Los Angeles, CA (March 11, 2014) –
The third play in MALIBU PLAYHOUSE’s  2013-2014 season will be The Vortex  by Noel Coward, opening Friday, April 11, 2014.  The play will be directed by Artistic Director Gene Franklin Smith and stars Shannon Holt and Craig Robert Young.

Noel Coward’s first produced play, The Vortex premiered in 1924 in London, and its scandalous subject matter of drug abuse, repressed homosexuality, nymphomania and Oedipal jealousy made Coward an overnight sensation.  Combining the playwright’s trademark wit and trenchant one-liners, The Vortex surprises audiences with its climatic emotional showdown between a mother and son that evokes Hamlet.

Updated to the mod London of 1965, in The Vortex, Nicky Lancaster brings his elegant fiancée, Bunty, home to introduce her to his famous mother, stage actress Florence Lancaster.  Nicky is shocked to discover that Florence has taken a much-younger lover, and when Bunty ditches Nicky to run off with Florence’s boy-toy, both are forced to confront the truth about themselves.

Director Gene Franklin Smith is the Artistic Director of Malibu Playhouse, and this production marks his debut as a director for the Playhouse.  Smith was the Founding Artistic Director of Write Act Repertory Company, and during his 5-year tenure, he developed, directed and produced the World Premieres of many original full-length and one-act plays and musicals, including his critically acclaimed adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, Devil’s Consort and Transports of the Heart.  Smith also served on the Board of the Salem K Theatre Company, where he co-produced Poor Beast in the Rain by Billy Roche and Snake in the Grass by Alan Ayckbourn.  The World Premiere of his play, Boise USA, closed the Salem K 2008 season at the Matrix Theatre.  Most recently, Smith directed Michael Kearns’s play A Kiss For Trayvon for FLASH Theatre LA.

Of The Vortex, Smith says: “Coward never really wrote another play quite like The Vortex again.  He created a juicy role for himself, including drug abuse, repressed homosexuality and Oedipal jealousy, knowing full well it would make him a star.  The Vortex doesn’t sit on the same high Pantheon as Private Lives or Blithe Spirit, but it is far more contemporary than Coward’s other works, and you would swear it was written today and not 90 years ago.”

The cast for The Vortex  includes: Shannon Holt as “Florence”, Craig Robert Young as “Nicky”,  Will Carney as “David”, Victoria Hoffman as “Helen”, Daniel Jimenez as “Tom”, Skye LaFontaine as “Bunty” and Cameron Mitchell Jr as “Pawnie”.

Shannon Holt (“Florence”) has performed in regional theatres throughout the U.S. and is a member of the Antaeus Theatre Company, having appeared there in Noel Coward’s Tonight at 8:30, The Autumn Garden and You Can’t Take It With You.  Holt’s other stage credits are with The Actors’ Gang, Rogue Machine, Boston Court Theatre and The Evidence Room.

Craig Robert Young (“Nicky”) is a graduate of London’s prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama and since emigrating to the U.S. in 1999, he has appeared in many films and television programs, including Charmed, Sabrina, The Teenage witch, Zoey 101, The District, Melrose Place, Just For Kicks, Lost, Fringe, NCIS:LA, Hawaii 5.0. Films, A Good Year, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and Return to the Hiding Place.   Young’s stage credits include Red Star, Boise, USA, Body Language and Me As a Penguin.

Will Carney (“David”) has performed in many productions at the former Malibu Stage Company, including Art, Looking For Normal, Glorious and The Shadow Box.  Carney has guest starred in a number of television programs, including General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, Dynasty and Beverly Hills 90210.

Victoria Hoffman (“Helen”) is an LA stage veteran, having appeared in The Sonneteer, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night, A Christmas Carol (at the Kodak Theatre), Charley Bacon (South Coast Repertory) and Company.

Daniel Jimenez (“Tom”) has acted with theater companies across the country including, The American Shakespeare Center, The Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Theater for the New City in NYC, The Classical Theater Lab, The Visceral Company in Los Angeles, and many more.   Jimenez  is also a co- founder of The Sonoma Valley Shakespeare company in Sonoma.

Skye LaFontaine (“Bunty”) is the daughter of voice-over legend Don LaFontaine and is a recent graduate of the California Institute of the Arts.  She recently co-founded a theatre company with her sister, having directed their first production Rent Unplugged.  She is making her debut at Malibu Playhouse.

Cameron Mitchell Jr. (“Pawnie”) is a graduate of the Central School of Speech and Drama and has performed in many stage productions in the U.S. and Canada, including Boise, USA, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, A Patriot For Me, The Price, The Diary of Anne Frank and More Haunted Masters.  Mitchell hails from “old” Hollywood parentage, and his film and television credits include Hollywoodland, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3, Master Spy: The Robert Hansen Story and Queer As Folk.

Malibu Playhouse Managing Director Claudia Zahn will produce.   Of the play, Zahn says “The Vortex is full of Coward’s signature wit and playfulness, but what really touches me are his efforts to look   beneath that glamorous facade and expose the fear and loneliness under the glittering surface.”

The Vortex opens Friday, April 11, 2014 with a Red Carpet Gala ($50) and runs through Sunday, May 18, 2014.  Single tickets for regular performances are $30.00.  Low priced previews are Wednesday, April 9 and Thursday, April 20 at 8 PM ($20.00).  Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM.    Tickets may be purchased through the box office at   or by calling 323-960-7711.  There may also be tickets available at the box office the day of each performance, however advance reservations are recommended.

Malibu Playhouse is located at 29243 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265 (near Zuma beach, between Kanan-Dume Road and Morning View Drive, near Heathercliff Road).  Phone 310-589-1998. 


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