L.A. Women”™s Theatre Festival at The Actors”™ Gang – March 30th

L.A. Women”™s Theatre Festival at The Actors”™ Gang – March 30th

LA Women's Fest


For one very special night, the Los Angeles Women”™s Theatre Festival, now in its eighteenth anniversary year, comes to Culver City for the first time for a special performance on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 8 p.m.

Report by Pauline Adamek

The venue will be The Actors”™ Gang Theatre at Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232.

The evening will be hosted by actor Akuyoe Graham (Spring Awakening) and actor-producer-director Fay Hauser-Price, who will present a program of outstanding female solo performers. The evening includes:

Stacie Chaiken in “The Dig: Death, Genesis & the Double Helix” (Theatre): In this excerpted piece, an American genetic archeologist, in the wake of her own mother”™s death, is summoned to the ancient Arab-Hebrew town of Jaffa, where something is found that could change what we know and believe about our DNA.

Barbara Cole in “Surviving Chrysalis” (Storytelling): One woman reconciles motherhood and career with her journey toward self-actualization.

Ingrid Graham in “Artemis” (Dance): Named after the Greek goddess of wilderness, this is a tribute to the goddess of nature that exists within us all.

Lydia Nicole in “Calling Up Papi.” (Theatre): A sober look at a young woman”™s life, growing up in Spanish Harlem as the daughter of a prostitute and a pimp.

The Los Angeles Women”™s Theatre Festival was founded by Executive Producer Adilah Barnes and Miriam Reed. This year”™s managing producer is Shyla La”™Sha. Longtime honorary chairpersons are Danny Glover and Hattie Winston. The Festival is an annual event unique among American cultural institutions and should not be missed.

The Los Angeles Women”™s Theatre Festival”™s non-profit arts organization, is made possible in part through the support of the U.S. Bank, California Arts Council, NEA, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs,  the City of West Hollywood, Union Bank, City of Culver City, and Adilah Barnes Productions.

Tickets for the performance are $20.00 in advance, or for two tickets or more each at the door, or $25.00 at the door for single tickets.

Additional discounts are available upon request for students, seniors, and groups of ten or more.

Reservations: (818) 760-0408.

Online reservations will be available here.

To join and follow LAWTF on Facebook and Twitter, click on their links.



The Los Angeles Women”™s Theatre Festival will honor four women for their exceptional career and life achievements at its Opening Night Gala on March 24th at The Electric Lodge in Venice. They are listed here alphabetically:

Suzanna Guzman will receive the Maverick Award. Born in East L.A., she has emerged as one of the U.S.A.”™s most glamorous mezzo-sopranos. Beginning her career as an actor with Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, she shortly thereafter became a member of the Old Globe Theatre Educational Tour. As a musical theatre artist, she performed in Yul Brynner”™s final tour of “The King and I,” and then in the Kennedy Center production of “Carousel.” She scored as a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Competition. She made her operatic debut with the San Diego Opera in 1985 and has performed with that company as a principal artist nearly every season since. She performed with Washington Opera for ten consecutive seasons and as a principal artist with L.A. Opera for over 40 productions, as well  as with other companies and opera production all over the world.  She hosted the radio program “L.A. Opera Notes” for nine seasons and produced, wrote, and hosted “Sunday Evening Opera” for three seasons. Her one-woman show “Don”™t Be Afraid, It”™s Only Opera” has been performed for 200,00 students nationwide. For ten years, she has portrayed the Virgin Mary in the annual holiday pageant of the Latino Theater Company, “La Virgen De Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin.”

Velina Hasu Houston will receive the Rainbow Award. She is the astonishingly prolific writer of some thirty plays. Born at sea on her way to America, she is of Japanese, African American, and Blackfoot-Pikuni Native American descent. Her work focuses on the shifting boundaries of identity with regard to gender, culture and ethnicity, informed by her own multicultural background. She is the recipient of a Master”™s Degree from UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and a Doctorate from USC School of Cinema Arts. A Phi Beta Kappa, she is Professor of Theatre, Director of Dramatic Writing, Associate Dean of Faculty, and Resident Playwright at the School of Theatre of USC, where she founded the graduate playwriting program. She edited the first anthology of plays by Asian American women. Her works have been performed by Playwrights Arena, Negro Ensemble Company, East West Players, Pasadena Playhouse, Theatricum Botanicum, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Asian American Repertory Theatre, Honolulu Theatre For Youth, Jewish Women”™s Theatre Project, Pasadena Playhouse, the Mark Taper, the Old Globe, the Sacramento Theatre Company, the Manhattan Theatre Club, George Street Playhouse, Theatre of Yugen/Japan Society, and more. She is also a poet, screenwriter and essayist.

Charmaine Jefferson will receive the Integrity Award. Her long career in the arts began with an eight year stint as a professional dancer, later serving as senior dance program specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., and as the Executive Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She was Deputy and Acting Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Subsequently, she was a director and producer for Disney Entertainment Productions, where she was a show developer for Disney”™s California Adventure theme park. For the past eight years, she has served as Executive Director of California African American Museum, which includes performing arts in its monthly, ten-year-old Target Sundays series. She generously volunteers her time to California Institute of the Arts, Arts For LA, and the California Arts Council, and serves as a co-mentor on L.A. Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner”™s City Fellows Program.

Joan Benedict Steiger will receive the Eternity Award. She has amassed a remarkable body of work on stage, screen and television. Her roles include the classical and contemporary, the drama and the musical. Her stage credits include “Promises, Promises,”Â  “The Beauty Queen of Leenane, “Collected Stories,” “The Octette Bridge Club,” “The Traveling Lady,” “The World Is Made of Glass,” “The Mind With the Dirty Man,” “Richard III,” “Dr. Faustus,” “The Dybbuk,” and her one-woman show “Queen of Mean,” in which she played hotelier Leona Helmsley. Her long television career began in the medium”™s early days, when she was a member of the original ensemble of “The Steve Allen Show,” followed by continuing roles on several daytime dramas and dozens of series guest appearances. Her dozen feature films include starring roles in two pictures opposite her late husband, Rod Steiger.

The awards will be bestowed at the Gala Opening Night of the Los Angeles Women”™s Theatre Festival at The Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice, CA 90291, on March 24 with a reception at 7 p.m. and a show at 8 p.m. with entertainment by performers Ingrid Graham, Monica Hunken and Tia Matza.

Tickets for the Gala are $40, or two tickets for $75 (includes light fare and Champagne).

Tickets for the weekend”™s other shows are $20- $25. For a line-up of each program”™s performers, go here or call (818) 760-0408.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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