Saturday, December 10, 2022


The World Premiere of Justin Tanner's "LITTLE THEATRE" directed by Lisa James, after a quick curtain speech by the character James (.Zachary Grant) who, from time to time steps through the fourth wall to keep us up to date with his adventure as a Community Service Prisoner.. (my term for someone doing a job when sentenced for breaking the law in LA.. James had DUIs) ejaculates out of the starting gate at a break neck pace, taking a breath or toke now and then to recount the story of how one succeeds as a playwright and possibly even as a TV writer in Hollywood. 

Another imaginative set by local design wizard John Iacovelli finds us in the production offices of the El Centro Theatre (West of Paramount and north of Melrose) in Hollywood, California.The production moves at a frantic pace. 


                  Zachary Grant  Jenny O'Hara   Ryan Brophy

Rehearsal photos by Jeff Lorch

Notwithstanding wading through the 'shits' and 'fucks' salted liberally throughout the text and a second act rant by Monica (ever wonderful Jenny O'Hara) with the C word spewing directly over the audience, I think that adult attendees will adjust  and enjoy the production.  It's a little far fetched with James's arrival at the El Centro and some silly phone answereing business that settles into the story of his success.  

Jenny O'Hara fills the stage with genuine oddball vigor! (Jenny slapped me once for cause)...  She brings her crusty Artistic Director, Monica, brilliantly to life. It's a romp.

Zacary Grant's character arc  is a little tough to believe. Soon after his introduction to the El Centro for his community service job, James submits a play about Barbie and Ken on the skids at their ages of 28 that the El Centro chooses to mount to qualify for a grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.  James goes on to become the Golden Boy playwright of the El Centro with the mention of my dear friend, LA Times' Theatre Critic, Sylvie Drake, credited with supportive reviews.

Odd moments emerge with a gay theme when James  makes a bargain with long suffering Danny (Jack of all theatre trades Ryan Brophy) to do something for the gift of Danny's shorts?  Really? The regular indulgence in pot and specialty chilled beer from the fridge fuels some of the mayhem. 

James's success .. all of which Monica believes should be credited to her,  leads us to the highs and lows of the creative process and an eventual climax that is not unexpected. 

Tech credits on the wide, wide Matrix stage are great.


Monica :  Jenny O'Hara

James :    Zachary Grant

Danny:    Ryan Brophy


"Little Theatre

by Justin Tanner A World Premiere

Directed by Lisa James

Opened: 8pm on Thursday, December 8, 2022


8pm Wednesdays – Saturdays, 3pm on Sundays

Added performance on Monday 12/19 at 8pm

No performances on 12/24, 25, 31 or 1/1

Closing: January 8, 2023

Rogue Machine Theatre
At the Matrix Theatre
7657 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90462
Face masks are required to be worn indoors at all times.
Street Parking is free after 8PM.  Theatre is located on Melrose between Stanley and Spaulding. 
The marquee needs more light! 

Sunday, December 4, 2022


Richard Doyle, a founding member of South Coast Repertory, shines as you know who in the gazillionth rendition of Charles Diskens' "A Christmas Carol." 

Having met Richard in the seventies through a dear friend at Long Beach State, Ken Rugg, imagine The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail.. and Pinter's The Lover, diverse roles.. That was Rick.  I have to mention Rugg because he directed a verision of A Christmas Carol that will ever live in memory, even though Mr. Doyle was not in it.  

The staging in Rugg's version featured twenty foot tall flats that presented 'pages' of Dickens' story that were turned by the cast as the play moved along.  At one performance, one of the huge flats fell over, creating an opportunity for the student actors to improvise as the flats were restored to their upright and locked positions. 

South Coast Rep has staged A Christmas Carol for years and as a perennial favorite, seeing an old friend rock Mr. Scrooge in Hisa Takakua's visionary staging is a Holiday Delight.  Doyle has moved up over the years from his role as Spirit of Christmas Past (now played beautifully by his wife, Jennifer Parsons) stepping into the lead from another founding member of SCR, Hal Landon, Jr.  

The opening street scene with the full cast in gorgeous Victorian costumes, calls the tune.  Amazing technical achievements by Thomas Buderwitz bring the story that Dickens himself used to perform by reading and bringing all the parts to life. During the dampanic, Doyle produced and recorded his own version of the story playing, as Dickens had done.. all the parts himself. 

Alistair Sim, eat your heart out.. Certainly, you have the advantage of a dusty old black and white British film to float your Ebenezer, but the lavish sets and broad action makes this tradition at SCR a must see for Christmas Keepers who love the story. 

Richard Doyle and Company  Photo: Jenny Graham/SCR

One thing to be said for virtually every production that I've had the pleasure of attending at SCR over the years is that this company attends to detail and chooses material that appeals to and sometimes challenges their local community audience.  The beautiful complex and professional presentations are a gift to Orange County.. especially appropriate for the Christmas season.


Richard Soto and Richard Doyle   Photo Jerry Graham'


Dwight Richard Odle's costumes steal the show. Among impressive standouts, Richard Soto as the Spirit of Christmas Present squeezes on stage from a tiny chest at the foot of Ebenezer''s bed and blows the roof off the proceedings.  Jennifer Parsons as the Spirit of Christmas Past sparkles: literally as she emerges from the wardrobe.

Christmas Keepers must make the trek to share this age old story and have some fun.  The children in the show shine because they have all participated in the Conservatory that SCR offers to kids who really want to be a part of the glorious tradition of The Theatre.

 The cast of thousands include: 

                                                         UNDERTAKER -Tommy Beck*

JOE, a cider salesman and a receiver of stolen goods - Eduardo Enrikez*

CONSTABLE- Larry Bates*

TOY LADY - Erika Schindele*

PUPPET SHOW - Michael Reese Shald



OLIVER SHELLEY - Isaac Person, Max Zazik†

RICH WOMAN - Elyse Mirto*

RICH BOY - Matthew Chan, Maximilian Lalli†

RICH GIRL - Yunah Choi, Julia Ner†

YOUNG GIRL ABOUT TOWN - Ashley Hong, Tessany Azizi

TEEN GIRL ABOUT TOWN - Piper Huntley, ChloeLux Phan

FLOWER SELLER - Alicia Coca*

LAUNDRESS - Erika Schindele*

CHIMNEY SWEEP - Vincent Logan, Ben Hacker

EBENEZER SCROOGE, a grasping, covetous old man - Richard Doyle*

BOB CRATCHIT, clerk to Ebenezer - Preston Maybank*

FRED, nephew to Ebenezer - Larry Bates*

SOLICITORS - William Francis McGuire*, Melody Butiu*

JACOB MARLEY’S GHOST, a spectre of Ebenezer’s former partner in business - Michael Manuel*

THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS PAST, a phantom showing things past - Jennifer Parsons*

EBENEZER AS A BOY - Isaac Person, Max Zazik

FAN, the sister of Ebenezer - Kelsey Bray

MRS. FEZZIWIG - Melody Butiu*

MR. FEZZIWIG, a kind-hearted, jovial old merchant - William Francis McGuire*



BELLE, sweetheart of Ebenezer - Alicia Coca*

THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT, a spirit of a kind, earthy and generous nature - Richard Soto*

“TINY” TIM CRATCHIT - Yunah Choi, Julia Ner

MRS. CRATCHIT - Elyse Mirto*

BELINDA CRATCHIT - Anabelle Green, Maddie Chung

PETER CRATCHIT - Matthew Chan, Maximilian Lalli

MARTHA CRATCHIT - Natalie Bright, Justine Roussel

MR. TOPPER, a bachelor - Michael Reese Shald


SALLY, the wife of Fred - Erika Schindele*

THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS YET-TO-COME, an apparition showing the shadows of things which may yet happen - Nick Slimmer*

WANT - Ashley Hong, Tessany Azizi   

IGNORANCE - Isaac Person, Max Zazik

GENTLEMEN ON THE STREET - Larry Bates*, Michael Manuel*, William Francis McGuire*

THE SCAVENGERS - Melody Butiu*, Jennifer Parsons*, Erika Schindele*

TURKEY BOY - Vincent Logan, Ben Hacker

                                                         POULTERER - Tommy Beckr*




DONNA & TOM RUZIKA,  Lighting Design


Music Arrangement/Composer

DREW DALZELL, Sound Design

DENNIS CASTELLANO,  Musical Director

KELLY TODD,  Choreographer 

(based on the original staging of Sylvia Turner)

DAVID NEVELL, Dialect Coach


TALIA KRISPEL*  Stage Manager

(based on the original staging of John-David Keller)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 

Adapted for the stage by Jerry Patch 

Updated 2018 (Talia Krispel)

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Emmes/Benson Theatre Center
655 Town Center Drive, 

Costa Mesa, CA 92628-2197