THE RED WOOL by Jeremy Kareken to Have Industry Staged Reading, Greg Kotis Will Lead the Cast

By: Feb. 06, 2020
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THE RED WOOL by Jeremy Kareken to Have Industry Staged Reading, Greg Kotis Will Lead the Cast

Theatre Upstairs of Phoenix, AZ and Tyler Boettcher & Lauren Rohs will present an industry staged reading of The Red Wool, a new raucous comedy by Broadway's Jeremy Kareken (Lifespan of a Fact). The industry presentation will take place on Monday, February 10th at a private residence in New York City. Tony Award winning playwright & actor Greg Kotis (Urinetown) will star as King Ashurnasirpal II, leading a Phoenix based cast. Industry members may request reservations at

The Red Wool is a raucous comedy set during the 3rd Assyrian Empire under the reign of Ashurnasirpal II. One in a line of "illiterate kings," Ashurnasirpal wishes to be glorified but doesn't have the language skills required for such odes, similar to a certain nameless current President of the United States. The Red Wool follows his brutal (if somewhat hysterically funny) campaign to expand his empire and exact tribute from the nations he conquers.

The Red Wool explores the fight for survival, dignity, rebellion, resistance amidst an oppressive regime, and the effect of art on the will and means to power among civilizations.

Based out of Phoenix Arizona, Theatre Upstairs recently premiered two of Jeremy Kareken's earlier plays from his volume titled Rochester Nights. Headed by Artistic Director Brandy Hotchner, a longtime colleague of Jeremy, Theatre Upstairs is excited and proud to be forging their path towards a NYC debut.

The Red Wool is produced by Theatre Upstairs with Tyler Boettcher & Lauren Rohs. General Management is by Visceral Entertainment (Michael Chase Gosselin/Tim Sulka).


Jeremy Kareken was born and raised in Rochester, NY received his BA from the University of Chicago and his MFA from The Actors Studio Drama School. A three-time nominee for the national ten-minute play competition at The Actors Theatre of Louisville, his short play Big Train was subsequently performed there. He has been awarded the William Inge Center for the Arts residency and fellowship, the EST Next Step grant, and the Walter E. Dakin Fellowship at the Sewanee Writers Conference and won the Guthrie/ Playwrights Center Two-Headed Challenge for The Sweet Sweet Motherhood. His plays have been performed regionally, in NY, and internationally. In 2018/19 Lifespan of a Fact, co-written with frequent collaborator David Murrell, had a hit run on Broadway starring Daniel Radcliffe, Bobby Cannavale, and Cherry Jones.

Brandy Hotchner is the daughter of two published playwrights and the co-founders of "A Company of Players," a participatory children's theater and one of the first professional theater companies in Denver. She spent her childhood backstage, on-stage, and in the dressing rooms of their theater. Hooked, she went on to get a BA in directing from the University of Redlands and an MFA in Acting from The Actor's Studio MFA, New School. Along the way, Brandy trained in Shakespeare and the classics with The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts teachers in London, work-shopped in New York with luminaries such as Arthur Penn, Ellyn Burston, Vivian Nathan (founding member of The Actors Studio), Sandra Seacat and of course her long-time mentor, Barbara Poitier. The craft of acting truly came alive for her under the guidance of mentor Poitier, one of Lee Strasberg's few true protégé's.

Greg Kotis is the author of many plays and musicals including Urinetown (Book/Lyrics) for which he won an Obie and two Tony® Awards, The Truth About Santa, The Sting (Lyrics), Lunchtime, Give the People What They Want, Michael von Siebenburg Melts Through the Floorboards, Yeast Nation (Book/Lyrics), Pig Farm, Eat the Taste, and Jobey and Katherine. His work has been produced and developed in theaters across the country and around the world, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, American Theater Company, The Apollo (West End), The Brick, the Eugene O'Neill National Theater Conference, The Geva Center, Goodspeed Musicals, Henry Miller's Theatre (Broadway), Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Stage and Film, New Line Theatre, The Old Globe, Perseverance Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, Soho Rep, South Coast Rep, The Saint James (Off West End), The Tank, and Village Theatre, among others. Future projects include ZM, an original musical about teenaged fast-food workers trying to survive a zombie plague, and I Am Nobody, an existential romance-road-romp exploring the perils of technology that premieres this March at The Tank. Greg co-founded Theater of The Apes with his wife Ayun Halliday (, and is a member of the Neo-Futurists, the Cardiff Giant Theater Company, ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild. He grew up in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, lives in New York City, and is the proud father of India and Milo, both now in college.

Tyler Boettcher began his study of the craft of acting at Arizona Actor's Academy. He has also been fortunate enough to study Shakespeare and classical acting in London at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

Rachel Grimes graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with her degree in Theatre Arts. She has taught acting for children and adults in Illinois and currently at Arizona Actors Academy in Phoenix. Favorite roles that Rachel has played through her professional and college years include Mother in the musical Promenade (IWU), Star in Half-stitched (Blue Gate Musicals) and Cathy in The Last Five Years (Share a Dream Theatre). Rachel is also co-founder of the theatre company Shringara that runs out of Illinois Wesleyan University which supports diversity in theatre.

LaToshia Hill trained at Arizona Actors Academy in First Folio Shakespeare, and Method acting after previously attending University of Detroit Mercy and pursuing a career in dental hygiene. Her favorite productions thus far have been Take up the Paper with The Theatre Upstairs where she had the opportunity to play Cleopatra, Lady Percy, and Mistress Ford all in one production, and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth with Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival.

Evan Ohbayashi has been training with Brandy Hotchner at AZAA for three years. He has recently moved from Phoenix to Los Angeles, California, but could not pass up the opportunity to work on this production.

Lauren Rohs received a degree in Piano Performance and Music from Northern Arizona University. She recently finished studying with Patsy Rodenburg in New York City and is a Registered Rodenburg Teacher. Her acting training began at Arizona Actor's Academy and she is a lifelong student of Brandy Hotchner's. She has studied acting with Elizabeth Kemp, Alexander Technique with Kelly Mcevenue and Fitzmaurice Technique with Ilse Pfeifer.

Mitch Tellez began acting in a Theatre elective course at Community College while studying toward an Accounting degree. He later ended all studies to focus on acting full-time exclusively under the coaching of Brandy Hotchner. Last year, he visited New York City for a week-long workshop lead by Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, John Patrick Shanley. His favorite role is Jake in A Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard which is in an on-going development. He aspires to bring A Lie of the Mind to the stage. He gives thanks to Brandy Hotchner and Jeremy Kareken.


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