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Pope Joan Runs At The Stella Adler Theatre 3/22

Passion, piety, and the enticement of power sparks a once in a lifetime historic event. Based on the enduring account of a young scholar's rise to the papacy, and brought to life by the original producer of HAIR on Broadway, this musical extravaganza unleashes one of the most controversial stories in the history of mankind. A cast of 26 professionals, an award winning team, and live music create this stunning premiere, for a limited run at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood.

Michael Butler (Producer) is best known as the force that brought the world famous hit musical HAIR to Broadway, thus distinguishing it as the most notorious production of its time, and breaking new ground in musical theatre. Several songs from HAIR went on to become top 40 hits and today still retain their place among all-time popular American classic rock songs. Mr. Butler's involvement with theatre also includes work on Lenny, The Golden Apple, West Side Story, Cantonsville 9, and Reggae on Broadway. His accomplishments are hardly limited to the entertainment industry. He has filled civic roles in both local and national politics and has been twice listed as an enemy on President Richard Nixon's ‘Enemies List.' He has served as Special Advisor to Senator John F. Kennedy on the Middle East, Chancellor of the Lincoln Academy, Commissioner of the Port of Chicago, President of the Organization of Economic Development in Illinois, P.A. to Governor Otto Kerner, President of the Illinois Sports Council, and he was a Democratic Candidate in Du Page County for the State Senate.

Bo Crowell (Director/Choreographer) has danced with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and Senta Driver's Post Modern-Harry Dance Co. He studied in NY at the Merce Cunningham Studios and at Santa Fe Dance Foundation, starring with Sue West's modern ballet The Dry Spell. In LA, Bo danced with Louise Reichlin and Dancers and is one of the founding members of The Candlefish Theatre Company where he produced, directed, acted, and/or designed all of their seasons. In 1998, he met Michael Butler while working on a critically acclaimed run of HAIR which took him to Moscow where he lived for four months while directing and choreographing the first ever Moscow version of the rock musical (still running today). He is also a touring video technician and has toured the world with such bands as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Santana, Depech Mode, Metallica, Motley Crue, and Kelli Clarkson, to name a few. Bo recently won the prestigious LA Weekly award for best Musical and Best Choreographer for his fortieth anniversary production of HAIR.

During a time marked by social chaos and political turmoil an unexpected pundit ascends the hierarchy of the most powerful regime in the world. This innovative and dramatic musical account of the historic and ecclesiastical circumstances, which may have given a young girl access to the papacy, brings century old scandals to life once more. This world premiere musical is being launched in Los Angeles and is bound to be one of the most talked about productions of the year.

POPE JOAN opened Saturday, January 24th, and runs through Sunday, March 22, 2009 at the Stella Adler Theatre located at 6773 Hollywood Blvd., LA, CA 90028. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 and Sundays at 2pm. Validated parking at the KODAK Center. Tickets are $34.99 and may be purchased by calling (323) 960-4412 or at www.popejoantix.com

Christopher Moore (Book, Lyrics, and Music) is a playwright under contract to Michael Butler Productions. He is the recipient of the Joseph Jefferson Award for Production, Direction and New Work, and has directed his own work as the inaugural offering of The Mercury Theater in Chicago.

Randy Bowser (Musical Arrangements) wrote Dorian-The Remarkable Mister Gray (book, lyrics, music) which was produced in Oregon in 2008, and is now in rehearsals in Moscow.

Brian Murphy (Musical Direction) continues to collaborate with the creators of original musicals in various capacities such as music director, conductor, vocal arranger, and orchestrator. These projects have recently included Morris Bobrow's Party of One, Mark and Brian Karmelich's Jesus' Kid Brother, Genga Productions' Tight Quarters, Matt Goldsby's If Only..., Ron Weiner's Internet Dating: The Musical, Wayland Pickard's Is This Any Way to Start a Marriage?, Jerry Sternbach's Mommy, Mommy: The Musical...Musical, Great Expectations on the Hudson Backstage and Nymphony in 12-D for Playwrights 6. Brian's other music direction credits include the inaugural production of the Covina Center for the Performing Arts, Smokey Joe's Cafe, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the Colony, William Finn's Elegies: A Song Cycle for Workman Arts & Entertainment, and Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along at the West Coast Ensemble (Garland award). He reprised his role as music director of Merrily for the "Reprise!" series at UCLA, a production which starred Teri Hatcher, Jean Louisa Kelly, Stella Stevens and Hugh Panaro.

ABOUT OUR DESIGN TEAM
Shon LeBlanc (Costume Designer) has designed over 600 productions in Los Angeles and throughout the US. He has garnered 6 Garland awards, a Drama Critics Circle Award, LA Weekly award, Ovation Award (Theatre Neos' The Women), 9 Drama-Logue awards, the LAVC and Garland award for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with James Barbour and Lynne Wintersteller at NOHO Arts, and NAACP nomination for Bluebonnet Court. He recently won the LADCC award for The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, at the Fountain Theatre. In 2006, Shon designed 6 world premiere productions, including Manor of Trust, Equinox, One Way Ticket to Hell, Lizard, Conjunto, Bluebonnet Court, and the west coast premiere of Friends like These with Donna Mills. Shon owns Valentino's Costumes in Los Angeles, and teaches Costume Design at the Academy of Art University.

Jeremy Pivnick (Lighting Designer) has designed numerous productions, both locally and nationally, with such theatres and with such companies as the Pasadena Playhouse, The Colony, The El Portal, The Theatre @ Boston Court, International City Theatre, Echo Theatre Company, The Road Theatre Company, Playwright's Arena, Metrostage and The Rubicon Theatre Company, as well as in such cities as Washington, DC, San Francisco, and New York. He has been nominated for and received numerous awards, including the LA Drama Critics Circle Award, a 2008 Ovation Award, and Angstrom Award for Career Achievement.

Diane Martinous (Wig Mistress) enjoys designing and consulting for theatre, film, and her private clientele. Anyone who works with Diane knows her motto: "It's always about the hair!" Her designs have earned recognition throughout LA including a Maddy Award, LA Drama Critics Circle nomination, and the first hairstylist to receive a Local Hero Award honoring her body of work for LA theatre. Projects include Amadeus at the Hollywood Bowl, the musical stage version of Happy Days directed by Garry Marshall, and Pest Control at NoHo Arts Theatre. She is currently enjoying the soap world and is part of the hair team on General Hospital/Nightshift.

Fernando Vasquez (Sound Engineer) is a graduate of The California Institute of the Arts with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatrical Sound Design. Fernando's work has been heard at numerous theatrical and musical venues in the Los Angeles area including The Rubicon Theatre, [InSide] The Ford Theatre, The Alex Theatre, The Met Theatre, The Bootleg Theatre, and The Hudson Backstage. Fernando has just recently finished designing and mixing the Musical Theatre of Los Angeles productions of The Last Five Years, Ragtime and West Side Story at the Hudson Backstage Theatre.

ABOUT OUR PRODUCING TEAM
Claire Dunlap (Associate Producer) has been involved in many critically acclaimed and award winning productions including the 40th anniversary production of HAIR in which she was given a producer award for Best Musical 2007 at the LA Weekly Awards presentation. Other producer/acting credits include Faith After Dark (LA Weekly recommended), The Rimers of Eldrich by Lanford Wilson (LA Weekly Pick of the Week), Mandy's Yearbook, Action Heroes, The Vagina Monologues, Ink, and The Tempest.

Leigh McLeod Fortier (Consulting Producer) productions have garnered over 20 LA Weekly Awards (including Best Musical Medea, the Musical), upwards of 10 NAACP Awards (16 nominations), three of the five GLAAD Media Awards nominations for Best Play in one season (including award recipient Medea, the Musical), and numerous Backstage Awards. Highlights include Burn This (directed by Jessica Kubzansky), along with multiple award winning plays such as The Talented Tenth starring Robert Guillaume, Up The Mountain by Kevin Arkadie (numerous producer awards and LA Times 10-Best), and Kathy and Mo: The Dark Side starring Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney at the Henry Fonda Theatre. Other productions include The New Bozena (directed by Rainn Wilson), and Walking the Blonde (presented by Kathy Bates and Sharon Gless). Leigh co-created and produced the hit musical A Gay Christmas Carol (GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Production). Some of her TV & Film credits include the US premiere of the Academy Award nominated film Blood Ties: The Life and Work of Sally Mann with Christopher Reeve hosting and guest speaker Steven Bochco and a documentary film series, "Issues On Film" featuring Richard Dreyfuss, Richard Masur, Ron Reagan, and Melanie Mayron. Leigh has served as the Co-Artistic Director of four Hudson Theatres along with founder Elizabeth Reilly and is Founder and President of Plays411, a full-service theatrical production company and ticket agency. Currently, Leigh is in pre-production for Life and Loves of Dinah Washington a Musical written by and starring Yvette Freeman Hartley.

Our Performing Ensemble includes:

Whitney Avalon (Joan) recently appeared in the new musical The Cuban and the Redhead and starred as a series regular on the web show Making Mistakes. Selected regional work includes The Full Monty (Pam); The Iceman Cometh, Pulp; Macbeth (Lady Macbeth); The Mousetrap (Miss Casewell); Jesus Christ Superstar; The Tempest (Ariel); Oliver! (Nancy); and The Threepenny Opera.

Douglas Barry (Louis II) was most recently seen playing Claude in the Met Theatre's production of HAIR, named Best Musical of the Year by the LA Weekly.

Cristina Dohmen (Martine) first stepped on stage when she was 8 years old, and grew up performing in theaters throughout her hometown, Honolulu, Hawaii. She moved across the Pacific Ocean to study theater and music at Pepperdine University. She has since been seen in numerous Los Angeles theater productions such as: Into the Woods (Baker's Wife), Fiddler on the Roof (Tzeitel), Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (Kate). Christina got her start in film in the indie short Tijuana Sunrise in the prestigious role of The Beer Girl. She can dance jazz, hula, and Tahitian. You can see her on the big screen in the suspense thriller Duress coming to a theater near you in September 2009.

SuzAnne Nichols (Lucretia) was recently seen as Violet Red The Cotton Club Revisited, and as Hibiscus in Hair at The Met Theatre in Los Angeles.

Bryce Blue (Lucius) grew up on the many large stages of California's central coast, appearing in productions of The Music Man, To Kill a Mockingbird, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Peter Pan, Les Miserables, Annie Get Your Gun, and as Tom in Tom Sawyer at the Great American Melodrama, all before the early age of 17. Bryce made the necessary choice to dive head-first into his growing career and move to the LA area. At the age of 20, he has recorded an original cast recording of Teen Witch the Musical, landed roles on such shows as E.R. and The Unit, and filmed many independents, including director Larry Clark's Wassup Rockers.

Allie Costa (Young Joan) was born and raised in Northern California. When not singing, dancing, or acting, Allie is reading, writing, or composing. Regional credits include Spring Awakening and Gypsy. Additional theatre credits include Anything Goes, West Side Story, The Mikado, Taming of the Shrew, and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Her original plays and musicals include Surreal World and Gender Bias.

Fernando Orozco, Jr. (Anastasius) is currently adapting his play entitled The Race of Life into a screenplay. Some of Fernando's most memorable credits include JP Morgan in the Tony Award winning musical Ragtime at Cabrillo Music Theatre, Charley Kringas in Merrily We Roll Along, and Da Baker in the Original Hit Musical Jesus' Kid Brother, which performed at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood, 42nd Street Studios in New York, ICT Long Beach, and at ASCAP/Disney. Fernando can also be seen in the Movie Musical Short Zombie Prom directed by Vince Marcello and executive produced by Wes Craven.

Anthony Gruppuso (Nicholas) appeared recently in the award winning Urinetown with John Rubenstein, Actors CO-Op's 1776 (Samuel Chase), LA Shakespeare's The Fantasticks (El Gallo), Disney's Snow White, An Enchanting Musical (Grumpy), and the recent workshop and reading of Neil Berg and D.J. Salisbury's The Man Who Would Be King with Marc Kudish. He created the role of Marvin in the Broadway workshop production of Down to Earth directed by Donald McKayle. Anthony has performed in many feature films, Equity stage productions, and television shows which have included appearances on The Megan Mullally Show, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He will soon be seen as the Vatican Square singer in Ron Howard's upcoming feature film Angels and Demons.

 



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