Sep 10, 2009

Better Late Than Never to Mad Men

It took us years to catch The Wire, and now our little household is finally immersing itself, Netflix-style, in Matthew Weiner's brilliant period series. (We're nearing the end of Season 1.) I have little to add to the widespread and deserved encomiums (encomia?) for the show, which is a pleasure to watch even when its narrative dawdles, except to offer some overdue praise for the letter-perfect taste of casting directors Laura Schiff and Carrie Audino. For a theater geek like me, one of the pleasures of watching well-cast TV shows is spotting favorite actors, and since Mad Men is shot in L.A. I've been pleasantly surprised to spot Bruno Oliver, Morgan Rusler, and, perhaps most satisfyingly, Allan Miller, who turned up as Rachel Menken's retail-mogul dad (above, with Maggie Siff as Rachel). (Not to mention, of course, that Sterling himself, John Slattery, was once a South Coast Rep stalwart, and starred there in the original Three Days of Rain.)

The casting fun goes both ways, of course, as Elisabeth Moss proved in her definitive turn in last year's Speed-the-Plow. And now it's been announced that the aforementioned Maggie Siff will star as Restoration dramatist Aphra Behn in Liz Duffy Adams' Or, for the Women's Project, opening Nov. 3 at the Julia Miles Theatre. (Bonus for me: erstwhile L.A. colleague and longtime Actors Theatre of Louisville staffer Wendy McClellan is directing). The Women's Project's other big announcement is next May's NY premiere of Sheila Callaghan's Lascivious Something (incidentally, commissioned but unlikely ever to be produced by South Coast Rep), which as yet boasts no TV stars (unless we count the playwright herself).

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