Pasadena Playhouse Honors Board Members Lilah & Roger Stangeland with Portrait Unveiling

The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director and Charles Dillingham, interim Executive Director) announced that the opening night celebration for LINCOLN – AN AMERICAN STORY will also honor Playhouse Board Member Lilah Stangeland  and her late husband Roger Stangeland with a portrait unveiling at The Pasadena Playhouse Makineni Library.  The portrait was commissioned by artist Kenton Nelson and painted by emerging local artist Liz Walworth.  The ceremony will take place at 7:00 p.m.,  prior to the opening night performance of LINCOLN – AN AMERICAN STORY on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.

"It is a great pleasure for us to have the opportunity to honor Roger and Lilah for their tremendous contributions to The Playhouse," said Artistic Director Sheldon Epps.  "Both as a couple and individually, their passion for this theatre and for the work that we do has made a palpable contribution to our long term good health and sustenance.  I am pleased that we are taking the opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation in this most well deserved fashion."

"With a renewed promise of a great future, and place in our community, I am interested in supporting our Pasadena Playhouse in any way I can," stated Kenton Nelson, who commissioned the portrait.  "Not being a portrait artist, but wanting to gift The Playhouse, and honor the Stangeland's generosity artistically, I have commissioned Liz Walworth to create a portrait that will hang in the beautiful library at The Playhouse. I have worked with and mentored Liz for seven years, and had the opportunity to see her become one of Pasadena's brilliant new contemporary portraits artists."

Lilah Stangeland, and her husband Roger, moved to Pasadena from the Midwest in 1983, when he became the CEO of Vons Companies.  Roger joined the Board of Directors of The Pasadena Playhouse in 1996 and served until his death in 2004.  Lilah took his place on the Board.  The Stangelands recognized The Playhouse as a community landmark and a valuable institution that they felt was well deserved of their support.  In 2001, in addition to a generous multi-year gift to The Playhouse's general operations, Roger and Lilah shared their pledge of a charitable remainder trust to be designated for the establishment of a general endowment fund for The Playhouse at a future date. 

LINCOLN - AN AMERICAN STORY, Hershey Felder's newest work for actor and symphony orchestra is based on traditional American folk songs and poetry by Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Foster, John Howard Payne and Henry Bishop. LINCOLN - AN AMERICAN STORY is a true tale based on the words of Dr. Charles Augustus Leale (portrayed by Felder) – who in April of 1865 as a twenty-three year old medical student attended the April 14th performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., with President Lincoln in attendance. When the actor, John Wilkes Booth made his way into President Lincoln's box to assassinate him, a surgeon was called for, and Charles Leale, just a young American army surgeon found himself at the center of history that would change the world. Charles Leale only told the story of what he witnessed, and was a part of that evening, only  once in his life as a sixty-three year old man – at a gathering of army friends at Delmonico's restaurant in New York City on the occasion of Lincoln's hundredth birthday in 1909.  It is this story, the document of which resides at the Library of Congress, upon which this new musical/theatrical work is based.

LINCOLN - AN AMERICAN STORY is a Special Presentation by The Pasadena Playhouse. LINCOLN - AN AMERICAN STORY will play from March 27 – April 7, 2012.  The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue in Pasadena.  The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Single show regular ticket prices for LINCOLN - AN AMERICAN STORY range from $54.00 - $79.00, with Premium Seating available for $100.00. Tickets are available by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529 or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Monday from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday – Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates.  On performance dates the box office is open Tuesday- Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday.  Tickets are available 24 hours online at  Group Sales (8 or more) are available by calling 626-921-1161. For additional information visit

About The Artist:

Liz Walworth was born and raised in the Pasadena area, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Washington University in Saint Louis. Growing up, she had the opportunity to work with or learn from Pasadena artists Richard Bunkall, Sally Storch, Ray Turner, and R. Kenton Nelson. She has concentrated on portraiture for the last seven years, believing in the power of portraits to convey character, depth, and personal journeys. For more information on Liz Walworth, visit

Kenton Nelson, who commissioned the portrait, was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA.  He attended Long Beach State University and Otis Parsons Art Institute, and for the last 40 years has had his art studio in Pasadena, CA.  He has been on the faculty of the Otis Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles and the Academy of Art in San Francisco.  Nelson traces his interest in painting back to his great uncle, Roberto Montenegro, renowned Mexican muralist and Modernist. The style of Nelson's paintings has its origins in American Scene painting, Regionalism, and the work of the WPA artists of the 1930's.  Nelson paints figures, landscape, and architecture.  The objective in his paintings is to idealize the ordinary with the intention of engagement, using the iconic symbols and styles of his lifetime in a theatrical style to make leading suggestions. All of Nelson's paintings are composed with a mature draftsman's pictorial intelligence.  The compositions are ordered with the strong horizontal and vertical lines of architecture contrasting the curves of nature. Nelson paints a distinctly California regionalism of his own history and native culture, documenting some of the better decisions, while remaining acutely aware of the art, and its function and purpose in society.

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