Take A Big Bite of THE CAKE!

Theatre review

PHOTO: Chris Whitaker | SouthPasadenan.com | Carolyn Ratteray and Debra Jo Rupp in The Cake at The Geffen Playhouse

A refreshing and very moving production of THE CAKE is now playing at The Geffen Playhouse with a stellar cast. The emotionally naked and exquisite performance of Debra Jo Rupp is worth the price of the ticket alone.

PHOTO: Chris Whitaker | SouthPasadenan.com | Debra Jo Rupp stars as Della in The Geffen Playhouse production of The Cake

Bekah Brunstetter’s play is set in and around a small town bakery in a very Christian conservative Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Della is an old fashioned southern baker who extols the virtues of real butter, milk and eggs; real ingredients that make her cakes moist and her buttercream frosting to die for. No tofu or gluten free found here. As she prepares to make her debut on a national baking competition, a dream come true for her, an unexpected visitor comes to call. It’s her best friend’s daughter, Jen, who has come to share some big news.

PHOTO: Chris Whitaker | SouthPasadenan.com | Carolyn Ratteray, Shannon Lucio and Debra Jo Rupp in The Geffen Playhouse production of The Cake

Jen’s mother passed away some years before and she’s come to ask Della to bake her wedding cake and of course Della is thrilled. Things get complicated pretty quick when Jen introduces her New Yorker fiancé, Macy, an African American woman. After her intial shock, excuses are made due to scheduling conflicts and you can see where this is going.  But the road here is not a straight one and there are no pat answers tied up in a bow or caricatures of bigotry. Instead, we get real, complicated people who love each other deeply and have a long life history together colliding with their prejudices, love, hate and humanity.

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PHOTO: Chris Whitaker | SouthPasadenan.com | Carolyn Ratteray and Shannon Lucio in a scene from The Cake at The Geffen Playhouse

You will recognize yourself, someone you know or someone in your family in these characters and the actors give superb, nuanced performances that are beautiful, funny and gut wrenching. Carolyn Ratteray is a strong and fierce presence as the feisty New York writer, Macy. As tough and righteous as Macy is, Ratteray manages to bring compassion and humility to the role. Shannon Lucio is luminous as the blushing, madly in love bride-to-be and is pure vulnerability as she asks to be seen and be loved.

PHOTO: Chris Whitaker | SouthPasadenan.com | Rod McLachlan and Debra Jo Rupp on stage at The Geffen Playhouse in The Cake

Rod McLachlan is fantastic as Della’s good ol’ boy husband, Tim, and it just doesn’t get any better than McLachlan and Rupp in their sometimes funny and ultimately cathartic scenes together. Rupp is simply a revelation in the role of Della, a role she was born to play. She gives her layers upon layers that are delicately peeled away as she comes face to face with her fears, doubts and longings. Again, there are no easy answers here but there are all the ingredients of hope.

The Cake continues through October 21, 2018 at Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse located at 10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Tickets currently priced at $30.00 – $120.00. Available in person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, by phone at 310.208.5454 or online at www.geffenplayhouse.org

Rush tickets for each day’s performance are made available to the general public 30 minutes before showtime at the box office. $35.00 General / $10.00 Student


Through a variety of events and other opportunities, the Geffen Playhouse welcomes college students to experience the live storytelling presented on their stages. Through their association with UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television, their doors are open to all college students throughout Los Angeles. More information is available at www.geffenplayhouse.org/college.


Tuesday – Friday             8:00 p.m.

Saturday                        3:00 and 8:00 p.m.

Sunday                          2:00 and 7:00 p.m.