Robert Forster will star in Ronald Reagan play at Geva

07:27 PM, Mar 19, 2013

Robert Forster, Rochester native. (Provided photo)/

Written By Catherine Roberts | Staff writer

Rochester native Robert Forster, best known for his work in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, will make his Geva Theatre Center debut in a new one-man play about Ronald Reagan.

The June run of The Lifeguard: Ronald Reagan and His Story will be the play’s debut as well, said Mark Cuddy, artistic director of Geva in announcing the theater’s 2013-14 season, which will include the 30th anniversary production of Pump Boys and Dinettes, Clybourne Park and The Odd Couple.

Forster has been working with playwright David Rambo for about two years, since the play was in draft form, said Cuddy, who will direct the show. Forster workshopped the play in Los Angeles and was set to debut and tour it a year ago.

When that tour fell through, Forster reached out to Cuddy, and the two began a new plan for the show. They spent three days working on the play when Forster was in town recently for the opening of the renovated Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House.

We’re all thrilled to make this happen,” Cuddy said.

The Lifeguard, which runs June 13 to 30, is written by David Rambo, whose credits include the one-woman play about Ann Landers, The Lady with All the Answers (performed in 2011 by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester’s CenterStage). Rambo also has written for CSI and currently is the lead writer for Revolution, which returns for the second half of its first season at 10 p.m. Monday on NBC, WHEC-TV (Channel 10).

Rambo’s champion for The Lifeguard project has been Reagan’s daughter, Patti Smith, Cuddy said.

Geva’s 2013-14 season begins in September. Theater officials tracked Rochester’s reaction to Next to Normal and The Book Club Play, now in its last week after an extended run. Because of their success, the theater felt more comfortable solidifying a season that some would consider risky because of the number of debuts and newer plays, Cuddy said.

The Mainstage shows will be:

Pump Boys and Dinettes, Sept. 10 through Oct. 13: Long before the pop musicals of today, a musical group of the same name (including Rochester native Cass Morgan) hit Broadway with this show 30 years ago.

Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, Oct. 22 through Nov. 12: This spoof on the 1935 thriller directed by the great Hitchcock features four actors playing 150 characters.

Last Gas, Jan. 7 through Feb. 2: This play about a father trying to figure out life as a single parent is by John Cariani, whose Almost, Maine was produced in 2010 at Geva.

Clybourne Park, Feb. 11 through March 9: This is the only play ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and Olivier Award in the same season. It’s the sequel to A Raisin in the Sun, produced by Geva in February 2012, and features the Younger family moving into a predominantly white neighborhood in Chicago.

Informed Consent, March 18 to April 13: Geva did a staged reading of this new play by Deborah Zoe Laufer on Monday, and will see it through to its full production debut.

The Odd Couple, April 22 through May 18.

The holiday season will feature A Christmas Carol, which has become a tradition in Rochester, and the newest Maripat Donovan creation, Sister Strikes Again!: Late Nite Catechism 2.

The Nextstage will feature the world premiere of All Your Questions Answered, which will be part of the Rochester Fringe Festival in September, and Tinker to Evers to Chance in 2014. Tinker is part of a new Studio Series that includes Stranded on Earth. Dates of the plays and two more Studio productions will be announced at a later date.