It's confirmed. David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross" is joining Frederick Lonsdale's "Aren't We All" and Harold Pinter's "Old Times" to complete James M. Nederlander's first Los Angeles Playgoers Series. This three-play subscription event, produced by Elliot Martin, will keep the Fonda and Wilshire theaters aglow this fall.
"I came out looking for a theater for 'Glengarry,' " Martin explained Tuesday from New York. "Neither the Hartford (now the Doolittle) nor the Fonda had a subscription series, and I don't believe in exposing a play alone. When I mentioned this to Jimmy (Nederlander), he said, 'Well, put one together.' "
What Martin has put together is choice. All three productions have received a large share of acclaim. "Aren't We All" (at the Wilshire, beginning Oct. 22) brings us the stylish Claudette Colbert (co-starring with Rex Harrison) making her first and long-overdue Los Angeles stage appearance.
"Old Times" (at the Fonda, Oct. 29) will give us both Liv Ullmann and Harold Pinter (author turned actor) in their L.A. stage debuts. Mamet's play, starting at the Fonda Nov. 26, not only won the Pulitzer but also comes full-fledged from Broadway with Joe Mantegna, who snatched the Tony for Best Actor. Four-week runs are planned for all three plays, but "Glengarry," last on the schedule, could extend its run.
"When we did 'The Kingfisher' a few years ago with Claudette and Rex," Martin added, "we played San Francisco but had to skip L.A. We couldn't find a theater."
So the time may have come for the new Nederlander houses--the Wilshire and the Fonda--to come into their own. At last.
It was 1976 when Susan Miller last had a play of hers done in Los Angeles ("Cross Country" at the Mark Taper Forum). Since then, she's led a bicoastal life, written for stage, film and television and gleaned an Obie for "Nasty Rumors and Final Remarks" (1979), a play yet to be seen in Los Angeles. Before that happens, however, a new piece by Miller opens July 26 at the Cast-at-the-Circle.
"Arts and Leisure," Miller's latest, explores the invention of modern heroes through a college professor and his student/girlfriend who intrude on the self-imposed seclusion of a well-known novelist.
"David's romance with the classroom is in jeopardy," Miller explained from Connecticut, before boarding a plane for Paris. "He seizes on this opportunity to confront a famous author--someone who for him was a legend and now assumes mythic proportions--in an effort to try to get back something he feels belongs to him and to young people. His mission, which at first he believes is political and represents a larger group, turns out to be quite personal.