L.A. legit gets two doses of star power as Peter Falk and Jason Alexander topline Lee Kalcheim’s “Defiled” at the Geffen Playhouse next month, and Brian Dennehy stars in the revival of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” as part of the Ahmanson Theater’s subscription season.
Barnet Kellman will direct “Defiled,” which receives its world premiere on May 31. It concerns a police negotiator and a city librarian who threatens to blow up his workplace if a new computerized filing system replaces the old card catalog.
Dennehy will be joined onstage by Elizabeth Franz and Howard Witt, who are expected to reprise their Broadway “Salesman” roles, along with most of the minor players.
However, Kevin Anderson, who played Biff, will not rejoin the show due to other commitments. Ron Eldard (“Bash”), who took over from Anderson during the Broadway run, will play the role in Los Angeles.
Current plans call for Robert Falls’ production, first seen at Chicago’s Goodman Theater, to open on the West Coast Sept. 20 (previews begin Sept. 12) and close Nov. 5.
The show won the Tony Award as best revival. “Salesman” packed up its profitable Broadway valise on Nov. 7 after Dennehy decided to leave the show, citing exhaustion and the desire to spend time with his family. “Salesman” was also taped for Showtime.
With “Aida” now open on Broadway and Falls back in Chicago, the Goodman’s artistic director presumably will have some time in his busy schedule to fine-tune the new Los Angeles version of the Miller classic.
Falk is best known for his Lt. Columbo character, which he has performed in more than 50 TV works since 1968, and for numerous film and TV roles, but he has impressive stage credentials as well, including performing opposite Jason Robards in the 1956 production of “The Iceman Cometh” and starring in a 1985 production of “Glengarry Glen Ross” at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood.
Alexander made his Broadway debut in the original production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along.” Onstage, he has also appeared in “Accomplice,” “Broadway Bound,” “The Rink” and “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.” For nine seasons, he appeared as George Costanza on NBC’s “Seinfeld.”
In addition to “Defiled,” Kalcheim wrote “Breakfast with Les and Bess,” which was produced on Broadway in 1985, “Friends” and “Big Men/Small Rooms.”