A play with music about Georgia O’Keefe.
by Sharmon J. Hilfinger.
with music by Joan McMillen
A co-production with the BootStrap Theatre Foundation.
Directed by Jake Margolin.

October 8-30, 2011.
Thursday, 7:30PM.
Friday/Saturday, 8PM.
Sunday, 5PM.

Hanging Georgia, written by Sharmon J. Hilfinger, tells the story of Georgia O’Keeffe’s love relationship and marriage with the famous photographer and art dealer, Alfred Stieglitz. At the center of the American Modern Art movement, O’Keeffe and Stieglitz live a life of passion and drama in a Bloomsbury-like environment of artists and writers. O’Keeffe’s rise to fame is astounding. How does a woman in the early 1900′s command the highest prices on the American art market and maintain her artistic independence?

This ensemble based piece with movement and live music is sure to be one of the most delightful theatrical events of the season.

Cast & Crew

Sharmon J. Hilfinger (Playwright, Producer)
Sharmon has been writing plays for twenty-five years and has been produced by Pear Avenue Theatre, Heartland Theatre, Menlo Players’ Guild, and BootStrap Theatre Foundation. Hanging Georgia is her seventh full-length play to be produced, and three of her short plays have been included in the Pear Avenue Theatre Pear Slices program. She studied playwriting with Rick Foster, Ellen McLaughlin and Oskar Eustis and is a founding member of the Pear Avenue Theatre Playwrights’ Guild, a playwriting peer group. Hanging Georgia is her fourth play with music written in collaboration with composer Joan McMillen. Their play about Emily Dickinson, Tell It Slant, played to sold-out houses at the Pear Avenue Theatre in 2009 and was remounted at the Southside Theatre, Fort Mason in San Francisco in the Spring of 2010. Imaginal Disks: A Tale of Transformation premiered in 2001 at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts. In 2003, Hilfinger and McMillen’s environmental activist play for high school actors, got water?, premiered at the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Hilfinger’s other full-length plays include An Ideal Mother, A History of Things that Never Happened, and Deuce. In 1998, she founded BootStrap Theatre Foundation, a nomad theatre development and production company dedicated to helping artists bootstrap their way to visibility. BootStrap has developed, produced independently or co-produced nine world premieres.


Joan McMillen (Composer)
One of Joan’s earliest memories is of her father tucking her into bed at night, then sitting down beside her to sing and play his own father’s guitar. She’s been singing, playing piano, and composing ever since. Her choral song cycles Journey of the Raindrop and Winter Solstice Celebration have been performed in several San Francisco Bay Area communities, and her Remembering the Way: Ceremony in Honor of the Labyrinth at Chartres has accompanied labyrinth celebrations around the world via CD. Joan has been collaborating with playwright Sharmon J.Hilfinger for the past ten years, producing three previous plays with music: Imaginal Disks, A Tale of Transformation in 2001; got water? in 2003; and Tell It Slant, a play about Emily Dickinson, in 2009. Joan has also created music for poet/playwright Melissa Ann Reed’s autobiographically-based play, Dancing the Labyrinth. She is currently working with playwright Ken Arnold on The Garden, a play written and performed in the style of Japanese Noh Drama. Joan and her husband Don now live in Portland, OR.


Jake Margolin (Director)
Jake is a native of Berkeley and is currently a New York based artist, director, and performer. As a member of the devised theatre company The TEAM Jake has created and performed in three plays which have toured throughout North America, the UK and Europe including New York’s Public Theatre, London’s Barbican and Minneapolis’s Walker Center: Architecting, which won the Edinburgh Fringe First award, Particularly In The Heartland, where Jake was a nominee for Best Male Performance at the Dublin Fringe Festival, and Howl. Over the last several years he has also been creating performance/installation art with his husband, Nick Vaughan. Nick and Jake presented Preparations for a Marriage in Pittsburgh in 2007, created the environment for Pavel Zustiak’s S(even) in Pittsburgh in 2007, created an installation for Yoshiko Chuma’s Shredded, and are currently developing A Marriage: 1 as resident artists at the HERE Arts Center. Jake and Chantal Pavageaux co-founded Royal Lace Paper Works, a performance art collaboration that presented Breezy Pines as part of the Mabou Mines Resident Artist Program, The Political Party in Minneapolis in 2008, and The RV Party in RV campgrounds and truck stops throughout the United States in 2005. Jake created text for and performed in Yoshiko Chuma’s Page Out Of Order Not About Romanian Cinema throughout Romania and at Danspace in New York, and is currently working on her piece about Palestine, 6 Seconds in Ramallah.


Paz Pardo (Georgia)
A Bay Area native, Paz currently lives and works in New York. She appeared most recently inChewed Bread, a play she devised with Nisa Ari at the Manitou Art Theatre in Colorado Springs. Her most recent Bay Area appearance was with BootStrap when she appeared as the Demiurge in Tell It Slant. Locally, she has been seen in Anna in the Tropics at TheatreWorks, and Vehicleat the Pear Avenue Theatre and regionally as Sandra in The Scariest: 2at the eXchange. Favorite Stanford Drama Department credits include Yuin Zhifan in Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land and Liz in Like Shadows (dir. Stan Lai); Nina in The Seagull and Dunyasha in The Cherry Orchard (dir. Rachel Anderson), and Ensemble in Tesseract and Midnight Stratum (dir. Lin Hixson and Matthew Goulish). Film credits include Where’s My Stuff? which will premiere in San Francisco this fall at the Cinema By the Bay Film Festival. Directing credits include I Think I Like Girls at Stanford and Architecting (Assistant Director, Dir. Rachel Chavkin, The Public), as well as four plays with the Foolwise Players. As a Dramaturg, she works with the TEAM, most recently on Mission Drift which garnered both a Fringe Festival First and the Herald Angel Award at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Training includes Stanford University (Eleanor Prosser Award for Scholarship), LAMDA, and the National Theatre Institute. In 2012 she will be a Fulbright Scholar in Buenos Aires researching Theatre and Psychoanalysis.


Michael Storm (Alfred Stieglitz)
Michael has been the Artistic Director of TheatreFIRST for a little over two years and has overseen the production of six plays, including one Bay Area premiere and multiple staged readings. He has been acting, directing, teaching and producing theatre for over 20 years in the Bay Area. As an actor his most recent appearances include Guildenstern in TheatreFIRST’s runaway hit Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a variety of Texans in Greater Tuna and Tuna Christmas at Pacific Alliance; The Man in Turn of The Screw and Williamson in Glengarry Glenn Ross for San Jose Stage Company; as well as back to back summers with The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival as Oberon/ Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and, in the summer of ’08, he appeared as Pericles in Pericles, Prince of Tyre. He has also performed with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Festival, Crowded Fire, Napa Valley Repertory Theatre, and Subterranean Shakespeare among others.


Nick Allen (Ensemble)
Nick has been acting and directing in the Bay Area since 2002. His long stint with the Stanford Shakespeare Society included appearances as Brabantio in Othello, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Silvius in As You Like It, Feste in Twelfth Night, Richard III in Richard III, and Sergeant/Doctor/Murderer in Macbeth. He also directed Love’s Labour’s Lost for that company in 2006. In 2009 he revisited that play, performing as Sir Nathaniel in a special project at The Public Theatre. Nick appeared in two seasons of Stanford Summer Theatre productions including Harold Pinter’s The Collection and Night, Moliere’s Don Juan, in which he played Sganarelle, and Amy Freed’s Restoration Comedy. He also felt particularly blessed when he got to work with Rachel Anderson in The Cherry Orchard. He recently appeared in Pure Baltic Avenue in the BOA X festival. Some of Nick’s favorite dramatic moments have come from his mornings and afternoons running Shakespeare workshops in middle and high schools.


Bear Capron (Ensemble)
Bear got his start on stage at the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre in 1956 and has lived and breathed theatre ever since. Bear worked as actor, director, teacher and play therapist during his 17-year stay in Amsterdam. A veteran of the Festival of Fools, starting in Amsterdam and then spreading over much of Western Europe in the 70’s, Bear toured with his acting partner, Pamela Koevoets, as half of a comic duo, presenting hundreds of performances of their self-written BAMsister productions. Bear was the Drama and Film teacher and stage director at Castilleja School in Palo Alto for twenty years, where many of his productions were graced with original music composed by his husband of twenty years, composer Alva Henderson. Bear served as director of Hilfinger and McMillen’s youth theatre project, got water?, produced by BootStrap in 2002 and 2003 and was part of the ensemble for BootStrap’s Tell It Slant in 2009 and 2010.


Claire Slattery (Ensemble)
Claire graduated from Stanford University B.A. in both Drama and Communication in 2009 where she was awarded the Evelyn M. Draper Prize for Performance. Favorite Stanford roles include: Chloe Haddock in Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Micheleine in Splendour, and April White in Savage in Limbo. Her Bay Area acting credits include: My Sister Eileen at Foothill College, An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein with Dragon Theatre, The Great Double Check for Boxcar Theatre’s 9th Annual B.O.A. Festival, Durang Me! With Custom Made Theatre Company and Troilus & Cressida which was a co-production between Stanford University and The Public Theatre in New York. Claire is also an improviser who has performed with The Stanford Improvisors, Secret Improv Society, and BATS Improv. She is incredibly excited to be appearing in her first production with both BootStrap Theatre Foundation and TheatreFIRST.


Roy Landaverde (Ensemble)
Roy is making his BootStrap debut. He has previously joined forces with Sleepwalkers Theatre, Shotgun Players, Town Hall Theatre, Berkeley Opera, Impact Theatre, Brookside Repertory Theatre and of coarse TheatreFIRST. He was last seen at TheatreFIRST as Grandpa and Muley Graves, among other ensemble characters, in last season’s production of John Stienbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.



Juliet Strong (Ensemble)
An Oakland, California, native, Juliet has appeared on stage in Oregon and California with the Oregon Festival of American Music, California Shakespeare Theatre, Shotgun Players, The Jewish Theatre, Bootstrap Theatre Foundation, and in the Bracebridge Dinner at Yosemite National Park. Her most recent Bay Area appearance was in BootStrap’s production of Tell It Slant. She has a background in Folk, Classical and Jazz piano and voice, which has been paired with extensive theatrical training. She received her Bachelor’s of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Oregon in 2005, where she studied with Milagro Vargas and she has received actor training at the University of Oregon, California Shakespeare Theatre and Berkeley Rep School of Theatre. As a vocalist, Juliet has collaborated, performed and recorded with Bay Area and New York based musicians, composers, directors, playwrights and dancers for the past several years. Her vocal stylings have been featured on the Cartoon Network’s The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack; a cult cartoon classic.


Maryssa Wanlass (Ensemble)
Maryssa is honored to make her TheatreFIRST debut with the Slanters Ensemble in Hanging Georgia! Recent roles include Desdemona in Othello with Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park and Kara in the world premiere of Imaginary Love by Kait Kerrigan with Hapgood Theatre Company. She has also performed locally with Center REPertory Company in Enchanted April and Witness for the Prosecution, Woman’s Will in Good Person of Szechuan and Much Ado About Nothing, with Hapgood Theatre in How I Learned to Drive and Gaslight, and with Theatre Rhinoceros in All About Eve, Medea! The Musical, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. She studied at Mills College and the Moscow Art Theatre Stanislavsky Summer School. You can learn more at www.maryssa-wanlass.com



Martin Flynn (Set Designer)
Recently Martin designed scenery for Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter, The Grapes of Wrath, Anton in Show Business and The Drawer Boy at TheatreFIRST and Becoming Julia Morgan directed by Barbara Oliver at the Berkeley City Club. He recently designed the set for A Year With Frog and Toad at Bay Area Children’s Theatre, directed by Mina Morita. Martin was the resident Scenic Design Associate at the American Conservatory Theatre from 2007 to 2010 and was a visiting Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at Indiana University in 2009. In addition to his work for the stage, Martin designs private homes in the Bay Area. Martin has an M.F.A. in Dramatic Arts/Scenic Design from U.C. Davis, as well as architectural degrees from Syracuse University and the State University of New York. Next up Martin will be designing Sweeney Todd and Annie for Berkeley Playhouse.


Devon LaBelle (Props Designer)
Recently, Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter was Devon’s fourth production with TheatreFIRST as a Properties Designer. Past productions include The Drawer Boy, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Anton in Show Business and The Grapes of Wrath. Her other Bay Area credits include Bay Area Children’s Theatre and Berkeley Playhouse. By day, Devon is a teaching artist for the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre and has directed for Walden Theatre Conservatory of Kentucky and Northwest Playwrights Alliance in Seattle.


Christina Larson (Stage Manager)
Christina Larson is very excited to be working on her first show with TheatreFIRST. She just received her BA in Drama: Production from the University of Washington, where she was Production Manager for the Undergraduate Theatre Society, and stage managed undergraduate and graduate shows. She has previously worked at California Shakespeare Theatre as both an intern on Happy Days and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and as a Production Assistant on Macbeth and Candida.


Emma Nicholls (Assistant Director)
Emma is a student at UC Berkeley, majoring in both Rhetoric and Theatre. This past year she collaborated on a devised performance with Joe Goode titled Deviations and played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet with the student-run organization Barestage. She is now serving on the Barestage board as the financial director. After interning as the Assistant Stage Manager for Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter, she is thrilled to continue her work with TheatreFIRST.


Ryan Lee Short (Sound Designer)
Ryan is thrilled to be back with TheatreFIRST after having designed Stones in his Pockets, Anton in Show Business and Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter . His background is in studio engineering and live concert production, but he’s found that theatre people are much more fun. His noises (and sometimes, voice) can also be heard during Virago Theatre and Altarena Playhouse productions across the estuary in Alameda. While not weaving intricate aural landscapes, Ryan can be found wrangling small children and helping them through the rigors of elementary school homework.


Selina Young (Lighting Designer)
Selina is happy to debut as Lighting Designer for TheatreFIRST. She has designed the lighting for many Bay Area theatre companies including: San Jose Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, San Jose Stage Company, Marin Theatre Company and Alter Theatre Ensemble, where she is an Associate Artist. Some of her favorite shows include: Avenue Q, Altar Boys, Almost… Patsy Cline with San Jose Stage Company; X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X with Oakland Opera Theatre; The Spitfire Grill (the musical) with Palo Alto Players and American Whupass with Alter Theatre Ensemble. While working in the entertainment industry in a multitude of positions on and off stage, Ms. Young has had the privilege of working with luminaries such as Eric Bogosian, Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Stewart. She is a member of Actor’s Equity Association, IATSE Local 134 (stagehands), Theatre Bay Area, and Theatre Communications Group.


Nick Vaughan (Costume Designer)

Nick is a New York based artist and scenographer and he is the Resident Designer for Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival where he created sets and costumes for L’Enfant et les Sortileges, 7 Deadly Sins, La Boheme, Il Trittico, Soldier’s Tale, Master Peter’s Puppet Show, Turn of the Screw, Albert Herring, The Beggar’s Opera, and The Rape of Lucretia. Other recent designs include Mission Drift, Architecting and Particularly in the Heartland all with the TEAM; with the company HERE, the Obie Award-winning, Lily’s Revenge, by Taylor Mac and Sounding; Poom2 and Poonarc both created by Yoshiko Chuma; The Marriage of Figaro and L’Ormindo with the Curtis Institute of Music; and HALT, Weddings and Beheadings, Blind Spot and Le Petit Mort with Palissimo. He received the 2005 NYC Fringe Award for Outstanding Set Design, the 2005 USITT Oren Parker Award for Set Design, the Lloyd Weninger Award for Stage Design, and was selected for the US Exhibit in the 2007 Prague Quadrennial. He maintains an ongoing performance/installation art collaboration with his husband Jake Margolin, currently working on A Marriage: 1 in residence at the HERE Arts Center.


Rachel Anderson-Rabern (Workshop Director)

Rachel was the Director for Tell It Slant (Pear Avenue Theatre, 2009) and directed the Slanters Performance Ensemble in the 2010 and 2011 development workshops for Hanging Georgia. She received her PhD in Drama at Stanford University where she was awarded a Mellon Fellowship for her dissertation, The Politics of Collective Creation. She studied Theatre and Literature at Reed College, and acting and directing at Russia’s Moscow Art Theatre. Her writing on contemporary ensemble performance has appeared in Theatre Journal and TDR: The Drama Review, and she has taught at Stanford University and Santa Clara University. She firmly believes in processes that value joy, fun, and collaborative creativity, and sends much love to Bootstrap and the Hanging Georgia team for their excellent work in these arenas.


[nggallery id=25]