OK, maybe the fact that this is a new world premiere adaptation of August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” disqualifies it as a revival, but it’s my space, my headline and I like alliteration.
Truth be told, any connections between Lily Rabe and Daniela Ruah are pretty tenuous beyond the fact that both have been announced to appear on L.A. stages – one major, one small - in the months ahead. Bravo to both of them for that, particularly Ruah who, as a regular on a franchise TV show (“NCIS: Los Angeles”) really probably doesn’t need the gas money that the this engagement will likely pay her.
We’ll yak about her since her show comes first: a revival (yet again) of David Auburn’s Tony and Pulitzer prize-winning play “Proof.” If you’re a regular playgoer and you have yet to catch any incarnation of “Proof,” you’ve been deliberately avoiding it. We’ve got Catherine, the daughter of a dead math genius who is turning 25 and is significantly worrying that she might have inherited her dad’s madness as well as his brilliance. The discovery of a game-changing mathematical proof brings a whole lot of new questions into focus.
In taking on Catherine, Ruah (who plays the ass-kicking investigator Kensy Blye on “NCIS: Los Angeles”) follows in the footsteps of Chelsea Altman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anne Heche, Gwyneth Paltrow (who also did the film) and the role’s originator Mary-Louise Parker who won a Tony for it.. The producing entity here is Whitmore Eclectic and the play will go up April 20-May 12 at the Hayworth Theatre. In fact, the production is positively stuffed with Whitmores, between director Aliah, production designer Jacob and actor James Whitmore Jr. (son of the Oscar nominee James Sr. ) who plays Catherine’s father Robert. James Jr. is also a regular director of episodic TV and movies, and he has directed Ruah numerous times in “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
In the midst of the run of “Proof,” the Geffen Playhouse will open (on May 1) the Neil LaBute-adapted world premiere of Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” on the smaller Audrey Skirball Kenis Theatre. Frequent LaBute director Jo Bonney helms again.
Strindberg tells of the scandalous flirtation and consummation between a wealthy woman and her servant. This new version updates the action from 1874 to 1929 Long Island pre stock market crash.
Logan Marshall-Green plays the servant John. His New York credits include in Adam Rapp’s Hallway Trilogy: Nursing (Drama Desk Award nomination) and Kevin Kline’s “King Lear” (both of which earned him Drama Desk Award nominations). Laura Heisler returns to the Geffen after an appearance in “Build” last year to play John’s fiancée Kristine.
And the really exciting news is that the production marks what may well be the L.A. stage debut of Lily Rabe. The daughter of playwright David Rabe and actress Jill Clayburgh, Lily Rabe held her own as Portia opposite Al Pacino’s Shylock in the Broadway revival of “The Merchant of Venice.” She’s been in the FX series “American Horror Stories” for the past two seasons.
And in a bit of interesting theatrical serendipity, way back in 2003, Lily Rabe played Catherine in “Proof” at Gloucester Stage.
“Miss Julie” plays 8 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 3 and 8 p.m. Sat., 2 and 7 p.m. Sun; May 1-June 2 at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. $69-$74. (310) 208-5454, www.geffenplayhouse.com.
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“Proof” plays April 20- May 12, Sat. at 8 p.m. on April 20, 27, May 4, 11; Sun. at 3 p.m. on April 21, 28, May 5 and 12; Thursday at 8 p.m. on May 9, Fridays at 8 p.m. on May 3, 10 at the Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. $25. (818) 826-3609, www.whitmoreeclectic.com.