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LAURA LINNEY AND SETH NUMRICH ANNOUNCED FOR
GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE NEW COMMISSION AND CO-WORLD PREMIERE
WITH SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY
WRITTEN BY JOANNA MURRAY-SMITH
DIRECTED BY MARK BROKAW
MARCH 6 TO APRIL 19; OPENING NIGHT FRIDAY MARCH 13, 2015
IN THE AUDREY SKIRBALL KENIS THEATER AT THE GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE
LOS ANGELES (February 3, 2015) – Laura Linney (The Big C, The Savages) and Seth Numrich (AMC’s TURN, Broadway: War Horse) will perform in the Geffen Playhouse production of Switzerland by Joanna Murray-Smith (The Female of the Species, The Gift). This co-world premiere with Sydney Theatre Company will be directed by Mark Brokaw (Broadway: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Lyons) in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse from March 6 to April 19, 2015. Opening night is Friday, March 13.
With funding from the Edgerton Foundation, Geffen Playhouse commissioned Switzerland and granted production rights for the co-world premiere to Sydney Theatre Company (Co-Artistic Directors Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett).
Switzerland will be the third Murray-Smith play produced by the Geffen in just five years. With a unique blend of humor and mystery, the playwright invites playgoers to the home of legendary author Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley). The grande dame of crime literature lives out her reclusive existence in Switzerland, where her permanent sense of rage and injustice contrasts with the neutrality of her surroundings. Taking refuge in her impressive collection of books and weapons, Highsmith – a chain-smoking alcoholic – must battle with the legacy of her past and the demons of a creative life.
One morning, an attractive young emissary from her New York publishing house arrives at her door; his mission is to persuade the intimidating genius to write the next anticipated addition to her sinister Mr. Ripley series. Highsmith's contempt is palpable, but soon she must face the fact that her young visitor may just be the most potent force she has ever had to deal with. The author’s caustic wit and macabre imagination meet with this mysterious character’s own darkly seductive agenda in this gripping new play – leaving the audience breathless through its very final chapter.
Joanna Murray-Smith said, “The more I knew about Patricia Highsmith, the more obsessed I became by her. Part of the pull of her character was that she was in many ways an utterly vicious and unlikeable person, deeply unkind, irascible, and self-important but she was simultaneously one of the great, great psychological writers of the 20th century. Part of her brilliance was that she understood evil and its place within the ambiguity of human beings – how we can present as one thing and be something else. She knew – and evoked in her writing – how we all have deeply troubling characteristics – envy, cruelty, aspirations that make us transgress. She embodied that truth and it was fundamental to her creativity.”
Tickets are available in-person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, via phone at 310.208.5454 or online at www.geffenplayhouse.org.
Critical acclaim for Switzerland:
“Joanna Murray-Smith’s new play, a gripping psychological thriller about renowned crime writer Patricia Highsmith, creeps up on you and then has you on the edge of your seat.” – Jo Litson, The Sunday Telegraph
“Dark, generously entertaining … Murray-Smith makes this battle of wills by turns tense and humorous.”- Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald
“An act of homage by way of larceny, appropriating Highsmith the real person as a fictional character.” - Harry Windsor, Hollywood Reporter
“A must for any fans of Highsmith's writing along with those that like a good mystery and anyone that enjoys a good thought provoking piece of fast paced intelligent theatre.” - Jade Kops, BroadwayWorld.com
Written by Joanna Murray-Smith
Directed by Mark Brokaw
A Geffen Playhouse Commission Funded by the Edgerton Foundation
Co-World Premiere with Sydney Theatre Company: Co-Artistic Directors Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett
Previews: Friday, March 6 – Thursday, March 12, 2015
Opening Night: Friday, March 13, 2015
Closing Night: Sunday, April 19, 2015
Please note performance date changes from previous announcements.
Laura Linney as Patricia Highsmith
Seth Numrich as Edward
Scenic Design: Anthony T. Fanning
Costume Design: Ellen McCartney
Lighting Design: Lap Chi Chu
Sound Design: John Ballinger
Production Stage Manager: Cate Cundiff
Casting Director: Phyllis Schuringa, CSA
Mondays No performances
Tuesdays – Fridays 8:00pm*
Saturdays 3:00 pm & 8:00 pm
Sundays 2:00 pm & 7:00 pm*
*There will be no performances on Sunday, March 22 or Wednesday, April 15.
Ticket prices currently range from $69-$99 and are available in-person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, via phone at 310.208.5454 or online at www.geffenplayhouse.org. Fees may apply.
Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Laura Linney is an American actress who works in film, television and theater. She has been nominated three times for the Academy Award, three times for the Tony Award, once for a BAFTA Award and six times for the Golden Globe. She has won one SAG Award, one National Board of Review Award, two Golden Globes and four Emmy Awards. She holds two honorary doctorates from her alma maters, Brown University and The Juilliard School. Her film work includes the upcoming Mr. Holmes, directed by Bill Condon, starring Ian McKellan, and John Logan’s Genius, directed by Michael Grandage alongside Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. She has appeared in You Can Count on Me, Kinsey, The Savages (Academy Award nomination), The Fifth Estate, Hyde Park on Hudson, The Squid and the Whale, Mystic River, Absolute Power, The Truman Show, Primal Fear, The Mothman Prophecies, Love Actually, P.S., The House of Mirth, The Details and Congo among others. She starred and produced the Showtime series The Big C for four seasons for which she won a few awards, as she did for her portrayal of Abigail Adams in the HBO miniseries John Adams directed by Tom Hooper. Early in her career she starred as Mary Ann Singleton in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series, a job for which she continues to be most grateful and proud. She appeared as Kelsey Grammer’s final girlfriend in the last six episodes of Frasier, was directed by Stanley Donen in Love Letters, and starred opposite Joanne Woodward in Blind Spot. She has appeared in many Broadway productions, most notably Time Stands Still and Sight Unseen, both directed by Daniel Sullivan and written by Donald Margulies, and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible directed by Richard Eyre opposite Liam Neeson with whom she has worked many times. Other plays include Six Degrees of Separation, Honour, Uncle Vanya, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Holiday and The Seagull.
Equally versatile on stage and screen, Seth Numrich began his stage career at the young age of twelve when he took on his first professional role in Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke at the Guthrie Theater. At sixteen, he became the youngest person ever accepted to The Juilliard School’s Drama Division and he continued to add numerous theater credits to his resume. In just one season, Numrich made his Broadway debut as Al Pacino’s son-in-law, Lorenzo, in The Merchant of Venice, and created the role of the young farm boy, Albert Narracott, in Lincoln Center Theater’s War Horse, for which he earned the Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater as well as Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Award nominations. Numrich also appeared in the 75th anniversary production of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy at the Belasco Theater, directed by Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher. Numrich made his film debut in 2003 in director Joe Sweet’s How to Kill a Mockingbird. Among his other feature film credits include Private Romeo and Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh. Seth can currently be seen starring in AMC's critically acclaimed drama series TURN as Ben Tallmadge. He also starred in Starz’s comedy-drama, Gravity, and appeared in the critically-acclaimed CBS legal drama, The Good Wife. Most recently, Seth returned to the West End where he starred in Fathers and Sons at the Donmar Warehouse for director Lyndsey Turner. He made his West End debut opposite Kim Cattrall in Tennessee Williams’ powerful and poetic Sweet Bird of Youth at the Old Vic Theatre. He earned the Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer at the 2013 Evening Standard Theatre Awards for his performance. Numrich is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Joanna Murray-Smith’s plays include Honour; Rapture; Nightfall; Love Child; Songs For Nobodies; Redemption; Rockabye; The Female of the Species; Ninety; The Gift; Day One, A Hotel, Evening; Bombshells; Fury, Pennsylvania Avenue and the adaptation of Scenes From a Marriage for Sir Trevor Nunn. Many have been performed around the world and have been translated into dozens of languages. Several of her plays have appeared on Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre and on the West End, including Honour, The Female of the Species (nominated for an Olivier Award) and Bombshells. U.S. Variety described her as, “Australia’s foremost female playwright.” Joanna has written three novels, Truce, Judgement Rock and Sunnyside, all published by Penguin/Viking, two opera librettos and a number of screenplays.
ABOUT THE GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE
The Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and second productions, the Geffen Playhouse continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company was founded by Gilbert Cates, and is currently helmed by Artistic Director Randall Arney, Managing Director Ken Novice, Chief Development Officer Regina Miller and Co-Chairs of the Board Martha Henderson and Pamela
Robinson Hollander. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen Playhouse welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains an extensive education and outreach program, designed to engage young people and the community at large in the arts. For more information, please visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.