About Us

Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays as well as provocative world premiere productions, the not-for-profit organization continues to present a body of work that garners national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company was founded by Gilbert Cates and is currently helmed by Executive Director Gil Cates, Jr., Artistic Director Matt Shakman and Board Chair Howard Tenenbaum. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains extensive education and community engagement programs, designed to involve underserved young people and the community at large in the arts.
Geffen Playhouse has been awarded more than 50 regional theater awards, including seven accolades for best overall productions and a special Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle award for best new play in Los Angeles for both Jane Anderson’s commission The Quality of Life and David Wiener’s Extraordinary Chambers. Geffen Playhouse also commissioned Donald Margulies’ Time Stands Still, which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play in 2010, Jeffrey Hatcher’s new adaptation of Frederick Knott’s Wait Until Dark, which was produced at several other regional theaters, and Joanna Murray-Smith’s Switzerland, which was produced internationally and featured Laura Linney and Seth Numrich in its premiere Los Angeles run. Other world premiere works include Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress, Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking, which opened on Broadway in 2009, Donald Margulies’ The Country House, co-produced with and commissioned by Manhattan Theatre Club and which opened on Broadway in 2014, and Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself, which premiered Off Broadway in April 2017.
Over the past 20 years, Geffen Playhouse has been host to such performers as Debbie Allen, Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Daniel Beaty, Annette Bening, Beau Bridges, Jackson Browne, Len Cariou, Bryan Cranston, Alan Cumming, Merle Dandridge, Blythe Danner, Tyne Daly, Peter Falk, Hershey Felder, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie Fisher, Scott Foley, Robert Forster, Andy Garcia, Betty Gilpin, John Goodman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Anna Gunn, Uta Hagen, Ed Harris, Glenne Headly, Neil Patrick Harris, Ricky Jay, Carol Kane, Jane Kaczmarek, Frank Langella, Sanaa Lathan, Linda Lavin, Laura Linney, Christopher Lloyd, John Mahoney, Marcel Marceau, Jefferson Mays, Sergio Mendes, Laurie Metcalf, Bette Midler, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Matthew Modine, Alfred Molina, Elisabeth Moss, Chris Noth, David Hyde Pierce, Chris Pine, Bill Pullman, Lily Rabe, Brooke Shields, Martin Short, Alicia Silverstone, Holland Taylor and Kathleen Turner.
The Geffen’s artistic team has cultivated relationships with acclaimed playwrights including Alan Alda, Jane Anderson, Jon Robin Baitz, Halley Feiffer, Rebecca Gilman, Richard Greenberg, Joshua Harmon, Beth Henley, Sarah Jones, Rajiv Joseph, Neil LaBute, Tracy Letts, Matthew Lopez, David Lindsay-Abaire, Martyna Majok, David Mamet, Donald Margulies, Steve Martin, Martin McDonagh, Terrence McNally, Conor McPherson, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, Robert O’Hara, Nick Payne, John Pielmeier, David Rambo, Yasmina Reza, Sarah Ruhl, Robert Schenkkan, John Patrick Shanley, Neil Simon, Nick Stafford, Teller, Wendy Wasserstein, Bess Wohl and Anna Zeigler.
Acclaimed directors including Sir Alan Ayckborn, Jo Bonney, Carolyn Cantor, Trip Cullman, Colman Domingo, Mike Donahue, John Doyle, Peter DuBois, David Esbjornson, Robert Falls, Doug Hughes, Michael Langham, Pam MacKinnon, Patricia McGregor, Maria Mileaf, Lisa Peterson, John Rando, Giovanna Sardelli, Thea Sharrock and Daniel Sullivan. Geffen Playhouse’s founding Producing Director Gilbert Cates, original Artistic Director Randall Arney, and current Artistic Director Matt Shakman have also expertly helmed Geffen Playhouse productions.