UK UNDERDOG Inspires in World Premiere at Zephyr Theatre

UK UNDERDOG Inspires in World Premiere at Zephyr Theatre

Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team (START) in association with Pacific Resident Theatre presents the world premiere of a funny, refreshing and highly theatrical solo show, based on true events, by writer/performer Steve Spiro. PRT's Ann Bronston directs UK Underdog opening Sept. 20 at theZephyr Theatre for a six-week run through Oct. 28. All proceeds from the production will benefit START Rescue as well as selected animal charities and anti-bullying groups.

UK Underdog is the story of a young Jewish boy in London who transforms himself, through sheer force of will (and plenty of chutzpah) from bullied underdog to martial artist, boxer, community leader and animal rights activist.

"Steve's story is all our stories," says Bronston. "How life happens to us and how, through resilience and determination, seemingly random events shape a life and help us find meaning. The first time I heard a reading, I was impressed by how completely and quickly Steve filled the stage with different characters. He is one of the most dedicated actors I know, working tirelessly to reshape the script and poring over every detail with me."

According to Pacific Resident Theatre artistic director Marilyn Fox, "UK Underdog is a miracle of a one-man show - entertaining, warm, funny, touching and completely unexpected."

A juried art exhibit featuring photos pairing at risk children and adults (who are subjected to bullying because of their size, ethnicity, sexual preference, homelessness) with at-risk rescued animals will be open for viewing at each performance.

Organizations that will share in the proceeds from this production include Ace of Hearts,Foxy and the Hounds (FATH), Kitten Rescue, Operation Blankets of Love, Pet Adoption Fund, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), Stop Poaching Now, Wild Foundation and Wildlife SOS.

Ginger Perkins, Frantic Redhead Productions, produces for START Rescue and Pacific Resident Theatre.

A member of Pacific Resident Theatre, Steve Spiro is originally from London, England and has appeared in both film and on stage. He is excited to be performing UK Underdog at the Zephyr Theatre, where he last appeared in the award-winning play The Caretaker. Steve has written several screenplays, including the life and times of early 20th Century fighter Sam Langford (based on the book by Clay Moyle), who was regarded as the greatest fighter never to fight for the title. He is also co-writer of a thirty-minute dark comedy, Unleashed, about the world of animal rescue, which will begin shooting later this year. Steve is one of the original founders of START Rescue, a nonprofit transport and spay/neuter group. Since its inception in 2011, START has transported over 10,000 dogs and cats from high kill California shelters to loving "forever homes" in the Pacific Northwest and funded over 5,500 spay/neuter surgeries for low-income households. Steve lives in Los Angles with his wife and three rescue dogs.

Ann Bronston is an actress, writer and director. She is a member of Rogue Machine Theatre, Pacific Resident Theatre and City Garage. She has been with UK Underdog since the beginning, directing last year's workshop production in the PRT Co-Op space and working with Spiro to develop and shape his work. Other directing credits include Bryony Lavery's Dirt in a Rogue Machine and SRS Production Wing co-production at the Raven Playhouse, and Donald Margulies's Dinner with Friends; Kenneth Jone's Two Henrys; Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane; Sharr White's Annapurna; Gina Gionfriddo'sBecky Shaw; and Tennessee William's Baby Doll, all at the PRT Co-Op. Her short stories have won awards and appeared in numerous literary magazines including Mississippi Review and New Millennium.

UK Underdog opens on Sept. 20 and continues through Oct.28, with performances onThursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25. All proceeds from the production will benefit START Rescue as well as selected animal charities and anti-bullying groups.

The Zephyr Theatre is located at 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046 (between Fairfax and La Brea). For reservations and information, call (323) 960-7788 or go to www.plays411.com/ukunderdog

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