Meet LA FPI’s Persons of Interest – voices at the forefront of the movement, and artists working behind the scenes.
Jessica Abrams, Tiffany Antone, Erica Bennett, Nancy Beverly, Debbie Bolsky, Andie Bottrell, Larissa Brewington, Robin Byrd, Korama Danquah, Kitty Felde, Diane Grant, Helen Hill, Jen Huszcza, Sara Israel, Cindy Marie Jenkins, Janice Kennedy, Sue May, Ella Martin, Alyson Mead, Jane Miller, Lynne Moses, Katherine Murphy, Anna Nicholas, Analyn Revilla, Laura Annawyn Shamas, Laura Steinroeder, Tanyah Tavorn, Cynthia Wands, Jennie Webb, Laurel Moje Wetzork, Gina Young
LA FPI’s Persons of Interest:
Jessica Abrams’ play The Laughing Cow had its world premiere this past April at the Meta Theatre on Melrose and received Pick of the Week by LA Weekly. Her short play, Melissa, is currently part of New American Theatre’s Short Play Festival in Los Angeles. The First To Know (the full-length play of which Melissa is a part) was read in the MaD Play Reading Series last Spring, and her solo piece If I Look This Good, Why Do I Feel Like Sh*t? was read at the ExAngeles Writers Collective’s A Month of Sundays Reading Series this past October. Her television writing credits include The Profiler for NBC and Watch Over Me for Fox/MyNetworkTV. She was a guest artist at the Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive in 2010 and is a co-founder of the New Leaf Endeavors Theatre Company. She attended Barnard College of Columbia University in Manhattan.
Jessica is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Tiffany is proud to have received her MFA in Playwriting from UCLA’s prestigious school of Theater, Film, and Television, where she also completed her BA in Theater. She also holds her A.A in acting from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Tiffany was a 2008 Hawthornden Fellow, which included a writing residency in Scotland, and a 2009 Sherwood Award Finalist with Center Theatre Group. Tiffany has received the Tim Robbins Award for plays of social importance, James Pendelton Foundation Prize, Hal Kanter Award in Comedy Writing, Dini Ostrov Stage Spirit Award in Playwriting, the Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Scholarship, and the Florence Theil Herrscher Award.
Her plays have been read and/or performed in Los Angeles, New York, D.C. and Minneapolis. Her plays Twigs and Bone and Ana and the Closet were both Jerome Finalists and O’Neil semi-finalists for 2009 and 2010. Ana and the Closet was also presented at The Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival in 2009. Her play In the Company of Jane Doe was a Princess Grace semi-finalist in 2006, a winner of the New Plays on Campus series with The Playwrights’ Center, and winner of the 2008 New Works for Young Women contest with the University of Tulsa. In the Company of Jane Doe premiered in January 2010 at The Powerhouse Theatre (LA Theatre Ensemble). Tiffany’s play The Good Book was a winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway play festival and is available through Samuel French publishing.
Other plays include The Low Tide Gang, Ham Brown’s House (Princess Grace Semi-Finalist, 2008), Little Phoenix, Stalled, My Pet George, and From the Rubble. Screenplays include The Sisters Roberts and A Disappearing Woman (Golden Brad Finalist 2009).
Tiffany is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger and acts as an LA FPI Graphics Consultant
Erica Bennett is a playwright and tenured librarian at Fullerton College, where, as Systems Librarian, her primary responsibility is to coordinate the use of technology in the library.
Her short documentary Mendez v. Westminster: Families for Equality has aired on KOCE-TV (PBS) since October 2010. It is centered about her play El Primer Dia de Clases. Her plays Freed and Jolly and Bean were respectively presented in staged readings at the Laguna Beach New Play Festival and Newport Theatre Arts Center in 2009.
In November 2011, after a two-year development process, her play Water Closet was read by the White Horse Theater Company in New York City at the Dramatists Guild of America. The play was workshopped and read by the Fullerton College Playwrights Festival in January 2012. In May 2012, it was selected by the Orange County Playwrights Alliance “OCPA Studios” for a reading at the Hunger Artists Theatre, which she directed.
Her 10-minute play, A Waffle Doesn’t Cure Insomnia, was selected for publication in the Best American Short Plays 2011-2012. A staged reading was directed by Bennett and presented by OCPA’s Discoveries series in December 2012 at the Empire Theatre, home of Theatre Out. The Fullerton College Playwright’s Festival is producing her 10-minute play, Don’t Ever Love Me, as part of its 10 Cent Story Project in January 2013.
Bennett received her B.A. in Theater Arts from California State University, Fullerton, where she studied acting with Donn Finn and Jose Quintero. Upon graduation she moved to Los Angeles where she studied acting with Stella Adler and Arthur Mendoza. She was featured in Benicio Del Toro’s short film Submission. She worked for nearly ten years in dramatic television production on such shows as The Young Riders, Gabriel’s Fire, Under Suspicion and The Big Easy, as a writer’s and development assistant.
Bennett holds a Master of Library & Information Science from UCLA, and is a member of the Society of California Archivists, the Dramatists Guild of America and the Orange County Playwrights Alliance.
Erica is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Nancy Beverly’s most recent theatrical adventure is her rollicking stage comedy Community, which she developed at her writers’ and actors’ group Fierce Backbone. Community takes place at a community theatre, where, on opening night, everything that can go wrong, does. It’s slated for a full production at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills in 2014.
Nancy is currently putting together a film production of her screenplay Shelby’s Vacation which was handpicked for a staged reading in July 2011 in Randolph, Vermont, under the auspices of Chicago’s Pride Films and Plays – and the same script made the semi-finals for the Chicago readings.
In 2010 her one-act The Happy Wanderer was part of “Shorts and Briefs,” a sold-out afternoon of play readings that were all written and directed by women. The venture grew out of a discussion she, Jan O’Connor and Mary Casey had earlier in the year about the sorry state of women getting their plays produced. They decided to do something about it.
“Shorts and Briefs” was produced under the banner of The L.A. Women’s Theatre Project. Additionally, Nancy’s full-length play Handcrafted Healing was featured in L.A.W.T.P.’s dynamic weekend of play readings in October 2009 – again, all written and directed by women.
In August 2007 in conjunction with Playwrights 6, Nancy produced her drama Godislav at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica for a month-long run. Additionally, Godislav had the honor of being chosen in 2006 to be part of the Playwrights Showcase of the Western Region in Denver.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Nancy worked in the Lit Dept. at Actors Theatre of Louisville and had several short plays produced in ATL’s twice-yearly short play showcase. Attack of the Moral Fuzzies, one of those 10-minute comedies, was published in an ATL anthology of short works and has been performed several times a year for 25 years by theatres all around the U.S. and Canada.
Nancy has also written for the Showtime series Women, knocked out 70 articles for the how-to website ehow.com, conducted radio interviews for KPFK’s weekly show IMRU, and gotten up and done performance art under the direction of Danielle Brazell, the former Artistic Director of the performance space Highways in Santa Monica. She’s also worked in network television as an executive producer’s assistant on and pitched stories to such hit shows as Desperate Housewives and Ghost Whisperer.
Jessica was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Debbie Bolsky is a playwright/screenwriter who has written over ten stage plays and screenplays. Her play Biking With Andrew Scott enjoyed a successful run in Los Angeles in 2008.
She is currently immersed in three projects: the romantic comedy play, Ashes to Ashes; and two screenplays, The Umpire Has No Balls, a story that delves into one of her greatest passions – baseball; and a co-writer on You People a drama currently in development.
Debbie’s experience is multi-faceted, having worked as Associate Producer on Laurel Wetzork’s independent film, Rogues, and at Columbia Pictures (Sony Picture Entertainment) in motion picture media advertising and marketing. At Columbia Pictures for over 16 years and through nine regime changes, Debbie successfully planned and implemented media strategies for over 400 films. You may read more about Debbie at www.dbolskywriter.com.
Debbie acts as an LA FPI Special Agent
Andie Bottrell is a published writer whose work can be read on hundreds of medical sites all over the Internet. Her poetry and short stories can be read in various publications both online and in print including the Blue Collar Review, Finding the Beat and UH Magazine, where her work has been translated into Italian. Andie’s screenplay Do What You Do won 3rd place in the Comedy Division of the 2011 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition and was an official finalist in the Hollywood Screenplay Competition and a top finalist in the Script Showcase. Andie has written, directed, edited and acted in several short films including the Creative Arts Film Festival and American Academy of Dramatic Arts Alumni Film Festival selected short film Who is the Man in Black? She has completed three full length plays Mad or Married, A Surrogate Life, and (I still want) A Little More. Her one-act Fear premiered at The Vagrancy’s Bacchanalia this past year. Andie is also an actress, director, editor, photographer, artist and musician. Learn more about her work at http://www.andiebottrell.com.
Andie is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Larissa Brewington was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona. She penned her first one woman, one act, GREY MATTERS (a show about a woman experiencing physical abuse from her overworked, over stressed daughter) during her year as a professional actress and intern at Touchstone Theatre in Bethlehem, PA. Discovering that one woman, one acts were her forte, she went on to write CHAOS ON THE EDGES (a young woman battling alcoholism), SPEAKING OF ASHES (a disgruntled young woman attempts to communicate with her dead father by being ‘candid’ with his ashes) and AN EVENING WITH HARRIET TUBMAN (about the legendary escaped slave who shuttled many other slaves to freedom).
Over the years she’s branched out to one act, two persons as well as full length plays. For the past five years, she’s submitted to Pandora Festival (panel judged festival contest featuring AZ playwrights) and has had the following plays stage read: SHADES OF GREY, TIE THE NOT, CIVIL UNION, WHEN AUNT NAOMI SPEAKS, WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW, and THE FIRE IN MINERVA. Larissa is also an actress who has written and performed for The Herberger Theatre Center’s Outreach Program Lunch Time Theatre, for the past six years. (Plays performed have been: AN EVENING WITH HARRIET TUBMAN, QUALITY TIME, TRAILBLAZING SADIE, INTO THE BLUE WITH BESSIE COLEMAN, A VOTE FROM ALICE and the up and coming FREDERICK AND IDA.) Her full length play WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW was runner up for the AZ Theatre Company. She is the winner of the 2011 Short Play Artist Path Theatre Contest in Prescott with her one act, two person play A LITTLE SOMETHING CALLED FAMILY. She is currently preparing her for 7th original Herberger Lunch Time piece entitled THE LEAGUE.
Larissa was part of the LA FPI Communications Team
Robin Byrd is an Indiana born playwright and poet residing in Los Angeles. Growing up in Indianapolis (sometimes referred to as the northernmost southern city), attributes to the playwright’s affinity toward southern themes and language in some of her pieces.
Her plays which include The Grass Widow’s Son, Tennessee Songbird (the place where the river bends), The Book of Years, Dream Catcher, The Day of Small Things, For This Reason, In Times Like These (Is He the One?), and, Me, My Fiddle, An’ Momma have been read and produced in Los Angeles as well as read in Nebraska, Maine, North Carolina, and recently in Washington, D.C. Robin has performed Me, My Fiddle, An’ Momma in Los Angeles; the piece was also read at the 1st Annual SWAN Day event in Portland, Maine in March of 2008. Her plays Tennessee Songbird and Dream Catcher have won “Best Concurrent Play Lab Script at the 2008 Great Plains Theatre Conference” and been selected as a semi-finalist for the 2008 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, respectively. Her poetry has been read in venues in Los Angeles and Indiana and has been published in two International Library of Poetry books.
The playwright is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc., the Theatre Communications Group, the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, Native Women Writers (at the Autry), and the American Film Institute from which she holds a certificate in screenwriting. For more information on Robin please visit her website at www.ladybyrdcreations.com.
Robin acts as the LA FPI Blog Editor and is also a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Korama Danquah is a writer and actor with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from Brown University. She has performed in (and written) experimental and devised work as well as more classical and traditional pieces. Her favorite theatrical experiences have been writing and performing her solo show Mixtape for New Year’s Eve (Secretly a Love Story) and developing her performance piece on body image, sexuality, and intimacy, Body the Limits. Korama is thrilled to be a part of the Los Angeles theatre scene and is working on new plays every(ish) day.
Korama is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
By day, she’s a public radio reporter covering Capitol Hill. But in her real life, Kitty Felde is an award-winning playwright.
Felde’s written everything from a courtroom drama about the Bosnian war (A PATCH OF EARTH, winner of the Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition) to a one woman show about Alice Roosevelt Longworth (ALICE, winner of the Open Book/Fireside Theatre Playwriting Competition) to an adaptation of a trio of short stories by Nikolai Gogol (GOGOL PROJECT, winner of the 2009 LA Drama Critics Circle Award.)
Her one-act TOP OF THE HOUR has been chosen for the Provincetown Theater’s Fall Festival for a reading and will premiere in New York City in December.
She’s a co-founder of Theatre of Note, a Helen Hayes judge in Washington, DC, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild, ALAP, and FPI.
Kitty is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Diane Grant is an award winning playwright and screenwriter, whose film Too Much Oregano won the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize.
She was a co-founder of Redlight Theatre, the first professional women’s theatre in Canada. Her plays, which have been produced and published in the US and Canada, include Nellie! How The Women Won The Vote, Sunday Dinner, Sex and Violence, The Piaggi Suite, Has Anybody Here Seen Roy?, Rondo a la Condo, A Dog’s Life; and The Last Of The Daytons, a semi-finalist for the 2007 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.
Will To Win, a documentary on the Southern California Shakespeare Festival, written by Ms. Grant, and produced by filmmaker Kerry Feltham, previewed in Los Angeles and the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2007 and is recommended by the Royal Shakespeare Company of London.
Ms. Grant has performed at the Stratford Festival and the National Arts Centre of Canada. She was Literary Manager of the Los Angeles Write Act Repertory Company, a mentor for the young playwrights’ group HOLA, and a member of Los Angeles’ Wordsmiths. She’s a member of the Dramatists Guild, The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the International Center for Women Playwrights, and is Vice-Chair of the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights.
Diane is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Helen Hill is a licensed psychotherapist, and a writer about life and poetry. She works with at-risk youth, adolescents and adults on “coming out” issues. Helen is also an artist utilizing many different mediums from pencils to computer imaging. Her favorite medium, though, is the written word and her camera. Both are used to express ideas that go beyond sight and into the realm of insight.
You can see some of Helen’s artwork at http://www.new-gallery-of-art.com.
Her therapy site is found here: http://www.helen-hill.com.
Helen acted as an LA FPI Communications & Graphics Consultant
Jen Huszcza is a playwright currently based in Los Angeles.
She has a BFA in Dramatic Writing and an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU. After graduating from college, she stayed in New York and worked a variety of day jobs including video librarian and study guide writer. She eventually moved to Los Angeles for better weather and more trees.
Out in Los Angeles, three of her plays have been presented as staged readings in the Monday Night Living Room Series at the Blank Theatre in Hollywood. Also at the Blank, she was an Associate Producer on Michael John LaChiusa’s See What I Wanna See, and she was a Weekly Producer and Playwright Mentor for the Young Playwrights Festival.
She wrote and acted in Gunfighter Nation’s collectively written piece, LA History Project: Pio Pico, Sam Yorty, and the Secret Procession of Los Angeles, presented at the Lost Studio.
She is a script reader for a variety of theatre companies. She is a member of the Playwrights and Directors Lab at the Actors Studio West.
In addition to plays, she has written ad copy, film reviews, blogs, bad poetry, screenplays, a novel, and several short stories.
She has heard numerous pronunciations of her last name, but the one she prefers is Hooo-zhah.
Jen was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Sara’s introduction to the world of theater came when she was cast in the title role of a kindergarten play, The Magic Letter E (cap to cape, fad to fade). She has been engaged by words ever since. As a playwright, Sara’s work has been seen on both coasts (the middle of the country has alluded her, for now. . .) and has garnered her the American Theatre Co-op Playwriting Prize and a Playwrights Circle Award. She was also a Princess Grace Award semi-finalist for her play, bad Art. As a television writer, her first two produced scripts aired simultaneously — same night, same time, different channels. In addition, her television script Triumvirate was named “Best Un-produced Pilot” by Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America.
Her work as a theater director has been seen at The Blank Theatre Company, Theatre of NOTE, the Dramatists Guild, the Marianne Murphy Reading Series, the Lillian Theatre, and Dartmouth College; she is also an alumnus of Directors Lab West. Her producing credits include Speech & Debate and Dickie & Babe for The Blank Theatre Company and an official entry of the 2009 Los Angeles Independent Television Festival. Sara is a graduate of Dartmouth College.
Sara was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
CINDY MARIE JENKINS is a Storyteller & Consultant based in Los Angeles. Cindy is now exploring interactive street theatre to engage and activate her community. She believes in working within the extremes of social media and hand-to-hand guerrilla marketing for audience development & outreach.
PRIVATE CLIENTS include: The Help Group, Santa Monica Rep, Beans Boutique, Consultant for Eric Garcetti, President of the Los Angeles City Council, & other small businesses, nonprofits, individuals looking to make a career shift, etc.
TEACHING/COACHING: Guest Responder for Kennedy Center College Festival, Cold Reading Workshops for SAG Conservatory at AFI, Co-teacher of Connect the Arts, a Social Media & Marketing Seminar, Academy Teaching Associate and Artistic Associate for The Antaeus Company in North Hollywood; Director of Education for Enrichment Works (teaching writing & theater workshops for young people as well as Professional Development sessions for LAUSD Teachers, writing study guides according to VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts Standards); Mentor/Director for Virginia Avenue Project, Program Director & Writing/Theater Instructor for Safe Moves: DUI Prevention Theater Program and CTG‘s Speak To Me Program. RECRUITING experience upon request.
Art installations/interactions have been shown at Summer Nights on the Boulevard, The Barnsdall Gallery, The Courtyard Gallery, the Silver Lake Jubilee and the Children’s Festival of the Arts in Hollywood.
Her adaptation of VOICES FROM CHORNOBYL has been produced in different venues around Los Angeles since 2006 to build awareness and raise money for the residents and children of Chernobyl. Awareness Events at www.voicesfromchornobyl.com . Cindy regularly contributes to LA Stage Alliance, Atwater Village Now, The Inspired Classroom, Bitter Lemons & LA FPI
Cindy Marie is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger and acts as an LA FPI Online Outreach Consultant
Janice Kennedy is a published and produced playwright whose work has been seen in London, New York, Chicago and Seattle as well as other venues. Among the recognition she has received is a nomination for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for women playwrights in the U.S. and Great Britain for her play about the Hatfield-McCoy Feud, The Last Hanging in Pike County. In 2007, Janice won the “Spirit of Moondance” award at the Moondance International Film Festival in the playwriting category for her one-woman drama about Mary Shelley, Shadows Round the Moon.
Janice is also an award-winning screenwriter. Her script for the short film, Man.Woman.Blackbird. (based on her play, The Dark),won “Best Screenplay” at the 2009 Fifteen Minutes of Fame Festival of Shorts in competition with films from around the world. Janice has also won a “Best Screenplay” award from the Dixie Film Festival for a comedy feature, Martial Artiste, co-written with Susan diRende. Janice’s television writing awards include “Best TV Pilot” from the 2009 Cinema City International Film Festival for CROSSROADS and she won the 2010 WILDsound Television and Film Writing Competition in Toronto for her HOUSE spec script, House’s Mouse.
Janice moved to Los Angeles a few years ago from Seattle, where she had co-founded the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. An active member of Women in Film, Janice is the organizational liaison for the Broad Humor Film Festival, an annual event in Venice Beach that screens comedies written and directed by women.
Janice acts as an LA FPI Special Agent
Sue May is an multi award-winning independent filmmaker, fine art photographer and writer (Screenwriter/Playwright/Poet). She holds a B.F.A. in Sculpture, and an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from USC. Sue formed My Dog Spot Productions, an independent documentary production house addressing universal social themes focusing on the marginalized and underrepresented, women in society, spirituality, and the Arts.
The primary reason I choose to communicate through dialogue/film/visual art/imagery is to encourage a positive transformation within society, the kind of communication that displaces the notions of ignorance, fear, prejudice, hatred, and inequality. I believe that all beings ultimately seek happiness and when we illuminate each others’ minds by demonstrating our similarities – verses stressing our differences – the consequences can only be positive. ~ Sue May
Sue produces the LA FPI Videos and “Persons of Interest” Video Blogs.
Ella Martin is a writer, director, and actor. Ella attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she was named a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar and focused in acting, directing, and theatre history, earning a B.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre Mab, a collective of risk-taking L.A. theatre artists conducting creative experiments & provoking audiences of all backgrounds.
She has directed for the Rubicon International Theatre Festival, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, Santa Monica College Opera Workshop, LA Women’s Theatre Project, Theater Charity, and Theatre Mab, and assistant directed for The Road Theatre, LA Theatre Ensemble Scriptyard, Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings, and LA County High School for the Arts.
She has written plays that have been developed or performed at the Rubicon International Theatre Festival, the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings, Theater Charity, and PianoFight LA.
Ella is an active member of 12on12off, a non-profit organization striving to regulate workers’ hours to create a safer, healthier working environment for professionals in the film industry.
To see some of her work as an actor, click here.
Ella acted as the LA FPI Study Director
Alyson Mead’s fiction, essays and articles have appeared in over thirty publications, and she has received the Columbine Award for Screenwriting, the Roy W. Dean Filmmaking Grant, and awards from Writer’s Digest, Indie Excellence, Writer’s Block, and USA Book News.
Her book Searching for Sassy: An L.A. Phone Psychic’s Tales of Life, Lust & Love won Hay House’s Book-to-Screen Pitchfest, and resulted in a deal with the producers of USA Network’s PSYCH to develop the book for television. She’s produced a documentary on mandated medical care featuring Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, and a feature film starring Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis.
Her plays have been staged at Off-Off Broadway and regional theaters around the country, including La MaMa, St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, 8BC, Venus Theatre, the 9th Women Playwrights International Conference in Sweden, & Limelight, among others. Her newest play, The Other F Word, enjoyed a successful run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and was extended at the Lounge Theatre. She’s a founding member of Crooked Heart Theater, a writer-driven company producing new American plays in Los Angeles.
Alyson produces the LA FPI Podcasts, “What She Said”
Jane Miller is a playwright and screenwriter born and raised in New York City, now living in LA. Her plays have been produced at The Looking Glass Theater, Squeaky Bicycle Productions, Aporia Theater, and The Network in New York City and the Lyric Theater in Los Angeles.
She has been a contributing playwright at the Last Frontier Theater Conference, the Sewanee Writers Conference, and the Southampton Playwriting Conference. She has taught screenwriting to re-college students at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC. Now she’s pursuing her MFA in screenwriting at UCLA.
She loves writing strong heroines and is obsessed with depicting authentic female friendships. She also hopes to prove that the rom-com isn’t dead.
Jane is part of the LA FPI Communications Team
Screenwriter, director and producer, Lynne is an award-winning filmmaker, a theatre director/playwright and a principle with Appleseed Entertainment, an independent film production company.
Lynne’s stage directing has included a staged reading of the feature script she co-wrote, Daybreak, as part of the Bruno Kirby Celebrity Reading Series at The Hayworth Theater, with a cast including Beth Grant, Rex Lee and Mackenzie Phillips, and a full production of the hit comedy Paging Dr Chutzpah at the Sidewalk Studio Theater in Toluca Lake. This twice-extended world premiere by playwright Mark Troy opened to great reviews and sold-out performances.
While living in Europe from 2008 to 2010, she directed several staged readings of Colette Freedman’s acclaimed play Sister Cities, translated into French by Maëlle Genet as Une ville, une soeur, as she prepared to direct its Paris debut. In 2011, after returning to Los Angeles, Lynne directed the world premiere of Joanclair Richter’s 20-something dramedy It’s Good 2 be Crazy at the Hudson Guild Theatre on Theatre Row in Hollywood.
Lynne’s most recent theatrical endeavor was to try her hand at playwriting. Her 10-minute Can You Hear Me Now? premiered at the Write Act Repertory in 2012 and she is currently working on several more before tackling a full length work.
Lynne formed the LA FPI Communications Team
Katherine Murphy is a playwright, director and dramaturg. In the summer of 2012, her sideways retelling of the Oresteia from the women’s point of view, To Hades and Back (Again), premiered at Hunger Artists Theatre Company. Also that summer, Katherine’s Word of the Day was presented at the 20th Anniversary Last Frontier Theatre Conference and month-long artist residency at The Studio at Key West. In Key West, she began the work of turning her play Box Store Cowboys into the musical Weathered.
Produced by Bare Bones Theatre Company and First Seen at The Next Stage in San Francisco, Critics’ Choice Greater America premiered in 2002. Reviewer Anna Mantzaris, SF Gate, noted “Murphy’s script is at its best when the narrator steps out of character and spins metaphoric observations based on park rides that, at times, are sheer poetry.”
In the interim, she has had numerous readings in Los Angeles and San Francisco. As co-artistic director of First Seen in San Francisco and exAngelus in Los Angeles, she produced several readings, workshops, and full productions.
Other past theatrical endeavours have in included literary committee member (Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Magic Theatre), director (over a dozen plays and many more readings) and an assistant director (Guthrie Theatre, Pacific Shakespeare Company and Somar), dramaturg for several original plays.
She has studied theatre at San Francisco State University (MA), U.C., Irvine, (BA), The Siti Company (Suzuki/Viewpoints), and The Train Station (Suzuki/Viewpoints, Bio-Mechanics), and improvisation with a multitude of teachers and schools including Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, Bay Area Theatresports, Impro, Keith Johnstone, and Jim Cranna.
Katherine is part of the LA FPI Communications Team
ANNA NICHOLAS is a writer, actor and director whose career spans 30 years and is comprised of work for stage, film, television and individual consumption.
Produced plays include “Our Dark Connection,” “The Elegant Dinner,” “Searching for Mary Jane,” commissioned for THEATRE IN THE DARK, The Odyssey Theatre, LA, nominated for LA Weekly Award; LU/LOU (Dorothy Lyman), THE BEAVER SUITE (Friends and Artists Theatre and Metropolitan Stage NYC) and INCUNABULA, performed for radio by LA Theatre Works, available on Audible. Her plays have been included in reading series at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Women’s Theatre Project, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (2014) and Rogue Machine Theatre, LA. Her farce, VILLA THRILLA, will have its world premier at the Atwater Village Theatre in the Fall of 2014.
She wrote, produced and directed the prize-winning film, UNIVERS’L (starring Tony Todd), a multilingual mockumentary about the LA riots of 1992, rebroadcast on PBS; Her short film, THE BIG BOWLING BALL, with James Remar, was nominated for best live action short.
Nicholas is the author of THE MUFFIA, the first of a “chick lit” series of novels published by Water Street Press/Bournos.com and HOMEGROWN: THE TERROR WITHIN (written as Cialan Haasnic). She has contributed columns for Vine Times and Touring & Tasting Magazines, as well as articles for the Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of the Horse and others. Her first book of non-fiction, ROYAL MACK’S TEENY TINY WINE GUIDE (2005), was reissued in 2012, and an essay, “On Wine and Men,” appears in Penguin Books’ IN MY MOTHER’S KITCHEN. She blogs at www.themuffia.us
As an actress, Nicholas was a member of THEATRE IN THE DARK at the Odyssey Theatre, Los Angeles (nominated for LA Weekly Award 2013 for Best Ensemble). Other favorite roles include Lane in Sarah Ruhl’s THE CLEAN HOUSE (also at The Odyssey), Alice in A.R. Gurney’s POST MORTEM, Kate in Harold Pinter’s OLD TIMES (Ensemble Theatre), Shakespeare in Snoo Wilson’s MORE LIGHT and Eva in Alan Ayckbourn’s ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR. Films include: FINAL ANALYSIS, COTTON CLUB, BLOODSTONE and FUNNY ABOUT LOVE. She’s been on TV as Sue Ellen’s secretary on DALLAS, Mike Hammer’s sidekick, and Mary Tyler Moore’s foil.
She has taught writing at the University of Oregon, and has been involved with the Ojai Playwrights Conference, both as dramaturg and Managing Director. She is a member of the Playwrights Unit of Ensemble Studio Theatre LA and the Dramatists Guild of America. More info at: annanicholas.com and annroyalnicholas.com.
Anna is part of the LA FPI Social Media Team
Analyn is a new playwright, and she is currently working on her first play, “Original Sin”. This play has been in the works for two years, though it had its first public reading in April 2010. Like “Alice” in Lewis Carroll book, she gets deeper into the rabbit hole of the story and emerges from the burrows with a wealth of subtexts about her humanity and the characters in her story. Analyn imagines a life of living fully in the theater, but for now she supports her imagined life with a career in Information Technology. She believes our humanity lives in our imagined life and contributes by actively supporting LAFPI and in writing, imagining and writing some more.
Analyn is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Laura Annawyn Shamas, Ph.D., is a writer and mythologist. Her interest in gender parity in playwriting (& the arts/the world) began at an early age. Laura’s mother Annawyn suggested repeatedly that Laura (and everyone else!) should read A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN by Virginia Woolf. Finally, in 1979, Laura did so.
While a UCLA student, Laura adapted four pages of Woolf’s book into her first full-length play called THE OTHER SHAKESPEARE about Shakespeare’s “imaginary” talented sister; this play is published by Dramatic Publishing Company.
More info: laurashamas.com.
Laura co-founded LA FPI, and acts as National Outreach Agent
Laura Steinroeder is a freelance Theatre Director and Social Media Consultant. She serves as the Social Media Manager for Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights, and the Solo New Works Festival at the LA Writers Center. She is currently working on marketing and outreach for two new devised pieces in NYC, and has curated several twitter chats for Howl Round’s weekly Howls on the topics of new play development, director/playwright relationships, and self-producing.
Laura created the facebook group, Theatre Director Resources to assist directors in finding and posting upcoming opportunities, as well as to provide an opportunity to share and discuss issues and inspiration. She tweets for the LAFPI and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Laura studied directing at the Claremont Colleges and attended the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. SDC Associate Member. @LSteinroeder www.laurasteinroeder.com
Laura acted as an LA FPI Social Media Consultant
Tanyah Tavorn is a fiber, mixed media and theatre artist, with a BA in Art and Theatre from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She participated in shows for Hawaii Craftsmen, UH Art Gallery, Trash2Fashion and Pacific Arts League. For theatres including UHM Kennedy & Earle Ernst Theatres, Kipuka Theater, Soho Think Tank/Ohio Theatre and Diamond Head Theatre she has held positions including designer, graphic artist, stage manager, running crew and worked in set construction.
A member of the Hawaii Arts Alliance, she has been a designer for organizations including Earth Celebrations, Ka Leo O Hawaii and the UMH Art Department, and provided graphic design as a board member for UMH Late Night Theatre. She has also worked at events for Heritage Museum, Life Foundation and Mark’s Garage/The ARTS at Mark’s.
She currently serves on the board of non-profit arts organization Hawaii Craftsmen, promoting and staffing events for Hawaii Fashion Month and the Honolulu Museum of Art, and is and a creative collaborator with Kipuka Theater and LA FPI.
Tanyah is part of the LA FPI Communications Team
I am looking to create language based plays which explore the mystic and historic elements of our consciousness.
I worked for many years as a stage actress in San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles, and had the opportunity to work with some extraordinary theatre artists. My work included plays produced at the Magic Theatre, San Francisco Rep, Celebration Theatre, and the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival. I have also had the opportunity to read as an actor for new works for the Theatre Series on KCRW (The House In The City), and independent play readings at the Coast Playhouse (The Crimson Thread), Burbage Theatre (Pearls & Marlowe), and the Marin Playwright’s Festival (Sarah Bernhardt).
My exposure to the plays and playwrights gave me an appreciation for magical realism, and my writing explores the connection between the natural and unknown.
My theatre writing has been informed by studying with Dakota Powell at UCLA and also with Murray Mednick at the Padua Playwrights Workshop. I have also studied playwright classes with Leon Martell at UCLA, and studied with Jack Grapes in his Method Writing classes.
I have developed scripts at the Ohio State University retreat for playwrights with the ICWP (International Center fro Women’s Playwrights). The Dramatist Guild has hosted a reading of “The Lost Years” in November 2007 for Footlight Series in Los Angeles.
I am a member of The Dramatist Guild, ALAP (Alliance for Los Angeles Playwrights), LAFPI (Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative) and ICWP (International Centre for Women Playwrights). My theatre works include: Best Fest Forward, The Lost Years, Emily, and The American Woman. Screenplays include: Whitley Heights, The Wedding Ring, and The White Datura.
I am the author of two novels, Gift of Afternoon Light, and Improbable Fiction. My short stories have been published in Mo+h Magazine and Bombshelter Press.
Cynthia is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Jennie Webb is an independent Los Angeles playwright whose plays, including Anticipating Leftovers, Yard Sale Signs, Remodeling Plans, The Complete Story of the War, Men & Boxes, Tilting, Buying a House and Unclaimed Assets, have been presented on stages and in/at/around alternative venues throughout the U.S. and internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her works have been published by Heinemann Press and International Centre for Women Playwrights, and supported by the now defunct A.S.K. Theater Projects, The Playwrights Center in Minneapolis’ PlayLabs, the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights and The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, where she is currently playwright-in-residence and created “Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights.”
She is a resident playwright at Rogue Machine Theatre, and a proud member of The Playwrights Union EST/LA’s Playwrights Unit and Fell Swoop Playwrights. She was profiled on NYTheatre.com and is the recipient of a 2010 Women in Theatre Red Carpet Award. Visit www.jenniewebbsite.com or @jenniewebbsite.
Jennie co-founded LA FPI, and acts as Editor-at-Large
An award-winning writer and artist, Laurel graduated with a B.A. from USC’s film school and is currently enrolled in their M.P.W graduate program. Her first theatrical play was a finalist in the N.E.T.C., her second produced for victims of domestic abuse at T.H.A.W., her third became Rogues, an independent film. Laurel wrote, edited, directed and co-produced Rogues, and has won a couple awards for her screenplays. She is developing several full-length plays in her graduate studies.
Laurel is a script and play consultant, fine artist, comes from a family of paronomasiacs, and loves to cook. She’s taught film production, screenwriting, and film history at the university level. Hard at work in USC’s M.P.W. graduate program, she’s also the Stage and Screenplay editor for the literary journal, the Southern California Review. Her thesis, to be completed by May 2014, is a full-length play set in Hollywood during 1940-1941. www.mojewetzorkstudios.com
Laurel acts as the LA FPI Onstage Editor
Gina Young is a Los Angeles-based writer, director and performer. Her most recent play, Femmes: A Tragedy, a contemporary lesbian adaptation of Clare Boothe Luce’s The Women, was hailed as “slyly riotous” and “dazzlingly reconceived” by The Hollywood Reporter and is the 2014 recipient of the Jane Chambers Award for Playwriting. Gina’s other plays include Asuncion Playwrights Project Semi-Finalist Tales of a Fourth Grade Lesbo, Time Out New York Critic’s Pick she cuts herself / she likes to write and BAX Grant Recipient God in a Girl.
Gina’s work has appeared at REDCAT, Highways, WOW Cafe Theatre, HERE Arts Center, The Lyric-Hyperion Theatre, The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse, The BRIC Studio Theater,
The FUSE Festival curated by Dixon Place, BAX/The Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Live Girls! in Seattle, Washington, The Baltimore Playwrights Festival and the Page to Stage Festival at the Kennedy Center.
As a performer, Gina has toured the US and Europe extensively with original musical and theatrical work, including performance art pop duo Team Gina, whose video Butch/Femme screened at LGBT film festivals worldwide, won multiple awards and has over 250,000 hits on YouTube. She also appeared in Wynne Greenwood’s Sister Taking Nap at On the Boards and Sheila Callaghan’s Dead City at New Georges.
Gina studied drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is developing a rock opera called sSISTERSs and working on her first screenplay. A collection of her plays is forthcoming from Topside Press.
Gina is part of the LA FPI Social Media Team