Antaeus opens 2017/18 season with sexy, scandalous ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’

Sex, revenge, betrayal… let the games begin. Antaeus Theatre Company presents a fully partner-cast production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Christopher Hampton’s Olivier, Evening Standard and New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award-winning adaptation of the scandalous novel by Choderlos de Laclos. Directed by Robin Larsen, Les Liaisons Dangereuses opens on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 (one opening for each cast), running through Dec. 10 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale. Low-priced previews begin on Oct. 19.

Set among the decadent ruling class of pre-revolutionary France, Les Liaisons Dangereuses is a seductive and unsettling tale of sex, deceit, cruelty and the struggle for power in an all-too-recognizable world.

“It’s about people at the top being beyond right and wrong,” says Larsen. “About the moral rot of the social elite and the abuse of power, particularly how the powers-that-be treat women.”

Former lovers, the Marquise de Merteuil (Reiko Aylesworth and Elyse Mirto) and Vicomte de Valmont (Scott Ferrara and Henri Lubatti) now compete in games of seduction and revenge. Merteuil incites Valmont to corrupt the innocent Cécile de Volanges (Chelsea Kurtz and Elizabeth Rian) before her wedding night, but Valmont has targeted the peerlessly virtuous and married Madame de Tourvel (Lindsay LaVanchy and Liza Seneca).

Also in the Antaeus cast are Dylan Jones and Bellina Logan as Madame de Volanges; Anne McNaughton and Lorna Raver as Madame de Rosemonde; Paul Culos and Josh Breslow as the Chevalier Danceny; Nadège August and Ellis Greer as the courtesan, Émilie; Aaron Lyons and Brian Wallace as Azolan; and Paul Stanko and Turner Frankosky as Footman/Major-domo.

According to Antaeus co-artistic directors Bill Brochtrup, Rob Nagle and John Sloan, Hampton initially wrote the play as a comment on the excesses of the 1980s — but it’s time to take another look. “Set in a world where the 1% holds all the cards, it couldn’t be more timely.”

In 1782, Choderlos de Laclos’ novel scandalized the world. Two hundred years later, the Royal Shakespeare Company premiered Hampton’s stage adaption at Stratford-upon-Avon. The production subsequently transferred to London, where it garnered both Olivier and Evening Standard Awards, and then to Broadway, where it received a Tony nomination and won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play. It was revived on Broadway by the Roundabout Theatre Company in 2008, and a 2016 Donmar Warehouse production transferred to Broadway where the limited engagement closed earlier this year. The 1988 film adaptation (Dangerous Liaisons), scripted by Hampton, directed by Stephen Frears, and starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer, won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Antaeus Theatre Company’s award-winning creative team includes set and projections designer Yee Eun Nam, lighting designer Leigh Allen, costume designer Jocelyn Hublau Parker, sound designer Jeff Polunas, props designer Erin Walley, violence designer Ned Mochel, movement designer Heather Allyn, hair designer Jessica Mills and dramaturg Christopher Breyer.

Antaeus is a cooperative theater ensemble founded to empower the actor and to bring classical theater to Southern California. The company exists to create a family of artists and audiences and is dedicated to exploring stories with enduring themes. Taking their company name from the Titan who gained strength by touching the Earth, Antaeus members — many of whom are familiar to film and television audiences — regain their creative strength by returning to the wellspring of their craft: live theater. Members of the company span a wide range of age, ethnicity and experience; they have performed on Broadway, at major regional theaters across the country, in film, television and on local stages, and are the recipients of numerous accolades and awards. Audiences, who never see an understudy due to Antaeus’ trademark “partner casting,” frequently return to see the same play in the hands of an equally excellent but very different set of actors.

The new Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center complements Glendale’s ongoing commitment to integrate vibrant arts space into the fabric of city life, ensuring the arts remain accessible to all. Located just a few blocks away from The Americana at Brand and the newly remodeled Glendale Central Library as well as the Alex Theatre, the center promises to build upon Glendale’s growing reputation as an arts and entertainment destination. The center includes an 80-seat theater, a reconfigurable 45-seat performance/classroom space, a theater classics library and a lobby art gallery. All the artwork on display is available for purchase, and a portion of the proceeds goes to Antaeus Theatre Company.

Performances of Les Liaisons Dangereuses take place Oct. 26 through Dec. 10 on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. (no matinee performance on Saturday, Oct. 28). Tickets are $30 on Thursdays and Fridays, and $34 on Saturdays and Sundays. Six preview performances take place Oct. 19 through Oct. 25. Preview tickets are priced at $15. Antaeus Theatre Company has partnered with TodayTix, the free mobile ticketing platform, to offer a $5 preview lottery; a limited number of $5 tickets will be made available through the TodayTix app for previews.

The Kiki and David Gindler Performing Arts Center is located at 110 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205 (between N. Brand Blvd. and Maryland Ave.). The first 90 minutes of parking is free, then $2 per hour, in Glendale Marketplace garage located at 120 S. Maryland Ave (between Broadway and Harvard). The theater is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible.

For reservations and information, call 818-506-1983 or go to www.antaeus.org.

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