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Geffen Playhouse season will include play about Patricia Highsmith

originally posted by The Los Angeles Times
April 18, 2014

A new drama inspired by the life of author Patricia Highsmith and written by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith will be among the offerings of the Geffen Playhouse’s 2014-15 season, which was announced on Friday.

The season will also include recent works by playwrights Tarell Alvin McCraney, Conor McPherson and Stephen Belber.

Murray-Smith’s “Switzerland” will be a co-production with the Sydney Theatre Company and will debut in Australia this fall before running in Los Angeles from March 3 to April 12, 2015. The Australian run will be directed by Andrew Upton, artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company and husband of actress Cate Blanchett.

No director has been announced for the L.A. run of the play, which is a Geffen commission. The plot follows Highsmith as she is trying to complete a novel but is interrupted by a visit from a young man. (The American-born author of the Tom Ripley novels lived her final years in Switzerland.)

Murray-Smith is a familiar name at the Geffen, which has produced her plays “The Gift” and “The Female of the Species.”

McCraney’s “Choir Boy” (Sept. 16 to Oct. 26) will open the new season. The play, which has run at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York and at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, follows a young student’s attempt to fit in at a prep school.

“The Night Alive” by McPherson tells the story of poverty and struggle in Dublin, Ireland. The play (Feb. 3 to March 15, 2015) has been produced by the Donmar Warehouse in England and was seen last year at New York’s Atlantic Theatre Company.

Belber’s “The Power of Duff” (April 7 to May 17, 2015) tells the story of a newscaster who becomes a controversial pop figure when he starts offering prayers on the air. The play was previously produced at the Huntington Theatre Company in Massachusetts.

The season will also feature the return of Hershey Felder, who will impersonate Irving Berlin (Nov. 11 to Dec. 21); Joshua Harmon’s comedy “Bad Jews” (June 9 to July 19, 2015); and a production of “The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord” (Oct. 7 to Nov. 16).

A final production will be announced at a later date.

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