Native Voices at Autry to Open World Premiere of THE BIRD HOUSE, 3/1
Native Voices at the Autry continues its vital role as the country's only Equity theatre company dedicated exclusively to developing the work of Native American Playwrights with the world premiere of THE BIRD HOUSE by DIANE GLANCY (Cherokee*). The play opens Friday, March 1 and closes Sunday, March 17, 2013, (previews begin February 27) at the Autry National Center's Wells Fargo Theater, Los Angeles.
Glancy, author of the hit play Salvage, has worked closely with Native Voices on The Bird House for more than two years, exemplifying the company's commitment to the ongoing development of a play over a long period of time. Directed by Robert Caisley, The Bird House was written for and stars Native Voices Co-Founder/Producing Artistic Director Randy Reinholz (Choctaw*), in his Native Voices acting debut. Reinholz, an accomplished producer, director and actor, has directed over fifty plays in the United States, Australia, Mexico and Canada.
The dramaturg is Native Voices Co-Founder/Producing Executive Director Jean Bruce Scott, who has spent nineteen years developing new plays, including more than 100 by Native American Playwrights. Native Voices at the Autry has been hailed by critics as "a virtual who's who of American Indian theatre artists," "a hotbed for contemporary Native Theatre," "deeply compelling" and "a powerful and eloquent voice." Founded in 1994, it was established as a resident company at the Autry National Center in 1999.
"We are proud to present the world premiere of Diane Glancy's The Bird House as part of our ongoing commitment to give expression to the histories, experiences and perspectives of Native peoples," says David Burton, senior director of the Autry Institute at the Autry National Center. "Diane's poetically heart-wrenching play, as well as all the creative work that grows out of Native Voices at the Autry, contributes enormously to our mission of fully exploring the stories of the diverse peoples of the American West."
Glancy's play tells the story of Reverend Logan (Reinholz), an evangelical preacher fighting to save his family, his church and his community during an economic crisis, when the promise of natural gas production from fracking seems to provide a lifeline to his small west Texas town. The cast also features Tyler Cook as Justin Lawrence, Carla-Rae (Seneca*, Mohawk*, French Canadian*) as Majel, Robert Owens-Greygrass (Lakota*) as Rope and Ellen Dostal as Clovis.
An early draft of The Bird House was featured at Native Voices at the Autry's 2011 Festival of New Plays, after which Glancy decided to add two characters, substantially altering the dramatic story. It has also been workshopped previously at the prestigious Missoula Writers Colony at the University of Montana.
Native Voices at the Autry, a constituent of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), is made possible in part by grants and support from Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Arts Commission; National Endowment for the Arts; Edison International; Nissan; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Wells Fargo; and the Judith Jacobs Foundation.
Tickets are $20 for general adult admission, $12 for students/military/seniors (55+) and $10 for Autry members. Previews are half-price and free for Autry members. The Wells Fargo Theater is located at the Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, Calif., 90027-1462. For reservations or additional information, call 323.495.4354 or visit www.NativeVoicesattheAutry.org.
Playwright DIANE GLANCY (Cherokee*) is a professor at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. Native Voices at the Autry has previously produced three of her plays, Jump Kiss, Stone Heart and Salvage, which was featured in the Origins Festival, Riverside Studios, London, England. In 2010, Glancy made her first independent film, The Dome of Heaven, which won Best Native American Film at the 2011 Trail Dance Film Festival in Duncan, Oklahoma. A book of her essays, The Dream of a Broken Field, was published in 2011 by the University of Nebraska Press. Two collections of her poems, Stories of the Driven World and It Was Then, were published by Mammoth Press in 2010 and 2012.
Director ROBERT CAISLEY is associate professor and head of dramatic writing at the University of Idaho. He was named the 2011 Blaine Quarnstrom Visiting Playwright at the University of Southern Mississippi. His plays include Kissing (New Theatre, Coral Gables, FL), The Lake (Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia), Good Clean Fun (Montana Actors Theatre, Missoula), The 22-Day Adagio (Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, VA), Front (Sundance Playwright's Lab), Kite's Book (6th Street Playhouse, Santa Rosa, CA), Letters to an Alien (Mad Horse Theatre, Portland, ME), Santa Fe (StageWorks/Hudson, New York, Finalist for the Heideman Award) and Winter, which received its world premiere at New Theatre in January 2012. He directed the Los Angeles premiere of The Frybread Queen by Carolyn Dunn. His latest play, Happy, was a finalist this year for the O'Neill Theatre Center National Playwright's Conference and his play Front will be released by Samuel French later this summer.
RANDY REINHOLZ (Choctaw*) (Reverend Logan) is the founder and producing artistic director of Native Voices at the Autry. An accomplished producer, director and actor, he has directed over fifty plays in the United States, Australia, Mexico and Canada. Reinholz's acting credits include Happy in Death of a Salesman (Pennsylvania Centre Stage); Hotspur in Henry IV, Part I, Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet and Speed in Two Gentlemen of Verona (Illinois Shakespeare Festival); Andrew Ladd III in Love Letters (Heartland Theatre Co.); Doody in Guest of the Nation (The Court Theatre); Lawrence in Home Free, directed by Bill Anton, Coupler in The Relapse, directed by Norman Welsh, Soames in Getting Married, directed by Craig Noel, Timon/Understudy in Timon of Athens, directed by Bob Berlinger, Baron/Understudy in Love's Labor's Lost, direcTed Craig Noel, Davy/Understudy in Voice of The Prairie, directed by Tom Bollard, Charles in Holiday, directed by Jack O'Brien, and Eros in Anthony and Cleopatra, directed by Jack O'Brien (Old Globe Theatre); and Bentley in Misalliance, directed by Lisa Peterson (The Hanger Theatre). A tenured full professor at San Diego State University, where he was head of acting for ten years before becoming director of the School of Theater, Television and Film, Reinholz was named the director of community engagement and innovative programs for the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts in Fall 2012. His television and film credits include Days of Our Lives, Pensacola, China Beach, Tour of Duty and Dead Space, co-starring Bryan Cranston.
TYLER COOK (Justin Lawrence) makes his Native Voices debut in the world premiere of The Bird House. He previously appeared in Les Miserables, Detained in the Desert (soon to be a major motion picture) and, most recently, Berlin Cowboys at the Right Act Repertory. Although Cook possesses a passion for theatre, which began at an early age, his diverse body of work ranges from dramatic independent film leads to comedy improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade to performances on network shows for NBC and Disney. He studies at Hollywood's Theater Craft with coach and mentor Rick Walters.
CARLA-RAE (Seneca*, Mohawk*, French Canadian*) (Majel) reprises her role of Majel for this production of The Bird House by Diane Glancy, having recently performed the staged reading of it as well as Tombs of the Vanishing Indian by Marie Clements at Native Voices at the Autry. She has also appeared at LATC in the Road Weeps, the Well Runs Dry by Marcus Gardley. Carla-Rae has had the privilege of working with the NYC Off Broadway theatre group the Ligourian Players, founded and directed by Lenny Delgado. She played leading roles in both The House of Bernarda Alba by Frederico Garcia Lorca and Edith Stein by Arthur Giron. For her supporting role in the award-winning independent feature film Imprint, she won a Best Supporting Actress Award from the American Indian Film Institute. Carla-Rae's most recent TV roles include episodes of the ABC network series Scoundrels, the PBS docudrama We Shall Remain: Trail of Tears, HBO's Taking Chance and the FOX series pilot of New Amsterdam, directed by renowned director Lasse Halstrom. Carla-Rae recently added "producer" to her résumé for producing and speaking in the "Keep It Sacred" PSA for the National Native Network, which won Best PSA by the American Indian Film and Video Festival of the Southeast in November 2012. She is currently creating a web series called Woman With Wisdom Speaks, by Carla-Rae.
Robert OwenS-GREYGRASS (Lakota*) (Rope) has performed professionally for twenty years as a storyteller and actor/writer. His body of work includes Lakota and other tribal stories, poetry, short stories, film, standup comedy and two solo shows, Walking on Turtle Island and Ghostlands of an Urban NDN, produced in 2012 by Native Voices at the Autry. Owens-Greygrass has performed in countless venues, including the National Museum of the American Indian, universities, theaters, festivals, prisons, reservations and urban centers across the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany and England. Describing himself as a "mixed-blood-multi-ethnic-non-specific-person" of Native/European ancestry, he expresses himself through theatre, film, TV and literature.
ELLEN DOSTAL (Clovis) has previously appeared at Native Voices in Jump Kiss (also by Glancy) and The Berlin Blues. Among other Los Angeles theatre credits, she has appeared in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at Interact Theatre Co., City of Angels at the NoHo Arts Center and Eastern Standard at Coast Playhouse. Her regional work and tours include The Big Deal at Theatre Museum in London, Sour Grapes at Copake Theatre in New York, Private Lives, Night Watch and Midsummer Night's Dream. As a member of the Academy Repertory Company, Dostal has developed roles in several new musicals at the Colony Theatre, among them Clyde 'n Bonnie, At Home in Mitford, Idaho! and The Water.
Dramaturg JEAN Bruce Scott is the founder and producing executive director of Native Voices at the Autry. She has spent nineteen years developing new plays, including more than 100 by Native American Playwrights. At Native Voices, she has produced nineteen New Play Festivals; nine Playwrights Retreats; over 150 play readings; and twenty-two new plays, including The Baby Blues, Jump Kiss, Stone Heart, The Red Road, The Buz' Gem Blues, The Berlin Blues, Please Do Not Touch the Indians, Kino & Teresa, SUPER INDIAN, Teaching Disco Square Dancing to Our Elders, Salvage, Carbon Black, Now Look What You Made Me Do, Urban Tattoo, Tales of an Urban Indian, The Frybread Queen, Walking on Turtle Island, Ghostlands of an Urban Indian and Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light. Scott is the co-founder of the Native Radio Theater Project, a collaboration between Native Voices and Native American Public Telecommunications that produces radio plays, including The Best Place to Grow Pumpkins, Melba's Medicine, Why Opossum's Tail Is Bare, The Peach Seed, SUPER INDIAN, The Red Road and Raven's Radio Hour. Her illustrious background includes extensive theatre credits and serving as president of Sine Bahn Productions, an independent Production Company noted for developing screenplays, teleplays and stage plays. She is familiar for numerous lead and recurring acting roles on Days of Our Lives, Magnum P.I., Port Charles, Newhart, Matlock, Airwolf and St. Elsewhere and guest starred on a multitude of other series and television movies. She is a past member of the L.A. Board of Directors for AFTRA and is currently serving on the SAG Local Hollywood American Indian Committee and the National Advisory Board for the Last Frontier Theatre Conference.
NATIVE VOICES AT THE AUTRY is America's leading Native American theatre company. Acclaimed by critics as "a hotbed for contemporary Native Theatre," "deeply compelling" and "a powerful and eloquent voice," the company continues to build on its storied and prolific history as the country's only Equity theatre company dedicated exclusively to developing and producing new works by Native American Playwrights. Native Voices, which provides a supportive, collaborative setting for Native Theatre artists from across North America, was founded in 1994 by Producing Artistic Director Randy Reinholz (Choctaw*) and Producing Executive Director Jean Bruce Scott. In 1999, it was established as Native Voices at the Autry, a resident company at the Autry National Center of the American West. Native Voices maintains successful long-term relationships with New York's The Public Theater, Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT), Washington's Kennedy Center, the National Museum of the American Indian, Perseverance Theatre, The Alaska Native Heritage Center, Montana Rep and La Jolla Playhouse. Hailed by critics also as "a virtual who's who of American Indian theatre artists" and "an established presence in Los Angeles and a growing influence elsewhere," Native Voices is widely respected in both the Native American and theatre communities for its breakthrough plays and diverse programming, which showcases the unique points of view within the more than 500 Native American nations in North America. To date, the company has produced twenty-two critically acclaimed new plays, including fifteen world premieres, nine Playwright Retreats, nineteen New Play Festivals, two Short Play Festivals and more than 150 workshops and public staged readings of new plays by Native American Playwrights featuring Native American actors.
THE AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER is a history museum dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West. Located in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, the Autry's collection of more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant holdings in the United States of Native American material culture. The Autry Institute includes two research libraries: the Braun Research Library and the Autry Library. Exhibitions, public programs, K-12 educational services and publications are designed to examine the contemporary human condition through the lens of the historical Western experience and explore critical issues in society.
Pictured: A scene from Glancy's Salvage. Photo by Silvia Mautner.