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Rita Wilson and friends return for all new production of Liner Notes: Songwriters, Stories and Music



LOS ANGELES (September 8, 2016) – Rita Wilson once again brings her vocal and songwriting talents to the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse for six all-new shows in September, this following sell-out performances at last fall’s premiere of Liner Notes. For each performance, Wilson will be joined by special guests for an evening of songwriters performing and sharing the stories behind their songs. The shows will be performed in the round with the audience surrounding the artists, providing an up-close and personal experience. Featured artists include: Jeff Barry, Darrell Brown, Kara DioGuardi, Billy Steinberg and newly added Holly Knight, Richard Marx and MoZella.

Wilson has a long history with the Geffen. In addition to last year’s Liner Notes, she has appeared in numerous productions over the theater’s 20-year history, including Dinner with Friends and Love, Loss and What I Wore. In 2009, she was presented the Distinction in Theater Award at the annual Backstage at the Geffen event.
Well-known as an actress (It’s Complicated, Sleepless in Seattle, a recurring role in CBS’s The Good Wife, HBO’s award-winning series, Girls and, most recently on Broadway in Larry David’s smash hit, Fish in the Dark), and as a film producer (Mamma Mia!, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and its sequel, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, for which she co-wrote and performed Even More Mine) her first love is music. In May 2012, Wilson realized a lifelong dream with the debut of her solo album AM/FM. The album, released by Decca/Verve Records, is an intimate, elegant and beautifully sung collection of covers of her favorite songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Since the release of AM/FM, Wilson has been focusing on a new component of her musical career as a songwriter. In March 2016, she released her self-titled second album, showcasing her skill for creating insightful, eloquent singer-songwriter pop music that is etched with stunning honesty. For two years prior to the release, Wilson worked with a host of the finest award-winning and best-selling songwriters and producers in both Los Angeles and Nashville. This new material was prominently featured in her sold-out two-week residency at the famed Café Carlyle in New York City. “Ms. Wilson has a catch in her voice that conveys yearning and potential heartbreak behind a façade of cheer. As a stage performer, she is gregarious and forthright; a natural entertainer,” said The New York Times. Connie Britton performed Wilson’s song “Strong Tonight” on an episode of ABC’s Nashville this spring. In June 2016, Wilson toured with Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famers Chicago, one of the bestselling bands of all time, with over 100 million albums sold.

Guest songwriters set to perform their songs and tell the stories behind them will include:

Jeff Barry is a pop music songwriter, singer and record producer who started his illustrious career in New York, making famous The Dixie Cups, The Crystals, Ronnie Spector, Andy Kim, Ray Peterson and Ron Dante of the Archies. He partnered with Ellie Greenwich in the 1960s to form one of the decade’s most prolific songwriting and producing teams. Together with Phil Spector, they helped define the “Girl Group” sound with the hits “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals and “Be My Baby” and “Baby, I love You” by The Ronettes. They also penned the classic “River Deep, Mountain High” by Ike and Tina Turner and “I Can Hear Music” by The Ronettes and The Beach Boys. In 1964, Barry and Greenwich joined the new label, Red Bird Records, to write and produce 15 hits out of its first 20 releases including “Chapel of Love,” “People Say,” and “Iko Iko” by the Dixie Cups and “Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand)” and “Leader of the Pack” by The Shangri-Las. The duo went on to discover singer-songwriter Neil Diamond, producing his first hits including “Solitary Man,” “Cherry, Cherry,” “Kentucky Woman” and “Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon.” After he moved from New York to California in 1971, Barry wrote the television theme songs for One Day at A Time, The Jeffersons, Where’s Waldo? and Family Ties. He continued to write chart-topping hits including #1 hit single “I Honestly Love You” for Olivia Newton-John; Jeffrey Osborne and Joyce Kennedy’s “The Last Time I Made Love” and Gary Stewart’s “Out Of Hand,” among many others. In 1991, Barry was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and in 2010, into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Darrell Brown is a celebrated songwriter, arranger and record producer who has been credited with worldwide music sales of over 72 million units. Brown has penned four #1 hit singles including the Grammy-winning song "You’ll Think of Me” by Keith Urban, the longest running #1 single of Josh Turner’s career, “Why Don’t We Just Dance”, the #1 pop single “Simple Things” by Jim Brickman and Rebecca Lyn Howard and “What I Cannot Change” by LeAnn Rimes. Brown co-wrote the career charting multi-format hit single “Nothin’ Better to Do” by LeAnn Rimes, the first in history to make its way onto the Country Singles chart, the A/C chart and the Club play Dance Chart, all at the same time. Brown is the producer, arranger and main co-writer for LeAnn Rimes’ critically acclaimed 2013 album Spitfire. He also wrote and produced dozens of compositions used in the popular Sims 3 video game and other video games by EA Games. He has created songs for movies (Gambit, Cruel Intentions, Pretty Woman,) and for Television (Today Show, Cold Case, One Tree Hill, Las Vegas, Rookie Blue). Brown currently serves on the Board of the Grammy Foundation and is musical director and co-creative producer for the Grammy Preservation and Legacy concerts working with numerous artists including Ed Sheeran, Natasha Bedingfield, Jason Mraz, Lupe Fiasco, The Fray, Musiq Soulchild, Colby Caillat, Sarah Bareilles, The Fray, Trombone Shorty, Garth Brooks, Kid Rock, Jeff Barry, Skylar Grey, Gavin Degraw, Aloe Blacc, Plain White T's, Walk The Moon and Erica McDonal, among many others.

Kara DioGuardi is a Grammy and Emmy nominated songwriter, producer, music executive and Herb Albert Visiting Scholar at Berklee College of Music. As one of the most successful contemporary songwriters in the world, Kara’s songs have appeared on more than 160 million albums. She has won 20 BMI awards for most performed songs, including Songwriter of the year. She’s had over 320 songs released by major labels, 150 songs on platinum selling albums, and over 50 charting singles. Her credits include successes and collaborations with artists such as Pink, Katy Perry, Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus, Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood, Enrique Iglesias, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Darius Rucker, Faith Hill, Santana and many more. Kara is also an established record producer, record executive, music publisher and author. When she was Executive Vice President at Warner Brothers Records, Kara signed artists such as Jason Derulo and Iyaz. Her publishing company, Arthouse Entertainment, boasts hits from Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, Cee-Lo Green, Eminem, B.O.B., Travie McCoy, Flo Rida, Whitney Houston and Sean Kingston. She recently signed Artist Jon Bellion (Capitol) and Clairity (Lava/Republic). Additionally, Kara was a judge on seasons 8 and 9 of the hit FOX show, American Idol and featured as the head judge on Bravo’s songwriting reality show competition, Platinum Hit. In the fall of 2011, Kara made her Broadway stage debut as merry murderess, Roxie Hart, in the Tony Award-winning hit musical CHICAGO. Kara is an active supporter of, and builds recording studios at Phoenix House, one of the nation’s leading non-profits dedicated to leading individuals, families and communities affected by addiction from disrupted to productive lives. She also has an educational scholarship in her family’s name at the Columbus Citizens Foundation that provides financial support to students of Italian descent.

Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Holly Knight has enjoyed an illustrious 30-year career in the music business, earning her three Grammys and thirteen ASCAP songwriter awards. Knight started studying classical piano at age four, continuing her studies for ten years at The Mannes School of Music before starting her bands Spider and Device. Her songs have appeared on records totaling over 530 million in record sales. She is known for having written hits for some of the most successful artists in music, including “Love Is A Battlefield” and “Invincible” for Pat Benatar, “The Warrior” for Patty Smyth, “Change” for John Waite, “Baby Me” for Chaka Khan, “Never” for Heart, “Love Touch” for Rod Stewart, “Hide Your Heart” for KISS, “Rag Doll” with Aerosmith, “Space” for Cheap Trick and “Pleasure And Pain” for Divinyls. She has also written ten songs for Tina Turner, including “The Best”, “Wildest Dreams” and “Better Be Good To Me” which won a Grammy for Record of the Year. Her songs have appeared in movies as varied as Thelma and Louise, Stewart Little, Thirteen Going On Thirty , Anchorman ll, Dallas Buyers Club, and on TV shows such as American Idol, The Voice, 30 Rock, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Oprah Winfrey, South Park, and most recently, Glee, The Mysteries Of Laura, Necessary Roughness, and The Following. Knight also wrote and produced the title theme song for TV shows Angel and Still Standing. She recently finished producing the debut pop record for Antonia Bennett, daughter of legendary singer, Tony Bennett, as well as Antonia’s first jazz EP, Natural and the eagerly awaited follow-up jazz record of songs from The Great American Songbook, Embrace Me. Knight is currently developing two musicals and also has a photography site.

As a performer, songwriter and producer, Richard Marx’s nearly three-decade-long career has had innumerable highlights. The Chicago native has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, starting with his self-titled debut which went to #8 and spawned four Top 5 singles, including the chart-topping “Hold on to the Nights,” with “Don’t Mean Nothing” earning him a Grammy nomination for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. The follow-up, 1989’s Repeat Offender, was even more successful, hitting #1 and going quadruple-platinum with two #1 singles in “Satisfied” and “Right Here Waiting.” When both Rush Street (with two #1 AC hits in “Keep Coming Back” and “Hazard”) and Paid Vacation (with its #1 AC hit, “Now and Forever”) went platinum, Marx achieved a seven-year string of triumphs that rivaled any in pop-rock music history. To this day, he is the only male artist in history to have his first seven singles reach the Top 5 on the Billboard charts. He went on to earn a 2004 Song of the Year Grammy for co-authoring Luther Vandross’ “Dance with My Father.” Across all formats, Marx has scored an amazing total of 14 #1 singles (including Keith Urban’s #1 smash “Long Hot Summer”) both as a performer and songwriter/producer, making him a true multi-talented threat who continues to challenge himself and his fans. He holds the honor of being one of a handful of artists who have had a number one hit in each of the past four decades.

MoZella, whose given name is Maureen Anne McDonald is an acclaimed songwriter and recording artist. Throughout her music career MoZella has released three full-length albums, I Will in 2006, Belle Isle in 2009 and The Brian Holland Sessions on Belle Isle in 2012 with legendary Motown songwriter Brian Holland, as well as three Eps, MoZella, The Straits EP, and The Love EP. She has toured with Tyler Hilton, Dave Matthews Band, Lifehouse, Five for Fighting, Daniel Powter, Michelle Branch and Colbie Caillat. Along with her own artist success, MoZella co-wrote the Miley Cyrus/Dr. Luke Billboard #1 “Wrecking Ball” along with “FU” and “Someone Else” on Miley’s acclaimed album Bangers. She has penned songs with and for Miranda Cosgrove, Shontelle, and co-wrote “Undone” and “Oh My” feat. B.o.B with American Idol finalist Haley Reinhart, Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” for The Great Gatsby (2013), One Direction’s “Fools Gold” and “Perfect”, Ellie Goulding’s “Don’t Panic”, “Holding For Life”, and “We Can’t Move to This”, Rachel Platten’s “Speechless”, Rihanna’s “Dancing in the Dark”, Echosmith’s “Bright”, Tinashe’s “Feels Like Vegas”, Charlie Puth’s “One Call Away”, and Kelly Clarkson’s “Take You High”. Madonna and Mozella co-wrote 11 of the 19 tracks on the album Rebel Heart, including the single "Living For Love" with Diplo, Ariel Rechtshaid, and Toby Gad. Her songs have appeared in numerous commercials, including “Love Is Endless” for McDonalds and “Can’t Get Enough” for Chase. Other brands that have used MoZella’s music include Chrysler, Verizon, Microsoft, Jeep, Amazon, Mercedes Benz, JC Penney, Aqua Fresh and many more.

Billy Steinberg has been among the most successful songwriters of the past 30 years, co-writing (with Tom Kelly) five #1 singles on Billboard's "Hot 100" chart, including "Like A Virgin" (Madonna), "True Colors" (Cyndi Lauper), "So Emotional" (Whitney Houston), "Eternal Flame" (The Bangles) and “Alone” (Heart). Additionally, Billy co-wrote other well-known Top 10 U.S. pop hits, including "I'll Stand by You" (Pretenders, Carrie Underwood), "I Touch Myself" (the Divinyls), "How Do I Make You" (Linda Ronstadt), "I Drove All Night" (Roy Orbison, Cyndi Lauper, Celine Dion), "In Your Room" (The Bangles), “Too Little Too Late” (JoJo) and “Give Your Heart A Break” (Demi Lovato). Steinberg and Kelly were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. Growing up in Palm Springs, California, he pursued a career as a recording artist and songwriter while also working in his family's table grape business. His band, Billy Thermal (Thermal was the town where the vineyard business was located), was signed to legendary producer Richard Perry's Planet Records. In the mid-1990’s, Steinberg teamed up with Rick Nowels, a highly regarded writer/producer. The duo won Grammy Awards for producing their song and title cut, "Falling Into You," from Celine Dion's multi-platinum, 1996 album. Steinberg & Nowels also wrote hit singles for Melanie C. ("I Turn To You") and Robert Miles ("One And One").
Tickets priced from $59 to $89; VIP cabaret-style seating (including two complimentary drinks served table-side) available from $129 to $149. Fees may apply. Purchase in person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, by phone at 310.208.5454 or on line at www.geffenplayhouse.org.

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 8:00 pm (Rita Wilson, Kara DioGuardi, Holly Knight and Jeff Barry)
Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 8:00 pm (Rita Wilson, Kara DioGuardi, Holly Knight and Jeff Barry)
Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 8:00 pm (Rita Wilson, Richard Marx, Holly Knight and Jeff Barry)
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 8:00 pm (Rita Wilson, Darrell Brown, Billy Steinberg and MoZella)
Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 8:00 pm (Rita Wilson, Darrell Brown, Billy Steinberg and MoZella)
Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 8:00 pm (Rita Wilson, Darrell Brown, Billy Steinberg and MoZella)


Tickets priced from $59 to $89; VIP cabaret-style seating (including two complimentary drinks served table-side) available from $129 to $149. Fees may apply. Purchase in person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, by phone at 310.208.5454 or on line at www.geffenplayhouse.org.
Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90024

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 mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and second productions, the not-for-profit organization 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, Executive Director Gil Cates, Jr. and Co-Chairs of the Board Martha Henderson and Pamela Robinson. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year and maintains an extensive education and outreach program designed to engage young people in the community at large in the arts. www.geffenplayhouse.org

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