Sunday, September 17, 2023


Grace Soens, Azeem Vecchio and Ensemble
Photo by Jenny Graham

"Blood at the Root" a self described "choreopoem" that touches on our not so distant  past in the United States with the energy and rhythms of today. 
Based on a true life incident in Louisiana, director Michael A. Shepperd creates a well tuned ensemble cast : high school kids mostly, who express their hopes and dreams.. pretty much.. as young folks in the land of bias and white supremacy. They ask questions and stand  up to echo the message of civil rights and human rights and the rights of even kids to have an opinion and take arms against a sea of troubles.(so to speak...) and if not to  end them, to . at least raise the red lantern and send a message that bias is alive and it is only when we stand together :   with unity and progress as a goal, may lives actually get better.
Raylynn (Nychelle Hawk) is ready for change.  She is pals with Asha (Caroline Rose). Asha is a pixie with an attitude: a white girl who sounds black and in the course of the production  has her social position challenged. Director Michael A.Shepperd's strong hand creates the feeling of the hip hop directive laid out in Dominique Morisseau's presentational text.
A huge oak tree dominates the stage. it's a rallying point for white kids at Cedar High School with the understanding that they are the only ones welcome there.  When three nooses appear after Ray has opted to take a seat under the tree, the challenge of traditions and human rights rears its hoary head.
 Yusuf Nasir's dynamic choreography emerges as a rallying point for the polemic that declares that we are still a racist society and it is only when those among us step up.. step out and declare the Truth, that things begin to change.
Old Dominion .. the charter oak in question created by Scenic Design & Technical Director
Joel Daavid; 
engineered by Jan Munroe, looms to domnate the space with bloody roots running to the apron of the stage. 
The highly presentational style of the piece has the cast crisply changing set pieces, aided by Gavan Wyrick's effective lighting. It's all dance. 
The play's heavy message might benefit from changes of pace: volume attenuated to create the tension that, especially, dominates the dialogue between Justin (Azeem Vecchio) the Cedar High School newspaper editor and the hot shot reporter, Toria (Grace Soens) who longs to print birth control information instead of a list of after school activities.  
Working as a tight ensemble the supporting players boost the over all energy with crisp and precise moves. 
I'm late to the party and hope that Open Fist will get the audience it deserves.


Raylynn:  Nychelle Hawk
Toria:  Grace Soens
Asha: Caroline Rose
Justin : Azeem Vecchio
DeAndre: Nicholas Heard
Colin: Jeremy Reiter ll
Chorus: Amber Tiara
Chorus: Malik Bailey
Chorus: Deandra Bernardo
Chorus/US Toria: Emma Bruno
Chorus : Jack David Sharpe
Scenic Design & Technical Director
Joel Daavid
Costume Design
Mylette Nora
Lighting Design
Gavan Wyrick
Sound Design
Marc Antonio Pritchett
Charge Scenic Artist
Marine Walton
Assistant Scenic Design
Maya Gonzales
Yusuf Nasir
Production Stage Manager
John Scenic Design & Technical Director
Joel Daavid
Costume Design
Mylette Nora
Lighting Design
Gavan Wyrick
Sound Design
Marc Antonio Pritchett
Charge Scenic Artist
Marine Walton
Assistant Scenic Design
Maya Gonzales
Yusuf Nasir
Production Stage Manager
John Scenic Design & Technical Director
Joel Daavid
Costume Design
Mylette Nora
Lighting Design
Gavan Wyrick
Sound Design
Marc Antonio Pritchett
Charge Scenic Artist
Marine Walton
Assistant Scenic Design
Maya Gonzales
Yusuf Nasir
Production Stage Manager
John Dimtri
Lead Carpenter
Jan Munro
Lucy Pollak
Blood at the Root

By Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Michael A. Shepperd

Sept. 9 – Oct. 28
Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 15; Sept. 22; Sept. 29; Oct. 6; Oct. 13; Oct. 20; Oct. 27
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 9 (Opening Night); Sept. 16; Sept. 23; Sept. 30; Oct. 14; Oct. 21; Oct. 28 (dark Oct. 7)
Sundays at 3 p.m.: Sept. 17; Oct. 1; Oct. 15 (no matinees on Sept. 10; Sept. 24; Oct. 8; Oct. 22
Sundays at 7 p.m.: Sept. 10; Sept. 24; Oct. 8; Oct. 22 (no evening performances on Sept. 17; Oct. 1; Oct. 15)
Monday at 8 p.m.: Oct. 9 ONLY

Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
FREE parking in the ATX (Atwater Crossing) lot one block south of the theater.

$20 – $30
(323) 882-6912


Sunday, September 10, 2023

THE SOUND INSIDE at Th Pasadena Playhouse.



 I was so inspired by the revelation in the text of this play that Christopher (Anders Keith) had written his novella with a typewriter that I decided to write this review with an old Smith Corona about the same era as Christopher's machine.  What happens when we write in analog . the sound of the type bars smacking the page and an occasional typo that, if necessary.. takes time and energy to correct.. the look of the page:  I am truly sorry this did not enlarge properly. .with a maginfying glass, it is the first impression and rave for this excellent production. 

Evidently, I did not spell Amy's name properly. edit If I can find the beauty of the in hand program that the Playhouse provides, I can fix that.   (I did. See below)

After her opening salvo .. a five page monologue by Bella, exposing deep feelings and information, we segue to her office at Yale. One of the  early lines that gave me hope when Bella (Amy Brenneman) is confronted by Christopher (Andeers Keith) without an appointment .. appointments are sacrosanct for doing student / professor business at Yale..  erupts in a tirade that I share... 

Christopher is my hero.  "Email is not my style," He mentions penmanship!  Ink.  A pustule of stuff erupts as he single handedly destroys the many electronic ways that communication is removing human beings from one another. It's poetry. Elegant and Keith's delivery is surgical.  

And this is in the first few minutes that we meet Bella and then Christopher.  It's a tone poem of sorts. it's human condition and in spite of all the broken rules. there are many broken rules.. it's talky and deep and human.. as we get to find the way the kid and the fifty something single professor with health issues  are drawn together in a beautiful slow moving arabesque.

Keith is credited with authorship of this version of The Sound Inside.  This kid's delivery, as I may say in the typing above.. is almost On the Spectrum, but precise and direct, though there is an unexplained moment when he spaces out and.. then...  returns.

Rapp is credited with all kinds of writing.  In this play we get the essence of what writing is. Christopher composes on his manual typewriter.  This turns the story a little dark: even a bit creepy.  The intimacy of these two human beings is never overtly intimate in the sense that the love they share is ever consumated, but the depth of the connection is palpable.

The beauty of Cameron Watson's direction is that whatever he did, his hand doesn't show. The scene changes.. and yes.. it'a virtually talking and pauses and moments.. the beauty is that the actors never miss a beat. Their dance is fluid and perfectly paced. Some moments may take the breath away.

They discuss balancing bad acts with goodness in Crime and Punishment. Over my head, for sure.. but it's foreshadowing that makes sense later.  I recall the term 'digital chlymydia' to damn the tech world. That made me smile. 

Literary references to suicide, another foreshadowing emerges.  Christopher mentions his novel..he's writing a novel, he says.. He is typing it on a 'mid century Corona' and because my Corona 4 is early 20th Century, I chose the Smith Corona and that's where that typing up there came from. An homage to analog.

I feel almost taken over by Christopher as I easily breeze through the great fun and completion of this story that Rapp's play delivers. One must see the show to hear Christopher's delivery. His pronunciation is crisp.. too crisp and direct and impatient. Bella beautifully  fields his presence and at the same time is .what? Taken in?  Absorbed.. attracted?  All of the above and as the business of her health and his novella and their relationship evolves.. the dance.. The Dance.. Garth Brooks' song. The Dance comes to mind.., though the correlation is really a minor one...

When I see a play that touches me and I find the message and the work.. the efforts of  all involved. the actors, the direction.. the tech.. (aside from the attractive woman with the silver dredlocks checking her phone from time to time in row M) it inspires my own need to attempt to echo the poetry that has so moved me. The echoes reverberate as Bella repeats the directive.. Listen to the Sound Inside.. Listen to the Sound Inside..

That said. Please go to see The Sound Inside.

The Sound Inside 

by Adam Rapp  & Anders Keith

directed by CameronWatson

The creative team features 
scenic design by Tesshi Nakagawa; 
costume design by Danyele E. Thomas; lighting design by Jared A. Sayeg; 
sound design by Jeff Gardner; 
casting by Ryan Bernard Tymensky,  
stage management by Alyssa Escalante, 
David S. Franklin assistant stage manager.
The Pasadena Playhouse
39 S El Molino Ave, 
Pasadena, CA 91101-5220

Saturday, September 9, 2023



Photo by Darren Rafel

Howard Skora's World Premiere   Comedy  "Freud on Cocaine" .. if for no other reasons than to enjoy Michael Mullen's spectacular costumes is a snow trip not to be missed. (Little hip reference there, eh?)

Skora directs his own play in two acts based on the actual writings of Dr. Sigmund Freud from Freud's book "Cocaine Papers" as well as other personal notes. 

The unique quality of the Whitefire Stage is that The Play's The Thing.  Freud on Cocaine takes place on an essentially bare stage with a few set pieces, title crards and  projections set each scene. It works beautifully as a presentational approach.  

The audience is included from the get go with a sort of Greek 'chorus' that proclaims Freud's story in shorthand.  The man was many things, but essentially, Sigmund Freud (Jonathan Slavin) was a brilliant guy who was addicted to cocaine.

Skora's direction of his own play, a practice that I mostly don't think is a very good idea, seems to work well.    The frantic pace of the story unfolds with a strong emphasis on COCAINE as a cure-all with which Freud expected to stamp his mark upon the world.  Sly references to dreams at the close of the argument slide into place as Martha, Freud's wife (beautiful Sara Maraffino) insists that he abandon his cocaine addiction (which he never admits fully to) or lose her. 

Each character is finely tuned to complete the cast in such a way that they are undeniable. Most bombastic of the lot is Ernst (Really Really  big Aaron LaPlante), Freud's close pal. Unfortunately Ernst is addicted to many drugs.   Martha's mom, Emmeline Bernays (steadfast  Sigute Miller), holds her own as she attempts to deep six Martha's infatuation with  Sigmund.

Merck (Barry Brisco) virtually glows as the German provider and faciltator of Freud's cocaine  connection. He stands toe to toe with his cast mates to good effect.  Freud contracts to vet for Merck the quality of their coke to boost sales. With his 'research' Freud declares that cocaine is NOT addictive (witness Freud's daily bumps to the tune of a gram a day (which I hear is a lot!).. 

Enter Emma Eckstein (Amy Smallman-Winston) with issues of hysteria and problems with being highly sexed  and prone to self enjoyment. We learn of a surgival treatment  that deals with the nasovaginal connection. It goes haywire. Ow.

Though adorable, Kim Hopkins as the Narrator / Anna Freud, who added copious notes to Freud's The Cocaine Papers, upon  which the play has been based (its all fact, we've been told!) in her top hat and tails fails to find the over the top energy laid down by the rest of the cast.  It may be an actor's choice, but the value of Freud's lesbian daughter's story  is tiny by comparison to the rest of these excellent players.  Bigger, Faster, Louder!  Please.

It's a World Premiere!  The joy of seeing new and exciting theatre that romps a bit is a pleasure. 

It's a hit!! 

Freud on Cocaine sends up what we have come to understand is a drug of consequence. Cocaine IS addictive.. Terms for cocaine: happy dust and other euphemisms including  "punschkrapfen" do not promote the party use of the drug, but tell the story of how, in the late 19th Century, Sigmund Freud parlayed the idea of a sort of Universal Cure-All into his next steps: The Interpretation of Dreams.  

The genuinely funny dialogue, along with the over the top melodramatic presentation with title cards and the excellent use of John Knowles' projections, boosted by Skora's 21st Century language and contemporary approach to humor makes Freud on Cocaine a must see. 

There are moments of hilarity! Huzzah!

As a resident of the 20th Century, I was disappointed to not have a program in hand.  And..   Hey!   Freud needs a better bowler.


KIM HOPKINS (Narrator/Anna Freud)








 Freud on Cocaine

Written and Directed by Howard Skora
• Presented by the Whitefire Theatre, Bryan Rasmussen, producing artistic director

Sept. 8 – Nov. 4
Friday at 8 p.m.: Sept. 8 ONLY (opening night)
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 9; Sept. 16; Sept. 23; Sept. 30; Oct. 7; Oct. 14; Oct. 28; Nov. 4 (dark Oct. 21)
• Sunday at 2 p.m.: Sept 10 ONLY

Whitefire Theatre
13500 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

• Valet parking available at Augustine Wine Bar across Sunnyslope from the theater: $9
• Unrestricted parking available on Moorpark St. and on the west side of Dixie Canyon Ave.
• Metered parking on and just south of Ventura Blvd. (off on Sundays)
• 2-hour parking available in residential neighborhoods (Sunday matinees, until 6 p.m.)

(818) 687-8559






Sunday, September 3, 2023


 How the little company that will present A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Forum at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood got this wonderful rag tag show together is a bit of a mystery. I learned about it from  a dear old pal,  Jonnathan Cripple, who plays Errornius (the Buster Keaton part in the Zero Mostel film version).

It's a farce. It's a musical.  It's sexy. There are  colorful costumes, delicious babes in colorful costumes.  It is funny.  It deserves an audience.

The actor playing  Pseudoius did the show with a boot!  Injured in rehearsal.. The sign of a real trooper!  

My suggestion is .. at least for the Sunday Matine, arrive early.. parking can be problematic.. take a picnic and enjoy the lawn there by the Hollyhock House. The intallations in the LAMAG are by winners of attention from CoLA. the City of Los Angeles chosen royalty .. One ceramic installation is truly amazing. 

If you arrive early on Friday or Saturday, the sun sets at about 7PM. From Olive Hill, the phenomenon is spectacular! 

It's fun to boost productions that are making an effort by the seat of their pants. This show has a professional feeling and for fans of Larry Gelbart and Stephen Sondheim, it's a guaranteed fun time.

It's up for three more performances:  

Friday September 8th, at 8PM

Saturday September 9th at 8PM 

Sunday, September 10th at 3PM.

Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 
4800 Hollywood Blvd. 
Tix & Info 
or  Goldstar

This is copied from a PDF that came from the company: I don't have time to properly edit it.
Support the  show and enjoy Barnsdall Park! 
michael Sheehan
Originally Produced on Broadway by HAROLD S. PRINCE
Music and Lyrics by STEPHEN SONDHEIM
Associate Choreographers
Accompanist/Vocal Coach
September 1 - 10, 2023
Barnsdall Gallery Theatre
Production Stage Manager
Assistant Director
Production Manager
Managing Director
Produced and Directed by
Scenic Design
Scenic Construction
Scenic Painting
“Comedy Tonight”..........................................Prologus, Proteans, Company
“Love I Hear”..........................................................................................Hero
“Free”...................................................................................Pseudolus, Hero
“The House of Marcus Lycus”...........................Lycus, Pseudolus, Courtesans
“Lovely”.......................................................................................Philia, Hero
“Everybody Ought to Have a Maid”.......Senex, Pseudolus, Hysterium, Lycus
“I’m Calm”.....................................................................................Hysterium
“Impossible”................................................................................Senex, Hero
“Bring Me My Bride”.......................Miles, Pseduolus, Courtesans, Proteans
“That Dirty Old Man”........................................................................Domina
“That’ll Show Him”................................................................................Philia
“Lovely” (Reprise)........................................................Pseudolus, Hysterium
Funeral Sequence.............................Miles, Pseudolus, Courtesans, Proteans
“Comedy Tonight” (Finale)............................................................Company
(in order of appearance)
Prologus, an actor................................................................SCOTT BORDEN
The Proteans....................BAKER WILES, ADITYA DIKKA, ARNOL ZEPEDA
Hero, son of Senex and Domina..........................................MICHAEL BUDD
Philia, a virgin....................................................................MELODY HOLLIS
Senex, a citizen of Rome.................................................D. PAUL FAULKNER
Domina, his wife................................................................MINDY WILLENS
Hysterium, slave to Senex and Domina...........................ANTHONY GALANG
Pseudolus, slave to Hero......................................................SCOTT BORDEN
Marcus Lycus, a buyer and seller of courtesans.......................AARON COHEN
Tintinabula, a courtesan................................................ZAIRA ORDOUBADI
Panacea, a courtesan...............................................................BRIANA BAUER
The Geminae, matching courtesans........ERIKA CRUZ, SASHA SERDYUKOV
Vibrata. a courtesan.................................................................DANA DEVITT
Erronius, a citizen of Rome.......................................JONNATHON CRIPPLE
Miles Gloriosus, a warrior......................................................JAMES DOHENY
Time: Two hundred years before the Christian era,
a day in spring.
Place: A street in Rome in front of the houses
of Erronius, Senex and Lycus.
development of drug therapies for glioblastoma. The research we
support will transform glioblastoma therapy and prolong the lives of
glioblastoma patients.
O ur pur p os e is to
transform the standard
of care for glioblastoma
by s upp or t i ng t h e
is thrilled to be sharing the
stage with Scott and her fellow
courtesans and cast mates in
this hilarious and brilliant
production. A LA native, Briana
has performed all over the valley. Favorite roles
include Charity Hope Valentine Sweet Charity,
Julia-1984, Graziella-West Side Story, and Essie-
You Can’t Take It With You. Bauer has always had
a passion for performing ever since seeing Dirty
Dancing as a child–from that point on, she knew
where her heart belonged. Big Shoutout to Mom,
Dad, Sis, Bro, Derrek, Garrett, and Romeo!!
You are my biggest supporters– don’t know what
I’d do without your love and support <3 Enjoy
this classic show!! I dedicate this performance
to Denise. I know you’re watching from above.
@Brielesque |
Pseudolus) Favorite theatre
credits include Laughing Wild,
You’re a Good Man, Charlie
Brown, Big River, 1940s Radio
Hour, and his original musical
Exposing Myself ran for twelve weeks at the
Comedy Central Stage in Los Angeles. He can
be seen opposite Oscar winner Jamie Foxx in
the Netflix multi-camera comedy Dad Stop
Embarrassing Me, and alongside multi-hyphenate
sensation Liza Koshy in the single-camera comedy,
Liza on Demand. He popularly starred as the
Dancing Intern for MasterCard’s long-running
“Priceless” campaign and has a string of other
national campaigns under his belt. He would
like to thank every set of eyes reading this for
being a part of a dream come true.
long time ago, played Raccoon
#2 in a little theatre in the
suburbs of Sacramento, CA
and now he has a Masters in
Musical Theatre from The Royal Conservatoire
of Scotland & conservatory training in Acting
from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
He has three SARTA(Sacramento Area Regional
Theatre Alliance) Elly Award nominations for
his work in regional theatre. Some of his favorite
roles have been The Baker Into the Woods, Mr.
Pirelli Sweeney Todd, and Prince Eric The Little
Mermaid. He wants to thank his parents for
their unending love and support, his friends for
their laughter and joy, and he wants to dedicate
his performance to his grandmother in heaven
who loved to hear him sing.
IG: @michael.emery.budd
Lycus) is making his hilarious
return to theater after a 20-year
hiatus off the stage. Currently
studying with the incredible
Lesly Kahn & Co in Los Angeles,
Aaron is a comedian/actor who prides himself
on exposing the awkward moments in life. Feel
the feels, and let’s get weird. He is so grateful to
his wife, friends and family for their love and
support allowing him to transition back into
performing. He credits his acting career to his
late mother, Majorie B Cohen, Bea Arthur,
and a sprinkle of John Candy. As A Funny
Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was
the first musical he ever performed in, a full
circle moment has overwhelmed him with joy
exclaiming this production has been the most
rejuvenating and rewarding experience of his
life. This is it, and it’s perfect.
(Erronius) was born at a very
early age and wasted his youth
watching old films and listening
to classic radio. This was great
training for his careers as an
actor/director, a mime(?!!), a carny barker and
animation character model. He’s appeared for
some 2000+ corporate events as a multitude
of characters (ranging from Richard Nixon
to Keystone Kops, to Darth Vader to a living
statue of Moses) over the past 200 years as well
as appearing as comic characters in various
films, Commedia dell’Arte productions, and
Burlesque. He is a respected character model
(creating some 70+ original characters) for the
animation studios at Disney, Nickolodeon,
Cartoon Network, Sony, Art Center college
of Design and CalArts to name a few, and can
currently be seen in season one of Winning Time
on HBO Max and the horror short The Chair.
(The Geminae) is very excited
to be taking part in this show!
Nat’l Tour: The Pout Pout Fish.
Regional: Whatsername American
Idiot, Serena Legally Blonde, Sister
Mary Robert Sister Act, Maria West Side Story,
and Eva Peron Evita. Special thanks to the entire
cast and crew for bringing me on such a fantastic
project. Love to DDO, family, and friends for
the endless support! B.F.A.: AMDA LA/NY
graduated from the American
Musical and Dramatic Academy
(AMDA). Since graduating she
has performed in several shows
including original workshops
and the Hollywood Fringe Festival. She is a lead
in the award winning film The Walk as Lucy
and has recently made her television debut in
NatGeo’s Something Bit Me!
ADITYA DIKKA (The Proteans)
is an Indonesian actor who
moved straight from Jakarta to
Los Angeles to pursue a career in
acting. Most recently, he could
be found playing as Doug-The
Antelope Party. Still new in the musical theater
world, he has played several characters in a
mini musical-medley project including Bud
Frump-How to Succeed in Business Without Really
Trying, Hugo Peabody-Bye Bye Birdie, and Edna
Turnblad-Hairspray. Dikka received his B.A. in
Graphic Design from Northumbria University
in Newcastle, United Kingdom. But instead
of focusing on his career in graphic design, he
spent most of his time in Jakarta studying acting
in a local acting studio and going to several
auditions before finally moving to California.
He received his AA in acting in 2023 from
AADA in Hollywood.
Gloriosus) is thrilled to revert
back to his roots and be involved
in theatre again. James is a native
New Yorker, and grew up on
the stage. Past credits include:
Gaston-Beauty and the Beast, Kenickie-Grease,
and The Tin Man-The Wizard of Oz. He would
like to thank Jenny, his Mom, and Stooven for
their ongoing love and support! To the cast and
crew, let’s go break some legs!!!
is a proud Union actor who is
thrilled to be in this legendary
show with this amazing cast.
He is a veteran of many stage
shows and even more mammothly small roles on
television and film. Enjoy our comedy tonight
(or today) and thanks so much for coming.
(Gymnasia) is an LA-based
drag performer known for
her colorful paint jobs and
captivating performances. Her
non-drag persona, Myles McGee,
has been an actor on stage and screen for sixteen
years between California and Hawaii. Both are
immensely grateful for this opportunity!
(Hysterium) With just a few
theatre credits under his belt,
which include Little Shop of
Horrors, You’re A Good Man,
Charlie Brown, and another
production of A Funny Happened on the Way
to the Forum, Anthony is excited to be returning
to the Forum as Hysterium. His other work runs
rampant through different stages and screen.
From working with the touring company of
Dear Evan Hansen to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,
Anthony has been singing his way across the
board. He has sung back up for Keala Settle
and Iliza Schlesinger and competed in CW’s
Christmas Carolers Challenge-Season One, where
he made it to the semi-finals. He would like to
thank his family and friends for their continued
support as well as Top Shelf Vocal and the a
cappella community for helping him on his
musical journeys!
is delighted to be a part of this
show. Her past theater credits
include: The original Broadway
cast of Irving Berlin’s White
Christmas, Dollhouse at the
Goodman Theater, Baby at CVRep, Summer
and Smoke at Actors Co-Op, and Annie at
MTW. Her past film and TV credits include:
Vice, Criminal Minds, Fred Claus, A Golden
Christmas, and The Young and The Restless. She
would like to thank Scott Borden, the cast,
and the entire creative team of Forum for this
wonderful collaboration benefiting a great cause.
(Tintinabula) is a dancer,
aerialist and cat lover who
studied biology and dance at
Chapman University. Zaira is also
a traveling histology lab technician, processing
human tissue and assisting surgeons in removing
deadly skin cancers in hundreds of patients across
LA county every week. She is extremely honored
to be benefiting Glioblastoma Foundation for
this show as it incorporates her dedication to
bettering the lives and health of others with her
lifelong love of dance and live performance. She
sincerely thanks the Forum cast, supporters of
the cause, and her Mom and Dad for signing
her up for both theatre and science summer
camps in ‘08.
Geminae), originally from
Boulder, Colorado, has been
immersed in the performing arts
for as long as she can remember.
She recently graduated from
AMDA College and Conservatory of the
Performing Arts with her BFA in Dance Theatre,
where she had the opportunity to hone her craft
and perform in a number of original works created
for film and live stage. Since graduating, she’s
gotten the opportunity to be a part of the dance
ensemble in Panico Productions production of
Footloose at Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center,
and recently accepted a position with the LA
Choreographers and Dancers dance company.
She will be portraying a Courtesan and has greatly
enjoyed the process of putting together this great
show for a good cause with a wonderful team.
BAKER WILES (The Proteans)
is a classically trained theatre
performer from Minnesota, now
based in Los Angeles. In LA, you
may have seen him on stage at the
Wells Fargo Theater at the Gene
Autry Museum, the Beverly Hills Playhouse,
or the Next Stage Theatre. On television you
can see him in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer
Story on Netflix, opposite Milo Ventamiglia
on This Is Us on NBC, or sharing the role of
A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum is presented through special arrangement
with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also
supplied by MTI.
The Barnsdall Gallery Theatre is a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural
Affairs and is located on the ancestral and present homeland of the Tongva, Gabrieleno, and
Chumash People.
For the City of Los Angeles
MITCH O’FARRELL, Councilmember District 13
For the Cultural Affairs Department
DANIEL TARICA, General Manager
NICKI GENOVESE, Performing Arts Manager
For the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre
The Glioblastoma Foundation | Accent Dance Studios | Adam Ray
City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs | Magic Adjacent
The Monster with T-Pain on The Masked Singer
on Fox. Baker is also the Executive Producer of
the feature film, Sunny Daze, starring Michael
Beach and Lonnie Chavis on Amazon Prime
Video. Baker thanks you for supporting live
theatre and, as one of the Proteans, hopes only
to make you laugh and smile tonight.
couldn’t be happier to join this
incredible cast. Among her
favorite past performances are:
Philia-A Funny Thing Happened
on the Way to the Forum, Kate/Lili
Vanessi-Kiss me Kate, Princess Winnifred-Once
Upon a Mattress, Witch-Into the Woods, Mama
Rose-Gypsy, Katisha-The Mikado.
A R N O L Z E PE D A ( T h e
Proteans) is an actor who
graduated from LACC theater
academy. He is currently studying
acting, singing, dancing, and
filmmaking; we’re he believes
that there is always room for improvement and
self-growth. He has also been apart of multiple
theater productions and has recently worked in
cooperation with the Latino Theater Company,
where he performed as the lead in the original play
“Melancholia” directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela.
He also performed in the 2023 Hollywood Fringe
Festival in “Octopus In Its Own Ink” directed
by Eduardo Vega. His experience embodies
diverse commercials, voiceover, improv comedy
shows and music video productions in English
as well as in Spanish. He is excited to be part
of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to
the Forum” and looks forward to exploring and
discovering new various extraordinary roles and
characters in his career.
Follow his journey @arnoldstuff




Monday, August 28, 2023


                                      Ben Messmer, Tasha Ames, Jenny Soo 

                                                Photo Credit Grettel Cortes

Lisa Sanaye Dring's   HUNGRY GHOST turns partly on a famous artwork: Gaki-zoshi (Scroll of the Hungry Ghosts).  Japanese mythology discusses the arrival of ghosts who arrive with issues.   Cue the hermit!

Just who's who and what's what in Hungry Ghost  ekes out in scenes with lapses of time imagined. Sounds and lights are almost characters throughout. The advancement of the forest into the house remains a mystery.

We meet Amanda and Dean (Tasha Ames and Jenny Soo) who have come to Lake  Stevens, Washington in the wake of the death of Dean's mother.  In the current trend of mixing and matching pronouns, this lesbian couple presents in a way that may turn heads in Lake Stevens.

Dring shepherds us through the idea that this couple will move forward as partners. It is unclear if Amanda and Dean are officially married. It's  2022, so what the heck? 

After a rollicking session of oral sex, Amanda impregnates Dean with donor sperm. Soon after, Dean collides with Hermit (Ben Messmer). He is, evidently, based on a real hermit whom Dring discovered in her research. The mystery of this messy guy and Dean's pregnancy unfolds. Far out.

Thanks to Gary Grossmean and the development goals of The Skylight, this World Premiere follows current trends of support for the LGT,etc. community.  The full length one act unfolds on Yuri Okahana-Benson's beautiful set.

The Skylight has abandoned physical  / in hand programs, for that little square thing, so it took me a minute to find this information:

Creative Team: Yuri Okahana-Benson (Scenic Design), Brandon Baruch (Lighting), Mylette
Nora (Costume Design), Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski (Sound Design), Nick Santiago (Projection
Design), Benjamin Rawls (Technical Director), Victoria Hoffman (Casting), Cedes Sifuentes
(Production Manager).

Good work technically. One audience shake may have been an actual after shock, but all in all. The tech holds up very well.

All of the metaphors between the advancement of a lesbian couple in a fairly remote part of Washington escape me, but, as Amanda says to Dean, "We have a house!"  So love is where you find it? 

It should be exciting to see a genuine World Premiere.  This show must hold something for the folks who chose to put it up.  Go see for yourself and get back to me.


Written by Lisa Sanaye Dring

Directed by Jessica Hanna
Opening at 8:30pm on Saturday, August 26, 2023 with reception to follow
8:30pm Fridays & Saturday, 3:00pm Sunday, 7:30pm Monday through October 1, 2023
(No performance Mondays August 28 and September 4)
Skylight Theatre, 

1816 ½ North Vermont, 

Los Angeles, CA 90027


Sunday, August 20, 2023



 Emily James, Stephen Tyler Howell, Roxanne Hart, Evangeline Edwards, Samuel Garnett 
                                                   Photo by John Flynn.

Heroes of the Fourth Turning by Will Arbery explores a fascinating premise.  Set in the back woods of Wyoming., it's  August, 2017. Charlottesville has just happened.

Justin, Teresa, Emily & Kevin have arrived to celebrate the induction of Emily's Mother, Gina, (Roxanne Hart) as president of Transfiguration College of Wyoming. It's a Catholic college whose curriculum focuses on the goals of the  church and its parochial values. Each character may represent one of the archetypes described in the book  "The Fourth Turning" by Neil Howe and William Strauss. Please don't quote me. 

The Fourth Turning describes four "seasonal" episodes,  fifteen to twentyfive year trends showing how the world works.  

"Poster Boy for the Far Right" Teresa (Evangeline Edwards),  a self involved narcissist who spews MAGA Rhetoric, employing her absent self censor,  loudly paints with a broad brush. Each of the five characters protests in, essentially, the same voice: that of the author:   self involved and manipulative. Perhaps this is to let the audience know that he's done his homework and poop poop de loop? Teresa  arrives late to the party but hits the stage cranked to Spinal Tap eleven. She never lets up!    Her screed virtually declares the now x45th president to be the Second Coming / Savior.

The book that sourced this play may deserve more attention. The play, however, asks a lot of questions, posits some answers that might all just make sense in the end:  doop de doop.

Playwright Arbery must have done a ton of research to create such a broad and sweeping examination of what The Fourth Turning may mean for mankind.  Speaking through his characters, we may find hope or disaster if the theory holds up. 

Justin (Stephen Tyler Howell), whose basso profundo rattles the scenery, opens the show very slowly and then with a bang. The connection must be to show that he is a capable man's man of the woods. The symbolism is shallow.  His turn at bat presents a story of gratitude (each character has a monologue that may bolster the archetype that Arbery intends for them to represent) is simplistic but nicely recited.

Pretty Emily (Emily James),  long suffereing  empath , eternally apologetic and kind, has close to the last word with an amazing hysterical (no not funny!) HYSTERICAL moment spewing  vitriol in marked contrast to the kindly supportive sweetheart that we met at the outset.

Kevin  (Samuel Garnett): Drunk.. Really.. really drunk and why the playwright has him smoke adds pretty much nothing to the stereotype of the stumblebum alcoholic who..he admits.. just wants a girlfriend. Kevin is weak. He questions Teresa why Catholics are bound to honor the Virgin Mary?  The question is fielded confidently by Teresa, who quotes Walter Bruggermann who has decided that grace may accompany the 'grotesque'  Go figure. Lay that on the election of x45! I don't know Breuggermann either.

Political and ecumenical rhetoric with Teresa commanding the stage undeniably flaps and blusters, leaving me to wonder if the playwright, in his fortress of solitude strutted and bellowed up and down  the hall,  shouting in each character's voice. .. arguing with himself, all the while attempting to coalesce this odd crew into the voice he really wants us to hear.  

That true voice may just come from Gina! (Roxanne Hart)!!  Gina is a senior and more experienced in the ways of the world  than the others. Gina arrives to collect Emily, after a long day of being anointed  the president of Transfiguration College of Wyoming  to greet her former students, whom she taught while she experienced cancer treatment and birthed a litter of kids, including poor Emily.  When challenged by Teresa, Gina, though exhausted from the day's activities, deals with Teresa's ridiculous rants with one hand tied behind her back even if she did hate Obama!

When a play is marginally written with expectation of an audience to be slapped silly with 'facts' and opinions and these diverse personalities, all of whom declare alligiance to conservative politics and the Catholic church there is a point where I just wished that the text had helped me to understand the premise.  Does it turn on the Charlottesville riot that Teresa's hero  declared to have involved good people as well as bad people? 

 Guillermo Cienfuegos' excellent stage pictures and a beauty of a set by Stephenie Kerley Schwartz can't make this a "good" play, but the actors, given what they've been given, knock the performance aspect out of the park.

I support John Perrin Flynn's hearty band of artists.  There must be a pony in here somewhere.  Thanks to Mr. Cienfuegos, everyone is in the same play, but what it's really saying escapes me.

Justin    Stephen Tyler Howell
Emily   Emily James
Teresa  Evangeline Edwards
Kevin  Samuel Garnett
Gina    Roxanne Hart 


by Will Arbery

Rogue Machine Theatre

At the Matrix on Melrose in Hollywood.

Please check the website for dates and times.

This is a rough copy & paste of the credits in the program for The Heroes of the Fourth Turning.

Please forgive the odd parsing.  

This play deserves an educated audience ready to grapple with presumptions and contrary ideas.  Evidently, the information copied from the on line program needs to make all 'E's caps ..
EvangElinE Edwards*, 

samuEl garnEtt , 


stEpHEn tylEr HowEll, 

Emily JamEs*

by Will Arbery

Lighting Design
dan wEingartEn
Sound Design
CHristopHEr mosCatiEllo**
Assistant Director
BrEtt aunE
Heroes of the Fourth Turning
Costume Design
CHristinE CovEr FErro
Presents the Los Angeles Premiere of
Rehearsal Stage Manager
raCHEl ann manHEimEr
Graphic Design
miCHEllE HanzElova-BiErBauEr
Technical Co-Directors
JoE mCClEan & danE Bowman
Scenic Design
stEpHaniE KErlEy sCHwartz**
JoHn pErrin Flynn
Produced By
J ustin oKin & JoHn pErrin Flynn
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, The Union of Professional
Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
viCtoria HoFFman
Stage Manager
ramón valdEz
programs For tHis play wErE gEnErously undErwrittEn By
BarBara Kallir
Scenic Artist
marK mEndElson
Directed by
guillErmo CiEnFuEgos

Sunday, August 13, 2023


The Red Suitcase by Jiggs Burgess has its world premiere at the Broadwater.. in Hollywood.  

Del Shores is an old pal.. I've reviewd most of Del's well crafted theatre pieces.  Del directs this play delivering much of the same energy that he gives his own writing.  

At rise Pogue (short for Pogo, the Possum) Emerson Collins,  breaks the fourth wall to posit that there are no real beginnings and no real endings.. The eventual theme of redemption via story telling and sincere effort is satisfying. For the most part,it works.

Shores' use of the wide Broadwater Space allows actors to . mostly. remain on the stage, often changing wardrobe in full view of the audience, as the story unfolds. It works. There's a dog! Created by Krys Fehairvari, Sparky, is manipulated by Tiago Santos and Mat  Hayes. Sparky factors beautifully into how Pogue learns about life in a difficult way.

Performance levels from the main characters are varied.  April, Pogue's mother,   (Kristen McCullough) is sympathetic but bullied by Bud, Pogue's dad, (Bruce Melena) who adminsters corporal punishment to 'toughen the kid up." 

As Pogue's loving and sympathetic Grandmother Evans, Charlotte Louise White has a bit of trouble with levels of response. As with other misunderstood kids, Pogue gravitates to his grandmother to receive  the understanding and affection he wishes he could share with his parents.

Blake McIver, assisted Shores by choreographing some effective movement using the many prop suitcases to create action scenes. McIver also composed the song Pogue & April hum with the Ensemble.
The Red Suitcase is a gay polemic that brings to the fore one more time the story of a kid who discovers his homosexuality after being bullied and literally beaten into what might have been submission by his father;  berated by a horrible teacher (Pam Trotter) and, tragically, to fall in love at the age of ten or so with Charlie (Mat Hayes) only to be discovered by Mrs. Prig (Trotter).  The love of Pogue's life vanishes  without a trace.

There's a lot to be said for Jesus Hurtado's scenic design and the use of suitcases of every description to advance the theme of The Red Suitcase, which Pogue relates to us at the outset. The Red Suitcase might actually be Pogue, himslef... filling up with memories.   Hurtado's video projections are terrific.

In "Our Town" it's the Stage Manager who breaks the fourth wall to narrate the goings on in Grover's Corners.  Here, some of the characters have effective moments of communion with the audience. Somewhat predictably we meet Pogue as a child and, then, return to his childhood, advancing through adolescence,  learning the East Texas Way of being beaten and thanking his abuser for the experience. 

Hurtado's scenic design and Video projections  illuminate the  chapters in the life of a Texas kid who was dropped on his head at birth and rose to become a person who is, was and continues to be, in fact, brilliant and educated and gay. 

Tiago Santos, Emerson Collins and Bruce Melena star in the world premiere of “THE RED SUITCASE” - Written by Jiggs Burgess, directed by Del Shores and now playing at the Broadwater Main Stage Theatre.

Judicious cutting might bring the story more a pace.  It's a brand new play. World premiere.. For confirmation of the essential issue of redemption and love for those who have been outed and abused and risen to clarity for themselves, this a fine example of how love may redeem us all. 

Michael Sheehan



typos and missed spellings and wrong information comes from my loose way of writing a review.  No excuses, except that the business of spelling names and credits may be listed in the actual program, but access to them on line is not always possible.  Bottom line is that with few reservations, I think that this story is told sincerely and with skill.  If it was played without an act break and the pace was tighter, that would have been more interesting to me.

Below is the press release for this show.




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    PRESS CONTACT: David Elzer






in association with the Del Shores Foundation and

Beard Collins Shores Productions

present The World Premiere of


Written by Jiggs Burgess


Directed by Del Shores


Limited Engagement begins performances Thursday, August 10

at The Broadwater Theatre in Los Angeles!



July 31, 2023…Los Angeles, CA…P3 THEATRE COMPANY, in association with the Del Shores Foundation and Beard Collins Shores Productions, presents the world premiere of THE RED SUITCASE, written by Jiggs Burgess, directed by Del Shores, assistant directed &  additional staging by Blake McIver Ewing, and starring Emerson Collins. Mr. Burgess’ previous play, Wounded, recently won the “International Fringe Encore Series Award” at the 2023 Hollywood Fringe Festival giving it a 4-week Off-Broadway run at the Soho Playhouse in NYC in January 2024.  THE RED SUITCASE will preview on Thursday, August 10 & Friday, August 11 at 8pm; will open on Saturday, August 12 at 8pm and perform weekends through Sunday, September 3 at the Broadwater Theatre Main Stage, 1076 Lillian Way in Los Angeles.


The Best Play Winner in the “Del Shores Foundation Writers Search,” THE RED SUITCASE, follows the life of Pogue from his unusual birth to the death of his father. The play explores the sometimes difficult relationship between fathers and sons and the many moments, stories, and characters that build a person and a life. Pogue is led on a journey to unpack his memories that takes him from, “we are the sins of our ancestors” to “we are the hope of our ancestors.” A play of family, survival, and finding ourselves in the stories that made us. 



Page Two




DEL SHORES (Director) has written, directed, and produced successfully across studio and independent film, network, and cable television, and regional and national touring theatre. He is the writer/director/producer of the films Sordid Lives, Blues for Willadean, Southern Baptist Sissies, and A Very Sordid Wedding. He wrote and executive produced the MGM feature Daddy's Dyin'...Who's Got The Will? He has written eleven plays, produced thousands of times worldwide, and four adapted for the screen.  His publisher is Samuel French/Concord Theatricals. In television, Del wrote, directed, executive produced, and created the LOGO series, Sordid Lives: The Series. He also wrote and executive produced Showtime's Queer As Folk for the last three seasons and wrote and produced for Dharma & Greg and Ned & Stacey. He has directed Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer; Grammy Award winner Olivia Newton-John; Emmy winners/nominees Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Leslie Jordan, Bonnie Bedelia, Bobbie Eakes, Patrika Darbo, and Rue McClanahan; Spirit Award winner Dale Dickey; Screen Actor's Guild Award-winner Beth Grant; as well as Caroline Rhea, Debby Holiday and David Steen. As a performer, Shores has performed in hundreds of standup gigs, with multiple national tours and four live filmed DVDs including his one-man play Six Characters In Search of a Play. He is a GLAAD Award, NAACP Award, and an LA Weekly Lifetime Achievement Award winner.  In March 2023, he was given The Chuck Rowland Pioneer Award “for groundbreaking and distinguished achievements in LGBTQ+ playwriting and arts advocacy by The Celebration Theatre.


JIGGS BURGESS (Playwright) was the inaugural winner of the Del Shores Foundation Writer’s Search for The Red Suitcase. Jiggs’ work also been a finalist in the Eugene O’Neill playwriting competition. Produced by P3 Theatre Company, Wounded, act two of his play Wounded/Sparrow, was performed to great acclaim at the 2023 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Other works, including The Girl In The White Pinafore, The Book of Dog, and Anna Mae continue to be produced coast to coast in educational theatre. This is his first full professional production as well as the world premiere of The Red Suitcase.


BLAKE MCIVER EWING (Assistant Director/Additional Staging) Regional directing credits include productions of The Light in the Piazza, Elton John & Tim Rice’s AIDA, & Hairspray.




Page Three


Off Broadway, he directed and choreographed I Dream of Jackie & I Dream of Jackie 2: Jackie’s Nightmare for Ru Paul’s Drag Race star Jackie Cox. Blake conceived and directed an immersive concert of the three musical versions of the “A Star is Born” films at Rockwell Table & Stage in LA as well as directed and choreographed the multi-city “Ménage A Tour” for recording artist Ariana Savalas. Blake has toured extensively with his own cabarets “Blake Sings Barbra: The 94 Concert” & “Confessions of a Child Co-Star” and last year he and Emerson Collins performed a 12-city tour of their duo cabaret review “I Dreamed a Dreamgirl.”


The Cast of THE RED SUITCASE will feature: Emerson Collins as “Pogue,” Kristen McCullough as “April,” Bruce Melena as “Bud,” Charlotte Louise White as “Grandma Evans,” Mat Hayes as “Player 1,” Pam Trotter as “Player 2,” and Tiago Santos as “Player 3.


The Design Team for THE RED SUITCASE is as follows: Scenic and Projections Design by Jesus Hurtado; Lighting Design by Frank McKown; Sound Design by Adam Matthew; Costume Design by Shon LeBlanc; Wigs & Props Design by Krys Fehervari.  The Production Stage Manager is Anna Kupershmidt.




THE RED SUITCASE will preview on Thursday, August 10 at 8pm & Friday, August 11 at 8pm; will open on Saturday, August 12 at 8pm (press opening) and perform through Sunday, September 3 at 2pm at the Broadwater Theatre, 1076 Lillian Way in Los Angeles.


Performances are Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm. 


Ticket prices range from $33 - $38.


Tickets and additional information available online at


For more information, photos, press interviews or for press comps, please contact David Elzer/DEMAND PR at 818/508-1754 or at

#     #     #







Page Four


P3 Theatre Company opened its doors in the fall of 2019 in Long Beach, CA, six months prior to the onset of the COVID pandemic. Since that time, P3 has produced shows throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties, including at the Hollywood Fringe Festival (where they won the “International Fringe Encore Series Award” with WOUNDED, also by Jiggs Burgess, which will be produced at the Soho Playhouse in NYC for a 1-month off-Broadway run in January 2024 as well as the Hollywood Fringe Producers’ Encore, Best of Broadwater, and Pick of the Fringe Awards). With their Pragmatic, Progressive, and Passionate approach to the Arts and Arts Education, P3 Theatre Company holds steadfast in their commitment to the community through their educational programming and community partnerships with organizations such as Compassionate Artists and that make the Arts available to the underserved population.


The Del Shores Foundation’s mission is to find and facilitate the development of new Southern queer artistic voices through bringing together artists and working professionals, amplifying new work, and connecting artists to platforms for the creation of the work. The Del Shores Foundation Writers Search launched in 2021 and as the winner of Best Play, "The Red Suitcase" is being presented with the support of the $10,000 Del Shores Foundation Play Production Grant sponsored by Dennis Frisman.  The Foundation presented its first Writers Festival in the fall of 2022. For more information on the Del Shores Foundation's programs, visit                 

Calendar Listing:


Written by Jiggs Burgess

Directed by Del Shores



Thursday, August 10 at 8pm &

Friday, August 11 at 8pm


Opens: Saturday, August 12 at 8pm (Press Opening)


Runs: Thursday, August 10 – Sunday, September 3, 2023


Performances are Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm;

Sundays at 2pm.


Broadwater Theatre Mainstage

1076 Lillian Way,

Los Angeles, 90038 


Tickets: $33.00 - $38.00


Tickets available online at: