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I Am Not A Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce

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Though he died in 1966 at just 40 years old, Lenny Bruce has left a legacy as a staunch advocate of the 1st Amendment of the U. S. Constitution and forged a comedy template that many a superstar stand-up comic has utilized over the decades since the original "sick" comic's demise, including the likes of Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Louis C. K.

A telling one-man stage iteration of Bruce's tumultuous life is being produced by North Hollywood's Theatre 68, through September 9 (it moves to New York thereafter). Written by Jason M. Burns and Ronnie Marmo, who renders an astute portrayal of the late comic, I Am Not A Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce, receives pristine clarity and great theatricality through Joe Mantegna's straightforward direction and Marmo's riveting performance.

Arrested multiple times around the nation on so-called obscenity charges, and many times for narcotics violations, Bruce used his courtroom appearances as material for his stand up act. One of his funniest bits (and Bruce had a multitude of funny bits) was his impression of the police officer reciting portions of his act. Nervous, with voice quivering, the officer would repeat the dirty-word laced monologue, parts of which he'd jotted down on a cocktail napkin. Bruce's prime objection was that the cop did such a poor rendition of his act.

Through Marmo's intense portrayal, we learn of Bruce's life. He was an only child. He was a mama's boy and a lady's man. He and his wife, Honey, had a child they called Kitty. Bruce and Honey had a horrific automobile accident, which threw them both from the car. As Honey lay in the street, she was hit by a car and run over by a truck.

Bruce believed that it is the suppression of words and language that give them the power to hurt and offend. If epithets were used regularly and casually, Bruce felt that the terminology would lose the power to hurt and offend. While that premise is arguable, what is inarguable is Bruce's courage and his commitment to the notion of free speech. Bankrupt and addicted, Bruce's life is not one to be envied; through him, and Marmo's stunning incarnation of him, we come to understand the profound meaning beneath the lyric "Tears of a Clown."

I Am Not a Comedian, I'm Lenny Bruce, is a dramatically packed 90 minutes in length. The lighting and projections done by Matt Richter are an essential element of this production as is the utilitarian production design by Danny Cistone.

What: I Am Not a Comedian, I'm Lenny Bruce  Who: Starring Ronnie Marmo, Directed by Joe Mantegna   When: Last four L.A. performances are at 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 1; Friday, September 7 Saturday, September 8; and Sunday, September 9 at 3 p.m.  Where: Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood  Tickets: or  Note: Recommended for mature audiences (adult themes, profanity and nudity)



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.”


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.