August 03, 2010

Getty Announces Cast for Outdoor Theater Production of Sophocles' Elektra at the Getty Villa

Award-Winning Ensemble Cast to Feature Annie Purcell, Olympia Dukakis, Pamela Reed, and Manoel Felciano

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays,
September 9—October 2, 2010, 8 p.m.

LOS ANGELES—The J. Paul Getty Museum announced today the cast for Elektra, the fifth annual outdoor theatrical production in the Getty Villa’s Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater. One of Sophocles’ most elegantly structured and emotionally wrenching works, Elektra will feature Annie Purcell in the title role, Olympia Dukakis in the role of the Chorus, Pamela Reed as Clytemnestra, and Manoel Felciano as Orestes. Directed by Carey Perloff, artistic director of the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco, the Getty Villa production debuts a new translation by acclaimed British playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker.

According to Director Carey Perloff, "We have gathered a remarkable ensemble of actors with deep experience in Greek tragedy and a great appetite for exploration. Some of them will be well known to Los Angeles audiences, and some are wonderful discoveries, including members of my own core company at A.C.T. and three incredible powerhouse women. We look forward to exploring the deep passion and complex arguments at the heart of Elektra, a play so beautifully represented in the concurrent Getty exhibition The Art of Ancient Greek Theater."

Annie Purcell (Elektra) has appeared on Broadway in The Coast of Utopia trilogy, which includes Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage (Lincoln Center Theater); Dividing the Estate; and Awake and Sing! Her off-Broadway credits include Cycling Past the Matterhorn. Purcell has appeared in the films The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, and on television in Louie and The Black Donnellys. Purcell received her BA from Fordham University at Lincoln Center and her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program.

Olympia Dukakis (Chorus) has won Obie awards for her stage performances in The Marriage of Bette and Boo and A Mans a Man, an Academy Award for her role in the film Moonstruck, an ACE Award for the television drama The Last Act Is a Solo, and Emmy nominations for her television work in the trilogy Tales of the City, Lucky Day, Young at Heart, and Sinatra. She has also appeared in the films Steel Magnolias, Dad, 3 Needles, and Away from Her. She recently completed filming Cloudburst, set for release in 2011.

Pamela Reed (Clytemnestra) played the title role of Elektra in the Classic Stage Company’s world premiere of Ezra Pound’s Elektra in 1987 directed by Carey Perloff. She earned a Drama Desk Award for the off-Broadway play Getting Out and an Obie award for "sustained excellence in performance in theater." Reed also won a Cable ACE Award for Best Actress for the HBO series Tanner ’88. Notable film roles include The Long Riders, The Right Stuff, Kindergarten Cop, Junior, Bean, and Proof of Life. Reed’s television credits include The Simpsons, Jericho, and Parks and Recreation.

Manoel Felciano (Orestes) is an A.C.T. associate artist and core acting company member. He has appeared at A.C.T. in Round and Round the Garden, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, November, At Home at the Zoo, and Rock ’n’ Roll. On Broadway, Felciano appeared in Sweeney Todd, which garnered him a Tony Award nomination for his role as Tobias; Brooklyn; Jesus Christ Superstar; and Cabaret. Off-Broadway, he performed in Trumpery, Shockheaded Peter, and Much Ado about Nothing. His film and television credits include Uncertainty, Trauma, The Unusuals, and Life on Mars. Felciano received his BA from Yale University and his MFA from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program.

The story of Elektra carries forward the tragic history of the House of Atreus. Years after the bloody murder of King Agamemnon, his widow, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, rule the city with an iron hand, while their daughter Elektra prays to the gods that her exiled brother Orestes might return to avenge their father’s death. Believed to have been written near the end of Sophocles’ life, Elektra embodies the playwright’s most profound portrait of the endurance of the human spirit, brilliantly ablaze with the warring, inner flames of hope and despair. "Elektra is a play about willful memory and the damage that happens to someone who refuses to forget," adds Perloff.

The Getty Villa’s annual outdoor theater production is part of an innovative theater program that enhances the visitor’s experience of the ancient world. Live performances of classical drama offer insight into the social, cultural, and political realities of life in ancient Greece and Rome. In the galleries, works of art serve to deepen the connection between modern audiences and the mythical stories underlying the tragedies and comedies onstage.

This year’s performance offers a particularly rich experience for theatergoers, as it simultaneously complements The Art of Ancient Greek Theater (August 26, 2010—January 3, 2011), the first exhibition in the United States in over 50 years to focus on the artistic representation of theatrical performance in ancient Greece. The exhibition will be open at the Villa before each evening’s performance of Elektra.

Performances of Elektra will be held Thursdays through Saturdays, September 9—October 2, 2010. Tickets are $42.00 ($38.00 for students and seniors), and are available by calling (310) 440-7300 or online at

The Cast of Elektra (in order of appearance)

Tutor.................................Jack Willis*
Orestes...............................Manoel Felciano*
Pylades/Percussion....................Michael Wells
Elektra...............................Annie Purcell*
Chorus Leader.........................Olympia Dukakis*
Chrysothemis..........................Linda Park*
Clytemnestra..........................Pamela Reed*
Aegisthus.............................Tyrees Allen*
Cellist/Vocalist......................Theresa Wong
Chorus/Vocalist.......................Sharon Omi*

*The actors employed in this production are members of Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

Related Symposium

Artists and Actors: Iconography and Performance in Ancient Greece
This two-day symposium considers the historical context of theatrical performance and its relation to the creation of some of the most vivid art from the ancient world. On Saturday afternoon, director Carey Perloff and Professor Helene Foley of Columbia University join curator Mary Louise Hart of the J. Paul Getty Museum for a conversation about the process of adapting and directing Sophocles’ Elektra for the contemporary stage.

Friday and Saturday, September 24 and 25, 2010
9:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m.
Getty Villa, Auditorium
Advance registration is required. Call (310) 440-7300 or get tickets online at

Additional Bios

Carey Perloff (Director)
Carey Perloff is celebrating her 18th season as artistic director of Tony Award-winning American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco, where she is known for directing innovative productions of classics, championing new writing for the theater, and creating international collaborations with such artists as Robert Wilson and Tom Stoppard. Before joining A.C.T., Perloff was artistic director of Classic Stage Company (CSC) in New York. She is a recipient of France’s Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the National Corporate Theatre Fund’s 2007 Artistic Achievement Award. Perloff received a B.A. Phi Beta Kappa in classics and comparative literature from Stanford University.

Timberlake Wertenbaker (Translator/Adaptor)
Timberlake Wertenbaker is an acclaimed playwright who grew up in the Basque Country in southwest France. Plays include The Grace of Mary Traverse (Royal Court Theatre); Our Country’s Good (Royal Court Theatre and Broadway), which won the Laurence Olivier Play of the Year in 1988 and New York Drama Critics’ Circle award for Best New Foreign Play in 1991; The Love of the Nightingale (Royal Shakespeare Company), which won the Eileen Anderson Central TV Drama Award; Three Birds Alighting on a Field (Royal Court Theatre), which earned the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, the Writers’ Guild Award and London Critics’ Circle Award in 1992; Credible Witness (Royal Court Theatre); Galileo’s Daughter (Peter Hall Company at the Bath Theatre Festival); Arden City (National Theatre Connections) and The Line (Arcola Theatre). Translations and adaptations include Ariane Mnouchkine’s Mephisto (Royal Shakespeare Company); Eduardo de Filippo’s Filumena (Peter Hall Company at the Piccadilly); Jean Anouilh’s Wild Orchids (Chichester Festival Theatre); Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Kolonos, and Antigone (Royal Shakespeare Company); Euripides’ Hecuba (A.C.T.); Gabriela Preissova’s Jenufa (Natural Perspective Theatre Company with the Arcola Theatre) and Euripides’ Hippolytus (Riverside Studios and tour). Timberlake is currently working on a new play for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Directed by Anne Bogart
Performed by SITI Company
Adapted by Jocelyn Clarke from the play by Euripides
Opening September 8, 2011

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Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304

About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit our event calendar for a complete calendar of public programs.

Public Programs at the Getty Villa: The Getty Villa offers a variety of public programs including theater, musical performances, film screenings, Family Festivals, lectures, and seminars. These events complement the J. Paul Getty Museum’s permanent antiquities collection and changing exhibitions, as well as reflect the scholarly activities of the Getty Trust’s four programs.

The predominant focus of the Villa’s public programming is on theater, rooted in Greek and Roman plays of antiquity. A major production is presented each fall in the outdoor Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater. The Villa Theater Lab, a series that acts as an incubator for the development of new works in the classical canon, is featured each winter and spring in the Auditorium.




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