The Group Rep presents Ira Levin’s comic thriller Deathtrap directed by Jules Aaron, produced by Larry Eisenberg. One of the great popular successes of Broadway history and Tony nominated for Best Play in 1978, Deathtrap deals with the devious machinations of a writer of thrillers who is prepared to go to any lengths to improve his fortunes. Deathtrap runs April 6 through May 20 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood.
This ingeniously constructed play offers a rare and skillful blending of two priceless theatrical ingredients: gasp-inducing thrills and spontaneous laughter when a successful-but-currently-stalled playwright whose recent offerings have been flops, conspires with his wife to “collaborate” with a student whose new thriller shows tremendous potential. Suspense mounts as the plot begins to twist and turn with devilish cleverness, and with such an abundance of thrills and laughter, that audiences will be held enthralled until the final, startling moments of the play.
What critics have said about Deathtrap…
"It is a classic thriller, a genre with a style, a manner and an audience of its own. If you like thrillers, do see it. I promise you that it is vintage." - NY Post
"The intricately fashioned plot contortions brought gasps, the comedy lines drew delighted chortles…" - The Hollywood Reporter.
"If you care to assassinate yourself with laughter, try DEATHTRAP." - Time Magazine
"Two-thirds a thriller and one-third a devilishly clever comedy…Suspend your disbelief and be delighted. Scream a little. It's good for you." - Cue Magazine
The Group Rep’s cast includes the talents of LizAnne Keigley, TJ McNeill, Robert Benedict Nello, Lloyd Pedersen, and Gina Yates.
The Design and Production Team includes Chris Winfield (Set Design), J. Kent Inasy (Lighting Design), Angela M. Eads (Costume Design), Steve Shaw (Sound Design), Debi Tinsley (Assistant Director), Linda Brennan (Dialect Coach), Doug Haverty (Graphic Design), Doug Engalla (Videography/Photography), and Brian Danner/Orion Barnes (Fight Directors).
About the Playwright
Ira Levin (Playwright) “A successful novelist and playwright, Ira Levin (1929-2007) became a best-selling author with his first novel, A Kiss Before Dying (1953). More thrilling works followed including Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Boys from Brazil (1976),which were later turned into feature films. Levin decided on a career as a writer at the age of 15. Educated at the elite Horace Mann School, he attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa for two years before transferring to NYU, where he majored in philosophy and English earning his degree in 1950. Drafted into the Army, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1953 to 1955. Based in Queens, NY, he wrote and produced training films for Uncle Sam before moving into TV, penning scripts for popular anthology series such as “Lights Out” (1946) and the “U.S. Steel Hour” (1953). After being discharged, he spent much of his time devoted to the theater. Levin enjoyed some success with his adaptation of Mac Hyman's humorous novel No Time for Sergeants. Levin’s original works include the psychological drama Interlock, the comedy Critic's Choice, the 1965 musical comedy Drat! That Cat!,and the 1973 psychological thriller Veronica’s Room, among others.”
About the Director
Jules Aaron (Director): Jules’ shows directed at GRT include The Paris Letter (a major critical success) and That Lovin’ Feelin' (the Righteous Brothers musical that extended for many weeks and broke house records). Aaron is the winner of over 40 awards for direction around the country (including LA Drama Critics Award, Garland Award, Bay Area Critics Award, Philadelphia Critics Award, Utah Theatre Critics Award, etc. He is bi-coastal, working frequently in fifteen California theatres including South Coast Repertory, ICT, McCoy/Rigby, Pasadena Playhouse, Odyssey Theatre (most recently directed the acclaimed Two Fisted Love), TheatreWorks, Colony Theatre, Falcon Theatre and Theatre 40; In New York at The Public Theatre (personally developed plays with Joe Papp), Soho Rep, the Unit Theatre; regionally at the Humana Festival (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Philadelphia Theatre Co., Utah Shakespearean Theatre among many others. Aaron has worked with many notable actors including Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Michael Learned, Ralph Waite, and Mercedes Ruehl.
About the Producer
Larry Eisenberg (Producer) earned his MFA from CalArts, received a DramaLogue Award for the world premiere adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Stories for Children and has directed numerous productions at GRT. His favorites include Poor of New York, Trip to Bountiful, Over the River and Through the Woods and his original play, Nautilus, which was later turned into a feature film. He currently serves as one of the two Co-artistic Directors at The Group Rep.
About the Cast
LizAnne Keigley (Helga Ten Dorp) is proud to be in GRT’s production of Deathtrap and to work with Jules Aaron and an amazing cast. A member since 2014, LizAnne performed in GRT’s productions of A Streetcar Named Desire as Eunice and Calendar Girls as Cora. Other roles include Mrs. van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank, Alma in Pillow Talk, Mrs. Higgins in Pygmalion and Aunt March in Little Women.
TJ McNeill (Clifford) holds a BFA from Kean University, Union, NJ. Some stage: Rabbit Hole, Hamlet, Urinetown, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?, Cooperstown. Film and Tv: "Her Side of The Bed", "Vaporized", "Spermicide", "As the World Turns."
Robert Benedict Nello (Sidney) Theater: Marc Art, Eddie Carbone A View From The Bridge, Murray A Thousand Clowns, Walter The Price, Jason Romantic Comedy, Iago Othello, John Richard II, Duke Measure for Measure, and Richard III. Musicals: The Best of Broadway and Beyond and Broadway, Blues and Ballots. TV: Dr Paksal “iCarly”, “Young And The Restless”, “General Hospital”, and numerous appearances in prime time episodics. Film: “Crime of The Century”, “Take My Daughters Please.”
Lloyd Pedersen (Porter Milgrim) has appeared at GRT in Witness for the Prosecution, Bach at Leipzig, The Winning Streak (Eddon Award) and Love Again, as well as The Paris Letter (Eddon & LA Scenes Awards), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, My Three Angels, The Prisoner of Second Avenue and The Sunshine Boys (ADA Award). Other credits include Rafael Bunuel’s Confessions of a Robot, and Theatre 40’s The Circle and Affluence.
Gina Yates (Myra): Past roles at GRT include Jessie Mae in The Trip to Bountiful, Marcelle in Hotel Paradiso, Cleopatra in The Chinese Wall, Kat in Mom's Gift, and more. As a GRT understudy, Gina performed the roles of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire and Romaine Vole in Witness for the Prosecution. Gina earned a double BA in Theater Arts and Psychology, and is an alumnus of the Howard Fine Acting Studio. SAG-AFTRA / AEA
About Show Times and Tickets: Runs April 6 – May 2. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm. Talk-back Sundays April 15 and April 28 after the matinee. General Admission: $25.00. Seniors & Students with ID: $20.00. Groups 10+: $15.00. Buy tickets/Info: www.thegrouprep.com or (818) 763-5990. Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900
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