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Getty Announces Cast for Outdoor Theater Production of Sophocles' Elektra
Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa. Photo: Ellen M. Rosenbery. © 2008 J. Paul Getty Trust.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- 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 Man’s 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 J. Paul Getty Museum | Carey Perloff | Annie Purcell | "Elektra" |

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