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Herbert Hoover, puppets, Native American plays and Alfred Hitchcock coming to La Jolla

March 30, 2009 |  9:14 pm

If at first you don't succeed, wait till they write a play about you. Herbert Hoover, who flunked the Great Depression, will enjoy a comeback bid this September, courtesy of the La Jolla Playhouse.

Dogugaeshi-3-solofox Having toured an emo-influenced rock musical about the man on the $20 bill in "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson," the New York stage company, Les Freres Corbusier, is offering its take on Hoover, the man no president wants to be lumped with on economic performance. "Hoover: Tanned, Rested and Ready to Rock" will have a brief run Sept. 8-12 as part of La Jolla's "The Edge" series of new works. Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman, the same director and songwriter who took it to Old Hickory, are back doing numbers on Hoover, with Sean Cunningham as librettist.

Puppeteer Basil Twist's "Dogugaeshi" will be the 2009 season's other Edge presentation (June 10-14). It's Twist's take on a centuries-old Japanese puppet-theater approach deploying sliding screens to create an array of different backdrops, with a score for traditional instruments plus video projections for a modern touch.

Another new wrinkle for La Jolla will be a series of scripts from "Native Voices at the Autry," a play-development program for Native American writers based at the Autry National Center in L.A. Terry Gomez's "Carbon Black," "Fancy Dancer" by Dawn Dumont and "The Frybread Queen" by Carolyn Dunn are the offerings in this mini-festival of staged readings, June 19-21.

A previously announced new play project, a Page-to-Stage workshop production of a musical version of the Coen Brothers' film "The Hudsucker Proxy," has been dropped from the season; meanwhile, "Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps," a whodunit theatricalization of the Hitchcock film that's currently running on Broadway, has been added to the mainstage season, Aug. 11-Sept. 13. 

--Mike Boehm

Photo: "Dogugaeshi." Credit: Richard Termine.