An animal rights activist in Brooklyn searches for love in the dating jungle of New York City. Wilson Milam (The Lieutenant of Inishmore on Broadway, for the RSC and at the Taper) will direct the West Coast premiere of Dates and Nuts, a romantic comedy by Gary Lennon (Orange is the New Black for Netflix, Echo Theater Company’s A Family Thing). Opening night is set for May 31 at the Bootleg Theater.
In Dates and Nuts, Eve has just been dumped by her fiancé — for a man. Angry at the male species, she becomes increasingly frantic as she searches for Mr. Right. Will she ever find the man of her dreams?
“I was having a romantic comedy moment when I wrote this,” laughs Lennon, who is best known for far grittier work. “I love writing female characters. All of us possess masculine and feminine characteristics, and Eve is a manifestation of me.”
Starring as the impulsive and hilariously outrageous Eve (“He’s straight! That’s my type!”) is Elizabeth Regen, a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and LA Weekly Award nominee for Lennon’s A Family Thing. Dianna Aguilar (most recently seen at the Bootleg in Day Trader) takes on the role of Mary, Eve’s best friend and confidante. Dave Scotti (Boston premiere of Vig, Vito Manzi on General Hospital) inhabits Donald, one of Eve’s many “Mr. Wrongs,” while Josh Randall (Just War at the Kirk Douglas, Dusk Rings a Bell at the Blank) turns out to be the Prince Charming she didn’t even know was there. Darryl Stephens (Noah’s Arc), who appeared previously in Lennon’s A Family Thing and The Interlopers (Ovation nomination), rounds out the cast as drag queen Patrick.
“This play is very funny and sweet,” says Milam. “Gary is a gorgeous storyteller, and he always comes at everything from a sharp and unexpected angle.”
Published by Samuel French, Dates and Nuts premiered in New York City at Theatre Off Park, but Lennon has made changes for the Bootleg production, including the addition of Patrick, a character written specifically with Stephens in mind.
Lennon is currently in negotiations to take both A Family Thing, which premiered at the Echo Theater Company in 2013 (Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Circle and LA Weekly nominations), and his most recent play, Contagious, to Broadway. His other plays include The Interlopers; Blackout; and .45. Lennon adapted both Blackout and .45 into feature films: Blackout became Drunks, starring Faye Dunaway, Diane Wiest, Amanda Plummer, and Parker Posey; .45 starred Milla Jovovich and Stephen Dorf. Lennon has written and produced extensively for television, including the upcoming ABC series Black Box, Orange is the New Black (Peabody and WGA Awards), The Unusuals, The Shield, The Black Donnellys and Justified (Peabody and AFI Awards and a Writers Guild nomination).
Milam’s Los Angeles credits include The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Mark Taper forum-- Saturn Award: Best Production); Rank (Odyssey); and Poor Beast in the Rain (Matrix). Other US credits include: American Buffalo, God of Carnage, Glengarry Glen Ross and The Seafarer (Seattle Rep); The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Atlantic/Broadway); Warrior Class, God of Carnage (Alley Theater, Houston); Closer (Berkeley Rep); Bug (Woolly Mammoth); Killer Joe (Next, Chicago; 29th St Rep/Soho Playhouse, NY); Pot Mom (Steppenwolf); and The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (A Red Orchid, Chicago). UK and Ireland credits include Harvest, Flesh Wound, Fresh Kills (Royal Court); Lay Me Down Softly, Defender of the Faith, On Such As We (Abbey); Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe); The Lieutenant of Inishmore (RSC Stratford/Barbican/Garrick); Hurlyburly (Peter Hall Company at the Old Vic/Queens); True West (Bristol Old Vic); A Lie of the Mind (Donmar); Swimming With Sharks (Vaudeville); The Wexford Trilogy (Tricycle); Chimps (Liverpool Playhouse); Bug (Gate, London); and Killer Joe (Traverse/Bush/Vaudeville).
Scenic design for Dates and Nuts is by Stephen Gifford; lighting design is by Sohail e. Najafi; sound design is by Drew Dalzell; costume design is by Lauren Oppelt; and the stage manager is Emily Abbott. Alicia Adams and Jessica Hanna produce for Bootleg Theater.
Bootleg is a 1930s warehouse and a home for Los Angeles artists who work in theater, music, dance and film. Bootleg provides artistic support and production resources to help these artists create original and daring interdisciplinary work. Combining art forms creates work that is surprising, unexpected, exciting and reflective of life in Los Angeles, a city where the boundaries are elastic, and not bound by tradition. Bootleg offers Los Angeles a celebration of itself.
Dates and Nuts runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m.* (*please note early curtain time) and Sundays at 2 p.m. from May 31 through July 13 (dark Saturday, June 7; Sunday, June 22; and Saturday, July 12). There will be two preview performances, on Thursday, May 29 and Friday, May 30, both at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 when purchased in advance online and $25 day-of and at the door. Seniors and students with valid ID are $18. The Bootleg Theater is located at 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90057. For reservations and information, call (213) 389-3856 or visit www.bootlegtheater.org.