Artistic Director bids “Adieu” to the Malibu Playhouse
Gene Franklin Smith, the multi-talented Artistic Director of the Malibu Playhouse for the past 18 months, has resigned his position. This is very sad news for many of his who enjoyed the 2013-2014 season of classy, entertaining theater. Below , Gene’s own words to me on April 25th, 2014:
Thanks so much for your help in spreading the good word!
When I first put the 2013-14 season together, I wanted to present new and interesting theater that hadn’t been in Malibu or Los Angeles. The plays were selected to be both thought-provoking and entertaining. Our West Coast premiere of “The Dream of the Burning Boy” garnered nine outstanding reviews, including from the Los Angeles Times, which had ceased reviewing plays at Malibu Stage Company altogether, and put Malibu Playhouse “on the map”. “Belfry” was also a West Coast premiere from one of the foremost Irish playwrights in the world, and it was sweet, sad and funny. “The Vortex” is one of Noel Coward’s rarely produced plays, and I updated it to the 1960s to give it a looser, less stuffy, feel, adding music and a bit of go-go dancing.
Our last play is a world premiere, “Flim-Flam,” which I wrote. (It opens June 20 and plays til August 3.) It’s directed by Thomas James O’Leary, a Broadway actor (he played 1000 performances as the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera). The play is about Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle’s investigation to find a genuine psychic medium, and when they do, Houdini must question his beliefs about life-after-death. “Flim-Flam” features several of Houdini’s illusions and escapes, seances and a vaudeville act.The season was truly fabulous and Gene’s own production “Flim Flam” was one of the best plays of the season. I have been a season ticket holder for many years and Gene deserves a standing ovation for his work not only on the stage but also behind the scenes. Malibu Playhouse got a fabulous make over this season including renovated lobby, stage and dressing rooms, along with new lighting and sound booth. Gene we will miss you. Bravo and a standing ovation from your many fans in Malibu!