Ed Asner Stars As God In GOD HELP US!
NEWPORT HARBOR Drama Department presents three very special benefit performances for the Robert B. Wentz Theatre at Newport Harbor High School of Ed Asner starring as God in GOD HELP US!, written by Samuel Warren Joseph & Phil Proctor and directed by Mitch Levine and also starring Stewart J. Zully and Pamela Guest. GOD HELP US! will perform for three performances only, Friday, February 22 at 7pm and Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 2pm & 7pm at the Robert S. Wentz Theater, 600 Irvine Ave. in Newport Beach.
GOD HELP US! is a play ripped from today's headlines, an evening's entertainment that is at once hilarious, unifying and thought provoking. Two pundits, Larry (a liberal lad) and Randi (a conservative gal), find themselves confronted by GOD (the legendary Ed Asner), a wise, sarcastic, cantankerous and wildly funny character who is offended by what America's political leaders have done to America. He has brought Randi and Larry to Purgatory for a lively debate about the issues our time.
And whomever he finds more persuasive will get God's "mighty thumb on the scale" in one or the other's favor. We learn that Randi and Larry were a couple back in their college days, but politics tore them apart - in large measure because they couldn't learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. God interrogates them on a wide array of topics - domestic, international and personal - while commenting on the Bible, the Big Bang, the origin of mankind, and so much more. Given the current state of our politics - GOD HELP US! speaks to audiences of all political persuasions with one essential argument, that we must listen to each other so that we can all live - and laugh - together.
Ed Asner (God) starred as Carl Fredricksen in Pixar's 2009 box-office- hit Oscar winning Best Picture "Up!" and as Santa in the Will Ferrell hit, "Elf." Mr. Asner was the recipient of his eighth Emmy Award at The CSA Awards for his guest appearance in the Canadian dramatic series "Forgive Me." Mr. Asner is best known for his comedic and dramatic talent as the gruff but soft-hearted journalist Lou Grant, the role he originated on the landmark TV newsroom comedy, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and continued in the newspaper-biz drama "Lou Grant," which earned him five Emmys and three Golden Globe Awards. Mr. Asner received two more Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for the mini-series "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "Roots."
STEWART J. ZULLY (Larry) has been working for over thirty-five years as an actor, director, producer, writer and teacher. His acting resume includes the films "Vice," "Wolf," "For the Boys," "Bonfire of the Vanities," "Malcolm X," "Fighting For Freedom" and "New In Town." On television he had a recurring role on "The Sopranos" and has appeared in "Bluebloods," "Law and Order," "Law and Order: SVU," "Law and Order CI," "Burn Notice," "Becker," "Columbo" and many others. In 2004, his commercial for Citibank's Identity Theft campaign won an Emmy as Best Commercial of The Year. Stewart also co-wrote and co-produced the feature film "Perfect Opposites," which stars Piper Perabo and Aaron Paul. Numerous theater credits include leading roles Off-Broadway, LA and Toronto and he recently directed the award-winning White Guy On The Busat The Road Theatre in North Hollywood and the Ovationnominated Marthaat The Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. His memoir, "My Life In Yankee Stadium 40 Years as a Vendor and Other Tales of Growing Up Somewhat Sane in The Bronx" is available on Amazon.
Pamela Guest (Randi) was recently (finally) awarded IndieFEST, Accolade and Best Actors Film Festival 'Best Leading Actress' awards for her portrayal of Elyse DeMeyers/Cleopatra in "Cleopatra Backstage." She often says she started her acting career at the top as DeNiro's Secretary in "The Last Tycoon" directed by Elia Kazan. Comedies followed: "Amazing Stories" "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" "Police Academy 6" "Californication" "Married." One serial killer mom in "Life." Also an Artios-nominated casting director (her day job) she has cast for such notable filmmakers as David Lynch/ "Blue Velvet," Paul Schrader/"Patty," David Twohy/ "Timescape," Christopher Monger /"Waiting for the Light", Mike Figgis/"Stormy Monday" and Donald Cammell.
Recently she appears as Stella in the award-winning ensemble of daughter Elizabeth Guest's web series "Guest Appearances" which she also Executive Produced. Her first short screenplay was awarded the Van Gogh Award at the 2016 Amsterdam International Film Festival and is the basis for her film "the first of many" that won Best Narrative Short: Drama at 2018 Cinequest Film/VR Festival. It was a finalist in the Emerging Filmmakers Showcase Competition and an Official Selection of the Diversity in Cannes Showcase at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and other festivals. She is a Lifetime Member of the acclaimed Actors Studio.
MITCH LEVINE (Director) is a stage and film director, a directing member of The Actors Studio, a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and was a Fellow at the Juilliard School and the American Film Institute. His Holocaust drama "Shadows" won awards around the globe. He directed the films "In Confidence" (Cannes 2015), "Hungry Is The Tiger" and "Morphing Gravity." Mitch was Artistic Supervisor of the opera Einstein On The Beach, collaborated with Peter Gabriel and Moses Pendleton on Passion, directed A Dream Within A Dream for PRTE and Jean Anouilh's Antigone for the Williamstown Theatre Festival. In NY, he directed Sorry!at Circle Rep, Amorphous George for MCC and the revival Lyle Kessler's Orphansat ATA. His adaptation of Godspell won Best Production/Best Director honors in La Jolla and his production of Arthur Kopit's Wings was a much-honored show in Los Angeles. Mitch is the President of The Film Festival Group and is just back from conceiving, writing and directing the Bicentennial Celebration of the University of Virginia. It was a vast production: four hours, 850 performers, 23,000 in the audience. In addition to GOD HELP US!, Mitch is preparing productions of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Visit, starring Barbara Bain, an evening of theatre entitled Sex, Relationships, And Sometimes... Love, as well as a multi-media staging of Verdi's Requiem. He is on the faculty of Loyola Marymount University and for many years was Production Director of MOMIX Dance Theatre and a Special Representative to the United Nations.
SAMUEL WARREN JOSEPH (Playwright) credits include the movie "Off Your Rocker," a comedy-drama about a revolution in an old folks' home starring Milton Berle, Red Buttons, Dorothy Malone and Lou Jacobi. He has written animation episodes for such shows as "Duck Tales," "Dennis the Menace," "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Beast Wars."
In addition to his film and TV credits, Sam is a produced playwright. He wrote the book and co-wrote the songs for the stage musical, Campaign, which had its world premiere in 2010 at the Met Theatre in Los Angeles. In 2010, Sam's comedy about marital infidelity, Two Times Two, had its world premiere in New Orleans. The film "Window of Opportunity,"which he wrote and directed, is based on his produced stage play of the same name. 2016 saw the world premiere of his play Moral Imperative about morality and murder in the world of academia. It also saw the workshop production of his new musical, Psychosexual: A Love Story.
Phil Proctor (Playwright) shared three Grammy nominations with The Firesign Theatre and three daytime Emmies for voicing Howard DeVille on "Rugrats,"honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has shared several Academy Awards for his voice work in the animé "Spirited Away" and numerous Disney/Pixar movies and most recently won an Audie for adding voices to the sci-fi epic "Battlefield Earth" and a Mark Time Award for "The Audio Adventure Book of Big Dan Frater," created by Brian Howe. Philip can be seen on screen in the sex farce, "Love Addict" and in Sam Joseph's comic political thriller, "Window of Opportunity" produced by The Doors' John Densmore, as well as in Henry Jaglom's first film, "A Safe Place" with Tuesday Wells, Orson Welles and Jack Nicholson and later in "Hollywood Dreams" and "Queen of the Lot." Other film credits include "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle," "Amazon Women on the Moon," "Lobsterman from Mars," with the great Tony Curtis, and"The Selling" and "The Independent," with Melinda, his wife. The release of his autobiography, "Where's My Fortune Cookie," co-authored by Brad Schreiber, will be followed by "Americathon: The Skits behind the Script" and the transcripts of the NPR comic series "Power" by Proctor & Bergman, for Bear Manor Media. Today most of Firesign Theatre's classic albums and books are available at www.firesigntheatre.com.
LIZA ASNER (Producer, God Help Us! Productions) was born and raised in L.A. but spent 22 years in Portland, OR working in promotions and advertising before returning to the City of Angels to assist her father Ed. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from Northeastern University and later a Master of Science in Education (recipient of the Helene Krivosha School of Education Scholarship). She produced and voiced radio spots for Portland Saturday Market (largest continuous open-air crafts market in the world), ran the Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular at Fort Vancouver, worked in Production/Sales for KPTV Oregon's 12, and managed the Saturday Conservatory of Music part-time for several years in L.A. Asner was Associate Producer of the film documentary "My Friend Ed," voiced the role of Katherine in "The Romancing And Reaping Of Riven Rock," and played the teacher in "Tiger Within." Asner was casting director/co-producer of Ed. Weinberger's staged readings Two Jews Talking with Ed Asner and Richard Kind and Two Sisters Talking with Sally Struthers and June Squibb (2017) at the Falcon Theater. She is booker/stage manager of Weinberger's A Man And His Prostate that has been touring for two years. She has two photo exhibits under her belt benefiting the Jewish Cuba Project.
JOE D'AQUINO (Co-Producer) has worked in profit and non-profit creative entities since 1988, and trained with some of America's icons of theatre, TV and film, including Sidney Lumet, Arthur Penn, Bobby Lewis, Tony Walton, Jules Fisher, William Ivey-Long, Gene Lasko, Jack Gelber and Vivian Nathan to name a few. Joe was the co-founding director of Emerge Arts Projects, which specialized in developing readings for original plays by emerging playwrights. Over the course of ten years, Emerge supported the foundational work of over forty writers and directors as they moved their plays from the page to the stage; he is also a member of The Actors Studio's Playwright Unit since 2001. Outside of producing, Joe has written and directed over two dozen plays in New York and Los Angeles. This past summer he directed his own play, la Visita, in Buenos Aires, Argentina (in Spanish) receiving five critical acclaim reviews during its seven-week run. In August 2016, Joe joined Newport Harbor High School, bringing thirteen years of teaching experience along with a thirty-year perspective of private and public-sector employment in and out of the arts, blending these theoretical and practical applications to the students' classroom experience.
GOD HELP US! will perform for three performances only on Friday, February 22 at 7pm and Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 2pm & 7pm at the Robert B. Wentz Theater, 600 Irvine Ave. in Newport Beach.