Mount and Theatre West Present a Chestnuts Production
LION IN WINTER
By James Goldman
show contains brief, tasteful nudity.
SIGN LANGUAGE PERFORMANCE SCHEDULED
Sunday, March 19th at 2pm "The Lion In Winter" will
provide American Sign Language interpreters. For information
please contact Associate Producer Brenda
Performing Jan 27- Feb 12, Feb 23-March 5, Mar 16- Apr 1
Jim Beaver • Adam Conger • Kendra
Cover •Yancey Dunham
• Jason Galloway • Bridget Hanley
• Matt Ritchey
Performing Feb 16-19, Mar 9-12
John Cygan • Daniel Lindsay • Justin
Meloni • Mike Onofri • Paula Rhodes • Joe
Ross • Dianne Travis
by Mark Travis
Produced by Charlie Mount
Associate Producer: Brenda Slaughter Reynolds
Assistant Directors Christopher Burns and Tina Cardinale
Character/Movement Choreography by Myrna Gawryn
Set Design by Jeff Rack
Lighting Design by Steve Hallada
Sound Design by Christopher Burns
Costumes Designer: Beth Morgan
Make-up Design by Ryan Durling
Stage Management by Emelle
Box Office: Helen Murray
Publicity: Judith Borne
PERFORMANCES, MOST NOTABLY BRIDGET HANLEY AS A REFRESHINGLY
MATTER-OF-FACT ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE. JIM BEAVER IS A VIRILE
AND STRAIGHTFORWARD HENRY. ADAM CONGER'S JOHN IS AN ACUTELY
REALIZED WEASEL FERRETING FOR POWER, IN STARK CONTRAST TO YANCEY
DUNHAM'S ROBUST RICHARD. FORMIDABLY ACTED."
PIECE OF THEATRE THAT IS REALLY QUITE EXTRAORDINARY. UNFORGETTABLE.
THE PERFORMANCES ARE ASTOUNDING."
SKILLED CAST AND A VISIONARY DIRECTOR"
POWERFULLY EXCITING AND RIVETING THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE, RICH
WITH MASTERFUL PERFORMERS"
The Tolucan Times
THROUGH WITH SAVAGE WIT, THE RESULT IS A RESOUNDINGLY POWERFUL
PRODUCTION THAT SHOULD NOT BE MISSED. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED."
BOTTOM LINE IS THAT JAMES GOLDMAN'S THE LION IN WINTER IS AN
IMPRESSIVE PRESENTATION THAT EXPLORES THE CONCEPTS OF GREED,
POWER AND TREASON, WITH EXCELLENT ACTING AND ABLE DIRECTION
BY MARK TRAVIS"
by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
Made possible with a grant from The Lloyd E. Rigler- Lawrence
E. Deutsch Foundation
Poster Design by Charlie Mount. Poster Photos by Nara Vieira
da Silva Osga
Borne (310) 305-7888
Lion In Winter. Set Design by Jeff Rack.
Lighting Design by Steve Hallada.
by Mark Travis
by Charlie Mount
27 - Apr 1, 2006
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. Sundays at 2pm.
No More Thursday Shows.
from Lion In Winter
Beaver and Bridget Hanley in The Lion In Winter
Photo by Michael Helms
Dunham, Matt Ritchey and Adam Conger. Costume Designer: Beth Morgan.
Photo By Dennis Kent
by Jeff Favre
been 40 years since James Goldman's play premiered in New York.
Goldman's acerbic, high-minded witticisms combine the elegance
of the Renaissance and the cynicism of the 20th century to create
a modern classic. A favorite with community and regional theatres
nationwide, it takes a skilled cast and a visionary director to
grab an audience, which is exactly what this production offers.
Director Mark Travis, taking the title literally, has created
an animalistic Lion in Winter, using as his inspiration the plays
lines: "We're jungle creatures, and the dark is all around
us. In the corner you can see their eyes. And they can see ours."
Assisted by remarkable sound and set designs, a live musician,
and a choreographer, Goldman's version adds raw, violent energy
to the stinging comedy. The cast...is mixed, though greatly bolstered
by two excellent leads: Jim Beaver and Bridget Hanley.
portrays England's 12th century rule King Henry II, who in this
blending of history and legend attempts to secure his legacy by
naming his weak-willed son John (Adam Conger) to succeed him.
Henry's wife, Eleanor (Hanley) -- whom Henry has kept imprisoned
for years -- wants the throne for her strong warrior son Richard
(Yancey Dunham). The third and wisest son, Geoffrey (Matt Ritchey),
backs John, assuming he will control John. Young King Phillip
of France (Jason Galloway) arrives for Christmas festivities to
see that his sister Alais (Kendra Cover) is married to the successor,
which Henry II doesn't want because Alais is his lover. Everyone
is out for him -- or herself, willing to lie or backstab to gain
torrent of clever lines -- when delivered with panache -- still
elicit laughs. With a childlike demeanor that turns instantly
to rage, Beaver has created a Henry that is equally lovable and
dangerous. Hanley provides a perfect foil as Eleanor. She gives
an air of vulnerability to the queen that makes it plausible for
her children and husband to nearly fall for her ploys. Travis
has fashioned an animal motif by dressing his cast in furs and
skins, having them stalking, crouching and eventually pouncing
on their respective prey. Jeff G. Rack's jagged rock set design
resembles a lion's lair. Musician Marta Collier, setting a tribal
beat with her drum, blends with Christopher Burns' jungle sounds
to complete Travis' vision successfully. This is a Lion in Winter
that feels invigorated and powerful, worthy of Goldman's words.
by Don Grigware
part of their Chestnuts (Revivals of Great Plays) Collection,
Theatre West is presenting the second in the series, James Goldman's
The Lion in Winter (the first being Rod Serling's Requiem for
a Heavyweight last October.) I always wonder if a revival will
have a fresh coat of paint, thus enchancing even further my artistic
appreciation of the work. True, Goldman's script is verbally brilliant,
and that in itself makes another viewing worthwhile, but, not
unlike Henry and Eleanor, our intellectual curiosity craves more.
Well, director Mark Travis and his renowned band of players are
creating a piece of theatre that is really quite extraordinary,
perhaps one of the finest productions I have seen at Theatre West.
you remember the wonderful 1968 film with Peter O'Toole, Katharine
Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins, put it out of your mind. Its serious
tone can in no way compare to the original play in which the comedy
reigns as supreme as the King and Queen themselves. We look at
these creatures, these barbarians and laugh at their flaws, perhaps
a bit nervously at first -- maybe, just maybe because we see our
own actions and motivations.
1183 to 2006, the human need for love, power and recognition has
not changed. Their greed is our greed; their struggle to survive
is ours as well. What else can we do but laugh in its face and
move along as best we can? Their behavior toward one another was
hardly exemplary. Well, just how omnipresent is our sense of compassion?
the haunting drumbeats of percussionist Marta Collier and the
movement of all the characters stalking each other like preying
animals stilled after each scene, Mark Travis adds a primordial
audio-visual touch to Goldman's work that is truly unforgettable,
as are Jeff Rack's set and Steve Hallada's lighting design. The
performances are astounding: Jim Beaver as Henry II, Bridget Hanley
(not one false move) as Eleanor, Adam Conger (pathetically hilarious)
as John, Yancey Dunham as Richard, Matt Ritchey as Geoffrey, Jason
Galloway as Phillip and Kendra Cover as Alais.
You Thought Your Family's Christmas Was Bad?
men, kings, Kennedys or Corleones -- the names may change but
the game is the same, and the stakes are brutally high. In James
Goldman's classic The Lion in Winter, directed by Mark Travis
at Theatre West, power -- and more importantly, love -- are the
scraps of meat King Henry's family have come to fight for over
Christmas, 1138 A.D. And fight they do, with fang and claw and
every ounce of guile in their considerable arsenals. Shot through
with savage wit, the result is a resoundingly powerful production
that should not be missed.
of England for over 30 years, Henry (Jim Beaver) has grown weary
and looks to name his successor among his three surviving sons.
His boys (Yancey Dunham, Matt Ritchey, and Adam Conger) each have
knives hidden for their father and each other in their aspirations
to power, and the only think missing is a score card to keep track
of the myriad of treacheries, deceits, and shifting alliances
between the players. Henry's arch nemesis in this death match,
though, is his banished wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, imprisoned
for 10 years after her husband's affections turned elsewhere.
are generally top notch, but towering above all is Bridget Hanley's
Eleanor. She is magnificent as the cunning, ruthless and lonely
old woman cast aside by by the only man she's ever loved. And
this is, after all the claws have been sheathed, at its core a
tremendous love story. Facing their mortality, unsure of their
places in history, Eleanor and her Henry finally have only each
other, no matter who or what may have come between them. Highly
The Tolucan Times
by Pat Taylor
This is a powerfully exciting and riveting theatrical experience,
rich with masterful performers playing deliciously despicable
characters and boasting topnotch production efforts all round.
Undeniably, some stuffy history buffs may take issue with this
primarily avant-garde revival concept adding some campy spice
to the original script. I, not being historically savvy, was enthralled
throughout! In fact, I'd never even seen the film starring Katharine
Hepburn and Peter O'Toole that garnered an Oscar for Screenplay
Adpatation by its writer, James Goldman. Presented by Chestnut
Productions and Charlie Mount as part of a series of great plays,
the first one, "Requiem for a Heavyweight", starring
Michael Harrity, was well accepted. Mark Travis, touted by the
LA TImes as a creator of a new theatre genre, boldly directs a
fine cast here, inspiring crisply caustic, razor sharp, well timed
comedic portrayals. The always spellbinding Bridget Hanley (from
Here Come The Brides and Harper Valley PTA) and Jim Beaver (Ellsworth
on HBO'S Deadwood) explode eloquently in the lead roles. Skilled
consummate actors, they play off of each other with brittle and
biting brilliance! Remembered historically for their love/hate
relationship (circa 1138 A.D.), having once spawned three greedy
and ungrateful sons, Henry and Eleanor's battle for power and
independence is legendary. As Henry's longtime obsession and young
mistress Alais, Kendra Cover gives a hauntingly focused performance,
and Jason Galloway as her brother, Phillip, is also commendable.
Animated, treacherous, fun filled sibling rivalry is offered by
the three cutthroat and conniving sons competing for their father's
throne as king. They are: Adam Conger, Matt Ritchey and Yancey
Dunham. Nice touches: primitive jungle-like onstage percussion
work by musician Marta Collier, Jeff Rack's eerie and sweeping
set, and Beth Morgan's elaborate period costumes. Quoting here:
"Treachery, lechery, and traitorous behavior. What family
doesn't have its ups and downs?" This is an entertaining
and epic production. Witty and worldly -- do see it!
in a theme of family betrayal and intrigue, seven greedy and ambitious
royal characters cheat and connive for personal gain and political
power in this grand presentation that’s set in the South
of France at King Henry's Chinon Castle during the twenty-four-hour
Christmas court held in 1183. After years on the throne, the main
character, Henry (Jim Beaver), is beginning to think about his
own mortality feeling its time to name a successor. Henry favors
his youngest son John (Adam Conger), a wimpy, pimple-faced brat
who abuses his father's affection but queen Eleanor (Bridget Hanley)
favors her oldest son, Richard (Lionheart – played by Yancey
Dunham), but because she took part in civil wars against Henry,
he has kept her imprisoned under "house arrest" in a
tower in Salisbury, England, for the last ten years. Now Henry
has a young mistress, Alais, the sister of the King of France,
(Kendra Cover) but he wants her to marry John to keep England's
holding in that country. Henry tells her that they will be able
to remain lovers even if she does marry John, but she feels betrayed
is allowed to leave her tower on special occasions and when she
discovers that Henry wants to name John to be the king, she schemes
to have Richard named and even promises to yield her own territory,
the Aquitaine, to Henry, if Richard is the heir. In their squabbling
about Richard and John, their middle son, Geoffrey (Matt Ritchey),
feels that he has been neglected, and he begins to undermine both
of their plans.
the final major character of the story, King Phillip II of France
(Jason Galloway), Alais' brother, comes to the Christmas Court
after the others have arrived he also begins his own plot to rid
France of any English holdings, and to achieve this, he tries
to enlist John and Geoffrey and we later learn of a physical liaison
with Richard the summer before. Alais is just a pawn in the power
game, more for her position, and not for herself. With such elaborate
premises, the actors have a perfect venue to shine, and shine
can you get to follow Katharine Hepburn’s Oscar winning
Eleanor in “The Lion” film of 1968? The answer is
simple. Bridget Hanley, who almost walks off with the show in
a wonderfully fleshed out performance as her Eleanor is torn between
her feelings for her sons, whom she later admits to not liking
very much, the humiliation of being imprisoned and seeing her
husband flaunt his lover, a girl that she almost raised from childhood.
Jim Beaver gives Henry II a glint of comic flair mixed with a
strong sense of power brokerage. Kendra Cover is excellent as
the powerless Alais and Adam Conger makes a wonderfully spoiled
prince John. Yancey Dunham keeps a somber face throughout the
action as the moody Richard, as Matt Ritchey’s Geoffrey
spends a lot of time crouched behind props while smoldering with
rage. Jason Galloway’s King Phillip of France makes a strong
impression with his brief lines.
grand schemes revolve in an impressive setting of tilted columns
and with an angularly distorted throne designed by Jeff Rack.
Surrounded by muted colors and shadowy lighting design by Steve
Hallada, the effect is a convincing lair of intrigue and seduction.
While one often hears that sound effects and music should be so
much a part of the story that they are imperceptible, you certainly
can’t say that about Christopher Burns’ sound designs.
The background bristles with stark percussive, staccato drumming
between scenes, sounds of fighting cats, lion roars and other
quasi-identifiable sounds. Punctuating the action, Kolja Erdman’s
ominous choral renderings and musical themes round the story.
Beth Morgan’s costumes are amazingly detailed and visual.
bottom line is that James Goldman’s The Lion In Winter is
an impressive presentation that explores the concepts of greed,
power and treason, with excellent acting and able direction by
Mark Travis. Chestnuts, a company that espouses “Revivals
of Great Plays” in collaboration with Theatre West will
present this show until April 1, 2006.
Reviews from LATimes.com
an amazing production. I really enjoyed the risks that the director,
Mark Travis, bravely embraced. The play is well known, but what
ALL of the actors bring to their repective roles under his direction,
is truly wonderful to watch. From top to bottom, I was not only
entertained, but moved through an enjoyable evening. Every part,
big to small was well acted, the directing, set design, sound
and lighting all superb! ~ Mary, LA, CA
20 years ago, I saw a play a Theatre West called "Verdigris."
It was directed by the same Mark Travis who has directed this
new production of "Lion in Winter." (Coincidentally,
it was written by the same Jim Beaver who stars in this new production.)
At that time, I thought I had never seen a finer example of small-theater
production in Los Angeles. Since then, I have seen as many of
Mr. Travis's productions as I have been able to. And I think now
that his new production of James Goldman's "Lion in Winter"
is the crowning achievement of his career. It seems like every
theatergoer has seen "Lion," or at least the movie.
It's a warhorse, a wonderful one, but a warhorse. And it's almost
always done the same way, with costumes and sets and music interchangeable
with "Sleeping Beauty" or "Camelot." But Mr.
Travis has reimagined the play, not as a historically based comedy
with tragic overtones, but as a family tragedy with comic overtones.
Don't get me wrong, it's a wildly funny night at the theatre.
But instead of focusing on kings and crowns and thrones, he's
forced us to see the people whose family is being torn apart by
those things. It's a comedic "Long Day's Journey Into Night"
or "All My Sons." And instead of a real castle, we see
the characters placed in an elemental and primitive place that
truly befits their emotional chaos. Lights, sets, music, and sound
are simply stunning, and the costumes are the most evocative I've
ever seen for this play (or most plays, for that matter). ~
Walt, Torrance, CA
NOT miss this terrific piece of theater. Emotionally riveting,
deeply intelligent, physically and visually thrilling and... funny!.
What more coiuld you ask? The night I saw it, the audience gave
a standing ovation --completely deserved. The cast is powerful
and talented and the production – from sound, to costumes
to total concept and vision - is a work of professional and passionate
art. ~ Sam, Santa Monica
THIS is quite simply a must see "event" for any
theatre lover...for anyone!! The director, Mark Travis, and his
cast have managed to take a piece that we're familiar with and
totally recreate it in a brilliantly innovative fashion. You have
not seen "Lion" this way! Brigitte Hanley, Jim Beaver,
Adam Conger and the rest of the company will have you on the edge
of your seats. The music, set design, lighting is cutting edge.
This production easily rivals and surpasses any other, in any
medium, you might have seen! The experience is not to be missed.
~ Sondra, Los Angeles, CA
THIS production is exquisite... the acting is mesmerizing,
the staging is stylistically superb. Making the most of intricately
woven dialogue peppered with cheek and cynicism, this clever director
has created an animalistic journey of manipulation and deceit.
The cast shines. A must-see. ~ Kelly, Santa Monica , CA
"THE LION IN WINTER"
history and legend there lies an alluring and soulful account
of Henry II, the first Plantagenet King, and his role in one of
the most enduring empires since Charlemagne. In this bold new
production, the words of writer James Goldman (1927-1998: Oscar
recipient for the screenplay adaptation of The Lion in Winter;
Olivier and London/NY Critic’s Circle awards for Follies)
bring the passionate and human comic/tragic elements of history
to life during a Christmas Court family reunion in 1183 A.D.
a tradition of reviving great plays, in conjunction with the longest
operating theatre company in Los Angeles (Theatre West), Chestnuts
Productions helmed by Charlie
Mount (Producer) presents The Lion in Winter as its second
project (opening its first season with Requiem
for a Heavyweight).
is commendably affording new audiences a chance at seeing productions
that might have been lost to history” ~
Mount and Brenda Slaughter-Reynolds will produce as Director Mark
Travis brings his bold new and highly theatrical/primal concept
into existence. Mark is credited with creating a “new theatre
genre” by the Los Angeles Times after directing many notable
shows such as Time Flies When You're Alive and A Bronx Tale.
Beaver will play King Henry II, whose remarkable rule of 30 years
dramatically expanded England’s territories. Jim is currently
starring as “Ellsworth” in the acclaimed HBO series
Hanley portrays Eleanor of Aquitaine, the woman of legend
that Henry married out of love, but imprisoned for raising rebellions,
and rallying their sons to do battle against him. Bridget is easily
recognizable from her years of stage experience, starring roles
on Here Come the Brides, Harper Valley PTA, and many film appearances.
(Jim Beaver and Bridget Hanley will perform at most performances.
See schedule below.)
parents, they wanted their children to succeed, but succeeding
the throne of the most powerful empire on earth creates cause
for debate, and a platform for some of the most primal and primitive
human expression known to emerging civilization.
are jungle creatures and dark is all around us...”
am a match for anything, aren’t you?”
us and let the games begin…
Performing Jan 27- Feb
12, Feb 23-March 5, Mar 16- Apr 1
|| Adam Conger
|| Matt Ritchey
Performing Feb 16-19, Mar
Photos by John Cygan
Mount (Chestnuts Producing Director) Charlie
Mount founded Chestnuts at Theatre West in 2005 as a new company
wing dedicated to reviving great plays. His first Chestnuts
production was Requiem
for a Heavyweight. The play captured rave reviews from
local critics and a "Recommended" status from both
the Los Angeles Times and the LA Weekly. Mr. Mount got his
professional start working as a comic and magician in clubs
all over New York, including his long time stint at The Comedy
Cellar in Greenwich Village, working with people like Jon
Stewart, Ray Romano, Dave Atell, Chris Rock and Collin Quinn.
His first play, The "Indecent Act of Jeff Zelinski",
was produced Off Off Broadway in 1987. He made guest appearances
on MTV, The Regis Philbin Show, and more. He appeared in numerous
plays and was a member of New York's Drama Project workshop
company. In 1994 Charlie moved to Los Angeles where he joined
Theatre Geo as an actor and playwright. He had several more
of his plays produced, including "Trumpets and Table-Tipping"
at Theatre 40, and "The Junto" at The Road Theatre.
In 1996 Charlie joined Theatre West, where he served as Board
Member, and taught acting and Improvisation. He also created
a Youth Theatre show called "Abracdabra", a one
man show called "Scary Magic Needle Show", and performed
as Doug in Ray Bradbury's "The October Country".He's
made several television commercials, and did guest shots on
several shows, including Beverly Hills 90210 and Saved by
the Bell.Ê In 1999 Charlie became the General Manager for
Arts Showcase, a free cable television program designed
to bring the classic arts experience to over 50 million American
Travis (Director) returns from Kiev, to helm
this production, where he has been collaborating with Ukrainian
artists to restore a film industry and arts community that
once thrived. His film work includes Going Under, for Warner
Brothers, starring Bill Pullman and Ned Beatty, and Earlet
and The Baritones. He is slated to helm the feature film Jeremy
and the Aunties for Kevin Lee Films in Munich. Mark creates
a bold new and highly theatrical/primal production of The
Lion in Winter. In the theater Mark has directed upwards of
60 productions in Los Angeles and New York receiving over
20 Directing awards. He is credited with creating a “new
theatre genre” by the Los Angeles Times after directing
many notable shows such as Time Flies When You're Alive and
A Bronx Tale. He is the author of the #1 Best Seller, The
Director's Journey and the updated version Directing Feature
Films. Mark is currently writing Word of Mouth: the Art and
Craft of Autobiographical Storytelling.
John Gallogly (Theatre West Executive Director)
began his career in Theater performing on Broadway in four
original plays including Runaways and The Utter Glory of Morrisey
Hall. His stage experience also includes performances with
the New York Shakespeare Festival, The American Place Theatre,
Manhattan Theatre Club, The Wooster Group, and appearances
at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. At Theatre West, John has
produced and directed original plays by James Dickey, Steve
Allen, and Doug Haverty. He has created a Youth Theatre program,
and was nominated by the BBC Scotland for Best Production
at the Edinburgh Festival. For the MFA program at AFI, John
has taught directing and acting and has served as Artistic
Moderator for the Acting Workshop and Associate Program. John
is on the Executive Board for Arts for LA.
Slaughter Reynolds (Associate Producer) has worked extensively
in New York theater on Broadway, Off Broadway and in theaters
such as Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Cherry
Lane, The Ohio Theater, LaMama and many more. In Los Angeles
Brenda has worked at the Schubert Theatre, The Falcon Theatre,
and was recently the Managing Director at Interact Theatre
Company. She is a recipient of a Schubert Foundation grant
and received the DRA Scholarship Award while attending Columbia
Gawryn (Character/Movement Choreography) brings
her experience from years of working in prisons ("Arts
in Corrections" and "Arts Reach") and rehabilitation
facilities to knock the 21st century out of the actors, and
transform their beings into 12th century royalty, aristocracy,
and the proletariat.
Cardinale and Christopher Burns (Assistant Directors)
will bring their expertise to this production as long time
active members of the Society
for Creative Anachronisms. This group was featured in
the documentary "In Service to the Dream." Tina
and Chris have worked for many years on projects in theater,
film, and television.