Open Fist Presents Works by Shoshana Bean et al. at FIRST LOOK FESTIVAL OF PLAYS this Summer

Open-Fist-Presents-FIRST-LOOK-FESTIVAL-OF-PLAYS-20010101

The Open Fist Theatre Company presents their third FIRST LOOK FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS, with new works written by D. Tucker Smith, Shoshana Bean, Eydie Faye, Laura Richardson, Rebecca Sue Haber, Philip William Brock, Richard Manley, Jesse Bernstein, Jim Bontempo. The Festival is curated by Barbara Schofield, Martha Demson, Laura Richardson, and Caitlin Renée Campbell as Marketing Producer. The Festival will begin on Friday, July 15 and runs through Saturday, September 10 at The NEW Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd. (former home of The Actor's Gang) in Hollywood.

The festival is a 2 month celebration of contemporary American theatre and music. Material has been carefully selected from around the country, and eight new works will be represented in production or in staged reading/concert format. There will be three full productions and five staged reading and concert events.

The works include:

QUAKE 

By D. Tucker Smith

Directed by D. Tucker Smith with Anjali Bhimani

Produced by Anjali Bhimani and Mark Atteberry

Preview: Wednesday, July 13 at 8pm; Thursday, July 14 at 8pm

Opening: Friday July 15 at 8pm

Performances: Saturday, July 16 at 8pm; Saturday, July 23 at 8pm; Thursday, July 28 at 8pm; Friday, July 29 at 8pm; Wednesday, August 10 at 8pm; Thursday, August 18 at 8pm; Sunday, August 21 at 7pm; Wednesday, August 24 at 8pm and, Closes: Saturday, August 27 at 8pm

Matinee performances: Sunday, July 17 at 2pm; Sunday, July 24 at 2pm, Saturday, August 6 at 2pm and Saturday, August 20 at 2pm

In the summer of 2005, Artie Ehrlich's world hits a seismic shift.

With everything around him shattering, just staying afloat is serious business.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM

D. Tucker Smith (Playwright/Director) D has authored several full-length plays including the Broadway-bound The Great Game (premier, Theater Previews at Duke), Quake, and Catalog. Short plays: The Knockout Suit (Finalist, Samuel French Short Play Competition); Overnight Delivery and Patriot Act, (both finalists in the New York City 15-Minute Play Festival). Screenplays: "The Rose Quilt," "The Eleventh Commandment." Active member of The Playwrights Workshop and New River Dramatists. D is thrilled to be part of the OFTC "First Look" Festival and to once again take the director's chair, especially with such an exceptional cast of actors.

Anjali Bhimani (Co-Director / Producer) Producer/Owner, Ithaka Theatricals. OFTC: The Existents. Broadway: Bombay Dreams, Metamorphoses (Tony nomination and Drama Desk Award for Best Play).

Off-Broadway: The American Pilot (Manhattan Theatre Club), Brundibar and But the Giraffe (New Victory Theatre), Pentecost (Barrow Group), Portraits (Union Square Theatre), The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Metamorphoses (Second Stage). Regional: As You Like It (Shakespeare Theatre of D.C.), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Kirk Douglas Theatre), Mirror of the Invisible World (The Goodman Theatre), The Great Game (Theatre Previews at Duke), Comedy on the Bridge and Brundibar (Berkeley Rep/Yale Rep), Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), The Vagina Monologues (Apollo Theatre), Metamorphoses (Mark Taper Forum, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep), The Odyssey (McCarter Theatre, Seattle Rep, Goodman Theatre), Arabian Nights (Lookingglass, BAM, Steppenwolf), Pentecost (Berkeley Rep). Television: "Shark," "Journeyman," "Law & Order: SVU," "The Sopranos," "Flight of the Concords," "Lie To Me." Film: "The Medicine Show." Upcoming: "The Great Game."

DEAR JOHN MAYER

Book by Eydie Faye; Music and lyrics by Shoshana Bean

Choreography by Eboni Nichols

Directed by Martha Demson

Producers ~ Shoshana Bean, Gregory Sieradzan, Scott Paulin,

John LeMay, John Bobek

Preview: Wednesday, July 20 at 8pm; Thursday, July 21 at 8pm

Opening: Friday, July 22 at 8pm

Performances: Sunday, July 24 at 7pm; Wednesday, July 27 at 8pm; Saturday, July 30 at 8pm; Thursday, August 11 at 8pm; Saturday, August 13 at 8pm; Wednesday, August 17 at 8pm; Friday, August 26 at 8pm; Thursday, September 1 at 8pm; Friday, September 2 at 8pm; Closes: Saturday, September 3 at 8pm

Matinees: Saturday, July 23 at 2pm; Sunday, August 7 at 2pm; Sunday, August 21 at 2pm; Sunday, August 28 at 2pm

(Workshop production - not for review)

Stevie Steinman has a skill: she's good at doing what people expect her to do. So when she finds herself divorced at 30, living in her childhood bedroom and styling old ladies' hair for a living she decides it is finally time to do what she has wanted to do all along: Sing. Not knowing where to begin, she turns on her computer and creates a video blog in the hopes of catching the attention of her muse, John Mayer. When a heavy-hitter from the music industry stumbles upon her videos, life changes very quickly for Stevie. The decision to follow her heart and enter the music game quickly reveals that the realities of the business are much different than the fantasies that play out in her bedroom.

EYDIE FAYE (Book) A bona fide Valley girl, Eydie Faye attended the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music where she first met Shoshana Bean and earned her BFA in Dramatic Performance. After a stint in NYC, Mrs. Faye returned to Los Angeles to premiere her playwriting debut, The Pages of My Diary I'd Rather Not Read, which she not only starred in, but earned her an LA Weekly Award nomination for Best Playwriting. Since then she has sold numerous television pilots (WB, ABC, NBC) and screenplays (Disney, Paramount), collaborating with such talent as David Schwimmer, Wade Robson, and most recently Lauren Shuler-Donner. In addition to writing, Eydie is also an accomplished producer... of babies. She will debut her third in five years at the end of this summer.

Shoshana Bean (Music/Lyrics) made her New York city debut in the off-Broadway revival of Godspell, and soon after made her Broadway debut in the original cast of the Tony Award-winning production of Hairspray. She went on to be the first replacement for the green-skinned witch Elphaba in Broadway's Wicked later reprising her performance on the Wicked national tour. She performed in The Music of Andrew Lloyd Weber at the Kennedy Center and Joseph and the. . .Dreamcoat at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Most recently she headlined in the Las Vegas burlesque revue Peepshow and made her New York City concert debut to a sold-out crowd at Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center. Shoshana sang back-up for an endless list of superstars at Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration at Madison Square Garden and shared the stage with Grammy Award nominee Brian McKnight at the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards to honor Aretha Franklin. She released her debut solo album "Superhero" on her own label, Shotime Records. In it's first week of sales it reached #5 on the itunes R&B charts, making it the only independent album in the top 100. Shoshana has lent her voIce To the film soundtracks for "Hairspray," "Enchanted" and "Dance Flick." Her work as a singer/songwriter has been featured on "The Hills," "Mercy," NBC and her debut single "Superhero" won an Independent Music Award for best R&B song. "Superhero" is available at itunes.com and amazon.com. www.shoshanabean.com.

EBONI NIGHOLS (Choreographer) While pursuing her education at Chapman University in Orange County, Eboni became a Laker Girl for the world champion Los Angeles Lakers during her senior year of college. Once she was done hitting the books, Eboni took the dance world by storm, performing on tours for the likes of Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, and Will Smith, all the while appearing in videos for such top artists as Rhianna, Beyonce, Jay-Z, J-Lo and Aaliyah. As a choreographer, Eboni's work can be seen in various commercials as well as the DreamWorks film "Blades of Glory," and in numerous music videos such as Snoop Doggs "Oh Sookie", Estelles "Freak", and The Dreams "Rockin That Thang". Eboni's work can also been seen on various entertainment programs such as "Dancing With The Stars," "The Today Show," "Jay Leno," "The Late Show with Conan O'Brian," "VH1's "Fashion Rocks", and most recently in the opening number of the 2010 BET Awards with Queen Latifah. On the big screen, Eboni has appeared in such notable films as "Hairspray," "Miami Vice" and "Dreamgirls," where she also served as assistant to the choreographer. Currently, Eboni is choreographing for Snoop Dogg and Estelle as well as readying Faith Hill for this years Sunday Night Football commercials.

MARTHA DEMSON (Festival Curator; Director, Dear John Mayer & The Tall Tales of Phil Ochs) received her theatrical training at Yale University and from the renowned Sanford Meisner. For the past decade, she has held the position of Artistic Director at Los Angeles' Open Fist Theatre Company. Directing credits at the Open Fist include: The Existents (Taylor, Crawford and Wooten), PAPA (deGroot), Abingdon Square (Fornes), Beautiful City and Escape From Happiness (Walker), Casanova (Congden), Vieux Carre (Williams), God's Country (Dietz), The Flight of the Earls (Humble), After Easter (Devlin), Female Parts (Fo/Rame). Recent non-Open Fist directing credits include Come Back Little Horny (Richardson) for Second Stage Theatre Eden (O'Brien) for Buzzworks, Les Belles Soeurs (Tremblay) at USC and Ourselves Alone (Devlin) Off-Broadway. Producing credits at the Open Fist include: the multi-award winning The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union (Grieg), Travesties (Stoppard), The Time of Your Life (Saroyan), Fen (Churchill), The Devil with Boobs (Fo) and How to Explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients (Visniec) in LA, NYC and Edinburgh.

LIFE ON THIS COUCH

Written by Laura Richardson

Directed by Benjamin Burdick

Producer by Laetitia Leon

Preview: Wednesday, August 3 at 8pm; Thursday, August 4 at 8pm

Opening: Friday, August 5 at 8pm

Performances: Saturday, August 6 at 8pm; Friday, Sunday, August 7 at 7pm; August 12 at 8pm; Friday, August 19 at 8pm; Saturday, August 20 at 8pm; Thursday, August 25 at 8pm; Wednesday, August 31 at 8pm; Wednesday, September 7 at 8pm; Thursday, September 8 at 8pm; Friday, September 9 at 8pm
Matinees: Sunday, August 14 at 2pm Sunday, September 4 at 2pm, Closes: Saturday, September 10 at 2pm

This is a story of sisters and how they find each other again

through the destruction of the beloved couch.

Laura RichardSON (Playwright) Richardson's latest play, Come Back, Little Horny, premiered at The Lost Studios and was directed by Open Fist's very own Martha Demson, and received a WOW! In Stage Scene LA. Richardson's theatrical play, Do Do Love, premiered at The Open Fist Theatre and received a Los Angeles Times Critic's Choice review.

Her one woman show, Sweety's Big Experiment, had its world premiere in Los Angeles at Actors Art Theatre where it garnered a "Critics Pick of the Week." Most recently, Richardson's play, Chronic Pain, ran at the award winning Theatre East, her play, Lady Liberty was chosen for a reading at The Abington Theatre in New York City and at The Open Fist Theatre's First Look Festival 2010. Life Eats Mikey and Kitty Cornered were both recognized by the Writer's Digest and Writer's Network play contests, and her screenplay, Do Do Love, placed in the Scriptapalooza contest. Along with writing, Richardson is also an actor and has done theatre in LA, including the world premieres of Horton Foote's plays, Harrison, Texas and The Roads to Home, at The Lost Studios, and the Critic's Pick, Curse of the Starving Class, at The Open Fist Theatre. Film and T.V. credits: "Law and Order, LA," "The Event," "Desperate Housewives," "The Boarder," "Shattered Illusions," "Windfall," "Invisible Man," "Judging Amy," and "Jack and Bobby." She is a graduate of Playhouse West, holds a BA in Theatre Arts, and is a company member at Open Fist Theatre, Actors Art Theatre, and The Dramatists Guild.

BENJAMIN BURDICK (Director) is thrilled to be directing again at The Open Fist Theatre Company. He last directed A Wolf Inside the Fence which was nominated for 5 L.A. Weekly Awards, including Best Director and Best Ensemble. Benjamin began directing in the world of improv with The Viola Question. Other stage credits include Betrayal, Neil Simon's Fools, and The Fever. Benjamin also recently co-directed the television pilot "Hung Jury." His most recent acting credits include: Film- "The Stranger," "Walking Tall 3," "Manticore," "Tattoo: A Love Story" (Grand Jury Prize, Florida Film Fest), "The Board Room" (HBO & Montreal Comedy Festivals). Television- "The Glades," "The Mentalist," "Monk," "Conspiracy" (Series Regular), "24," "Las Vegas," "Entourage," "CSI," "Born Free" (Series Regular). Theatre- Rock-N-Roll, Arcadia, Light Up The Sky, (LA Weekly Award Nominee Best Comedy Performance), Travesties (LA Weekly Award Winner for Best Comedy Performance), Blue Night in the Heart of the West, Autobahn, The Real Thing. Benjamin is a graduate of Yale University.

Jennifer Wilson is the Festival Stage Manager, Scenic Design by Donna Marquet, Lighting Design by Dan Reed, Sound design by Peter Carlstedt, Festival House Manager is Jeremy Guskin, Reading Series House Manager is Maxie Solters, with individual productions produced by Mark Attebery, Anjali Bhimani, Scott Paulin, John LeMay, John Bobek, Laetitia Leon, Gregory Sieradzan, Shoshana Bean and Katy Tyszkiewicz. 

STAGED AND CONCERT READINGS:

NEITHER HERE NOR THERE

by Rebecca Sue Haber

Directed by Michelle Lema

SATURDAY, July 16 at 2:00 pm

& SUNDAY, July 17 at 7:00 pm

REBECCA SUE HABER (Playwright) received her MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University School of the Arts in 2010 where she was mentored by playwright Neil LaBute. In 2001 Rebecca's play In the Garden won "Best Play" at the Strawberry One-Act Playwriting Festival (Riant Theatre), and she was a finalist in 2002. She has since had readings at the Barrow Group Theatre in Manhattan as well as various productions at both Columbia and Duke Universities. In the Spring of 2011 her play The Wedding Ring won "Best of the Fest" and "Critics' Pick" at Stone Soup Theatre in Seattle, and it will be performed at the Barons Court Theatre in London this summer (CP Productions). In the fall of 2010 Rebecca finished primary production on her short film, "The Man at the Counter" (Note to Self Films), and this spring she served as Story Editor for Jonathan Caouette's documentary feature film "Walk Away Renee" (Morgane Production/Lovestreams) which screened at Cannes Film Festival 2011.

SINGAPORE

By Philip William Brock

Directed by: BjØrn Johnson
SATURDAY, July 30 at 2:00 pm

& MONDAY, August 1 at 8:00 pm

PHILLIP William Brock (Playwright) His play The Normal Child won the Arts and Letters Prize for Drama in 2006 and was produced in the 2011 Hollywood Fringe Festival; his play A Life of Ease was produced in the summer of 2010 as part of the Open Fist Theatre Company's New Works Festival. He has written and developed television shows for Paramount, 20th Century Fox Television and HBO Independent Productions, among others. His short fiction, "The Last Blonde Bimbo in New York City" has been anthologized in "Geography of Rage", a collection of works by Los Angeles writers about the Rodney King riots. His novel for young adults, Armstrong Anderson and the Forgotten Forest comes out in 2012.

AN IGNORANT MAN

By Richard Manley

Directed by John Hindman

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13 at 2pm

& SUNDAY, AUGUST 14 at 7pm

RICHARD MANLEY (Playwright) His latest full length play, Life is Mostly Straws, won this year's New Works Festival at Long Beach Playhouse. That play was also named as a semi-finalist at the Ashland New Play Festival, and is awaiting next steps. It was a finalist in the Phoenix New Play Festival, and a winner of the Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award (Piccolo Spoleto) in Charleston, SC. As well, Life is Mostly Straws was chosen by the artistic director of Resonance Ensemble in New York for a workshop and backers' reading this past January. An Ignorant Man, in addition to being part of the Open Fist First Look Festival, took first place at the Brevard New Play Competition (NC), was a finalist at the McLaren Competition (TX), and a semi-finalist for the Lionheart Prize (GA) and the W. Keith Hendrick Playwriting Award (NY). Another full length play of Mr. Manley, Quietus, is currently being funded for a backers' reading in New York by Theater Resources Unlimited. It was also a winner of the Penobscot Theatre's (ME) Northern Writes Festival, as well as several other regional theaters. His first short play, Apparently Not, won Sundog Theatre's Scenes from the Staten Island Ferry National Competition, and had eight fully-produced performances in New York in April.

THE POWER AND THE GLORY: THE TALE OF PHIL OCHS (AMERICAN)

by Jesse Bernstein

Directed by Martha Demson

SATURDAY, AUGUST 27 at 2pm

& SUNDAY, AUGUST 28 at 7pm

Jesse Bernstein (Playwright) is a writer, actor, director and producer. Writing credits include: Healing Electra (recipient of a Philadelphia Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts grant); Mainstreamed, Bully For You and Friends of Shadows (three outreach plays commissioned by Amaryllis Theatre Co.); "Us One Night" (short film produced by Wildstar Pictures); "Philadelphia Fall" (feature film currently in development). His play At The Edge of a Promised Land is receiving a staged reading at Philadelphia's Playpenn New Play Development festival this summer.

SHE'S THE BEST

by Jim Bontempo

Directed by Andrew Dodson

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 at 2pm

& SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 at 7pm

James Bontempo (Playwright), is the winner of the New Noises Playwriting Award at Perry-Masnfield, Steamboat Springs, CO, for co-writing A Place at Forest Lawn, which was also a finalist in the Palm Springs International Playwriting Festival and premiered at the Arvada Center for the Humanities in Colorado to rave reviews. The play is published by Dramatists Play Service. His sit-com: "Too Many Friends" was a quarterfinalist in the sit-com new pilot category for Scriptapalooza and his rom-com feature screenplay: "Waking Up Dead" was a quarterfinalist in the competition run by Zoetrope Studios. As a director, James won the audience choice award for directing Blue Tuesday at the Attic Theatre in Los Angeles in 2010 and continues to teach and direct locally and nationally. A graduate of The Neighborhood Playhouse under the direction of Sanford Meisner, he has performed on Broadway, off-Broadway, National Tours, and in Las Vegas. Currently James teaches at AMDA, and has also taught for Nina Foch Studio, Ltd, Los Angeles, USC School of Cinema-Television, and at Chapman University - Dodge College of film and Media Arts. This summer he will conduct the Master Directing class as part of the International Cinema Workshop in association with UCSB.

For tickets, please call (323) 882-6912 for details or visit www.openfist.org to purchase tickets online or to view complete schedule.

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