Bootleg Theatre Presents I CARRY YOUR HEART as Part of Hope Festival

By: Apr. 20, 2017
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BOOTLEG THEATER is thrilled to announce the Los Angeles premiere (second half of a rolling world premiere) of I CARRY YOUR HEART, written by Georgette Kelly and directed by Jessica Hanna (as part of the Hope & Optimism Initiative's "Hope On Stage" playwriting prize project ( I CARRY YOUR HEARTwill preview on Thursday, May 18 at 7pm; will open on Friday, May 19 at 7pm and run throughSaturday, June 10 at 7pm at the Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Phoebe is a young poet, forever living in the shadow of her estranged mother's literary acclaim. When her mother unexpectedly dies Phoebe is left with two complicated legacies: donating her mother's organs and reading her mother's unpublished confessional journal. Meanwhile, Tess and her partner Lydia receive an early morning phone call, informing them that a donor heart is available for Tess - good news, but news that has come far sooner than they were prepared for. As these two families form an unlikely connection, they struggle to understand the politics and poetics of organ donation-and they dare to hope that pieces of us can live on after great tragedy.


GEORGETTE KELLY (Playwright) is a playwright with one foot in New York and the other in Chicago. Her play Ballast was featured on The Kilroys List 2015 and was chosen as a finalist in the 2015 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. Georgette's other plays include Faith in a Fallen World, In the Belly of the Whale, how to hero or the subway play, and an adaptation of Jeanette Winterson's Lighthousekeeping. Her work has been developed by The Kennedy Center, The National New Play Network, The DC Source Festival, The ALLIANCE THEATRE, terraNOVA Collective, Taffety Punk, Diversionary Theatre, Capital Stage, TOSOS, Prologue Theatre, New Leaf Theatre, and Chicago's DCASE. She is a 2016 Lambda Literary Fellow and a member of 2014-2015 TerraNOVA Groundbreakers Playwrights Group, The Dramatists Guild of America, and Writers WorkSpace. Georgette holds a B.A. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Hunter College, where she studied with Tina Howe, Arthur Kopit, and Mark Bly.

Jessica Hanna (Director) is a Los Angeles based Theater Maker. BFA in Acting from the Theater School at DePaul University in Chicago. She has worked as an actor, director, choreographer and producer all over Los Angeles with many companies and spaces including, Open Fist, SacRed Fools, Evidence Room, John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, Greenway Court, Abundant Sugar, Atwater Village Theatre, Furious Theatre, Mine is Yours Theatre Co., B-Flat Productions, Center Theatre Group, Mutant Collective, Occidental College and Circle X. She has also had the pleasure of working with Anne Bogart and the SITI Co. as an actor at the Getty Villa twice. In June 2006, she co-founded Bootleg Theater and has been the Producing & Managing Director ever since. At Bootleg she has produced and worked with hundreds of artists and companies, overseeing production of all the theatrical and dance performances. Recent directing credits include: Four Chords And A Gun by John Ross Bowie at Bootleg Theater, Inland Empress by Tom Cavanaugh for Mutant Collective, Lisa Dring's Death Play for the Son of Semele Solo Creation Festival and Circle X Theatre. No Homo by Brandon Baruch, at Hollywood Fringe (Winner Best Director, Ensemble Theater, World Premiere and Golden Playwright), New York Fringe and Atwater Village Theatres, and Bachelorette for Mine is Yours Theatre Co.

I CARRY YOUR HEART will feature (in alphabetical order): Michael Bates, Joanna Bronson, Christine Dunford, Elizabeth Liang, Mateo Mpinduzi- Mott, and Elayn J. Taylor.

The multi award-winning design team for I CARRY YOUR HEART is as follows: Set Design is by Sibyl Wickersheimer; Lighting Design is by Brandon Baruch; Sound Design is by John Zalewski; Costume Design is by Ann Closs-Farley & Alyssa Gonzalez. Casting is by Raul Clayton Staggs. The Stage Manager is Jeanne Valleroy. The Production Manager is Susan K. Coulter. I CARRY YOUR HEART is produced by Cece Tio and Jessica Hanna and Executive Produced by Andrew Chignell and Hope On Stage (

Comments Executive Producer Andrew Chignell, "I'm thrilled to be working with Bootleg to bring together artists, activists, and academics for this three-day festival which is also the capstone event for our three year, $5 million research project. Opening Night will be dedicated to the late Professor Marilyn McCord Adams. She was a philosopher and theologian from whom both Sam Newlands (my co-organizer) and I took many seminars. When she was the chair of the UCLA philosophy department she started working towards ordination in the Episcopal church. Part of her training involved working with gay couples afflicted by the AIDS epidemic at that time. As a result her research turned increasingly towards philosophy of religion and in particular themes related to hope: suffering, evil, and the love of God. She was a strong proponent of same sex marriage in the church, and ultimately became the first female and first American Regius professor of divinity at Christ Church college Oxford. She died on March 22, 2017. Because L.A. was Marilyn's favorite place in the world, and because she both worked on and inspired hope, Sam and I want to dedicate the opening performances of "I Carry Your Heart" to her. We were delighted when Georgette Kelly and Jessica Hanna enthusiastically agreed."

Director & Producer Jessica Hanna adds, "We are thrilled to bring this beautiful play to life for Los Angeles audiences after our colleagues in Ithaca have worked on their production. Georgette has been a dream to work with and we look forward to seeing, and hopefully, producing, more of her work in the future. And what an incredible ensemble of actors and a production design dream team. The overall project has been a boon to the Bootleg, it fits with our mission of developing and supporting new work.

And the fact that the Initiative is a non-theatrical source is deeply exciting as a way to fund new plays and support the artists who make it. This play as well as this project has been a gift. It has definitely caused me to be more hopeful for the future of new plays."


Opening weekend of I CARRY YOUR HEART will be the culmination of the grant cycle bringing the Initiative to a close. In addition to the play running Friday, Saturday and Sunday(May 19-21) at 7pm, a full roster of daytime events is planned. As well as bands after the play every night.



3:00 PM - Empirical research presentation by Initiative grantees:

? Michael Scheier (Carnegie-Mellon, Psychology) - Does Pessimism make you sick?

? Eshkol Rafaeli (Bar-Ilan, Israel - Psychology and Neuroscience) - Hope and Despair as we Transition to Parenthood

? Lori Markson (Wash U, Psychology) - Are Children Optimists or Pessimists?

4:45 PM - Keynote address: Tali Sharot - is an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience in the department of Experimental Psychology at University College London. She received her Ph. D in psychology and neuroscience from New York University.

6:30 PM - Box office opens for I CARRY YOUR HEART

7:00 PM - I CARRY YOUR HEART performance

9:30 PM - Please join us for an Opening Night Party in our Factory space


11:00 AM - Yiyun Li - A renowned author, her debut story collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers won the 2005 Fran O'Connor International Short Story Award, and her second collection, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl was shortlisted for the same award. Her debut novel The Vagrants was shortlisted for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2015 her story "A Sheltered Woman" won the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. She was named a 2010 MacArthur Fellow. She is an editor of Brooklyn-based literary magazine. A Public Space.

12:15 PM - 1:45 PM - Lunch - Various Food Trucks

1:45 PM - RESEARCHER SESSION (conceptual: Bovens, Hassoun, Willis)

? Luc Bovens (London School of Economics, Philosophy & Econ) - Hope and Coping

? Nicole Hassoun (Binghamton, Philosophy) - Global Health, Hope, and Creative Resolve

? Andre Willis (Brown University, Religion) - Racializing Hope

3:30 PM - SABRA WILLIAMS & PRISON PROJECT - Actor and Activist, Sabra Williams, oversees The Actors' Gang's Prison Project, which conducts weekly and seven-day intensive programs inside the California prison system, a weekly re-entry program in the community, as well as a program in juvenile facilities, and soon a program designed for correctional officers.

5:00 PM - Keynote address: DR. CORNEL WEST - Dr. Cornel West is an American philosopher, political activist, social critic, author, public intellectual, and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

6:30 PM - Box office opens for I CARRY YOUR HEART

7:00 PM - I CARRY YOUR HEART performance

9:00 PM - Talk back with the Playwright Georgette Kelly and the Hope on Stage creative & production team

9:30 PM - Bands Performing TBA


10:00 AM - Staged Reading of 3rd Prize HOPE ON STAGE winner, HOW TO CONQUER THE WORLD: A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOGURT by David Myers, Director TBA. Talk Back with playwright and Hope On Stage team to follow.

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM - Lunch - Food Truck

1:30 PM - Staged Reading of 2nd Prize HOPE ON STAGE winner, THE BODY by Steve Moulds, Director Jeremy Webb. Talk Back with playwright and Hope On Stage team to follow.

3:00 PM - Hope on Screen - winner and runners up in the video prize portion of the Hope & Optimism Initiative

3:45 PM - Speaker: DAVID EAGLEMAN - David Eagleman is an American writer and neuroscientist, serving as an adjunct associate professor at Stanford University in the department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.

5:15 PM - Keynote address: TC BOYLE - American novelist and short story writer. He has published fourteen novels and more than 100 short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988, for his third novel, World's End, which recounts 300 years in upstate New York. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

6:30 PM - Box office open for I CARRY YOUR HEART

7:00 PM - I CARRY YOUR HEART performance

9:00 PM - Music: Local Jazz Artists - Partly Cloudy, Hush and Sleeptalk

Separate ticketing for Festival events, as well as all day or weekend Festival Passes.

STEVE MOULDS (2nd Place - The Body - $3,000) has been a Jerome Fellow at The Playwrights' Center, a National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence at Curious Theatre Company, a Fred Coe Playwright in Residence at Vanderbilt University, and an Al Smith Fellow through the Kentucky Arts Council. On an ongoing basis, he is a Playwright in Residence at Theatre [502] in Louisville, Kentucky. His plays include The Body, Conflict House, or Mindf**k City, Sergio's Museum, Emergency Prom, the Humana Festival anthologyOh, Gastronomy!, The Wedding Guest, commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville, anadaptation of Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author commissioned by The Hypocrites, and an adaptation of Kafka's Metamorphosis commissioned by Walden Theatre. He has also co-written three plays with his wife, Diana Grisanti: The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn, a serialized epic commissioned by Theatre [502]; The Two Lobbyists of Verona, commissioned by Theatre [502] and Kentucky Shakespeare; and The Baker Goes to War, commissioned by Walden Theatre. His plays have been developed by The Playwrights' Center, The Inkwell, Performance Network Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, and the Lark. Two of his full-lengths (Emergency Prom and Six Characters) are published by Playscripts, and shorter work has been published in collections by Samuel French and Smith and Kraus. M.F.A., Michener Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

DAVID MYERS (3rd Place - How To Conquer America: A Mostly True History of Yogurt - $2,000) is a playwright based in Los Angeles. His work has been developed at Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Vic, The Royal Court and more. His How to Conquer America was first written through Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor program and recently a finalist for the Humanitas Prize at CTG. His From Under the Tree was read in Pasadena Playhouse's Hothouse Series. Other works include: Muzungu (Mixed Phoenix, NYC), Body Parts (Theater157, San Diego) and 1800 Acres (Riverside Studios, London). He's had short play commissions from La Jolla Playhouse, Chalk Rep, Moving Arts and Cornerstone, and he completed a year-long residency at South Coast Rep. He's written and sold two screenplays and two original television pilots. Originally from Houston, David has a BA from Brown and an MFA from UCSD. He teaches at UCSD and lives in LA with his wife and sons.


The Hope and Optimism Project ( is a $5 million, four-year initiative at Notre Dame, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. The project funds research into the theoretical empirical, and practical dimensions of hope, optimism, and related states. Directed by two philosophy professors, Andrew Chignell (Cornell and University of Penn) and Sam Newlands (Notre Dame), the project also created the "Hope on Stage" playwriting prize that in addition to a cash prize to the winner, also funds a rolling premiere of the winning play in Ithaca, NY (which performsApril 28-30) and in Los Angeles, CA (May 19 - June 10). Georgette Kelly's I CARRY YOUR HEART was chosen as the winner from almost800 blind submissions by a panel of professional theater makers and academics. In addition to the first prize, "Hope on Stage" awarded three runner-up prizes. Expanding the process with directors, Jessica Hanna and Jeremy Webb, to reflect best practices of new play development, "Hope on Stage" also funded a workshop in Chicago where Ms. Kelly is based, in conjunction with Chicago Dramatists, to give the playwright time to work on the play in pre-production. The resulting script has been honed and heightened and is more than ready for production.


I CARRY YOUR HEART will preview on Thursday, May 18 at 7pm; will open on Friday, May 19 at 7pm and run through Saturday, June 10 at 7pm at the Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturday at 7pm; and additional performances Sunday, May 21 at 7pm & Sunday, May 28 at 2pm. Ticket prices are $20 (online presale) & $25 (day of admission); For Students and Seniors $15 (online presale) & $20 (day of admission); Preview is $15. For tickets, please call 213-389-3856 or visit to purchase tickets online or to view complete schedule.



Preview May 18 - 7pm - $15 General Admission

Opening May 19 - 7pm - $20 General Admission Online; $25 At The Door;

$15 Students/Seniors Online; $20 Students/Seniors At The Door


Single events: $10 each

All Day Pass to all speaking events: $25

All Day Pass to all speaking events plus One General Admission ticket to one performance of the play and one night's music: $40


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