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Ed Harris coming to Geffen Playhouse in Neil LaBute play

December 17, 2009 |  5:38 pm


Adding more celebrity power to its already star-studded season, the Geffen Playhouse said Thursday that Ed Harris will star in a production of Neil LaBute's "Wrecks," a one-man play that is scheduled to open Feb. 7.

Harris plays a widowed businessman who delivers a monologue alongside the coffin of his wife. LaBute will direct the production, just as he did with the play's 2006 U.S. debut at New York's Public Theater, also starring Harris. (The play had its world premiere in Ireland.)

"Wrecks" will be performed in the Geffen's smaller space, the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. The play is set to run through Mar. 7.

The production is a last-minute addition to the Geffen's current season, though the company has been in talks with LaBute for about a year, according to a spokeswoman. A company regular, LaBute has seen his plays "Some Girl(s)" and "Fat Pig" staged in recent years at the Westwood theater.

"Neil approached us and said that he wanted to do something," said the spokeswoman. "We explained the financial situation and he mentioned that he had this one-man play that he could do."

In August, the Times reported that the Geffen, like many performing arts institutions, was experiencing financial difficulties and was still carrying $2.6 million in debt from its 2005 expansion and renovation.

At the time Gilbert Cates, the theater's producing director, said that the Geffen was looking to raise nearly $3 million to balance a projected $8.4-million operating budget. 

Celebrities clearly help the situation by bringing publicity and fans. This season also includes appearances by Annette Bening in "The Female of the Species" and Laurence Fishburne in "Thurgood."

Harris previously performed "Wrecks" for a benefit run at the Kirk Douglas Theater in 2007. The proceeds from that limited engagement went to the Archer School for Girls.

-- David Ng

Photo: Ed Harris. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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