Janet Miller Launches Good People Theater; Announces 1st Show A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, 6/7-30
Today, a newly formed Board of Directors joined with Producing Artistic Director Janet Miller to announce the launch of a non-profit theater venture-the Good People Theater Company (GPTC)-and its opening show, LA's first fully staged production of A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE.
Offered as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival (Project #1093) with direction and musical staging by Miller and musical direction by Corey Hirsch, GPTC's "wee Irish musical" features a 15-member cast of accomplished actors-many of whom are drawn from Miller's most successful productions. Winner of New York City's Outer Circle Critics Award for Best Musical when it debuted, the show has a book by Terrence McNally, with music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. The musical tells the story of Alfie Byrne, a modest, poetical Everyman in 1960s Dublin weighed down by a secret love that, when exposed, tests the boundaries of true friendship and finally mutual tolerance.
According to Miller, the key members of the Good People team-organizational, technical and actor principals-are people she's known for decades. "All these years, at the close of another show we would always find ourselves saying, 'isn't it great to work with good people'? So we decided that was it: we each wanted a home to do great work with good people. We found a show that deserved an LA production, we hooked up with the Hollywood Fringe Festival for momentum, and the Good People Theater Company was born!"
Good People's first show, A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, opens June 7 at the Lillian Theatre Hollywood (1076 Lillian Way at Santa Monica Boulevard) and runs each weekend through June 30 (Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm.) Tickets are $20 general admission, with discounts for Fringe insiders (Citizens and Participants). All dates go on sale today (May 1) through the Fringe Box Office by calling 323-455-4585 or online at the show's Hollywood Fringe Festival project page www.hff13.org/1093.
As a part of the their commitment to "good people doing good work," the GPTC also announced a special "Charity of Choice" performance on Saturday, June 29 at 2pm. In a turn that book-loving Alfie Byrne would surely appreciate, 100% of the ticket proceeds from this performance will be donated to BookEnds, an LA-based non-profit that recycles quality children's reading material to help build library collections at schools and youth centers in underserved areas across Southern California.
In a city blessed with many fine smaller theater companies, the GPTC Board feels there is artistic justification for giving Janet Miller a special forum. "Each Board member has known Janet for years and has long appreciated her talents as both director and choreographer, her ability to balance professionalism with humor, and her impeccable instinct for spotting, casting and developing talent," said Board President and Company Marketing Director Kimberly Fox. "We each felt it was time to build a Company around Janet's vision."
Fox pointed out Miller was a Lucille Lortel nominee for her work on The Marvelous Wonderettes. "Janet's won many honors here in Los Angeles, including Ovation, LADCC, and Garland awards. She's successfully delivered more than 100 shows in her thirty-five year career. The Board doesn't feel it's taking much of a risk showcasing someone we consider one of LA's most interesting director/choreographers." Fox confirmed the Board's plan treats the GPTC Fringe production as a test run for future shows: "We know our theatrical resources are running at 100%, so we're using this first production to get the Company's full administrative functions up and running. Based on what we learn this time around, we'll fine-tune our planning and announce future shows."
The Good People Theater Company believes there are three good reasons to launch another small theater company in Los Angeles:
We believe you can never have enough intimate plays and chamber musicals performed to the highest standards by actors and theater techs of many generations. We like seeing good people of all ages do great work.
We believe Janet Miller-the company's founding artistic director-is a walking theater encyclopedia and a true triple threat as a director of straight plays, a director of musicals and a choreographer. We believe Janet is one-of-a-kind. She deserves a professional forum for her talents and ideas, so we're giving it to her.
We believe quality theater changes people-the actors, theater techs, musicians, and audiences young and old who experience it-for the better. It's important to be good, to do good (including a charity fundraiser performance in every run) and to make a difference. So that's what we're doing.
Founding GPTC Board members include:
- Kimberly Fox, Board President; Former marketing agency president, now marketing consultant and life-long lover of all things theater.
- Janet Miller, Artistic Director (see full bio below)
- Steve De Forest; Consumer Goods Corporate Executive, Executive Recruitment Board Member and Officer, Theatre Producer and Actor
- Rhonda Kramer; Morning and Afternoon Traffic anchor for KFWB News/Talk 980, former owner / CEO of LA Network, providing traffic and news to multiple LA radio stations.
- Steve Julian; Theater actor, director and playwright, voice-over artist, and host of Morning Edition on 89.3 KPCC.
- Dr. RoBert Fink; UCLA professor of musicology and former Gilbert and Sullivan Society conductor and performer.
ABOUT Janet Miller (www.janetmiller.net): Janet Miller is a director, choreographer and educator. Her choreography has been showcased Off-Broadway at The Westside Theatre in The Marvelous Wonderettes. She received a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Choreographer for this production. Janet garnered a LA Stage Alliance Ovation nomination for her work on TMW, a Garland, a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography, a BroadwayWorld LA Award nomination for Best Choreography and was part of the team that won the Ovation Award for Best Intimate Musical in 2007. She also received a Garland and a LADCC choreography award for Winter Wonderettes.
Miller choreographed the European Premiere of The Marvelous Wonderettes for Teatro Franco Parenti in Milan Italy. She staged her award winning Wonderettes step-touch extensively throughout the US, most notably at Northlight in Chicago, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Capital Repertory in Albany, NY, Sacramento Music Circus, Pittsburgh CLO, The Plymouth Playhouse in Minneapolis, Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks, CA, Moonlight Stage Productions in Vista, CA, McCoy Rigby Entertainment, and The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Auburn, NY.
Miller was the Resident Director for Phantom Projects Theatre Group, based at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. In 2010, she directed Lydia R. Diamond's adaptation of the Toni Morrison book, The Bluest Eye to critical acclaim. The following season, Phantom remounted this production at the Miles Playhouse in Santa Monica. Also for Phantom Projects, Miller directed The Miracle Worker, The Crucible, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) Grapes of Wrath, The Giver and The Importance of Being Earnest.
Miller's work has appeared on both coasts in productions of Side By Side By Sondheim, South Pacific, Guys and Dolls, Kiss Me Kate, Jesus Christ Superstar, Anything Goes, Baby, The Fantasticks, Annie Get Your Gun, Dames At Sea, Charlie Brown, Urinetown, The Odd Couple, The Nerd, The Man Who Came To Dinner, The Rimers of Eldritch, and Taming of the Shrew to name a few. She has a special expertise in tap, which she has taught and choreographed worldwide most recently in China and Thailand. She was one of the founding members of Golden State Theatre, the Family Theatre of La Mirada, for eighteen years, directing and choreographing over 50 productions. Miller is the recipient of the 2003 Excellence in Art Award for Drama from the city of Torrance, where she was the Artistic Director/Resident Director at the Torrance Theatre Company for seven years, directing sixteen shows during her tenure. She is also the Artistic Director for the MB Players.
Miller holds a B.A. in musical theatre from CSUN, and an M.A. in theatre from CSULA. She is adjunct faculty at CSUN, CSULA and Cerritos College, and is a proud member of SDC.