Saturday, July 23, 2022

Jane McNealy is an astounding composer, who along with her partner Alice Kuhns, has written songs and entire musical scores for many years. Read on to learn how music inspires her and her audiences.

I am so entranced  especially by 
"Why Does the Sky Keep Changing" and "Running Around." The first is so lilting and beautiful and the second so jazzy in its delivery, I wanted both to go on without stop. Love is at the core. What are your feelings about love and how it makes music so vibrant and alive?
(J.) First of all, thank you for your kind words about two of my favorite songs. I think, “love,” or the lack of it, or the disappointment in it, or the being angry about it, or depressed about it, or obsessed about it (« Of Human Bondage ») is what drives us. We die for love (Romeo and Juliet).
Disputes and wars have been fought in the name of love (Helen of Troy). Love has altered the course of history, and the fate of lives (Wallis Simpson & the Duke of Windsor, the former King-Emperor Edward VIII). We are motivated and driven by our emotions - Desire, Greed, Revenge, Jealousy, Madness (Salieri and Mozart) all forms of love.
Music is like the universe - no one knows where it comes from. And no one really knows where love comes from - it’s a feeling. It is the driving force behind everything we do and are- Hence love is the basis for what & why I write. I may not know why, it just happens. It’s my raison d’être.
I have attended, loved, and reviewed the Nine O'Clock Players for many years. These women are so talented and devoted to children's theatre like no other group. Please explain your connection. Have music theatre groupslike them or othersinfluenced your compositions?
 (J) Alice and I joined the Nine OClock Players in 2009. And yes, they are a wonderful childrens theatre group. The beauty of the Nine OClock Players, as you also know, is we perform for thousands of children who have never seen live theatre before. Its extremely rewarding. 
Most importantly, having worked with the NOP for years, we certainly got a “first hand look” and greater understanding of Children’s Theatre.
As the NOP doesn’t perform works by members, Alice and I decided to revise and update an old children’s musical, Take a Fable, and try to get it produced. The story was originally by Marjorie Sigley (who has since died). Our musical was first performed at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the 1970s and then by the Young People‘s Theater in New York.
Eventually Alice and I and some ex-NOP members formed our own theatre company (The Pasadena City Players). The end result was Take a Fable thrilled young children for several months in 2013.
I cannot stress, that if it hadn’t been for the Nine OClock Players, and what we learned from them, this experience never would have happened. So if you want to do something really worthwhile, I can only say, Do it! And children are your best audience.
Tell our readers about your music partnership with Ms. Kuhns and how it thrives. What do each of you contribute to the process?
(J) Every collaboration is different. And over the years Alice and my roles have changed.
Alice is highly educated, with a literary background in theatre. When I first started working with her, I had never written a musical before, so basically followed her lead, as I wrote the music, and we collaborated on lyrics.
As the years evolved, I became more involved with the libretto. I learned why songs advance the action, and why it was important not to have exposition, which writers tend to get trapped in when they’re not familiar with the theatre format.
Basically, what Alice and I share, is a deep love of the musical tradition and the classic musicals from the 1920s through the ’50s and ’60s. There practically isn’t a song from any famous older musical, that I can’t play by ear, or Alice can’t sing all the lyrics to. 
This isn’t saying we don’t like modern musicals - it’s just to say, that in our opinion, musicals today aren’t as lyrical, musical and memorable as the classic Broadway showstoppers from the past.
Which of the songs on your new album, Marsha Bartenetti sings McNealy & Kuhns, are from your musicals? What makes these songs different from the others? Do you have a favorite? If so, in what way is it special to you both?
(J) Three songs on the Marsha Bartenetti album are from musicals:
 “Why Does The Sky Keep Changing” from the musical Gauguin,
“Love” from the musical, Hotel Romeo and Juliette, and “What Is Today Without You” from the musical To Be Fred. WITWY is probably my favorite song for sentimental reasons, more than anything, because it is from the first musical Alice and I ever had produced.
Edgar Lansbury optioned To Be Fred in the early ‘70s, flew us to New York, and we worked with a director named Marvin Gordon for about six weeks. When we finished, Lansbury had to choose between our musical and another to produce, and he chose Godspell. And the rest is history, except we did get To Be Fred produced in Los Angeles at the Words and Music Theater a year later. Hope springs eternal as they say.
I laud you...especially for forming your own record label, Lo-Flo Records, later in your career. Tell our readers what this means to you. 
(J) Creating Lo-Flo Records has been life-changing (literally). I have a library, CLOSETS full of reel-to-reel music tapes from the 1960s onwards, that I had always considered archiving, but never seemed to get around to doing.
Then, in 2015, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I knew then, with lightning bolt certainty, that it was then or never that I was going to pull my music library together into some kind of digital format. The hope would be to leave my accomplishments, with all its evolutionary changes, as a legacy for others to learn from.  
For example, the musical Primrose Hill is inducted into the California Library system through the Audrey Skirball Foundation.
Since then I have put together a wonderful, creative team who have helped me fulfill this dream. But what is most important is that Lo-Flo Records has been a life-saving project at a very difficult time in my life.
What happened to the standards and great old shows from Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe?? What can we do to keep them thriving?
(J) The beauty of musical theatre is people will always go. There is nothing like the experience of watching and listening to live actors performing – singing and dancing and taking you out of your daily routine with its problems and stress.
I believe that singable, memorable songs, melodies and words that touch the heart, will survive. Classic musicals by, Irving Berlin, Rogers and Hammerstein, and Lerner and Loewe, whom you mentioned, Rodgers and Hart, the Gershwins, Cole Porter, my favorites, Noel Coward, Kurt Weill, and Edward German (The Just-So Stories), to  name a few, will continue to enchant future audiences because of their beautiful, memorable music and lasting stories.
As long as regional theatre to equity waiver (smaller non-union) theatres survive, so will classic American musicals.


Monday, June 6, 2022

Ben & George

Presented by Blue Vanity Productions in association with Theater Asylum. Ben & George is written; produced and directed by Lorne Stevenson. The play also stars Stevenson as George. The Stephanie Feury 5636 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles,CA 90038 

Lorne Stevenson is an independent artist, based in LA.  He'd like to thank his friends and family for their love and support. 

Explain who Ben and George are and their relationship. 

LS| Ben is a traumatized young man trying to cope with the loss of his father and older brother. He is toxic and presents a macho alpha male persona to the world. Underneath it all he is fragile and scared.-George is a queer; non-binary; freewheeling; depressed; wild and anxiety riddled individual. They fly through life by the seat of their pants, and are addicted to falling in love. They also have a temper and a violent past.-On the surface, Ben and George would call themselves best friends and roommates. But they’re in love, and neither of them knows how to process or express it properly. Ben has told himself that he is straight, but we later find out that that isn’t the case.-George has been gaslit and rejected by guys like Ben for far too long. And they are tired of it.-These two are plagued by male toxicity and must move past it in order to live fulfilling lives.-George is at least aware of their issues. Ben however chooses to ignore them and live in a facade. 

Tell our readers how you personally are involved in the plot. 

LS:Well, I am playing George and the character is based off of me. Some plot details have also been lifted from my own real life experiences with men. George can sometimes be delusional when it comes to men. I can definitely relate to this. But other times, people can’t deal with their own desires, so they deflect; lie and gaslight. I wanted to explore and ruminate on this.-Anything I write is me working through something in my life. An artistic way of healing myself. Releasing what I don’t need onto the stage. In this case it’s my own toxic ways. I’m getting older, and they no longer serve me. 

Why would I want to see your play as opposed to another Fringe play? What makes it extra special? 

LS: I would say come see this show if you love seeing stories that don’t follow conventions or hold your hand through the plot. See this show if you want to take a leap into the dark.-Also this show features a queer non-binary character in the lead role. There aren’t a lot of plays with characters like George. This is also a horror show; it pays homage to TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural. This show is special to me because it has so much of my soul; so much of my humor and sensibilities. It is a semi-autobiographical piece; I am currently living with a roommate I cannot stand, but have feelings for. He has the same feelings, but different belief systems, different ways of expression that keep us apart. So come to the show if you want a glimpse into someone else’s life. You might see yourself. 

Is there a lot of humor invested? Is it character driven rather than a batch of silly jokes? 

LS: This show has a lot of trauma; grief and horror in it, with lowbrow humor along for the ride. Nothing horrible is laughed at, but the horribleness is eased by the humor. This is a character driven piece and nothing is there just for the sake of being there. At the heart of the piece is the love story, and a majority of the show is spent sketching out Ben and George’s relationship. 

Do you have a Fringe Festival backgtound? In what capacity? Writer, actor, director? 

LS: This is the second show that I have produced at the Fringe Festival. The first was called Edward: Black Psycho. It was a one man show which I wrote and produced. It was directed by Ovation award winner Brittney S. Wheeler. I also starred in the piece. 

Do you have future plans to move this play forward? 

LS: The next step with this play is to turn it into a two act musical. The first of many plays with the character George.


Presented by Blue Vanity Productions in association with Theater Asylum. Written; produced and directed by Lorne Stevenson. Starring Jared Gaxiola, Raphael Buenaventura and Lorne Stevenson. The Stephanie Feury 5636 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles,CA 90038 

BEN AND GEORGE Premieres at the Hollywood Fringe Festival This is the newest dark comedy from Fringe veteran Lorne Stevenson. 

 Tickets: $15.00

Performance Dates:
Thursday June 9th at 8:30pm (Opening Night)
Friday June 17th at 9:30pm
Monday June 20th at 6:30pm
Saturday June 25th at 1:30pm

tickets Admission 18+

Jared Gaxiola below in red shirt costars as Ben. Raphael Buenaventurs in black and white photo plays Christian.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

The Bearer of Bad News

Unladylike Theatre Presents
The Bearer of Bad News
A Femme Forward Imagining of the Future
At Hollywood Fringe Festival
The Other Space Theater (at The Actor’s Company)
Sat. June 4 (7pm) • Sun. June 12 (1pm) • Sat. June 25 (5:30pm)

The newly established Unladylike Theatre presents The Bearer of Bad News at Hollywood Fringe Festivalfor three dates in June 2022 at The Other Space Theater (at The Actor’s Company). The Bearer of Bad News explores the intersection of identity and purpose set against the backdrop of a world irrevocably altered by climate change. In this collaborative creation written by non-binary playwright Alex Kingsley, three actors play nine roles. These very same actors—Ashley Victoria Robinson (award-winning comic book creator and podcaster), Tiana Randall-Quant (BLKLST Co-Founder), and voice actor Kendell Byrd—founded Unladylike in 2022.

The three queer femmes pictured below from top to bottom Tiana, Kendell and Ashley all participated in answering each question and thoroughly enjoyed our conversation.

What entrances all three of you about sci-fi projects?

Science Fiction allows creators to push boundaries and expand our ability to comment on issues we see as timely. For example, with The Bearer of Bad News hitting the stage in a time when Roe v. Wade is being threatened we, as people capable of pregnancy, are able to examine our relationship with pregnancy - and the archetype of “The Mother” that is put on us because of that capacity - from various points of view. 

Sci-fi, in particular, can drive an important message home creatively. The genre allows us to imagine worlds we do and don’t want to see. It allows us to make the audience uncomfortable in a way that will make them think.

How does The Bearer of Bad News fit into the mission statement of Unladylike Theatre?

The Bearer of Bad News is quite literally set in the future - which helps the three of us achieve “Reimagining in the future through femme-forward theatre.” It presents critical examinations of what AFAB characters owe to their society simply as a point of biology. The Bearer of Bad News is an alternate future which scares us, as creators, and we hope by inhabiting the world on stage, it inspires audiences.

You formed this company this year but worked together before at the Wallis Annenberg. Do you feel that three queer femmes can change the face of Los Angeles theatre for the better? How?

Queer femmes are creating some of the most exciting independent theatre in Los Angeles, in our opinion! We wanted to join the femmes stepping outside the status quo to bring big art to the small spaces across LA. Following Project Nongenue, Beating of Wings, and BLKLST we want to inspire the next generation of creatives to dive right in.

Los Angeles indie theatre doesn’t get its due compared to Chicago or New York and the queer femmes of the city are changing that.
This is an extension of the previous question.
Gay theatre by and large appeals to gay audiences. Do you feel we can change straight theatregoers to more heartily accept what you want to say? How do we make them more open and cooperative?

For us it’s not about making folx more cooperative it’s about not letting them forget we are here. As three queer women we’re often put in boxes by the status quo and, frankly, we’re not inspired to sit in those boxes. If straight-identifying audience members don’t want to attend it’s their loss, not ours.

Now is the time in my mind to have more women take control in the theatre, especially minority women. I laud you. What other techniques besides sci-fi stories are you planning to utilize to make us all inclusive in a real community?

In addition to fostering new works (which our tastes happen to lean sci-fi), Unladylike Theatre also has plans to bring classics to the stage as well. By playing in the world of tropes and stories audiences are more familiar with, we’re hoping to further our exploration of how femmes will shape the future. What’s nice about looking backward to move forward is it offers us, as founders, the opportunity to reflect on our work and encourages larger casts which encourages further collaboration. For us, collaboration over competition is key in order to build the Los Angeles Theatre Community we want to see.
Unladylike Theatre Presents
The Bearer of Bad News
A Femme Forward Imagining of the Future
At Hollywood Fringe Festival
The Other Space Theater (at The Actor’s Company)
Sat. June 4 (7pm) • Sun. June 12 (1pm) • Sat. June 25 (5:30pm)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Mother Grace

  • Do you agree that God’s love can redeem us all? Is it a good thing, if so? Mother Grace, written by dynamic playwright Aditya Putcha, whose debut Inversion performed to sold-out audiences at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2017, and directed by Stephen Juhl, Edinburgh Fringe Festival veteran, asks the tough questions. Mother Grace opens June 4th at 1:30 pm at the Stephanie Feury Studio at 5636 Melrose Ave., Hollywood CA 90038.

    The protagonist, Linus Stephenson, has a heart of gold and has touched countless lives during his decades of ministry work. He proudly attributes his effect on people to the healing influence of God, who turned him from an abused little boy and tormented young man into a pillar of the community. Yet there is much we do not know. Even as Linus uses the Lord’s strength to aid a traumatized young congregant, he realizes he may have entered a battle in which even his spiritual mother cannot help him. Yet if she can, does he deserve it? This timely play builds on the strength of the #MeToo movement while asking timeless and universal questions.
  • Starring: Leslie Foumberg, Charlotte Frøyland, Sydney Grey, Julia Linger, Tristan Meyers, Linda Nile, Wade Oxford, Richard Page, and Christine Viviers

Playwright Aditya Putcha chats with us about Mother Grace

Explain the title,

AP: It’s a pun. Grace is a concept central to Christianity, the centerpiece of the main character’s life, and plays a vital role in the events of the play.
However, it is also a woman’s name. When I first got the idea for the play, my elevator pitch was, “It’s about a guy’s very, very VERY complicated relationships with women throughout his life.”
One of those women in his biological mother. One of them is his spiritual mother. One of them is the Divine Mother. There are more, and it gets twisted. Disturbing even.
The title Mother Grace thus perfectly captures the play’s themes cleverly.
Is the play funny?

AP: Mother Grace is one of the most intense and disturbing stories you will ever find, featuring child abuse, domestic violence, self-harm, and rape.
But yes, we get to laugh plenty at the hapless main character’s coping with this mommy issues!
We also get great zingers from characters who find that laughter really is sometimes the best medicine, even when dealing with trauma.
Talk about the challenges of your creative team.
AP: I’m also the producer and have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off making sure we have everything we need for the play, all the pieces are flowing smoothly, and it’s getting the publicity it deserves.
I have delegated directing to a friend who has a real gift for determining what plays well on stage, how to keep the audience intrigued, and how to get the best possible performances out of the actors.
Speaking of the actors, I gave the lead role to one of my best friends, knowing he’s perfect for the part. For the other eight roles, I used Actors Access to find a variety of talented performers, and ALL EIGHT have impressed me with their passion for the project.
Why should audiences choose to see this play as opposed to another in the Festival?

AP:You will never see anything else like Mother Grace. Why? Let me count the ways:
-It’s about the allure of both BDSM and Christianity.
-It explores ALL those incredibly intense themes described earlier
-It features live poetry
-It uses time fluidly and non-linearly
Do you like Mother Grace more than your other plays? Why?

AP: It’s my masterpiece! I literally feel like Orson Welles, because not only does Mother Grace resemble Citizen Kane in terms of having incredibly bold subject matter and audacious storytelling techniques, but thematically the two stories are very similar. Each one is about a man who has reached the absolute pinnacle of his profession and gotten so highly lauded, but deep down is a complete mess, tracing back to the maternal love we see him denied as a child.
Do you foresee plans to continue with it after the Fringe?

AP: Broadway, Tony Awards, Samuel French, you name it. There’s the quote often attributed to Ernest Hemingway about how the way to be a great writer is to sit down and bleed onto the typewriter. I bled gallons and gallons onto my MacBook Air and now will put in as much work as necessary to make this the next classic of theatre. Come to a Fringe performance and one day you can brag about having seen the world premiere run of Mother Grace!


WHERE: Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre -  5636 Melrose Ave., Hollywood CA 90038

PERFORMANCE DATES:Saturday June 4, 2022, 1:30 PM/ Friday Jun, 10, 2022, 6:00 PM/ Sunday June 12, 2022, /2:00 PM/ Thursday June 23, 2022, 9:30 PM/ Sunday June 26, 2022, 12:00 PM

Running time: 90 minutes
Ticket Price: $15.00 (Discounts available for sex workers and religious professionals)
Ticket link:
Admission 16+

Saturday, May 14, 2022


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Coin & Ghost's STAN MAYER


Coin & Ghost Presents The World Premiere of
Mama Mama Can't You See
An Existential War Story
By Cecilia Fairchild and Marine Veteran
 Stan Mayer
Directed by Zach Davidson
May 13 – May 29, 2022

Stan Mayer is a former U.S. Marine Sergeant and
Intelligence Officer, He served five deployments in
 Iraq and Afghanistan.This play took shape as an
explorative memoir, with Mayer playing himself in a
story about his first tour. In particular, the events
of the play are centered on a moment in May 2005
when four members of his platoon were killed by a
suicide bomber and the ensuing firefight
These deaths have saturated every fiber of Mayer’s
 life and work He reflects, “Mama Mama Can’t You See
is a meditation on that moment. A moment that
resonates into eternity. A moment when my
post-Norman Rockwell America turned into a dirty
unnamed street alongside the Euphrates River where
the bodies of young men lay slain.”


Stan, I know you are writing about a very painful part of your life. You cannot put closure on this, so what do you expect to achieve?

SM: War is continuous, it echoes forever. I tend to lean on the knowns, which are that I was an infantryman in a war, my platoon was ambushed, and four of my friends were killed that night. What I expect to achieve by telling that story is more than a remembering, I want to bring light, and life, and love to what may only seem dark. I tried to write a war story, but what came out was a love story. This terrible thing happened, mothers lost sons, we saw it all, it was real and it happened, scars formed, but then here we are, seventeen years later, and what is happening in this theater is beautiful. 

If the play works, and people come to understand this thing that is so terrible, and also so beautiful, then maybe I get one step closer to returning home.

The pandemic forced you to close the show in March 2020. You have had to make some cast replacements. What else is different? Has there been any rewriting?

SM:Theater in LA is difficult. In military terms, we would call this a non-permissive environment. Working actors are working, many different jobs on different sides of town, and there’s nowhere to park, anywhere in this city…we all know the general terrain. Keeping a cast for two months, let alone two years, is impossible, and so the work evolves, it transforms when these new personalities, new lives, come into the room. That adds layers to these characters. Cecilia and I wrote characters who are real people that really lived.

Tell our readers about your co-writer Cecilia Fairchild? How did you meet and in what way is she so perfect for this challenging topic of war and its devastating effects on all humanity?

SM: Cecilia Fairchild and I were partners for seven years. She knows my story, she knows the characters, and she’s responsible for helping me find my voice as a writer. This isn’t the kind of piece that could withstand collaboration in writing, so we made an art out of not doing that and coming together as one voice. She is the only person I’ve ever known that can drop into that cave with me and write about it in a way that is true, unprecious, and unpretentious. It takes a special writer to command their words with a reverence to the capital T truth and also be free to explore the absurdity and love that exists in these moments of despair, and Cissy is that person. We met in 2014 just days after I returned from my last tour in Afghanistan, and quickly realized that we shared an uncommon language in each other.

Talk about your director, Zach Davidson, and his challenges in putting the play on its feet?

SM: Zach asked Cecilia and I to write this play about four years ago; he has been invested in the telling of this story since before it was written. In short, we got lucky to have him as our champion in taking on this narrative beast. He possesses a true understanding of the full spectrum of the human experience, so there was never any need to explain what was happening. He just gets it at the molecular level. I’ve learned more about my own war story through his interpretation and dramaturgy than I have in a decade of trauma therapy. 

As far as the production hurdles are concerned, Zach gets to solve the same problems over and over, inventing newer movements, seeing new angles in the story every time we bring a new cast into the room. You could say that this is our third run of rehearsals, and that will either make for a very well developed play, or something that is unintelligible at this point. We're so far inside this thing that it’s hard for me to tell which, but that’s up to the audience. It’s a five year long production at this point, and I believe that will show up as the most exalted war play ever told, ever performed.

Your characters, I believe, include a member of each of the armed forces. How is your cast developing in rehearsals? 

SM: Three of the actors are vets, Matt King (Army), Ronin Lee (Air Force), and myself (Marine Corps). Our sound designer and composer is Sloe Slawinski (Navy). It feels good to have that representation here, for they get the landscape, noise, and severity of war. The stakes are inherent to these veterans; they all know what it’s like to sign a blank check for up to and including their lives…but all of the performers have become intimate with these stakes, whether they’ve served or not. 

The cast has evolved over the two years since covid first reared its head. We’ve lost actors who had brought crucial light and humanness to this play, and we’ve gained actors who have brought that back into the room in their own crucial way. 

Every character in this story is me, and every character tends to get lost at times, finding themselves in someone else’s dialogue, melting the story in to one completely mixed narrative that cannot be unmixed, and this feels like war, or love, to me, because it’s often that way

From my point of view, there aren’t four female and four male leads; there are eight actors that represent everything they bring into the room, and everything that happened in the war. I feel so fortunate to have had all these wonderful artists that have come and gone, every one of them is present in the story.

Is there spirituality inherent in the play? When they leave the theatre is there enough hope for the audience to take with them?

SM: Everything at once. When I found myself wounded, on fire, and in the midst of this intense firefight, I was the most hopeless I had ever been. There was no way to live through that, and the doom of it all was overwhelming. My instincts told me to lay down and wait to be killed, because the terror of the moment saturated every feeling. It was an existential murder, but at that very same moment, everything I had ever been, where I’m from, my childhood, the family dog, et cetera, overrode the hopelessness with hope. Pervasive hope. It is in moments like that where you fight, not just to survive, but to put one foot in front of the other and move. 

Movement is survival, and movement is hope. There’s a sense of the universe at work here, God, whoever that may be to the audience, or to me, the irrelevance of time, and the common ties of the human experience make this a very spiritual story with hope in abundance.

Coin & Ghost Presents The World Premiere of
Mama Mama Can't You See
An Existential War Story
By Cecilia Fairchild and Marine Veteran Stan Mayer
Directed by Zach Davidson May 13 – May 29, 2022 

The show will run for three weekends at The Other Space Theater (at The Actor’s Company: 916 N. Formosa Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046). For information and tickets please visit


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

shelly g

Actress, cabaret artist and writer Shelly Goldstein never stops working. How I admire her and her unique sense of humor!


SG: Like everyone else, I spent most of it inside in my most captivating Hazmat suit, bleaching my produce & learning how to use Purell as a condiment.

But it also was a time to really focus on writing script, rehearsing new shows and serious voice lessons taught by the amazing Julie Garnyé.

Of course lots of plans had to be scrapped, notably a cabaret tour of the south and south-east in 2020. When the lockdown got serious, the woman who was producing asked if I’d be willing to perform some of the cancelled shows via Zoom. I said yes and then turned my tiny living room into a cabaret stage. (The ring lights arrived and the furniture had to go!)

I did “living room” Groovy shows for online audiences that ranged from 50 to 500. Singing into a vacuum was fine. Doing comedy into a webcam with the audience on mute felt like Wile E Coyote sawing himself off a limb. It proved the need for absolute commitment – that could prove devastating. Happily the feedback was wonderful.


SG: Yes, starting with a concert by The Fabulous Chickies, a group created by Ilene Graff, comprised of women of staggering talent who have become musical sisters: Eileen Barnett, Michelle Brourman, Nancy Dussault, Julie Garnyé, Ilene Graff, Dana Meller, Karen Morrow, Val Perri, Joan Ryan, Lisa Vroman – and me. I pinch myself when I’m with these icons. Our concert was fun – we’re all such different performers -- and best of all we raised some bucks for the Actors Fund who helped so many people through the COVID Zombie Apocalypse.

I also did Zoom shows for Harold Sanditen, who produces cabaret and runs London’s best open mic at Le Crazy Coqs in the West End. He features top talent from all over the world and it led to my getting to know Julez Hamilton, kick-ass performer and producer.

In that minute of time between the Delta & Omicron Variants, when it looked like we might actually be post-COVID, Julez made a dream of mine come true through her 14G Productions. Last November we did a sold-out 50th Anniversary concert of Godspell! The cast was tremendous and I’ve always wanted to do that show. By the finale, the entire room was on its feet, clapping and singing along – which isn’t unusual for an American audience but I’ve never seen a British crowd having so much raucous  fun.


SG: The first one is June 25th at Le Crazy Coqs. Julez and Jenna Ryder-Oliver are reprising their tribute to Kander & Ebb – and I get to be “Pop” in the Cell Block Tango. I will also sing “New York New York” in Yiddish. Because…of course!

On November 27, back at Le Crazy Coqs, we’ll be doing a tribute to Jerry Herman, reuniting the Godspell cast – and I promise you, it will be spectacular.

It’s been such a dark time – we need Jerry Herman’s optimism and glitz. I can’t wait to dive into his catalogue.

And a new GroovyShelly solo show is in the works. Although I don’t want to do a totally solo show. After so much time alone, I want to include lots of duets!


SGI love making audiences laugh. I love singing. It’s pure joy. It was a surprise to get a call from playwright Stephanie Liss who asked me if I would workshop her new one-woman drama, “Daughter of My People.” The writing is beautiful, often heartbreaking – about Henrietta Szold, a strong, intelligent “woman in a time of men” who helped smuggle more than 30,000 children out of Hitler’s Germany.

We did one performance and all I can say is, the feedback tells us there will be more. It’s very exciting.


SG: I still write awards shows and special material. But another upside of the lockdown era was that my husband Brendan Foley and I wrote scripts for 3 new international TV series. Our styles, from a distance, are different – but when we work together it forms a 3rd voice that I love. He’s so damned good. Writing with him is like shooting hoops with Michael Jordan. You have to be in top form.

We’ve been doing a Zoom room for one of the projects with two great writers – showrunner extraordinaire, James Duff and screenwriter Micah War Dog Wright. I’d never done a writer’s room via Zoom before and have to confess I love it. Great energy and I think removing driving from the equation eliminates a lot of stress that gets in the way of creativity. Any room I’ve ever been in starts with 2 hours of complaining about LA traffic. This way, we get to work faster. And I’m fine trading the bagels and doughnuts for sweatpants & slippers.


SG: Yes, a song lyric I wrote was used in a Scandi Noir series on AMC+, Cold Courage. The scene called for a deceptively dark song sung sweetly by an angelic little girl at a British campaign rally that gave the same vibe as CABARET’s “Tomorrow Belongs to Me. The song is called, “England’s White Rose.” Again, very different from my usual canvas, which made it exciting.

Another lyric of mine is sung by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Chicago in a wonderfully cynical documentary called LINCOLN IS CRYING: The Grifters, Grafters & Governors of Illinois, directed by John Davies. Their performance is wonderful and hilarious!

The bottom line on the past 2 years-and-change is we were all forced to figure out priorities. At the end of the day, all that matters is the people you love and doing all we can to celebrate the wisp of time we get to be on the planet.

What better time to march in a Jerry Herman parade!

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Thursday, April 7, 2022


Award winning actress, director and writer Kristin Towers-Rowles has long been a favorite of mine. Even during the pandemic and after recuperating from her own bout with Covid, she got out there and worked.

"I just finished playing Elsa Lowenthal Einstein (the 2nd wife of Albert Einstein) in E=MC2  an Equity Staged Reading at the Victory Theatre Center - April 3,4, 2022. The musical was written by Karen Soroca and Janet Marie and directed by Elaine Moe.

"Next, I am playing Ilona, the Prima Donna, in The Play's the Thing by P.G. Wodehouse, at Theatre 40, directed by Melanie MacQueen. 
We run May 12-June 12th Thur, Fri, Sat Evenings @ 8pm and Sun Matinees @ 2pm

"This is the second show I've done with Theatre 40, the first being The Manor at Greystone Mansion, which closed on March 1st, 2020, just before the world shut down. 

"I also participated in a series of readings of new and rarely done works on Zoom during the past two years.

" So excited! I am again directing The Wild Party at the Morgan Wixson Theatre which was all rehearsed and ready to open in March of 2020 and only did a single invited dress rehearsal. We open September16th-October 9th, 2022 .

Kristin Towers-Rowles