by William Shakespeare, Directed by Jonathan Fox
September 29 – October 16, 2016
The 2016-17 Season launches with Shakespeare’s Macbeth. ETC’s first foray in decades into the works of Shakespeare arrives just in time for election season with one of literature’s great tales of blind and bloody political ambition. Fresh from victory against invading forces, the triumphant Macbeth is presented with a chilling prophecy from three witches: he will ascend to the throne despite possessing no royal blood. Spurred by his wife’s unquenchable thirst for power, Macbeth commits a supreme act of murder, throwing the world into a bloody upheaval.
Sponsored by Dana White
Projected Dynamic Imagery Sponsored by
2016-17 Season sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation
Read the interview with Scenic and Projection Designer Hana Kim and ETC Dramaturg Anna Jensen.
Joseph Fuqua* (Banquo, Ross) is honored to be returning to the New Vic! He has appeared with Ensemble before in Fallen Angels, directed by Andrew Barnicle, The Mystery of Irma Vep, directed by Jenny Sullivan, and Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, directed by the late Robert Grande Wise. Broadway and Off- Broadway credits include Brighton Beach Memoirs, 110 In the Shade, Raft of the Medusa, and Yours, Anne. Regionally, Joseph has worked at Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Portland Stage, The Arena Stage in our nation's capital, Yale Rep, and many others. The Rubicon Theatre Company is his 'Stage' home, having been a Company Member since 2000 where he has appeared in twenty-seven plays including the title role in Hamlet, directed by Jenny Sullivan (Independent Award), All My Sons, directed by James O'Neill (Ovation Award) and Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Joseph is a graduate of The Yale School of Drama and a proud member of Actor's Equity Association.
Leslie Gangl Howe (Second Witch, Lady Macduff, Gentlewoman) is pleased to be working with Ensemble Theatre Company at the New Vic. No stranger to the Santa Barbara stage, Leslie has built a repertoire of strong if not dysfunctional characters. The most recent was that of meddling Aunt Lavinia in The Heiress, and the confused house wife Becky in Becky’s New Car. From the independently minded feminist Heidi in The Heidi Chronicles and the hapless professor Constance Ledbelly in Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet, to Joy Gresham the tragic love of C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands, and the forgiving wife Stevie in The Goat or Who is Sylvia, whether she was the lonely drugged out Agnes in the crazed Bug, the old Russian director in Anton in Show Business, Queen Elizabeth I in The Beard of Avon, or the supportive mom of a down syndrome boy in the Garth Brooks music video Standin' Outside The Fire, bringing these people to life has been a joy. Thank you HRH for your continued support.
Jamison Jones* (Macbeth) is pleased to return to ETC! He was last seen at ETC in Théresè Raquin. Theater credits: Angels in America, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Othello and the West Coast premiere of Maple and Vine (The American Conservatory Theater), the West Coast premiere of Elemeno Pea and the world premiere of Doctor Cerberus (Tony Award winning South Coast Rep.), The Three Musketeers (Tony Award winning Denver Center), How the Other Half Loves (Pasadena Playhouse); God of Carnage, The Foreigner, The Lion in Winter, All My Sons, Dancing at Lughnasa and The Rainmaker (Tony-nominated McCoy/Rigby Ent., at La MiradaTheater); Fool for Love, Dracula, Bent and Timon of Athens; Cyrano de Bergerac (A Noise Within); the European premieres of Tennessee in the Summer and Purple Hearts (Edinburgh Festival, Scotland.) Jones earned his MFA from the American Conservatory Theater. Last seen in Spielberg’s The Whispers and HBO’s "True Detective," other film/TV credits: Collusions with Tom Everett-Scott, The Lodger with Alfred Molina, Born to Ride with William Foresyth, He Was a Quiet Man with Christian Slater and William H. Macy, Dark Blue with Kurt Russell and Hollywood Homicide with Harrison Ford, "Burn Notice," "24," "General Hospital," "Brothers & Sisters," "Terminator," "CSI: NY," "N.C.I.S.," "Crossing Jordan," "Alias," "JAG," "That 70’s Show," "Beverly Hills 90210," and "Will and Grace." Jones is the co-creator of a new series not yet aired, titled "Agoura Hills," the story of an Agoraphobic weatherman who's afraid to go outside.
Kathryn Meisle* (Lady Macbeth, First Witch) is happily making her debut with Ensemble Theatre Company here in Santa Barbara. Broadway: The Elephant Man (also London’s West End), Outside Mullingar, A Touch of the Poet, The Constant Wife, Tartuffe (Tony Award nomination/Calloway Award), London Assurance, The Rehearsal, Racing Demon (LCT). Off-Broadway includes Romeo & Juliet (CSC), Women Beware Women (Calloway Award), Top Secret, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told (NYTW), Living Out (Second Stage), Old Money (LTC), Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, As You Like It (Drama Desk nom.), Othello (NYSF/Delacorte). Recent Regional credits include The May Queen at Geva, Cymbeline at Yale Rep, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Theatre, DC), Clybourne Park, The Real Thing, and Three Sisters at the Guthrie, A Flea in Her Ear (Williamstown), Leaving by Václav Havel (Wilma), Creditors (La Jolla), Arkadina in Seagull and Jaques in As You Like It (OSF). TV and Film credits include: "Private Practice," "Body Of Proof," "The Closer,"
"Bones," "The Unusuals," "Law & Order: SVU," 'Lie To Me," "Grey’s Anatomy," "Damages," "New Amsterdam," "Brothers & Sisters," "Without a Trace," Four, Bereavement, You’ve Got Mail, The Shaft, and Rosewood.
AK Murtadha* (Macduff, Captain) has enjoyed various classical and contemporary roles in regional and repertory theatres. His Shakespearean appearances include Othello, Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing, Jacques in As You Like It, Escalus in Measure for Measure, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Valentine in Two Gentlemen of Verona. He is pleased to be returning in his second role at ETC; last season he played George in Intimate Apparel. His most recent roles include playing Martin Luther King in All the Way and Dr. Prentice in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at Asolo Rep. Some of his TV and Film credits include: "NCIS-LA," "All My Children," "Raising the Bar," "The Unit," "Medium," "Numb3rs," and the upcoming feature – 8989 Redstone. Awards include Best Actor - New Orleans Short film festival - In the Wind; NAACP Award: Best Ensemble - All My Sons (playing Chris Keller). He was also the Featured Guest Artist for Auburn University’s - The America Play. www.akmurtadha.com twitter:@ak_sage. Member: AEA, SAGAFTRA.
James Joseph O'Neil* (Seyton, First Murderer) is happy to be playing The New Vic! Broadway - Present Laughter, Roundabout. Off-Broadway - A Month in the Country and Look Back in Anger, Classic Stage Company - Richard III, Epic Theatre Ensemble - The Hired Man, 47th St. Theatre. Regional - Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Center Stage, American Repertory Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Ojai Playwright’s Conference, Mark Taper Forum, Old Globe Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Long Wharf Theatre, American Stage Festival. Film/TV: Aardvark, Dovid Meyer, Deep Powder, The Bourne Legacy, Fair Game, Zodiac, Acts of Worship, "The Knight," "Person of Interest," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Law & Order: SVU," "24," "Veronica Mars," "Numb3rs," "Third Watch," "Sex & the City." MFA/USD, BFA/Adelphi University.
Christine Sage (Third Witch, Fleance, Macduff's Son, Messenger, Young Siward) is properly enthused to perform with this theatrical community. Previously seen in Los Angeles with The Porters of Hellsgate as King Henry VI in King Henry VI, in Othello and Henry V, in A Woman of No Importance at Sacred Fools, and Macbeth at Edgemar Center for the Arts. Bay Area credits include Splitting Infinity at San Jose Rep, Peace at Magic Theatre, Christmas Carol at Sierra Repertory, and Romeo and Juliet, Tempest, and Sleeping Beauty at Santa Cruz Shakespeare. Television and film appearances include Bravo’s "Million Dollar Listing," "Supreme Justice," "Jiji," and Glass Animal’s "Pools" music video. Christine is also a professional faerie whose secret identity, Miss Sage, brings joy to children and guffaws to adults all across California.
Paul David Story* (Malcolm, Second Murderer) is pleased to be back at Ensemble! He is the founder and Artistic Director of the USC NAI Theatre Workshop. The Theater Workshop supports student literary scholarship through the performing arts, bringing literature to life in South Central LA. Theatre credits: Broadway - Standby for Alan Strang in Equus, Junius Urban in The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, Off-Broadway - Ferguson/Wilkes Booth in Our Leading Lady at the Manhattan Theatre Club, David in The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel at The Public, Regional theater- Ken in RED at SouthCoast Rep, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at Arizona Theater Company, Ferdinand in The Tempest at A Noise Within-Arviragus in Cymbeline at A Noise Within, Philip, King of France in The Lion in Winter at the Ensemble Theatre Company, Hamlet in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead at the Baltimore Center Stage, Mr. Bingley in Pride & Prejudice at the Dallas Theatre Center. Film/TV: In Time, American Violet, The Undying, St. Nick, Vartan LLP, "The Mentalist," "Body of Proof," "Nip/Tuck," "Law & Order: SVU." Recent Publications- Mountain Lion in Gambling the Aisle Magazine. Education/Training: North Carolina School of the Arts
Rudolph Willrich* (Duncan, Old Man, Doctor) has performed in several ETC productions at the Alhecama Theatre, the most recent being The Clean House. Other appearances with ETC include Sylvia, The Cripple Of Inishmaan, Moon Over Buffalo, Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Picasso At The Lapin Agile, and The Weir. His most recent appearances were in Noises Off and My Fair Lady at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura where he also appeared in Hamlet, The Boys Next Door (Robbie Award), Night Of The Iguana and Happy Days. On Broadway he played in Pirandello's Emperor Henry lV, Tom Stoppard's Dirty Linen and Newfoundland, and Noises Off. Off Broadway he was in Anna K, The Contractor, Taking Steps and Saved. His work in Television and Film includes "The Practice," The Number 23, Because I Said So, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "Enterprise," Steal Big, Steal Little, What's Love Got To Do With It, Nine 1/2 Weeks, "All My Children," The Shadow, "Family Law," Legal Eagles, Alice Sweet Alice, and The Battle of The Bulge. He has received 4 "Indies" for his work at ETC in A Doll's House, Sight Unseen, Art, and A Life In The Theatre. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
‘Macbeth’ Comes to ETC- First Shakespeare Play in New Vic SB Independent
"[Macbeth] Has all the right ingredients of supernatural forces, blind ambition and, of course, murder...This is a cracking show that only goes from bard to better!" The Montecito Journal
"Jamison Jones offers crisp articulation and undeniable sex appeal... [a] powerful new production." Santa Barbara Independent
By Noël Coward
June 9 – June 26, 2016
With their passionless husbands away playing golf, a mutual long-ago lover announces his intention to pay Julia and Jane an impromptu visit. All in a fluster, there’s clearly only one thing to do: hit the bottle! Or rather, pop open the bubbly. Each successive glass loosens their tongues, hidden jealousies surface, the claws come out, and all attempts at demure behavior go out of the window. But it’s not until the unexpected early return of their husbands that the women’s evening really hits its frenzied peak. Sponsored by Joan and Geoffrey Rutkowski & Donna and Daniel Hone, with support from Debby and Peter Stalker
2015-16 Season sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation
Ensemble Theatre Company Presents: Fallen Angels by Noel Coward June 9-26, 2016; Directed by Andrew Barnicle, Paige Lindsey White (Julia), Joseph Fuqua (Fred Sterroll) , Mary-Pat Green (Saunders), Matthew Floyd Miller (Willy Banbury), Julie Granata (Jane Banbury) , J. Paul Boehmer (Maurice).
“One of Coward’s most popular comedies.” New York Times
“An irresistible romp!” LA Times
"Fallen Angels is an utter lark!" Houston Press
Paige Lindsey White (Julia) is honored to debut at Ensemble Theatre Company. Most recently, she's played Catherine in San Diego Rep's production of Rapture, Blister, Burn; Macon Hill in South Coast Rep's production of Abundance; and Eliza Doolittle in The Pasadena Playhouse's production of Pygmalion. Other stage
credits include International City Theatre in Trying, Ghost-Writer & The Heir Apparent; Arizona Theatre Company and Indiana Repertory Theatre in Other Desert Cities; Theatre @ Boston Court in R II and The Children; 24th ST Theatre in Walking the Tightrope; LA Theatre Ensemble in Wounded. She earned her M.F.A. in Acting from UCLA. She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre LA, Los Angeles Theater Ensemble, and the Actors’ Gang, with whom she internationally toured with The Trial of the Cantonsville Nine. Television credits include "Shameless," "Days of Our Lives," and "TV Funhouse." LA Drama Critics' Circle Award Winner for Lead Performance; Ovation and LA Weekly Nominations: 2 Best Actress & Best Ensemble. www.paigelindseywhite.com.
Joseph Fuqua (Fred Sterroll) Is so pleased to be playing the 'New Vic'! He has appeared with Ensemble before in The Mystery of Irma Vep, directed by Jenny Sullivan, and Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, directed by the late Robert Grande Wise. Broadway and Off- Broadway credits include Brighton Beach Memoirs, 110 In the Shade, Raft of the Medusa, and Yours, Anne. Regionally, Joseph has worked at Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Portland Stage, The Arena Stage in our Nation's Capital, Yale Rep, and many others. The Rubicon Theatre Company is his 'Stage' home, having been a Company Member since 2000 where he has appeared in twenty-seven plays including the title role in Hamlet, directed by Jenny Sullivan (Independent Award), All My Sons, directed by James O'Neill (Ovation Award) and Private Lives, directed by Andy Barnicle. Joseph is a graduate of The Yale School of Drama and a proud member of Actor's Equity Association. josephfuqua.com
Mary-Pat Green (Saunders) is happily making her debut with The Ensemble Theatre Company here in Santa Barbara. She reprises the role of Saunders, having played the character previously at the Pasadena Playhouse and the Laguna Playhouse. Broadway: Original casts of Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and Candide. Off-Broadway: Nunsense, Marcy in the Galaxy. National Tours: Godspell, South Pacific. Kennedy Center and Dallas Opera: Showboat. Regional theatre: Fallen Angels, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Women, Juno and the Paycock, Deathtrap, First Lady Suite. Film: Fantastic Four (2015), Yes Man, The Breakup, In Her Shoes, xXx, My Best Friend's Wedding. TV: "American Horror Story: Asylum," "The Middle," "Anger Management," "Castle," "The Mentalist," "Desperate Housewives," "Cold Case," "Friends," "The West Wing." Mary-Pat recently directed her second film - Walk. (www.WALKTHEFILM.com), and she's also an acting coach in LA and New York.
Matthew Floyd Miller (Willy Banbury) Is so pleased to be back at Ensemble and reunited with this Noël Coward creative team. At Ensemble Theatre Co: The 39 Steps. Broadway: Not About Nightingales, director Trevor Nunn (Circle in the Square); The Invention of Love, director Jack O’Brien (Lincoln Center Theatre). Off-Broadway: Another Part of the Forest (Peccadillo Theatre Co.); Of Mice and Men (Urban Stages); Letters From Cuba (Signature Theatre Co.). Regional Highlights: Being At Home With Claude (the inaugural production of L.A.’s Ecstatic Theatre Co.); Stupid Fucking Bird (Boston Court, L.A. Drama Critics' Circle Award - Best Ensemble); Yes, Prime Minister (Geffen Playhouse); The Mystery of Irma Vep (The Falcon, Stage Scene L.A. Award- Best Duo Performance); Noises Off (La Mirada Theater); Private Lives (Laguna Playhouse / Rubicon Theatre Co.); Middletown, Rock‘n Roll, The Pillowman, The Underpants, A Christmas Carol (ACT-Seattle); Around the World In Eighty Days (San Jose Rep. / Laguna Playhouse); The Bald Soprano (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); This Wonderful Life (Portland Center Stage); A Prayer For Owen Meany (U.S. premiere, Playmaker’s Repertory); Theophilus North (World premiere, Arena Stage/Geva Theatre Center); The Violet Hour (Dallas Theatre Center); Desire Under The Elms (San Jose Rep., Dean Goodman Choice Bay Area Theatre Award- Principal Performance); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Old Globe); The Tempest (Playmaker’s Rep.); Romeo & Juliet (Portland Stage Co.). TV/Film: "Hand of God;" "Colony," "Major Crimes;" "Criminal Minds;" "Law & Order;" "Gun Woman;" "All Good Things" (as young Frank Langella); Pop Rocks (Audience Award, Breckenridge Film Festival). Training: NYU Graduate Acting.
Julie Granata (Jane Banbury) is thrilled to be returning to the ETC stage after performing in Ensemble Theatre Company's production of The 39 Steps in 2012. Ms. Granata is an educator and performer with 18 years of professional experience in regional theatres across the country, including Rubicon Theatre Company (Conviction, Private Lives), Laguna Playhouse (Private Lives), B Street Theatre (I Am a Camera), Ark Theatre Company (Hedda Gabbler), and Boston Court (Futura) on the West Coast, and Goodman Theatre (Lobby Hero, Play About the Baby), Timeline Theatre Company, and Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. She has worked in television (ABC, NBC), film (Paramount, Disney), radio (NPR’s Stories on Stage), and is a voiceover artist for interactive media. Julie holds a BFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University, and is a proud member of AEA.
J. Paul Boehmer (Maurice) has appeared on Broadway in Sir Peter Hall’s An Ideal Husband and in the New York and Off-Broadway premier of Miss Evers’ Boys. Regionally he has played Hamlet at the Dallas Shakespeare Festival and as Barrymore in I Hate Hamlet at the Pioneer Theatre under the direction of Art Manke. He has appeared in two summer Shakespeare seasons and The Constant Wife at The Old Globe. Other theatres include Arena Stage, A.C.T., Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Walnut Street Theatre, Missouri Rep, Laguna Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse and many more. TV and Film include Skyline, The Thomas Crowne Affair, The Good German, "Star Trek Voyager," "Deep Space Nine," "Enterprise," "Frasier" and AMC’s "The Lot," and "The Young and the Restless." Paul is also a well-known Audiobook narrator with over 500 titles available.
All Actors are Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
- Book Club, June 15, 2016, 5:30 - 6:30pm: Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Join other theatregoers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE!
- Pre-Show Talk, June 15 & 22, 2016 at 7:15 pm: Join us in the courtyard of The New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Martini Night, June 17, 2016 at 7:15pm, performance at 8:00pm: Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
- Talk Back, June 23, 2016: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
“Coward is questioning the assumption that women don’t have the same conversations about sex that men do,” said [Director Andrew] Barnicle, adding that “then it was a scandal, but today it’s just funny as hell.” SB Independent
"A hilariously witty script, superb cast, first-rate production and direction, who could ask for more? This is a can’t miss production of one of the last century’s most entertaining and funniest plays." Society805
"A heavenly and delightfully risque production!" Montecito Journal
Excellent writing, a strong concept, and wildly enthralling performances... make Bad Jews a must-see this season." –Broadway World
By Joshua Harmon
April 14 – May 1, 2016
Daphna Feygenbaum swears she is the most devout Jew in her family but, when her less observant cousin arrives to claim a treasured family heirloom and religious symbol, a devastatingly hilarious battle between the holy and holier-than-thou ignites! Hailed by The New York Times as “the best comedy of the season,” Bad Jews is an uproarious exploration of faith and family that is as thought-provoking and poignant as it is viciously funny. A Co-Production with English Theatre Frankfurt. Sponsored by Ruth and Alan Heeger with support from Sybil Rosen. Directed by Jonathan Fox.
“The best comedy of the season!” The New York Times
“Delicious, nasty, good fun.” The New York Post
Eden Malyn* (Daphna) After taking some time away from the stage to pursue TV and film, last year Eden had the great joy of workshopping Kimber Lee's Different Words for the Same Thing for Center Theatre Group, performing in the new musical Behind Closed Doors in NYC, participating in the JAW Playwright's Festival up at Portland Center Stage, and portraying Nina in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, also at PCS. Eden has been stalking Bad Jews for a year, with her heart set on playing Daphna, so she couldn't be more thrilled to have the opportunity to work on this piece with such an incredible creative team. Past TV credits include guest spots on "American Horror Story," "Criminal Minds," "Castle," a recurring arc as Zanna on Showtime's "House of Lies," and the recurring role of Erin Sikowitz on Season 3 and the upcoming Season 4 of Netflix's "Orange is the New Black." You may have seen her as Ames in the indie feature Maybe Someday, Emily in the cult-classic feature film DEADHEADS, or in a good handful of national commercials. She would like to thank her wonderful and supportive family, her manager Avi Simon, Mark and the killer team at KMR, and her mentor Jamison Jones.
Adam Silver* (Liam) is an actor, producer, artist and creator based in Los Angeles. He recently produced and starred in the West Coast premiere of Ike Holter's Hit the Wall (six Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards including Production and Ensemble). Theatre: Sons of the Prophet (The Blank); Stupid Fucking Bird (Ovation Award nomination: Featured Actor, Theatre @ Boston Court/Circle X); Creation (Theatre @ Boston Court); Sleepless in Seattle (Pasadena Playhouse); Awake & Sing! (A Noise Within); Surf Orpheus (Getty Villa); Fact & Fiction and Nerve (Sixth Avenue); over thirty productions in his hometown of Chicago. Television: "Transparent," "Masters of Sex," "Community," "Torchwood," "Wedding Band," "Californication." Film: Excision, The Kari Files, Marla, The Runaways, Sorta’ Horny. Adam founded and runs Sixth Avenue, a collective of artists who create theatre, film, art, parties and events. Adam received his degree in Cultural Studies from Columbia College Chicago. IAmAdamSilver.com.
Stephanie Burden* (Melody) Stephanie is so happy to be in Santa Barbara making her Ensemble Theatre Company debut. Theatre: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Helena), Folger Theatre; The Matchmaker (Minnie Faye) Ford's Theater; Leading Ladies (Audrey), St. Vincent's Theatre; The Children's Hour (Martha), Everyman Theatre; Rep Stage, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Aunt Polly) and Katie Couric's The Brand New Kid (Miss Kincaid), The Kennedy Center tours; Servant of Two Masters (Smeraldina), LATC and Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Vivaldi's The Four Seasons (April) and The Planets (Loona) with the LA Phil at The Walt Disney Concert Hall. TV credits include "The Wire," "The Mentalist." Love to Cory and their dang cute chihuahua.
Cory Kahane (Jonah) is proud to make his ETC debut telling this story. He previously played the role at Theater Wit and the Royal George Theatre in Chicago, IL and the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, IL. Other credits: The Romans: Episode Quartus with Lincoln Square Theatre; A Midsummer Night’s Dream with The James Downing Theatre. Film:The Cheating Pact (Lifetime Original Movie); Bad Johnson. Cory has a BFA in acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
- Jewish Culture Night, April 17, 2016, 6:00pm, performance at 7:00pm: Light bites and socilaizing before the performance - a partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara! Open to ticket holders who have used the JFED promo code (save $20 per ticket!)
- Book Club, April 20, 2016, 5:30 - 6:30pm: Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Join other theatregoers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE!
- Pre-Show Talk, April 20 & 27, 2016 at 7:15 pm: Join us in the courtyard of The New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Martini Night: April 22, 2016 at 7:15pm, performance at 8:00pm: Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
- Talk Back, April 28, 2016: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
"ETC Brings Acclaimed Comedy to the New Vic." SB Independent
"Excellent writing, a strong concept, and wildly enthralling performances... make Bad Jews a must-see this season." Broadway World
"It’s easy to see why this witty and ferocious exercise in family discord has become so popular."-SB Independent
By Doug Wright
February 4 – 21, 2016
"If you see one play this season, this is the one!"
-The Montecito Journal
Not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, playwright Doug Wright began a conversation with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, an elegant and eccentric 65-year-old German transvestite who, against all odds, navigated a path between the Nazi's and East German Secret Police — in a pair of high heels. Wright uses more than 30 characters—all played by a single actor—to piece together Charlotte’s controversial life. A profound story of survival. Starring John Tufts. With support from Elaine & Mike Gray and Elaine & Herbert Kendall. Directed by Jenny Sullivan.
2015-16 Season sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation
Starring John Tufts
John is thrilled to be in Santa Barbara for his ETC debut. Theater: In 12 seasons with the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Hal/Henry V in Henry IV pts. 1, 2, and Henry V, The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, The Cherry Orchard Into the Woods, Equivocation (also Arena Stage, Seattle Rep), Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Belle’s Stratagem, and many more; The Guthrie Theater: The Cocoanuts. Marin Theatre Company: Seagull; PlayMakers Repertory Company: The Glass Menagerie; Off-Broadway: Ensemble Studio Theater: Virtual Meditation. Mint Theatre: Fashions for Men. Film/Television: “Bad Teacher,” “Fashions for Men” (PBS), Dangers of a Broken Car, BAQ-132. Awards: Arthur Kennedy Award for Acting. Training: B.F.A., Carnegie Mellon University
John is thrilled to be in Santa Barbara for his ETC debut. Theater: In 12 seasons with the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Hal/Henry V in Henry IV pts. 1, 2, and Henry V, The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, The Cherry Orchard Into the Woods, Equivocation (also Arena Stage, Seattle Rep), Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Belle’s Stratagem, and many more; The Guthrie Theater: The Cocoanuts. Marin Theatre Company: Seagull; PlayMakers Repertory Company: The Glass Menagerie; Off-Broadway: Ensemble Studio Theater: Virtual Meditation. Mint Theatre: Fashions for Men. Film/Television: “Bad Teacher,” “Fashions for Men” (PBS), Dangers of a Broken Car, BAQ-132. Awards: Arthur Kennedy Award for Acting. Training: B.F.A., Carnegie Mellon Universitye.
- Book Club, February 10, 2016, 5:30 - 6:30pm: Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Join other theatregoers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE!
- Pre-Show Talk, February 10 & 17, 2016 at 7:15 pm: Join us in the courtyard of The New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Martini Night, February 12, 2016 at 7:15pm, performance at 8:00pm: Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
- Talk Back, February 18, 2016: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
I AM MY OWN WIFE Presents the Struggle for Identity and Survival: Read the Broadway World Preview
"If you see one play this season, this is the one!"- The Montecito Journal
"I Am My Own Wife, Doug Wright’s fascinating deconstruction of the tangled lives that converge around the historical figure of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, at once subverts and exceeds the expectations established by the traditional one-person show."- Santa Barbara Independent
By Wendy MacLeod
December 3 – 20, 2015 • WEST COAST PREMIERE
Thelma and Louise meets The First Wives Club in this fun and flirtatious new comedy! Divorcees Mary and Jo are suspicious of their friend Liz’s new dentist boyfriend. He’s not just a weirdo; he may be a serial killer! After all, his hygienist just disappeared. Trading their wine glasses for spyglasses, imaginations run wild as the ladies try to discover the truth and save their friend in a hilarious off-road adventure. With support from The Willfong-Singh Family. Directed by Bart DeLorenzo. 2015-16 Season sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation.
Annabelle Gurwitch and Heather Ayers (Photo David Bazemore)
Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) at the New Vic is excited to present the West Coast premiere of a side-splitting new comedy, Women in Jeopardy!, by Wendy MacLeod. Thelma and Louise meets The First Wives Club in this fun and flirtatious laugh-out-loud comedy, under the direction of Bart DeLorenzo and featuring comedic actress, author and columnist Annabelle Gurwitch. Filled with side-splitting laughs and a perfect recipe for holiday fun.
Divorcees Mary and Jo are suspicious of their friend Liz’s new dentist boyfriend. He’s not just a weirdo; he may be a serial killer! After all, his hygienist just disappeared. Trading their wine glasses for spyglasses, imaginations run wild as the ladies try to discover the truth and save their friend in a hilarious off-road adventure. “Modern, lively, and loads of fun,” says The Boston Globe.
HEATHER AYERS (Mary) is so excited to be back at ETC so soon! She just completed their run of Sweeney Todd & has appeared in their productions of A Little Night Music & Intimate Apparel. Heather's Broadway credits include Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick Jr., & Trevor Nunn’s A Little Night Music. Off-Broadway, she has been seen in several Encores! productions, Five Course Love, Forbidden Broadway, & Sarah, Plain & Tall. Regionally, she has performed at Yale Rep, The Old Globe, Barrington Stage, St. Louis Rep, Kansas City Rep, & Cincinnati Playhouse, among others. TV credits include “Scandal,” “The Exes,” “Lights Out,” & “Z Rock." Happy Holidays!
Matthew Grondin (Trenner). Matthew is thrilled to be back at ETC, where we was previously seen as Stevie in Good People. Regional: Bad Jews (Stage West), A Moon for the Misbegotten (Rubicon Theatre), World Premiere of Shelia Callaghan’s Everything You Touch and the West Coast Premiere of Shiv (Theatre @ Boston Court). Los Angeles: Orphans (LANCT), Ah Wilderness! (Antaeus ClassicsFest), Rabbit Hole and Spinning Into Butter (Actor’s Co-op), This Is Our Youth (TAC Theater). NY: Friends Like These (Cherry Pit). Also interested in writing – his first play, Granite, was staged at Joan Scheckel’s Collective Loft. He is a member of Antaeus Theatre Company’s A2 Ensemble in LA. Huge thanks to this terrific cast and crew – and to Jonathan, Amy and Bart for having me back!
Annabelle Gurwitch (Jo). Most recently: Annabelle appeared in a theatrical adaptation directed by Mr. DeLorenzo at The Skylight Theater in Los Angeles and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival of her latest book, The New York Times Bestseller, I See You Made An Effort: compliments, indignities and survival stories from the edge of 50, which was a finalist for the James Thurber Prize for American Humor Writing 2015. Theatrical highlights: World Premiere of Donald Margulies’ A Coney Island Christmas at The Geffen Playhouse directed by Mr. DeLorenzo, The 20th Anniversary Production of Uncommon Women and Others, Off- Broadway at The Lucille Lortel, Our Lady of 121st Street, Sixteen Wounded and Adam’s Rib with L.A. TheaterWorks. She played the title role in Murray Mednick’s Joe and Betty, produced on both coasts, earned her place in "The Top Ten Performances of the Year” by critics in both The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Annabelle was the co-host of the popular "Dinner and a Movie" on TBS for seven seasons, “WA$TED” on The Planet Green Network, a Discovery Channel for three seasons, and two seasons of anchoring the award winning “Not Necessarily the News” on HBO, “Dexter,” “Boston Legal,” “Medium,” “Murphy Brown” and “Seinfeld” amongst other programs. Films: Daddy Day Care, Shaggy Dog, Melvin Goes to Dinner, It’s Us (2016). Annabelle’s other books: You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up co-written with her husband Jeff Kahn, and “Fired!” which was also a Showtime Comedy Special. Her writing appears in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, on NPR and in The New Yorker. She frequently tours with The Moth Radio Hour, The Jewish Book Council, and other literary salons across the country. The National Tour of I See You Made an Effort produced by Groundswell Productions hits the road for the 2016-2017, first stop, Toronto. You can keep up with her at www. annabellegurwitch.com.
DeeDee Rescher (Liz) is excited to be returning to The New Vic after her super fun run here in David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People in 2014, directed by Jenny Sullivan. Theatre credits include Steve Martin’s The Underpants, the world premiere of Richard Dresser’s The Pursuit of Happiness, Michael Hollinger’s Red Herring and her recurring celebrated solo performance of Shirley Valentine, all under the direction of Andy Barnicle at the Laguna Playhouse. Other recent stage credits: Love, Loss and What I Wore by Nora and Delia Ephron, Everybody Say Cheese by Gary Marshall, Neil Simon’s Prisoner of Second Avenue with Jason Alexander, and Lombardi by Eric Simonson. Recurring TV credits include the roles of Bryan Cranston’s wife on “The King Of Queens,” Fran Dresser’s pal Dottie in “The Nanny,” Rory’s mom on “Days Of Our Lives,” detective Joy Shulack in “The Whole Truth” and Donna in “The Comeback” with Lisa Kudrow. Most recently she has appeared on “Anger Management” with Charlie Sheen, “Back in the Game” with James Caan, TV Land’s “The Exes,” and Disney’s “Good Luck Charlie,” “Shout It Out,” “Better With You,” and “I Didn’t Do It”. Over her extensive career DeeDee has appeared on dozens of iconic television shows, including “Friends,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “My Name is Earl,” “Frazier,” “Party of Five,” “Jamie Foxx”, “Roseanne,” “Cybill,” “Coach,” “Empty Nest,” “It Had to Be You” and “Dream On.” Favorite film credits include Skin Deep with John Ritter, Communion with Christopher Walken, Summer School with Mark Harmon and the affable bus driver in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. For more information DeeDee invites you to visit her web site: www.deedeerescher.com.
William Salyers (Jackson/Sgt. Kirk). Bill voices Rigby the raccoon on Cartoon Network’s Emmy award-winning “Regular Show” and was the voice of Reverend Putty on Adult Swim’s Moral Orel.” He is a lead voice in popular video games such as “Fallout 4,” “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” and “Mass Effect 3.” His work on screen includes the series “iCarly,” “The Ex List,” “Judging Amy” and “Northern Exposure,” as well as the films Regular Show: The Movie, Bedazzled, Book of Stars and Crocodile Tears. He has also acted in many plays for Circle X and other theaters from coast to coast, most recently playing several roles in the Ovation award-winning, The Behavior of Broadus, for the Burglars of Hamm at Sacred Fools.
Sophie Ullett (Amanda) started her career at the age of 12 doing children’s shows, Rumple Who and Wiseacre Farm, at The 13th Street Repertory Company in New York. She has been doing readings and shows with EST/LA from childhood to the present. Her first professional gig in LA, was John O’Keefe’s The Reapers at The Odyssey Theatre. She went on to do Tom Baum’s Shock Therapy at The Lillian Theatre. Her film credits include Mr. Vinegar and the Runaway. She makes the rent as a singing waitress at Miceli’s. She is now thrilled to be part of this production at Ensemble Theatre Company.
Wendy MacLeod (Playwright) Women in Jeopardy! premiered at Geva Theater and her new play Slow Food was selected for the 2015 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Her play The House of Yes became an award-winning Miramax film and was produced throughout the United States and at The Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin and The Gate Theater in London. Her other plays include Sin (The Goodman, Second Stage), Schoolgirl Figure (The Goodman Theatre), The Water Children and Juvenilia (Playwrights Horizons), and Things Being What They Are (Seattle Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre). A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, she is the Artistic Director of the Kenyon Playwrights Conference.
Bart DeLorenzo (Director) is a Los Angeles-based theater director and the founding artistic director of the Evidence Room Theater. His recent work with the company includes Marivaux’s The False Servant, Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play, Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov, Len Jenkin’s Margo Veil, and Adam Bock’s The Receptionist, produced with the Odyssey Theater. Other recent directing includes the world premiere of Jonathan Caren’s Need to Know, Rogue Machine Theatre; the world premieres of Steven Drukman’s Death of the Author and Donald Margulies’ Coney Island Christmas, Geffen Playhouse; Sharr White’s Annapurna, The New Group (NY); Charlayne Woodard’s The Night Watcher, Studio Theatre (DC); the world premieres of Kimber Lee’s tokyo fish story, Carla Ching’s Fast Company, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Doctor Cerberus, and Donald Margulies’ Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, South Coast Repertory; Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, A Noise Within; Justin Tanner’s Day Drinkers, Odyssey, and Voice Lessons, Zephyr; Karen Zacarias’ Legacy of Light and Mark Brown’s Around the World in 80 Days at the Cleveland Play House; King Lear, Antaeus Company; Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone at SCR; Michael Sargent’s The Projectionist, Kirk Douglas Theatre; Charles Mee’s bobrauschenbergamerica, Inside the Ford; and Caryl Churchill’s A Number, Odyssey. He has participated in the development of new plays at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, SCR’s Pacific Playwrights Festival, Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival, and the Ojai Playwrights Conference. He is on the faculty at CalArts. For his work, he has received LA Weekly awards, Backstage Garlands, LA Drama Critics Circle Awards including the Milton Katselas Award for career achievement, and the Alan Schneider Director Award.
Keith Mitchell (Scenic Designer) is excited and honored to be designing his first show for ETC! Recent projects include a spinning spaceship for Oedipus Machina at the Odyssey Theatre; Carlin Home Companion at the Falcon Theatre and Fast Company, for South Coast Repertory. Keith has designed for most Southland venues including The Hollywood Bowl, Disney Hall/LA Philharmonic, Geffen Playhouse, A Noise Within, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Odyssey, The Getty Villa, 24th Street and even Venice Beach. He has over 20 shows under his belt for Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theatre, including Happy Days, and The Value of Names, with the late Jack Klugman, a 2007 Ovation Award winner for Scenic Design. Keith is an Emmy Award winning Art Director. His work includes advertising campaigns for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, Nissan, Got Milk, Kay Jewelers, and such network shows as “American Horror Story,” “The Voice” and “The Tonight Show” starring Jimmy Fallon. He is a graduate of USC, Annenberg.
Pablo Santiago (Lighting Designer) Pablo is happy to return to the New Vic and ETC in Santa Barbara where he previously worked on Woyzeck. Pablo is the Winner of the Stage Raw Award 2015 for Best Lighting Design for his work on The Brothers Size (Fountain Theater). Pablo has been nominated for the Ovation Award and for LA Weekly Award. Pablo’s designs have been seen at LATC, ODC in San Francisco, Teatro Brava, Su Teatro in Denver, Fountain Theater, The Road Theater, COC Performing Arts Center among others. Recently, he collaborated with the LA Phil as part of their Green Umbrella Project and Amor Brujo, with Gustavo Dudamel (conductor) and Siudy Garrido (choreographer) at Disney Hall, La Olla (the LTC at Getty Villa), Destiny of Desire at Arena Stage In Washington DC and the ongoing installation Pearls of the Planet, at the Annenberg Space for Photography for Explore.org. Upcoming projects include: Breaking The Waves (Opera) at the Pearlman Theater for OperaPhila. Instagram: @pablosdesign
Dianne K. Graebner (Costume Designer) is happy to be back at Ensemble Theatre Company, having previously designed Sweeney Todd, Amadeus, Intimate Apparel, Red, Opus and many others. Recent credits include: Ay, Carmela! Stella Adler Theatre Co. (Set-Frank Gehry, music-Gustavo Dudamel), Best of Enemies, Breath & Imagination (NAACP nomination) and The Fabulous Lipitones at the Colony Theatre, The Brothers Karamazov (Ovation nomination) and Battle Hymn (L.A. Weekly nomination) ICU, Eurydice, The Flu Season at CircleX Theatre, Breath & Imagination at Virginia Stage Co., Dying City (Ovation production of the year) and the New Electric Ballroom at Rogue Machine Theatre Co., Dogeaters and Clay at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, opening & closing weekends 365 days/ 365 plays for Center Theatre Group, Bright Light City at LATC, the original production of Philosophy of the World, The Shaggs and has originated the costumes for many new works and world premieres. She is a member of United Scenic Artists Local-829. www.diannegraebner.com
Aleah Van Woert (Stage Manager) is pleased to be stage managing her fourth season with ETC. Previous credits include Black Pearl Sings!, Crime and Punishment, Bell, Book and Candle, The Liar, The Year of Magical Thinking, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Little Night Music, Good People, Metamorphoses, Red, Looped, Amadeus, The Best Brothers, Intimate Apparel, Woyzeck, Venus in Fur and Sweeney Todd. A resident of Santa Barbara for ten years, she has also stage managed over 20 shows for PCPA Theaterfest in Santa Maria and Solvang, including All My Sons, Hairspray, Caroline or Change, Pride and Prejudice, Peter Pan, Songs for a New World, Curtains, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Heart’s Desire, Art, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Originally from Fallon, Nevada, she graduated in 2003 from Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre Arts, emphasis in Stage Management.
Avery Wheeler (Sound Design) has worked with Ensemble Theatre Company as resident sound engineer for Venus in Fur, Woyzeck, Intimate Apparel, The Best Brothers, Amadeus, Looped, Red, Metamorphoses, and Good People. A graduate of Musician’s Institute Hollywood, Avery was previously Assistant Engineer at Santa Barbara’s Playback Recording Studio, where he engineered audio for short films, music, national advertising campaigns, and television.
Jonathan Fox (Executive Artistic Director) joined ETC in 2006. He directed ETC’s productions of Sweeney Todd, Woyzeck, Amadeus, Metamorphoses, A Little Night Music, The Liar, Crime and Punishment, and a dozen others. He directed Opera Santa Barbara’s production of The Consul at the Granada Theatre. He recently collaborated with the Santa Barbara Symphony on their Midsummer Night’s Dream concert. In April, he will direct ETC’s production of Bad Jews, which will then travel to Germany for the play’s German premiere. Other European productions include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, A Streetcar Named Desire, Visiting Mr. Green and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the English Theatre of Frankfurt, and Old Wicked Songs, Crimes of the Heart, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Vienna English Theatre. Before joining ETC, Mr. Fox spent 12 years with Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, which he helped establish in 1994. He served as managing director of the company from 1994-99, and subsequently became its artistic director. For Two River, he directed over a dozen acclaimed productions. His production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was profiled in American Theatre Magazine, as was his festival of work by Samuel Beckett. His directing work has been seen in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Cologne, and has received critical acclaim in The New York Times, Variety, the LA Times, and other publications. He received his MFA from Columbia University, and is a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship. He has served as an adjunct faculty member in theatre departments at UCSB, Columbia University, University of Utah, and Monmouth University.
Anna Jensen (Dramaturg) happily returns to Ensemble after serving as Dramaturg for Sweeney Todd, Venus in Fur, Woyzeck, Intimate Apparel, The Best Brothers, Amadeus, Looped, Red, Metamorphoses, Good People, A Little Night Music, Creditors, Crime and Punishment, and The Liar. In March of 2013, Austin College in Texas produced her new translation and adaptation of When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen. She has her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, where she majored in Rhetoric, focusing on the rhetoric of historical discourse. Her master’s degree was from UC Santa Barbara, where she wrote on the playwright August Strindberg’s dramas as interpreted by the film and stage director Ingmar Bergman. Her dissertation research, also at UC Santa Barbara, considers how Norse Saga material was instrumental to Henrik Ibsen’s dramaturgy. She teaches full-time in Santa Barbara at the Brooks Institute.
Amy Lieberman, CSA (Casting) has worked with Ensemble Theatre Company for eight seasons. The recipient of six CSA Artios Awards, with a total of twelve nominations. Broadway: The Dinner Party, Flower Drum Song, Big River. Recent Past: Reprise Theatre Company for three seasons. Center Theatre Group (Mark Taper Forum/Ahmanson/Kirk Douglas) 1999–2006, 1983-1989. Many regional theatres throughout the states as well as locally. L.A. TheatreWorks, Pasadena Playhouse, Ojai Playwrights Conference, The Granada, KCRW, Sundance Theatre Lab, Deaf West, Theatre@Boston Court, Falcon Theatre, Hollywood Theatre of the Ear. Film and television throughout the 90’s. Visiting Assoc. Prof. UCLA- MFA 3rd yr. graduate program 2007-2013.
Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) was founded in 1913 as the first of the American actor unions. Equity’s mission is to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Today, Equity represents more than 45,000 actors, singers, dancers and stage managers working in hundreds of theatres across the United States. Equity members are dedicated to working in the theatre as a profession, upholding the highest artistic standards. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits including health and pension plans for its members. Through its agreement with Equity, this theatre has committed to the fair treatment of the actors and stage managers employed in this production. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. For more information, visit www.actorsequity.org
- Book Club, December 9, 2015, 5:30 - 6:30pm: Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Join other theatregoers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE!
- Pre-Show Talk, December 9 & 16, 2015 at 7:15 pm: Join us in the courtyard of The New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Martini Night, December 11, 2015 at 7:15pm, performance at 8:00pm: Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
- Talk Back, December 17, 2015: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
Playwright Wendy MacLeod on Women and Comedy
Anna Jensen: Why do we need more women writing for the stage?
Wendy MacLeod (playwright): I remember I was having coffee with a literary manager and he was talking about how there were no comedies written by women, and I’m sitting across the table from him and I’m thinking, “I have comedies. If you’re looking for–” I mean it was kind of a surreal moment. “How can you say that to me, a woman who writes comedies?” So, this idea that people can’t find plays written by women or they can’t find comedies written by women, I think it just means they’re not looking hard enough because I know in my teaching, I have some tremendously gifted young women writers. And I think there’s a little bit of a particular bias about women in comedy, that people think women are less funny than men but it’s possible that women find different things funny for men. I think it’s important that we do plays by women because most theater subscribers are women, for one thing, and they want to see their stories told.
AJ: There also seems to be something that dogs women, in the sense that plays by men “universally address the audience,” whereas plays by women “only speak to the women in the audience”—that somehow there’s something more particular or specific about women writing comedy or even tragedy. So, how do you see this play in that polarity?
WM: Well, I remember reading an astonishing statistic that it was something like 85% of the women on the screen are between the ages of 18 and 34. And if you see a woman older than that, she is somebody’s mother, possibly somebody’s wife. And so, what I’m interested in is having the women characters be the agents of the action, that they’re not appendages to a story, they are the story. And even if you look at the cast distribution, the play is four women and two men, that’s the inversion of most cast sizes. So, I’m not saying it’s a politically important play but I just think the act of putting women at the center of a story and seeing them trying to solve a problem [is important]. In some ways romances are the obstacles as opposed to the goal in this play, and as it ends, although it appears to be about somebody’s bad love relationship, it’s really about the long-term friendship among these three women and how they negotiate that when somebody suddenly has fallen in love and makes that their priority.
AJ: And we see that happening all the time to our friends, especially where you think, “Wow, this is a really bad choice you’re making?” And you’ve taken that paradigm to a funny, farcical extreme. “You might be dating a serial killer and you’re sending your teenage daughter off to go camping with him.”
WM: It’s a really bad choice.
‘Women in Jeopardy!’ Ensemble Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of its new comedy. (Santa Barbar Independent)