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Voices From Chornobyl

this is for thousands of years

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Many many thanks

There are few ways to thank everyone for the incredible experience we had at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Producing

Kendra Chell, Kappa Victoria Wood & Brett Colbeth

and cultivating an audience for this show proved to be a team effort, and I want to thank everyone in the program below, plus the following participants: Jennifer Jejay of I Heart Hamas, Todd Blakesley & Dulce Maria Solis of Chela, Meghan McCauley of Spring Awakening, Monica Martin from ArtWorks, Anton Ray of Warrior Poet and Matt Quinn of Theater Asylum.

We were one of the plays awarded a Best of the Fringe, which includes an offer for extension. Comment below to subscribe to our mailing list or email cindy@cindymariejenkins.com .

Many thanks as well to Theatre Unleashed, who nominated us for their Unleashed Award!

Voices From Chornobyl jr.

Written by Cindy Marie Jenkins | Directed by Aaron Kozak

Shelley Delayne & Kappa Victoria Wood

Inspired by the book of interviews

Voices From Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich

Produced by special arrangement with the publisher

Featuring Kendra Chell, Brett Colbeth*, Shelley Delayne, Jesse Sharp* & Kappa Victoria Wood

Stage Managers Jessica Farley & Deanna Fleysher

Sound Designer Corwin Evans

Co-Producer Rachel Stoll | Social Media Jennifer Brooks

Dramaturg Karen Jean Martinson | Graphics Caroline Sharp

ensemble

Kendra Chell

KENDRA CHELL (Irina | June 25 & 26) was recently nominated for an LA Weekly Award for her role in the Open Fist Theatre production of The Illusion. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University and has studied with LAMDA, Berkeley Rep and UCB. She has worked with American Conservatory Theatre, The San Francisco Mime Troupe, The Antaeus Company and Kingsmen Shakespeare. Past credits include Arcadia, La Ronde, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, A Lie of the Mind, James Joyce’s THE DEAD and The Rover. Film and TV credits include “The Selling,” “Against the Grain,” “Venice By The Sea,” “Close So Far” and “Mary Olsen” webisodes. Kendra is a proud member of the A2 Ensemble, Antaeus’ Academy Company. http://kendrachell.com/

BRETT COLBETH (Vasily June 11, 19, 25 & 26) is thrilled to be a part of VFC Jr.!  Recent L.A. theatre credits include Dakin Matthews’ The Capulets and The Montagues at Andak Stage CompanyLast Fling at Circus Theatricals, and Bart DeLorenzo’s critically acclaimed King Lear at Antaeus Theatre Company.  Brett was most recently seen in Antaeus’ workshop production of Love’s Labour’s Lost directed by Darin Anthony.  Brett is a member of A2 (Antaeus’ Academy Company) as well as Shakespeare and Friends.  He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.  Much love to his peers, Cindy Jenkins, and wonderful family- Dad, Mom and Jackie.  Enjoy the show!

Shelley Delayne

SHELLEY DELAYNE (Irina | June 11, 18 & 19) was in the ensemble of a Hollywood Fringe Festival show last year (The Girl Who Would Be King) which received a nomination for an LA Weekly Theatre Award and is excited to be back at the Fringe as part of a completely different kind of show. Other non-Fringe plays in Los Angeles include: Laundry & Bourbon, Sylvia, Salome, Jake’s Women, and On the Verge.

Jesse Sharp

JESSE SHARP (Vasily June 18) is a recent graduate of the MFA acting program at UC Irvine. Recent credits include: Into The Woods (Baker) Two Gentleman of Verona (Valentine) and the world premier musical Great Expectations at the Tony Award Winning Utah Shakespeare Festival. Tours include Grease (Vince Fontaine) and the fantastic kids show Henry and Mudge with Theatreworks USA. TV/Film credits include “General Hospital,” “The Man Show,” “Not Another Teen Movie” as well as several indies & webseries. He is excited to be making his Fringe debut! www.JesseSharp.net

Kappa Victoria Wood

KAPPA VICTORIA WOOD (Katya) is honored to return to Voices From Chornobyl, which has eerily become more relevant than ever. Some of Kappa’s previous work includes ‘Corie’ in Barefoot in the Park, ‘Laura’ in The Glass Menagerie, ‘Gilmer’ in Godspell and ‘Gabby’ in The Petrified Forest. Kappa would like to thank her fiancé Michael Curran for his love and support and you for supporting live theater!

additional ensemble

BRAD BEACOM |CAROLYN BLAIS | DREW DOYLE | ENCI | AARON LYONS* | SHAWN MACAULAY* | ROBERT NEGRON* | CHANNING SARGENT | BRIAN SPARROW | KATIE SWEENEY | NICOL ZANZARELLA-GIACALONE*

*denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the professional union of actor and stage managers

production team

JENNIFER BROOKS (Social Media) has been working on and off (mostly off) the stage for 15+ years.  She holds a BA from San Francisco State, where she was the Student President of the Theatre Department. For over five years, she worked with L.A. Theatre Works, the premier radio theatre company in the country, where she was in charge of casting 10+ shows a year with top name actors of stage and screen for their radio show on NPR.  She has also worked with California Shakespeare Theatre, Campo Santo and Malibu Theatre Company.  She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two cats.

CORWIN EVANS (Sound Designer) is a freelance designer of sound, projections and integrated experiences. He’s worked in the LA area for five years, and chances are pretty darn good he’s going to see you at some events this Fringe. He’s excited at the prospect of a prodigious amount of high-fives. Corwin is on a mission to work in almost every one of the 300+ theaters in LA. In the meantime, he enjoys the roller coaster ride of cat ownership, writes original music for theatre and/or fun, pretends to be a comedy writer on his lunch hour and works as a Concierge for Center Theatre Group. www.CorwinEvans.com/ | www.facebook.com/corwin0 | www.twitter.com/corwinevans | www.latensemble.com/

Jessica Farley

JESSICA FARLEY (Stage Manager) is fantastic and has been working in theatre and short films for over 15 years. She trained at the George Washington University and with instructors from the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Jessica is a participant in the Global Theatre Project and founding member of the Tripod Actors Collective. She’s thrilled to be working on VOICES FROM CHORNOBYL as she has worked on projects for humanitarian causes throughout the world.  Jessica loves people and is especially excited to be involved in the Hollywood Fringe and would like to give a shout to her uncle Marc Spiegel, storyteller extraordinaire, who wrote and performed The Grubrag’s Ballad for the Capitol Fringe Festival in D.C. in 2010 and will again be performing 2011. Jessica is passionate about human rights and has worked with Amnesty international for about 15 years and is a coordinator for their Young Professionals network and the State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for Southern California, for which she often speaks publicly and engages in community outreach. Her human rights and community-building work informs her artistic pieces, which all stem from a deep dedication to the creation of meaning and the True, the Beautiful and the Good.

Deanna Fleysher

DEANNA FLEYSHER (Stage Manager) is a performer, teacher and director just arrived from NYC. She is very excited to be working on this project!

Cindy Marie Jenkins

CINDY MARIE JENKINS (Playwright & Outreach) is a Storyteller based in Los Angeles. She is obsessed with outreach & community-building. In 2008, Cindy gave a Key Note Speech at “Remember Chernobyl,” an Annual Conference for UK & Irish Chernobyl Charities.  April 2011 presentations included Stockton England and 3 locations in Los Angeles. In June the ensemble travels to San Diego to present the piece in conjunction with Inner Mission Productions. June also brings the premiere of her ten-minute play Dragon Compact as part of Moving Arts’ CAR PLAYS, presented at the RADAR LA International Theatre Festival, leading up to the TCG Conference. She is also running around the Directors Lab West June 11-18th, as a member  of the Steering Committee. In March she returned to The Indy Convergence, where she workshopped MYTHistory Part .5 (www.Twitter.com/MYTHistories), a transmedia piece on perception. Previous community art installations/interactions were shown at the 1st Annual Atwater Art Walk, Summer Nights on the Boulevard, The Barnsdall Gallery, The Courtyard Gallery, the Silver Lake Jubilee (2010 & 2011) and the Children’s Festival of the Arts in Hollywood. She regularly contributes to LA Stage Times, Atwater Village Now, The Inspired Classroom, Bitter Lemons & LAFPI. www.CindyMarieJenkins.com http://www.Twitter.com/cindymariej

Aaron Kozak

AARON KOZAK (Director) has been doing theater for 20 years, debuting in “Camelot” in 1990 at the Lamplight Theatre in Nacogdoches, Texas. Since then, he’s performed in over forty plays, 7 feature films, and countless shorts. He wrote, produced, directed, edited and starred in”The Show Businessman,” which was selected as an official finalist of the 2010 Las Vegas Film Festival. His directing/editing credits include Ebay’s Regifting Campaign with Andy Richter, Revelle Studios’ “Star Mashers,” MTV’s “True Life,” “The Night Audit,” “Basketball Shorts,” “The Chinnedy’s,” and “Savages.” As a playwright, he was privileged to be affiliated with the International Fringe circuit. His play “Goodbye, Love. Goodbye, Joy. Hello, Travis McElroy.” was performed at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, DC; and his play THE BIRTHDAY BOYS will be making its New York debut in late 2011Karen Jean Martinson/early 2012.

KAREN JEAN MARTINSON (Dramaturg) is a scholar, dramaturg, director, and sometimes puppeteer who freelances throughout Los AngelesMartinson was awarded her Ph.D. in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory from the University of Minnesota in 2008. Through her academic and artistic work, she explores issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality within US American consumer culture. http://www.MissKarenJean.com

Caroline Sharp

CAROLINE SHARP (Graphics & Social Media) is proud to be a part of this tremendous production. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama, Caroline has studied with the renowned Atlantic Theater Company in both New York and Los Angeles. Her work includes roles in The Importance of Being Earnest, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, An Enemy of The People, & the recent new musical, Group which also has performances at the Hollywood Fringe. www.CarolineSharp.net

RACHEL STOLL (Producer) is happy to be producing in the Hollywood Fringe Festival again this year. She is awesome. Special thx to Cindy Marie Jenkins and the rest of the VFC team, to my mother for supporting our April production and to Jon Armstrong for keeping me sane. www.RachelStoll.Com | www.Twitter.com/RachelStoll

donors

Executive Producer | $200 | Barbara Blankenship Advocate | $100 | Shelley Delayne | Aaron Lyons | Sponsor | $50-99 | Kelly Banusciewitz of Beans Boutique | Alex Bruno | Hallie Faben

Patron | $0-49 | Cassandra Davis | Alicia Gibbs | Bari Hochwald | Eugene Hutchins | Mike Khachanov | Christopher Lutz | Lauren Maddox | Karen Jean Martinson | Robert Negron | Pamela Noles | Stephen Gabriel Pallo | Sherri Pender | Leonora & Scott Pitts | Steven Scott | Michael Seel | Marta Segura | Marc Stigler | Alyson Unger | Janet Whitty | Bethanee Wilgocki | David Wisehart

special thanks

Abraham Tetenbaum, Bitter Lemons, Cynthia Brickman, Kumbi Butler of Heartbeat House, Joe Luis Cedillo & Company of Strangers, Rhianon Elan, Tracy Eliot, Alexandra Goodman, Dan Jenkins, Meghan McCauley, Pamela Noles, Lee Osteen II, Kat Primeau, Patty J. Robinson, Michael Seel, Richard Tatum & so many more.

much gratitude to the entire Fringe Staff

Jon Armstrong, Ezra Buzzington, Alexa Hanhram, Ben Hill, Nick Hill, Stacy Jones, Kanchan Mattoo, Meghan McCauley, David McKeever, Elizabeth Steele, Abbie Wagoner and Gavin Worth

Spring Awakens on the Fringe

Last year I covered The Hollywood Fringe Festival on Bitter Lemons and essentially based which Fringe shows I saw off who engaged me on Twitter. It wasn’t a purposeful thing, until I realized it could be, and saw a plethora of great shows because of it. I also met some wonderful people, and Meghan McCauley is one of those people. Everything from her press packet to the blog to using my tweet after seeing their show as their first review kept me completely engaged, and the actual show, Pagan Play, was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had watching a story unfold onstage.

Then she goes and produces Spring Awakening, a top 5 dream play for me. I can’t wait to see it and urge you to check them out. Not a Fringe Family show, though I’m sure teens and parents could be helped by seeing it together, much like our show.–CMJ

—–

CMJ: How did you choose SA for your Fringe show this year?

MM: I can’t take credit for choosing the play – my friend, Patrick Riley (Co-Director and Actor), was the one who brought Spring Awakening to the table last fall. His enthusiasm and fascination with the play inspired me from the beginning. We read it together with Dana Murphy (Co-Director), discussed it briefly, and tabled it – when Patrick brought it up again a few months later, he told me that he and Dana wanted to bring it to the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The two of them are incredibly inspiring, and I was on board.

CMJ: Your choice of graphic design is unique but seems to be right on with the play. What was the process to get there?

MM: Dana and Patrick had compiled a collection of images they loved that inspired them early on in the process, when I was still getting on board. Marcel Dzama and Henry Darger were the two primary source artists. The art we’re using is by Marcel Dzama, a parade of shameless naked teenagers marching together – the young characters of Spring Awakening are struggling with their own developing bodies and sexuality and the shame associated with such change. The image embodies what the students wish they had.
CMJ: What is it that you love about theatre and how have you channeled that into this production?
MM: I love collaboration, do-it-yourself-ness, the celebration of imagination and creativity and resourcefulness that you find in theatre. Spring Awakening has been an exercise in all of this – the members of the cast are seriously talented and thoughtful, insightful and smart. They’ve all helped form the show under Patrick and Dana’s guidance and made my job as producer much easier because they’re so enthusiastic about promoting and publicizing. They are amazing collaborators. The imagination and creativity and resourcefulness that I love about theatre are present in every scene – the found set, the handcrafted masks, the costumes and props meticulously gathered and sewn by cast members.
CMJ: How are you able to work full-time, work full-time again with the Fringe, and produce this show?
MM: Well, that’s the question! I am a bit late-to-bed and early-to-rise, but it really comes down to having super incredible supportive people in my life everywhere I look. The members of Spring Awakening, the Hollywood Fringe staff, my boss at my regular full-time job, my friends, my family, my boyfriend – everyone is supportive in a way that I know I can lean on them when I need them. I also work harder because of that support, because I don’t want to let them down. I think another motivating and inspiring thing is that I’m not so different from most people that I have the fortune of knowing here – most of my peers and friends are working on four or five things at once, and kicking ass doing it. I love that. I love people who create the opportunities they want and I want to embody that, too.
CMJ: What do you want people to take away from SA?

MM: Once we pass our own adolescence, I think it’s all too easy to write off teenagers as foolish, immature, annoying, etc. These things might be true, sure – but these characters remind me that there’s also a lot of tenderness and depth to adolescents, and we owe it to them to take them seriously rather than rolling our eyes. They’re obsessive and self-centered, but they’re also curious and confused and lonely. One of the young characters of Spring Awakening cries: “I wish someone would come who I could just throw my arms around and talk to”. I want people to leave the theatre willing to be that someone to someone else – to listen, to care, to take the time for each other.

Click here to see Spring Awakening in its limited run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Evolution of a Kiss at the Fringe

Our show is for ages 8 and up, but something about Cynthia Brinkman’s show Evolution of a Kiss and the storytelling involved resonates with the forgotten stories we share as well. So although not for our target audience, her show is family-friendly 16+. I saw some of her Grandmother’s story when we both did outreach at the Silver Lake Jubilee, and am very excited to see the rest! – CMJ

What will families enjoy about your show?

First, I should say that my show is best for a slightly more mature family audience like ages 16 and up only because in the third portion of the show (where I am portraying myself at age 17), I talk a lot about the M-word (rhymes with Gasterbation) and the  imaginary fantasies that surround that activity. That being said, perhaps the core theme of the show, besides the universal one of hormones and first kisses is how the parental figures respond to their child’s developing sexuality.  I’m most impressed with the evolution of my own mother and where she came from.  Her parents were so strict and controlling and yet she managed to turn it all around with me to the point that it became embarrassing for me as a teenager to have a mother that was so liberal and open with discussing sexuality.   I could really see this show as being a great conversation starter between parents and their teenagers around a topic that would otherwise be difficult to bring up.  Also, since the script is based on journal entries and first-hand accounts, it is so real and so true to our collective human experience of growing up, that you can’t help but laugh with these three  young women.

What was the inspiration for using journals onstage?

When I was still living in San Francisco, a friend of mine was producing a show called Get Mortified where everyday people read from their teenage journals to audiences of 200+.  They had urged me to find my old journals and bring in a few pieces to read.   It’s funny because while I’ve written in a journal since I was 16, I rarely ever look back to read them, so when I did go through and find excerpts about certain romantic fictional fantasies I wrote about the boy on the water polo team, my first kiss with the Fabio-esque foreign exchange student from Portugal, and the moment I realized I might like girls too – they were all so real, so vulnerable, and so raw that I couldn’t help but let out a cathartic laugh.  One night, I had just come home from reading my first kisses at Get Mortified, and was missing my recently deceased abuelita (Spanish for grandma).  I pulled out one of the many tape recordings I have of her just to hear her voice again and happened to listen to a tape where I was asking her about the female presence in the Mexican Revolution, but my younger, boy-crazy cousin interrupted that interview and demanded, “Grandma, tell us about your first kisses!” My grandma lit up and the story that followed was the golden inspiration for the concept of my show.  I looked through my own mother’s journals which she had kept from age 16 to the day she died and I found her first kiss.  After that I just got out of my own way and let these three young women write the story.

Do you feel that performing the roles of your mother and grandmother brought you closer to them?

Definitely! It’s so beautiful to get to become these women, engender their dreams, their feelings, their visions of themselves.  In a way, I feel like this show is my own living “ofrenda” or altar to them.  I really feel their presence with me at every rehearsal and performance.  Also,  in a way, I feel like I’ve become friends with the younger versions of them in the development of this show.  My grandmother had a flair for the dramatic and storytelling – a root that runs deep in my blood so I love to use her words and honor her story telling.  My mother died when I was 20 – just at a point in our relationship when we were about to move past the rebellion and into the friendship.  Doing this show has allowed for that friendship to blossom and now as I think about the family I want to have, she continues to be a great confidant and guiding force.

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What other projects would you like to do?

Since this show is only 50 minutes long, I’ve played with the idea of a Part 2 that chronicles their experiences of dating, courtship, and ultimately marriage – but that may be a ways off since I’m still just getting my footing here in Los Angeles.  I just moved here 7 months ago and I feel like I’m just now beginning to look around, blink, and acknowledge that I’ve finally arrived to the place that was once just a dream for me – HOLLYWOOD!  That once elusive dream is meeting the pavement and I gotta cover some ground to make it happen so getting an agent, manager, union affiliation, etc. are currently at the top of my list. It’s all exciting and for now I’m just thrilled to be a part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival and so grateful for the opportunity to bring this show to a new audience.

Fringe Family Friday Interviews #3 – Jay Alvarez

VFC, Jr. is talking to some of the other Hollywood Fringe participants in our new series, Fringe Family Friday Interviews. Our third interview is with Jay Alvarez, who is presenting his one man show at the Fringe, Be Careful!  The Sharks Will Eat You!

What made you decide to write a children’s show and put it into Fringe Family?

I never set out to do a show.  My father had passed away and a couple of years before he passed my nephew had taped him recounting the story of our escape.  I had grown up with these stories and also had been surrounded by similar stories.

One day I was sitting at Franklin Canyon Park in Beverly Hills by the lake where Opie throws the stone in the old Andy Griffith show and I was listening to the recording and I just started to write.  I found that it was just flowing through me, it wasn’t an effort to write which was interesting because I don’t consider myself a writer.  For a couple of weeks I went back to that lake almost every day and wrote.  It became therapeutic as it was a very down time for me as an actor.  Anyway I wrote it and thought in the back of my mind that it might make a good play or something.  One day I finished writing, I put it away and it sat in my computer for two years.  Two years later after moving back to NYC I serendipitously  met my very talented director Theresa Gambacorta and I mentioned that I had written this piece, it was the first time in two years that I had mentioned the piece, one thing led to another and we started working on it. It’s an interesting side story how we met, sometimes things are just meant to be……….

What has been the most exciting or fun thing about working on this particular project?

What was most exciting about working on the piece was the rehearsal process.  It became about peeling away the excess and finding the essence of the piece.  Exploring each character’s truth.  Theresa took the piece and sliced and diced it to where we got it to a tight 65 minutes.  We spent several months exploring and I’m glad we did.  I think we were able to give a sense of this period in history through one family.  We scheduled the piece for three performances last June and I thought that would be it but I was wrong I’ve been doing it in NYC and Miami since then.  This is a gift that my father left me.

What do you hope families will take away from your show when they see it during the Hollywood Fringe?

I have a very dear friend who brought her somewhat moody teenage niece to see the show.  A couple of days after seeing the show she called her aunt and said “you know aunt Judy seeing the show made me think of how many people we pass on the streets each day that must have wonderful stories they live with and we just “pass them by.”

I often have people come up to me after the show wanting to tell me about their grandmother that escaped Russia or an aunt from Hungary.  I had a very young Jewish woman who knew her grandmother had escaped Germany and wished she knew her story.  I am very humbled by these reactions.

I would hope young and older audiences alike would see courage and determination and most importantly the idea that Love concurs all. I would hope that American born kids understand what so many go through to get to our shores that immigrants are not here to take anything away from us that instead they come with gifts to offer. I would hope that immigrant kids who cling to their heritage to the exclusion of their American side discover that becoming American only adds to who they already are, they can embrace two cultures fully, I certainly have done so. I am Cuban and no one can take that away from me but boy I am so American as well and I love it!

Are there any shows you are planning to see at the Fringe?

I’m so excited about The Fringe! I’m starting my exploration of what I want to see. Since we only have so many days and such a huge smorgasbord I’m going to start with my research. But I would say go out there and experience the world within the few blocks where we will all be presenting such diverse experiences.

For more information or to purchase tickets to Be Careful! The Sharks Will You Eat You! please click here.

Follow Jay on twitter at @Sharkswilleat

Fringe Family Friday Interviews: #2 – Gregory Crafts

VFC, Jr. is talking to some of the other Hollywood Fringe participants in our new series, Fringe Family Friday Interviews. Our second interview is with Gregory Crafts, who is presenting his show at the Fringe, Super Sidekick: The Musical.

What made you decide to write a children’s show and put it into Fringe Family?

Well, Super Sidekick was originally conceived as a one-act play back in 2006. I was in a writer’s lab at the time and my sister-in-law was pregnant with my nephew, Brody. Being strapped for cash and not able to afford a gift to celebrate his impending arrival, I decided that I wanted to write something for him. I was obsessed with comic book superheroes as a kid. Spider-Man and the X-Men were particular favorites. Considering how much I enjoyed those stories, and how well I knew them, I thought that writing a play in that genre for him would be an achievable task for my first play.

My nephew was born in October and the first reading of the play was four days later. This reading also marked another important first for me – the first time I ever worked with my then-future wife, Jenn. The reading went well, but everyone agreed that the show was missing “something.” After the reading, she e-mailed me to say thanks for inviting her to be a part of it and she suggested that it would make a great children’s musical. Well, Jenn and I started dating and by the time we’d gotten engaged a year later, I put out a call on CraigsList seeking a composer with a flair for superheroes and children’s theatre. Enter Mike Shapiro, professional composer. Mike was my first interviewee. He also turned out to be my only one, as after we talked I cancelled the interviews with all of my other potential collaborators. We took a year and a half and worked on developing the music. Jenn agreed to direct the first production of it, and the new-and-improved Super Sidekick: The Musical premiered last year as a part of LA’s Festival of New American Musicals on our first wedding anniversary.

When I heard that Ben and company were starting up Fringe Family, I absolutely knew that Super Sidekick had to be a part of it. Jenn is directing this production and we’ve managed to bring back most of the original cast. We have a few new faces too, and they promise to bring new dynamics to the show. I’m very excited about what we’ve got planned.

What has been the most exciting or fun thing about working on this particular project?

There are many exciting elements about working on this show. First and foremost, it’s a fun play for everyone – the cast, the kids and their parents. I think the cast that we’ve assembled is incredibly talented and excited to be a part of this story. Scott Sharma is resuming his endearing portrayal of Inky, the titular sidekick to combat the evil Sorcerer Slurm (Shawn Cahill, a triple threat with extensive Broadway/Touring credits) and his Ninja Koala hench-… men? (hench-koalas? I don’t know…) Noah Butler injects some new life into the role of the bumbling Hero, Blackjack the Bold, who is captured by Slurm in his attempt to rescue PrincessPenelope (reprised by Hanna Nawroth), leaving it up to Inky to save his friends, The Kingdom and the day from the forces of evil. The returning Sara-Beth Wichman, and new ninjas Heather Lake, Ana Therese Lopez and Jude Evans round out the cast.

Between getting to work with this cast, plus three of my best friends in Jenn, Mike and our Stage Manager/Assistant Director, Erin, this show has a wonderful family feel already, just based on how close we all are as a cast and crew. It’s created such a wonderful, fun collaborating environment.

What do you hope families will take away from your show when they see it during the Hollywood Fringe?

There are some important lessons in the show that I think children can benefit from (like that it’s okay to be scared, the importance of friendship & teamwork (and that Ninja Koalas “are very dangerous, you know” but they like their eucalyptus leaves!), but really, I would love to see families coming out of this show and laughing, feeling like they just enjoyed a really fun story. A few months after the show premiered last year, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine who had brought his 7 year old son to see it. He said that his son was still singing “I’m Not Afraid of the Dark” (one of the songs from the show) and playing “Inky and Blackjack” with his action figures. If I could give that kind of meaningful experience to a kid and have it leave that kind of impression, I’ll be happy.

For more information on Super Sidekick, call (818) 849-4039. Also, check out the Theatre Unleashed website: www.theatreunleashed.com.

Purchase tickets to Super Sidekick: The Musical here!

Fringe Family Friday Interviews: #1 – Pam Noles

VFC, Jr. is talking to some of the other Hollywood Fringe participants in our new series, Fringe Family Friday Interviews. Our first interview is with Pam Noles, who is presenting her show at the Fringe, ! Death 40-Feet Tall !

You presented this show last year did anything change? Why Fringe Family?

! Death 40-Feet Tall ! is my first show ever. The difference between its debut at the 2010 Hollywood Fringe and the version presented at the 2011 Fringe is one of scalpel-level text tweaking. It’s still a deeply personal story of one geek girl’s relationship with her best friend, framed around giant robots. My hope is that the slightly revised text, combined with performance guidance from Konstantine Anthony, makes the show even stronger.

Because my amazing and brilliant teacher Molly Prather sent me out into this storytelling/performance world with the tools needed to get the job done, as well as the confidence to believe I Can, I’m feeling pretty good about the new version of the show.

I signed on with Fringe Family because that new HFF program is a natural fit! Waaaay back when I began writing D40FT I did so with a family audience in mind. There was cursing in the very early drafts, but I quickly stripped it all out because it was unnecessary for the story I wanted to tell. I also remembered something writer Harlan Ellison said to a writing workshop I attended back in the day, explaining why he tends to talk like a sailor, but writes like a gent. When it came down to it, I viewed writing D40FT as family friendly a welcome challenge to meet.

What has been the most exciting or fun thing about working on this particular project?

Discovering the vast diversity of fellow Transformers fans, along with listening to other people share stories about their best friends. Didn’t see that coming! It’s been cool. I also had quite a few actual youth in my audiences last year, and remain chuffed at how much they enjoyed themselves.

What do you hope families will take away from your show when they see it during the Hollywood Fringe?

I’d like the youth to leave with a sense that they can stand up, roll out, and be their own person – despite the varied pressures they will experience urging otherwise. I’d like the adults to leave with a memory of their beloved best friends in mind, along with the realization of their responsibility to support the youth in their lives struggling to Become what they will one day Be. And, of course, I’d like any member of my audience to leave happily entertained after listening to me talk for about an hour.

If my show can also contribute in some small way to the eternal battle over the worth of Michael Bay films, that’s just a bonus!

Any suggestions on what else to see at the Fringe?

There are *tons* of fab offerings at HFF11! Please go to HollywoodFringe.org, click around, and pick something to your liking to come see! Even better, be bold and pick an additional show that sounds “different” to your default tastes and go see that one, too! Come out and support independent artists. We’re cheaper than a movie ticket, and our work was not created via focus groups!

To reserve tickets to !Death 40 Feet Tall! click here for tickets.

For more information about Pam Noles, please visit her website and follow her on Twitter: @BGFCentral

Meet the Cast of VFC Jr.!

KENDRA CHELL (Irina June 25 & 26) was recently nominated for an LA Weekly Award for her role in the Open Fist Theatre production of The Illusion. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University and has studied with LAMDA, Berkeley Rep and UCB. She has worked with American Conservatory Theatre, The San Francisco Mime Troupe, The Antaeus Company and Kingsmen Shakespeare. Past credits include Arcadia, La Ronde, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, A Lie of the Mind, James Joyce’s THE DEAD and The Rover. Film and TV credits include “The Selling,” “Against the Grain,” “Venice By The Sea,” “Close So Far” and “Mary Olsen” webisodes. Kendra is a proud member of the A2 Ensemble, Antaeus’ Academy Company. http://kendrachell.com/

BRETT COLBETH (Vasily June 11, 19, 25 & 26) is thrilled to be a part of VFC Jr.!  Recent L.A. theatre credits include Dakin Matthews’ The Capulets and The Montagues at Andak Stage CompanyLast Fling at Circus Theatricals, and Bart DeLorenzo’s critically acclaimed King Lear at Antaeus Theatre Company.  Brett was most recently seen in Antaeus’ workshop production of Love’s Labour’s Lost directed by Darin Anthony.  Brett is a member of A2 (Antaeus’ Academy Company) as well as Shakespeare and Friends.  He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.  Much love to his peers, Cindy Jenkins, and wonderful family- Dad, Mom and Jackie.  Enjoy the show!

SHELLEY DELAYNE (Irina June 11, 18 & 19) was in the ensemble of a Hollywood Fringe Festival show last year (The Girl Who Would Be King) which received a nomination for an LA Weekly Theatre Award and is excited to be back at the Fringe as part of a completely different kind of show. Other non-Fringe plays in Los Angeles include: Laundry & Bourbon, Sylvia, Salome, Jake’s Women, and On the Verge.

JESSE SHARP (Vasily June 18) is a recent graduate of the MFA acting program at UC Irvine. Recent credits include: Into The Woods (Baker) Two Gentleman of Verona (Valentine) and the world premier musical Great Expectations at the Tony Award Winning Utah Shakespeare Festival. Tours include Grease (Vince Fontaine) and the fantastic kids show Henry and Mudge with Theatreworks USA. TV/Film credits include “General Hospital,” “The Man Show,” “Not Another Teen Movie” as well as several indies & webseries. He is excited to be making his Fringe debut! www.JesseSharp.net

KAPPA VICTORIA WOOD (Katya) is honored to return to Voices From Chornobyl, which has eerily become more relevant than ever. Some of Kappa’s previous work includes ‘Corie’ in Barefoot in the Park, ‘Laura’ in The Glass Menagerie, ‘Gilmer’ in Godspell and ‘Gabby’ in The Petrified Forest. Kappa would like to thank her fiancé Michael Curran for his love and support and you for supporting live theater!

———

Note from the playwright | I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with wonderful actors on this project, and am thrilled to add these talented people and director Aaron Kozak to the Chornobyl ensemble.

Read more about VFC jr.

Chip In to get us to the Fringe!

Attend our Yoga & Live Music Fund-raiser on Monday

Jumping Back  Digging In: on not directing my own work

Ambientaria Music Compilation for Chernobyl

I downloaded this album as soon as it was ready, and find it quite haunting. The artists all donated their time to raise money for Chernobyl Charity International, another charity helping the people of the region. Please help them, too!

For information on our last two events in LA, click here.

–CMJ, Playwright

Chernobyl Charity Project – Official Press Release

04/02/2011 by Ambientaria Records

For a few hours already, the Chernobyl Charity compilation is out.

It is available for download from CDBaby.com, and you can also reserve a copy of the double-CD album that shall be available in one or two weeks. Please click on this link for more info.

This project’s benefits shall be totally reversed to the NGO “Chernobyl Charity International”, in order to help the Children suffering from radioactivity-related diseases in the Belarus area. You may learn more about the whole venture on the Official project page.

If you are willing do something to help these Children, please click on the banner below :

Get your own copy of the Chernobyl Charity Compilation !

Meet the cast of VFC Jr. workshop!

We have a great cast to workshop Voices From Chornobyl Jr., and am thrilled to welcome this talented group into the ensemble!

ROBERT NEGRON* (Vasily Shimanky) trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, South Coast Repertory Professional Conservatory, Antaeus Academy, A.C.T. Summer Conservatory, La Jolla Playhouse Internship, CSU Summer Arts Conservatory, and Coronado School of the Arts . He has worked in such theatres as the Rubicon Theatre, Boston Court, Old Globe Theatre and most recently at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Robert wrote and produced an adaptation of the book Into the Wild called Beautiful Blueberries 142 as a Black Swan project at OSF in 2007. He is the Artistic Director of The Indy Convergence, co-founded Dragon Fly Theatre Company in the San Diego area and Topshelf Entertainment in LA. In L.A. and San Diego Robert teaches classes including Acting for Dancers, Acting for the Camera, Acting Professionally and numerous Shakespeare workshops. Robert was the 1999 recipient of the Emerging Young Artist award.

CHANNING SARGENT (Katya Shimanky) Since moving to Los Angeles, Channing began studying comedy improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade, where she continues to train today.  She also currently trains with Chekhov Studio International, an acting school dedicated to the Michael Chekhov Technique. In December 2009, Channing self-produced her original show, Legacy, at the Electric Lodge in Venice, CA. More information on the show can be found here. Channing is currently writing a series of short web videos, as well a short screenplay slated for production in 2011. She also teaches theatre and writing to at-risk youth in the Los Angeles area through The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company, is a collaborating artist with peck peck dance ensemble, and a producer of web content at Maker Studios, creators of The Station. SAG/AFTRA


NICOL ZANZARELLA-GIACALONE* (Irina Shimanky) is thrilled to be working on Voices From Chornobyl. She is a member of the Antaeus A2 Company and NY’ s Ensemble Studio Theatre. Theatre credits include: The Capulets and Montagues (Andak Stages), Cousin Bette, Stage Door, Classicsfest 2010 (The Antaeus Company), Richard III (The Charlens Company), Swingin’ with Petula (Ensemble Studio Theatre LA/Studio 6), Romeo and Juliet (Princeton Rep), The Winter’ s Tale (Stonington Opera House), Henrietta Hermaline’ s Fall From Great Heights, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Ensemble Studio Theatre) and Arthur Miller’s Clara (Alumni Theatre Westchester). Film credits include: HOME (nominee Best Actress and winner Best Feature at Trenton Film Festival), Too Much Sleep (nominated Independent Spirit Award), Zig Zag, Manhattan Chase, Lower
than the Angels.

Sneak a peek at our Hollywood Fringe Festival Premiere

Tuesday, April 26th

3:30pm Voices From Chornobyl Jr.

Story-time at the Atwater Village Branch of LA Public Library

Featuring: Robert Negron*, Channing Sargent & Nicol Zanzarella-Giacalone*

Dramaturg: Karen Jean Martinson

Producer: Rachel Stoll

free  & open to ages 8 +

*denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the professional union for stage managers and actors

Special thanks to Bradford Beacom, Katie Sweeney & Kappa Victoria Wood, who originated the roles in our adult script and whose feedback honed this new script.

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