Rita Wilson Booked for Geffen Playhouse Return With 6 Shows of Intimate 'Liner Notes'

Scheduled to join the multitalented performer at the Westwood venue are Jeff Barry, Darrell Brown, Kara DioGuardi and Billy Steinberg and others yet to be announced.
Matt Winkelmeyer, David Livingston/Getty Images
Rita Wilson (left), Kara DioGuardi

Rita Wilson is returning to the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, where she will perform six new shows of her Liner Notes inside the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. The run follows her sell-out performances last fall of the same live music production, but this new installment — scheduled for Sept. 15-24 — will feature appearances from music industry standouts including Jeff Barry, Darrell Brown, Kara DioGuardi and Billy Steinberg and others yet to be announced.

The intimate Liner Notes is presented as an evening of songwriters performing and sharing the stories behind their songs in the venue, which will see the performers in the round with the audience surrounding them, "providing an up-close and personal experience," according to a release from the Geffen. The multitalented Wilson has a long history at the Westwood address after having appeared in such productions as Dinner With Friends and Love, Loss and What I Wore. She also took home the Distinction in Theater Award in 2009 at the Backstage at the Geffen event.

While Wilson is best known as an actress (her recent credits include Larry David's Broadway production Fish in the Dark, Girls, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and the upcoming Brother Nature), she has long insisted that her first love is music. She released her first solo album AM/FM in 2012 and followed it up with a self-titled album and a well-received residency at Cafe Carlyle in New York. Audiences also embraced her fall Liner Notes showcase at the Geffen, hence the September dates.

Of her upcoming guests, Barry is a pop music songwriter, singer and record producer who started his career in New York, where he helped craft the sound of such acts as 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 with such credits as “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 went on to discover Neil Diamond, producing such hits as “Solitary Man,” “Cherry, Cherry,” “Kentucky Woman” and “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon.” Barry was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Brown is a songwriter, arranger and record producer who has been credited with worldwide music sales of over 72 million units. He has penned four No. 1 hit singles, including the Grammy-winning song "You’ll Think of Me” by Keith Urban; the longest-running No. 1 single of Josh Turner’s career, “Why Don’t We Just Dance”; the No. 1 pop single “Simple Things” by Jim Brickman and Rebecca Lyn Howard; and “What I Cannot Change” by LeAnn Rimes. Brown also wrote and produced dozens of compositions used in the popular Sims 3 video game and other video games by EA Games. He also has created songs for movies (Gambit, Cruel Intentions and Pretty Woman) and for television (Today, Cold Case, One Tree Hill, Las Vegas and Rookie Blue).

DioGuardi is a Grammy- and Emmy-nominated songwriter, producer, music executive and Herb Albert Visiting Scholar at Berklee College of Music. Her songs have appeared on more than 160 million albums and she has won 20 BMI Awards for most performed songs, including songwriter of the year. DioGuardi has had more than 320 songs released by major labels, 150 songs on platinum-selling albums and over 50 charting singles. Her credits include collaborations with Pink, Katy Perry, Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus, Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood, Enrique Iglesias, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Darius Rucker, Faith Hill, Santana and more. She is best known to TV audiences as a judge on seasons 8 and 9 of Fox's American Idol, and as the head judge on Bravo’s songwriting reality show competition, Platinum Hit. DioGuardi also appeared on stage in the Broadway production of Chicago in 2011.

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, including "Like a Virgin" (Madonna), "True Colors" (Cyndi Lauper), "So Emotional" (Whitney Houston), "Eternal Flame" (The Bangles) and “Alone” (Heart). Steinberg and Kelly were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. In the mid-1990s, Steinberg teamed up with writer-producer Rick Nowels; the two won Grammys for producing the song and title cut, "Falling Into You," from Celine Dion's 1996 album.

More information on the shows can be found here.