Geffen Playhouse

The Geffen Playhouse (or the Geffen) is a not-for-profit theater company founded by Gilbert Cates in 1995. It produces plays in two theaters in Geffen Playhouse, which is 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] Its courtyard fountain is a piece from Malibu Potteries; the two patterns can be seen on and in Malibu Potteries founder Rhoda May Knight Rindge's daughter's house, the Adamson House, which Clements designed[3] (the same year he designed the Geffen) and for which Rindge provided the tile. The pattern on the lower tier of the Geffen's fountain appears in the Adamson House dining room, while the pattern on the upper tier can be seen on the east exterior face of the dining room, bordering a Moorish arch window.

Originally named the Contempo Theatre, and later the Westwood Playhouse,[4] 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.[5][6]

In 2002, the David Geffen Foundation made a $5-million lead gift towards an eventual $17-million capital campaign to renovate the theater, which was originally a Masonic lodge. 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.[7] In March 2010, the Playhouse's board of directors named the main stage the Gil Cates Theater.[8] Geffen Playhouse founder Gil Cates Sr. died in October 2011.[9] Gil Cates, Jr. was appointed executive director in 2004. Two funding drives followed, the Geffen Playhouse Legacy Fund and the Innovation Fund.[10]

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 Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Idina Menzel, Andy Garcia, Dulé Hill, 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.[11]

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
Ovation Awards Geffen Playhouse 1 0 Best Season[12]
Ovation Awards Actually 6 1 Award for Best Playwriting for an Original Play[12]
Ovation Awards The Legend of Georgia McBride 8 3 Awards for Best Choreography, Lighting Design and Costume Design[12]
Ovation Awards Icebergs 1 0 Lucas Verbrugghe nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play[12]
Ovation Awards Barbecue 1 0 [12]
Ovation Awards Long Day's Journey Into Night 2 0 [12]
Ovation Awards Geffen Playhouse 1 0 Best Season[13]
Ovation Awards Ironbound 4 1 Award for Best Production of a Play[14]
Ovation Awards Sell/Buy/Date 1 1 Award for Best Presented Production[14]
Ovation Awards Significant Other 1 0 [13]
Ovation Awards Skeleton Crew 7 1 Award for Best Scenic Design[14]
Ovation Awards Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole 7 1 Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Daniel J. Watts)[15]
Ovation Awards Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol 8 8 Award for Best Production, Direction, Lead Actor in a Play, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scenic Design, Sound Design[15]
Ovation Awards Black Super Hero Magic Mama 1 0 Nominated for Best Costume Design[15]
Ovation Awards Mysterious Circumstances 2 0 Nominated for Best Lighting Design, Scenic Design[15]


  1. ^ "Geffen Playhouse". Geffen Playhouse Press Release. Archived from the original on August 16, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  2. ^ Geffen Playhouse - Westwood, retrieved February 22, 2007
  3. ^ "Welcome to Adamson House".
  4. ^ Loynd, Ray (October 17, 1990). "STAGE REVIEW : 'Pad': Strong Execution of Inge Drama". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  5. ^ Torres, Jesse, Geffen Playhouse, retrieved February 22, 2007[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Padilla, Jessica, New Geffen gift benefits playhouse, archived from the original (– Scholar search) on September 1, 2006, retrieved February 22, 2007
  7. ^ Diem, Erica (October 6, 2005), Geffen nearly set to reopen its doors (– Scholar search), retrieved February 22, 2007[dead link]
  8. ^ Jones, Kenneth (March 23, 2010). "Geffen's Mainstage Is Now the Gil Cates Theater". Playbill. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  9. ^ "Gil Cates dies at 77; producer, director and showman". Los Angeles Times. November 2, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  10. ^ "Gil Cates Jr. named executive director of Geffen Playhouse". Los Angeles Times. June 12, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  11. ^ "Director Matt Shakman Named Geffen Playhouse New Artistic Director" (PDF). The Beverly Hills Courier. August 25, 2017. p. 13. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "The 28th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards Nominees Announced". November 2, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "The 29th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards Nominees Announced". November 19, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c "The 29th Annual Ovation Award Winners". January 28, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d "Ovation Awards for Fountain's 'Cost of Living' and Pasadena Playhouse's 'Ragtime'". Los Angeles Times. January 14, 2020.

External linksEdit