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OLD BUDDIES HAPPILY PUSHING THE `PLOW'.



Byline: Evan Henerson Theater Writer

Whatever else they make of the actors' work in David Mamet's ``Speed-the-Plow,'' audiences at the Geffen Playhouse The Geffen Playhouse (or the Geffen) is a not for profit performing arts theater in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Originally named the Westwood Playhouse, UCLA purchased the property in 1993. UCLA's then chancellor, Charles E.  should have no difficulty buying stars Jon Tenney Jonathan F. W. Tenney (born December 16, 1961) is an American actor.

Tenney was born in Princeton, New Jersey to a psychiatrist mother and a research physicist father.[1] He received his B.A. degree from Vassar College, where he majored in drama and philosophy.
 and Greg Germann Gregory Andrew Germann (born February 26, 1958) is an American actor. He is perhaps best known for his role as Richard Fish in the television series Ally McBeal.

Germann was born in Houston, Texas and raised on Lookout Mountain outside of Golden, Colorado.
 as compadres.

You've got two East Coast-trained stage actors who trod the boards in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 and ended up in L.A. when Hollywood beckoned. Tenney and Germann each married around the same time. Their children were born one week apart. They've known each other 20 years. They vacation together.

Get them in a room together, drop the line ``So, I hear you two go back a ways,'' and you can pretty much sit back for the next 10 minutes and let the tape recorder tape recorder, device for recording information on strips of plastic tape (usually polyester) that are coated with fine particles of a magnetic substance, usually an oxide of iron, cobalt, or chromium. The coating is normally held on the tape with a special binder.  roll.

In the mid-1980s, both men served non-overlapping stints as understudies in Neil Simon's ``Biloxi Blues'' on Broadway. Five years later, Germann directed Tenney in David Marshall David Marshall may refer to:
  • David Marshall (footballer) (born 1985), Norwich City F.C. and Scotland national football team player
  • David Marshall (Scottish politician) (born 1941), British Labour Party Member of Parliament (1979—)
 Grant's play ``Current Events'' at New York Stage and Film.

``He was perfect for the part of this maniacally egotistical actor,'' Germann says. ``I thought, `Who else but Jon Tenney would be good for that.'''

But the path that led Germann, 44, and Tenney, 45, to finally share the stage as Hollywood cronies in Mamet's three-character play took the kind of turn that a far less skilled playwright than Mamet (``Glengarry Glen Ross,'' ``American Buffalo'') would concoct con·coct  
tr.v. con·coct·ed, con·coct·ing, con·cocts
1. To prepare by mixing ingredients, as in cooking.

2.
.

``I hadn't been in touch with Jon since (I directed him in) that play,'' Germann says. ``Then about two years ago, I was going through something in my life, and out of the blue, I got an e-mail from Jon. When I think about this, I get emotional. I really do. It was the sweetest e-mail, and I saved it.''

``I woke up one morning around the holiday time, and for some reason, Greg was on my mind,'' returns Tenney, picking up the tale. ``I knew he was going through a hard time. I had been through a similar experience. So I shot him an e-mail saying, `Hey, I know the holiday season is rough, and for what it's worth, I'm thinking about you.''' The friendship took off from there.

Meanwhile, Germann had been tracking ``Speed-the-Plow'' since he read it shortly after the play's New York run. Upon learning ``Plow'' was scheduled to be part of Geffen's '06-'07 season, Germann secured a meeting with director Randall Arney, who also is the Geffen's artistic director.

Offered the part of hustling producer Charlie Fox, Germann suggested Tenney for the role of head of production Bobby Gould Robert Anthony "Bobby" Gould (born 12 June, 1946 in Coventry) is an English football manager and former player. Playing career
As a player, Gould first played for Coventry City, making his debut for the club whilst still an apprentice at the age of 16.
. ``Randy said, `He's not available,''' Germann says. ``I said: `Wait, I have a feeling he is. I'm going skiing with him next week.'''

Not only was Tenney available, he hadn't appeared in a play for more than two years and was looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 a stage production that wouldn't take him back to New York. The producers of the TNT TNT: see trinitrotoluene.
TNT
 in full trinitrotoluene

Pale yellow, solid organic compound made by adding nitrate (−NO2) groups to toluene.
 show ``The Closer,'' on which Tenney plays Kyra Sedgwick's love interest, were accommodating, and Arney had his Gould. Alicia Silverstone, who Mamet directed in his ``Boston Marriage'' last season, rounds out the cast.

``He brought my name into the mix,'' Tenney says. ``I'm really beholden be·hold·en  
adj.
Owing something, such as gratitude, to another; indebted.



[Middle English biholden, past participle of biholden, to observe; see behold.
 to Greg for reintroducing them to the idea. I'd been hungering to do a play and didn't know how to schedule it. It's in town. I'm here with my daughter. If it ever was going to work, it was going to work out here.''

Count Germann among the league of the contented as well.

``This is, like, down the street. It's a great theater. David Mamet Noun 1. David Mamet - United States playwright (born in 1947)
Mamet
 is giving us some rewrites,'' Germann says. ``Alicia's doing it, Jon ... it's like so many things are complicated in my life, but this fits like a glove.''

The above words, by the way, are uttered without a trace of a barb barb-,
a combining form used to indicate derivatives of barbituric acid.


Barb

1. originally a distinct line of black Australian kelpies, but now the term is generally applied to any black kelpie.

2.
 or a whiff of irony. For Germann -- who played ultra-quirky attorney Richard Fish on ``Ally McBeal'' and currently stars in CBS' ``In Case of Emergency'' -- this is a rare feat.

The entire room -- Tenney included -- is his straight man. Tenney laughs off the digs as often as he keeps pace.

A sampling:

Tenney: I'm sure if you talked to some other actors who have carried huge movies, that's a giant responsibility, but ...

Germann: ``I've carried some big movie blockbusters. Last weekend, I was carrying a bunch of them. All the way.''

Tenney: ``... But it feels good.''

Germann: ``It's terrifying ter·ri·fy  
tr.v. ter·ri·fied, ter·ri·fy·ing, ter·ri·fies
1. To fill with terror; make deeply afraid. See Synonyms at frighten.

2. To menace or threaten; intimidate.
. Come on!''

Tenney: ``It's terrifying and great. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.''

Germann: ``I would. The Bahamas.''

Fox and Gould, their ``Speed-the-Plow'' counterparts, have a history and a keenly honed style of banter as well. In the course of ``Speed-the-Plow,'' Fox brings a sure-fire action hit to newly promoted head of production, Gould. But Gould's loyalty is tested when he considers green-lighting a new-age novel championed by his comely come·ly  
adj. come·li·er, come·li·est
1. Pleasing and wholesome in appearance; attractive. See Synonyms at beautiful.

2. Suitable; seemly: comely behavior.
 temp, Karen (Silverstone), at the expense of Fox's project.

The play's 1988 Broadway production featured Joe Mantegna as Gould, Ron Silver (who won a Tony award) as Fox and -- in her Broadway debut -- Madonna as Karen. The play ran 279 performances. Neither Tenney nor Germann saw it.

Mamet, whose TV series ``The Unit'' is filmed in L.A., has attended several Geffen rehearsals and done some updating to make some of the references more current.

The play gets regular stagings, and Tenney and Germann figure it's ripe for a new wave of popularity.

``So the play was done in New York, and aside from the fact that Madonna was in it ... it was somewhat dismissed,'' Germann says. ``It was after `Glengarry,' several years after `American Buffalo.' Mamet writes this three-character play about guys in Hollywood, and Madonna's in it. I always felt this was as good or better than anything he's written in its simplicity.''

``It's just like a bullet,'' Tenney agrees. ``It's really spare. Lean, lean, lean.''

Evan Henerson, (818) 713-3651

evan.henerson@dailynews.com

SPEED-THE-PLOW

Where: Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood.

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday; through March 25.

Tickets: $35 to $69. (310) 208-5454.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Longtime friends Jon Tenney, left, and Greg Germann star in David Mamet's ``Speed-the-Plow,'' at the Geffen Playhouse.

Evan Yee/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 5, 2007
Words:1041
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