Garry Marshall Theatre Announcs 2017-2018 Inaugural Season

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Artistic Directors Joseph Leo Bwarie and Dimitri Toscas have set the 2017-2018 Inaugural Season at the newly established nonprofit Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank.

To celebrate, the Garry Marshall Theatre will hold a free public event, "Start With Art" at the Marshall, on Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 10 a.m. to noon. The morning will include local eats, coffee and organic juices, free art projects, and special raffle prizes.

Subscriptions for the 2017-2018 4-Play Season go on sale to the public August 5, 2017 and can be purchased in person at the box office, by calling (818) 955-8101, or online at

"The inaugural season is made up of four plays by Tony-winning playwrights, each celebrating the spirit and innovation of ART, and each connected, in some way, to Garry himself," says Toscas.

The inaugural season opens with Terrance McNally's Tony Award-winning play Master Class, inspired by the opera diva Maria Callas' Juilliard master class series, and directed by Toscas. In the winter, Artistic Director Joseph Leo Bwarie will direct a new production of Stephen Sondheim's Tony-winning musical A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. Next is the West Coast premiere of Edward Albee's Occupant, exploring the trials and triumphs of groundbreaking sculptor Louise Nevelson, and directed by Heather Chesley. And finally, Michael A. Shepperd will direct Neil Simon's popular Laughter on the 23rd Floor, exposing the antics of a 1950s television writers' room.

"Garry always said 'something for the kids', so we're excited about launching our marshallARTS Family Series offering entertainment for families and children," says Bwarie. "In the spring we'll be remounting our adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Nightingale' in The Enchanted Nightingale co-written by Garry's daughter Lori Marshall, and throughout the year we'll be hosting our storytelling series Storybook Pages and presenting 'Movies & Me' - a Monday matinee film screening series for parents and caregivers to come see a movie with their infants and toddlers."

Starting in October, the season will also include the Monday night Film Series at the Marshall, featuring screenings of all 18 movies directed by Hollywood legend Garry Marshall in chronological order starting with Young Doctors In Love. The screenings will be accompanied by special guests connected to the film who will answer questions and share personal stories of the film's production.

In the summer of 2018, the Garry Marshall Theatre will welcome the critically acclaimed Los Angeles theatre company Rogue Artists Ensemble with their Ovation Award-winning macabre adaptation of the classic Pinocchio story, Wood Boy Dog Fish, written by Chelsea Sutton, with original music by Adrien

Prévost, and directed by the Rogues' Artistic Director Sean T. Cawelti.

"We want the new Garry Marshall Theatre to be an expression of our community, a platform for up-and-coming artists," says Toscas. "Our hope is to create more of these opportunities for collaborations with boundary-pushing theater-makers in Los Angeles."

About the Productions

4-Play Subscription

Master Class

By Terrance McNally

Directed by Dimitri Toscas

Inspired by world-renowned Opera diva Maria Callas' magnificent JuiIliard master class series, Terrence McNally's Tony Award-winning play spotlights the tour-de-force artist and vulnerable woman known as La Divina. Join Callas as she relentlessly coaxes, prods, and edifies her young students, motivating them to give the performances of their lives, while revealing her humor, her demons and her genius.

Director Dimitri Toscas garnered critical acclaim for writing and directing two new contemporary productions of Verdi's La Traviata and Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte, both commissioned by Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (where he also worked with celebrated opera director Dorothy "Dottie" Danner on a new production of Man of La Mancha). He has worked in theater and opera companies across the country, directing a wide range of shows, from opera and musical theater to theme park and university productions. Toscas served on an

Entertainment Task Force at Walt Disney World, Florida, developing new immersive show concepts for musicians and actors at EPCOT, as well as developed shows for Universal Studios, Hollywood and creating Voices of Liberty, which performed daily on the stage at the Opera House on Main Street, USA in Disneyland. Toscas, with his most recent Ovation Recommended Buyer & Cellar, has directed numerous standout productions at the former Falcon Theatre, including Scott and Hem, the West Coast premiere of Class, Bunny Bunny, Laurel and Hardy, and three commissioned original children's shows, which he also wrote.

Master Class will run September 22 through October 22, 2018, with previews on September 20 and 21. This show is intended for an adult audience and may contain adult language and situations.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Originally produced on Broadway by Harold S. Prince

Directed by Joseph Leo Bwarie

The Gods of Comedy are pleased! Broadway's big, fat Roman musical is back, with a new spin on Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Sondheim's raucous comedy that pays tribute to the original funny man himself, Plautus. Ancient Rome is turned on its ear in this bawdy romp of mistaken identity and twisting plots, where secrets hide behind every toga.

Director Joseph Leo Bwarie is a Sherman Oaks native and a recording artist popular on XM Seriously Sinatra. Bwarie is widely known for his record-breaking turn as Frankie Valli in the Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys with over 2,000 performances and nine years as the falsetto-voiced pop icon (Las Vegas, 1st National Tour and on Broadway). He has two solo albums, Nothin' But Love, which marked his first collaboration with legendary record producer/arranger Charles Calello, and The Good Stuff, which features Tito Puente, Jr. and Paulinho Da Costa. He is also an ambassador for the rare-cancer fighting charity Cycle For Survival. Bwarie's professional career began at the age of nine, when he first appeared on the television series: Highway to Heaven, Mama's Family, and The Young And The Restless. Most recently at the former Falcon Theatre, Bwarie directed and starred in Troubadour Theater Company's Little Drummer Bowie. For years he served as the Director of Children's Theatre Development and was associate director alongside Garry Marshall for the Falcon's world premiere of Billy & Ray.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum will run November 17 through December 31, 2018, with two previews November 15 and 16. This show is intended for an adult audience and may contain adult language and situations. A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

Edward Albee's


A West Coast Premiere

Directed by Heather Chesley

Unapologetically flamboyant and fearlessly groundbreaking, iconic New York sculptor Louise Nevelson reveals her artistic triumphs and her tumultuous personal struggles in a most unconventional interview. Determined to be seen and heard in a predominantly male-driven medium, she muses on her sordid past in Edward Albee's poignant work about his friend, one of the most singular sculptors of the 20th century. Occupant is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Director Heather Chesley has been a member of the Los Angeles theatre community for over a decade. She joined Actors Co-Op Theatre Company in 2004 and was made Artistic Chairperson in 2014. Heather directs a wide range of theatre from the classics to new works. She received critical acclaim directing Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, Moliere's The Learned Ladies, and most recently Brian Friehl's Dancing at Lughnasa. She has also directed new works such as the Thompson & Mann musical Trails for The Festival of New American Musicals, the West Coast premiere of Aline Brosh McKenna's Inside Lois and Company We Keep for The Minnesota Fringe Festival. Prior to directing, she produced various shows including Matthew Goldsby's new musical Makin' Hay and Yours, Isabel by Christy Hall. Prior to that, Heather served as the Assistant Artistic Director for The Hampstead Stage Company.

Occupant will run February 2 through March 4, 2018, with two previews January 31 and February 1. It is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. This show is intended for an adult audience and may contain adult language and situations.

Laughter on the 23rd Floor

By Neil Simon

Directed by Michael A. Shepperd

Be whisked back to the golden age of television in Neil Simon's "love letter" to his early career as a TV writer alongside the likes of comedy legends Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks. It's a rollercoaster ride, catapulting a not-your-average 1950's writers' room into the comedy fray, as they frantically attempt to please their larger-than-life boss, in one of Simon's funniest comedies.

Director Michael A. Shepperd is the Co-Artistic Director of Los Angeles' award-winning Celebration Theatre (CT). Directing credits include: The Boy From Oz (Ovation Award, LADCC Award, Best Director), The View Upstairs, The Next Fairy Tale, [title of show], A Gay Christmas Carol, GaGa Gardens, The Max Factor Factor. Michael is a Resident Director for The Blank Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival and numerous others. Acting roles include Fences (Troy; Ovation, LADCC Nominations), Bootycandy (LADCC nom, Ovation, Stage Raw Win), The Color Purple (Mister; Ovation award), Steel (Ovation Award), Master Harold and the Boys (NAACP theatre nom), Intimate Apparel (NAACP Award), Choir Boy (NAACP nom) and Shout Sister Shout. Broadway/Regional credits include: Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan, Little Shop of Horrors, Caroline, or Change, Whipping Man. TV: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Soul Man, Hot In Cleveland, Wizards of Waverly Place, Monk, Criminal Minds, NCIS.

Laughter on the 23rd Floor will run March 23 through April 22, 2018, with two previews March 21 and 22. It is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. This show is intended for an adult audience and may contain adult language and situations.

Hot Summer Show

Rogue Artists Ensemble's

Wood Boy Dog Fish

By Chelsea Sutton with Rogue Artists Ensemble

Original Music by Adrien Prévost

Directed by Sean T. Cawelti

Winner of the 2016 Ovation Award for Puppetry Design, and nominated for three Ovation and six Stage Raw Awards, this delightfully macabre take on The Adventures of Pinocchio brings a little wooden puppet to life at the hands of the drunken wood-maker Geppetto in the tumbledown tourist trap amusement park of Shoreside. Their lives spiral through a world of bullies, profiteers, and showmen, until they must face their darkest fears in the belly of the legendary monster, the Dogfish. Combining masks, dance, music, interactive sets, multiple puppetry traditions, projected media, sophisticated 3D effects, and illusions, Wood Boy Dog Fish is Pinocchio like only the Rogues could imagine it.

Rogue Artists Ensemble differs from other theater companies in that it's run by a collective of multi-disciplinary artists and designers rather than by actors, writers or directors. By combining ancient storytelling techniques (music, dance, masks, puppetry) with modern technology (digital media, special effects and theatrical illusions), the Rogues cultivate a unique style of live performance unlike any other. They define The Combined use of these and other underrepresented art forms as Hyper-theater. Since 2002, the Rogues have created over 20 original new works and collaborated with hundreds of artists and community members.

Wood Boy Dog Fish will run May 18 through June 24, 2018, with four previews on May 12, 13 and 16. This show contains mature content and may not be suitable for children under 13 years old.

marshallARTS Family Series Weekend Matinee

The Enchanted Nightingale

By Lori Marshall and Joseph Leo Bwarie

Journey to far away ancient China in this magical tale of a powerful Emperor and the rarest of treasures - an enchanted nightingale. Experience a magical Tai Chi practice, colorful fan dancing, royal wardrobe, and above all, a most valuable story celebrating the wealth in generosity and the culture and artistry of the Far East.

The Enchanted Nightingale will run January 12 through March 18, 2018.

2017-2018 Season Subscriptions go on sale August 5, 2017.

For information and to purchase season tickets by phone, call the Box Office at 818.955.8101. For more information and to purchase season tickets online visit starting August 5, 2017. Garry Marshall Theatre is located at 4252 W. Riverside Drive in Burbank.

Garry Marshall (November 13, 1934 - July 19 2016) was one of Hollywood's most respected producers, directors and writers of film, television and theatre creating some of television's most beloved situation comedies, including Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and The Odd Couple. He was celebrated for his trademark movies including Pretty Woman, Beaches, Overboard and The Princess Diaries franchise. His plays include: Wrong Turn at Lungfish, Shelves and The Roast, which ran at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City. He was a fan of opera and directed his version of Offenbach's The Grand Duchess to open LA Opera's 20th season. With JF Lawton, he penned the book for the 2018 Broadway-bound Pretty Woman the Musical. His excitement and passion for live theatre is what prompted him to establish a theatre of his own in Burbank, CA. He and his wife Barbara Marshall were married for 53 years and she currently serves as the Garry Marshall Theatre's Board president.

Garry Marshall Theatre provides innovative performances, education opportunities, and storytelling activities for over 20,000 people a year. Located in the heart of Burbank and Toluca Lake's entertainment industries, the critically acclaimed and Ovation Award-winning 130-seat theatre was founded in 1997 as the Falcon Theatre by Hollywood legend Garry Marshall. Reestablished as the Garry Marshall Theatre in 2017, the theatre continues to cultivate new artists and experiences that spark ideas and build community.



Twitter: @GMTheatre_org

Instagram: @garrymarshalltheatre

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