Greenway Arts Alliance to Stage Five World Premieres in 2015-16

Greenway Arts Alliance to Stage Five World Premieres in 2015-16

Greenway Arts Alliance has announced a season of five world premieres kicking off September 25 with BREATHE by Javon Johnson which will run concurrently with BREATHING ROOM by Mary Lou Newmark (beginning October 3). FRONT DOOR OPEN by Tom Baum follows in November, and 2016 will begin with SWARM CELL by Gabriel Rivas Gomez, opening in January. The season will conclude with SIX LETTERS IN HARLEM by Crescent McGlone, opening in July.

Breathe by Javon Johnson is the story of two teenagers (one black, one white) who are involved in separate acts of violence, but the consequences they each face are based not only on evidence but also on the color of their skin. Using a combination of urban poetry and dramatic action, Breathe explores the tensions, decisions, and conditions that lead the boys to prison and the effect their imprisonment has on their families. Directed by Levy Lee Simon, Breathe will open September 25 and run through October 23.

Javon Johnson is an actor, writer, poet, and director. He is a founding member of Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago. His work has been recognized with many honors including the Black Theatre Alliance August Wilson Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Award, a Yukon/Pacific New Play Award, and a Kennedy Center Fellowship. Several of Johnson's plays have been performed in regional theatres across the country. As an actor, he has appeared on The Mob Doctor, Prison Break, Survivor's Remorse, and Trapped in the Closet, among many others.

Breathing Room by Mary Lou Newmark is a humorous and lyrical tapestry of words, music, movement, and quantum physics. A science teacher with a mysterious past and a visual artist overwhelmed by life explore our modern culture of "technological vertigo" in a series of playful and intriguing scenes infused with music - played live at every performance by playwright/composer Newmark on her trademark neon-green electric violin. The director is Dan Berkowitz, and Breathing Room will run on Saturdays and Sundays from October 3-November 1.
Mary Lou Newmark is an electric violinist, composer, and poet who creates non-traditional compositions that bridge the gap between current trends in electronic music and the virtuosic violin techniques of the past. Her work incorporates live performance, original poetry, and electronically generated sounds to create unique pieces that inhabit their own sound worlds. She has toured around the country performing her original compositions. In 2010, Newmark premiered her electric violin concerto "Canto de Luz" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

In Front Door Open by Tom Baum, a housebound woman confronts the enabling role played by her surgeon husband (who is coping with his waning powers and fear of aging). When the woman's psychologist daughter and teenage granddaughter pay her a surprise visit, the entire family employs various strategies, both comic and dramatic, to deal with their hangups, quirks, and disabilities. Directed by Assad Kelada, Front Door Open premieres on November 13 and runs through December 13.

Tom Baum is a writer of plays, novels, and screenplays. His produced plays include Wonk Love, Shock Therapy, The Great Outdoors, Ashley Saves the World, Taps for Paps, Dork Love, SchadenFriday, Epicenter, Endangered Species, and Breach. Novels include Out of Body, Counterparts, Carny, and the children's book Hugo the Hippo. Among Baum's screenplays are The Sender, Simon, and The Manhattan Project. He has worked extensively as a television writer including nine TV movies, HBO's The Hitchhiker, and three ABC After School Specials.

Swarm Cell by Gabriel Rivas Gomez takes place 25 years from now. When a pair of homeless people, one deaf and the other pregnant and undocumented, are in desperate need of a job in an upside-down economy, they find work in a warehouse that preys on people like them. They soon realize society thinks the boxes they pack have more worth than the vagabonds who pack them. Their only hope might be to form a community and a common language. The play is inspired by John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and has additional material inspired by Fairfax High School students. Directed by Robert Castro, Swarm Cell opens on January 15, 2016 and runs through February 21.

Gabriel Rivas Gomez received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC in 2007. His plays Chasing Monsters and Scar Tissue were produced at Company of Angels, and Circus Ugly premiered at Playwrights' Arena this past spring. His play Carnivores was featured in the LTA/LA Playwrights' Nest festival this past February. Gomez was a writer in residence at UNC Chapel Hill where his work was featured as part of the Teatro Latina/o Reading Series.

In Six Letters in Harlem a young man travels to Harlem and finds himself with family he has never met. He discovers letters written by his grandfather meant to teach him where he came from. Through the letters, the young man relives his grandfather's life, friendships, and loves that grounded his belief in life. Along the way, the young man discovers family, home, and his precious legacy. Six Letters in Harlem will open on July 22 and run through August 28.

Crescent McGlone is an artist and educator from Seattle, Washington. As a Spoken Word artist, she has toured high schools and colleges throughout the Northwest. As a screenwriter, her screenplay Family Treasures was a finalist in the Guy Hanks Fellowship. She has worked for several production companies in Los Angeles and in 2012 founded her own production company, Good Writtens.

For more information on the Greenway Arts Alliance Season of World Premieres and to purchase tickets online go to, or call (323) 673-0544. The Greenway Court Theatre is located at 544 N. Fairfax Boulevard in Los Angeles, 90036. Free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the theatre.

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