Geffen Playhouse’s 2019-20 season: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Macbeth and a world premiere from Qui Nguyen


From Westeros to Westwood: “Game of Thrones” actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is set to star in a Geffen Playhouse production of “Macbeth,” one of eight productions announced Thursday in a 2019-2020 season that also includes West Coast premieres by Jen Silverman and Joshua Harmon and a world-premiere historical comedy from rising playwright Qui Nguyen about a queer 17th century French swordswoman.

Matt Shakman, in what will be his second season as the Geffen’s artistic director, is to direct “Macbeth” in late 2019. The casting of Coster-Waldau is perhaps the most visible bit of Hollywood synergy yet for Shakman, whose long career as a television director includes episodes of “GoT.”

Nguyen’s premiere is “Revenge Song: A Vampire Cowboys Creation,” centering on Julie d’Aubigny — deft fighter, expert fencer, renowned opera singer and noted defier of gender roles before her death in 1707. The playwright, also a Marvel Studios writer, promises to tell a story of gender and sexuality through a superhero-inspired blend of hip-hop, comedy and action. The production will build on Nyugen’s growing body of work, which includes his acclaimed 2015 play “Vietgone” and his play this spring at South Coast Repertory, “Poor Yella Rednecks.”


The Geffen’s other world premiere will be a new adaptation of “Key Largo” by Jeffrey Hatcher and Andy Garcia, who will take on the role of mobster Johnny Rocco. The 1948 film written by Richard Brooks and John Huston was based on a 1939 Maxwell Anderson play; this new adaptation is scheduled to open in February 2020.

The Geffen’s two stages — the Gil Cates Theater mainstage and smaller Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater — will be dominated by new plays. Harmon, who delivered the crowd-pleaser “Significant Other” at the Geffen last year, is set to have the West Coast premiere of “Skintight” starring Idina Menzel. Other West Coast premieres: “Witch” by Silverman, “Bernhardt/Hamlet” by Theresa Rebeck and “The Enigmatist,” written and performed by magician and crossword puzzle constructionist David Kwong.

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The Geffen Playhouse lineup, in chronological order:

“Witch” by Jen Silverman

Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater

Directed by Marti Lyons

Aug. 20-Sept. 29

“Skintight” by Joshua Harmon


Gil Cates Theater

Directed by Daniel Aukin

Sept. 3-Oct. 6

“The Thanksgiving Play” by Larissa FastHorse

Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater

Directed by Michael John Garcés

Oct. 22-Dec. 1

“Macbeth” by William Shakespeare

Gil Cates Theater

Directed by Matt Shakman

Nov. 5-Dec. 8

“Key Largo” adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher and Andy Garcia

Gil Cates Theater

Feb. 4-March 8, 2020

“Bernhardt/Hamlet” by Theresa Rebeck

Gil Cates Theater

Directed by Sarna Lapine

April 7-May 10, 2020

“The Enigmatist” written and performed by David Kwong

Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater

May 5-June 14, 2020

“Revenge Song: A Vampire Cowboys Creation” by Qui Nguyen

Gil Cates Theater

Directed by Robert Ross Parker

Featuring the Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company

June 16-July 19, 2020

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