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Center Theatre Group, looking to a post-pandemic future, picks a Dave Harris play

Playwright Dave Harris
Playwright Dave Harris’ “Tambo & Bones” will come to the Kirk Douglas Theatre next season.
(Dorin Ciobanu)

Further proof that the show must go on, even if nobody is sure of when that might be possible: Center Theatre Group announced Wednesday that playwright and poet Dave Harris’ “Tambo & Bones” will stage its world premiere production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City sometime in 2021, coronavirus permitting.

Harris’ examination of American racism past, present and future unfolds while two characters are trapped in a minstrel show. Their escape plan involves making serious money and getting seriously even. A co-production with Playwrights Horizons in New York, “Tambo & Bones” will come to California after its off-Broadway run. It will be directed by Taylor Reynolds of New York’s Obie-winning Movement Theatre Company.

Harris, who is from West Philadelphia, is playwright in residence at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company. Michael Ritchie, Center Theatre Group’s artistic director, said in the announcement that he has been following Harris’ career and that he was riveted by a reading of “Tambo & Bones” at the Ojai Playwrights Festival last year.

“It’s a powerful play that exemplifies exactly what we are missing while stages around the country sit empty: the unquestionable power of live theater, diverse voices and provocative stories to expand the way we see the world and understand different perspectives,” Ritchie said.

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Last month, Center Theatre Group said its three theaters — the Kirk Douglas, the Ahmanson and the Mark Taper Forum in downtown L.A. — would remain dark until at least spring. The largest house, the Ahmanson, is still hoping to reopen April 29 with Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”


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