Geffen bets on Letts

Nottage, Anderson latest also on playhouse's schedule

Productions from playwrights Tracy Letts and Lynn Nottage are among the works set for the Geffen Playhouse’s 2010-11 season.

The West Coast premiere of Nottage’s “Ruined” opens the season and runs Sept. 7-Oct. 17. Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for drama, “Ruined” takes place in war-torn Congo and examines the women who arrive at a local bar with no place else to turn. Directed by Kate Whoriskey, “Ruined” was extended eight times during its Gotham run.

Hershey Felder takes on a new musical icon in “Maestro: The Art and Music of Leonard Bernstein.” Following his perfs in “George Gershwin Alone,” “Monsieur Chopin” and “Beethoven, as I Knew Him,” Felder recreates Bernstein’s catalog and life story, which includes turns as an author, teacher and television star, as well as conductor and composer.

Bernstein’s legendary work includes “West Side Story, “On the Town,” “Candide” and “Wonderful Town.” “Maestro,” directed by Joel Zwick, will run Nov. 2-Dec.12.

“The Break of Noon” (Jan. 25-March 6) marks the world premiere of Neil LaBute’s latest production. Play looks at a philandering liar who receives a spiritual revelation during an office tragedy. What is unclear, however, is whether his new outlook is genuine or just a ploy for celebrity and fame.

“Noon” — helmed by LaBute longtime collaborator Jo Bonney — is the playwright’s fourth production at the Geffen. Earlier works are “Fat Pig,” “Some Girl(s)” and “Wrecks.”

The world preem of Jane Anderson’s “The Escort: An Explicit Play for Discriminating People” (March 29-May 8) is the second the Geffen has commissioned from the playwright, following 2007’s “The Quality of Life.” The new comedy looks at a prostitute and her gynecologist, and how the pair’s liberal ideas sync with the rest of society.

Closing out the season is the West Coast premiere of Letts’ Chicago-based “Superior Donuts.” Following a three-month run on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre, “Donuts” — the story of an unlikely friendship between a 1960s radical and African-American teenager — comes to the Geffen (May 31-July 10) helmed by the venue’s artistic director, Randall Arney.

Letts’ “August: Osage County” won the Pulitzer in 2008 for top drama and the Tony for play.

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