Photo Coverage: World Premiere Drama UTOPIA Opens at Bootleg Theater
On Friday, February 26, City Players enjoyed a spectacular opening night of the World Premiere drama "UTOPIA" written by and starring David Douglas and Martin Head, directed by Katherine Whitney. Opening night festivities were attended by Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey and members of the Royal Palms Recovery Center who provided rehearsal space for the production. The SOLD OUT audience awarded the production with a well-deserved standing ovation.
"UTOPIA" performances continue on February 27, March 3, 4, 5 at 7:30pm and Sunday, February 28 at 2pm at the Bootleg Theater, located at 2220 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057.
Utopia is defined as an imaginary place where everything is perfect. But what does it take to achieve perfection in just two days? After investing his entire life savings into a condemned building, Martin Tomas, a 40-something burgeoning art impresario, is committed to establishing his name and his studio as a way to bring culture back to the neighborhood. He calls on David, his old art school friend, who's made a small name for himself in the art world of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to ensure a successful opening of his new art space. Together the two are excited and hopeful, working to beat the clock and sharing laughs about family, life, and old times before old grudges and rivalries begin to surface.
A dispute between the two regarding a high profile police brutality case tests their friendship, further jeopardizing the show's production. As they near the opening, it becomes clear that things inside the studio and within the community are a lot more complicated and violent than they appeared to be, driving each of them to suspect the other and question why they do what they do, and ultimately what kind of people they've become.
Featured in the "Utopia" cast are David Douglas and Martin Head, with voiceovers by Willie Mack Daniels, Reggie DeMorton, Robert Flores, Guebri J'aigle VanOver, Pamela Starks, and Gilbert Glenn Brown.
Tickets are $25 general admission, $10 for students, and may be purchased at the Bootleg Theater box office one hour prior to performance or online at http://www.bootlegtheater.org/event/1081873-city-players-utopia-los-angeles/ Tickets are also available online on Goldstar and Plays 411. Please visit City Players on Facebook for more information.
City Players was developed in 2011 by alumni of Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy. Their first production, "Match" by Stephen Belber, was directed by Katherine Whitney and opened at the Asylum Theater followed by an extension at the Hayworth. "Utopia" marks City Players' first original piece. Every facet of production is run by the Players, from acting, stage managing, sound, costume design, to directing and producing the show.
David Douglas (Writer, Producer, Actor - David) - is an actor who has appeared in numerous television shows such as Marvel's Agents of Shield, Ray Donovan, ABC Family's The Fosters, and Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This year he will be featured alongside Ryan Gosling and John Legend in La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle, and in the new series American Crime Story "The People vs. O.J.". David is happy to be back on stage with the City Players group after co-starring in the troupe's first production, "Match" by Stephen Belber, where he played the role of Mike. With the ongoing climate of police brutality in L.A. and the sweeping outcry from the public all over the U.S., David is proud to help bring the experience of "Utopia" to the Bootleg.
Martin Head (Writer/Producer/Actor - Martin) - is an actor, singer and songwriter. Utopia is his first playwriting endeavor. Martin graduated LACC's Theatre Academy in 2009 and transferred to USC where he completed in 2012. Some of his favorite roles have been Belize in Angels, Saint Monica in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (at the Odyssey Theatre), Howie in Rabbit Hole, Ensemble/understudy for Booker T. Washington in Ragtime, Sergeant Tower in The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, Mule in National Pastime. Martin helped to coproduce and acted, as Toby, in City Players' first production of "Match" in 2011. Martin's dream has always been to use his talents to create art that is engaging and insightful.
Katherine Whitney (Director) - is a graduate of LACC Theatre Academy. Katherine directed City Players' first production, "Match" at the Asylum Theatre with an extension at the Hayworth. She went on to write ten feature films, produced and distributed by Plus Entertainment, four of which she directed. As an actor, Kate was recently made a Lifetime Member of The Actor's Studio. She has played such roles as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa, Carol in a California tour of David Mamet's Oleanna, Beatrice in Much Ado and Helena/Hermia in Midsummer at the Ford Ampitheatre. She went on to play Cunningham in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at the Odyssey Theatre as well as develop and collaborate a new work entitled A Woman's Eye, also at the Odyssey. Her most recent film Inner Demons just hit Netflix. She is thrilled to be back with this insanely talented group of artists.
James Egan (Stage Manager) is a graduate of the LACC Theatre Academy, where he won Overall Most Outstanding Student. A 3-time nominee for the KCACTF Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, previous roles include Gerard Malanga in Untitled Warhol Project, Cisco in The Unseen Hand, Sir Oliver Surface in The School for Scandal, Robert in 'Dentity Crisis, Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, and Russell in Raps.
Photos by Shari Barrett
UTOPIA director Kate Whitney with Matthew McConaughey at the Opening Night pre-show reception
Martin and David discuss a police brutality case on the streets in the downtown LA Arts District.
Martin and David discuss how to create the perfect piece of art to reflect Martin's vision for his new gallery.
Martin and David argue over money as well as a police brutality case, threatening the gallery's opening.