Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles set for ‘Oleanna’ at the Taper

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Playwright Edward Albee delighted a nearly full house at Royce Hall on Saturday night with insights into his writing process (conversations in his head eventually develop into plays), his politics (he is distressed that arts and civics education are lacking in school curriculums) and his view of critics (they’re all about ‘opinion,’ not ‘facts’).

After the program, part of UCLA Live’s season, several dozen fans -- many with copies of Albee plays in hand -- eagerly gathered near the stage door to catch a glimpse of, shake hands with or snag an autograph from the playwright behind such works as ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,’ ‘The Zoo Story’ and ‘A Delicate Balance.’


Standing quietly among the group was actor Bill Pullman, who appeared on Broadway in 2002 in Albee’s ‘The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?’ The UCLA crew apparently didn’t recognize him, so he was patiently waiting for his turn to say hello to his friend Albee.

Pullman mentioned to Culture Monster that he had just signed on for David Mamet’s ‘Oleanna’ at the Mark Taper Forum. Whoops! That was supposed to be a secret.

Not anymore. Center Theatre Group confirmed to Culture Monster this morning that Pullman and Julia Stiles will appear in the third production of the Taper’s season, replacing the previously announced ‘Uncle Vanya.’ That production was scrapped after its anticipated star, Alfred Molina, dropped out.

Tony-winning Broadway director Doug Hughes will stage ‘Oleanna,’ which is scheduled to run May 28 to July 12 with a June 5 opening.

“We are happy to welcome Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles to the Taper, especially in ‘Oleanna,’ a play that is almost incendiary in its dramatic punch,’ said CTG artistic director Michael Ritchie. ‘It will be especially fun after the performances on this one to stand in the Taper lobby and listen to the conversations.”

--Lisa Fung