• 1975

        Contempo Westwood constructs the Westwood Playhouse, a modern 498-seat stage facility.

      • 1989-1990

        The Geffen Playhouse in its former state as Contempo Westwood.

      • 1992-1993

        Gil Cates stands in front of the future home of the Geffen Playhouse. Formerly, the space was known as Contempo Westwood, a furniture and home wares store, as well as the Westwood Playhouse.

      • September 1995

        The Geffen Playhouse opens. John Patrick Shanley’s satire Four Dogs and a Bone, directed by Lawrence Kasdan, is the first play in its inaugural season. Shanley’s most recent play, Outside Mullingar, will be produced this fall as part of the Geffen’s 20th Anniversary season.

      • test

        October 1995

        Gil Cates, Sr., David Geffen and UCLA Chancellor Charles E. Young. Chancellor Young was also instrumental in the founding of the Geffen and continues to serve on the Geffen's Board of Trustees as Chairman Emeritus.

      • test


        Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks arrive at the Geffen Playhouse. Wilson will appear in numerous productions over the Geffen’s history and in 2009, Martin Short will present her with the Distinction in Theater award at Backstage at the Geffen.

      • test


        Two shows of the five-play season are West Coast premieres (By Jeeves! and Love! Valour! Compassion!). To date, Geffen Playhouse has produced 46 West Coast premieres.

      • test


        Geffen Playhouse’s education program begins only two years after the not- for-profit organization is founded with a free student performance of Harriet’s Return featuring Debbie Allen. Today, our education and community engagement programs serve more than 15,000 low income students, seniors, veterans and community members annually with in-depth experiences.

      • test


        Annette Bening stars in Hedda Gabbler. She will go on to star in two more productions (and counting) — The Female of the Species in 2010 and Ruth Draper’s Monologues in 2014.

      • 1999/2000

        Jason Alexander and Peter Falk star in the world premiere of Lee Kalcheim’s Defiled. Geffen Playhouse has produced 33 world premieres including nine commissioned world premieres over the past 20 years.

      • September 2000

        Donald Margulies’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner With Friends opens the Geffen’s fifth season. Donald and his works have long been part of the Geffen family with six of his works having been produced including two commissions — Time Stands Still and Coney Island Christmas.

      • February/March 2001

        Artistic Director Randall Arney helms Conor McPherson’s The Weir. The production featured Paul Vincent O’Connor, who would later join Arney for his productions of McPherson’s The Seafarer (2009) and The Night Alive (2015).

      • 2001/2002

        CREATE is founded to share the art on the stage with the most disadvantaged members of the community with the least access to the arts. Founder Gil Cates always believed that it is important to feed people’s souls. Today, the program is called Lights Up and serves more than 45 community groups with an in-depth theater experience for each of the Gil Cates Theater season productions.

      • 2002/2003

        Two world premieres, one North American premiere, and two West Coast premieres line up the 2002/2003 season. Pictured is the cast and crew of Boy Gets Girl (West Coast premiere) at the Geffen Playhouse.

      • September 2003

        Randall Arney directs I Just Stopped By to See the Man, Stephen Jeffreys’ play set in the 1970s’ Mississippi Delta.

      • 2003/2004

        Opening Night of The Underpants with Randall Arney and playwright Steve Martin. For all the wonderful work that Steve Martin has contributed to the American Stage, Geffen Playhouse honored him with the Distinction in Theater Award at Backstage at the Geffen in 2014.

      • 2004/2005

        Geffen Playhouse donors contribute over $20 million to exquisitely restore, renovate and expand the historic building. At the Grand Re-Opening of the Geffen Playhouse in 2005, Los Angeles proudly celebrates, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and all of those who generously gave to make the addition of the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater and many other critically important new features possible.

      • September 2005

        Len Cariou, Neil Patrick Harris and Laurie Metcalfe headline the Geffen Playhouse production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. Neil will return to the Geffen Playhouse in 2012 to direct the magic show Nothing to Hide starring Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimarães.

      • December 2006

        The original run of Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking extends. The play would later open in New York at Studio 54.

      • 2007/2008

        Jane Anderson, Donald Margulies and Joan Rivers join Randall Arney on stage for the donor event “We Heart Playwrights.” Geffen Playhouse often hosts special events for its donors to thank them for their support.

      • February 13, 2008

        The world premiere of Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress, directed by Bart DeLorenzo, opens.

      • September/October 2008

        Hershey Felder's Beethoven: As I Knew Him sees its world premiere run at the Geffen Playhouse.

      • March 19, 2009

        Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara opens in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. The musical would run through an unprecedented nine months.

      • March 21, 2009

        Geffen staff and supporters surprise founder Gil Cates by naming its 500 seat venue ‘Gil Cates Theater.’ Pictured is Gil with his son and current Executive Director Gil Cates, Jr.

      • June 2009

        Farragut North opens in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse. The play, which features Chris Pine and Chris Noth, is adapted into the George Clooney-directed film The Ides of March.

      • January 28, 2010

        Time Stands Still Opens at the Samuel J, Friedman Theatre on Broadway. This Geffen Playhouse commissioned show had its world premiere at the Geffen Playhouse February, 2009. Nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play, the show written by Donald Margulies went on to became one of the top 10 produced plays in the United States for two years. Pictured are Anna Gunn and Alicia Silverstone in the production at the Geffen Playhouse.

      • February 2010

        Annette Bening appears in The Female of the Species. Joanna Murray-Smith's comedy, directed by Randall Arney, made its American premiere in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse.

      • May 2010

        Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore begins in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. The play, which will run for six months with numerous casts, opens with Carol Kane, Caroline Aaron, Rita Wilson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Natasha Lyonne.

      • September 15, 2010

        Geffen Playhouse opens the West Coast premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined (penned by MacArthur Fellow Lynn Nottage).

      • January 17, 2011

        The Geffen Playhouse production of Bill Cain’s Equivocation wins the season’s Ovation Award for Best Play.

      • November 9, 2011

        Geffen Playhouse launches its first three-play season in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater with Alan Alda’s Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie.

      • 2011/2012

        Geffen Playhouse Story Pirates residency program begins in schools. Today, Story Pirates serves 426 elementary school students at six Title 1 schools throughout Los Angeles, including East Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Through comedy-infused lessons, students learn how to write imaginative stories and non-fiction. Pictured is Conan O’Brien with students at a benefit held in March, 2011 to raise funds for this program.

      • 2012/2013

        The Geffen Playhouse Literacy Project at Mendez High School in Boyle Heights is born. The program leverages our season productions as rich and novel opportunities for struggling high school students to experience and process literature as a method for engaging them in the rigorous work of learning how to write, jumpstarting their academic self-efficacy, and helping them get a foothold on the path to graduation.

      • February 6, 2013

        Joanna Murray-Smith’s The Gift opens in the Gil Cates Theater.

      • March 2013

        The world premiere of Nothing to Hide (featuring Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimaraes, directed by Neil Patrick Harris) ends its record-breaking multi-month extension in the Audrey.

      • December 5, 2013

        Geffen Playhouse opens the West Coast premiere of I’ll Eat You Last, written by John Logan, directed by Joe Mantello and featuring Bette Midler.

      • 2013/2014

        Geffen Playhouse partners with The Gary Sinise Foundation to further our service to Veterans. Over 100 of our nation’s heroes enjoy a dinner together and are the first to see the show with an exclusive invitation to the final dress rehearsal for each show in the Gil Cates Theater season.

      • April 2014

        The West Coast premiere of Slowgirl (helmed by Geffen Playhouse Artistic Director Randall Arney) extends in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse. The production would later receive multiple Ovation nominations and be award the Ovation for Best Sound Design.

      • November 2, 2014

        The Los Angeles Stage Alliance hosts the 25th Annual Ovation Awards at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. The Geffen Playhouse received 17 total nominations including 11 (a record for a single production) for The County House.

      • March 2015

        Lady Gaga performs at Backstage at the Geffen, the Geffen Playhouse’s annual gala. This year’s honorees are Mellody Hobson & George Lucas (Distinction in Service award) and Sir Elton John & David Furnish (Distinction in Theater award).