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George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Presents Walnut Street Theatre David Mamet’s “A Life in the Theatre” Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 at 8 p.m.

January 8, 2015
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George Mason University’s Center for the Arts


Walnut Street Theatre

David Mamet’s “A Life in the Theatre”

Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 at 8 p.m.


FAIRFAX, Va., Jan. 8, 2014 – Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, America’s oldest continuously operating theater, presents Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet’s humorous and thoughtful play about two actors competing for the spotlight and the dressing room. The company’s touring production of “A Life in the Theatre” comes to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 at 8 p.m. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticketholders, will be held 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III and is sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts. 

Inspired by his own background as an actor, Mamet – who is also the author of “American Buffalo,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Oleanna” and “Speed the Plow” – wrote a funny and touching story about two actors in a repertory company. A promising young actor, John at first welcomes the advice and guidance of Robert, a veteran thespian, but then begins to overshadow him on the stage. This hilarious work provides a backstage glimpse into the world of show business and the challenges of the relationship between mentor and apprentice. “A Life in the Theatre” had its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 1977, starring Mike Nussman and Joe Mantegna, and opened off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York later that year; it had its Broadway revival in 2010, starring Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight. New Yorker said of the play, “Mr. Mamet has written – in gentle ridicule; in jokes, broad and tiny; and in comedy, high and low – a love letter to the theater. It is quite a feat, and he has pulled it off.”

Founded in 1809, Walnut Street Theatre has had a significant impact on theater history and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Its first theatrical production, “The Rivals,” was attended by both President Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette on opening night. The theater has hosted many pre-Broadway tryouts of plays that later became American classics, including “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “A Raisin in the Sun,” and numerous legendary actors have appeared on its stages, including Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth (the brother of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth), the Barrymores, Will Rogers, The Marx Brothers, Helen Hayes, Henry and Jane Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Sidney Poitier, Lauren Bacall, George C. Scott, Robert Redford, Jack Lemmon and William Shatner, among others. Today, Walnut Street Theatre is one of the most active theater companies in the United States, presenting more than 600 performances annually to 56,000 subscribers. 



Please note that this performance contains mature language.



Tickets for WALNUT STREET THEATRE’S production of “A LIFE IN THE THEATRE” are $44, $37 and $26. Youth Discount: tickets are half price for youth through grade 12. Visit the ticket office (open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the Mason Pond Parking Deck adjacent the Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university Lot K. For more information, please visit Like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @GMU_CFA.

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance, Art and Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.


About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Mason is also one of the best values in higher education, producing graduates who lead all Virginia schools with the highest annual salaries.