Circle X Theatre Co. Premieres Musical BAD APPLES, Now thru 12/1

By: Sep. 28, 2012
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Circle X Theatre Co. is thrilled to announce the world premiere musical, Bad Apples, book by Jim Leonard, music and lyrics by Rob Cairns and Beth Thornley, directed by John Langs, choreography by Cassandra Daurden, and musical direction by Rob Cairns and Beth Thornley. Bad Apples will begin previews tonight, September 28 and will open on Saturday, October 13 and will perform through Saturday, December 1 at Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave. in Los Angeles.

Bad Apples is a world premiere rock musical inspired by the real-life prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Bad Apples seeks to answer the simple question: How in God’s name did this happen? Two soldiers ended up pregnant by fellow soldier Charles Graner; both women wanted to marry him, competed with each other to win his love, and enthusiastically tortured prisoners together, documenting most of it in pictures that later leaked and shocked the world.

Who were the victims? Who were the villains? Is sadism part of being human? Normal for war? Normal for love? Was Abu really an aberration brought on by a few “Bad Apples” or does it speak to something deeper in our national psyche? Bad Apples is not a history play. It digs deeper than the facts, exploring a twisted theatrical world inspired by a fictionalized Abu Ghraib.

John Langs (Director): Langs’ 15 year freelance career has afforded him the opportunity to work with many great artists at prestigious theatre companies across the country. He has directed productions at Playwrights Horizons NY, Ensemble Studio Theater NY, The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Lookingglass Theater Company in Chicago, Circle X Theatre Co. in Los Angeles, The Resident Ensemble Players in Delaware, A.C.T, The New Century Theatre, Washington Ensemble Theaters of Seattle and The Seattle Shakespeare Company where he is an Associate Artist. John received his directing degree from the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts where he returns annually to prepare a new crop of actors for a career in the theater. Over the course of his career he has enjoyed directing a wide variety of productions. Some of his favorites include King Lear (Seattle Footlight Award for Best Production of the Year), The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World (Los Angeles Drama Critic Circle Award for Best Original Musical, Backstage Garland Award for Best Direction), Brothers Karamazov (seven LADCC Awards including Best Production of the year and Best Direction). John received the first annual Seattle Gregory Award honoring excellence in direction for The Adding Machine. A dedicated fan of original work, John has shepherded over a dozen projects to their premiere production. This past year, the original musical The Shaggs, for which he served as co-creator and director, was nominated for Lucile Lortel and Drama Desk awards celebrating excellence Off Broadway.

CASSANDRA DAURDEN (Choreography) began her professional career in Arizona, where she received a B.F.A. in Dance and Theater from Arizona State University. She was a member of Desert Dance Theater, Dance Arizona Repertory Theater, Adzido African Dance Company and Childrens Playhouse. She performed in Broadway musicals A Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls, Eating Raoul and Little Shop of Horrors. After touring she became Director of Summer Stock Musical Theatre Camp in Orlando, Florida and Artistic Director/Choreographer for several theatre companies. TV & Film credits include Days of Our Lives, City of Angels, Within, and The Bold & The Beautiful. Cassandra is currently Artistic Director of Glee Summer Camp, Rock Sugar Kids Repertory Theatre, Daurden Contemporary Dance Theatre and Co-Host of LA Kids Talk Live Radio.

ROB CAIRNS (Music & Musical Direction) was born and raised in Detroit and studied film composition at Berklee College of Music. He now lives and works in Los Angeles. When he's not producing a Beth Thornley album, he spends his time composing for film and television. TV credits: Dallas (TNT), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC), The Bachelor (ABC). He worked with Jim Leonard previously on Thieves (ABC) in 2001.

BETH THORNLEY (Music & Musical Direction): Singer/songwriter Beth Thornley’s first two releases have been compared to everything from Aimee Mann, Beth Orton and Tegan and Sara to Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Folds, The Fray and even U2. The Alabama-born Thornley recorded her self-titled debut in 2003 and issued it on her own Stiff Hips imprint. Three years later, Thornley returned with the confident, genre-blending My Glass Eye. She has had two songs place in the top ten of the rock category in the USA Songwriting Contest (“I Will Lie” and “Done”) and one song (“Home by Now”) to place as a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Contest. On the strength of My Glass Eye, Thornley has been featured in several national publications. The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter’s tracks have been featured in a variety of television and film projects including episodes of Friday Night Lights, The Hills, Newport Harbor, Making the Band, Life, Jack and Bobby, Paris Hilton’s My New BFF, Everwood, Scrubs, and Beautiful People, while also appearing on the feature film soundtracks of The Perfect Man (Hillary Duff), Between (Poppy Montgomery) and Play the Game (Andy Griffith and Doris Roberts).

Jim Leonard (Book) writes plays, movies, and television. Published plays include The Diviners, And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson, V&V Only, Crow and Weasel, Anatomy of Gray, and Battle Hymn, which opened at Circle X Theatre Co. in 2009 in Los Angeles to outstanding reviews, and won the L.A. Weekly Award for Best New Play. Jim was a member of New York’s Circle Repertory Company for twenty years. Theatrical honors include three NEA Fellowships, a New York Villager Award, the Midland Writers Award, the Samuel French Best New Play Award, and the Dramatists Guild Award. He co-wrote the screenplay for Mira Nair’s award-winning film My Own Country. He created and executive produced the television series Close to Home (CBS), Skin (Fox), and Thieves (ABC); he wrote and produced Dexter (Showtime), The Closer (TNT), The Marshal (ABC), Internal Affairs (NBC), The People (NBC), Ice (NBC), Night Visions (Fox), Kilroy (HBO),and the American version of Cracker (ABC). He is currently a writer-producer for Major Crimes, starring Mary McDonnell (TNT). Jim is proud to serve on the boards of the New Harmony Project and Circle X Theatre Co.

The Cast of Bad Apples will feature James Black, Kate Morgan Chadwick, Meghan McDonough, Anthony Manough, Mueen Jahan, Larry Clarke, Mapuana Makia, Ian Merrigan, Lina Patel, Sean Spann and Lauren Hillman.

Bad Apples is produced by Timothy Wright and Jennifer A. Skinner and features an award-winning design team. Scenic Design is by Francois-Pierre Couture. Projection Design is by Jason H. Thompson (Broadway: Baby, It’s You, Los Angeles: Justin Love). Lighting Design is by Jeremy Pivnick (The Marvelous Wonderettes). Sound Design is by Cricket S. Myers (Tony Nominee – Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo). Costume Design is by Jessica Olson. Props Design is by Heather Ho. The Casting Director is Raul Staggs. The stage manager is Danny Crisp.

Bad Apples will preview tonight, September 28 at 8pm; Saturday, September 29 at 8pm; Sunday, September 30 at 2pm; Friday, October 5 at 8pm; Saturday, October 6 at 8pm; Sunday, October 7 at 2pm; Friday, October 12 at 8pm and will open on Saturday, October 13 and run through Saturday, December 1 at Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90039. Free, ample street and lot parking. Parking map:

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are
$28 for Friday and Saturday evenings; $22 for Sunday matinees. Previews are $10 or PWYC at the door. For tickets, please call 323-644-1929 or buy online at


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