Bening, Fishburne projects top 2009-10 slate

Annette Bening, Laurence Fishburne and Matthew Modine will topline productions for the Geffen Playhouse’s 2009-10 season, which includes two world preems.

The lineup, featuring four productions with a fifth still to be announced, kicks off with Blair Singer’s Hollywood satire “Matthew Modine Saves the Alpacas.” Modine stars as himself in the world premiere of this play about a former high-profile celebrity who takes up a cause to launch himself back into the limelight. Perfs begin Sept. 8 and run through Oct. 18, with an opening night of Sept. 16. No director has yet been announced.

“The Female of the Species,” written by Joanna Murray-Smith and helmed by Geffen a.d. Randall Arney, stars Bening as a feminist philosopher who retreats to her country home to pen her next masterpiece but is held hostage by a former student. Production was originally skedded to bow at the Geffen in 2008 but was delayed by Bening’s withdrawal (Daily Variety, Sept. 21, 2007). “Species” begins perfs Feb. 2 and runs through March 14, with an official bow on Feb. 10.

After being reskedded from the Geffen’s 2008-09 season (Daily Variety, March 12), Jonathan Brielle’s musical “Nightmare Alley” will have its world preem in the April 13-May 23, 2010, slot. Producing director Gilbert Cates will helm the tuner, which centers on the world of carnies, cons and clairvoyants. Opening night is April 21.

Closing out the season, “Thurgood” stars Fishburne as the first African-American Supreme Court justice. Thesp will reprise his Tony-nommed role in the play, which appeared on Broadway last year. Written by George Stevens Jr., solo show bows July 7, 2010, and runs through Aug. 8. A director has yet to be announced.

Also to be announced is a production to follow “Alpacas.” Performance for the yet-to-be- named show are scheduled for Nov. 10-Dec. 20.

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