Monday, January 30, 2023


I like the title of this piece: "And, If I  Don't Behave, Then What?"   
Howard Leder, Carmella Jenkins,
Cynthia Ettinger and Debba Rofheart
Photo by Frank Ishman

The title alone by playwright Iva Brdar is provocative enough to draw an audience. Many audiences!  We are, each of us, duty bound to ask questions.. to engage Critical Thinking and so.. how is your behavior these days?  Are you a nice person? Do you take the advice your mother gave you? 
Brdar's character(s) are not named.  We get most of the story of, presumably the playwright:  one woman's narration of her mother's advice (and parking instructions from a manual) through Cynthia Ettinger.  Unfortunately, Ms Ettinger is on book for the entirety of the thirteen episodes that tell the narrator's story from birth with pretty ears to old age and...   the inevitable. 

Translated   by Ana Brdar from Iva Brdar's script, the story of an unnamed woman unfolds more or less in stream of consciousness. There are opportunities for action that are missing, with some of the story shared by two other actors.   It is a work in progress and has room to become a very engaging special piece of theatre.  
Director Beth F. Milles,  limits the movement of the three mobile actors: Ettinger, Howard Leder and Carmella Jenkins.  The fourth cast member, Debba Rofheart, sits on a platform apparently following on book.  If she was miked, her few speeches were too soft for me to hear.  Others speak on microphone from time to time.  I don't know why. 
The text describes the ages of the woman narrator in thirteen episodic scenarios that begin with her  birth and  the beauty of her ears and travels through her life in episodic  moments.  
Dreamlike:  the use of microphones is marginally effective but the sound is still iffy because of the large space that this intimate piece must fill. Set designer Richard Hoover's use of found furniture with the audience invited to sit virtually on the stage creates a sort of three quarters thrust arrangement. It would better work.. for me.. if the space was reduced to a more intimate size. 
All observational criticism aside, the text of this play holds a mirror up for all of us to see ourselves.  Are we polite?  Did we listen to our mothers? Did we find our own way? 
Please go to see "And, If I Don't..." It is in the process of beginning.  As the show works through the business of keeping the main actress fully engaged with her character and the adjuncts picking up the pace to move it all along, its potential is very exciting 
Theatre like this  challenges the audience to mentally participate. It will be a very interesting evening in the theatre.  As the play works out the kinks, the essence of the text and what ever lessons it may share that we may take away will emerge as an important addition to the world of experimental theatre. 
Impressive projection design by Gabrieal Griego on the upstage wall announces the thirteen stages of the life of the narrator.  The shortest one is probably the best advice that comes from the whole piece!
Production Staff 
Assistant Director: Taylor Bazos

 Costume Design: Mylette Nora
Lighting Design:Russell H. Champa
Lighting Associate: Sean Deuel
Sound Design: Marc Antonio Pritchett
Properties: Ina Shumaker & Bruce Dickinson
Production Stage Manager: John Dimitri
Production Design: Richard Hoover
Publicist: Lucy Pollak   

Projection Design: Gabrieal Griego

And If I Don’t Behave Then What

written by
Iva Brdar


directed by
Beth F. Milles




Cynthia Ettinger
Carmella Jenkins

 Howard Leder

 Debba Rofheart

Saturday, Jan. 28 @ 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 29 @ 3 p.m.

Saturdays @ 8 p.m. 

 Sundays @ 3 p.m. thru March 4

Open Fist Theatre Company
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039

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

Proof of vaccination required for admission.
Patrons must remain masked throughout the performance.

Sunday, January 22, 2023


Oh My Goodness: 
  Kopit meets Monty Python meets Circle X with bizarre and off the wall dialogue in the Cash Flow Accounts offices where Sofia (adorable Paula Rebelo) has been hired as an Empathy Facilitator to guide the office staff of angry collection agents to be more empathetic human beings. Can this odd crew  find more pleasant ways to deal with debtors?  Together we make quantum leaps into a Bizarro World Wonderland. Long gone absurdist playwrights are smiling from the land of mermaids. 
Tasha Ames, Napoleon Tavale,
Rich Liccardo and Paula Rebelo
Photo by Jeff Lorch

This Circle X ensemble cast, thanks to director Halena Keys's deft hand and Fran├žois-Pierre Couture's beautiful set and lighting with hidden surprises, hits the stage full throttle. 
At rise we meet Sofia's Mom (Rose Portillo) who has kicked out Sofia's dad.  She's leaving a hovering heartfelt message on Sofia's phone. Sofia's Mom may be headed for a vacation to swim with mermaids.
I would quote the Venus of Willendorf here, but she has nothing to do with the world of angry debt collectors who  sometimes scream like bloody murder. 
Jon, (Casey Smith), the very tall silver coifed manager of the CFA, thinks that 'empathy' might be a bird!  How absurd to think that that word might be a bird, but just wait. Just you wait!
Jordan (Napoleon Tavale
) and Howie (Rich Liccardo:), two male "shawvinist pigs," (sic) love unreciprocated sex.. as does Jon, who repeats the words 'blow job' so many times that I lost count.
In rolls the 130 year old Old Man (cameo guest Bob Clendenin), a ghost  of Eva's past.  He has come  with dog food bombs to blow up the office but is distracted by relating his past disappointments on the playground as kid. It's a fantastic monologue.
Eva (speedy Tasha Ames) sets the frantic pace and the volume of the piece: fast and loud and louder while casually complaining about being mugged on a regular basis.  Jon, the manager, says he will look into it. When asked about a restroom for women with depositories for tampons, he needs to put in a call to his assistant for a definition of what constitutes a 'period.' His being revealed the "honest truth" about bleeding on the phone, he begs his assitant to tell him it's a lie. It briefly stops the show. 
(In the voice of Rod Serling..) Consider if you will  a half waking fever dream where some things may be so very real?  Like the empathy bird?  This play is only a little like that, but just consider it anyway? What we must consider is that what dreams may come all turn on the morsel of hovering love from Sofia's mom (lovely Rose Portillo) and possibly that trip to swim with the mermaids. 

Playwright,  Mara Nelson-Greenberg, has turned Circle X upside down and just about the time things seem to make a bit of sense, we are thrust into a dreamscape or something like not a dream or even a nightmare but sort of.  You'll see.Yes, you will. You will see..
Beautifully bizarre, the fine line of reality is crossed back and forth with director  Halena Keys probably strapped  into her director's chair and holding on for dear life as this very strange story unfolds, folds up and then unfolds again.  Oragami? 

What a pleasure to be rocked back in my seat by an occasional bloody murder scream. I am fascinated  by the casual discussion of murder; revelations in an empathy exercise that seem to actually have some meaning.   Toss in a bit of Beckett, well sort of.  
From a dear pal, I have re-learned the word 'quibble.' My slight quibble with Circle X is that the effort at first blush to find an actual list of the actors and their characters for this review took a long time. Nowhere in their program do they have a simple list. The program is a QR thing that lists a lot of stuff including a sincere wecoming statement by the Circle X artistic director whose signature is illegible. Please bring back a paper program.

 On the upside?
This excellent show virtually rocks the house.
Never mind!!  Go on..Go see for yourself. Go!

Tasha Ames : EVA
Charlotte Gulezian : JANIE:
Rich Liccardo: HOWIE
Rose Portillo: SOFIA’S MOTHER
Paula Rebelo: SOFIA
Casey Smith : JON:
Napoleon Tavale
Opening weekend cameo appearance by

Bob Clendenin

  as The Old Man 

Producers – Kat Haan, Jen Kays, and Tim Wright
Assistant Director – Lee Hannah Conrads

Set and Lighting Design – Fran├žois-Pierre Couture

Lighting Design – Stephen Azua

Costume Design – Dianne K. Graebner

Sound Design – Jesse Mandapat

Prop Master – Kat Haan

Specialty Prop Design – Richard Maher

Production Stage Manager – Roella Dellosa

Assistant Stage Manager – Yaesol Jeong

Box Office Manager and Front of House Manager – Jasmine Leung

Publicist – Lucy Pollak

Graphic Design – Christopher Komuro

Program Design – Rita Ikerd

Video Design – Dustin Hughes

Social Media Manager – Brandon Ganske
Do You Feel Anger? 
 Mara Nelson-Greenberg
Directed by 
Halena Keys

Saturday, January 21 @ 8 p.m.
Sunday, January 22 @ 2 p.m. through Feb. 25: 

Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays @ 8 p.m. / Sundays @ 2 p.m. 

Cameo appearance schedule:

♦ Jan. 26-Jan. 29: William Salyers

♦ Feb. 2-Feb. 5: John Getz

♦ Feb. 9-Feb. 12: Jan Munroe 

♦ Feb. 16-Feb. 19: Tony Amendola

♦ Feb. 23-Feb. 25: Silas Weir Mitchell 

Atwater Village Theatre

3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA  90039

(Free parking in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater)

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Jan Munroe and Tony Abatemarco dredge and have some fun. I DON'T KNOW I KNOW

 This is not a review..

This is a reflection on times gone by and  thanks to Jan and Tony..  "I DON'T KNOW I KNOW"

Jan Munroe Tony Abatemarco Kyle Secor

Driving in the looming threat of the rains to come again brought me to the Odyssey where old pals gathered for the second round of a work in progress: a trip dedicated to Theatre..  

What is Theatre, anyway..?   It's community and process and meaning and fun and, surprises and  tears.

Today, I got it with both barrels.  

I have been part of the Los Angeles Theatre Scene for a long, long time, what these old pals have in process is not exactly new.. but reflects what happens when  we all gather at the river of a show and agree to abandon disbelief and engage with the project. A mutual agreement.

So this isn't a review.. It's a reflecton on the idea that when the production becomes the production and the audience becomes the audience, this symbiotic relationship becomes whatever the show might be.  Unique every time.

I was moved to tears by a moment in this piece. It is  my sincere hope is that Jan and Tony might hone the show and find a venue. Let's see what the reflection of days gone by might be. 

My time with The Company Theatre of Los Angeles began on Robertson Boulevard between Olympic and Pico: 1024 South Robertson across from Mrs. Grace's Lemon Cakes.  Mrs.  Grace was in Beverly Hills, The Company was in L.A.  Magic happened in this odd little shop with redwood walls and on days like today, a very muddy side yard.

So.. instead of becoming a gladiator on the Santa Monica Freeway, I drove to Robertson and paid a brief homage to the space where people's lives were changed. Literally.  One of our founding members, Dennis Rhoton  or Redfield in his stage credits.. died a week ago.  Trish and Gar and Jack and Steve and Michael Stefani and Bill Hunt and Michael Dawdy.. and Polita.. gone.. but as I drove by 1024 South Robertson across from Mrs. Grace's Lemon Cakes.. (I wonder.. if it's still there?).. I could see the lines of people waiting in anticipation of Liquid Theatre or The Emergence.. The stuff that no one had seen on stage before. I still feel a deep connection to these shows.. the people who created them and .. for a moment.. changed the face of Theatre in the World. 

I chatted with a college professor who said that their students might not 'get' what Jan and Tony are creating.   Can the past ignite the future? Will AI and E communication and texting partner with the fears of the dampanic to change the way that Theatre is created and attended? Hopefully, not.

My heart is full thanks to this idea these guys are working on.  It's a gift. 

I DON'T KNOW I KNOW is part of a series of presentations at The Odyssey Theatre..  Up next Darrell Larson's 

"Bring The Old Pageants: Uncle Walt Explains It All For You"

 January 28. 2023

Thank you, guys. 

Michael Sheehan


January 15, 2023




Saturday, January 14, 2023

Guest review HOme Front at The Victory. by Shannon Farnon

Because I am unable to make it to see  Home Front by Warren Leight at the Victory Theatre, an old pal, Shannon Farnon, agreed to weigh in.  Here is her review of the play. Thank you Shannon. 

michaelsheehan  onstagelosangeles

The Victory Theatre Center


As an actor, attending live theatre has always been a must in my life. Providing me many years good, and sadly some bad, material, opportunities to exercise my craft and learn what to do and not to do from the performance of others.  The size of the audience is not a way to guarantee you will see good work. 


The Victory Theatre in Burbank is considered a small theatre due to the number of seats.  But it is a huge theatre for the quality of the work.  Founded and built in 1980 by theatre couple Tom Ormeny and Maria Gobetti, Artistic Directors of the theatre, who have consistently provided top- notch material and cast qualified people in the roles.  Bless you both for staying the course through ups and downs.


Playing now is Home Front by Warren Leight.  A story written about the horrible prejudices of the time.  It focuses on an interracial relationship during the 2nd World War, but goes much deeper into all areas of prejudice.   The performances will keep you transfixed.

Give yourself a treat and make reservations.  Then tell your friends.  Filling the seats keep theatres alive, especially “little” theatres.

On a personal note, as I was leaving the theatre. I couldn’t help feeling a bit hopeless knowing that all of those prejudices are still alive and well.


The City of Beverly Hills and Theatre Forty (one of the longest producing professional / community theatres in Los Angeles) bring Todd Kreidler's   "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" from their Beverly Hills High School stage to the splendor of the historical landmark Doheny Mansion: Greystone.  Greystone, the location for hundreds of movies and television shows and the former home of The American Film Institute should be an ideal setting for this very dated story of who should marry whom and what the consequences might be. 

Larry Eisenberg as Matt Drayton, long time liberal editor of what might have been the San Franciso Chronicle, Eisenberg is not Spencer Tracy, but finding his own way certainly works.   Matt's wife, Catherine Drayton,  (Diana Angelinaruns a high end art gallery that seems to be only coincidental to the plot.  On the whole, especially in this elegant setting  the obvious largess of the Draytons should be a perfect setting to reflect the tangled web of love and bias and life lessons that were examined in the screenplay over fifty years ago.

Larry Eisenberg, Diana Angelina
It's 1967.  The Vietnam war goes on.  It's been three years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Vocal liberals lobby for human rights for all.  In San Franciso, the Castro is awakening but the election of Harvey Milk will not come for ten more years. 

The Drayton's lovely daughter, Joey (Abigail Stewart) well.. Joanna, , now that she's stepped into the world and become an adult, eschewing her childhood nickname.. surprises her parents by breezing into the family home.. maybe on Nob Hill.. maybe with a view of the Golden Gate.. but on a hill, certainly.. and she has big news.. She's back from her work in Hawaii and, Joanna is in love. Her intended is a widower. She is smitten.. He is older. She is 26, but  but... but.. she is smitten!  He is practical. Joanna is .. well.. Smitten. Casting here is iffy.

He, of course, as we recall from William Rose's film, is Dr. John Prentice (Marc Antonio Pritchett ) with professional credits and medical research interests that have taken him from one hemisphere to another to discover new remedies for tropical diseases.  

 Angelina, as the beautiful art gallery owner, factors in as chemistry should, with a balance to Matt's supposedly liberal bent.  The term 'crusading editor' might be over the top.. but the 'not in my backyard[' or "not my only daughter" rears its hoary head and we are off to the races.

Fifty six years is a long time to dig back into the story of prejudice and angst. Director Cate Caplin has her work cut out for her with a huge room.. the
Doheney Great Room? with marble fireplace and accoutrements. Here at Greystone, opulence reigns. Staging is problematic as the audience is seated all on the same level, giving the front row a great view. All others : good luck.

Tillie (Crystal Jackson)  is the major domo of the Drayton clan has had a hand in raising Joanna and as Isabel Sanford (before she moved on up to the East Side)  brought to the film, Tillie/Jackson will brook no nonsense.

The Monsignor (David Hunt Stafford) is Matt's golf buddy and as a priest, he stirs the pot almost to boiling with the help of a snort of scotch.

The issues of mixed race marriages have long been problematic as folks who meet and are, indeed, smitten.. Love wants what love wants.. Sadly, bias in it's most basic form as it was long ago, has not completely disappeared and, as we see from our present time twenty twenty hindsight, this story will always ... in one form or another be one for the ages. 

Why does a stage representation of an old black and white (ahem) movie (Oh wait!  in my memory it was b/w..but was, in fact.. in living color! Thanks to Phil Sokoloff for this edit..)  have relevance today?   Why mount a play that has an issue? I think that it's to  give the company members some well deserved characters and some decent issues to play. It's a way to remind  us that the story goes on and on and on.. and on.. Do we adjust? Is society better now?

No spoilers, but there are other issues to be dealt with and Dr. Prentice's declaration that he won't marry Joanna  unless Matt and Christine sign off on the idea, creates interesting dramatic tension.

It's a short run.  Greystone is a beautiful landmark in the hills of Beverly and perfect for the setting of this play.  Head for the Hills.   Arrive early!!


 Larry Eisenberg 

Diana Angelina 

Abigail Stewart

Marc Antonio Pritchett 

 Fred Dawson 
Crystal Jackson 

 Patricia A. Lewis

 Jenn Robbins 

David Hunt Stafford

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?  

by  Todd Kreidler

Theatre Forty

Adapted from the 1967 screenplay by William Rose. 

Produced for Theatre Forty by David Hunt Stafford.

Greystone Mansion

905 Loma Vista Drive,

Beverly Hills, CA 90210. 

Ample free parking is available onsite.

Opened Saturday, January 14, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. Also plays Sunday, January 15 at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, January 19 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, January 21 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 22 at 2:00 p.m.


RESERVATIONS: (310) 364-3606.


Wear comfortable shoes.  

The entrance at night is not well lit.  Ignore the "Private Event" sign and head on up the hill when you find the driveway.