Almost an Evening” and “Offices,” all three directed by Neil Pepe. His full-length play “Women or Nothing” was directed by David Cromer and premiered at Atlantic Theater Company. He contributed a play to “Relatively Speaking,” a Broadway trio of one acts whose other contributors were Woody Allen and Elaine May. Coen has written a collection of stories, “Gates of Eden,” and two collections of poems, “The Drunken Driver Has the Right of Way” and “The Day the World Ends.” Coen has also written, produced and directed films with his brother Joel for 35 years. Neil’s recent directing credits include the New York premiere of Simon Stephens’ “On the Shore of the Wide World,” and the world premieres of George Brant’s “Marie and Rosetta,” Kenneth Lonergan’s “Hold On To Me Darling” and David Mamet’s “The Penitent,” all at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York.
Broadway credits include the musical, “Hands on a Hardbody” the acclaimed revival of David Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow” and “A Life in the Theatre.” Off-Broadway credits at Atlantic Theater Company include John Guare’s “3 Kinds of Exile;” Moira Buffini’s “Dying For It;” Jez Butterworth’s “Parlour Song,” “Mojo” and “The Night Heron;” Ethan Coen’s “Happy Hour,” “Offices” and “Almost an Evening;” Harold Pinter’s “Celebration and The Room;” Adam Rapp’s “Dreams of Flying Dreams of Falling;” Joe Penhall’s “Blue/Orange;” Hilary Bell’s “Wolf Lullaby;” David Pittu’s “What’s That Smell?;” Howard Korder’s “Sea of Tranquility;” Edwin Sanchez’ “Clean;” Quincy Long’s “Shaker Heights.” Additional off-Broadway credits include David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” (Donmar Warehouse, Atlantic Theater Company); “Romance” and “Two Unrelated Plays by David Mamet” (Center Theatre Group, Atlantic Theater Company); Zinnie Harris’ “Further Than the Furthest Thing” (Manhattan Theatre Club); Jessica Goldberg’s “Refuge” (Playwrights Horizons); Tom Donaghy’s “The Beginning of August” (South Coast Repertory, Atlantic Theater Company); Frank Gilroy’s “The Subject Was Roses” with Martin Sheen (Center Theatre Group) and Eric Bogosian’s “Red Angel” (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Neil has been the Artistic Director of the award-winning off-Broadway company, Atlantic Theater Company, since 1992.
Tickets are available online at CenterTheatreGroup.org, by calling Audience Services at (213) 628-2772 or in person at the Center Theatre Group Box Office (at the Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles). Tickets range from $25 – $110 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Mark Taper Forum is located at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.