Ruskin Group Theatre Opens Rex Pickett's SIDEWAYS THE PLAY World Premiere, 5/18


Sideways The Play, adapted by Rex Pickett from his own novel, will play in its world premiere by the Ruskin Group Theatre in Los Angeles, May 18 through July 22, Fridays-Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. It is the story of two friends - Miles and Jack – and their journey across the Santa Ynez wine country, on one last blowout trip before Jack gets married. Miles and Jack must face their uncertain futures…just as soon as they figure out how to survive their chaotic present.

Previously adapted as a major motion picture, Sideways garnered numerous nominations and awards, including an Academy Award win, two Golden Globe Awards, four NY Film Critics Circle Awards, a SAG Award, six IFP Independent Spirit Awards, and is one of the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Top Ten Films of 2004.

Rex Pickett (Playwright) is the author of the novel Sideways and its sequel Vertical. He has written and directed two feature films, California Without End, From Hollywood to Deadwood, and numerous screenplays. In 2000 the film of his short script, My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York (directed by Barbara Schock), won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. In 2004, the Alexander Payne-directed movie Sideways, based upon Rex's novel, was released to worldwide critical acclaim, winning over 350 awards from various critics and awards organizations, including 5 New York Film Critics Circle awards, 5 L.A. Film Critics awards, 6 IFP Independent Spirit Awards, 2 Golden Globes, and the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. It is enshrined with a plaque on the wall of the Writers Guild of America Theater as one of the 101 Greatest Screenplays in the history of motion pictures. Rex is currently writing a pilot for HBO and a script for Barbara Schock called On Tour with Max.

"I hate the dispiriting nature of development – i.e. screenwriting, but the stage is a fresh vehicle for audiences to experience the original story. This team at the Ruskin was so passionate about theater, so certain that 'Sideways' based on my novel -- not the film -- would lend itself to the stage, that this time the development process became truly rewarding."

Amelia Mulkey (Director) is a director in theater and film. She cut her teeth in filmmaking by working as a producing director's assistant for several television shows including Saving Grace, Army Wives, and Lie to Me. Since then, Amelia has produced and directed several short films including Unicorn Girl, which screened at several festivals last year. She graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Art History and Theatre from Loyola Marymount University. Amelia has worked on several stage productions at San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre, and has been tapped numerous times to direct CAFÉ PLAYS, the popular Ruskin Group Theatre event which sells out monthly. Other stage credits include When the Speak of Rita, Bash,The Laramie Project, Denty Crisis, and Lend Me a Tenor. Most recently, she directed a critically acclaimed production of Arthur Miller's A Memory of Two Monday's at Ruskin Group Theatre, which received a Backstage Critic's Pick, an Ovation Recommendation, and 6 nominations including "Best Director" from The LA Stage Alliance. Amelia is currently in development for a new series, about the San Francisco burlesque scene.

Ruskin Group Theatre has been making an impact on the Los Angeles theatre scene with an eclectic mix of thought provoking plays, garnering numerous "recommendations" from local critics. Ruskin's Fostering Imagination program sponsors foster kids in theatre & film classes that produce several original shows each year. The CAFÉ PLAYS, created by RGT are produced monthly and are the culmination of writers, actors, and directors who meet at 9am, where they are given a theme. They then write, produce, and perform a show by 7pm the same day. When celebrating their 8th anniversary, RGT supporters Ed Asner, Dylan McDermott, Chris Mulkey, Olivia d'Abo, and other industry celebrities joined to produce the Best of Café Plays (both shows sold out within hours). Anthony Hopkins and Anthony Franciosa were some of the first teachers at Ruskin School of Theatre.

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