Open Fist Presents ROOM SERVICE, Previews 1/14

By: Jan. 06, 2011
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The Open Fist Theatre Company is thrilled to announce the first production of its 2011 Season. In the tradition of the recent, depression-era, smash-hit productions of LIGHT UP THE SKY and STAGE DOOR, Open Fist presents ROOM SERVICE, written by John Murray and Allen Boretz and directed by BjØrn Johnson and Ron Orbach. ROOM SERVICE will preview on Friday, January 14; Saturday, January 15 at 8pm; and Thursday, January 20 at 8pm and will open on Friday, January 21 at 8pm and run through Saturday, March 12 at the Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood.

In the classic comedy ROOM SERVICE, Gordon Miller a theatrical director, and his ragtag bunch of actors have run up a huge bill at the hotel run by his brother-in-law. With the hotel auditor on the way and no means to pay, the troupe plans to make a run for it...until a mysterious financial backer is discovered. The only problem is, the Company needs to stay put for a few more days until the deal can be finalized! They decide to have the naive, country playwright fake a serious illness so he cannot be evicted. As events unfold, high anxiety and hilarity ensue...


John Murray (1906-1986) & Allen Boretz (1900-1985) created the now classic farce Room Service in 1937. In spite of America's slow economic recovery from the Great Depression which lasted from 1929 up until the end of the 1930s, Room Service in its original version ran on Broadway for 500 performances and led to a succession of Hollywood screenwriting offers for the duo. The film version of their play was released in 1938 starring the Marx Brothers and Lucille Ball. In the 1930s, several of Murray's songs and sketches were included in popular musical revues including "Sing for Your Supper" and "Straw Hat Revue. For the next twenty years he continued to find success on stage particularly with Sticks and Stones which he wrote and produced in 1940, and with writing and musical contributions to the Earl Carroll Vanities also in 1940, the Ziegfield Follies in 1946, and Alive and Kicking in 1950. Like many other New York writers during the 1950s, Murray frequently wrote for radio and television. He was the head writer for the radio shows of Eddie Cantor and Phil Baker, and he wrote teleplays for many live dramatic programs including "HallMark Hall of Fame," "Schlitz Playhouse," and "Ford Theatre." He also adapted Room Service for "Broadway Television Theatre." Murray was an active member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, and the American Guild of Authors and Composers. Some of the popular songs for which he is credited include "If I Love Again," "Have a Little Dream on Me," and "If I Were You." His published works include "One Act Plays for Young Actors" (1959) and "Modern Monologues for Young People" (1961).

Allen Boretz, the other half of the Room Service writing team, grew up in New York City and attended the City College of New York. He also attended New York University. Boretz was not only a playwright, but also a screenwriter and a prolific songwriter who composed for Radio City Music Hall and the Broadway musicals The Garrick Gaieties (1930) and Sweet and Low (1930). He was also a member of ASCAP and wrote the songs "Whistling in the Dark," "Love is Like That," "Dark Clouds," and "So Shy." Boretz achieved recognition as a playwright with several other plays beyond Room Service, although none matched its long history of popularity. His other works include "The School Teacher" (1936), "Off to Buffalo" (1939), and "The Hot Corner" (1956). His screenwriting credits include the film version of "Room Service" (1938), "Up in Arms" (1944), "Ziegfield Follies" (1946), "My Girl Tisa" (1948), "Two Guys from Texas" (1949), and "Step Lively" (1944), the movie musical adaptation of Room Service featuring Frank Sinatra. After he was blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the 1950s, Boretz's screenwriting career came to an abrupt end; however, he always continued to write.

BJØRN JOHNSON (Director) has worked as a director, actor and fight director with extensive Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional Theater, opera, television, and film experience. Previously at the Open Fist, he directed the very popular revival of Moss Hart's LIGHT UP THE SKY, the world premiere of Neil LaBute's THE NEW TESTAMENT, and the sold-out limited run production of Arthur Miller's AFTER THE FALL. In Los Angeles,
he directed DUTCHMAN for which he was honored with the LA Weekly Theater
Award for Best Director. He won rave reviews for his lead role in Educating Rita at The Colony Theater. He has directed the fight sequences for the final episode of WEST WING, and has done so for several feature films including: THE LAST SUPPER, LET THE DEVIL WEAR BLACK, and RED MEAT. He staged the first production in New York of John Patrick Shanley's comedy ITALIAN-AMERICAN RECONCILIATION following Mr. Shanley's own presentation. MR. Johnson co-directed LISTEN, a full length documentary about mentorship with inner-city young adults. He taught in New York at The Juilliard School, Circle-In-The-Square, and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts where he also apprenticed with B.H. Barry and ran Michael Kahn's private acting studio for three years. MR. Johnson currently works in television and film and teaches acting class in Los Angeles.

Ron Orbach (Director) most recent LA work as a director was the acclaimed west coast premiere of Mark St. Germain's THE GOD COMMITTEE (Actor's Co-op, Hollywood). Other credits include, Jim McGrath's THE ELLIS JUMP (1996 LA/Ovations Award, Best Director, Met Theater, Hollywood); Neil Simon's, LAUGHTER ON THE 23rd FLOOR (A Contemporary Theater, Seattle/also starred as, "Max Prince"; and Sacramento Theater Co., CA); George Furth's, MUSIC MINUS ONE (starring Judith Ivey); Lisa Loomer's, ALL BY MY SELVES (Palsson's, NYC); Bill Leavengood's, THE HEAD, and DAY OF THE ONANDAGA (Hudson Theater, Hollywood), and BEDTIME STORIES (arcade, Culver City, Los Angeles); Sam Henry Kass's, LEFTY AND SQUINTY (Hudson Theater, Hollywood); Chuck Rose's, WOMAN'S BEST FRIEND, and, SUNDAY DINNER (Hudson Theater, Hollywood); Jim McGrath's TRAIL OF THE WESTWOODS PEEWEE (Westbank Cafe, NYC): Wendy Kamenoff's UNDRESSING NEW JERSEY (co-conceived); Andy Shreeman's HOME OF THE BRAVE (Santa Monica Playhouse/developed and co-conceived); and Joan Holden's NICKEL AND DIMED (based on Barbara Ehreneich's book), at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, NYC .

The cast of ROOM SERVICE will feature: Elya Baskin, Phillip Brock, Charles Dennis, Dustin Eastman, Daniel Escobar, Conor Lane, Laetitia Leon, Robert Lesko, Joe Liss, Derek Manson, Jessica Noboa and Ron West.

ROOM SERVICE features an award-winning design team. The Scenic Design is by Victoria Profitt (Light Up the Sky). The Costume Design is by A. Jeffrey Schoenberg (Light Up the Sky). The Lighting Design is by Jason Mullen. The Sound Design is by Peter Carlstedt (Light Up the Sky). Prop Design is by Colin Campbell.


ROOM SERVICE will preview on Friday, January 14; Saturday, January 15 at 8pm; and Thursday, January 20 at 8pm and will open on Friday, January 21 at 8pm and run through Saturday, March 12 at The NEW Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd. (former home of The Actor's Gang) in Hollywood.

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm Sundays at 2pm. Ticket prices are $25; tickets for the opening night gala are $35. Previews are $15. Pay-What-You-Can Sundays are January 23 and 30 and February 6. Special group rates available for parties of 10 or more. For tickets, please call (323) 882-6912 for details or visit to purchase tickets online or to view complete schedule.



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