Sunday, December 17, 2023

Lonny Chapman / Group Rep 70, GIRLS, 70!!


I have attended shows at the Lonny Chapman / Group Repertory Theatre for many years. Their selections for production are varied and, thankfully, in a way, cater to their supportive fan base.  

It's the 51st year of operation for this hearty bunch.  The best that can be said about 70. Girls, 70 is that it is wonderfully over the top and corny.  The show has an amazing combo featuring musical director Carol Weiss on piano who rocks the show from the overture to   the final number.  The adorable Barbara Minkus (with whom I once auditioned for a commercial!) plays Ida, a crafty elder who returns to the resident Hotel after a forboding absence.  She's got a handle on how to save the hotel from booting the residents:  burglary!  Why not?  

There are plot holes, a romance about sex and the senior citizen and the best song of the lot about what happens when an elephant dies??

Most local theatre reviews are pretty cut and dried.  We list the names of the actors and crew. make a comment about the production. Praise or criticize a bit and essentially leave it up to the reader to choose to support the show or not.  

This review is about a dream.   

The Lonny Chapman dream bubbled up with Lonny's love of Theatre fifty years ago.  He had some dough. He had some friends.  Mickey and Judy putting on a show in a barn?  Whatever it was, it was a tribute to the foundations of what our artform contributes to the community and to the world.  A couple of hours in the dark: suspending our belief!

Sevety Girls is a silly romp with Artistic Director, Doug Haverty, says in his unfortunate  curtain speech (he  plays Harry  in the show) there's a total of 833 years of life on the planet on the stage. The elderest of the elders, Fae DeWitt, must be about a hundred (okay, she's only 91) and her baritone quips alone, as she is guided  glacially on and off stage is worth the price of admission alone.

These stalwart Thespians are having the time of their lives. It's over done and silly and the 21st Century Nairobi Trio with Carol Weiss on the upright is wonderful.  I don't use that term often in a review.

The true wonder is that this tribute to the "tea time of life??"  through gang activity, drugs and drag in pursuit of burglary to achieve a goal for the love of one another .. if you totally abandon disbelief all togther?  It works!

"By any means necessary!"  One hole that I wish the text would cover.. spoiler alert.. is if someone knows they are not long for the world, why wouldn't they take out a million dollar insurance policy so that that dough could purchase the hotel and the friggin' coffee shop to save the gang? 

If you are within driving distance to the Group Repertory Theatre and have time for two rather long acts  and getting home way late.. shaking your head at the energy of this band of dyed in the wool Theatre Folks, please go. Tell them I sent you. Try to NOT sit behind a really tall guy sitting in  the front row and rise at the over long curtain call and  Applaud like Anything for the cast and the crew and the Memory of Lonny Chapman whose vision and energy continues on Burbank Boulevard.

**   I did not realize that today is the last day of the show and am so in love with this review so far, that I'm leaving it all in.. 


To GRT members.  Find a way to get more youthful energy like the Babe, Danica Waitley, in this show into your membership.  Fantasic tap dancing and the energy that is vital to Theatre.    Notwithstanding that you are essentially a Community Theatre, sticking to entertaining stuff is okay. You don't need to bring Beckett and a stick to the stage often.. but Well Staged and enjoyable productions will keep the doors open and the Bums in the seats and hopefully for Fifty More Years of engaging the Community with the Essence of Art. New Blood and Comfortable Entertainment! Yes..


Music by John Kande; lyrics by Fred Ebb & book by David Thompson & Norman L. Martin.  It's a romp   directed by Bruce Kimmel (The First Nudie Musical!!)
70 GIRLS, 70 
Closes today:Sunday 12/17/23 
Lonny Chapman Theatre, 
10900 Burbank Blvd., 
North Hollywood, 91601.  
Check  to see if the show has been extended. 
Looks like you'll have to copy and paste that link.  Oy.

Sunday, December 3, 2023


Playwright Samuel D. Hunter is a well decorated  author.. braggin' rights for his the film version of his play, The Whale, that rocked the Oscars in 2023. This play holds much of the angst and quirky appeal that The Whale holds.

Bo (excellent Scott Jackson) and his sister Ally (Also Excellent Dalia Vosylius) have been called to their childhood home in Viola, Idaho.

It's the Holidays.  Tragedy and homecoming. The Holidays.  What I had forgotten is that there's a big long neck up from toney Sundance in southern Idaho that snakes all the way up to shouting distance from Canada.  It's rural and folksy.. Carol's husband, Martin (excellent Phil Cass seen on video) has been a marginal dad and husband. He's been a hospital janitor who in later life has become curious about the nature of the Universe: Big Bang!!  String Theory!!

Martin is dead. 

It's Christmas Eve and it's Martin's passing that draws the kids back to Viola. 


A touch of Pinter and Albee with a not so subtle absurdist undertones, the story evolves. bumping along with care. 

Director  Andrew Weyman, has already done some fine tuning with the show, workshopping it in one of PRT's intimate spaces.  The show is extending through the holidays and into the new year.     Good news.

So.  Martin is dead.

"He was just sitting there and he was breathing. Then, he wasn't." declares Carol (Excellent Terry Davis), the mother of the two adult kids whose lives could not be more distant in life style and location. Bo is a photo journalist, documenting atrocities in far off foreign lands. Kid sister, Ally, spends eighty hour work weeks riding herd on a fleet of transportation vans a couple of hours away. 

Sometimes I'll do background searches  for my reviews.  Google maps showed me parts of Idaho I'd never heard of!  Viola, Idaho is like Pouluse, Onaway and Potlatch.  The boondocks!  It's another world  where playwright Hunter actually comes from. The grit in this play may reflect those simple roots.  The grit is palpable.  

Emmy winning director Andrew Weyman declares that taking on a scary project is an exciting challenge. This play is one that at its surface may seem to be just the uncomfortable story of a family that succeeded just enough to survive. But, we go deeper. The now distant extended family has its own problems. The scary part is finding the thread that binds them, divides them, and now brings them home to unfathomable truths.

Terry Davis, as the scruffy gun totin' mom,  brings credibility to the land of the lost: with her loopy lovable character.  She is at once bright and articulate even in her cups, having been widowed only days before Christmas.  

Bo is three years Ally's senior. The rhythms of the story bounce from brother to sister with some scrappy political banter.  Ally's defense of her position turns on Business. Poor Bo is apoplectic that a gay woman would have supported a republican. 

I love the beats of this play. The topic is very uncomfortable and as we come to revelation and resolution, every member of the audience must be driven to a conclusion regarding the entire business of what Life is about. 

Just what is our Reason for Living? 

The pure joy of seeing successful store front theatre and specifically, the Pacific Resident Theatre,  guided for years by founder Marilyn Fox, whom I adore, may color this review only slightly.  The fact is that this production in this ragtag little space  has all the qualities of "Virginia Woolf" on Broadway or Pirandello  at the Playhouse. Drive to Venice and head down Venice for Cuban at Versailles on the way.  Arrive early for parking.  Check the lobby of the main stage for a salty snack or a beverage.. support this production. 

Then, please find a thoughtful other audience member after the show to see how the idea.. the notion of whether or not .. as Joni says..  "We are Stardust.." may be true. 

The acting never  shows. The tech credits and the crazy set  work beautifully.  It's a thoughtful evening with a few laughs and  a virtual banquet: Food for Thought.

 The Creative Team: 

 Michael Franco (Lighting Design),  

Andrew Weyman (Scenic Design),  

Susan Wilder (Costume Design), 

Keith Stevenson (Sound Design),  

James Morris (Projection Design).

 Bianca Rickheim  Stage Manager




by  Samuel D. Hunter

Directed by Andrew Weyman

Pacific Resident Theatre 

 Runs through January 14, 2024 

(check website for schedule). 

Pacific Resident Theatre is located at 703 Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291. 

Street parking or limited free lot behind building. Tickets start at $35 online 

 Closing: January 14, 2024


Sunday, December 3 – 3pm
Thursday, December 7 – 8pm 
Friday, December 8 – 8pm 
Saturday, December 9 – 8pm
Sunday, December 10 – 3pm
Saturday, December 16 – 8pm
Sunday, December 17 – 3pm
Thursday, December 21 – 8pm
Friday, December 22 – 8pm
Friday, January 5 – 8pm
Saturday, January 6 – 8pm
Sunday, January 7 – 3pm
Thursday, January 11 – 8pm
Friday, January 12 – 8pm
Saturday, January 13 – 8pm

Sunday, January 14 – 3pm

Tickets and Information: 

This link may not work!  I want you to see this play, so. just copy and paste into your browser and :  voila..

Or.. depending on when you call? Anna is on hand as a genuine human being who can take your reservation and wish you a Happy Holiday.   Just go.. Okay? 

  (310) 822-8392.




Friday, November 17, 2023

‘Radical or, are you gonna miss me?’

 ‘Radical or, are you gonna miss me?

Elizabeth Ramos and Anna LaMadrid
Photo by Makela Yepez
by Isaac Gómez commissioned by IAMA Theatre Company explores the clash of two sisters and another 'sister' stuck in El Paso.  Radical politics and family responsibilities  factor into a story that .. from time to time shifts oddly in tone and direction.  The play is over long:   attempting to cover a panoply of issues.. 

When the best thing you can say about a new play is that the introduction of the Season by the two women whose names got lost in the applause and hooting, was enthusiastic and that the set and the lighting were effective and that staying awake for the whole thing was a challenge, that sums up, pretty much my experience.  

That IAMA has taken over the Echo Theatre space to present this clap trap piece and spent a lot of money on the set and lights is pretty impressive. That it goes emotionally from A to B with little effect and a few silly jokes is a mystery. Why? Why do this? 

Belinda (Elizabeth Ramos) is under house arrest on bond put up by her sister, Rosalie  (Anna LaMadrid). Belinda has become a recruit to a conservative political cause that may have something to do with radical women.  Something about a bomb and family ties and anger and skipping bail with your ankle monitor buzzing like a hive of angry bees.. Right wing dimbulb bees...  is part and parcel what  it may be all about. Too harsh.. Well. yes.. But I sat through the whole thing.

Erica (Kim Griffin) is an apple?  (That's how the Marlboro puffing blonde is described in the author's notes.)  Evidently, Belinda has met Erica on a graveyard shift. This leads to what might have been  civil disobedience, had the business of the bomb not factored in. 

Director Jess McLeod has decided to smack the audience silly with the explosive entrance of the sisters shouting at the top of their lungs with no emotional place to go.  Clashes with few breaks for love struggling to surface:  these poor women seldom take a breath before going hammer and tongs again with flash backs?  that are supposed to support the radicalization of poor Belinda (factor in the subtitle here?) but are just foreshadowing of some girl on girl action that was gratuitous at best.

The actors fall victim to the director's decision to attempt to interpret the subpar text   with broad strokes...  Mostly, I found this production, at best,  an exercise in futility. After the first volley from the sisters,  the voice in my head was pleading, "Let it be over.." 

But!!  The actors are fully committed, certainly. The set and the tech are well done, thanks to scenic designer Nicholas Ponting and lighting designer Josh Epstein.

Radical or, are you gonna miss me?

by Isaac Gómez

Driected by Jess McLeod

IAMA Theatre Company at the

Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039

FREE parking in the ATX (Atwater Crossing) lot one block south of the theater.

Previews: Nov. 11 – Nov. 15
Performances: Nov. 16 – Dec. 11
Tuesday at 8 p.m.: Nov. 14 ONLY (Preview)
Wednesday at 8 p.m.: Nov. 15 ONLY (Preview)
Thursdays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 16 ONLY (Opening Night) and Dec. 7 ONLY
Fridays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 17; Dec. 1; Dec. 8 (dark Nov. 24)
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 11 (Preview); Nov. 18; Nov. 25; Dec. 2, Dec. 9
Sundays at 2 p.m.: Nov. 19; Nov. 26; Dec. 3, Dec 10
Sunday at 8 p.m.: Nov. 12 ONLY (Preview)
Mondays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 27, Dec. 4, Dec. 11 (dark Nov. 20) 

• General Admission $40
• Previews: $25

(323) 380-8843

Monday, November 13, 2023



Full disclosure.  the director of "Freight", Joseph Megel, is an old friend.  Chatting with him tonight I learned that this play was developed with the current star almost ten years ago..  I highly recommend the show, but please try to arrange to sit in the center of the audience.  This is to have full access to the excelletnt video projections.  

Playwright Howard L. Craft sits us down,  and thanks to some well produced technical theatrics, we journey through the history of one Black Fella:  an actor:  Mr. Abel Green portrayed by the very able Mr.  J. Alphonse Nicholson.  

Nicholson, almost all  on his own, captures us and holds us hostage with presentational  tales from the early Twentieth Century through five specific episodes to the early Twentyfirst Century.  Craft has imagined  a story that turns. a bit.. on the Buddhist notion of reincarnation. 

An unexpected  and beautiful garnish boosts the story elegantly. Ms Sidney Edwards with fluid gestures becomes a sort of dancer koken to keep the flow of the story moving. She is present and at the same time never obtrusive. She is gorgeous!

Abel, of course,  guides us on his one hundred year journey including  incarnations that turn on stereotypes and some adventures which may sound familiar.   In this West Coast Premiere, the ease with which Nicholson melds his 'Abel' into the other characters prominent in each segment  is fluid and confident.  I wonder if he'll print this review out and carry it in his wallet?

Director Joseph Megel's deft  touch allows Nicholson the latitude to "kick out the jams" so to speak to bring to life the soul of a Brother whose adventures include brushes with the history and culture of a Black American's American  scenario.   

The technical crew turns in a fine "performance." Scenic designer Joel Daavid, lighting designer Alison Brummer, sound designer Marc Antonio Pritchett and video designer Eamonn Farrell.  The professional touch in The Fountain's tiny space is, as usual: simply excellent. 

 Having had this story under his belt for almost ten years, Megel noted that with time and experience, the presentation has matured. Nicholson is a big guy with  sustained power that never falters.  The delicate moments are fine counterpoint to the physical episodes, especially the surprise turn with the buckets.. 

In all we travel.. literally.. on a train that becomes a subway car and other locations as we advance from 1910 to the early 21st Century.  We feel the fun of being a black minstrel player in black face..and the shame of how in another incarnation, Abel takes the high living road to the low low road and into his future.

I loved catching up with Joseph Megel and am happy to report that the Fountain Theatre has made a good choice to bring this show to Hollywood.  The opening night audience was on its feet and not without good cause.

Additional crew!

Costume designer Danyele Thomas and props designer Rebecca Carr. The production stage manager is Kaitlyn R. Cramer. 


Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green

• Written by Howard L. Craft
• Directed by Joseph Megel
• Starring J. Alphonse Nicholson
With Sidney Edwards
• Produced by The Fountain Theatre

Previews: Nov. 9, Nov. 10, Nov. 11
Performances: Nov. 12 – Dec. 16
• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Nov. 9 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 10 (preview); Nov. 17; Dec. 1; Dec. 8; Dec. 15 (dark Nov. 24)
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 11 (preview); Nov. 18; Nov. 25; Dec. 2; Dec. 9; Dec. 16
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Nov. 19; Nov. 26; Dec. 3; Dec. 10
• Sunday at 7 p.m.: Nov. 12 ONLY (opening night)
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 20; Nov. 27; Dec. 4; Dec. 11 (dark Nov. 13)

The Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90029
(Fountain at Normandie)

$25 $45:
• Premium Seating: $45
• Regular Seating: $40
• Seniors 65 or older: $35 (regular seating only)
• Students: $25 (valid ID required)
• Monday nights: Regular seating ($40) and Pay–What–You–Want (subject to availability)
• Previews: Pay–What–You–Want

• Valet parking available
• Street parking available in the neighborhood north of Fountain Ave.
• No parking after 6 p.m. on Mariposa or Alexandria Avenues south of Fountain Ave.
• Allow extra time to find street parking; make sure to read all parking signs

(323) 663-1525





Sunday, October 29, 2023


The re-emergence of small theatre  in Los Angeles is encouraging. Fear and Loathing of the dreaded dampanic still has some folks masked and cautious, but art must survive. 

We must carry on. We must make art..

Howard Ho's World Premiere play "RESET" takes place in an unlikely bunker? way up yonder in Chernobyl.  Hot Stuff.   An unlikely pair of scientists Aiko Tanaka (Greta Jung) and Lateen Anderson (Zachary Bones) receive a  new 'client':  James (Tyler Perez ). 

When we toss Schrodinger's Cat into the mix and get into quantum physics, do not be dismayed.  The best is yet to come.. 

James arrives blindfolded, wrapped in a hazmat suit  having "passed" some sort of   preliminary test. He's been  romanced to the site of the 1986 Chernoybl meltdown in Ukraine.

The  iffy sci-fi idea of how the  Universe may be affected by a  disaster such as the nuclear accident posits a 'mirror' universe that turns, I think, on the half life of plutonium  239.

"Agency to change.."   "Moral arc of the Universe: MLK" Monkeys on keyboards :  Shakespeare?   Butterfly effect?? 

Jim is a copywriter and as he is coaxed to venture deeper into the experiment  he mentions the "mendacious effect of words." James is tempted to continue because "the sake of humanity hangs in the balance!"  All of these buzz terms factor into Ho's text as we twist and turn with James offered  bizarre opportunities to become a 'better person.' His 'best self. 

The Schrodinger model re:  the living /dead cat factors in.  It is heady stuff.

James 'summons' a gift from the Universe that arrives in a special mailbox with a fortune cookie type message. The message is supposed to guide him to be his 'better self.'   I'm using lots of quotation marks here because this theory  and subsequent presentation is far out  speculation. With a flash bang and black out, we meet another James (Carl Weintraub!) 34 years our current James's senior. His doppleganger? No.. it's really James in an alternate Universe!?  Weintraub's first iteration (there are four!) is practically subhuman. Agitated and manic!  "Nothing Matters" is his mantra and current James takes it all in.

A somewhat mind numbing story now unfolds with James tempted to see what's behind door numbers two, three and four.. so to speak with the "What Ifs" piling up as he is drawn to the ethical and  moral issues that ask .. essentially:  "Does anything' matter?"

Bones and Jung  bring home the scientists.  Bones was a little difficult to understand at times because of his  British accent. Ms Jung with softer projection than the men was basically fine. . 

Carl Weintraub and Tyler Perez

Perez finds all the beats & levels of whom we think is an average American guy, but we begin to see a dark underbelly that plays just fine. 

Weintraub is a trip as he transitions from his wild man to a successful middle class fella to a very successful Dude. to a meglomaniacal  tyrant.

Are each of us always responsible for our personal choices in life? 

Robert Frost's "Road Not Taken" rears its head a couple of times and the term "bifurcated diagram.." divides into two specific parts and has something to do with choices we make and how to take advantage of this "opportunity" to live a better life:   to be a better person. 

Is there a moral arc to the Universe? Does 'God' care  Can mortals create a way to control what "The Universe" may have in store? Is there an Infinite Mind?   Does God make Little Green Apples? 

Existential and a little loopy, Ho's play sets in motion the idea that each of us may... or  may not? have a positive affect on our success as human beings.  Our own humanity. 


Addendum:  Having just read the story of Queen's release of Bohemian Rhapsody and the correlative story of Faust.. and Freddy Mercury.. there may be Faustian elements here, too??  Wow..

Book and Sound Design by 
 Howard Ho  
Directed by
 Darin Anthony  
Scenic and Lighting Design by

Justin Huen

Produced by

Dana Schwartz

PR: Scott Golden


Lateen Anderson: Zachary Bones  
Aiko Tanaka: Greta Jung 
James Gamble: Tyler Perez  
Old Man: Carl Weintraub

RESET  by Howard Ho!

Directed by Darren Anthony

The world premiere 

Full run October 28th through November 20th. Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 8pm. Sundays at 6pm.
3191 Casitas Ave, Los Angeles, CA 
(south of Minneapolis St.)
 Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays: $25
Mondays: Pay–What–You–Want

Saturday, October 28, 2023


Two old pals meet in a familiar pub . Famous writers who have 'owned' their literary generes and  come together to chat.

It's a World Premiere Play  thanks to the dedication to new works by our local Actors CoOp .

1963 ..Oxford, England ..The  Rabbit Room of the Eagle and Child pub.  Old wood. Young Bar Maid

A beauty of a set brings the ambience of the Eagle and Child to  life.

It's talky, but fascinating to eaves drop on  fame.

Truth be told, this is a very difficult review to write. The premise is filled with  references to Tolkien's  Trilogy and Lewis's Chronicles of Narnja..  If you have read them and have a take on the stories and the implicatons of philosophy and Christian values  expressed by both Tolkien and Lewis, it helps.  Thankfully the British accents are pretty much Mid Atlantic making the dialogue, which might get lost  in the 95 minute show bearable.

Two old guys chat.

The Bar Maid ..a kid.. is fascinated and tends to faclitate the authors by asking questions and in a way refereeing the sometime combative writers.

I'm frustrated because the basic information for the show has been difficult to access. Below will be a long laundry list that I hope I've been able to copy and paste. 

The bottom line is that if you appreciate dedicated acting with text that flows in the intimate three quarter thrust stage and discusses  the philosophy of these well known authors, I endourage you to go.  The physical action includes some bending of elbows with pints that seem to have no effect to a very short one person darts game and Tolkien losing his hat after a touchng denoument. 

Please forgive the odd spacing and parsing in this review. The way I like to copy and paste basic information seems to be resisting a polite presentation. 

Lewis and Tolkien

Written and directed by Dean Batali

Produced for Actors Co-op by Marc Whitmore, Lori Berg and Rob Loos

October 27 – December 3, 2023     *No Show Friday, November 24*

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm (New Time!)

Sundays at 2:30 pm

Additional Saturday Matinees at 2:30 pm: Nov. 4, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2.

Approximate running time:  95 minutes     No intermission.

Actor Co-op Theatre Company at Crosley Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., on the campus of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, Hollywood, CA 90028

Free Parking in the Actors Co-op lot on Carlos.

Tickets: Adults $35. Seniors (60+) $30. Students w/ID and SAG-AFTRA & WGA union members $25. Group rates available.

For Tickets/Info: or (323) 462-8460.

For Immediate Release

The award-winning Actors Co-op Theatre Company in association with MWO Productions proudly presents proudly presents the World Premiere play Lewis and Tolkien, written and directed by Dean Batali, produced by Marc Whitmore, Lori Berg, and Rob Loos.

Set in Oxford, England in the autumn of 1963 at the famous “Rabbit Room” of the Eagle and Child Pub, this play is something of a return to the familiar for C.S. Lewis (author of The Chronicles of Narnia) and J.R.R. Tolkien (who wrote The Lord of the Rings). Filled with humor, rousing debate, and reconciliation, the two men learn the true value of their friendship with a little help from a few pints of beer and the energetically curious barmaid, Veronica.

The Actors Co-op cast features the talents of Phil Crowley as C.S Lewis, Michael Beattie as J.R.R. Tolkien and Bianca Akbiyik as Veronica.

The Production Team includes Dean Batali (Writer/Director), Lori Berg (Producer), Rob Loos (Producer), Marc Whitmore (Producer), Joel Daavid (Set Designer), Martha Carter (Lighting Designer), Chris Moscatiello (Sound Designer), Vicki Conrad (Costume Designer), Colleen Darling (Stage Manager) and Beth Batali (Assistant Stage Manager).

About the Playwright/Director

DEAN BATALI (Playwright / Director) Dean Batali worked as a writer on That 70s Show for seven years, serving as an executive producer for the show’s final season. He wrote for the initial two seasons of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, was the head writer for the first season of DisneyJr’s Puppy Dog Pals and was recently executive producer and showrunner for the third and fourth seasons of the Hallmark Channel’s Good Witch. Dean wrote and directed the musicals After the Beginning and Life with Ebeneezie. Lewis and Tolkien is the first play Dean has written where people don’t break into song.


About the Cast

PHIL CROWLEY (C.S. Lewis) Since 2015 Phil has been portraying C. S. Lewis in the one-man play, An Evening with C.S. Lewis in venues across the U.S. including Actors Co-op and the C. S. Lewis Foundation in Redlands, California.  Overseas he has performed the play at Christ Church in Jerusalem, Israel; Free University of Amsterdam; and at the Kilns, C. S. Lewis’ home in Oxford, England. He is also a working voice actor and can be heard as the announcer for the ABC hit show, Shark Tank.  Other stage productions include: A Walk in the Woods, Wit, As You Like it, The Learned Ladies, You Can't Take It With You The Philadelphia Story, The Imaginary Invalid, A Christmas Carol, Days of Wine and Roses, Teahouse of the August Moon, and The Miracle Worker.  He played the role of Cervantes/Don Quixote in Man of LA Mancha and portrayed Nat Miller, the pivotal father character in Ah, Wilderness! by Eugene O’Neill, for which he received an ARTS in LA SAGE Award.

MICHAEL BEATTIE* (Tolkien) is an award-winning Canadian-American Actor and Voice Actor who has worked for over 30 years in Theater, Film, Television and Radio as well as Video Games and Television and Feature Film Animation (please visit  At the Actors Co-op: Tartuffe, Something's Afoot, Baby Dance, Twelfth Night , La Bete Recent credits include Marley, Fezziwig and Old Joe in A Christmas Carol at FPCH in 2021 and 2022.  Currently: VNC Anncr and Guru Rick in Minions: The Rise of Gru.   Upcoming:  Sensei O’Sullivan in Despicable Me 4 (2024) and Eccentric Eddie in MegaMind the Series, streaming on Peacock (2024). 


BIANCA AKBIYIK (Veronica) Bianca is thrilled to be making her Actors Co-op debut! She received dual BA’s in Theatre and Communications from Cal Lutheran. She is an actor, teaching artist, and arts administrator born and raised in Los Angeles. She also serves as Co-op’s PR Director. Credits Includes: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, King Lear, Macbeth, As You Like It (Kingsmen Shakespeare), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatricum Botanicum), A Christmas Carol (FPCH), John Proctor is the Villain, and The Women of Lockerbie - KCACTF Irene Ryan Semifinalist (Cal Lutheran).

About the Production Team

MARC WHITMORE (Producer) is the chief executive officer and founder of the internationally renowned agency MWO Management. Marc has earned an enviable reputation as one of the best executives operating in areas such as talent development and management, as well as guiding companies to become the best version of themselves. He has provided his professional services to a diverse range of celebrities including Matthew McConaughey, Bob Hope, Pat Boone, Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, and countless more. He has also consulted for the White House on several Presidential campaigns and has been a producer of Presidential Inaugurals.

LORI BERG (Producer) Lori Berg has been a part of Actors Co-op for three decades, having been a part of many productions both on and off stage. She is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such a stellar cast and crew to bring this world premiere “home” to our boards. Lori is a professional actress, director and nonprofit visionary who’s garnered myriad awards for her efforts. Mainly. Lori is grateful to God for Actors Co-op and all of you who support L.A’s intimate theatres!

ROB LOOS (Producer) is an Emmy-nominated writer, director, and/or producer of over 900 television & streaming episodes, 13 films, and 2 plays that have won 120 awards. Loos wrote/directed Never Give Up which was released in theatres in September; he is currently producing a documentary on the life and legacy of Henrietta Mears. Loos was Chairman of the Actors Co-op/Inter-Mission Advisory Board for ten years and currently serves on the Co-op’s executive board. Loos is Chairman of Missions & Outreach at Hollywood Pres. He is married to his high school classmate, Dr. Mary Anne Doyle, has two children, and plays competitive tennis.

JOEL DAAVID (Set Designer) Joel has become an award-winning director/set designer since attending the American Film Institute for Cinematography. Joel's most notable awards include the Ovation, LA Weekly, NAACP and LADCC Theater Awards. He directed/designed the award- winning production of "The Miracle Worker" at the Matrix and Edgemar Theatres and the new production of Tennessee Williams’ “Baby Doll” at the Lillian Theatre.  Joel directed/designed the multi-award winning “Frankenstein” for Theatre Tallahassee, the epic story of "Camille" (Claudel) at the Greenway Arts Alliance and most recently the world premiere musical “Caligari’s Cabinet of Curiosities” written by Vanessa Stewart.

MARTHA CARTER (Lighting Design) is based out of Los Angeles. She is Head of Design and an assistant professor at Cal State Long Beach and enjoys collaborating with ensemble companies to create new work that incites positive change within the communities. Some of her recent credits include: The Mystery of Irma Vep (Actors Co-op), Miss Lilly Gets Boned (Rouge Machine), Driving Miss Daisy (The Laguna Playhouse), A Little Night Music (Madison Opera), The Penal Colony (Long Beach Opera), Cinderella (Long Beach Ballet), Famous (The 11:11), Peter Pan and Evita (Panama City Panama).

VICKI CONRAD (Costume Design) Vicki Conrad has been designing for theater for over 20 years.  She is currently designing for many local Los Angeles theatres including Actor’s Co-op Theatre Company, Action Theatre Company, Sacred Fools, and Third Street Theatre, as well as Knightsbridge Theatre Films.  She works closely with several schools on costume, hair, and makeup design.  She is a long-time company member of the Knightsbridge Theatre and National American Shakespeare Company.

CHRIS MOSCATIELLO (Sound Design) is an award-winning sound designer, composer, music editor and music director for theater, television and film. TV highlights include The Walking Dead, Eureka, Psych, Human Target, Caprica, The Cape and Trauma. He has scored series and specials for National Geographic and The Discovery Channel. Theater highlights include The Kennedy Center, The Smithsonian Institution, The Shakespeare Theatre, Signature Theatre, Roundhouse Theatre, Rogue Machine, Antaeus, A Noise Within, Skylight Theatre, The Fountain Theatre, Odyssey Theater, The Road Theatre, Pacific Resident Theater, and he served as assistant conductor for the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera.

COLLEEN DARLING (Stage Manager) Colleen Darling’s experience in the entertainment industry is multifaceted including acting as well as working behind the scenes in stage, film, and TV. She has done everything from travel with a repertory theater company to working at Warner Bros. Her theater experience encompasses acting, producing, directing and stage managing. An abbreviated list of her theatrical projects includes Gypsy, The King and I, Watch on the Rhine, The Wizard of Oz, and Cinderella. She’s the director of operations for The Greenhouse Arts & Media, a nonprofit organization that serves the creative community, and also manages her professional voiceover career.

October 27 – December 3, 2023. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:30 pm. Additional Saturday matinees at 2:30 pm: November 4, November 25, and December 2.        *No performance November 24.  Tickets: Adults $35. Seniors (60+) $30. Students w/ID and SAG-AFTRA & WGA union members $25. Group rates available. Tickets/Info: or (323) 462-8460. Crossley Theater, 1760 N. Gower St., on the campus of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, Hollywood, CA 90028. Free lot parking on Carlos.

Monday, October 23, 2023

S H E.. at Antaeus



Camille Ariana Spirlin and Lorenz Arnell
Photo by Jeff Lorch

Recent local theatre productions featuring black folks  have arrived at virtually the same time.  ANW's The Bluest Eye and Blood at the Root at Open Fist bubble with stories  told of  overcoming bias or at least bringing it to light. The pendulum swings and cultures long under the radar are given voice.  Now, the world premiere of "SHE" by Marlow Wyatt.

Beige.  Beige is not a color, exactly. It's more of an attitude that scenic designer Eli Sherlock  has brought  to this tale as a theme for a reason. I don't know what the reason is, but it is very impressive. Certainly the story of "SHE", the ambitious  young woman. ahead of her years with Mickey Mouse puffs  of hair and a gorgeous smile rolls along with few bumps. The couple of bumps for SHE are given fair warning to the audience and may just be for dramatic effect. Joseph Campbell tells us that the Hero must encounter obstacles in the quest.

Physical staging of this play must have been done with a reason that escapes me.  We are asked to presume the fourth wall to the kitchen where SHE works her tail off to present the truly good kid she is.  SHE curries favor with an over worked mom, Bernice (Karen Malina White) who has taken up with  a telegraphed jive ass Casaova, Mr. Lonnie (Jon Chaffin).. 

We have mostly realistic dialogue with an occasional  underscore of Anthony Newley's "Feelin' Good" , probably introduced to SHE by Nina Simone.  It's a message of hope! Hope, is the four letter word that keeps SHE on track and hungry to fly.  

Nick Santiago's projections are spectacular with text to boost the feeling of flight and hopin' for the wings to carry SHE to the place where she belongs. 

It's summer, 1970 . 

Clark County,USA

SHE: Sojourer Freeman Johnson (Camille Ariana Spirlin) is almost fourteen.  Her dreams and self confidence are blossoming as the summer is upon us.  SHE races home from the last day of school with her pal, Davie, (Lorenz Arnell). Davie is already fourteen, but as is with most guys, not as mature as sophisticated wanna be SHE. He's content to be a kid. SHE is ready for the big time.

Truth be told, it's a somewhat pedestrian story of the hopes and dreams of the kid who has the innate talent to make it out of Dodge to show the world something. Of course, there are hurdles to handle and the stuff of life to encounter even before it's really time for tough challenges.

Bernice, is SHE's mother (Karen Malina White)  who, being swept away by low life casanova Mr. Lonnie (Jon Chaffin) falls victim to his charms. Stock characters  include nosy old Miss Jane (Veronica Thompson also the elegant regent of SHE's  fancy boarding school) and the not so good fella from the other side of the tracks Othalee (Gerard Joseph) round out the cast. 

On entering the performance space, it is clear that there is serious money on the stage.  At times the beige set outshines the story.  Eli Sherlock's brilliant scenic design with truly amazing projections by Nick Santiago amplified by Andrew Schmedake's lights and Jeff Gardner's sound, provide a serious challenge for the actors.  Andi Chapman's direction confused me with actors crossing the width of the stage from left to right that forced an odd entry to the stoop of SHE's house?  The beautiful set was 'painted' all beige with projections for wall paper and later, a county fair with Ferris Wheel, a gorgeous river view and a moving train.  Brilliant Tech! Brilliant.

SHE and Davie present well the teen  lovers to be, but the levels of performance start high tend to  stay amped. .

  It may have been playwright Marlow Wyatt's intention for this piece to feel presentational and broad. Certainly, SHE's monologues are heartfelt.  It is simply the basic story of a bright kid with ambition lumbered by circumstance.  In spite  of being a way better than average scholar (only one B on her report card!), the dream of Vanguard Academy seems out of reach.  With luck, SHE may be given a ride to  a real education out of this dreary dead end town. 

The eventual exposure  of  Mr. Lonnie's hand makes for an over long evening. That said.. if the theatre lover enjoys a full production and appreciates excellence in the way a scenic design and projections and sound bring this rather simple story to life, it's a show not to be missed. 

Antaeus Theatre Company is a Bright Jewel in the crown of The Jewel City. Sponsoring new work like this World Premiere is important  and The City of Glendale should show support for the work being done by this group of talented professionals.


SHE Sojourner Freeman Camille Ariana Spirlin

Davie Mansaw,  Lorenz Arnell;   

Bernice, Karen Malina White  

Mr. Lonnie Jon Chaffin

Miss Jane Veronica Thompson  

Othalee Gerard Joseph   


Scenic designer Eli Sherlock, 

Lighting designer Andrew Schmedake, 

Sound designer Jeff Gardner, 

Video designer Nick Santiago, 

Costume designer Wendell C. Carmichael

Properties designer Katie Iannitello. 

Assistant director  Jessica Williams 

Production stage manager Camella Cooper.


Written by Marlow Wyatt
Directed by Andi Chapman

Antaeus Theatre Company

Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center
110 East Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205

Previews: Oct. 15–Oct. 19
Performances: Oct. 20–Nov. 20
Tuesday at 8 p.m.: Oct. 17 ONLY (preview)
Wednesday at 8 p.m.: Oct. 18 ONLY (preview)
Thursday at 8 p.m.: Oct. 19 (preview), Nov. 9 and Nov. 16 ONLY
Fridays at 8 p.m.: Oct. 20 (opening), Oct. 27, Nov. 3, Nov. 10, Nov. 17
Saturdays at 2 p.m.: Nov. 11 and Nov. 18 ONLY
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Nov. 4, Nov. 11, Nov. 18
Sundays at 2 p.m.: Oct. 15 (preview), Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 5, Nov. 12, Nov. 19
Mondays at 8 p.m.: Oct. 30, Nov. 6, Nov. 13, Nov. 20 (dark Oct. 23)

Tickets and Information
(818) 506-1983