Everything old is … well, if not new again, then certainly being brought back. Revivals are nothing startling, but there is a fair amount of returning to roots across southland stages beginning this weekend where a 20 year anniversary revival of a hit production from 1995 returns with the same headlining actress playing the same role.
Which is no easy feat to pull off, unless you’re someone like Yul Bryner, Carole Channing or Rex Harrison and you simply are not one to relinquish a role that has become your signature. Obviously that’s not what’s going on with Marilyn Fox. When she’s not playing Bessie Berger in Clifford Odets’s “Awake and Sing!” every couple of decades, Fox is busy running the Pacific Resident Theatre among other endeavors.
Starting this weekend, Fox returns to a role that she played both at the Odyssey for nine months in 1994-95 as well as at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. OK, so maybe it is kind of a calling card role.
Fox returns with her 1995 castmates Richard Fancy and Dennis Madden along with company newcomers David Agranov Robert Lesser, Allan Miller, James Morosini, Melissa Paladino and Gary Patent for director Elina de Santos who helmed the 1994 production. Odets depicts three generations of a working class Jewish family living in the same Brooklyn apartment during the Great Depression.
The play- Odets’ first – is itself celebrating an anniversary in 2015: 80 years young.
The show runs 8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. with select Wednesday and Thursday performances through Nov. 29 at the Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.Los Angeles. (310) 477-2055 ext. 2, www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
Chugging down the 5 freeway, we have anniversary revivals – these with new performers – of plays returning to the venues where they originated.
26 years after its world premiere at South Coast Repertory, “Abundance,” Beth Henley’s play about two mail order brides adjusting to frontier life in Wyoming, is back at SCR for a new production directed by company founding artistic director Martin Benson. No cast announced yet. Performances begin Oct. 15 and continue through Nov. 11 at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. www.scr.org.
And starting Sept. 26, San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre checks in with a revival of “Full Gallop” by Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson. A one woman show about notorious former “Vogue” editor Diana Vreeland, “Full Gallop” opened at the Old Globe in 1995 with co-author Mary Louise Wilson playing Vreeland. The new production, directed by Andrew Russell, will feature Oscar and Tony Award winner Mercedes Ruehl, as Vreeland.
“Full Gallop” starts previews Sept. 26, opens Oct. 1 and continues through Oct. 25 at the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre at The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. (619) 234-5623.
Finally, back in L.A., we can ring a ding ding out 2015 with the return of “Louis and Keely: ‘Live’ at the Sahara.” Written by Jake Broder and Vanessa Claire Stewart and originally produced by the Sacred Fools Theater Co., the production played a lengthy run at the Geffen Playhouse in 2008-09 under the direction of Taylor Hackford. Starting Dec. 30, the now titled “Taylor Hackford’s Louis & Keely: ‘Live’ at the Sahara will play the Geffen Gil Cates Theatre mainstage through an. 17, 2016. Stewart returns as Keely Smith, and she will be joined by Tony winner Anthony Crivello as Louis Prima.
Info: (310) 208-5454, www.geffenplayhouse.com.