Actors Co-op presents an Original Works Series

As part of our 2019-2020 Co-op Too! season, for the first time we are presenting all new works, directed and performed by Actors Co-op members. Talk backs to follow each performance with the playwright, director and cast.


About the Play:

A researcher at a civil rights museum collects oral histories from the ancestors of those who saved Jews during the Holocaust. She also collects the stories of those who were saved. But when she uncovers that one hero family’s legend is a lie, she must not only break the news to all involved and shatter the myth but also come to terms with her own need to find heroes and good intentions among regular people.

About the Playwright: Amy Tofte

Amy Tofte’s plays have been produced throughout the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Her recent play, Women of 4G, will have its Chicago premiere this August. Also in 2019, her play Parts & Pieces was a finalist for the Todd McNerney Playwriting Award while Righteous Among Us was one of three finalists for the Florida Rep New Play Lab. Other plays have been semi-finalists for the nuVoices Festival (Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte), Kitchen Dog Theatre’s New Works Festival, Source Festival, The Bridge Initiative, Headwaters New Play Festival, PlayPenn, Inkslinger, Phoenix Theatre Festival and The Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship. She has developed plays at The Bechdel Group (NYC), Babes With Blades (Chicago), the Kennedy Center, Seattle Rep and at the Autry National Center of the American West. She has completed residencies at Yaddo, Brush Creek Ranch and with the National Winter Playwrights Retreat in Creede, CO. She is also a prolific screenwriter and was awarded a 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild. MFA, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).


About the play

 After rejecting young Tom Mitchell’s request to be his assistant, curmudgeonly writer Donald Steinman finds that his film producer daughter has hired him anyway. The motley pair struggles to find common ground as they work on Steinman’s latest screenplay, a feature about John D. Rockefeller. As they battle the stalled-out project, they find that the power of words extends far beyond the page.

About the playwright: Tony Muscio

Tony Muscio is thrilled to have his stage play Words be part of Actors Co-op's Original Reading Series. A graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, where he also studied playwriting, his other work, Waldorf=Astoria, was performed at Actors Co-op in 2013. Tony's other credits include executive producer on the Sharon Stone and Tony Goldwyn film, All I Wish, and he is currently developing a television series with Blumhouse TV.


About the play:

Liliana is a struggling classical actress. She wants her family back. More than her charm, cunning and theatrical skill will be needed to get Spenser to listen – really listen. The best way? Take him on a journey through the world’s great comedies and tragedies

About the Playwright: Jay Quantrill

Jay Quantrill is a Los Angeles based dramatist (stage, film and TV). He's had the luck to work with many Legendary theater artists, including Ted Mann, Salome Jens, Mitch Ryan. In other capacities he has worked with Arena Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, and The Mark Taper Forum, et al. He's written, directed and produced plays and musicals on both coasts and in the fly-over heart of the country. He was Artistic Director of the King’s Way Theater in Washington, D.C., and Producing Director/Dramaturg of The Fountain Theater, in Los Angeles – and, and, and... He's worked at the Actors' Studio Playwright's Unit, developing new works with Mark Rydell, Martin Landau, Anthony Franciosa, Frances Farmer, et al. Jay also spent many years reviewing theater, dance and music in the Washington Post, the First Folio of the Performing Arts, and "the Best Plays" (Burns Mantle Theater Yearbook) , L.A. Free Press, et al.


About the play:

Little Island of Joy explores the life of the 36-year-old Helen Keller in the year 1916 when she was at the height of her fame as the first deaf and blind woman to graduate from college, an acclaimed author, and a radical socialist who packed auditoriums urging her fellow countrymen not to join the war in Europe. In the midst of her work, and against the wishes of her beloved teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, and her devoted mother, Kate Keller, Helen fell in love with a hearing and sighted young man. Many years later, Helen wrote about this passionate, and secret, love affair, referring to it as “my little island of joy, surrounded by dark water.”

About the Playwright: Christopher Carlson

Christopher Carlson originally developed Little Island of Joy as a member of the Artists Theatre Workshop in Norwalk, CT. The play was a semi-finalist at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and won Third Prize at the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild-Julie Harris Playwrights Award Competition. Among numerous feature screenplays, Carlson wroteHomecoming, starring Anne Bancroft and nominated by the Writers Guild for Best Long Form Adaptation, and Beast of Bataan, a WW2 war crimes drama developed for Mel Brooks. In addition to dramatic writing, Carlson is the author of Puddlejumpers, a fantasy-mystery novel published by Hyperion Books for Children. His current projects include writing a dramatic screenplay from the non-fiction book Messages: Signs, Visits and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11, and developing an 8-Part television series from the novel Saving Elijah.