News Release| Theater Insomnia; Cal State L.A.

New professional theatre company created at Cal State L.A.

Summer season kicks off this evening with Harvey Fierstein’s ‘On Tidy Endings’

Los Angeles, CA -- Theater Insomnia—a new professional theatre company created as part of the California State University, Los Angeles’ Master of Fine Arts Program in Television, Film, and Theatre—will present a summer season of rotating repertory featuring four different plays performed over a period of three weeks.

Opening THIS EVENING, July 12, the free performances will take place Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays on the Cal State L.A. campus. The season closes Saturday, July 28.

The program, which reflects the 99-seat theatre movement of Los Angeles, will feature Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit; an original piece by first-year MFA student and company member Barbara Ishida titled Neko; Harvey Fierstein’s On Tidy Endings; and selections from Subculture by local playwright Steve Yockey.

Members of the company consist of actors, writers and directors, many of whom are long-standing professionals in such unions as the Actor’s Equity, who typically return to school in mid-career to pursue an MFA degree.

Supervising the new theatre endeavor are CSULA faculty members Meredith Greenburg and Stephen Rothman, both in their 11th year serving as professors of music, theatre and dance. Greenburg is a long-time member of the Actor’s Equity and a highly sought-after production/stage manager in Los Angeles, serving both The Los Angeles Opera and The Hollywood Bowl. Rothman is an award-winning director who has served as founder and artistic leader of the revitalized Pasadena Playhouse, artistic director of the Sacramento Theatre Company, and producing director of Pennsylvania Center Stage.

In discussing this new professional theatre concept for the MFA Program, Greenburg said, “As we have so many working professionals who have returned to academia to get an MFA, it seemed logical to take advantage of their professional background by having them create an operating professional theatre company right here at CSULA.” 

Professor Rothman shared, “One of the great things that we hope can be accomplished by this new approach is to be sure the entire company not only becomes completely versed in the 99-seat movement that is such a vibrant and important aspect of Los Angeles-based theatre, but by working in rotating repertory our MFA students will learn a form of theatre that is done professionally across the nation.”

Company members include:  Naomi Bennett, Erik Boccio, Rodney Brumback, Heather Fipps, Gao Ya, Renee Kelly, Noushin Hosseinzadeh, Barbara Ishida, Charles Ortiz, Jekyns Pelaez, Montica Pes, Rocio Ponce, Callie Prendiville, Ricardo Salcido, Morgan Sandler, and James Yi. All members of Theater Insomnia are completing their first year of the University’s three-year Master of Fine Arts Program in Television, Film, and Theatre.

While the immediate goal for Theater Insomnia is that the audience will extend beyond the campus community, there are other plans for the future as well.

Professor Greenburg noted, “Many existing Los Angeles-based theatre companies started out with a university affiliation. The Actor’s Gang was formed by UCLA students, including the then-unknown Tim Robbins. The Mark Taper Forum Theatre concept began at UCLA before the Music Center was built.”   

“We are focused on the immediate summer season, of course,” added Rothman. “However,  as these students are coming together as a company, there is already talk about extended range for the group as a permanent part of the Los Angeles theatre community and family.”

What:                   Theater Insomnia, a new professional theatre company created as part of the Cal State L.A.’s Master of Fine Arts Program in Television, Film, and Theatre, will present a summer season of rotating repertory featuring four different plays performed over a period of three weeks.

When:                   July 12-July 28 (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays)

                                On Tidy Endings: July 12 and 20, 8 p.m., July 28, 7 p.m., Arena Theatre

Neko: July 13, 21, and 26, 8 p.m., Arena Theatre

Subculture: July 13, 21 and 26, 9 p.m., Arena Theatre

No Exit: July 14, 19 and 27, 8 p.m., King Hall 5th Floor Dance Studio

Where:                 Cal State L.A. is located at 5151 State University Drive in Los Angeles. 

Public permit parking available in Lot 5 and upper level of Structure C. For maps and directions, go to www.calstatela.edu/univ/maps

Info:                      For more information about the performances, contact Naomi Bennett

at (323) 835-1178 or nbennet@calstatela.edu or CSULA’s Department

of Music, Theatre and Dance at (323) 343-4110.

#  #  #

Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 225,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. www.calstatela.edu