October 21, 2008

Variety Review: HOW CISSY GREW

How Cissy Grew

(El Portal Forum Theater; 99 seats; $40 top) A D-I-Y Project, in association with SeaGlass Theater, presentation of a play in one act by Susan Johnston. Directed by Casey Stangl.

Butch - James Denton
Darla - Erin J. O'Brien
Cissy - Liz Vital
The Guy - Stewart W. Calhoun

Susan Johnston examines the jagged shards of a dysfunctional family's sorrowful history, offering compelling if arbitrary glimpses into the aftermath of a horrific event in "How Cissy Grew." Featuring a finely tuned four-person ensemble, play looks at the frailty of human interactions that have been scarred beyond the possibility of empathy or forgiveness. Helmer Casey Stangl ably choreographs the 20-year flow of memory bits thrust forward in nonlinear disarray as each family member struggles to find redemption and salvation.

Covering 1988 to the present, this one-act legiter offers a free-form kaleidoscope of moments in the lives of West Virginia blue-collar laborer Butch (James Denton), his common-law mate Darla (Erin J. O'Brien) and their relentlessly misanthropic daughter Cissy (Liz Vital).

Cissy's brief abduction as an infant drives an ever-deepening wedge into Butch and Darla's relationship, crippling their lives as well as their daughter's. Johnston's insistence that this couple must wallow in their dysfunction in order to survive is not entirely believable, but is certainly made more viable by the perfs.

"Desperate Housewives" regular Denton offers an impressive, detailed outing as underachieving Butch, a former football star who cannot overcome the crushing guilt he feels, despite his attempts to anesthetize himself with drugs and alcohol. Denton's Butch effectively segues into a self-righteous born-again disciplinarian who still fails to win Darla's trust or Cissy's love.

O'Brien's Darla, a formerly lighthearted, foul-mouthed barmaid, becomes an open wound overflowing with anguish following her daughter's abduction. O'Brien gives veracity to Darla's inability move on once Cissy has been safely returned. Her perf is particularly noteworthy as Darla attempts to deal with Butch's rejection and her maturing daughter's lack of respect.

The highlight of the production is Vital's near-sociopathic Cissy, an amalgam of seething contempt and cold-blooded distain for her life and everyone around her. Yet Vital imbues Cissy with a compelling sensuality and keen awareness of her effect on others, as if she is waiting for someone to break through her facade and convince her that life is worth living.

Stewart W. Calhoun offers the closest thing to comic relief, competently wending his way through all the confused and defeated boys and men and in Cissy's life.

"How Cissy Grew" is complemented by the all-purpose modular sets of Laura Fine Hawkes, the mood-enhancing lighting of Trevor Stirlin Burk and the evocative sounds of C. Andrew Mayer.

Sets, Laura Fine Hawkes; costumes, Jennifer May Nickel; lighting, Trevor Stirlin Burk; sound, C. Andrew Mayer; music, Lauren Adams; production stage manager, Kimberly Van Luin. Opened, reviewed, Oct. 18, 2008. Runs through Nov. 23. Running time: 1 HOUR, 20 MIN.

LA Times article about How Cissy Grew

It seemed as if most of the neighborhood came out Saturday night for the opening of “How Cissy Grew” at the El Portal Forum Theatre in North Hollywood. Well, Wisteria Lane neighbors, anyway.

That’s because Susan Johnston’s new play about a child kidnapping and its aftermath features James Denton, who plays Joe the plumber — er, I mean Mike the plumber — on “Desperate Housewives.”

Among those on hand to cheer on Denton and cast were Teri Hatcher (please, Teri, eat something), Felicity Huffman (wearing specs and barely noticed in the back of the theater), Doug Savant (Tom on the show) and wife Laura Leighton, Marc Cherry (“Desperate Housewives” creator), Brenda Strong (the mostly unseen “Housewife”), Neal McDonough (this season's new guy), Shawn Pyform (who plays Bree’s kid), as well as William Fichtner (looking way hot — and not nearly as scary as the characters he plays), Carol Lawrence, “Uncle Frank” from the Jimmy Kimmel show and others.

The production is in the small space at the El Portal, so fans of Denton can see him up close — really close. Just know, however, that his wife, Erin J. O’Brien, also stars in this play. So even though Denton will be close enough to touch, you probably should keep your hands to yourself.

Family of Mann

From our friend Tracey Rooney:

I'm in a new play! It's Theresa Rebeck’s The Family of Mann and I play the lead- Belinda- the newest writer on sitcom spinoff of Family Ties in 1994 (yes, it’s autobiographical and based on her first job working for Family Ties showrunner Gary David Goldberg)

They’re doing 1/2 price tickets all next weekend- for reservations or more information, call (323) 769-5858 or go to http://www.theatreneo.com/

The Family of Mann, Theresa Rebeck’s biting comedy, looks at how a sitcom is made… and what gets destroyed in the process. Rebeck, a veteran TV writer (NYPD Blue, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Brooklyn Bridge, Dream On), spins a painfully hilarious story about TV, artistic integrity, power, and the longing for connection in the workplace.

The Secret Rose Theatre
11246 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Showtimes: Fri/Sat at 8pm and Sun. at 2pm
Family of Mann runs through 11/22

Susan Marque teaches at SM Farmers Market

Step Up
A monthly member-led social networking program

Farmers' Market Tour

Saturday, October 25th 10am-12pm
Santa Monica Farmers' Market
Northwest Corner of 2nd and Arizona Santa Monica, CA 90401

Excite your senses as you surround yourself with vibrantly colored vegetables, sweet fruits and the aroma of freshly-cut flowers. Connect with fellow members as Food Coach Susan Marque guides you through Santa Monica's Farmers market and explains how to select the finest produce.

10:00-10:15 am: Meet at corner of the farmers' market
10:15-10:45 am: Group introductions and overview of the farmers' market
10:45-11:45am: Farmers' market tour led by Susan Marque
11:45-12:00pm: Socializing and networking

Location Information
Meeting Point - Northwest corner of 2nd and Arizona, Santa Monica, CA 90401

To begin, we will meet at the corner of the farmers' market. Look for Step Up leaders wearing bright orange Step Up tees.

Click here to register for this free event

Members and non-member guests are invited to join us for this engaging and educational social networking event.

Parking Options

There are paid parking structures on 2nd and 4th (first two hours should be free, with a small fee thereafter). Street parking may also be available in the neighborhood.ContactWe welcome you to contact Alene Gabriel, Step Up Member & Volunteer, with any questions on or before event day.

Rehabilitation through the Arts

Rehabilitation Through the Arts ("RTA") Presents:
RTA on the River Fundraiser
October 29, 2008
Sunset Terrace, Chelsea Piers (Pier 61), W. 23rd Street at the Hudson River

Reception: 7 pm - 10 pm
Program: 8 pm
Tickets: $50 (Individual) $100 (Corporate)
Tickets available at http://www.rtaontheriver.org

RTA serves an important function in the New York State Prison system. The organization uses theater arts to give prisoners an outlet to express themselves through creative workshops and classes. The workshops produce original plays, monologues and performances that are performed for theentire prison population and invited guests. "Graduates" of the RTA program often continue their involvement in the arts after their release from prison. RTA graduates have gone on to teach drama to at-risk youths and returned to prisons as RTA volunteers. Several former inmates will attend the benefit to perform music and give presentations on the program.

You can read more about the RTA at: http://www.p-c-i.org/rta.php.RTA is a program of Prison Communities International Inc., which is a privately funded 301(c)(3) non-profit organization. Attached are an invitation to the event and a NYT article about the RTA.

Please contact Raji Mangat at raji.mangat@gmail.com or at (917) 597-1960 for more information about the event or the RTA. Thank you.

October 20, 2008

Daily News article

James Denton on stage with his leading lady
By Evan Henerson, Staff Writer

To hear James Denton tell it, his wife — who rarely acts — is the more skilled performer in the family.

Which might seem a little odd since Erin O'Brien works as a fitness trainer and developer of exercise videos while Denton earns a living playing plumber Mike Delfino on "Desperate Housewives."

Denton and O'Brien will be on stage together as the stars and producers of "How Cissy Grew," which opens this weekend at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. In the 70-minute drama, Denton and O'Brien play the parents of a child who is abducted as an infant. The child is immediately returned unharmed, but the incident has reverberations in the lives of the entire family.

Denton took part in an early reading of Susan Johnston's play in part to give O'Brien — who studied theater at New York University — a crack at another great role. He signed on for the full production because his part wasn't so shabby either.

"Erin is really good, and she never gets to do it," says Denton, with his wife at the theater. "When I read the script again, I realized there was also a lot there for (the character of) Butch, too.

"We met acting in a play together. This is the first time we're trying this since we've been married," he continues. "We'll see how it goes."

"I'm not trying to jump-start my acting career," adds O'Brien. "But there does come a moment in your life with your family (that) you go, 'I kind of need to get back in touch with things I used to really love to do,' and now is kind of a good opportunity to do that."

Carving out the time for husband and wife to pull off this endeavor has taken patience and creativity. It's been nearly two years from initial reading to NoHo. The producers had hoped to mount the play in the spring, but the settlement of the strike by theWriters Guild of America strike ultimately pushed the "Desperate Housewives" cast to begin shooting on Saturdays, placing the play on hold.

Denton has juggled his "Housewives" shooting schedule with rehearsals for Band From TV, a group of actors who play concerts for charities. Denton is also part owner of the minor league baseball team the Fullerton Flyers. The minor league season, he notes, had concluded by the time "How Cissy Grew" went into rehearsals.

With "Housewives" now carrying 19 regulars, cast members are rarely needed on set more than twice a week. Denton, who has an understudy for "Cissy," is hoping he'll be able to appear at every performance.

"I was in there politicking and lobbying for time off," he says with a chuckle. "I didn't fare too well."

O'Brien, meanwhile, teaches fitness classes three times weekly. Their children, who are in kindergarten and preschool, are covered.

For the time being, O'Brien is happy if occasionally exhausted.

"I had forgotten how all-consuming it could be, and it can't be that," O'Brien says. "I have to go home and be a mom and a wife. But it's also the great thing about theater that you don't get much from film and TV: When you start to rehearse, you get to know people and develop these really amazing relationships. That's why doing theater always kind of feels like being in summer camp."

The Tennessee-born Denton can certainly relate. A self-described "theater guy," he used community theater as an outlet to blow off steam generated by his day job as an advertising salesman. Quitting his job and moving to Chicago, Denton acted in 16 plays in five years, supplementing his on-the-job education by reading books on acting techniques.

His wife, Denton says, is the one with the Master of Fine Arts degree. Denton has never taken an acting class, although his life in the stage trenches taught him some other key skills.

"I do all the home-improvement stuff: flooring, drywall, plumbing. I learned it all in the theater, building sets," he says. "In Chicago theater, if you're not acting, you're doing everything else."

A nearly broke Denton moved to L.A., giving himself a year to get a TV and film career. He made the movies "Face/Off," "Primary Colors" and "That Old Feeling" and played the sociopathic Mr. Lyle on TV's "The Pretender." Roles on "Threat Matrix" and the short-lived "Philly" followed before "Housewives" came along.

It's a great gig, says Denton, who still insists that he never envisioned himself having a career in front of a camera.

"I don't enjoy it very much," he says of nonlive work, "and as far as the acting is concerned, it's not really rewarding. You're at everybody's mercy. The editors and directors control what they use and how they cut you.

"At the theater, if the performance is good, you can be proud of it," he says. "If you suck, you suck, and you have no one to blame but yourself."

Evan Henerson (818) 713-3651

Where: El Portal Theatre.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; through Nov. 23.
Tickets: $35 to $40. (818) 508-4200, www.elportaltheatre.com.

Backstage interview with Jamie and Erin

October 17, 2008
By Dany Margolies

Seeing couples onstage together can be quite a treat — think the Lunts and the Cronyns. Not to raise expectations too high, but now Los Angeles audiences can look forward to a local married couple in How Cissy Grew, written by Susan Johnston and directed by Casey Stangl, playing at the El Portal Forum Theatre Oct. 18-Nov. 23.Said couple is James Denton and Erin J. O'Brien. He is currently best known as the blazin' plumber Mike Delfino on Desperate Housewives, but his résumé also includes his sturdy work as Judge Augustus Ripley on Philly and dozens of other screen credits. O'Brien is best known for her stage work, primarily in NYC, with credits at Manhattan Theatre Club, the Public Theatre, and New York Shakespeare Festival. The two play marrieds whose baby is abducted and returned.Denton and O'Brien sat down with Back Stage before rehearsals began to discuss their work on the play and their philosophies and practices in general.

Back Stage: Were you a kid who had to be on stage?

Erin O'Brien: I started as a singer, singing in the church choir, and I always got the solos, not because I was the best singer but because I was the loudest. Did musicals throughout high school. I went to University of Minnesota Duluth and got my Bachelor of Fine Arts, where I did mostly musicals. Took a year off to work as an apprentice at the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis, which is where I'm from. Got into NYU graduate acting program. Once I graduated from graduate school, I think my first gig was Adventures in the Skin Trade, directed by and written by John Tillinger and James Hammerstein — which was an utter failure. I talked to my Jamie when we started getting into [How Cissy Grew] and getting really excited about it, and I said, "You know, I've never been in a hit play. I've been in 40-50 plays. Jamie and I met doing a play, how I met and fell in love with him. The play was Asylum, by a buddy of mine, Brett Rickaby, who I went to University of Minnesota Duluth with and went to NYU with — I kind of followed him to NYU. And then we immediately did another play by one of Jamie's best friends, Michael Petty, who wrote a play called Locked Up Down Shorty's.

Back Stage: And were you a kid who wanted to be an actor?

James Denton: No, God no. No, I kind of stumbled into it really late in life. The first play I ever saw I was actually in. I grew up in a town called Goodlettsville, Tenn., outside of Nashville. They talked me into being in a production of Our Town when I was 23. I was an advertising salesman for six or seven years out of college. I was doing community theatre just as a hobby after that because I really enjoyed it. And then I was almost 30 and hated my job, and enough people said, "You should try this; you could do it." And you don't want to ever wonder. So I lost my mind one day, went in, and turned in my notice. I was selling advertising for a local TV affiliate in North Carolina. I moved to Chicago, which was the best thing for me because if I had gone to New York I probably would have given up quicker; whereas in Chicago, there's so much theatre, and if you're willing to work for little or nothing, you can work. I was in Chicago five years and did 16 plays. It was a pretty good education.

Back Stage: But you lost the Tennessee accent apparently, and you have lovely enunciation. So you took an acting class along the way?

Denton: Never even set foot in a classroom. I tried to in Chicago. I signed up for a class and got cast in Streetcar and thought, "I'd better take this." So I never had any instruction — which I have mixed emotions about. I felt really uneducated, just out of respect for the craft. But at the same time, those 16 plays I did in Chicago with 16 different directors and everybody from Brecht to Tennessee Williams was pretty good. When I was in Chicago I realized that if I didn't hide the accent it was going to be nothing but Beth Henley and Tennessee Williams.And you still hear it. In fact, every television show I've ever been on, by the end of the run they've made the character Southern — to sort of explain why you can sort of pick it up in me. But I had to get rid of the worst of it or I never would have worked.

Back Stage: To get back to training: Most actors say they learned the most from being on stage, not from schooling.

O'Brien: This is what we learned in graduate school. To get into graduate school you have to have a pretty remarkable bag of tricks. And then for the three years you're in graduate school, they don't let you dip into your bag of tricks. They cast you as the 83-year-old. And then when you get out of school, it's about discovering, "Oh yeah, that was in my bag of tricks." "Oh yeah, that was something that was really easy for me to play." So I think it's really interesting, the having to get rid of your bag of tricks thing and then to get it again.

Back Stage: How much did you audition?

O'Brien: I auditioned a tremendous amount coming out of school. I had general meetings and other things. I hated it. I hated walking into the room and thinking, "Please like me, please like me!"

Denton: I love to audition. It's one of the things I miss the most, being on a television show. I was a salesman; I've got a really thick skin. I'm very in touch with my flaws and my shortcomings. And I'm not really too offended by what other people think. So I loved going in. It was like a sports analogy for me — going in and fighting for a role, going in as a salesman and reading the room, figuring out who the players were and how to attack it. It didn't always work, obviously. But my first agent [Sandy Bresler at] Bresler Kelly commented that I had a shockingly high success rate for how little experience I had. And it's not because I'm a good actor, by any means. I approached every audition as a sales meeting. I was extremely prepared. And since I've auditioned actors as a director, I've realized that's really uncommon, disappointingly.

Back Stage: Do either of you worry about finding your next role?

Denton: I never worried about it. I've looked at every acting job I've ever gotten as the last one, which I think is healthy because you don't spend the money and you don't do anything stupid. I have friends who get on a TV show and go buy houses and cars, and I just cringe for them and feel horrible. We were ready to move to Montana after Threat Matrix. I was 39 or 40, and thought, well, it was fun. I had been a series regular on three shows and had a lot of luck. We were really investigating getting out of town. And luckily I had been with ABC for a long time, done two pilots for them, two series. And I was the only person they tested for Mike Delfino [on Desperate Housewives]. So I was really, really lucky. But, yeah, I think you have to look at each job as if it's your last and just be prepared to do something else. If you can't handle that lack of security, I can imagine you'd be miserable.

O'Brien: I left acting a long time ago to get into the fitness industry. I like teaching people how to exercise. It's been seven years since I've been on stage, and I'm really looking forward to being in a play and having the "play" experience, and being on stage with him.

Back Stage: How did How Cissy Grew come to you?

O'Brien: There's something every fall called FallFest, where NYU alumni get together and share. And Susan [Johnston] and Casey [Stangl] put up 15 minutes of a little play called How Cissy Grew. We saw it, and I was incredibly moved by it, and they saw me in a film and thought, "Oh, she'd be good in the role of Darla." So they wanted to do a reading of it later, to see if there was going to be any interest, and they called me and said, "Would you be interested?" And they said, "Oh, by the way, how about your hunky husband?" Every time we've done the reading — we've done two staged readings now — it's kind of been a magical, in my opinion, evening.

Back Stage: How did you find your Cissy?

Denton: We had a really great actress in our readings, though we wanted to find somebody who was closer to the right age, which is really tough. We even had the casting director try to find a teenager or early-20s girl that had the fierceness or the edge, the ferocity that Cissy had to have. It's a tough part to fill in L.A., but we found one in Liz [Vital], and she's fantastic. We [auditioned by] recommendations, we had a casting director help us: Scott Genkinger, who casts Housewives, sent us a few people. We saw a lot of Cissys.We did have Megan McNulty, who had worked with friends of ours. We had seen her in a play, loved her. Physically, she didn't look like there was any way she could be our daughter, which we kind of wanted — which isn't necessary. We don't want to get hung up on it like you do on TV and in film. But it's nice.

Back Stage: What did you work on when you were doing the staged readings? Did you have notes for each other?

Denton: We certainly were not like Fred Willard and Catherine O'Hara in Waiting for Guffman: "And afterward, she gives me notes." No, we all discussed it together. But so far they've left us alone individually. And with a three-week rehearsal process, and the play's only 70 minutes, that's probably the reason we can get away with it. And it flies. It's a play with 34 scenes. It jumps around, from moment to moment. Erin compared it to dumping all the photos out of your photo album on the floor.

One of Casey's great things, we have found, is that she is very concerned with transitions. So all four of the actors are going to stay on stage the whole time. And we'll be responsible for jockeying the stuff around. It's a very minimal set. Plus, in a way, the characters will be witnessing, overhearing, observing the moments themselves. I think that will be a cool convention.

Back Stage: That's a long time on stage, no water, no concentration break.

Denton: I did a play in Chicago called Mariposa, where I played an artist with a block; I couldn't paint, and I stood at an easel for an entire play. And that was a little scary. But after the run of that, I felt like, okay. But if I hadn't done it, I might be a little more leery. But [here] the work is so evenly divided among the four of us, and there are plenty of scenes I'm doing nothing except helping with the transitions, as is Erin. The boy, played by Stewart Calhoun, has less to do. He plays a New York boy and a West Virginia boy that is involved with Cissy, and a couple of other small roles.

Back Stage: What do you admire most about each other's work?

O'Brien: I like his ease with himself and his ease with language and his ease with being onstage. I've never seen him "act." And I think that's why he's been so successful in his career. He never had to learn a technique, so he never had to fall back on a technique. He's a wonderfully naturalistic actor, and everything that comes out of his mouth is really realistic, and it's very challenging for me to respond to him as realistically as possible, which is kind of nice if we're playing husband and wife. You don't want to draw on your personal life to an nth degree, but it's kind of charming if you have an inside joke between the two of you or a comfort or an energy between the two of you that you can bring to the stage. I saw Liam Neeson and his wife, Natasha Richardson, do a play at the Roundabout, Anna Christie, and I think it was before they were dating, but seeing them on stage and seeing their energy with each other — and it wasn't even a sexual energy, it was an intense attention energy — just having that energy between you two is….All right, so go ahead. What do you think about me?

Denton: Oh, wow. Almost just the opposite, in a way. And I think that says a lot that we're attracted to things about each other that we felt weren't our strengths. Like Erin said, she feels the need to be more natural or react in a certain way, and why she acts with a chip on her shoulder. I think it would be hard for you to play mousy roles. You had to find a way to get stage presence out of a 4-foot-11 frame. And so you always have this power on stage, even if it's just your nose a little bit in the air, you're a little bit loud and a little bit tough. But you almost act with a chip on your shoulder — actually that's a compliment. But it gives you a power. You found a way in your youth to get a lot of power out of a tiny little person. I don't know how, because it's not volume.

Back Stage: How do you warm up, and any pre-show superstitions?

Denton: One thing I used to do that I thought was kind of fun, when I lived in Chicago and the first role I got cast in was Stanley in Streetcar. It was a 200-seat house. I was so far out of my league. Every opening night from then on, in all 16 shows I did in Chicago, the day of opening night I would take the "L" down to the Loop and walk around downtown Chicago on the river, just to be in the city and remind myself that I belonged. It's like, "Okay, you're in the city, you can do this." It became my ritual, to walk around downtown about an hour before we had to go in for opening night. Which is odd for me, because I'm not a superstitious guy, but I miss that about when I lived in Chicago. But now I don't really do anything particular. Do you?

O'Brien: I do some Alexander Technique stuff and breathing stuff. I do vocal warm-ups. I do articulation warm-ups.

Denton: Ma me me me mash my M&M's.

O'Brien: Absolutely! I was in Quilters when I was in college, and they sing a song, "Land Where We'll Never Grow Old." I sing that song before every show.

Denton: I had a ball bearing that I found in tech week of Streetcar that I put in my pocket for the entire run. And I kept it and had it in my pocket of every costume of every play that I did in Chicago. So I guess I am a little bit superstitious.

How Cissy Grew is presented by D-I-Y Project in association with SeaGlass Theater at the El Portal Forum Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. Oct. 18-Nov. 23. (818) 508-4200 or (866) 811-4111. http://www.elportaltheatre.com/.

opening night

Check out the photos from Opening Night of HOW CISSY GREW at The El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, CA.


opening night at how cissy grew

October 13, 2008

James and Erin interviewed on ET Online

James Denton is taking a dramatic turn on the stage with an all-new production of How Cissy Grew in Los Angeles, and ET gets the lowdown from the hunky "Desperate Housewives" star about acting opposite his wife, Erin O'Brien -- and his upcoming nude scene on his hit ABC show!

"When I found out I was going to be stark naked in an episode of 'Desperate Housewives,' which we just shot, I worked out pretty steadily for a month," James confides to ET. "That's pretty good motivation."

Previews for How Cissy Grew begin October 16 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, with its limited six-week engagement ending November 23. The play takes place in West Virginia and studies a family's dramatic, long-term struggles in the wake of having their daughter abducted -- and returned only a few days later. James stars opposite his wife in the play.

"We met doing a play, and then we did another play, so we've been on stage together before," says Erin.

"It's a chance to act together, and it's a great role for [Erin]; she doesn't get many opportunities to act, so it made a lot of sense," says James, adding, "The subject matter's very heavy, but the play's very funny. Susan Johnston, the playwright, was smart enough to load it with real funny, laugh-out-loud moments."

And James says that you can expect a nice red-carpet showing for the play's premiere with many of his "Desperate" castmates: "We'll have a really supportive Hollywood family show up."

Watch ET for more with James!


A creativity infusion for Fall! Brooke and Anne are teaching a four session, 12 hour, workshop in LA at the end of October. Come to jumpstart your creative process. Bring new work! Start new work! Renewthe practice!

Brooke Berman and Anne Garcia-Romero will lead a four session writing workshop at the end of October that will stir up the unconscious, get your writing flowing, and help facilitate valuable feedback from peers.Wednesday evenings will be devoted to in-class writing exercises -this will act as the spine of the class, opening each writer's voice and connection to source material, accessing the deeper mind and imagination to create rich play material.

On Saturday afternoons, writers will share pages with one another and receive feedback and support.This workshop is perfect for writers at all levels.The workshop will be limited to 12 writers.

WHEN: October 22 through November 1, Wednesdays 7-9pm and Saturdays, 12-4pm
WHERE: The Brewery, 1918 N. Main, #103, LA, 90031
COST: $300
QUESTIONS: Please contact Anne at 310-245-6452 or anne.garciaromero@gmail.com. Or Brooke at 917-586-6744. or brookeberman@gmail.com

AND: COMING SOON: A more sustained weekly workshop is planned forJanuary, 2009.

Brooke Berman's plays have been produced at Primary Stages, the HumanaFestival, Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, The Second Stage in NYC, ThePlay Company, Naked Angels, WET and The Ohio Theater; developed atArielle Tepper's SPF, The National Theatre in London, The Royal CourtTheatre in London, Williamstown Theater Festival, Soho Rep, ASK,Cleveland Playhouse, Clubbed Thumb, New Dramatists and numerous otherplaces. She has been teaching creative process for 9 years and hastaught playwriting at Eugene Lang College, University of Rochester,New Dramatists in NYC as well as through guest artist programs in theNYC public school system. Brooke is a graduate of the JuilliardSchool.

Anne García-Romero's plays have been developed and produced mostnotably at the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater, ArielleTepper Productions' Summer Play Festival, The Mark Taper Forum, andSouth Coast Repertory. She's taught at Cal Arts, UC Santa Barbara, UCRiverside, Wesleyan University and Macalester College. She holds anMFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama and is a an alumna ofNew Dramatists. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishingand NoPassport Press.

Both Brooke and Anne are resident playwrights at New Dramatists, a national organization that supports the work of playwrights. Both Brooke and Anne have studied with Maria Irene Fornes.

teaching the arts

* Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance
University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa (Alabama)
(date posted: 10/13/2008)

* Tenure-track Positions
California State University at San Bernardino (California)
(date posted: 10/13/2008)

* Assistant/Associate Professor of Stage Management
University of Redlands (California)
(date posted: 10/13/2008)

* Faculty Positions in the College of Visual and Performing Arts
University of South Florida (Florida)
(date posted: 10/7/2008)

* Chair, Theater Department
Columbia College Chicago (Illinois)
(date posted: 10/13/2008)

* Full-time, Tenure-track Faculty Member, Dance Department
Columbia College Chicago (Illinois)
(date posted: 10/13/2008)

* Faculty position in Theatre Design/Technical Direction
Northwestern College (Iowa) (Iowa)
(date posted: 10/9/2008)

* Multiple Faculty Positions in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
University of Iowa (Iowa)
(date posted: 10/13/2008)

* Assistant Professor in Lighting Design
Michigan State University (Michigan)
(date posted: 10/13/2008)

* Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts/Technical Director/Designer/Shop Supervisor
Wayne State College (Nebraska)
(date posted: 10/10/2008)

* Multiple Faculty Positions
State University of New York College at Brockport (New York)
(date posted: 10/13/2008)

* Multiple Positions
State University of New York College at New Paltz (New York)
(date posted: 10/10/2008)

* Assistant Professor - Dance
Appalachian State University (North Carolina)
(date posted: 10/9/2008)

* Assistant Professor of Voice and Speech
Wright State University (Ohio)
(date posted: 10/8/2008)

* Option Coordinator of Dramatic Writing
Carnegie Mellon University (Pennsylvania)
(date posted: 10/13/2008)

* Assistant Professor of Drama (Costume and Set Design)
Texas Woman's University (Texas)
(date posted: 10/9/2008)

* Assistant/Associate Professors in the School of Agriculture; School of Business; School
of Engineering, Science and Technology; and the School of Liberal Arts and Education
Virginia State University (Virginia)
(date posted: 10/13/2008)

October 08, 2008

gen art film festival call for submissions

Festival Deadlines Approaching

Imagine this.

You arrive at the theater to a packed house. The crowd is buzzing and the bulbs are flashing. This is your Premiere, and the spotlight will shine exclusively on your film for the entire night. Follow that up with the party of a lifetime at one of the hottest clubs in New York and you start to get an idea of what The Gen Art Film Festival is all about.

The only catch is that you have to submit your film in order to be considered for the festival. The next deadline is October 31st, so head over to our submission page and send us your film ASAP.

We are currently accepting both Shorts and Features. See you at the fest!


HERE Arts Center presents:

A multidisciplinary performance piece inspired by the life of Bruce Lee

Created and performed by Soomi Kim
Written by Derek Nguyen
Directed by Suzi Takhashi
Music composed by Jen Shyu
Lighting designed by Lucrecia Briceno
Additional sound and music recorded by Adam Rogers
Video by Chris McClain
Assistant directed by David Shane
Stage managed by Leta Tremblay
Costume assistance by Adam Corcoran

Actors/Martial Artists: Shing Ka, Walker Lewis, Constance Parng, Ariel Shepley, Pai Sen Wang
Tabla Player: Dibyarka Chatterjee

When Bruce Lee was born, his mother gave him a girl’s name to disguise him from evil spirits. When actor/performing artist Soomi Kim learned this surprising fact, she felt destined to create a theatre performance inhabiting the incomparable martial arts superstar. Set in the inner landscape of Bruce Lee’s mind the moment he died in 1973, Lee/gendary is a theatrical deconstruction of an icon; a spiritual and psychological examination of Lee’s life from birth to death. This unique gender-bending theatre performance fluidly integrates text, live original music, video and an explosive hybrid of martial arts and dance.

Tuesday-Thursdays, October 14-30
7:30 pm
For tickets visit www.here.org or call 212-352-3101

HERE Arts Center
145 Sixth Avenue between Spring and Broome (entrance on Dominick)
New York, NY 10013-1548


MEDIA CONTACT: Nancy Moon - 212-989-7530, nancy.moon@verizon.net

"Those who die but do not perish continue to live" --Chapter 33, Tao de Ch'ing

LEE/GENDARY was first presented at HERE’s The American Living Room Festival 2006 as a work-in-progress, directed by David Perry with fight choreography by Rafael Kayanan (The Hunted and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).

In December 2006, LEE/GENDARY was accepted as one of the few projects by an individual artist to represent NYC in The First National Asian American Theater Festival held in New York City which ran June 11 - 24, 2007. LEE/GENDARY enjoyed a successful run at The Samuel Becket theater on Theatre Row, June 19th-21st. The last show was sold out and received a rave review from nytheatre.com:

"Then, there is Kim, who is outstanding as Lee. Hers is a convincing performance of rigorous physicality and impressive commitment. She scores big points in the case for non-traditional gender casting by showing that the key to such successes lies in having the right attitude. Oh boy, does she have the attitude! As Lee himself says early in the play, "Champions are made from something inside them." Kim's performance proves that." - Michael Criscuolo, nytheatre.com


This production is being presented through HERE's Supported Artist Program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical and administrative support.

Since 1993, the OBIE-winning HERE Arts Center has been a premier arts organization in NYC and a leader in the field of new, hybrid performance work. Under the artistic leadership of Kristin Marting, HERE has served 11,000 emerging to mid-career artists developing work that does not fit a conventional programming agenda. The executive leadership of HERE is now shared with Producing Director Kim Whitener, who recently joined HERE after 12 years of working in the downtown theater producing scene. Work presented at HERE has garnered 10 OBIE awards, an OBIE grant for artistic achievement, three Drama Desk nominations, two Berrilla Kerr Awards, two NY Innovative Theatre Awards, an Edwin Booth Award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. HERE was awarded a $500,000 federal grant by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a $500,000 grant from the September 11th Fund, and a $600,000 capital grant from the City of New York. Co-Founder and Artistic Director Kristin Marting was honored with a 2005 BAX10 Award for Arts Managers. HERE is proud to support artists at all stages in their careers through full productions, artist residency programs, festivals and subsidized performance and rehearsal space. Work at HERE is curated based on the strength and uniqueness of the artist’s vision. In 2005, with the support of FJC, a foundation of donor advised funds, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the City of New York, HERE purchased its long-time home as part of a five-year “Secure HERE’s Future” campaign.

durfee foundation grant

Fourth Quarter Postmark Deadline is Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 (Election Day).

ARC grants provide rapid, short-term assistance of up to $3,500 to individual artists who live in Los Angeles County. Funds must be used to enhance work that is near completion and scheduled for presentation between December 16, 2008 and May 4, 2009.

Artists in any discipline may apply.Applicants must have a secure invitation from an established organization to present their work.

There are four grant cycles per year.For more information, application, or guidelines visithttp://www.durfee.org/programs/arc/index.html

October 06, 2008

National Playwrights Conference Submission Window to Close on October 17, 2008!

Click to view this in a browser http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/164246/6ee74c04cc/89001897/389c576315/

Submit Your Play Now!
October 6th, 2008

Dear Playwrights,

The 2009 National Playwrights Conference submission window is fast drawing to a close. With less than two weeks remaining before theOctober 17th, 2008 post-mark deadline, we encourage you to beginassembling your submission! With fewer summer developmentopportunities occurring around the country this year, it's doublyimportant that you don't miss your chance to be considered for aresidency, rehearsal period, and public readings at The O'Neill. Over the tenure of Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg, the O'Neil'sNational Playwrights Conference has reclaimed its rightful place asthe nations leading incubator for new drama. We are able to help new voices of drama enter the world because of our dedication to an open submission process. Anyone is welcome to apply and all works will be carefully read and considered anonymously by our team of theater professionals from around the country.Time is running short and no late applications will be accepted, so act now!

Get an application athttp://cts.vresp.com/c/?EugeneONeillTheaterC/6ee74c04cc/389c576315/027e8e5efb.

There is a detailed process to follow, which includes submitting three copies of your script by post and a $35.00 submission fee to cover the cost of keeping the submission process open.If you have any questions, please contact the literary office at 860.443.5378 ext. 227, or email us at litoffice@theoneill.org.

Martin Kettling
Literary Manager

women in film presents...

The Second Annual Focus on International Short Films:
A Night to Celebrate Indigenous Filmmakers of the Americas


The Evening of Saturday, October 25th of 2008
6:00pm - 10:00pm


Barnsdall Gallery Theatre
4800 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90027

Price: WIF Members $15.00/ Non-WIF members $20.00
To purchase tickets: Click Here

TICKETS ARE SELLING FAST! Buy yours today!Please bring your WIF membership card for verification and entry. For a complete list of films and to learn more about the event
go to: Women In Film Calendar

Come join us for the second annual event where this year we focus on short films by Indigenous American filmmakers. More than just a screening, you will experience Indigenous American culture with a reception, music, a fine art exhibit, and special appearances by Danza Azteca Cuauhtemoc, Vox Femina, Miss Blackfoot 2008 and Happy Frejo. Following the screening will be a Q & A with the filmmakers. This event brings together Indigenous artists from North Central and South American communities in Los Angeles, and is sure to draw a large and diverse crowd.


Rojo Red
Director: Juan Manuel Betancourt
A young boy's fascination with his shoe string leads him to unravel the meaning of life.

Lagrimas Del Café
Director: Claudia Mercado
Meaning tears like coffee, that honors the director's ancestors, specifically her grandmother.

Director: Nanobah Becker
In the early 1950's, Christian missionaries make a catastrophic visit to a family in the remote, Navajo desert, with unforeseen results.

Telephone Warriors: The Story of the Choctaw Code Talkers
Director: Valerie Redhorse
In 1918, not yet citizens of the U.S., Choctaw members of the U.S. American Expeditionary Forces were asked to use their native language as a powerful tool against the German Forces in World War I, setting a precedent for code talking as an effective military weapon and establishing them as America's original Code Talkers.

Xani Xepica
Director: Alejandro Diaz
What it takes to become a man. A young Indian boy tries to prove worthy of his bride.

For the Next Seven Generations
Director: Carol Hart
13 Indigenous women elders, shamans and medicine women from around the world, have united as one to share their sacred wisdom and practices. As they travel the globe together, they are shining a bright light on the path to a sustainable world for the next seven generations.

short films needed for SATSANG

A note from producer Misi Lopez Lecube -

As most of you know I'm producing an ongoing new works performance series called SATSANG LOUNGE. We are moving into finalizing the line up for No. 2 -- which takes place on Oct 21 at 7:30. We had a great No. 1 and it's all very exciting stuff however, I'm coming up short on short film submissions.and I turn to you because either you may have a film (20 minutes or less) you'd like to show or know someone who has a short they may want to show at SATSANG.

SATSANG LOUNGE has landed at Theatre Theater in Los Angeles! No. 2 is taking place on OCTOBER 21. Friends and marvelous artists, join us! *Satsang Lounge is an on going new works
performance series where a diverse group of working Los Angeles artists are invited to exhibit,
explore and workshop new works in the company of other artists and an audience.

We had a our SATSANG LOUNGE No. 1 debut on September 23! The performances and film work were fantastic. It was a great success! Also, I have a new partner helping me make all this
happen and her name is Liz Kent! She’s great! We are putting the word out for No. 2 because we
still have a few spots open...

ATTENTION: actors, performers, musicians, filmmakers, dancers, writers -storytellers of all kinds- YOU - who’ve been developing new material and feel NOW is the time to try it out.
Here’s your opportunity! No age limit! Let’s go!

WHEN & WHERE: OCT 21, 7:30pm @ Theatre Theater (5041 Pico Blvd. off La Brea) is home to our SATSANG LOUNGE evenings- it’s a fantastic theater venue that owners Jeff Murray & Nicolette Chaffrey have recently renovated with new sound and lighting and AC! http://www.theatretheater.net/

Performance info: There are 7 to 8 ‘acts’ per Lounge. Each act will have 12 - 20 minutes depending on genre. *Each performer is required tobring at least 4 people to the show. As SATSANG LOUNGE is also an artists collective, performers are welcome to watch each other perform from the audience and are asked to stay for the entire show to enjoy and support and to participate in the group bow at the end. There will be one intermission. *We have an
amazing concessions situation catered by EVERYDAY FEAST so, libations and snacks are
available for purchase before, during and after the show. No need to grab dinner before hand!
Promotions & Business: We do our best to get listed in local publications and local web event
listings. There will also be a press release emailed three weeks in advance, Also, you will receive
postcards to hand out- with your names listed on them, and by all means we ask you to list us in your websites, blogs, etc.!!!

If you are interested in participating in Satsang Lounge LA- you may contact me via emailsatsanglounge@gmail.com

*Past performers and SATSANG LOUNGE Artists Collective Members-- please pass this performance opportunity on to those you know would appreciate! Please be our friend on myspace--- we're www.myspace.com/Satsanglounge.

About Satsang Lounge: The inspiration for Satsang Lounge came when I was looking for an open artist collective, where I couldworkshop new material I was developing for my solo show in NYC.
So, I found a theater and invited other writers, artists, actors, musicians, dancers, poets, painters, filmmakers, magicians, storytellers, DJ'S and who ever else could fit in the venue, to play, present, and explore their newest works in front of one another and an audience and from 1997-2002, I produced and hosted *Satsang Lounge in a community room at New York City's historic West Beth Theater.

*Satsang (Sanskrit sat = true, sanga = company): describes in Indian philosophy (1) the company of the "highest truth," and (2) company of persons who listen to, talk about, and assimilate the truth. This typically involves listening to or reading scriptures, reflecting on, discussing and assimilating their meaning, meditating on the source of these words, and bringing their meaning into one’s daily life.

~I have taken this term and extended it to a company of artistswhere discussing, sharing, witnessing, creating, and being in the company of other artists will inspire more creativity, feed our artistic spirits, and contribute to the realization of our life’s work.

With love. Misi Lopez Lecube

teaching the arts

* Open Rank
Stanford University (California)
(date posted: 9/30/2008)

* Director, School of Music
University of Florida (Florida)
(date posted: 10/6/2008)

* Assistant Professor of Theatre
Valdosta State University (Georgia)
(date posted: 10/6/2008)

* Music
Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge (Louisiana)
(date posted: 10/6/2008)

* Artist/Teacher - Opera Coach
Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge (Louisiana)
(date posted: 10/6/2008)

* Music
Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge (Louisiana)
(date posted: 10/6/2008)

* Multiple Positions: English, Communications, Theatre, Music, Biology, and Chemistry
Northern Michigan University (Michigan)
(date posted: 10/6/2008)

* Three positions in Music
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Minnesota)
(date posted: 10/6/2008)

* Clinical Assistant Professor in Dance Education
Rutgers University at New Brunswick (New Jersey)
(date posted: 10/1/2008)

* Assistant Professor of Dance
State University of New York College at Brockport (New York)
(date posted: 9/30/2008)

* Assistant Professor of Costume Technology
Elon University (North Carolina)
(date posted: 10/3/2008)

* Faculty - multiple disciplines
University of North Dakota (North Dakota)
(date posted: 10/6/2008)

* Multiple Faculty Positions
Ashford University (Ohio)
(date posted: 10/6/2008)

* Theatre Assistant Professor
Miami University (Ohio) (Ohio)
(date posted: 9/30/2008)

* Multiple Position Openings
College of Charleston (South Carolina)
(date posted: 10/6/2008)