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L. A. Theatre Works: West Coast premiere of “The Ruby Sunrise” at Skirball Cultural Center March 14-18 March 7, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> News, >> Radio Drama.

LOS ANGELES, CA – The birth and promise of television are at the heart of Rinne Groff’s critically-acclaimed new play, The Ruby Sunrise.  L.A. Theatre Works records the West Coast premiere for broadcast on its nationally-syndicated radio theater series, The Play’s The Thing, which airs weekly on public and satellite radio.  Five live performances take place March 14 through 18 at the Skirball Cultural Center.

The Ruby Sunrise is the story of a young woman named Ruby, who, in 1927, struggles to turn her dream of the first all-electrical television system into a reality.  Twenty-five years later, during the Golden Age of Television and amidst the fear and constraints of the McCarthy era, her daughter faces similar battles of will and crises of faith as she works to get Ruby’s story told on network TV.  LATW Associate Producer Brendon Fox directs two-time Tony-nominated actress (for Enchanted April and The Rainmaker) Jayne Atkinson; teen actor Asher Book (guest-starring roles on Medium and Zoey 101); Jason Ritter (The Class, Joan of Arcadia); and Missy Yager (Boston Public).

“What if the inventor of television had been a young woman?”

Inspired by the life of Philo T. Farnsworth, the farm boy credited with inventing television, Groff borrowed some of the details and came up with Ruby, a scruffy teenage tomboy in rural Indiana who scrounges electronic parts and works feverishly to construct the first TV set.  “What if the inventor of television had been a young woman?” Groff says she asked herself.  “Here’s a young woman in a man’s terrain who has an absolute conviction that she knows what she’s doing.”

Originally produced by Trinity Rep and Actors Theatre of Louisville for the 2004 Humana Festival of New American Plays, The Ruby Sunrise was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons with funds provided by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Commissioning Program and developed with assistance from the Sundance Institute.  Ruby made its New York debut at the Public Theater in November, 2005, where it was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play and an Outer Critics Circle Award for the John Gassner Award. 

Playwright’s bio

Rinne Groff’s plays, including 40 Thieves, The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem, House of Wonder, Inky, Jimmy Carter was a Democrat, Moliere Impromptu, Orange Lemon Egg Canary, Seven Supermans and Wicked Queen,, have been produced by the Public Theater, Trinity Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, PS122, Target Margin, Clubbed Thumb, and Andy’s Summer Playhouse, among others. Ms. Groff is a founding member of Elevator Repair Service Theater Company and has been a part of the writing, staging, and performing of their shows, both in the U.S. and on European tour, since the company’s inception in 1991.  A recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Ms. Groff was trained at Yale University and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Five performances of The Ruby Sunrise take place Wednesday, March 14 at 8 pm; Thursday, March 15 at 8 pm; Friday, March 16 at 8 pm; Saturday, March 17 at 3 pm; and Sunday, March 18 at 4 pm.  A Meet-the Artists discussion follows the matinee on Saturday, March 17.  The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Boulevard, in the Santa Monica Mountains just off the San Diego (405) Freeway (exit Skirball Center Drive).  Tickets range from $20.00 to $46.00.  For reservations and information, call the L.A. Theatre Works Box Office at (310) 827-0889 or go to www.latw.org .

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