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The Geffen Playhouse (or the Geffen) is a not-for-profit theater company founded by Gilbert Cates in 1995. It produced in two venues, both owned by University of California Los Angeles. The Playhouse is located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. It was named for donor David Geffen. The current executive director is Gil Cates Jr.[1]

Geffen Playhouse
Address10886 Le Conte Avenue
Los Angeles, California
United States
Coordinates34°03′49″N 118°26′41″W / 34.0636°N 118.4447°W / 34.0636; -118.4447Coordinates: 34°03′49″N 118°26′41″W / 34.0636°N 118.4447°W / 34.0636; -118.4447
OwnerUCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
OperatorGeffen Playhouse Inc.
TypeRegional theater
CapacityGil Cates Theater: 512
Audrey Skirball Kenis Theatre:149


The Geffen Playhouse was built in 1929 as the Masonic Affiliates Club, or the MAC, for students and alumni at UCLA. One of the first 12 structures built in Westwood Village, it was designed by architect Stiles O. Clements.[2]


Originally named the Westwood Playhouse, the property was purchased by UCLA in 1993. UCLA's then chancellor, Charles E. Young, appointed Gil Cates, founder and former president of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, as its producing director. The theater was renamed in 1995 after media mogul David Geffen donated $5 million, one of the largest philanthropic donations ever made to an already constructed theater.[3][4]

In 2002, the David Geffen Foundation made a $5-million lead gift towards an eventual $17-million capital campaign to renovate the theater. The renovation gutted the theater while keeping its historical character. The Geffen reopened on November 16, 2005 with the main 500 seat theater retained and a new 125-seat Audrey Skirball-Kenis Theater added.[5] In March 2010, the Playhouse's board of directors named the mainstage the Gil Cates Theater.[6]

The Geffen Playhouse offers five plays per season in the Gil Cates Theater and three plays per season in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, as well as producing special events in both venues. The Playhouse is known for performances by film and television actors, including Jason Alexander, Debbie Allen, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Dana Delany, Roma Downey, Peter Falk, Ginnifer Goodwin, Neil Patrick Harris, David Hyde-Pierce, Carrie Fisher, Jane Kaczmarek, Alfred Molina, Rebecca Pidgeon, George Segal, Martin Short, Alicia Silverstone, Rita Wilson, and James Van Der Beek.

In August 2017, Matt Shakman was appointed as the new artistic director of the Geffen Playhouse.[7]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Awards Production Nominations Wins Notes
2009 Ovation Awards Louis & Keely, Live at the Sahara 5 3 Won for Best Production, Lead Actor, and Lead Actress
2009 Ovation Awards Beethoven As I Knew Him 2 1 Won for Sound Design (Erik Carstensen)
2009 Ovation Awards Farragut North 2 0
2009 Ovation Awards Time Stands Still 2 0
2009 Ovation Awards 1 0 Nominated for Best Season
2010 Ovation Awards Equivocation 8 3 Won for Best Production, Featured Actor, and Lighting Design
2010 Ovation Awards Through the Night 5 2 Won for Lead Actor and Sound Design
2011 Ovation Awards Extraordinary Chambers 5 0
2011 Ovation Awards Superior Donuts 4 0
2012 Ovation Awards Good People 8 0
2012 Ovation Awards The Jacksonian 1 0
2012 Ovation Awards Radiance: The Passion Of Marie Curie 1 0
2012 Ovation Awards The Pianist Of Willesden Lane 1 0
2012 Ovation Awards 1 0 Nominated for Best Season
2013 Ovation Awards American Buffalo 2 0
2013 Ovation Awards Yes, Prime Minister 1 0
2013 Ovation Awards Miss Julie 1 0

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Geffen Playhouse". Geffen Playhouse Press Release. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  2. ^ Geffen Playhouse - Westwood, retrieved 2007-02-22
  3. ^ Torres, Jesse, Geffen Playhouse, retrieved 2007-02-22[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Padilla, Jessica, New Geffen gift benefits playhouse, archived from the original (– Scholar search) on September 1, 2006, retrieved 2007-02-22
  5. ^ Diem, Erica (2005-10-06), Geffen nearly set to reopen its doors (– Scholar search), retrieved 2007-02-22[dead link]
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth (March 23, 2010). "Geffen's Mainstage Is Now the Gil Cates Theater". Playbill. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  7. ^ "Director Matt Shakman Named Geffen Playhouse New Artistic Director" (PDF). The Beverly Hills Courier. August 25, 2017. p. 13. Retrieved August 25, 2017.