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Beau Willimon’s ‘The Parisian Woman’ to premiere in Orange County

Originally posted by the Los Angeles Times
January 4, 2013

Since George Clooney turned his play “Farragut North” into the Oscar-nominated movie “The Ides of March,” writer Beau Willimon has become a highly sought after talent by theater companies across the country.

His new stage drama, “The Parisian Woman,” was supposed to have its world premiere at New York’s Flea Theatre this season, in a production staged by Hollywood director Joel Schumacher. But the production was apparently called off, creating some confusion about where the play will eventually debut.

It now turns out that “The Parisian Woman” is to have its world premiere at South Coast Repertory as part of its 2013 Pacific Playwrights Festival. The Costa Mesa company said it will present the play from April 14 through May 5.

“The Parisian Woman,” loosely adapted from the 1885 comedy “La Parisienne” by Henry Fran├žois Becque, is set in the world of contemporary Washington politics and follows the story of a woman who is part of a political power couple.

Willimon received an Oscar nomination last year for co-writing the screen adaptation of “The Ides of March.” He recently worked on the upcoming Netflix series “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, adapted from the popular BBC series with Ian Richardson.

“The Parisian Woman” was originally commissioned by the Flea Theatre, which put the play on its production schedule. But the New York Times reported in November that negotiations have taken place between the Flea and Willimon’s representatives at Creative Artists Agency about producing the play in a larger space, given its commercial potential.

It remains unclear if the Flea will be involved with the production at South Coast Repertory. Officials at the Flea did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[Updated: 2:20 p.m.] Marc Masterson, artistic director of South Coast Repertory, said in an interview that people are still working on the exact credit that the Flea will receive for this production. Willimon has worked at the company’s NewSCRipts series in the past. Masterson said that “he wanted a place to work on this play that was outside the pressure cooker.”

Masterson said that there are no commercial producers involved with this production. No actors or director have been announced yet.

South Coast Repertory has helped to launch a number of prominent plays — most notably Margaret Edson’s “Wit” — that have gone on to larger productions in New York and beyond.

[Updated: A previous version of this post said that Willimon had previously worked at South Coast Repertory's Pacific Playwrights Festival. He worked at the company's NewSCRipts series.]

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