Archived entries for

Announcing: LA Premiere of “Blue/Orange” by Joe Penhall Set for Limited Run, Oct. 1-Nov. 12



Blue/Orange PosterPlayer King Productions has announced the Los Angeles premiere of Blue/Orange by British playwright Joe Penhall, directed by Ty Mayberry, for 13 performances only beginning Sunday, September 30, and running Sunday and Monday evenings through November 12. Opening night is Monday, October 1 at 8:00, at the Dance Conservatory of Pasadena.

Winner of the Olivier and London Evening Standard Awards for Best New Play, as well as the London Critics Circle Theatre Award, Blue/Orange sets the stage for a clash of wills between two psychiatrists, one a new, inexperienced doctor in the first month of his residency, and the other, his well established mentor. The diagnosis and treatment of a young black man named Chris, who claims to be the son of African dictator Idi Amin, sparks the conflict between the two doctors. As Chris becomes a pawn in their battles, the audience is left wondering who, if anyone, is sane in this dark, edgy, comic play.

Playwright Joe Penhall’s first play, Wild Turkey, was performed as part of the 1993 London New Play Festival. In 1994, his play Some Voices premiered at the Royal Court Upstairs, to major acclaim. Said the London Sunday Times, “The most thrilling playwriting in years … razor sharp, sensitive, and quietly elegant.” Soon, Penhall became a writer-in-residence at the Royal National Theatre, where he ultimately offered two scripts, one of which was Blue/Orange.

Directed by Ty Mayberry, the cast will feature (in alphabetical order) Frederick Frazier, Matt Freitas, and Jonathan Salisbury. Director Mayberry, who is also Artistic Director of Player King Productions, was a member of the resident acting company at the Tony Award-winning Alley Theatre of Houston for four seasons, where he appeared in 21 productions, including the title role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, As Bees In Honey Drown, Wit, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Devil’s Disciple, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Alan Ayckbourn’s House and Garden, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, among others. In Los Angeles, Mayberry appeared in the world premiere of Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates at the Mark Taper Forum. He directed Hamlet for Player King Productions in the spring of 2011.

Frederick Frazier has been featured in the short films Lunch with Jeremiah, Mother, and Casual. He appeared in the world premiere play Choke Point at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Matt Freitas was last seen on stage as Horatio in Player King Productions’ Hamlet. He graduated from The Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts in 2000, and received his BA in Theatre from Columbia College of Chicago. Jonathan Salisbury was born and bred in England, where he spent most of his adult life there working as an actor, director and producer. Stage credits include Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata, Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and Breaking New Ground at the Edinburgh Festival. For Player King, Salisbury appeared as Claudius and The Ghost in Hamlet in 2011.

The lighting designer is Forrest Lancaster, and the stage manager is Gina Lohman. Blue/Orange is produced for Player King Productions by Mayberry and Lohman.

Blue/Orange will play one preview performance on Sunday, September 30 at 8pm, and opening night is set for Monday, October 1 at 8:00. The regular performance schedule is Sunday and Monday at 8pm through November 12 only; there will be no performance on Sunday, October 28. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased online at, or by phone at (310) 616-6707. For more information, visit

The Dance Conservatory of Pasadena is located at 496 South Arroyo Parkway, in Pasadena, 91105.

# # #


Announcing: The Pasadena Playhouse Announces New Executive Director and Contract Renewal for Artistic Director Sheldon Epps


Pasadena Playhouse - Epps and DoranSheila Grether-Marion, Chair of The Pasadena Playhouse Board of Directors, made three important announcements today.  Elizabeth Doran, currently the Managing Director of The Actor’s Gang, will join The Playhouse as its new Executive Director on September 17. Artistic Director Sheldon Epps has renewed his contract to remain as The Playhouse’s long-term Artistic Director as he enters his 16th season. And The Playhouse successfully achieved a $250,000 challenge grant with $750,000 in matched funds.

“I am thrilled that an arts leader as talented and experienced as Elizabeth is joining The Playhouse family at this auspicious moment,” said Board Chair Sheila Grether-Marion.  “With Sheldon committed for an extended period of time and our recent fundraising success, The Playhouse’s future is bright indeed.”

“I could not be happier that our comprehensive process led us to this quite terrific choice,” stated Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps. “I have already discovered that Elizabeth is passionate about the theatre, skilled in a wide range of areas, and both practical and willing to dream, all qualities that are essential for leading a theatre company. I feel confident that we will share a strong, dynamic partnership that will offer The Playhouse wonderful new energy as we continue our evolvement and growth.”

“I am inspired by the blend of tradition and innovation evident in The Playhouse and in the greater Pasadena community,” said Elizabeth Doran, newly appointed Executive Director of The Playhouse. “This is the all-American town, after all, that just put the “Curiosity” rover on Mars. The Playhouse has explored every aspect of American life, producing a spectrum of work from Eugene O’Neill to Suzan Lori-Parks. I am very excited to work with Sheldon Epps, a nationally recognized Artistic Director who has embraced and furthered this ongoing exploration.

In my fortunate collaboration with some of our best artists and art institutions, I have come to know that a great theater must seek to influence national conversations while simultaneously existing to empower, draw strength from, enrich, examine and reflect its home community. This is what inspires me most about The Playhouse: through its widely recognized artistic achievements, it has become a pillar of Pasadena – a community that has, in return, come together at a time of great challenges to shore up this pillar, and enhance its position at home and beyond.

I am honored and exhilarated to step in as Executive Director at this time. The recent struggles faced by The Playhouse worried a similarly threatened national theater community. Its roaring comeback has now given everyone in the arts new hope. With a partner like Sheldon, an energized and growing board, a mobilized community and the eyes of the national theater scene focused on its success, I feel the possibilities of The Playhouse are genuinely limitless. Like our neighbors at JPL might say: the sky’s not the limit…”

“I want to personally thank everyone in the community who helped us meet this challenge,” said Michele Engemann, who was Chair of the Board during the campaign.  “It is enormously encouraging to find such support for The Playhouse, and we are deeply grateful to the Fosters for their visionary gift. Its effects will be felt well into the future”.

“The terrific success of the Foster Challenge is just another example of how The Playhouse has continued to meet every challenge we’ve encountered with responsibility, creativity and, always, a vision to sustain and expand our reputation as one of the great regional theaters in America,” stated Playhouse 2011 – 2012 Development Chair Martha Williamson.

Elizabeth Doran
Hailing from Patchogue, NY, Elizabeth Doran began her career in theatre as a writer and performer. After earning a BA in theatre arts at SUNY Fredonia, Elizabeth became interested in building and sustaining great theatre companies. She earned her MBA in Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Rensselaer in Troy, NY. After working as a market strategist for the international fashion company Alviero Martini in Milan, she returned to the US as the Director of Finance and Planning at La Jolla Playhouse. After subsequently serving as the Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ interim General Manager as it completed its major capital campaign and construction of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Elizabeth returned to the east coast to take on the Managing Director position at Capital Repertory Theatre, an established LORT regional theatre in Albany, NY. Most recently, Elizabeth has been the Managing Director of Los Angeles’ own The Actors’ Gang since October 2008, where, in partnership with Oscar-winner, Tim Robbins, she has expanded international touring, outreach programming, and has raised major gifts in support of artistic development. Elizabeth is married to Kwinn Doran, a college instructor and historian, and lives in South Pasadena with her two young sons, Giacomo and Ely.

Sheldon Epps
Sheldon Epps has been Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse since 1997 and this month celebrates his 15th anniversary with the historic theatre. Epps has renewed a long- term contract to continue as Artistic Director alongside Executive Director Elizabeth Doran. He has also directed numerous productions on The Playhouse’s main stage including the recent hit revival of Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky, Fences, Ray Charles Live!, The Night is a Child, Blue and Play On! This season he will direct Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel. This past season on Broadway, he co-directed Baby It’s You! which had its professional debut on The Playhouse stage in 2009.

Foster Challenge
In the Fall of 2011, Ed and Connie Foster, both long-time supporters and subscribers to The Playhouse, offered a donation of $250,000 if $750,000 of new or increased matching funds was raised by current and new donors by August 31, 2012, for a total of one million dollars. Through the dedicated efforts of The Playhouse staff, Board and generous support from the community, the “Foster Challenge” was actually exceeded.  “We believe in The Pasadena Playhouse,” said the Fosters. “We believe in live arts and we believe in live theatre.”

The Pasadena Playhouse
The Playhouse recently concluded its successful 2011 – 2012 season, which featured two world premieres and four revivals. Each production exceeded attendance forecasts for a season total of nearly 75,000 patrons. Total ticket sales for the season exceeded $2.2 million and single ticket sales exceeded goals by 35%. During this same period, its subscriber base increased by 20%. These financial successes continue into the upcoming season with subscriptions currently at nearly 25% over the 2011-2012 season. The 2012 – 2013 season is set to open with the world premiere of Under My Skin with performances beginning next week on September 11. The Pasadena Playhouse is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Reader’s Choice Award for “Best Dramatic Theatre” and the Pasadena Star-News’ “San Gabriel Valley’s Best Live Theatre” 2012 Reader’s Choice Award.

The Pasadena Playhouse was established in 1917 and was designated the State Theatre of California for bringing national and international renown to the state as a center for dramatic art in 1937. Built on a tradition of innovation and excellence, The Pasadena Playhouse is committed to continue to be the premiere theatrical experience in Southern California showcasing the most exciting theatrical entertainment in the state and being an amazing forum for launching new work onto the national stage. Broadway productions that originated at The Pasadena Playhouse include: Sister Act, Baby It’s You!, Looped and Mail. Unchain My Heart, The Ray Charles Musical, which premiered at The Playhouse, is scheduled to open on Broadway in the 2012-13 Season. Looped has also recently announced a US Tour, starring Valerie Harper, beginning January 2013. For more information on The Pasadena Playhouse visit

# # #


Announcing: Special Preview Engagement of Mike Farrell in “Dr. Keeling’s Curve” at The Blank Theatre – 12 Perfs Only




The Blank Theatre (Daniel Henning, Founding Artistic Director) has announced a special preview engagement of Mike Farrell starring in Dr. Keeling’s Curve by George Shea, directed by Kirsten Sanderson. There will be 12 performances only, September 21 through October 14, at the 2nd Stage Theatre in Hollywood.

Walk into the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. There you will find Darwin’s finches next to the double helix; and beside that, the Keeling Curve … a graph depicting the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Its message proclaims the most basic fact of climate change: that carbon dioxide levels have been climbing, and are continuing to rise at an extraordinary and accelerating pace. Mike Farrell plays Dr. Charles David Keeling in this all too real and often funny one man bio-play that makes global warming understandable, and reveals it to be anything but a myth. Dr. Keeling’s Curve was originally developed in The Blank’s Living Room Series.

Mike Farrell is best known for his role as B.J. Hunnicut in the iconic television series M*A*S*H. The two-time Emmy Award nominee also played roles in the popular television series Providence and Desperate Housewives. In 2010, Farrell starred in The Blank Theatre’s acclaimed production of Terre Haute by Edmund White, also directed by Kirsten Sanderson. Set and lighting design for Dr. Keeling’s Curve are by Cameron Zetty, and sound design is by Warren Davis. The stage manager is Sandy Fury.
Dr. Keeling’s Curve will begin performances in Hollywood on Friday, September 21 at the 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Boulevard (at Wilcox), and will continue through Sunday, October 14 only. The running schedule is Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, with Sunday matinees at 2pm. All seats are $25, and may be purchased online at, or via phone by calling (323) 661-9827.

# # #