Getty Villa Presents Euripides' Helen In This
Year's Annual Outdoor Theater Production
Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays
September 6-29, 2012
At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa
LOS ANGELES - This fall, the Getty Villa presents an
alternative history of Helen of Troy in Euripides' rarely
Helen, a new production by Los Angeles-based
Playwrights' Arena, directed by artistic director Jon
Lawrence Rivera. This new adaptation by playwright Nick
Salamone of Euripides' surprising twist on the legend of
Helen is the seventh annual outdoor theater production in
the Getty Villa's Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater.
In this version of her story, written just three years
after his Trojan Women, Euripides' Helen is no wanton
seductress, but rather a faithful wife and innocent victim
of Olympian plots. By a trick of the gods, this Helen never
travels to Troy at all, but is replaced by a phantom double
before she can be kidnapped by the Trojan prince Paris.
Magically transported by Hermes to Egypt for safekeeping,
the real Queen Helen waits out the Trojan War in an ironic
celibacy, far from the battle.
Euripides' play picks up Helen's story seventeen years
later, as the now middle-aged queen-stranded on the banks
of the Nile, oblivious of her infamy and ignorant of the
War's outcome-wonders whether the gods, the world, and
above all her husband have forgotten her forever. As
the plot unfolds, an irreverent fantasy ensues, filled with
mistaken identities, daredevil escapes, and the inevitable
"deus ex machina."
"Largely overlooked and rarely performed, Euripides'
story of Helen makes you rethink the most vilified woman in
Greek drama," says Jon Lawrence Rivera, the founding
artistic director of Playwrights' Arena, which is dedicated
to discovering, nurturing and producing bold new works for
the stage written exclusively by Los Angeles playwrights.
This production of Euripides' Helen at the Getty Villa is
the centerpiece of Playwrights' Arena's 20th anniversary
"The premiere of a new adaptation of Euripides' Helen is
the perfect way to follow last year's presentation of
Trojan Women at the Getty Villa," says Claire Lyons, acting
senior curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
"In Trojan Women, Euripides portrays Helen of Troy as
a villain and cynical manipulator. In Helen, written
just a few years later, the playwright reinvented her as a
witty, delightful, and remarkably resourceful heroine."
Euripides' Helen will be held Thursday through
Saturday, September 6 through 29, 2012 at 8:00 p.m., with
previews from August 30 through September 1. Tickets are
$42 ($38 for students and seniors, $25 for preview
performances). On sale today (July 2), tickets are
available by calling 310-440-7300 or online at
Before each evening's performance, the museum galleries
will be open for theater-goers to enjoy the Villa's
collection, gardens and the exhibition The Last Days of
Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection, opening
The Café at the Getty Villa will once again offer a special
pre-theater prix fixe sit-down dinner. More
information on this and other dining options can be found
on the Getty's website, where reservations can be made for
the prix fixe dinner.
The Getty Villa's annual outdoor theater production is
part of a year-round 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, the works of art
serve to deepen the connection between modern audiences and
the mythical stories underlying the tragedies and comedies
"Theater was a fundamental part of religious and social
life in the ancient world, and as the Villa's theater
program shows, Classical drama still resonates powerfully
with contemporary playwrights, actors, and audiences,"
The Getty Villa's indoor auditorium is host to the
Villa Theater Lab and the Villa Play-reading series of
performances in the winter and spring that
explore innovative approaches to the classical canon. Other
special events including lectures and talks also take place
in the Villa auditorium throughout the year.
About Jon Lawrence Rivera
A five-time Ovation Award nominee, Mr. Rivera is the
founding artistic director of Playwrights' Arena and his
productions have garnered over 100 local and international
awards. Recent directing credits include Unmerciful
Good Fortune by Edwin Sanchez; Bonded by Donald Jolly (2012
GLAAD Award nomination); The Sonneteer by Nick Salamone
(Los Angeles Times Best Play of 2011; Blood Wedding by
Federico Garcia Lorca; Calligraphy by Velina Hasu Houston,
Road to Saigon at East West Players, Jacques Brel at the
Colony Theatre and Oedipus el Rey by Luis Alfaro at the
Getty Villa Theater Lab and at the Theatre @ Boston
Court. Other works include: The Last Five Years by
Jason Robert Brown, Miss Saigon by Schönberg/Boublil, Ruby,
Tragically Rotund by Boni B. Alvarez, Laws of Sympathy by
Oliver Mayer, The Joy Luck Club by Susan Kim, Sea Change by
Nick Salamone (2009 LA Weekly Award), The Third from the
Left by Jean Colonomos (2008 NY Fringe Festival), Hillary
Agonistes by Nick Salamone (2007 NY Fringe Festival Award),
and Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn.
About Nick Salamone
Nick Salamone is the author of ten
full-length produced plays: Another House on
Mercy Street, All Souls' Day, Riffs and Credos, Moscow, Red
Hat & Whale Watchers, Hillary Agonistes, Gulls, Sea Change,
and The Sonneteer. Salamone is the 2007 recipient of the
Playwrights' Arena Award for Outstanding Contribution to
the Los Angeles Theatre Community. His has twice
received the Beverly Press Maddy Award for excellence in
playwriting, and the Backstage Garland Award for Best Score
of a Musical. He has also won the LA Weekly Award,
Garland Award and Ovation nomination for Best Adaptation;
and two LA Weekly Award nominations for Best New Play. His
most recent work, The Sonneteer, was listed by the Los
Angeles Times, LA Stage Times and Entertainment Today among
the best new plays of 2011. Moscow has received the
Edinburgh International Fringe Festival's Fringe First
Award for New Writing as well as its Audience Favorite
Award. He is an alumnus of the Nautilus Music-Theatre
Workshop and graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from
Tufts University with a B.A. in English and Drama.
# # #
The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and
philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that
includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research
Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty
Foundation. 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.
The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas,
including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings,
drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and
photographs gathered internationally. The Museum's
mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive
to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the
works of art through educational programs, special
exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.
Visiting the Getty Villa
The Getty Villa is open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m.
to 5 p.m. It is closed Tuesday and major holidays.
Admission to the Getty Villa is always free. A ticket is
required for admission. Tickets can be ordered in advance,
or on the day of your visit, at www.getty.edu/visit or at
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more must make reservations by phone. For more information,
call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish); (310) 440-7305
(TTY line for the deaf or hearing impaired). The Getty
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