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: