B Street Stages WE'RE GONNA BE OKAY
We're Gonna Be Okay received its world premiere in the 2017 Humana Festival and was met with rave reviews for its unique way of telling a story many Americans are familiar with, The Cuban Missile Crisis. It later was produced at the American Theatre Company in Chicago and was listed as one of Time Out: Chicago's "24 Shows To See In January." The story follows two average American families during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Afraid of what could happen if a nuclear bomb is launched at America, the two neighbors build a slapdash bomb shelter on their shared property line. With nuclear warfare looming, they wonder: is this the end? The end of baseball... and table manners... and macramé? But as they fret about the fall of civilization, they start to worry that something more personal is at stake. A slyly hilarious, compassionate look at anxiety in America, We're Gonna Be Okay is about finding the courage to face who we are-and who we want to be.
Basil Kreimendahl is a gender-neutral playwright whose pieces focus on language, class, and gender identity. They have also written pieces that have appeared in The Huffington Post, Howl Round, and multiple anthologies. Talking about the play, Kreimendahl says "...it's about America and change and how we react to change. It's also very Freudian in a way: The first act is above ground and fairly presentational; in the second act everybody's underground and the subconscious kicks in. It resonates today because there are changes going on now. I truly believe we're in the middle of a huge social-justice movement, and We're Gonna Be Okay highlights that transition of popular thought that happens in America."
We're Gonna Be Okay at the B Street Theatre
For many years, B Street Theatre has attended the Humana Festival at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville in search of new plays to premiere for our Sacramento audience. In 2017, there were two plays that stuck out to Producing Artistic Director Buck Busfield and Artistic Producer Dave Pierini. One was Airness, which premiered at The Sofia in May. The other was Kreimendahl's We're Gonna Be Okay.
"The play has such a funny, mindful way of telling a story which everyone knows," commented Pierini. "In a time where much of the focus was on the epic conflict between America and Russia, Kreimendahl finds an honest, funny story about two ordinary American families preparing for nuclear war. It's a comedy with heart."
We're Gonna Be Okay will make its West Coast premiere at The Sofia. B Street has selected Company Members Dana Brooke, Stephanie Altholz, Jason Kuykendall, Dave Pierini, and Elisabeth Nunziato for the play. They will be joined by actor Doug Harris.
Basil Kreinmendahl: Basil Kreimendahl is a resident playwright at New Dramatists. Their plays have won several awards, including the Rella Lossy Playwright Award and a National Science Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Kreimendahl has been commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival's American Revolutions program, and by Actors Theatre of Louisville for Remix 38 (2014 Humana Festival). Their play Orange Julius was developed at the 2012 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and had its New York premiere at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, in a co-production with P73. Their play We're Gonna Be Okay had its world premiere at the 2017 Humana Festival. Kreimendahl's plays have also been produced or developed by New York Theatre Workshop, American Theater Company, Victory Gardens Theater, The Lark, La Jolla Playhouse, and LAByrinth Theater Company. They have been a Jerome Fellow and a McKnight Fellow at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, won an Art Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and are a visiting writer at Williams College. Kreimendahl's work has been published by Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing, and HowlRound. They received their M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 2013.
Buck Busfield - Buck has worked for B Street since its creation in 1986. He selects and casts all plays and has directed more than 200 of them, working with some of the nation's finest actors and playwrights. As a playwright himself, Buck has written more than 20 plays; many having received productions at B Street Theatre. He is the recipient of the Arts and Business Council of Sacramento's Executive of the Year award and is a senior fellow of the Mountain Valley chapter of the American Leadership Forum, Class IX. He makes his home in Sacramento with his wife Mehera, and their daughter, Priya.
The Setting: Middle America, during the Cuban Missile Crisis
Efran - Dave Pierini - Dave has been working in professional theatre for over 25 years. Dave is a proud B Street Company Member and Artistic Producer. He last appeared in the Mainstage productions of Dry Powder and One Man, Two Guvnors. Dave also writes for the B Street Theatre's Family Series, adapting many books for young audiences, most recently, Going West: The Story of the Transcontinental Railroad. Dave was instrumental in forming the B Street Theatre's Sketch/Improv Company and has hosted a talk show, Sactown Tonight, from the stage of B Street. He has also directed many plays for the Company, most recently, The Ladies Foursome and the final play in the original location, A Moving Day, which he also co-wrote with Buck Busfield. Dave has also been seen on stage at Music Circus in their most recent productions of West Side Story and Hello, Dolly!
Deanna- Stephanie Altholz- Stephanie was seen most recently in Airness, One Man, Two Guvnors, A Moving Day, Hand To God, Robin Hood, Speed-the-Plow, Alice in Wonderland, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Handle With Care, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, The Explorers Club, Snow White and Rose Red, and Elemeno Pea. In the 2017 Mainstage season she co-wrote and performed in Treatment, a commissioned work with company members Amy Kelly and Tara Sissom. Other B Street credits include Gift of the Magi, Seminar, RX, Aliens with Extraordinary Skills, The Snow Queen, Extraordinary Things: Through the Eyes of Anne Frank, Cinderella, Junie B. Jones, Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, I Am a Camera, The Almost Perfect Party, Swiss Family Robinson and A Christmas Carol. Stephanie has been seen at Capital Stage in Reasons to be Pretty, Erratica and Clybourne Park. She has also performed in online videos with Dutchwest, College Humor and Smosh.
Sul - Jason Kuykendall - A member of B Street Theatre's Acting Company and sketch troupe, Jason has performed in many plays at the theatre, including Last Train to Nibroc, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Clever Little Lies, The Explorers Club, One Man, Two Guvnors and most recently, Dry Powder. Outside Sacramento, he starred onstage with Tyne Daly in a production of Big Maggie and he played Oswald in the world premiere of a new Lanford Wilson translation of Henrick Ibsen's Ghosts. Jason also has had roles in? TV's General Hospital and State of Grace and appeared in the feature film Homeland. He also starred in the feature film Stolen Moments, directed by his wife and fellow company member Elisabeth Nunziato. His local work includes Of Mice and Men at Sacramento Theatre Company and The Elephant Man at TheatreWorks.
Mag - Dana Brooke - Dana is proud to be a member of the B Street Acting Company. Plays at B Street include: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Lungs, Constellations, Venus in Fur, Outside Mullingar, Other Desert Cities, God of Carnage, The Nibroc Trilogy, Lobby Hero, Lobster Alice, and The Swan. New York and Regional Credits Include: Venecia (w/ Chita Rivera), Claudia Lazlo (w/ Reed Birney at Georgia Street Playhouse), Baby on a Train (w/ Mike Birbiglia), Vacuum (Cherry Lane Theatre), Proof (Playhouse on Park), Multiple Family Dwelling (New Jersey Repertory Co.), Hate Mail, Love of a Pig (Cardinal Group, NYC). TV Credits Include: Damages, Ed, Canterbury's Law. Film Credits Include: Not Your Year and Laura Gets A Cat. For B Street's Family Series, Dana has written: Extraordinary Things: Through the Eyes of Anne Frank and The Three Musketeers.
Leena - Elisabeth Nunziato - Elisabeth is a founding B Street Theatre Company Member, appearing most recently in One Man, Two Guvnors, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Hand to God, Chessman, A Masterpiece of Comedic... Timing, Mud Blue Sky, The Realistic Joneses and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche. For B Street Theatre Family Series, she was last seen in Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook, and Snow White and Rose Red. She recently made her feature film directorial debut with Stolen Moments, an NK Media/ Iron Mountain Films production. Elisabeth has been performing on stage, in film, commercially and in voice over for more than two decades. She has been fortunate enough to work with Academy Award winners Danny Glover, Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker and Robert Duvall. Her commercial work has been featured in award-winning projects both national and regional. She partnered with her husband Jason Kuykendall in NK Media, winner of the 2011 National Addy, the world's largest advertising competition.
Jake - Doug Harris - Recent New York Theater credits: Disco Pigs (Drama League/ Sheen Center), The Rape of The Sabine Women by Grace B. Matthias (Playwrights Realm/ The Duke), The Glass Menagerie (Masterworks Theater Company/ 47th St. Theater), Unity: 1918 (Project: Theater/ Gene Frankel Theater), Found Dog Ribbon Dance (Shapiro Theater). Doug has developed new works with New York Theater Workshop, The Lark, Less Than Rent, Pipeline Theater Company, The Actors Studio, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and more. He has also appeared in numerous short films and commercials.
More about B Street Theatre: B Street Theatre is a non-profit, professional theatre company producing primarily new work for adults, families and children. The two-theatre playhouse on 2700 Capitol Avenue in Midtown Sacramento is home to the Mainstage Series and Family Series, each created to feature intimate, quality theatre for audiences year-round. Recognized as one of the nation's top professional theatres, B Street Theatre has produced more than 160 world premieres written by B Street playwrights and numerous productions which were world, national, West Coast or regional premieres.
B Street Theatre was originally founded in 1986 with the purpose of bringing the excitement of live performance to children through the B Street Theatre School Tour. This educational outreach program still serves over 200,000 students in Northern California annually.
B Street Theatre programs include the Mainstage Series, B Street Theatre Family Series and Family Series Field Trips, B Street School Assemblies, Upstairs at the B, B Street Acting Conservatory and Studio for Young People, and the B Street Theatre Internship program for pre-professional/post-college training.
In 2014, B Street brought its most popular play ever, Around the World in 80 Days, to India. The original cast performed in three Indian cities, furthering the organization's mission by bringing high quality theatre to an international audience, while also raising money for Indian educational enrichment and schools and partnering with an overseas performing arts center with the hope of future international collaboration. B Street Theatre has produced over 250 professional productions since 1986.
More information at www.bstreettheatre.org.
The mission of B Street Theatre is to promote education and literacy, social interaction, and cultural enrichment by engaging children and adults in the highest quality theatre arts and playwriting.