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I'm Still Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road

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While there are many musicals which can claim to have “changed someone’s life” in a personal way, it is a rare show that can justify its place as a catalyst in the ongoing struggle for equality.  Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford’s show, I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road is, undeniably, such a show. In 1978, the simple story of the show’s heroine putting together a new concert based on her real-life experiences as a single mother and artist focused attention on the question of womens' roles in society and the broader public debate about the difference between men and women. Cryer & Ford’s memorable songs pulled no punches, but they provided enough entertainment and emotional connection that the audience listened in a way they wouldn’t have with a more polemical piece.

 

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Breathing Room

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Mary Lou Newmark’s Breathing Room is a performance piece enjoying a world premiere production at the Greenway Court Theatre. Conceived in a symphonic style with four movements and a coda, Newmark’s poetic text is enlivened with elements of ritual, comedy, myth, and an intriguing aural landscape featuring the playwright on an electric violin.

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Hit the Wall

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The riots which broke out at the Stonewall Inn in late June of 1969 were not the first salvo in the Gay Rights movement. But, unlike previous civil disturbances and demonstrations, they did provide a catalyst that encouraged a number of disparate groups to coalesce into an increasingly more cohesive movement.

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First Date

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First Date is enjoying its Southern California premiere in an energetic production at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. The show, which features a book by Austin Weinsberg and music & lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, had its world premiere in Seattle in 2012. It opened on Broadway the following year.

 

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These Paper Bullets

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Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of enjoying this play?

At least subtitling this work “a modish ripoff” gives fair warning about playwright Rolin Jones’s script. It’s a rip-off, indeed, of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, in which the thirtysomething former flames Beatrice and Benedick forswear love, while the younger Hero and Claudio’s emotions catch fire before our eyes.

 

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Abundance

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"Abundance is a revisionist western that no one will confuse with the classics of John Ford and Howard Hawks," so wrote New York Times theater critic Frank Rich of the Big Apple debut of Beth Henley's 1988 play, "Abundance."

But before Rich wrote those apt words, and before its New York premiere, Abundance made its world debut at Costa Mesa's South Coast Repertory Theatre. Now, 25 years hence, Abundance, under the lucid direction of Martin Benson, is again being colorfully assayed on SCR's Segerstrom Stage.

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Double Door

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Though the dramatist denied it, the savvy New York audiences of 1933 knew full well that the characters and events portrayed in Elizabeth McFadden's new melodrama, Double Door, were cut from the sordid true life scenario of the Wendel family of Manhattan, a landed dynasty of American's Gilded Age, circa 1910, whose members seem predisposed to eccentricities.

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ICU

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The hospital staff in an ICU Unit must be fairly impervious to demanding and difficult families. After all, the patients are in extremis and their families are naturally frightened and under enormous pressure. It’s a situation in which even the most serene personality may explode. But I think it’s safe to say that no one at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital is prepared for an encounter with the Seigenfeld Family, the focal point of Fielding Edlow’s world premiere play, ICU.

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Homefree

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The Road Theatre Company is presenting the world premiere of Lisa Loomer’s new play, Homefree at their Magnolia Boulevard space. Inspired by her observation of and work with homeless youth in Southern Oregon, the play focuses on three teens who have escaped or been thrown out of their homes. Breezy (Gabriela Ortega) is pregnant, Franklin (Lockne O’Brien) is gay and JJ (Barret Lewis) is too loud and angry to conform to even the negligent home life he fled. They spend their days in the park panhandling or finding other ways to get enough money for a meal at McDonalds. But this is no bucolic idyll. Life on the streets is rough, unpredictable, and dangerous.

 

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No Homo

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No Homo was originally seen at the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival, where it won a number of awards, including “Best World Premiere.” It later traveled to the New York Fringe where it was, likewise, celebrated. It has returned to Los Angeles for a full production.

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Page 27 of 28

Spotlight

Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

ABOUT ELLEN RICHARD

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.