Fierce Backbone to Stage A GOOD GRIEF, 10/27-12/1

Fierce Backbone presents a world premiere comedy A GOOD GRIEF written by Leslie Hardy, directed by Jeffrey Wylie, running October 25 through December 1, 2013.

Cast features Rachel Boller, Mandy Dunlap, Paul Messinger*, and Gary Rubenstein.

It's another night in Grief Counseling, Room 103, and four strangers are struggling with their own steps in the grieving process. Stan (Denial), Ruth (Anger), Brenda (Depression), and Ray (Bargaining), are on a major collision course with each other's issues -- whether they like it or not - in this new dark comedy that may, eventually, lead to Acceptance.

Previews: Friday, October 25th at 8pm & Saturday, October 26th at 8pm. Opening: Sunday, October 27th at 3pm (reception to follow). Runs: October 27 - December 1, 2013 (Dark Nov. 29th). Plays: Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm at The Lounge Theatre at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90036. Tickets: Previews 10/25 & 10/26 - $10; All other shows - $20. Buy Tickets/Info: or (323) 960-7784. Running Time: 70 minutes (no intermission). Parking: Free street parking in neighborhood (please allow 15 mins. to park; please read signage)..

LESLIE HARDY (Playwright) At seventeen, Leslie was signed by the Ford Modeling Agency in New York; launching a successful international modeling career which lead to travel around the world. After landing a role in a TV movie, Leslie moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s. The years spent pouring over plays, scenes, and character development became the foundation for an acting career that spanned nearly twenty years. Leslie's plays often revolve around "family" and the inherently intricate relationships contained within that framework. Though she has traveled the world and lived in some of its most sophisticated cities, it is the pulse and spirit of her grandparents' home in central Alabama that most infuses her work. Leslie is a member of Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, the Female Playwrights Initiative, and the writers' unit of Fierce Backbone Theatre Company. This affiliation has been a pivotal chapter in her development as a playwright. Since February, 2012, she has written, work-shopped, and rehearsed three full length plays, including a company favorite, Roberta and The Pink Ice Cream Truck.

JEFFREY WYLIE (Director) A forty-two year veteran of the boards, and an accomplished short film director and DP, Jeffrey had written a few screenplays over the years with writing partners, but had never tackled a play. In the spring of 2012 he began writing a stage vehicle for his drag character Lyla KaRug, resulting in TEXAS LOVES LYLA, a "dramedy" about bullying and gay teen suicide. The result was a very compelling, emotional piece that went on to win Best One Person Show in the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival. He is now taking the show to other festivals, and, after encouragement from several teachers who have seen it, is submitting it to the LAUSD office that books speakers in area schools to talk about bullying. He was thrilled to work with Leslie on her new piece, and loves the challenge of the non-traditional venue.

VICTORIA WATSON (Producer) Victoria began her work in the theater as a performer, then found her love of Production in school at Tulane University. She has produced, stage managed, and swept stages all over the country at this point, and is proud to now be Managing Director of Fierce Backbone (www. Victoria was previously Operations Manager and Associate Producer at Pasadena Playhouse, and is also currently Associate Producer for Theatre Planners (


Rachel Boller (Ruth) Rachel is a Musical Theater major from Millikin University and a proud member of Fierce Backbone. She has recently performed as Diana in Kentwood Players' "Lend me a Tenor", Sweetie in Fierce's "Rock of Abandon", and Anna in "Gentle Passage" which was nominated for the "Best of Fringe" 2012. She's a Chicago native, moved here 3 years ago, and is currently studying acting with Susan Giosa in Santa Monica.

MANDY DUNLAP (Brenda) Mandy, primarily an actor, recently ventured into the role of a producer with Fierce Backbone's slate of 7 productions at the Hollywood Fringe Festival where she revived her much acclaimed role of Suri in Gayby's Playdate. A graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York she has appeared on film, television and stage. She is proud to be an original member of Fierce Backbone and to have worked on a variety of projects with members of the Fierce community.

PAUL MESSINGER* (Ray) Paul has appeared in dozens of projects. On stage he has appeared at The Taper in STUFF HAPPENS, recently in Ted Lange's LADY PATRIOT, I NEVER SANG FOR MY FATHER, SUITE IN TWO KEYS, TWELFTH NIGHT,etc. On Television he has worked on The Closer, Close To Home, Gilmore Girls, All That, and as Oscar for three years on All My Children. He has appeared in close to 100 commercials. He is proud to be a member of Fierce Backbone both as an actor and as a director.

GARY RUBENSTEIN (Stanley) Gary has been a member of Fierce Backbone for 4 years and recently appeared in 3 Fierce productions. The world premiere of "Gentle Passage" written by Paul Elliott with Ed Joswick , the workshop production of "Unplug Grandma" by Jeremy Kehoe and our first full production "Rock of Abandon" by Stephen Blackburn. Non-Fierce roles include, Doober in "Pasta, Eugene in "Broadway Bound" and Lucas in "Laughter On The 23rd Floor" among many others. Gary's TV credits include Anger Management, Parks and Recreation and recurring roles on Better Off Ted and Suburgatory.

HISTORY: In the summer of 2007, a group of playwrights, actors and directors gathered to solve a problem: How does a company develop new plays while also developing as artists? The company members studied theater companies across the nation-Steppenwolf to Chicago Dramatists to Playwrights Horizons to many companies right here in Los Angeles. The members talked through different formulas that could create work, and contemplated a system that would equally serve writers, directors and actors. After six months of planning, Fierce Backbone was launched in January 2008.

The company is dedicated to developing plays and people from a first reading through every intermediate step until it is ready for a full production. Their actors receive priority in casting and all opportunities to grow their craft. Fierce Backbone takes pride in creating a safe environment for directors to experiment with different approaches on unfamiliar material. The company champions the work of all our writers, whether experimental or mainstream. The founding company members include Lori Allen Thomas, Stephen Blackburn, Tom Cook, Morris Nash, Jan O'Connor, Amy Tofte and David Watkins, Jr.

Fierce Backbone started producing material for the public in 2012, going beyond a workshop or a staged reading. The big "coming out" was at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2012 where the company debuted 7 shows (3 of which were shorts collections). Fierce Backbone received 5 award nominations and 1 win for Best Solo Show for Jeffrey Wylie's TEXAS LOVES LYLA!. Three of those shows named Best of Fringe extended their festival runs -- TEXASL LOVES LYLA!, FLESH EATING TIGER, and GENTLE PASSAGE. In the fall of 2012, Fierce Backbone's first full-run production was THE ROCK OF ABANDON, an ambitious piece by founding member Stephen Blackburn that coupled film noir style in an ancient Greece setting. In 2013, Fierce Backbone produced THE BEATING for Hollywood Fringe, an experimental/absurdist piece involving rhythm and movement.

Fierce Backbone strives to support the work that their membership is inspired to create - - with the belief that some of the very best theater is yet to be discovered. Above all else, the company members endeavor to collaborate with fierce integrity and a tough backbone.

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