Chris DeCarlo

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Chris DeCarlo BIO

Chris DeCarlo has been directing, writing and acting in Los Angeles for over fifty years.
As a performer, Chris has created more than three hundred roles, with over ten thousand on-stage performances on three continents, from the Henry Street Settlement Theatre in New York to the Dream Factory in Warwickshire and the gargantuan Hitomi Memorial Hall in Tokyo. He is especially recognized for his portrayals historical figures Mark Twain, Chekhov and Moliere. Over a quarter of a million people have been touched by his award-winning characterization of Yiddish humorist Sholom Aleichem, a role he has assayed over five thousand times in the past twenty-eight years. His versatile performance style has garnered him such raves as “Magnetic!” (Drama-Logue) and “A tour-de-force performance!” (B’nai B’rith Messenger). Always the explorer, his diverse choices run the gamut from the blithely serio-comic Hero in the House to the dangerously dramatic answers to unmailed letters, a collaborative theatre odyssey (Peter Manning Robinson, Bill Gough, Stephen Rothman and Evelyn Rudie) based on his personal experiences in Vietnam.
Chris combines performing with an active career as director and educator. Chris has directed countless World Premieres, twelve Critics’ Picks, including Charlie Lustman’s Made Me Nuclear, Doug Knott’s Last of the Knotts, the Sroka/Fleming comedy Dying for Laughs and the 20th anniversary production of Jerry Mayer’s Aspirin & Elephants, the Critics Pick of the Year musical tribute to Shakespeare Love in Bloom, the critically acclaimed stage adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground, the award-winning Hard Laughs starring Sammy Shore and Ron Palillo, seven of playwright Jerry Mayer’s comedies including the award-winning Almost Perfect, Annie Reiner’s Mirage a Trois, playwright Brenda Krantz’s Lovely, starring Louise Sorrell, the bi-lingual cultural exchange play From Tokyo to Hollywood and Back Again and the Ovation-nominated Picon Pie. As Co-Artistic Director of Santa Monica Playhouse, he has been directly responsible for more than 250 American and World Premieres, including Michel Garneau’s Quatre a Quatre, Stephen King and Robert B. Parker’s RAGE, and the long-running hit musical Funny, You Don’t Look Like A Grandmother by Lois Wyse, Sheilah Rae and Robert Waldman.
Chris and his wife and partner, Evelyn Rudie, have personally collaborated to create more than 500 critically acclaimed productions, including four of a projected five plays in the Sholom Aleichem quintilogy (Author! Author!–an evening with Sholom Aleichem, The Clown Prince, The Great Fair: Sholom Aleichem On Tour and Because of You: the life and loves of Sholom Aleichem). Their productions of Dear Gabby: the confessions of an over-achiever (the longest-running teen dramedy in Los Angeles theatre history), 2004—a telling of tomorrow, Mezzanine, DOLLS!, CANTEEN: a musical reconnaissance of war and other unnatural disasters, and their translation of Moliere’s The Fools have all been performed internationally. AUDITION! THE MUSICAL, a production he directed (“Impeccable direction!” Los Angeles Times) and co-wrote with Ms. Rudie, previewed at the prestigious Studio Theatre in Covent Garden, returned to rave reviews in its Los Angeles world premiere, and toured England, Ireland and the Netherlands. Over the course of his time as Co-Artistic Director at Santa Monica Playhouse, he has directed such show business luminaries as Frank Aletter, Haskell Anderson III, Bea Arthur, K Callan, Mickey Callan, Precious Chong, George Coe, Brett Cullen, Jan Daley, Sandy Faison, Archie Hahn, Deborah Harman, Michael Horton, Peter Jason, Paul Linke, Barbara Minkus, Shereen Mitchell, Stuart Pankin, Marcia Rodd, William Schallert, Albie Selznick, Sammy Shore, Louise Sorell, Todd Susman and Rene Taylor.
As an educator, Chris is co-founder and director of the Actors Workshop and the Young Professionals’ Company, theatre-intensive internship programs for performers with serious career intent. Under his direction, the Young Professionals’ Company has traveled internationally, performing as well as leading discussions and workshops in New York, Canada, Japan, Ireland and England. Mr. DeCarlo also leads the Advanced Technique Workshop, the Advanced Internship Program, the Advanced Preparatory Program and the Dear Gabby Project. He is co-founder of the Kids-in-Theatre Educational Conservatory, Actors’ Repertory Theatre, the Young Professionals’ Company, the American Cultural Youth Ambassadors, the Diversity-in-Education Program, the Schools Theatre Excursion Project and Project: OutReach. His innovative methods of utilizing theatre as a tool for cross-cultural and cross-curricular education, developed over 40 years through work with students locally and nationally, as well as in Japan, England, Ireland and Canada, are renowned internationally and are currently being utilized in classrooms across the globe. Former students include performers Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Deschanel, Jason Ritter, Jason Segel, Azura Skye, Emmy-award winner Aisha Waglé, novelist Rebecca Donner, filmmaker Shana Feste, producer/writer Rina Mimoun (Dawson’s Creek, Gilmore Girls, Pushing Daisies, Mistresses), casting director Liz Dean, Newark Superintendent of Schools Cami Anderson (Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World), Gadi Dechter (former senior adviser at the White House National Economic Council and National Security Council), and musicians Terri Nunn (Berlin) and Mickey Madden (Maroon 5).
In addition to his work at Santa Monica Playhouse, Mr. DeCarlo teaches in the public and private school systems, and has developed theatre programs for such SMMUSD and LAUSD Schools as Edison, P.S. 1, John Muir, SMASH, McKinley, John Adams, Grant, Paul Revere, Mark Twain, Manchester School, as well for Model Language Studio in Tokyo, International Human Network in Kyoto, Playbox Theatre in Warwick, England, South Island School in Hong Kong, the Henry Street Settlement Theatre in New York, the University of Ulster at Coleraine, the Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa, and Kent State, the Northridge Play Project, Firestone High School and The Muse Machine in Ohio.
Awarded a Bronze Star for his film work with U.S. Army, he studied with Agnes Bernelle at The Project in Ireland, the Lee Strasberg Institute, Belgian director-producer Ted Roter, and British West End director Marianne Mcnaughten.
Chris and his partner Evelyn have spearheaded numerous community service and cultural arts programs to bring the magic of live theatre to audiences throughout Southern California, as well as across the nation. These programs include the Mobile Touring Project, the Family Theatre Matinee Series, and the England Summer Theatre Adventure. Their educational outreach work stretches across the United States. They also headed a ground-breaking program for the Northridge Play Project in Ohio, helping students to craft a piece of personal theatre, Stains, Junk and Other Necessities of Life, which has now become a model for high school theatre programs.

Chris DeCarlo Productions

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Chris DeCarlo News

Interview: Playwright Jerry Mayer on his Writing Career and New Comedy Jews R 2 Much Fun

Jerry Mayer, a nonagenarian from St. Louis has written and/or produced for many classic TV shows and specials. In 1986, his first play, Almost Perfect, debuted at Santa Monica Playhouse which has led to almost a dozen more - so far! I decided to speak with him about his latest comedy, Jews R 2 Much Fun, at the Santa Monica Playhouse as well as his long-running and extremely successful TV writing career.

WHY WORRY? JEWS R 2 MUCH FUN! Opens April 30 At Santa Monica Playhouse

Why Worry? Jews R 2 Much Fun! world premiere engagement of a new comedy, written by Jerry Mayer and directed by Chris DeCarlo, has been announced at Santa Monica Playhouse.

Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival to Honor Angela Lansbury, Denise Dowse, and More at 2023 Gala

The 30th Annual Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival (LAWTF) will honor seven women for their exceptional career and life achievements in the Opening Night Champagne GALA and Awards Ceremony on March 23, 2023 at 8:00 pm, preceded by a reception at 6:30 pm, at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre.

Evelyn Rudie And Chris DeCarlo Celebrate Fifty Years At Santa Monica Playhouse

Fifty years ago this month, Evelyn Rudie and Chris De Carlo assumed their posts as Co-Artistic Directors of Santa Monica Playhouse. Under their stewardship, the sixty-three-year-old theatre has become a treasured cultural institution in the beachside community.

WHY BE AN UPTIGHT ANTI-SEMITE? JEWS R 2 MUCH FUN Comes to Santa Monica Playhouse

Kathy and Stanley are deeply in love. They want to get married. Stanley is Jewish, Kathy's a Catholic. Interfaith marriages happen all the time in America. But Kathy's father Chris considers Stanley's father Marv to be a hated, sworn enemy and has felt this way for many years. Kathy and Stanley's families are to be united in matrimony. In order to prevent Chris' hate from derailing their happiness, they devise a plan. Stanley's family, aided by Kathy's mother Mary, are about to give Chris a very special education. Hilarity ensues. Chris will ultimately have to deal with the question Why Be an Uptight Anti-Semite? Jews R 2 Much Fun.

YOU HAVEN'T CHANGED A BIT AND OTHER LIES Opening March 12 At Santa Monica Playhouse

Santa Monica Playhouse returns to live theatre with the premiere of a new incarnation of Jerry and Steve Mayer's musical about the trials and tribulations of 'aging' directed by veteran (and frequent Mayer) director Chris DeCarlo opening March 12, 2022 for a limited run.

BWW Interview: Kiki Yeung & Her Crazy Woke Asians Making Their Mark During AAPI Heritage Month

Asian comedy troupe CRAZY WOKE ASIANS created by Kiki Yeung will be celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a schedule full of shows at the Santa Monica Playhouse. Kiki managed to find some time to answer a few of my inquiries between producing the various May shows, rehearsing her own stand-up and taking care of her toddler son.

Santa Monica Playhouse Binge Fringe Free Festival Of Theatre Goes Online For 2020

The month of October heralds the return of the Santa Monica Playhouse BFF: The Binge Fringe Festival of FREE Theatre.

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Christine Joëlle, an Actor and Proud Member of The Road and Theatre 40 Who Also Runs a Successful Pet Care Service

This Spotlight focuses on Christine Joëlle, an actress I first saw onstage in the summer of 2004 as Madge Owens in Picnic, directed by Gail Bernardi for Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse. Christine and I went on to work together in many productions for the community theatre group, both onstage and on production teams. Since then, I have been fortunate to follow her path across the stages of professional theatre companies all over town, always enjoying her ability to transform herself into a great variety of characters a?" often during the same show! And I am also a very happy customer of her pet care service, Movin' Paws.

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Shelley Fisher, “The Hebrew Hillbilly”

This Spotlight focuses on Shelley Fisher, a down home diva better known as The Hebrew Hillbilly, her solo music play which is the longest running in the USA. Believing that music is the universal language which brings healing and encouragement to everyone, performing her show fuels the flames of creativity and hope for Shelley, and comedy provides a welcome break from the weight of life as it is today. So, what is she up to until she can back inside the Santa Monica Playhouse to perform for an audience again?

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Barbara Keegan �" an Emmy Award-Winning Actress Who Travels With Her Good Luck Charm “Smitty the Magical Flying Purple Turtle'

This Spotlight focuses on Barbara a?oeBobbiea?? Keegan, an Emmy Award-winning actress who always says a?oeyesa?? to the Santa Monica Playhouse and Theatre 68 who always travels with her adopted son, good luck charm and alter- ego, a?oeSmitty the Magical Flying Purple Turtle.a?? I first met both of them during the second Hollywood Fringe Festival when Keegan took Best in Fringe honors headlining in the world premiere of Jon Courie's JENNIFER ANISTON STOLE MY LIFE, which Courie wrote specifically with her in mind.

Emmy Award-Winner Barbara Keegan Joins MISTAKES WERE MADE At Santa Monica Playhouse

Santa Monica Playhouse announces the extension of the hit comedy Mistakes Were Made - coulda-woulda-shoulda and the addition of award-winning actress Barbara Keegan to the cast, returning to the Playhouse in her third Jerry Mayer hit. Mistakes Were Made now playing through April 26.

BWW Review: LOVE IN BLOOM Spoofs the Bard to Prove All's Well That Ends As You Like It

As is true with almost every one of The Bard's plays, magic and mayhem, fops and fairies, mistaken identity, romance and humor abound in this tongue-firmly-in-cheek evening with elements of pantomime, Commedia dell'arte and conventions of classical theater woven together with DeCarlo and Rudie narrating the tale as the elvish mischief makers Orion and Talia. While there are quotes and references from several of The Bard's creations, LOVE IN BLOOM takes its biggest story line from a?oeA Midsummer Night's Dreama?? with three sets of lovers dealing with mistaken identities due to cross-dressing, who eventually get lost in the woods in order for the fairies' spell to be cast so that all ends well and love rules the day.

Photo Flash: LOVE IN BLOOM Opens This Weekend At Santa Monica Playhouse

Brush up your Shakespeare. Santa Monica Playhouse's bawdy musical comedy tribute to the rogues and wenches of the Bard, Love in Bloom, celebrates its 10th anniversary to insure that all's well that ends as you like it. Magic and mayhem, fops and fairies, mistaken identity, romance and humor abound in this tongue-firmly-in-cheek evening of theatre opening Saturday, October 26th

BWW Review: MISTAKES WERE MADE Reunites Three Friends Trying to Make Amends Before it's too Late

Certainly, all of us can think of mistakes we made which caused unseen, or perhaps even planned, problems for our friends and/or family members. And as we age, it seems that when we recognize the need to make amends to set things right in our own lives, we need to do that before it's too late. But what if trying to make amends causes even more problems when the truth is revealed, while causing laughs galore at the foibles of all the players? Such is the case in the world premiere of Jerry Mayer's tenth play, MISTAKES WERE MADE - coulda-woulda-shoulda, at the Santa Monica Playhouse. In fact, the comedy has been so popular with audiences, it has been extended through the end of September!

Review: ALEICHEM SHOLOM! Shares the Wit and Wisdom of his Yiddish Stories with Music and Laughter

ALEICHEM SHOLOM! The Wit and Wisdom of Sholom Aleichem, a new musical written by the internationally acclaimed team of Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie with lilting songs by Ben Weisman, is now playing at the Santa Monica Playhouse. It follows the life of the beloved Yiddish story-teller and everyone is his entourage, especially his wife, spinning tales of his loves and losses, his fame and his failures, his travels, his travails and the tremendous joy and optimism that kept him going against all odds.

New Musical ALEICHEM SHOLOM: The Wit And Wisdom Of Sholom Aleichem To Debut At Santa Monica Playhouse

Santa Monica Playhouse presents the World Premiere of ALEICHEM SHOLOM! The Wit and Wisdom of Sholom Aleichem -The fifth offering in the Playhouse Sholom Aleichem catalog of musicals, part of the Playhouse Jewish Heritage Project at Santa Monica Playhouse - opening Today, May 19th 2018

New Musical ALEICHEM SHOLOM: The Wit And Wisdom Of Sholom Aleichem To Debut At Santa Monica Playhouse

Santa Monica Playhouse presents the World Premiere of ALEICHEM SHOLOM! The Wit and Wisdom of Sholom Aleichem -The fifth offering in the Playhouse Sholom Aleichem catalog of musicals, part of the Playhouse Jewish Heritage Project at Santa Monica Playhouse - opening Today, May 19th 2018

New Musical ALEICHEM SHOLOM: The Wit And Wisdom Of Sholom Aleichem To Debut At Santa Monica Playhouse

Santa Monica Playhouse presents the World Premiere of ALEICHEM SHOLOM! The Wit and Wisdom of Sholom Aleichem -The fifth offering in the Playhouse Sholom Aleichem catalog of musicals, part of the Playhouse Jewish Heritage Project at Santa Monica Playhouse - opening Saturday, May 19th 2018

A Love Affair Continues At Santa Monica Playhouse

Feel the Love. Jerry Mayer's critically acclaimed, award-winning romantic 'A Love Affair' extends at Santa Monica Playhouse through Saturday, April 29, 2018. Featuring Playhouse Co-Artistic Directors Evelyn Rudie (TV's Eloise, Playhouse 90, A Touch of Love, Audition: The Musical!) and Chris DeCarlo (Author! Author! an evening with Sholom Aleichem, Moliere's The Fools, Aspirin & ELEPHANTS) as the mature Alice and Jimmy, and Andrea Adnoff (Sunday on the Rocks, Pasadena Playhouse; The Lucky 6; Legend of Woodview Road), and Jacob Cooper (We Are Marshall - Warner Bros; Clybourne Park; La Bete) as their younger-selves joined by Rachel Galper (Turning Thirty, A DeLUSIONAL Affair, How to Love a Republican). This production is part of the Playhouse Jerry-Mayer-A-Thon celebrating Mayer's 30 years of play writing.

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