Dead Man's Wake Plays West End Studio Theater in San Rafael 10/29

When Larry Klein of San Geronimo first came to the Bay Area in 1969, he met a Mill Valley family coping with a family member's suicide. It inspired Klein to write a play that examines the complex, family dynamics that take hold when tragedy strikes.

"The effect that such a tragedy could have on a family seemed an important subject for a play," said Klein.

Intrigued and inspired, Klein began writing his play in 1969. He has worked on it for the last 40 years.

Entitled "Dead Man's Wake," Klein's family drama makes its world premiere Oct. 29. Produced by West Coast Arts Foundation, the play runs through Nov. 14 at the 70-seat West End Studio Theater in San Rafael.

With hints of American stage classics by Arthur Miller, Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams, "Dead Man's Wake," is a character driven play with humor, romance and poetic language. It follows the Ogden family's complicated and revealing journey as they search for courage and hope while struggling with changing times and unfulfilled dreams.

The production features a stellar cast of professional actors familiar to Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area theater goers. Jessica Powell of Fairfax portrays the mother; William Elsman of San Rafael and Tyler McKenna of Novato portray her sons; Jack Powell of Fairfax plays the loyal family friend; Chloe Bronzan of Berkeley play the love interest; and Katarina Rose Fabic of San Francisco as a friend to the eldest son. Liz O'Neill directs.

" 'Dead Man's Wake' examines relationships the family survivors had with the deceased and among themselves," said Klein. "It asks each of them to have the courage to look deep inside themselves and discover what is there as they confront issues about the father taking his own life."

Always devoted to the theater, Larry Klein majored in stage direction in college and toured with Edward Albee's "Zoo Story," performing in church sanctuaries throughout Kansas, to judge audience reactions for his Master's Thesis.

He worked for over 30 years for the San Francisco Opera, as Associate Technical Director and later as Technical Director. He also served for three years as the stage manager for Lee Sankowich's production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Currently he is the Technical Director of Marin Ballet.

"The immediate question in this play is 'How does this family move forward?' On the surface, it's a simple question. But, below that surface is a far more challenging question," said Klein. "What, if anything, about their lives is truly valuable?"


"Dead Man's Wake"
By Larry Klein
Directed by Liz O'Neill
Produced by Margot Jones

Set in Mill Valley in 1969, "Dead Man's Wake," by Larry Klein, follows the Ogden family's journey as they search for courage while struggling with the death of a family member, changing times and unfulfilled dreams.

Performance dates: Oct. 29 to Nov. 14, 2010
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
2 p.m. Sundays
Preview performance presented at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27 at $10 for all.

Tickets: $25
Order online through; by telephone 1-800-838-3006; or purchase at the door.
Reservations recommended.

Location: West End Studio Theater
1554 4th Street
San Rafael, CA.
(The theater opens 30 minutes prior to show time.Free street and lot parking near theater.)

Phone: 415-453-0552



CAST: Jessica Powell* of Fairfax as Leah; William Elsman* of San Rafael as Jess; Tyler McKenna* of Novato as Brian; Jack Powell* of Fairfax as Tom; Chloe Bronzan* of Berkeley as Andrea; and Katarina Rose Fabic of San Francisco as Janet.

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