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EST-LA’s and Circle X’s Winterfest 2010 under way in Atwater Village

March 4, 2010

Ensemble Studio Theatre LA last night opened its Winterfest 2010 with its first of two dozen plays over ten days.

Performances are in one of the twin 99 seat spaces spearheaded by Gates McFadden who described opening night as “Nothing short of fantastic! We had almost a full house, very good play read by amazing actors. Folks loved being able to bring coffee and sandwiches inside.  When I made the curtain speech, I asked for house lights up, I asked the audience to smile and took a photo of them – our first ever audience! 

“We did it, thanks to help and support from joint efforts of our developer, EST-LA and Circle X.”

Winterfest has much to choose from, including several works by Tom Jacobson and theatrical appearances by McFadden, Edie McClurg, and others.

Here’s a rundown of the plays:

 Winterfest 2010

Program Information

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

8:00 pm           DARK TALE

By Keith Szarabajka

Directed by Rod Menzies*

Initiated by Ray Xifo*


Everest, Illinois, a small industrial suburb of Chicago

Fall of 1960, during the Kennedy campaign


Eddie Pawlakowski                James Eckhouse*

Victor Bisoglio                                    Jack Wallace

John MacReady                                     Tristan Vaughn

Jackie Fitzgerald                    Laura Salvato*

Bill Pawlakowski                   David Starzyk*

Sam Messina                                Ray Xifo*

VOICE OF JFK                                 John Heard

Set in suburban Cook County, Illinois (Chicago’s county) during the 1960 Kennedy Campaign, this political drama follows two brothers as they seek their political fortune by making a deal with that dark area where politics, finance, and crime coalesce. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

8:00 pm           OCCUPIED

By David Misch

Directed by L. Flint Esquerra

Initiated by William Duffy*


Rosner College, Southern California



Ted                                                    Will McFadden*        

Edith                                                Emily Kosloski*

Lou                                                    Lukus Grace* 

Everett                                          Graham Sibley*

Lynne                                              Sabra Miller

Russ                                                  Nochola Dostal

Glenn                                              Gary Patent    

Tina                                                  Kim Chueh*

Myles                                              Peter James Smith

Lenny                                              Ashford Thomas

Izzy/Rosehurt/Harkness     Gregg Brown

Narrator/Reporters/Announcer           William Duffy *

At a Southern California college campus, students take on the establishment as well as each other, through the exploration of their relationships.

March 5, 2010

7:00                 Mission to Mate

Written and Directed by Colin Mitchell*

Initiated by Graham Sibley*



SARAH                                              Meredith Bishops*

WILLIAM                                          Graham Sibley*

A dude from the future has returned to find the perfect woman to bring back to the future – as all the women have gone infertile.  The problem is the woman he chooses isn’t perfect.

7:25                 Lizzie

By Roger Q. Mason

Directed by Les Miller*

Initiated by Lisa Goodman*


A seedy hotel in New York City



MARY TODD LINCOLN                Lisa Goodman*         

ELIZABETH KECKLEY                 Tracey Leigh              

STAGE DIRECTIONS                      Will McFadden*        

A meeting between Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley, her mixed race seamstress and confidant reveals a secret that changes their relationship forever.

8:00 pm           Past Time

By Padraic Duffy

Directed by Will Pelegrini

Initiated by Emily Kosloski*


Home, Mall




                        LOU                                                    Ray Xifo*

                        JAMES                                               Nick Ullett*

                        DELILAH                                          Jenny O’Hara*

                        CHRIS                                                            Steve Coombs

                        MEREDITH                                       Alana Dietze

                        NARRATOR                                      Emily Kosloski*

Chris is desperate.  His girlfriend is leaving him because he’s just too immature.  His plan to get her back?  He convinces his grandfather, James, to go out with her playing the role of “Chris.”  The new “Chris” will say all the right things that will make her fall back in love with him.  This is all but confusing for James’ candle-obsessed wife, Delilah, and his best friend, Lou, who runs a mall kiosk selling painted plastic unicorns.  Soon everyone is playing each other’s character as they struggle to rekindle their relationships and remember who they are. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

1:00 pm           MAMMOTH GORGE

By Marek Glinski

Directed and Initiated by Bill Charlton*


A TV studio in Upper Michigan

Present day



GREG                                                 Patrick Hurley

RACHEL                                            Laura Catalina

TOIVO, KURT, ROOPE, et al          Alain Benatar

STAGE DIRECTIONS                      Henry Watson

Things finally get interesting for a motley TV news team in a remote Upper Michigan berg.  The suicidal traffic chopper lady suddenly becomes enlightened on the air, and her words of wisdom change the lives of the arrogant, alcoholic lead anchorman; his ethnically embarrassed co-anchor woman; the geeky closet-case weatherman; and the more-than-half-Neanderthal sports guy.  Meanwhile, the town’s ice fishing champion is kidnapped by illegal immigrants, giving the news team something they’ve never had before: an actually news story.


NOTE:  This performance is intended for mature audiences only.

3:30 pm           Beside Herself

By Joan Casademont

Directed by Randee Trabitz

Initiated by Isabel Storey*


A small New England town

Late 1990s


LUCY                                                 Heather Robinson*

AUDREY                                           Jenny O’Hara*

SEAN                                                 David Starzyk*

PHOEBE                                            Lizzie Peet*

PAUL                                                 Charles Parks*

EDDIE                                                            David McCallum

STAGE DIRECTIONS                      Kim Fitzgerald*

A black comedy-drama about a dutiful, self-effacing woman, Lucy, who is summoned home by her mother to help “save” her younger sister, who’s had a breakdown and is in a mental hospital. Although Lucy does all she can, her sister only becomes more delusional after she meets a mysterious out-patient who she believes is her Prince Charming. With the help of a sympathetic doctor, Lucy realizes she must choose between her high-maintenance family and her own sanity.


6:00 pm           A Cheap Red

By Tom Baum

Directed by Jenny O’Hara*

Initiated by Lizzie Peet*


A house

Present day


BREE                                                  Lizzie Peet*

AMY                                                   Annika Marks*

LORRAINE                                       Katherine Cortez*

JAYNA                                               Kim Chueh*

TERRENCE                                       Brett Collier

KEVIN                                               William Duffy*

A couple toiling over future baby plans gets a wake-up call from an unexpected source.

8:00 pm           Apogee + 26

By Richard Martin Hirsch

Directed by Darin Anthony

Initiated by Salli Saffioti*


Two homes

Present with some past

PAUL                                                             David Starzyk*  

STEIN                                                 Michael Mahon*

NISSA                                                Lizzie Peet*

ANNIE                                               Salli Saffioti*

G                                                         Richey Nash  

In the summer of 1969 — on the same day Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon — three friends from the west side of Los Angeles (Paul, “G”, and “Stein”) began a tour of the USA in a VW van, seeing the country and stopping at various playgrounds and college gyms in search of friendly pick-up games of basketball.   

Now, twenty six years later, “G” has been stricken with a terminal illness and Paul — his former best friend – finds himself in a debilitating quandary about why their friendship seemed to evaporate over the years.  In emotional confrontations with his wife, Annie, as well as his old friend Stein and G’s wife, Nissa, Paul begins a journey of discovery in an attempt to reach a deeper understanding of the true nature of friendship.

NOTE:  The performance is intended for mature audiences only. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

1:00 pm           ALPHA DOGS

By Tom Baum

Directed by Jenny O’Hara*

Initiated by Kareem Ferguson*



MACE                        Kareem Ferguson*

CLARK                      Roy Vongtama

GRADY                     Patrick J. Rafferty

AUSTIN                     Jordan Callarman

Set in the rec room of an elite fraternity at the end of the first-semester Finals Week, the play follows an outsider who has come to take an exam for fraternity president, setting into motion a series of psychologically embarrassing, increasingly violent, and ultimately lethal events.     


NOTE:  The performance is intended for mature audiences only.    

3:00 pm           THREE ONE ACT PLAYS

                        Written by Mary Unser*

                        Initiated by Heather Robinson*        

Between Siddhartha and the angel

Directed by Lee Costello*



Just outside Hemphill, TX

February 2003


RITA                           Edie McClurg

On a fateful day in February 2003, strange things fall from the sky and a timid woman reads the signs.
The Last Living Brother

Directed by Lee Costello*


Pinky’s small studio




PINKY                       Heather Robinson*

LARRY                      James DuMont*

Coffee Incident #2
Directed by Mary F. Unser*


The Coffee Plantation



BARRISTA                Emily Kosloski*

BARRISTO                Peter Basch*

CLYDE                      Steve Sheridan*

HAL                            Harry Kakatsakis

LORETTA                  Heather Robinson*

HOLLY                      Liz Ross*

While searching for an independently-owned coffee shop, an unassuming guy stumbles into the world The Coffee Plantation.  “Simplicity.  And Coffee.  Yeah.

NOTE:  These performances are intended for mature audiences only. 

5:30 pm           Beach in Winter
By Richard Martin Hirsch

Directed by Patty Cornell*

Initiated by Charles Parks*



A beach house in Malibu

Christmas, Present day



ALBERT                                William Duffy*

MILES                                    Charles Parks*

EVIE                                       Emily Kosloski*

JOEY                                      Douglas Dickerman

YUME                                    Kim Chueh*

MEYU                                                Meredith Bishop

A soon-to-be divorced businessman spends the Christmas weekend at his accountant’s Malibu beach house, trying to decide whether to file bankruptcy for his ailing mattress store.  But what was planned as a quiet, contemplative few days turns crazy when the feuding next door neighbors – a “B” movie star and his over-the-hill rocker girlfriend – take their differences to the extreme and plot to murder each other.  One succeeds.  And its up to Albert and a pair of young celebrity stalkers to help clean up the mess. 

                        NOTE:  This performance is intended for mature audiences only. 

8:00 pm           Saint Joan and the Dancing Sickness

By Julie Hérbert

Directed and Initiated by Jon Kellam






JEANETTE LE BLANC                    Miriam Glover            

DELPHINE PELTIER                       Gates McFadden*     

REV ISAAC                                      Willie Carpenter

RAPHAEL                                         Kareem Ferguson*

REVA TOPPS                                    Lauren Campedelli

ROCKET/STEVE                              Joel Jimenez

MELANCON                                                 Jim MacDonald*

NUN                                                   Patrice Quinn


JACK CLOUTIER                             Robert Simonton


ROSE CLOTIER                               Heidi James

Set in Louisiana, a young abused, near homeless woman of mixed race has a vision of a mysterious apparition who speaks to her in French and possesses the power to heal through an intricate dance.  The woman’s story is interwoven with the tale of a middle-aged woman politician fighting her addictions for her career and her moral certitude. 

NOTE:  This performance is intended for mature audiences only.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

8:00 pm           Carole Real’s Very Funny 2010 Play

Written and Initiated by Carole Real*

Directed by Jenny O’Hara


Los Angeles



LAURA                                              Liz Ross*

VERONICA                                       Kim Fitzgerald*

MICHAEL                                         David Starzyk*

GARY                                                            Peter Basch*

JOSH                                                  Steve Sheridan*

DAN                                                   Will McFadden*

As Laura criticizes her friends’ mid-life crises – which all seem to involve a fear of milk fat – she has one of her own.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

8:00 pm           A Quadrimonial

Written and Initiated Katherine Cortez*

Directed by Catlin Adams


A Suburban Florida home



SARAH STEWART                          Melissa Kite
MAGGIE STWEART                        Katherine Cortez*
JAMEY STEWART                           Will McFadden*

PETER STWEART                            James Eckhouse*
BONNIE STEWART                        Eileen Grubba
FRANKIE PARKER                        Robert Joy or Craig Archibald

A young woman returns to her family home for the funeral of her alcoholic mother.  She and her brother struggle with their unresolved guilt-ridden relationships to this powerful figure that is a very real presence throughout the play.   To complicate the situation their estranged father shows up bringing with him his current much younger wife, creating a stew of grief, rage and love, which inevitably boils over.  Secrets are revealed and a connection between the children and their father is initiated.   In the emotional wake, we are left believing in the spirit of redemption and the possibility of forgiveness. 


NOTE:  This performance is intended for mature audiences only. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

8:00 pm           House of the Rising Sun

Written and Initiated by Tom Jacobson*

Directed by Michael Michetti


Various New Orleans locations



BOWEN                                             Nick Ullett*

GARRETT                                          Marc Cardiff

TRENT                                               Paul Witten

FELIX                                                            Giovanni Ortega

When Trent brings Felix home to New Orleans to meet his father and homophobic grandfather, the family’s demons come slithering into the light.  Watchful ghosts, sinister hustlers, and a myriad of parasites lead Felix on a Southern Gothic journey to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

1:00 pm           Mom and Dad

By Peter Basch and Ellen Sandler

Directed by Ellen Sandler

Initiated by Peter Basch*



A New York City apartment


A hospital room



HOWARD FEIN                               TBA               

MICKEY FLANAGAN                    James Dumont*


SAM ROBBINS                                Ray Xifo*

                        PHOEBE ROBBINS                         Kim Chueh*

                        PRADEEP AMIN                              Subhash Mandal

MOM & DAD are two thematically linked one acts about people wrestling with the ghost of a parent who has died but still pulls at the present.


NOTE:  This performance is intended for mature audiences only.

3:00 pm           Endangered Species

By Tom Baum

Directed by: Cecelia Specht

Initiated by: Will McFadden*

THEONA                               Patty Cornell*

LEON                                     Charles Parks*

BAILEY                                 Sophie Ullett

JUSTIN                                   Will McFadden*

NOTE:  This performance is intended for mature audiences only.

5:00 pm           Match

Written and Initiated by Jennifer Maisel*

Directed by Jenny O’Hara*



New York City

Present day



LEO                                        J.D. Cullum

LEYLA                                   Patty Cornell*

BEN                                        Chuma Hunter-Gault*

MADDY                                 Emily Kosloski*

MOSS                                     Peter Elbing

Leo has a wife and needs a kidney.  Ben needs a kidney and is desperate for human connection.  Maddy believes giving her kidney away will redeem her.  Leyla longs to live her life and thinks that means she may have to leave Leo behind.  Moss deals in flesh, seeking the highest bidder.  Is there any such thing as a gift with no strings attached?  This play is a journey into the underbelly of bartering for your organs and perhaps your soul.  


NOTE:  This performance is intended for mature audiences only.

8:00 pm           Roommates

By Julian Sheppard

Directed by Laura Jane Salvato*

Initiated by Kim Chueh*


An apartment in New York City

Spring 2003


ABBY                                     Annika Marks*

JOSIE                                     Kim Chueh*
STAGE DIRECTIONS          Nicholas Dostal

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1:00 pm           Onion Creek

Written and Initiated by Roger Q. Mason

Directed by Mildred Lewis


Del Valle, Texas



NATHANIEL HAWS                                   Adam Lazarre-White

MINNIE SIMMONS                         Jacqueline Wright*

WHITE POPPA                                 TBA

EULA MAE JOHNSON                   Barbara Tarbuck*

STAGE DIRECTIONS                      Will McFadden*

An Adam and Eve tale set in Reconstruction-era Texas, the play imagines the relationship forged between Nathaniel Haws, a mixed race peach plantation owner and Minnie Simmons, an Irish sojourner who takes up work on his farm.


NOTE:  This performance is intended for mature audiences only.

5:00 pm           HELL MOUTH

By Tom Jacobson*

Directed by Darin Anthony

Initiated by Jenny O’Hara*


Tim Josephson                             Douglas Dickerman


SAMARA BUCHSBAUM                Jenny O’Hara*


MR. SPENCER (RAYMOND)         Nick Ullett*

Torn between his Midwestern parents and the Beverly Hills owners of an unknown Caravaggio, Tim rediscovers himself while making the art history discovery of the century.  Imagine your own mother on The Worst Dressed Women’s List.

8:00 pm           BLACKBIRD

By David Harrower

                        Directed by Jon Kellam* and Judith Scott                

Initiated by Garrett M. Brown*



RAY                                       Garrett M. Brown*

UNA                                       Maya Lawson

Una, 27, seeks out, finds, and confronts Ray, 56, who engaged in a three month sexual liason with her fifteen years ago when Una was 12 and Ray was 40.


NOTE:  This performance is intended for mature audiences only.



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