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Rubicon Theater Company opens its 2022-2023 season with Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

RUBICON THEATER COMPANY, Ventura’s nonprofit professional theater company, opens the company’s 2022-2023 season on April 29 with an exclusive engagement of TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992 by Anna Deveare Smith. The production premiered on the 30th anniversary of the day the verdict was announced in an East Ventura County courtroom during Rodney King’s LA-triggering trial. Riots – one of the greatest social explosions of the 20th century. Hailed as a “masterpiece” on Broadway (Newsweek), the play goes straight to the heart of issues of race and class and is both meticulously researched reporting and a moving call for reform.

Award-winning actor CHRIS BUTLER, whose credits include Broadway, starring roles with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and numerous television series, stars in the production, co-directed by Butler and Jenny Sullivan.

Rubicon Theater is the only professional theater in the world to produce this play on the 30th anniversary of this historic uprising.

TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992 begins previews Wednesday, April 27; opening on Friday April 29 at 8 p.m.; and runs through Sunday, May 15 at the Rubicon Theater, 1006 E. Main Street in the Downtown Ventura Cultural District. For tickets, go to www.rubicontheatre.org or call (805) 667-2900.

A moment can change the course of history. On April 29, 1992, at 3:15 p.m., in Simi Valley, four police officers were acquitted of wrongdoing after they were filmed brutally beating and kicking Rodney King, an African-American motorist who had resisted arrest, long after he had been subdued. Within hours, South Central LA erupted in what have been described alternately as “the riots”, “the uprising” and “the revolution”.

Protesters blocked traffic on the freeway, attacked motorists, destroyed and looted many downtown stores and buildings, and started hundreds of fires. More than 50 people were killed, more than 2,300 were injured. Thousands have been arrested. Property damage totaled more than $1 billion.

In the aftermath, playwright, scholar and actress Anna Deavere Smith interviewed hundreds of people to try to understand the complex issues that fueled the flames. She fused the varied accounts of what happened into an unforgettable theatrical experience that became TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992.

According to Rubicon Theater Company Associate Artistic Director STEPHANIE A. COLTRIN, who is executive producer of the play, “Ms. Deavere Smith’s play is powerful, illuminating and moving, and we believe it to be a privilege and a tremendous responsibility to tell this story at this time.”

“TWILIGHT is an exciting theatrical tour de force,” adds KARYL LYNN BURNS, Rubicon’s Production Artistic Director. “Chris has been dedicated to finding these characters and finding the humanity in each of them, regardless of their actions or choices. The production will have audience members on the edge of their seats and we hope it provides an opportunity for healing and reflection on where we have been, where we are now, and where we want to be as a community and society.

ANNA DEAVERE SMITH (Playwright) is an actress, playwright, teacher and author. He is credited with creating a new form of theatre, sometimes called “Verbatim Theatre”. Looking at the news from multiple angles, Smith’s theater combines the journalistic technique of interviewing his subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. In addition to TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992, Deavere Smith has played Fires in the Mirror, House Arrest and Let Me Down Easy, among others. Twilight: Los Angeles has been nominated for two Tony Awards. Fires in the Mirror was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Her recent original work Notes from the Field examines youth vulnerability, the criminal justice system and contemporary activism. The New York Times named the stage version one of the best plays of 2016, and TIME magazine called it one of the top 10 plays of the year. HBO premiered the film version in February 2018. It was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award. In 2012, President Obama awarded Smith the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal. She is a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. Other awards include the prestigious 2013 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award for Achievement in Art, the George Polk Award for Career in Journalism and the Ridenhour Courage Award. In 2015, she was named a Jefferson Lecturer, the highest national honor in the humanities. She has received several honorary degrees, including those from Yale, Juilliard, the University of Pennsylvania, Smith College, and Spelman. Smith is also a television and film actress. Credits include shows such as Shonda Rhimes’ new “untitled project,” ABC’s series “For the People” and “Blackish.” She also starred in Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and was featured in the long-running series “The West Wing.” Films include “The President of America”, “Rachel Gets Married”, “Philadelphia”, “Dave”, “Rent” and “Human Stain”. Smith is a full professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she founded the former Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue.

CHRIS BUTLER (co-director/actor) plays 36 different characters in TWILIGHT. He recently played Rayfield Moody in the TV mini-series “Women of the Movement”. He has played recurring characters on all seven seasons of CBS’s “The Good Wife” as well as its spin-off “The Good Fight,” “Designated Survivor,” “True Blood,” “Major Crimes,” and “24.” Butler has been a series regular on TNT’s “King and Maxwell” and several pilots, and has starred in more than 50 TV shows and movies. Chris made his Broadway debut as Noah in the Tony nominated production of 110 in the Shade starring Audra McDonald. He won Ovation, NAACP and Garland awards in Los Angeles for his work in the West Coast premiere of Yellowman by Dael Orlandermith at the Fountain Theater and Stick Fly at the Matrix Theater. Chris spent four seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where he played the title role in Othello and Walter Lee in A Raisin in the Sun, among others. For Rubicon, his appearances include Caesar in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (the latter directed by his Twilight co-director Jenny Sullivan). Other stage work includes South Coast Rep and The Old Globe. A Charlotte native, Butler earned his BA in Drama from UC North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his MFA in Acting from UC San Diego.

JENNY SULLIVAN (co-director) has extensive experience directing solo shows. Solo productions include The Year of Magical Thinking with Linda Purl, I Am My Own Wife (Indy Award) with John Tufts, Jackie Unveiled (with Saffron Burrows) at the Wallis Annenberg and Wiesenthal’s Off-Broadway series (both by Tom Dugan ), and the Rubicon production of Darrow with James O’Neil (currently on tour). Other Rubicon credits include The Gin Game with JoBeth Willams and Joe Spano, The Baby Dance: Mixed, Women Beyond Borders, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Our Town, Steel Magnolias (Indy Award), The Mystery of Irma Vep (2012 Ovation Nomination for director), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Indy Award), Spit Like a Big Girl, You Can’t Take It With You, Hamlet (Indy Award), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Tuesdays with Morrie, Defying Gravity, Happy Days, Art (Indy Award), Dance to Lughnasa (Indy Award) with Susan Clark and Bonnie Franklin, The Rainmaker with Stephanie Zimbalist and John Bennett Perry, The Little Foxes with Linda Purl and Old Wicked Songs with Harold Gould and Joseph Fuqua, and his own J for J with Jeff Kober and John Ritter (also in Los Angeles at the Tiffany’s). Other stage credits include The Dresser with Len Cariou and Granville Van Dusen at the Royal Manitoba Theater Centre, Steel Magnolias at the Laguna Playhouse; Baby Doll, Good People, Dublin Carol (Indy Award), The Lion in Winter (Indy Award) at ETC, and work with Access Theater San Jose Rep and Williamstown Theater Festival (six seasons). Sullivan directed Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Nora and Delia Ephron at the Geffen Playhouse; and The Vagina Monologues for Canon and Coronet Theaters. She directed the world premiere of Jane Anderson’s The Baby Dance at the Pasadena Playhouse, which later moved to the Williamstown Theater Festival, Long Wharf Theater (CT Critics’ Directing Award), and Lucille Lortel Off-Broadway.

The award-winning design team for TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992 includes set designer JOHN IACOVELLI, lighting designer BRIAN GALE, projection designer DAVID MURAKAMA, sound designer RANDALL TICO, costume designer ABRA FLORES and film designer WILLIAMS accessories. The executive producer is STEPHANIE A. COLTRIN. JESSIE VACCHIANO is a production manager.

TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992 was originally commissioned by the Center Theater Group. It premiered in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum in May 1993, to unanimous critical acclaim. The production opened on Broadway in April 1994, with 72 performances. TWILIGHT received Obie, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Tony nominations.

TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992 premieres Wednesday, April 27 and Thursday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. Opening night will be Friday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m. with red carpet arrivals, a step-and-repeat and a pre -show reception from 7 p.m. Production runs until Sunday, May 15. Performances are Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (followed by a talkback), Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $30.00 to $69.50.

To purchase tickets for TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992 or the company’s 2022-2023 season, call the Rubicon at (805) 667-2900 or visit rubicontheatre.org. Rubicon Guest Services is located at 1006 E. Main Street (Laurel Entrance) and is open 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday. Single tickets for each of the shows are also on sale and available via the box office or the company’s website: www.rubicontheatre.org.

Season tickets include special discounts, guaranteed seats, ticket insurance, free exchanges (with 72 hours notice) and advance notice of special events. Flex passes are also available at a reduced price.