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A NICE FAMILY CHRISTMAS has World Premiere Today

The Group Rep presents the world premiere comedy A Nice Family Christmas written by Phil Olson, directed by Doug Engalla, produced by Alyson York. It's Christmas Eve in Minnesota. A young newspaper reporter, on the brink of being fired, has been assigned a last chance story about a typical family Christmas - his family. He goes home to his recently widowed mother, his crazy uncle, and eccentric grandmother as well as battling siblings and neurotic spouses with no shortage of juicy secrets and family squabbles. The play garnered WINNER - First Place - The McLaren Comedy Festival.

Cast includes the talents of Greg Barnett, Patrick Burke, Truett Butler, Fox Carney, Rebecca Dunn, Belinda Howell, and Marcia Rodd.


Phil Olson (Writer) Phil has written 14 published plays that have had over 350 productions around the world. A Nice Family Christmas will be Phil's 9th play published by Samuel French. The others include A Nice Family Gathering, Mom's Gift, Don't Hug Me, A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol, A Don't Hug Me County Fair, Don't Hug Me I'm Pregnant, Don't Hug Me We're Married, and Polyester the Musical. A Nice Family Christmas recently won 1st Place in the McLaren Comedy Festival. Phil has also sold two screenplays and script doctored three screenplays that were produced.

Doug Engalla (Director) began his association with playwright Phil Olson in 1997. Since then, Doug co-produced Phil's A Nice Family Gathering in 2000, and has been involved in most of the Don't Hug Me World Premiere productions. Earlier this year, he directed the Group Rep's second revival of A Nice Family Gathering, with an African-American cast. Doug's other directorial projects included Arsenic and Old Lace, Harvey, Caller I.D., and Can I Give You A Lift? During the day, Doug is a "gate keeper" of 90+ years of the Walt Disney Studio's animation art legacy.

Alyson York (Producer) directed Edward Albee's play The American Dream at The Group Rep last year. Alyson is also an actress; some of her favorite roles include: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, and Uncle Vanya. Alyson received the prestigious Audience Performance Award for the play Little Comedy, and was in the staged reading of Nobody's Home (winner of the summer playwright's festival at The Road Theatre). Recently she finished the run of The Nine Winning One-Acts Upstairs at The Group Rep.

Chris Winfield (Set Design) has been a member of GRT for 30 years, and has appeared in over 30 productions, most recently as Fasch in Bach at Leipzig, Dad in Phil Olson's Mom's Gift, various roles in Hotel Paradiso, as Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock's Last Case, and as George Hay in Moon Over Buffalo. Film and TV credits include "Firefox," "MASH," "Baywatch," "The Nanny," and "Eli Stone." He designs and builds most of the GRT sets and is the Co-Artistic Director of the company.

J. Kent Inasy (Lighting Design) is an award recipient for his lighting and set design work in LA theatre. Most recent credits include Calendar Girls at the Group Rep and Romeo and Juliet at Mammoth Lakes Rep.

Steve Shaw (Sound Design) Steve's sound design work has been heard from LA to New York to Idaho. He is a GRT member and most recently designed Bach at Leipzig, That Lovin' Feelin', Lombardi, and Tiger by the Tail. Also an actor and a writer, he was most recently Reverend Tooker in the GRT's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and his short play, Caller ID, was part of our 2015 Putting on Your Shorts! Fest.

About the CAST

Marcia Rodd* (Grandma) Marcia made her Broadway debut in Oh What A lovely War!, created the role of Olivia in "Your Own Thing," originated the role of Bobbi Michelle in Neil Simon's hit Last of The Red Hot Lovers and received a Tony nomination for her starring role in the Cryer/Ford musical Shelter. In Los Angeles, Marcia played Golde in Fiddler on the Roof at the Dorothy Chandler and in both the 25th and 30th Anniversary Tours of Fiddler on the Roof.

Greg D. Barnett (Carl) Originally from Salt Lake City, Greg has been living and working in LA for the last six years. He has been seen on TV in "Raising Hope," "Pretty Little Liars," and "Jennifer Falls," along with numerous commercials. Stage credits include Man In the Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone, Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest and Aarvid in the world premier of Phil Olson's Don't Hug Me, I'm Pregnant.

Patrick Burke (Michael) Patrick trained at The American Academy Of Dramatic Arts. On stage at the Group Rep: Miscon-ceptions, A Christmas Carol, Inspecting Carol, Sherlock's Last Case, Hotel Paradiso, Awake And Sing, Boeing Boeing, Don't Dress For Dinner and most recently That Lovin Feelin. Other favorite theatre credits at other venues include The Nerd, Annie, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, J.C. Superstar, Grease, and Godspell.

Truett Jean Butler (Stacy) Truett first appeared on GRT's main stage in the world premiere of Don't Hug Me, We're Married as Bernice. Some other favorite roles include: Claire in Fuddy Meers, Phantom in The Rocky Horror Show, The Dominatrix in The Vagina Monologues and Elaine in Arsenic and Old Lace. Truett enjoys improv, drinking wine and making people laugh, preferably at the same time. IG: @Punny_Girls

Fox Carney (Uncle Bob) Following a bully performance as Teddy Brewster in GRT's production of Arsenic and Old Lace, Fox has performed in their productions of Comic Potential, The Sound of Murder, Inspecting Carol, Misconceptions, And Then There Were None, and their critically acclaimed presentation of A Walk in the Woods. Fox has also performed in productions of Me Too, Then and The Real Thing.

Rebekah Dunn (Jill) Rebekah was in all the original "Hug"s except the 3rd. She's worked with many companies including Festival Stratford! at the American Shakespeare Theatre and Theatricum. Favorite Shakespeare roles: Rosalind, Ophelia, Titania, Helena, Olivia, Ariel, Rosaline and The Shrew. Her company Much Ado About Shakespeare, LLC is now in its 16th year. Training: NCSA and IOWest (alumn). SAG and AEA since 2001.

Belinda Howell (Mom) played Marie in GRT's 42nd season finale, Calendar Girls. Other froles include: Phyllis Riggs, a high-strung therapist in Woody Allen's Central Park West, Betty Meeks in The Foreigner, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in The Music Man, and Helen, a well-intentioned social worker buried alive in Problem Child. Originally from LA, Belinda has lived on both West and East Coasts, and co-founded a theatre group on each. MFA in Acting CalArts.

About THE GROUP REP at the Lonny Chapman Theatre

The Group Rep has produced well over 300 plays including 50 World Premieres. The company boasts more than 80 active company members, from those with notable careers to those building careers. The Acting Company began May 1973, with a rag-tag group of 11 actors performing scenes for audiences in a laundromat-turned 36 seat theatre on Van Ness Blvd. When Lonny Chapman first entered that theatre, the match was perfect and The Group Rep was born with Chapman at the helm. In 1999, Lonny was honored when the current theatre's name officially became the "Lonny Chapman Theatre". The partnership continued until Lonny's passing in 2007.

In addition to productions, The Group Rep gives back to the community with its Annual Kids Holiday Party and a new program, still in its infancy of donating play tickets to Veteran Groups. Also, its Participating Actor and Technical Associates (PATA) program provides internship opportunities for aspiring theatre artists. Past graduates include such notables as Sean Penn and Jennifer Tilly.

From 2009 - 2010, Ernest Figueroa, producer for the Broad Stage, came on board as Artistic Director, and brought needed creative and organizational changes. In April of 2010, Figueroa passed the torch to longtime members Larry Eisenberg and Chris Winfield to serve as Co-Artistic Directors. The dynamic duo strives to take The Group Rep to even greater heights and continue to fulfill the vision of Lonny Chapman.

Show Facts

Opens 8 pm, Friday, November 4 - Reception to follow

Runs November 4 - December 18, 2016

Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm

Special Holiday Matinee, Friday - November 25 at 2:00 pm

Q & A Talkbacks after Sunday matinees November 6 and December 4

PG 13

General Admission: $25. Seniors/Students: $20 with ID. Pre-Paid Parties of 10+: $15

Buy tickets: or 818-763-5990.

Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood 91601.

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