THIS the Play at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Gilles Marini, Saffron Burrows & Kirk Douglas Go for THIS the Play


While I probably shouldn’t have been surprised to see Kirk Douglas at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, the sight of the Hollywood legend at the Aug. 7 opening of THIS the play, still gave me pause.

“Kirk is 94 years old and he’s so enthusiastic about the theater, not only this one, but about the Mark Taper and the Ahmanson, too,” said a spokesperson for the Center Theatre Group, which comprises the three theaters. “He comes to almost every single opening and often goes backstage after the show to say hello to the cast.”

The theater was named for Douglas in honor of his generous contributions, along with additional donations made by Michael Douglas in his father’s name.

On this night, the entire audience had the privilege of greeting  the cast at a reception following the show. Cast members included Darren Pettie, Gilles Marini, Saffron Burrows, Glenn Fitzgerald and Eisa Davis.

Beforehand, stars filled the theater as well: talk show host Ricki Lake, (soon to compete on “Dancing With the Stars,”) Camryn Manheim of the upcoming “Jewtopia,” Rib Hillis of “General Hospital,” Terri Ivens of “All My Children” and Debra Wilson of MADtv among them.

Never mind that the Hollywood Bowl offered “Hairspray” that same weekend. For Ricki Lake, star of the original film version, her commitment to support Burrows came first. “It still strings that I’m not at ‘Hairspray’ tonight,” said Lake, “but I had to work this weekend and tonight, I’m here for Saffron.”

Said an appreciative Burrows, star of “The Bank Job” and “Deep Blue Sea:” “It’s lovely when actors come and support each other.” And considering that Marini of “Brothers and Sisters” and “Sex and the City” placed second on season 8 on “Dancing With the Stars,” I wonder if Lake also talked with Marini about DWTS that night.

For Marini, “This” began a big week.  Not only was the play his stage debut, but the next night, he also starred in the twitterverse, as tweeper fans of TV’s “Switched at Birth” were discovering big news: Marini had turned up on the show as Bay’s previously-absent biological father.

Additional details, including the cast’s reaction to Kirk Douglas, are in my LA Times story in “Culture Monster” here.  Photos from the reception following THIS the play are in the gallery below.

Top Photo, from left: cast of This the play from left, Darren Pettie, Gilles Marini, Saffron Burrows, Glenn Fitzgerald and Eisa Davis (Photo by Ryan Miller/CaptureImaging)

Center Photo: Anne Douglas and Kirk Douglas, for whom the theater is named, get set to watch “This”

Bottom Photo: Camryn Manheim of “The Practice,” left, and Ricki Lake, right.



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THIS the Play

Published Aug. 26, 2011 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA