22 Dec Newsletter – December 2013


Artistic Director’s Corner

Michael StormHappy holidays! Things are busy indeed around TheatreFIRST.

In about two weeks we start rehearsals for the second show of our 2013/2014 season, Escanaba in da Moonlight, by Jeff Daniels. This is a hilarious comedy with a stellar cast. Heavy hitters Julian Lopez-Morillas, Soren Oliver and Kevin Karrick make up the Soady Clan, and they are joined by Damien Seperi as The Jimmer, Andy Alabran as Ranger Tom, and Laura Domingo as Wolf Moon Dance Soady. We have Nancy Carlin as our dialect coach, Cassandra Carpenter as our costumer, and many of the usual suspects back on the design team. Believe me when I write, you will want to tell everyone you know about this unique comedy, so you will want to come early in the run and help us spread the word.

Thanks to the gracious support of the Wattis Foundation, we are currently workshopping Lauren Gunderson’s Fire Work, which opens our next season. The first week-long intensive allowed us to develop the script alongside playwright Lauren Gunderson and director Mina Morita. The week began with a read through of the play and discussions about the script. The writer then spent a day re-working the script, and on the third day the cast and director met up with the writer again to evaluate the new version. Now we take an extended break and allow the writer to really role her sleeves up and get to work. Another round of meetings will occur in March. It’s very exciting for us and a great honor to help Lauren and Mina develop this piece. We hope to do more of this in the future.

And if that weren’t enough, we are neck-deep in casting the third show of this season, Boy Gets Girl, by Rebecca Gilman. We have had a terrific turnout, which we attribute to both the content of the show and the connections of our new casting director, Caitlin McGarty. People know this play addresses a serious issue and they are eager to participate.
It is an exciting time. And of course it is the end of the year as well. We hope you will consider making a tax deductible donation to the cause and help us continue this important work. We do need your support now more than ever.

Happy Holidays from all of us at TheatreFIRST.


Happy Holidays from TheatreFIRST

As the temperature drops and the festivity chaos ramps up, we’d like to take a minute to say ‘Thank You’ and ‘Happy Holidays.’ 2013 has been a wonderful year for us at TheatreFIRST. We’ve found a home, both in our new location and with the support and kindness of our fans and contributors.

What’s On First At TheatreFIRST? The Answer: An Exciting 10K

In the spirit of Phyllis C. Wattis’ own hope to make the Bay Area art scene, “four stars, worth the detour,” the Wattis Foundation awards TheatreFIRST $10,000 for the first show of our 2014-2015 season, Lauren Gunderson’s Fire Work.

Developed at The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Fire Work is a 2011 winner for Aurora Theatre’s Global Age Project. This stunning play will be directed by Mina Morita, who you will know by her work at Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, Impact Theatre, Berkeley Playhouse, and many theatres across the bridge.

If you would like to be a show sponsor on the next Lauren Gunderson World Premier give us a call. We would love to discuss the many ways you can contribute.

Our Cinderella Story is in the News

We’ve been over the moon about managing the Live Oak Theatre and building it into a new hub for theatre and the arts. And so are the folks at Theatre Bay Area. Our old friend and supporter, Rachel Swan, has written up a lovely little piece about our Live Oak Theatre journey. Check out the whole article here:



‘Tis The Season to Be Jolly…And Generous

Want to squeeze in a last minute tax deduction and help out a neighborhood friend? Donate to TheatreFIRST! We’re gearing up for a New Year of fun, thought-provoking, and inventive work, and we want to provide only the best. Every little bit helps.

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Next Up in the New Year: 3 for the Price of 1

Actors Ensemble of Berkeley comes back to the Live Oak Stage with Relatively Speaking.  Three one acts by three comedic geniuses, performed together in one great night of theatre. Start your New Year off with Comedy!

First up, Woody Allen’s Honeymoon Motel directed by Colin Johnson remembered for his fantastic Noises Off from 2012. We’ve talked to the folks at Actors Ensemble: “Let’s just say this wasn’t what the groom had in mind – a hilarious farce reminiscent of Room Service.”

Next on the docket, Elaine May’s George is Dead directed by Susannah Wood. Followed by Ethan Coen’s Talking Cure directed by Michael Cohen, remembered as the director of Actors Ensemble’s 2013 production of Fortinbras.

Catch the action January 3rd through January 25th at Live Oak Theatre with an Opening Night Gala after the show on January 3rd. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees (January 12th and 19th) at 2 p.m.
For tickets and ticket information go to www.aeofberkeley.org (and direct through Brown Paper Tickets @ http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/532096) or call Actors Ensembler of Berkeley’s box office at 510-649-5999.

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