The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center presents the first Los Angeles production in 20 years of Ira Levin's classic comedy-thriller, Deathtrap. One of the longest-running plays in Broadway history, the Tony Award Best Play nominee comes to the Center's Davidson/Valentini Theatre for a six-week run. Two preview performances, March 28 and 29, precede the official opening night on Friday, March 30. Net proceeds from the play will benefit the entire array of the Center's free and low-cost programs and services.
Deathtrap may be best known for its 1982 movie incarnation, but the play's the thing when it comes to genuine, edge-of-your seat thrills. The famously complex script has more twists than a rattlesnake and is perfectly tailored to jolt audiences out of their seats. Stephen King described Levin, who also unleashed Rosemary's Baby, The Boys from Brazil and The Stepford Wives upon the world, as "the Swiss watchmaker of suspense novels, he makes what the rest of us do look like cheap watchmakers in drugstores."
Director Ken Sawyer takes the reins on this new production. He is well known for his critically acclaimed work in the genre (his Dracula won three Ovation Awards; The Woman in Black scored five more). The expert cast includes Brian Foyster (The Lost Plays of Tennessee Williams), Cynthia Gravinese (The Sonneteer), Burt Grinstead (Esther's Moustache), Elizabeth Herron (Our Town), Carl J. Johnson (Figure 8) and Stephen Mendillo (Take Me Out).
Producer Jon Imparato, the artistic director of the Tomlin/Wagner Center, has been itching to present this play for a long time.
"This is not going to be your mother's Deathtrap! It'll be the hottest, sexiest ever. This time Deathtrap is funny, scary-and also a little steamy," Imparato says.
Sawyer, too, has long wanted to tackle Levin's masterpiece.
"It's like building a rollercoaster and then sitting back and watching people be thrilled by all the dips and turns we've concocted for them. Balancing the comedy and the thrills is a little tricky, but I know the more the audience laughs, the louder they will scream. If people are enjoying themselves and connecting and having fun, they will happily walk right into our, well, deathtrap."