Patricia Milton's Play ACCUSED! Opens This July At Central Works

Running July 13– August 11 at the historic Berkeley City Club.

By: May. 22, 2024
Patricia Milton's Play ACCUSED! Opens This July At Central Works
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CENTRAL WORKS 2024 SEASON continues with world premiere #74, a comic murder mystery from the Central Works Writers Workshop. Opening July 13, Accused! is written by Patricia Milton, directed by Kimberly Ridgeway, and runs July 13–Aug 11 (previews July 11 & 12) at the historic Berkeley City Club.

The final comic caper of the Victorian Lady Detectives opens just as they have accepted a new murder case. When a dead body turns up in the parlor of the Hunter Lodging House, the evidence points to Victorian Lady Detective Katie Smalls herself as the prime suspect. The trail of clues leads our intrepid detectives into a murderous web of anarchists and religious fanatics in their most daring caper yet! Directed by Kimberly Ridgeway, the cast of Accused! features Chelsea Bearce, Alan Coyne, Lauren Dunagan, Sindhu Singh, and Jan Zvaifler. Stage Management for the production is by Natalia Rivera-Ramos, Costume design by Tammy Berlin, Light design by Stephanie Anne Johnson, Props by Alexandria Volk, Sound design by Gregory Scharpen & Fan Fight choreography by Asha Rodgers & Maria Rodgers. 

Central Works' 2024 season continues with The Contest written and directed by Gary Graves, Oct 19–Nov 17:  Michelangelo vs Leonardo in an Exquisite Rivalry.

"After reading an autobiography called “A Girl Among the Anarchists,” I leapt at the chance to see the Victorian Ladies' Detective Collective solve a case involving an anarchist attack in London. In my research, I delved into the tactics of British counter-terrorism agents, the Victorian era's ideal of Christian manliness, the Russian influenza epidemic, expansion of police powers at the time, and “fake news,” including an item about the Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894: all of which have echoes in our modern day. I also applied my usual focus on women and those seen as “other” fighting to be treated as worthy of respect and equality. This is my third and final play featuring these characters, and it has been such a delight to write them!"  Playwright Patricia Milton

Patricia Milton is a resident playwright at Central Works, and her plays have been produced around the world. Her productions at Central Works include The Engine of Our Disruption, Bamboozled (Outstanding Production, East Bay, and Outstanding Ensemble, Theatre Bay Area), Hearts of Palm, Reduction in Force, The Victorian Ladies' Detective Collective (BroadwayWorld Critics Choice “Best of Maine” 2022, at The Public Theater) and Escape from the Asylum (Outstanding Production, 2022, SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle). Enemies: Foreign and Domestic was awarded Outstanding World Premiere Play by Theatre Bay Area. Her audio plays are Bystanders (Central Works) and The Law of Attraction (New Conservatory Theater Center, San Francisco). Without Mercy was commissioned and produced by Off-Broadway West. Her comedy Believers was produced in San Francisco (Wily West Productions) and ran for three years in Istanbul, Turkey. She is a former Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild and former President, Playwrights Center of San Francisco.

“Being a fan of Patricia Milton's work since we first came into each other's orbit in 2017, it gives me a sense of pride not only to be directing one of her plays, but the 3rd installment of The Victorian Ladies' Detective Collective. I remember talking with her about the Ladies when she was right in the middle of the first of these plays. The journey of these characters as they solve murders, appreciate one another, but get on each other's nerves, and support one another under stressful internal and external struggles is one that kept me at the edge of my seat as an audience member.  Fully realized characters, brilliant writing and twists and turns are the types of stories I like to tell as a director.” Director Kimberly Ridgeway

Kimberly Ridgeway (director) is a director, actor, playwright, and producer. Kimberly has directed projects locally for Altarena Playhouse, African American Shakespeare Company, Contra Costa Civic Theatre, Dragon Productions Theatre Company, Ubuntu Theatre Project, Bay Area Performing Arts Collective, Bay Area Drama Company, SF Playhouse, Town Hall Theatre, Playwrights Center of San Francisco, SF Playground, Theatre Rhinoceros, 3Girls Theatre and TheatreFirst. She has also directed projects for Three Willows Theatre (TX), National Black Theatre (NY), and Spokane Civic Theatre (WA). Kimberly wrote, produced and directed the full-length stage plays Prospect Place, Heavy Burdens, No More Secrets, The Confession, The Gigolo Chronicles, and The Drowning Pool.  Some of Kimberly's notable acting roles include The Revolutionists, The Piano Lesson, Colman Domingo's DOT, and her award-winning portrayal of Camae in Katori Hall's The Mountaintop.

The cast of Accused! features Chelsea Bearce, Alan Coyne, Lauren Dunagan, Sindhu Singh, and Jan Zvaifler.

About the Company

Chelsea Bearce (Katie Smalls) is so thrilled to be back on the Central Works stage AND is honored to bring Katie back to life in the third installment of Victorian Ladies. She is a TBA award winner for “outstanding actor in a principal role” playing Savannah in Bamboozled at Central Works. She is a Benicia native and some of her favorite roles include Risa in Two Trains Running, Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors and Esther in Intimate Apparel. She is a two time “Lead Actress” Arty Award Winner, an actor and instructor with the SF based sketch comedy group, Killing My Lobster, has performed stand up comedy for over fifteen years all over the country and came in third place in the 45th SF International Comedy Competition. Her first stand up special, That's So Stupid, will be released later this year. Chelsea is also a contributing playwright for Brooklyn Children's Theater in New York. Huge thanks to Patricia (whose words will always be her absolute favorite to say!) Gary, Kimberly and the cast. 

Alan Coyne (Lord Philip Ian Albert, Deacon Manley & Henri Blancmange) is proptotic to be making his third appearance as #AllTheMen in the Victorian Ladies' Detective Collective series. You may have previously seen him performing with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, We Players, Center Rep, Ferocious Lotus, Lafayette Town Hall Theatre, Custom Made, or in the Central Works Theater with Indra's Net Theater. In 2019, his two-person adaptation, 2ELFth NIGHT, appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He can be seen next with another two-person adaptation, 2EMPEST, at Eclectic Box in San Francisco, August 30 & 31, or right here as Niccolo Machiavelli in Gary Graves's The Contest in October/November.

Lauren Dunagan (Loveday Fortescue) was last seen playing Escalus and Mariana in the A.C.T. Out educational tour of Measure for Measure. Other Bay Area credits include The Tempest (Inferno Theatre Company), Pony (Cutting Ball Theater), Circle Mirror Transformation (Custom Made Theatre), Macbeth (Berkeley Shakespeare Company) and The Balcony (The Collected Works). Before moving north, she lived and worked in Los Angeles, where she co-founded the Savage Players Theatre Company, producing and performing in The Psychic Life of Savages, The Tinker's Wedding, Lysistrata, and others. Lauren holds a BA in Drama from Stanford University, and an MFA in Acting from UCLA, where her favorite roles include Ophelia in Hamlet and Virginia in The Clean House. She's delighted to be joining the intrepid and mysterious team behind Accused!, and performing in a piece whose title ends in her favorite kind of punctuation mark.

Sindu Singh (Allison Tinglepenny & Inspector Mary Perkins) is thrilled for her debut with Central Works. She has worked as a theater maker with companies all over the Bay Area for the past 14 years. In 2014, she co-founded Bay Area Drama Company, a South Asian theater company focused on social justice themes, and oversaw 18 productions as Co-Artistic Director from 2015 to 2020. Recent favorite roles include Judy (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, South Valley Civic Theatre), Dinah (Quality of Life, Altarena Playhouse), and Mailer (Galatea, Spreckels Theatre). Directing credits include Boiled Beans on Toast, The Invisible Hand, Kanyadaan, Counter Offence, Wedding Album, Dance Like a Man, and Yoni ki Baat (the South Asian version of The Vagina Monologues). Writing credits include 4 short plays for ‘Our Stories,' a project she conceptualized to highlight the South Asian immigrant experience in the US. In March 2022, Sindu was nominated for 'Principal Performance - Drama' by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. 

Jan Zvaifler (Valeria Hunter) is delighted to be inhabiting Valeria Hunter again, sleuthing her way through a new Victorian Ladies' Detective Collective comic mystery by Patricia Milton. Ms. Z. is a founding member of Central Works and company co-director along with Gary Graves. She has participated over the past 33 seasons as an actor, designer, director and/or producer. She was seen on stage most recently in Patricia Milton's play The Engine of Our Disruption. She's also worked with many other local theater companies including the Berkeley Rep, Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, Life on the Water, Marin Theater Company, San Francisco Playwrights Foundation, and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

Central Works

Now in its 34th season, Central Works continues to fill a special niche for theater artists in the San Francisco Bay Area, exclusively producing world premiere plays with a focus on local playwrights and local artists. As “The New Play Theater,” Central Works utilizes three basic strategies for its play selection: those developed in the Central Works Writers Workshop, the products of the Central Works Method, and some which come to the company fully developed.

The Central Works Writers Workshop is an ongoing commissioning program established in 2012.  Twice a year, in 12-week sessions, 8 local playwrights are selected to develop projects through informal readings and carefully directed discussions.  Last season, both Patricia Milton's The Engine of Our Disruption and Lauren Smerkanich's The Dignity Circle emerged from this program. For more information, visit our website:


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