The Getty Museum and Playwrights' Arena in Los Angeles is pleased to offer Euripides' Helen, the seventh annual outdoor theatrical production in the Getty Villa's Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater. Presenting a surprising twist on the legend of Helen of Troy, Euripides' rarely performed Helen will feature a cast of thirteen led by distinguished actor Maxwell Caulfield as Menelaos, King of Sparta, and Rachel Sorsa as Helen. Directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, artistic director of Los Angeles-based Playwrights' Arena, this production debuts a new adaptation by playwright Nick Salamone and a score by composer and musical director David O.
Maxwell Caulfield's success on the New York stage began with his Theatre World Award winning performance in the 1979 production Class Enemy. He also played opposite Jessica Tandy and Elizabeth Wilson in Salonika at The Public Theatre in New York; co-starred with Ameila Campbell in Tryst; and starred opposite Kate Mulgrew in the Charles Busch play, Our Leading Lady at the Manhattan Theatre Club. In 1995 he made his Broadway debut in J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls opposite Siân Phillips. He made his West End stage debut in 2007 as Billy Flynn in the long-running London production of Chicago; and then reprised the role on Broadway later that year.
His worldwide popularity in film and television began by starring in the motion picture Grease 2 opposite Michelle Pfeiffer; The Boys Next Door with Charlie Sheen; The Parade with Michael Learned, Frederic Forrest, Rosanna Arquette and Geraldine Page; Gettysburg alongside TOM BERENGER, Jeff Daniels, Sam Elliott;; and The Real Blonde opposite Matthew Modine.
Caulfield's innate acting skills, coupled with his movie star good looks, went on to earn him co-starring roles in two of the most iconic series ever written for television: Dynasty and The Colbys. Caulfield also portrayed Alain Marais in the CBS miniseries Judith Krantz's 'Till We Meet Again opposite Juliet Mills, Michael York, Courteney Cox, and Hugh Grant. He has appeared in Loot at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and co-starred last year in a New York revival of Cactus Flower.
Euripides, the most subversive of the great Greek dramatists, followed his Trojan Women just three years later by presenting an entirely alternative history of "Helen of Troy" in Helen (412 B.C.), a play now largely ignored and rarely performed.
In Helen, Euripides' heroine is no wanton seductress, but rather a pious, faithful wife and a hapless victim of Olympian plots who struggles to make the best of a very bad situation. By a trick of the gods, this Helen never travels to Troy at all, but is replaced by a phantom replica on the eve of her kidnapping by Paris. The real Queen Helen is magically transported by Hermes to the far off island of Pharos in a cloud for safekeeping, where she waits out the Trojan War in an ironic celibacy.
Helen picks up the story 17 years later, as the abandoned, middle-aged queen remains stranded on the island, oblivious to her infamy and ignorant of the war's outcome. As the play opens, the once-famous beauty wonders whether the gods, her husband, and the world have forgotten her forever. Needless to say, they have not, and Euripides' inventive fantasy of mistaken identities and impossible coincidences ensues.