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West Coast Premiere of James Sherman's THE BEN HECHT SHOW Begins Next Month at Zephyr Theatre

The West Coast Premiere of renowned Chicago playwright, James Sherman's comedy THE BEN HECHT SHOW opens Friday, July 24th at the Zephyr Theatre (7456 Melrose Ave ?Los Angeles, CA 90046.) The play runs Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM, July 24th through Sunday, August 16th. Tickets are $25 and are available at plays411/benhecht or by calling (323) 960-7861

In this solo performance, James Sherman portrays Ben Hecht, one of America's greatest writers who achieved fame as a playwright, novelist and screenwriter. James Sherman depicts Ben Hecht's brilliant wit and humor by expressing Hecht's passion for his work and how he used his talents to engage with world events.

Ben Hecht won the first Oscar for Best Original Story for his script for Underworld in 1929. Among his many other classic screenplays are Scarface, Nothing Sacred, and Wuthering Heights. Hecht was also a highly paid script doctor who contributed to many classic films like Gone With the Wind, Stagecoach, Foreign Correspondent and the screen version of his classic Broadway play The Front Page. During the Second World War, Hecht became a devoted activist against the atrocities in Europe and spent the rest of his life using his voice against the forces of anti-Semitism. Hecht's story reflects boldly on the questions faced by American Jewry to this day.

James Sherman (Playwright) is the author of the plays Magic Time, The God Of Isaac, Mr. 80%, The Escape Artist, Beau Jest, This Old Man Came Rolling Home, Jest A Second!, Romance In D, From Door To Door, The Old Man's Friend, Affluenza!, Half And Half, Relatively Close, And Jacob And Jack.

James was a theatre student at Illinois State University in the early 1970's. He began his professional career as a writer and performer with The Second City in Chicago and received an M.F.A. degree from Brandeis University. In 1985, he began his long association with the Tony Award winning Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago and he was a Founding Member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble.

Beau Jest, Magic Time, The God Of Isaac, Mr. 80%, Jest A Second!, Romance In D, From Door To Door, Affluenza!, Half And Half, And Jacob And Jack have been published and are regularly produced by theatres throughout the United States and have also been seen in Canada, Mexico, South America, England, Germany, Austria, Turkey, South Africa, Australia, China, and Korea.

In the summer of 2006, James wrote and directed the movie of his play, Beau Jest, starring Lainie Kazan, Seymour Cassel, and Robyn Cohen.

James currently teaches Playwriting and Improvisation at Columbia College Chicago and DePaul University. He has been a teacher of Playwriting and Acting on the faculties of The Second City Training Center, Chicago Dramatists Workshop, and Victory Gardens Theater. In 2001, he was a visiting professor in Seoul, South Korea at the Korean National University of the Arts. He has led workshops in Improvisation at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.

He has been the recipient of fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, the Ragdale Foundation, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Yaddo. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America. He lives in Chicago.

Dennis Za?ek (Director) is Artistic Director Emeritus of Victory Gardens Theater where he held the position of Artistic Director for 34 years. He recently accepted the Actor's Equity Association's (AEA) Spirit Recognition Award. The Spirit Award is given to institutions that "have made non-traditional casting a way of life." He also received the 2005 Jeff Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chicago Equity Theatre. He, his wife Marcelle McVay, and the theater are co-recipients of the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. He is also the recipient of the 2004 Artistic Leadership Award from the League of Chicago Theatres. Za?ek and Ms. McVay received the 1999 Rosetta Lenoire Award from Actors' Equity and the 1998 Sidney R. Yates Arts Advocacy Award from the Illinois Arts Alliance Foundation. Currently, he holds the position of Resident Director at the Fringe Theater in Key West. Za?ek is a professor emeritus of Loyola University and was included in 2005 in Utne magazine's first-ever list of "Artists Who Will Shake the World." He has directed more than 250 productions. Also, he is the world's greatest authority on James Sherman having directed the world premiers of fourteen of Sherman's plays.

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