Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies
weaves together nostalgia, music and merriment in the world premiere commission of a new seasonal classic opening at the Geffen Playhouse
. Presented by OneWest Bank, Coney Island Christmas, a "Jewish Christmas show" for people of all ages and all faiths, introduces us to Shirley Abramowitz (played by Isabella Acres) a young Jewish girl who, much to her immigrant parents' exasperation, is cast as Jesus in the school's Christmas pageant. Get a first look at the production in the photos below!
Mr. and Mrs. Abramowitz, portrayed by acclaimed stage and screen actors Arye Gross (Broadway's Brooklyn Boy, television's Castle) and Annabelle Gurwitch (Murray Mednick's Joe and Betty, television's Dinner and a Movie) with the help of a much-older Shirley, brought to life by Angela Paton (Broadway's Harvey) capture a timeless and universal tale of what it means to be an American during the holidays.
The cast also includes Elitia Daniels, Maya Erskine, Julian Evens, Joe Gillette, Rachel Hirshee, Lily Holleman, Gracie Kaufman, John Sloan, Kira Sternbach and Andrew Walke, who play a host of colorful characters ranging from neighborhood mothers to Shirley's classmates and teachers. Coney Island Christmas began previews on November 20, 2012 and officially opens November 28, 2012 in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse.
Coney Island Christmas, which is based on the Grace Paley short story The Loudest Voice, is helmed by Bart DeLorenzo, the founding artistic director of L.A.'s Evidence Room theater company. Both Margulies and DeLorenzo are frequent figures in the Geffen family, with this production marking Margulies' fifth and DeLorenzo's fourth project with the theater. The two artists previously collaborated on Shipwrecked!, which shares similar fantastical elements with Coney Island Christmas. The idea for a family holiday show, that would potentially be an annual event at the Geffen Playhouse, began as a conversation between Margulies and Geffen Playhouse founder Gil Cates. The conversation turned into a commission, and now, Margulies is dedicating this world premiere production to the memory of Cates, who passed away on October 31 of last year.
Special events during the run of Coney Island Christmas include the theater's Signature Series performances for no additional cost. These evenings include an intellectual, thought-provoking post show Q&A at Talk Back Tuesdays; a scintillating, one-of-a kind after-party at Girls Night Out; a cultural happy hour with Lounge Fridays and complimentary wine tastings during Wine Down Sundays. For more information, view geffenplayhouse.com/ConeyEvents.
The production features the work of Set Designer Takeshi Kata, Costume Designer Ann Closs Farley, Lighting Designer Lap Chi Chu, Sound Designer John Ballinger, Production Stage Manager Jill Gold and Assistant Stage Manager Kyra Hansen.
Ticket prices currently range from $37 to $57 for preview performances and from $47 to $72 for the regular run. $10 student rush tickets may be available with a valid student ID half an hour before curtain. Tickets are available in-person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, via phone at 310-208-5454 or online at www.geffenplayhouse.com.
Photo Credit: Michael Lamont
Isabella Acres and Annabelle Gurwitch
Lilly Holleman and John Sloan
Arye Gross and Isabella Acres
Arye Gross and Annabelle Gurwitch
Angela Paton and Grace Kaufman
Annabelle Gurwitch, Arye Gross and Isabella Acres
Lilly Holleman and John Sloan with the Ensemble
Andrew Walke and Isabella Acres
Lilly Holleman, Joe Gillette, John Sloan and Isabella Acres with the Ensemble
Isabella Acres with the Ensemble
Angela Paton and Grace Kaufman