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Announcing: Paolo Andino will Star in All New Production of “The Santaland Diaries” Beginning November 19

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Paolo AndolinoHollywood’s newest holiday tradition, The Blank Theatre’s production of The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris, this year will star Paolo Andino and once again be directed by Michael MatthewsSantaland begins preview performances on Saturday, November 19, and opening night is set for Saturday, November 26 at 8:00 at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood.

The Santaland Diaries is an outrageously funny solo play by NPR’s well-loved humorist David Sedaris, about his experiences as an unemployed writer who takes a job as a Christmas elf at Macy’s in New York City. At first, the job is simply humiliating, but once thousands of visitors start pouring through Santa’s workshop, David (or, as his alter ego is known, Crumpet the Elf) becomes battle weary and bitter, occasionally taking out his frustrations on the parents and children alike.

Paolo Andino is best known for his two seasons on LOGO’s “Big Gay Sketch Show.” He has also appeared on such television shows as “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Ed,” “Army Wives,” “One Life to Live,” “Guiding Light,” “As The World Turns,” and “All My Children.” On stage, Andino has been seen in “Anna in the Tropics,” “The 39 Steps,” and “The Food Chain,” among others.

Michael Matthews is the winner of two 2011 NAACP image Awards for his direction of “The Women of Brewster Place” and “Take Me Out,” both at Celebration Theatre. Also in Los Angeles, he directed The Blank’s productions of “The Jazz Age” and “The Temperamentals” as well as “Haram! Iran!,” “Three Tall Women,” “Stupid Kids,” “Beautiful Thing,” and, most recently, the critically acclaimed and Ovation Recommended production of “What’s Wrong With Angry?” at Celebration Theatre, to name only a few. He also served as assistant director on “Dead End” at the Ahmanson Theatre and “The Cherry Orchard” at the Mark Taper Forum.

For those who like a little spice with their Christmas sugar, this tale of mass marketing, stressed out sales clerks, drunk Santas, screaming kids and the general insanity of the holidays is hilarious, witty, sardonic and unpredictable; mercilessly cutting through the Christmas spirit to point out what crazy things we do as human beings during the holidays.

A new set for The Santaland Diaries will be designed by Sean Vasquez. The lighting design is by Tim Swiss, costume design is by Michael Mullen and sound design is by Warren Davis. The stage manager is Sarah A. Bauer, and the show is being produced for The Blank by Daniel Henning, Matthew Graber, and Noah Wyle.

Preview performances begin Saturday, November 19 at 8pm, and continue on Sunday, November 20 at 2pm, Tuesday, November 22 at 8pm and Friday, November 25 at 8pm. Opening night is set for Saturday, November 26 at 8:00. There will be no performance on Sunday, November 27. The regular running schedule is Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm through December 18 only. All tickets are $30 and may be purchased by visiting or by calling (323) 661-9827. The Stella Adler Theatre is located at 6773 Hollywood Boulevard, on the corner of Hollywood and Highland.

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Announcing: French Stewart Will Host 2011 Ovation Awards Ceremony on Monday 11/14


Television, film, and stage star French Stewart will host the LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards Ceremony for the 2011 theatre season on Monday, November 14, 2011 at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The curtain will rise at 7:30pm.

Along with being a multiple nominee himself this year for his performances in Voice Lessons and Watson – The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes (both at Sacred Fools Theatre), Stewart has appeared on LA stages for the past 25 years, in productions such as Zombie Attack and Pot Mom (Cast Theatre) and, more recently, Matthew Modine Saves The Alpacas at the Geffen Playhouse, among many others.

Said Stewart, “As a longtime LA theatre honk, I am truly thrilled to host the Ovation Awards. It’s the best kind of family reunion.” Said LA STAGE CEO Terence McFarland, “When I read French’s article for LA STAGE Times (, I knew I had found the perfect host for this year’s ceremony, with his longstanding love of and commitment to the community. When he arrived to our first meeting dressed identically to me, it didn’t hurt, either. Kindred spirits, indeed!”

Well known for his work on the classic television series Third Rock From The Sun, Stewart has also appeared on Seinfeld, The Larry Sanders Show, Just Shoot Me, The Drew Cary Show, Newsradio, Bones, The Closer, CSI, Castle, Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, Criminal Minds, and Stargate Universe. His film credits include Stargate, Leaving Las Vegas, Inspector Gadget 2, The Flock, Surveillance, and cult favorite Love Stinks.

Awards will be given in 30 competitive categories, and the recipients of the 2011 Sherwood Award and four 2011 Ovation Honors will be acknowledged. The Ovation Awards are tabulated by Green Hasson Janks.

LA STAGE Alliance CEO Terence McFarland will lead this year’s production team as executive producer, with Dan Fresh (Greenway Arts Alliance) as producer. Associate producers are Jessica Hanna (Bootleg Theater) and Douglas Clayton (LA STAGE). The production design is by Ovation nominee Dan Weingarten, with projection design by Adam Fleming. Musical direction will be by the Ovation Award-winning David O, accompanied on stage by Ameenah Kaplan (Ovation nominee) and Dean Mora (past Ovation Award winner). The voices of the Ovations are Bernadette Sullivan and Robert Yacko. Adeena Welle serves as stage manager, and the Ovation statues will be presented by the USC MFA class of 2012.

LA STAGE Alliance programs are sponsored, in part, by Actors Equity, The Angell Foundation, Arts Council of Long Beach, California Arts Council, California Community Foundation, City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Pasadena, City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division, City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Goldstar, the James Irvine Foundation, Los Angeles County Supervisors through the LA County Arts Commission, Los Angeles Times, MusiCares/Grammy Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, SDC, The Shubert Foundation, and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The 2011 Ovation Awards ceremony will take place on Monday, November 14, 2011 at the Orpheum Theatre, 842 South Broadway, in downtown Los Angeles. The curtain goes up at 7:30pm. For information, to become a volunteer or a sponsor, and to purchase tickets, visit

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Photographs: Moses Supposes