BWW Interview: Carla Cackowski Talks THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP - A PENNY DREADFUL with Don Grigware
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The frenetic energy of the entrances and exits creates amazing opportunities to tickle and delight the audience by quickly surprising them from moment to moment
— The Mystery of Irma Vep Director, Carla Cackowski
Meet the Cast of They Mystery of Irma Vep- A Penny Dreadful

We are thrilled to welcome back two of our favorite guest artists, Issac Wade and John Allee*, to kick off this campy thriller as we open our 28th season on October 4th!

We caught up with the stars of The Mystery of Irma Vep!

Pictured left to right: Isaac Wade and John Allee*

Pictured left to right: Isaac Wade and John Allee*

Q.  How many shows/what shows have you worked on at Actors Co-op? 

Issac: The Mystery of Irma Vep is the fifth show I’ve appeared in with the Actor’s Co-op. Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde was the first show I worked on followed by The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Around the World in 80 Days, and The Turn of the Screw. 

John: Irma Vep is my fourth show with the Co-op! I've done mostly plays with "man" in the title - The Man Who Came to Dinner, Man for All Seasons, or written by a Kauf-"man" - 33 Variations, The Man Who Came to Dinner. There may or may not be a wolf-man in Irma Vep, so maybe I'll keep my streak going. 

Q. Any favorite memories/moments/funny stories you have about working with us? 

Isaac : I think one of the most interesting things is that all five shows I’ve worked on with the Actor’s Co-op is that each one has required us all to play multiple characters and each show has been increasingly more challenging in that regard either in terms of the number of characters or the physical demands of the play. In terms of those demands one of the funniest or most ridiculous for me was the fake mustache I had to contend with in Around the World in 80 Days. I always preemptively apologize to all costume designers because in a particularly physical show (much like this one!) I sweat profusely! And during Around the World in 80 Days I had to wear a giant Hercule Poirot-esque mustache for one of the characters, but had to remove it to play another one. It was attached with spirit gum, but unfortunately, my face was so wet from the profuse sweating that in it wouldn’t stay on my face when I switched back to that character. It would stay on for a minute or two and then one side would slowly begin to wilt off my face. Every head turn would cause it to slide more and as a result, that mustache became more of the character than I did!

John: Any favorite memories of mine would have to start with performing alongside Bruce Ladd. Once as his nemesis and once as his amanuensis. Greg Martin was the best audience a fellow cast member could want. And the best scene partner I never had was Treva Tegtmeier (we were in 2 productions together and our characters never spoke a word to one another). Also, I got to watch Nan McNamara fall apart in 33 Variations every night from the wings, and I'll be damned if I didn't cry every time.

Q. What is it about the Co-op that you appreciate or find different about working with us? What does working for the Co-op mean to you?

Isaac: The thing I most appreciate about the Actors Co-op is that everyone I’ve ever worked with....actors, directors, stage managers, producers, designers....every single person I’ve ever worked with here has been so incredibly supportive. The sense of unity and of banding together to accomplish the same goal is so deep in the bloodstream at the Co-op and it makes every single rehearsal and performance not just an enjoyable experience but a joy to be a part of. I am so grateful for every experience I’ve had here!

John: I appreciate the artistic integrity, the community spirit, the support, the sense of coming together to build something that's bigger than any one of us. Also, the parking. Great parking. 

The Mystery of Irma Vep plays October 4 through November 10. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Sunday Matinees at 2:30 pm; Saturday Matinees 10/12 & 10/19 at 2:30 pm.

*The actors appearing in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors in the United States.


Actors Co-op
Actors Co-op is honored with 25 StageScene LA Awards

including Best Intimate Theatre

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BEST INTIMATE THEATER

• Actors Co-op

BEST INTIMATE THEATER PRODUCTION

• Rope (Actors Co-op)

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A DRAMA (Intimate Theater)

• The Christians (Actors Co-op)

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A COMEDY-DRAMA (Intimate Theater)

• Steel Magnolias (Actors Co-op)

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A 20TH-CENTURY MUSICAL (Intimate Theater)

• She Loves Me (Actors Co-op)

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN (Intimate Theater)

• Rope (Actors Co-op)

• She Loves Me (Actors Co-op)

• Steel Magnolias (Actors Co-op)

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY-DRAMA (Intimate Theater)

• Nan McNamara in Steel Magnolias

• Treva Tegtmeier in Steel Magnolias

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A COMEDY-DRAMA (Intimate Theater)

• Ivy Beech in Steel Magnolias

• Lori Berg in Steel Magnolias

• Deborah Marlowe in Steel Magnolias

•Heidi Palomino in Steel Magnolias

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION (Multiple Productions)

• Cameron Watson— The Little Foxes, Steel Magnolias

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (Intimate Theater)

• Kevin Shewey in She Loves Me

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL (Intimate Theater)

• Claire Adams in She Loves Me

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL (Intimate Theater)

• Avrielle Corti in She Loves Me

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE IN A MUSICAL (Intimate Theater)

She Loves Me

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION AND CHOREOGRAPHY

• Cate Caplin—She Loves Me

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA (Intimate Theater)

• Townsend Coleman in The Christians

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A DRAMA (Intimate Theater)

• Nicole Gabriella Scipione in The Christians

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA (Intimate Theater)

The Christians, Rope

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

• Ken Sawyer—Rope

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A DRAMA (Intimate Theater)

• Thomas James O’Leary—The Christians

Actors Co-op
Steel Magnolias featured in the L.A. Times 99 Seat Beat
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Arts & Culture | Entertainment

'Steel Magnolias,' ‘Argonautika,’ 'Elephant Man' and more at L.A. theaters

By PHILIP BRANDES | MAR 22, 2019 

The cast of "Steel Magnolias," from left: Treva Tegtmeier, Nan McNamara, Deborah Marlowe, Lori Berg in The Actors Co-op production runs to May 5. (Matthew Gilmore)

The cast of "Steel Magnolias," from left: Treva Tegtmeier, Nan McNamara, Deborah Marlowe, Lori Berg in The Actors Co-op production runs to May 5. (Matthew Gilmore)

‘Steel Magnolias’ at Actors Co-op

The essentials: “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion,” declares Truvy, the Southern beautician who presides over the ups and downs of her close-knit circle of customers whom playwright Robert Harling calls “Steel Magnolias.” Infectious comic banter goes hand-in-hand with stoic resilience in Harling’s homage to the colorful, strong-willed women who populated the sleepy Louisiana hometown of his youth.

Why this? The interplay between Harling’s vividly drawn characters is far more intimate and engaging onstage than in the movie adaptation. This accomplished Actors Co-op ensemble includes Nan McNamara (“33 Variations,” “Wit”) as Truvy and, in a more mature role, Lori Berg, who played Truvy in the company’s memorable 1996 staging. The production also marks a homecoming of sorts for director Cameron Watson, whose first L.A. gig was with Actors Co-op in 2005 and who has since gone on to work at many of the Southland’s prestigious theater. Watson approaches the play’s sentimentality with period authenticity and blunt honesty.

Details: Actors Co-op’s David Schall Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, through May 5; also 2:30 p.m. March 30 and April 6; dark Easter weekend. $35. (323) 462-8460, www.actorsco-op.org

Director Cameron Watson Returns To Actors Co-op
It is an evergreen. It has such a loving heart and is chocked full of beautiful, funny, complicated women who care so deeply about each other.
— Cameron Watson discussing Steel Magnolias
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Director Cameron Watson Returns To Actors Co-op

Director Cameron Watson is about to receive the Milton Katselas Award for distinguished achievement in direction from the LADCC for 2018. He is one busy director in LA theatre and recently sat down to discuss overseeing the new production of Steel Magnolias at Actors Co-op, set to open Friday March 22.

BWW Interview With Director Heather Chesley
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Director Heather Chesley Talks Anna Karenina

Director Heather Chesley is about to open a rare revival of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina at Actors Co-op on February 8. She talks in depth about the play and why it is rarely seen.

“I think this story holds a mirror up to the human experience. It is a back and forth of faith and doubt. It seems perfect for Actors Co-op in that way.”

Actors Co-op
Richard Israel WINS Ovation Award

We are so proud to announce that Richard Israel won the 2019 Ovation Award for Best Direction of Violet at the Actors Co-op. Watch Richard Israel accept his Ovation Award

For a full list of Ovation Award winners, click below!

Director Richard Isarel wins an Ovation Award for Best Director of a musical for our 2018 production of Violet

Meet the Cast of Anna Karenina

Announcing the cast of
Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina: Eva Abramian
Constantine “Kostya” Levin: Joseph Barone*
Count Alexei Vronsky/Nikolai: Garrett Botts
Kitty/Seriozha: Ivy Beech
Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin: Bruce Ladd
Princess Betsy/Agatha/Governess/Railway Widow: Deborah Marlowe
Dolly/Countess Vronsky: Lauren Thompson
Stiva/Vassily/Bailiff/Petritsky/Priest: Michael Worden

Anna K Cast
Claire AdamsCast, Anna Karenina, 2019
Full List of Nominations 2018 Season

Actors Co-op is thrilled to announce its a list of nominations per show for its 2018 Season:

A Walk In The Woods:

Ovation Award Nomination:

Sound Design: Adam R Macias

Robby Award Nominations:

RAY STRICKLYN AWARD FOR BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA: Phil Crowley
SALLY KEMP AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA: Nan McNamara

StageSceneLA Winners:

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A TWO-HANDER
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE IN A TWO-HANDER: Nan McNamara and Phil Crowley
OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A TWO-HANDER: Ken Sawyer

A Man For All Seasons:

Eddon Award Winner:

BEST PRODUCTION IN AN INTIMATE SPACE

StageSceneLA Winners:

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A DRAMA (INTIMATE THEATER)  
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A DRAMA (INTIMATE THEATER): John Allee
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A DRAMA (INTIMATE THEATER): Deborah Marlowe, Treva Tegtmeier
OUTSTANDING ALTERNATE/UNDERSTUDY PERFORMANCE: Kevin Shewey
OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA (INTIMATE THEATER)
OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A DRAMA (INTIMATE THEATER): Thom Babbes

Violet:

Ovation Award Nominations:

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL (Intimate Theatre)
DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL: Richard Israel
LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Claire Adams
LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Jahmaul Bakare

Robby Award Nominations:

TERI RALSTON AWARD FOR BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
VIRGINIA CAPERS AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL: Richard Israel
MICHELLE NICASTRO AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Claire Adams
GARY BEACH AWARD BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Jahmaul Bakare, Morgan West
LISA ROBINSON AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Lily Zager
ELAN MCMAHAN AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION: Taylor Stephenson
JOHN IACOVELLI AWARD FOR BEST SCENIC DESIGN: Nicholas Acciani

StageSceneLA Winners:

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL (INTIMATE THEATER)
OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN (INTIMATE THEATER)
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL: Richard Israel
BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL: Claire Adams
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (INTIMATE THEATER): Jahmaul Bakare, Morgan West
OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE CAST PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL (INTIMATE THEATER)
OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION (INTIMATE THEATER): Taylor Stephenson

Actors Co-op recognized with SEVEN L.A. Ovation Nominations for the 2017-2018 Season
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Best Season

The 39 Steps

The Man Who Came To Dinner

A Walk in the Woods

A Man for All Seasons

Violet

Best Production of a Musical (Intimate Theater)

VIOLET

Direction of a Musical

RICHARD ISRAEL , VIOLET

Lead Actor in a Musical

JAHMAUL BAKARE, VIOLET

Lead Actress in a Musical

CLAIRE ADAMS, VIOLET

Sound Design (Intimate Theater)

ADAM R. MACIAS, A WALK IN THE WOODS

Costume Design (Intimate Theater)

SHON LEBLANC , THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER

This year, the ceremony will be held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday, January 28th. Tickets will go on sale Monday, November 26th, and full information can be found on OvationAwards.com.


Actors Co-op
She Loves Me featured in the Los Angeles Times 99 Seat Beat!


ENTERTAINMENT

99-Seat Beat: Genderless space creatures, mythic New Jerseyites, bickering Hungarians, and more

By F. KATHLEEN FOLEY

NOV 02, 2018 | 6:00 AM

‘She Loves Me,’ Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre

The essentials: Surrounded by a colorful coterie of co-workers, two comically bickering shop clerks in 1930s Hungary find a respite from their humdrum lives in an epistolary romance with pen pals they have never actually met. Of course, they later realize that their mysterious mutual admirers are none other than each other, and that all of their abrasive interactions were just the preliminaries to their own slowly simmering love story.

Why this? Miklós László’s 1937 play “Parfumerie” has given rise to numerous adaptations, most notably Ernst Lubitsch’s 1940 film “The Shop Around the Corner,” a deft delight that has become a Christmas perennial. Only modestly received in its 1963 production, this musical has won multiple Tonys in its various incarnations, including a blockbuster 2016 Broadway revival that established its durable appeal for modern-day audiences. Savvy veteran of stage, screen and television, director-choreographer Cate Caplin helms the production, which promises a refreshing plunge into pure nostalgia.

Details: Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre, 1760 N. Gower Hollywood. (On the campus of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood.) 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Ends Dec. 16. $39. (323) 462-8460. www.ActorsCo-op.org

Director Richard Israel shares his Co-op story!
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“While I am not a member of the Actors Co-op, I have always felt like a member of the family.”

In 2008, I was asked to direct a production of 1776 at the Actors Co-op. This was my first directing experience outside of my own theatre company, and I was admittedly nervous about taking on such a large show for an unfamiliar theatre organization. In addition, I wasn’t sure how I would be received at a Christian theatre company, and what the working environment would be. There were a lot of unanswered questions as I embarked on my first show 10 years ago.

Our 2008 production of 1776, directed by Richard Israel photo: Ed Kreiger

Our 2008 production of 1776, directed by Richard Israel photo: Ed Kreiger

It’s now 2018, and nine shows later, I am proud to call the Actors Co-op an artistic home. I have had the great honor of directing six musicals and three non-musical plays, including last season’s production of Violet. I believe I hold the record for most shows directed at the Co-op -- a record of which I am extremely proud.

There are so many things that I respect about the Actors Co-op, but I think I can best articulate it like this – the Co-op’s commitment to their faith is equaled by its commitment to the craft of theatre. Producing intimate theatre in a film and TV town is challenging at best. Producing intimate theatre while fulfilling the responsibilities of a church ministry is (I would imagine) an extremely delicate balancing act. But the members of the Actors Co-op do this with grace and respect, and with a true commitment to theatrical excellence.

Our 2018 production of Violet, directed by Richard Israel, photo: Matthew Gilmore

Our 2018 production of Violet, directed by Richard Israel, photo: Matthew Gilmore

While I am not a member of the Actors Co-op, I have always felt like a member of the family. And let’s face it, there’s something to be said for a Christian theatre company whose most frequent director is a guy named Richard Israel. I think this speaks to a warmth and a sense of humanity that is difficult to come by in a big city like Los Angeles.

It’s been my great honor to work with the Actors Co-op over the last ten years, and I hope you will consider supporting the company in any way possible.

Sincerely,

Richard Israel, Director

Actors Co-op
Interview with Ken Sawyer

Check out this wonderful interview with our Rope director, Ken Sawyer!

I have a saying when directing a thriller. “Entertain ‘em. Get ‘em to laugh. Then stab ‘em in the back.” The audience will scream. Then laugh at the fact that they got caught off guard. Then later, if the show was good, ponder why they got sucked in. And why they are a little afraid now of turning out the light. That is the cat and mouse game we play with the audience in a thriller. Humor is always a big part of that.
Claire Adams