Liner Notes: Songwriters, Stories and Music with Rita Wilson and Friends

September 7 - September 17, 2017
Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater

Featuring Rita Wilson
With Guest Artists Jeff Barry, Kristian Bush, Desmond Child, Liz Rose, Patty Smyth, Billy Steinberg & Dan Wilson

Rita Wilson brings her vocal and songwriting talents back to the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse for eight shows only. For each performance, Wilson will be joined by special guests for an evening of songwriters performing and telling the stories behind their songs. The shows will be performed in a cabaret setting, providing an up-close and personal experience.

Wilson is no stranger to the Geffen, having appeared in numerous productions over the theater’s 20-year history, including Dinner with Friends and Love, Loss and What I Wore. In 2009, she was presented the Distinction in Theater Award at the annual Backstage at the Geffen event.

Artist Performance Schedule:
September 7-10: Rita Wilson, Jeff Barry, Kristian Bush & Desmond Child
September 14: Rita Wilson, Patty Smyth, Billy Steinberg & Dan Wilson
September 15-17: Rita Wilson, Liz Rose, Patty Smyth & Billy Steinberg

VIP cabaret-style seating includes two complimentary drinks served table-side.



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Meet The Artists

Rita Wilson has a long history with the Geffen. In addition to her Liner Notes performances in 2015 and 2016, she starred in the theater’s production of Donald Margulies’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play Dinner with Friends and Nora and Delia Ephron’s critically acclaimed Love, Loss and What I Wore. In 2009, she was presented with the Distinction in Theater Award at the annual Backstage at the Geffen event. Well-known as an actress (It’s Complicated, Sleepless in Seattle, a recurring role in CBS’s The Good Wife, HBO’s award-winning series Girls, the upcoming film Simple Wedding and, most recently was on Broadway in Larry David’s smash hit, Fish in the Dark), and as a film producer (Mamma Mia!, the upcoming Mamma Mia 2!My Big Fat Greek Wedding and its sequel, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, for which she co-wrote and performed Even More Mine), Wilson’s first love is music. In May 2012, she realized a lifelong dream with the debut of her solo album AM/FM. The album, released by Decca/Verve Records, is an intimate, elegant and beautifully sung collection of covers of her favorite songs from the 1960s and 1970s. Since the release of AM/FM, Wilson has been focusing on a new component of her musical career as a songwriter. In March 2016, she released her self-titled second album, showcasing her skill for creating insightful, eloquent singer-songwriter pop music that is etched with stunning honesty. For two years prior to the release, she worked with a host of the finest award-winning and best-selling songwriters and producers in both Los Angeles and Nashville. This new material was prominently featured in her sold-out two-week residency at the famed Café Carlyle in New York City. “Ms. Wilson has a catch in her voice that conveys yearning and potential heartbreak behind a façade of cheer. As a stage performer, she is gregarious and forthright; a natural entertainer,” said The New York Times. Connie Britton performed Wilson’s song “Strong Tonight” on an episode of ABC’s Nashville in spring 2016. In June 2016, Wilson toured with Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famers Chicago, one of the bestselling bands of all time with more than 100 million albums sold.

Guest songwriters will include: 

Jeff Barry Performs September 7-10
Jeff Barry is a pop music songwriter, singer and record producer who started his career in New York, making famous The Dixie Cups, The Crystals, Ronnie Spector, Andy Kim, Ray Peterson and Ron Dante of the Archies. He partnered with Ellie Greenwich in the 1960s to form one of the decade’s most prolific songwriting and producing teams. Together with Phil Spector, they helped define the “Girl Group” sound with the hits “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals and “Be My Baby” and “Baby, I love You” by The Ronettes. They also penned the classic “River Deep, Mountain High” by Ike and Tina Turner and “I Can Hear Music” by The Ronettes and The Beach Boys. In 1964, Barry and Greenwich joined the new label, Red Bird Records, to write and produce 15 hits out of its first 20 releases, including “Chapel of Love,” “People Say,” and “Iko Iko” by The Dixie Cups and “Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand)” and “Leader of the Pack” by The Shangri-Las. The duo went on to discover singer-songwriter Neil Diamond, producing his first hits “Solitary Man,” “Cherry, Cherry,” “Kentucky Woman” and “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon.” Barry wrote the television theme songs for One Day at A Time, The Jeffersons, Where’s Waldo? and Family Ties. He continued to write chart-topping hits, including the No. 1 hit single “I Honestly Love You” for Olivia Newton-John; Jeffrey Osborne and Joyce Kennedy’s “The Last Time I Made Love” and Gary Stewart’s “Out of Hand,” among many others. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
Kristian Bush Performs September 7-10
Grammy-winning recording artist Kristian Bush has been leaving his mark on music for more than two decades. The singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist started his career with folk-rock duo Billy Pilgrim in the early 1990s. In 2004, he exploded onto the country music scene with Sugarland, surpassing sales of more than 22 million albums worldwide, achieving five No. 1 singles and winning numerous Grammys, American Music, Academy of Country Music, Country Music Television and Country Music Association awards. In 2014, Bush made his solo debut with Top 20 hit “Trailer Hitch,” featured on his critically-acclaimed album Southern Gravity, which Country Weekly named the “feel-good album of the year” and Rolling Stone named one of the Top 10 country albums of 2015. He wrote and performs “Forever Now,” the theme song to TLC’s reality series Say Yes to The Dress; his songs anchored the world premiere of Troubadour, a musical set in 1950s Nashville, which debuted at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre Center in January 2017; and most recently, he won raves for producing Lindsay Ell’s debut album, The Project. Currently signed to Wheelhouse Records/BBR Music Group, his single, “Sing Along,” is out now.  
Desmond Child Performs September 7-10
Desmond Child has written more than eighty Top 40 hits, including “Livin’ On A Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “I Was Made for Lovin’ You,” “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and “Waking Up in Vegas.” From Aerosmith to ZEDD, his collaborations also include Bon Jovi, KISS, Joan Jett, Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Meat Loaf, Sia and Katy Perry, selling more than 500 million records worldwide, as well as downloads, YouTube views and streaming plays already in the billions. His autobiography Livin' On A Prayer: Big Songs Big Life with David Ritz is scheduled for release in the spring of 2018. Child was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008 and serves on its Board of Directors, as well as the Board of ASCAP. In 2012, he co-founded the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and serves as its Chairman/CEO.

Liz Rose Performs September 15-17
Born and raised in Texas, Liz Rose moved to Nashville and began writing songs at the age of 37. She has since penned 16 songs with Taylor Swift, including the No. 1 crossover hits “Tim McGraw,” “Teardrops On My Guitar,” “You Belong With Me,” Grammy Award-winning Best Country Song “White Horse,” and ACM Song of the Year, “Crazy Girl.” More recently, she co-wrote Little Big Town’s double platinum smash hit, “Girl Crush,” which earned the Grammy for Best Country Song in 2016 and the Country Music Association’s Award for Song of the Year in 2015. Rose has also written songs for other artists including Alison Krauss, Blake Shelton, Bonnie Raitt, Carrie Underwood, Chris Young, Gary Allan, LeeAnn Womack, Miranda Lambert and Tim McGraw. Together, her songs have sold more than 20 million copies. In 2010, Rose launched her publishing company, Liz Rose Music, with her son Scott Ponce, as a home for burgeoning songwriters. The company’s roster now includes Phil Barton, Cameron Bedell, Corey Crowder, Seth Ennis, Alyssa Micaela, Emily Shackelton, and Rose’s daughter Caitlin Rose.
Patty Smyth Performs September 14-17
Patty Smyth, an Oscar and Grammy nominated singer and songwriter, burst onto the scene with the band Scandal in 1982 and its self-titled debut that turned out to be the best-selling EP in Columbia Records history. The album featured the hit single, “Goodbye to You,” a song Smyth co-wrote, and the hits “Love’s Got a Line on You” and “Win Some, Lose Some.” In 1984, the group’s first full-length album, The Warrior, climbed into the Top 20 on the sales chart, eventually earning RIAA-certified platinum status, with more than a million in sales. Smyth’s 1992 solo album featured her biggest hit ever, “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough,” a song she wrote that featured a performance by Don Henley. The song reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and stayed there for six consecutive weeks, going No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart. The album and the single each earned platinum status. The album also produced the hits “No Mistakes,” “I Should be Laughing” and “Shine.”

Billy Steinberg Performs September 14-17
Billy Steinberg has been among the most successful songwriters of the past 30 years, co-writing with Tom Kelly five No. 1 singles on Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart: “Like A Virgin” (Madonna), “True Colors” (Cyndi Lauper), “So Emotional” (Whitney Houston), “Eternal Flame” (The Bangles) and “Alone” (Heart). Additionally, he wrote the Top 10 hits “I’ll Stand by You” (Pretenders), “I Touch Myself” (Divinyls), “How Do I Make You” (Linda Ronstadt), and “I Drove All Night” (Roy Orbison, Cyndi Lauper, Celine Dion). Steinberg and Kelly were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. In the mid-1990s, Steinberg teamed up with Rick Nowels. They won Grammy Awards for producing the song “Falling into You” for Celine Dion. Steinberg currently works with Josh Alexander and they have written and produced the hits “Too Little Too Late” (JoJo) and “Give Your Heart a Break” (Demi Lovato). 

Dan Wilson Performs September 14
Dan Wilson is a Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, producer and visual artist based in Los Angeles who fronted the seminal 90s rock band Semisonic in addition to being a member of the band Trip Shakespeare. His long songwriting resume includes three modern classics: “Closing Time” (written for Semisonic), “Not Ready to Make Nice” (co-written with Dixie Chicks), and “Someone Like You” (co-written with Adele). Since Semisonic, Dan has released four solo albums and become a highly sought-after songwriting collaborator. The diverse group of artists he has written with and produced includes Adele, Dixie Chicks, Chris Stapleton, John Legend, The Head & The Heart, Dierks Bentley, My Morning Jacket, Carole King, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, P!nk, Phantogram, Taylor Swift, and many others. Recently, Dan co-wrote “Alone” from Halsey’s 2017 album, and Noah Cyrus’ latest single “Almost Famous” (which he also produced). His fourth solo album, Re-Covered – a collection of his reinterpretations of songs he wrote for and with other artists – was released in August 2017.

Now At The Geffen

Upcoming Shows & Events

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October 2018
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Performance Info

No one under the age of 21 will be admitted to this production.