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Screenwriter Nicholas Kazan to present new play at Atwater Village Theatre

January 4, 2011 |  4:30 pm

Lulu The writer Nicholas Kazan is famous for his screenplays -- he received an Oscar nomination for "Reversal of Fortune" in 1991 -- and for being the son of the late director Elia Kazan. But he also has carved out a quieter, parallel career as a playwright and has seen his dramas produced around the country.  This month, Kazan will present a new play, "Mlle. God," at the Atwater Village Theatre, in a production by Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA.

"Mlle. God" -- as in "Mademoiselle God" -- is loosely based on playwright Frank Wedekind's iconic character Lulu, a saucy dancer and social climber who appeared in a number of the German dramatist's plays. Wedekind also penned the play "Spring Awakening," which was turned into a hit Broadway rock musical in 2006.

The Lulu character showed up in the 1929 movie "Pandora's Box," directed by G.W. Pabst and starring Louise Brooks, as well as in Alban Berg's opera "Lulu."

The new play will be directed by Scott Paulin and will star Annika Marks as Lulu. The production is scheduled to run Jan. 28 through March 6, with previews beginning Jan. 20. Ensemble Studio Theatre said the play contains sexual themes and nudity.

Kazan said that the play was inspired by Wedekind as well as by Brooks' performance as Lulu in the Pabst movie.

The Atwater Village Theatre is a relatively new performing arts space that has been in operation for almost a year, and "Mlle. God" will be the venue's first, full mainstage production. The venue, which was previously warehouse space, is also the home of Circle X Theatre Company.

Kazan's screenplay for "Reversal of Fortune" was adapted from the bestseller by Alan Dershowitz that detailed the Harvard lawyer's work with Claus von Bülow, who had been convicted of trying to murder his socialite wife, Sunny.

His other screenplay credits include "Frances," "Patty Hearst," "Matilda" and "Bicentennial Man."

Kazan is the father of actress Zoe Kazan, who is currently appearing in the off-Broadway revival of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America" at the Signature Theatre Company.

-- David Ng

Photo: Louise Brooks as Lulu in the movie "Pandora's Box." Credit: UCLA Film and Television Archive


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