Read Actors Co-op The Elephant Man press release text version


CONTACT: Nan McNamara [email protected] (323) 462-8460, ext. 104


Pasadena Playhouse' Former Artistic Director Helms Show to Open September 26, 2008

August 28, 2008 . . . Hollywood, CA . . . Actors Co-op opens its 17th Anniversary season with Bernard Pomerance's Tony award-winning play, "The Elephant Man." Opening September 26, 2008 and performing through November 2, 2008, "The Elephant Man" is helmed by criticallyacclaimed director Stephen Rothman.

"The Elephant Man" is the profound and touching true story of John Merrick, a man hideously deformed since birth. Under the care of a brilliant and ambitious young doctor, Merrick transforms from a sensational object of pity to a sensitive and intelligent man. Those around him come to know his beautiful spirit within, and in the process, discover their own hidden flaws. "The Elephant Man" questions the ideas of perception and what it means to be truly beautiful.

Director Stephen Rothman is Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance at California State University, Los Angeles, and serves as the program's Artistic Director. Founder and artistic leader of the revitalized Pasadena Playhouse, he also served as the Artistic Director of the Sacramento Theatre Company, as well as the Producing Director of Pennsylvania Center Stage. His directing credits include productions at Pasadena Playhouse, Deaf West Theatre, Asolo Theatre Company, Sacramento Theatre Company, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and San Diego Repertory Theatre. - MORE -

1760 N. Gower St. Hollywood, CA 90028

"At this point in my career, I really focus on passion projects," Mr. Rothman said. "A play really has to grab me and find me in a number of ways. I hadn't read `The Elephant Man' in years, and reading it again, I suddenly realized it was a play I had to do, especially in a political and social climate where people say it doesn't matter what someone looks like, and yet, it does matter for a lot of people. In this play, based on a true story, society put John Merrick in a freak show, but once they got past his exterior, they accepted him, and began to see what a soulful thinker he was. We need that message today - it is the key to how we can all live together. `The Elephant Man' is the perfect show for Actors Co-op. It's a very spiritual, theatrical play that looks at the spirit of who we are, and that's part of the mission of Actors Co-op - finding the spiritual in all the material they produce."

Mr. Rothman expressed his enthusiasm for directing at Actors Co-op. "I've directed across the country for a number of years, but I had been searching for a theatre in town to hang my hat. I'm interested in collaborating with a company that has a history, that is committed to quality, committed to what theatre should be, a place that is ultimately challenging and theatrical and exciting for everyone involved audience and artist. That's what Actors Co-op is - it took me a while to find. But, once I discovered it, I loved the fact that this theatre is a cooperative. As a middle-aged hippy, a co-op is of great interest! All the staff are performers - loving, caring members of a group that will do whatever they need to do to produce a professional, high-level artistic experience."

Design Team The renowned design team includes award-winning set designer David Potts. Mr. Potts has designed the Broadway productions of "Born Yesterday" (with Ed Asner and Madeline Kahn), "As Is" and "The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940." His many off-Broadway credits include acclaimed productions of "The Seahorse" and "The Boys Next Door," as well as numerous productions at Circle Repertory Theatre, The Manhattan Theatre Club and Playwright's Horizon. He has designed - MORE -

1760 N. Gower St. Hollywood, CA 90028

extensively for regional theatres across the country and has worked as Art Director on several television series including HBO's "Deadwood" for which he received an Emmy Award.

Joe Cerqua joins the design team as original composer and sound designer. Mr. Cerqua is the resident sound designer at the Tony Award-winning Steppenwolf Theatre where his credits include "Homebody/Kabul," "The Fall to Earth," "Wedding Band," "Royal Family," "Uncle Vanya," "David Copperfield" and "Sideman." His numerous regional theatre credits include original music and sound design for The Kansas City Repertory, Madison Repertory Theatre, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens and The Mark Taper Forum. He has also composed and designed for a number of productions that have gone on to National Tours. Mr. Cerqua is the Producing Director/Composer in residence for the Cerqua Rivera Art Experience, a critically acclaimed 13-piece jazz orchestra and dance company.

James Moody is the lighting designer for "The Elephant Man." Mr. Moody has designed over 200 productions at regional theatres across the country, as well as colleges and universities as a guest artist. He is considered one of the founders of concert lighting, receiving the first Concert Lighting Designer of the Year Award and designing for such luminaries as John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, Barry White, Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder and The Beach Boys. He is the Head of Technical Theatre and Design at Los Angeles City College and has literally "written the book" on lighting entitled "Concert Lighting: Techniques, Art and Business." Mr. Moody has also worked extensively in television, earning two Emmy nominations and one team win. He was recently awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award in lighting design from USITT.

Costume designer Naila Aladdin Sanders rounds out "The Elephant Man" creative team. Ms. Sanders is an NAACP Theatre Award winner and Ovation Award nominee. Her work has been seen

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in theatres across Southern California including productions at South Coast Repertory, The Fountain Theatre, West Coast Ensemble, The Robey Theatre Company and the Greenway Court Theatre. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Ms. Sanders custom designs silk clothing and fine art for private clients and teaches classes in costume construction at Los Angeles City College.

"The Elephant Man" is produced by Rocky Bonifield. A graduate of UCLA, she has produced, directed, script-supervised or coordinated numerous productions including "The Cable Ace Awards," "The Miss Universe Pageant" and "The Peter, Paul & Mary Special." Rocky has also produced her own one-woman show. As an actress, she has performed at Actors Co-op in "A Hatful of Rain," "The God Committee" and "The Taming of the Shrew."

About the Cast Guest Artist Bill Mendieta portrays Dr. Frederick Treves. Mr. Mendieta is a member of the Antaeus Theatre Company where he was seen in the first US revival of Arthur Miller's "The Man Who Had All The Luck." Mr. Mendieta played the title role in "Hamlet" at the Nevada Shakespeare Festival and has performed at the Road Theatre, the Tony Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre and California Shakespeare Festival.

Actors Co-op member and Artistic Chairman Ronnie Steadman portrays John Merrick. Mr. Steadman recently appeared in Actors Co-op's production of "1776," as well as "The Nerd" and "It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play." His television/film roles include "Star Trek," "Criminal Minds," "Monk" and "Jericho."

Actors Co-op member Maria Lee portrays Mrs. Kendal. Ms. Lee has appeared in numerous productions at Actors Co-op including "The Skin of Our Teeth," "Into the Woods," "Shooting Stars," - MORE 1760 N. Gower St. Hollywood, CA 90028

"The Most Happy Fella," "Twelfth Night" and "Translations." She is also an accomplished singer, having performed as a solo artist across Europe.

Other members of the talented acting ensemble include Actors Co-op members Stephen Folds, Steve Gustafson, Greg Martin and Don Robb and guest artists Victoria Hoffman and Brandon Massey.

About the Author Born in New York City in 1940, Bernard Pomerance immigrated to London in the 1970s. Although the author of a number of others plays, as well the novel, "We Need to Dream All This Again," Mr. Pomerance achieved his greatest success with "The Elephant Man." The play garnered three Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, the Drama Desk Award and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award.

About Actors Co-op Opening its 17th year of transforming theatre, Actors Co-op operates two 99-seat Equity-approved theatres on the campus of Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Actors Co-op began on January 8th, 1987, with a dozen actors. Currently, its membership exceeds 40 professionals. Since the Crossley Theatre opened its doors in April of 1989 and its second theatre, the Crossley Terrace Theatre opened February of 1995, Actors Co-op has produced over 60 main stage productions, over 26 Second Stage productions, staged readings of original works, and has received 125 Drama-Logue Awards, 19 LA Weekly Award nominations (4 wins), 25 Theatre LA Ovation Award nominations, 5 Garland Awards and 5 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards. In addition, Actors Co-op was honored with the 1996 Margaret Harford Award for "Sustained Achievement" in smaller theatre from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle as well as the 1996 Charlie Award for "Excellence in the Arts" by the Hollywood Arts Council.

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Actors Co-op's 17th season opens with "The Elephant Man" and continues in October with Ken Ludwig's "Leading Ladies" directed by Richard Israel, followed in February, 2009 by the worldpremiere musical, "Makin' Hay" written by Matthew Goldsby and directed by Linda Kerns and concluding in May, 2009 with Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" directed by Joel Swetow.

Schedule Opening Night for "The Elephant Man" is Friday, September 26, 2008 at 8 PM. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2:30 PM. Saturday matinees are scheduled on October 4, 11 & November 1 at 2:30 PM. There will be no performance, Friday, October 31, 2008. "The Elephant Man" closes Sunday, November 2, 2008.

Location Actors Co-op's Crossley Theatre is located at 1760 N. Gower Street, Hollywood, CA 90028, on the campus of Hollywood Presbyterian Church, one block north of Hollywood Boulevard, just off the Gower Street exit of the 101 Hollywood Freeway. Free, well-lit parking is available on Carlos Street (1/2 block east of Gower).

Ticket Information Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors (60 and older) and $20 for students. Group rates are available for parties of six or more. For reservations, call (323) 462-8460, ext. 300.


1760 N. Gower St. Hollywood, CA 90028


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