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‘Zhivago,’ ‘Wiz’ lead La Jolla’s slate

Original tuner opens at Playhouse on May 24

La Jolla Playhouse will stage the world premiere of a musical it developed, “Zhivago,” revive “The Wiz” with Des McAnuff directing, and stage a workshop production of Aaron Sorkin’s first play in 17 years.

“Zhivago,” which the Playhouse workshopped in its new-play development program last year, opens May 24 in the Mandell Weiss Theater. Michael Weller wrote the book; lyrics are by Michael Korie and Amy Powers; and Lucy Simon wrote the music.

La Jolla artistic director McAnuff said the new production of “The Wiz,” to open in September, will “reflect the shifts that have occurred in the dominant pop culture, in both music and theater,” since the tuner’s Broadway debut in 1975. It is slotted to run into November, but dates are not yet set.

Sorkin’s new play about the patent battle over the invention of the television set, “The Farnsworth Invention,” which Dublin’s Abbey Theater commissioned three years ago, is pegged for an early ’07 run. Sorkin, the creator of NBC’s “The West Wing,” has not written a play since “A Few Good Men.” Workshop likely will be directed by McAnuff, who is understood to be onboard to direct the premiere production at the Abbey.

Also on the playhouse’s 2006-07 season are Bertholt Brecht’s “Mother Courage” (June 20-July 23); New Vaudeville act “all wear bowlers” Aug. 1-Sept. 3; and the world premiere of Culture Clash’s “Zorro in Hell” (Sept. 30-Oct. 29).

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