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Welcome to Backstage: The TBA Blog! This is the place for Theatre Bay Area announcements, info on upcoming events, grant deadlines, ticket giveaways, shout-outs and special profiles of featured members. Visit early and often!

 

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Featured Member: Cathleen Riddley

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Interview by Laura Ng 

Appearing to national audiences in the feature film LA Mission and PBS’ Trauma, Cathleen Riddley is ever committed to the arts and welfare of the Bay Area community. This PlayGround company member and associate artist with AlterTheater also moves crowds with her spirited vocals in local bands Sweetie Pie and the Doughboys and Burnsy’s Sugar Shack as well as working to foster goodwill with San Quentin Prison’s No More Tears and Healing Circle programs. This past November, Riddley added two TBA Awards to an already dazzling roster of accomplishments.


TBA featured member Cathleen Riddley.

 

You've worked in a wide array of mediastage, film, television, voiceover and singing in bands. What are some aspects you consider when choosing a project?

When a movie, TV show, voiceover, or commercial is presented, one often needs to go with what one’s agent chooses. That being said, I did turn down, without a second thought, a well-paying voiceover that took a religious stand against gay marriage. I realized that it would deeply hurt my heart and wound so many people I loved if I stood for something–even if not as anything but a voice–that I know is wrong.

When considering a project in the theatre, which is where about 90 percent of my work is, I look at the role, the director, the text itself, and why is it important that this play be done at this time. It matters so very much to me what the play is addressing in the tumultuous times that we are living in now. I must admit that I also am excited to work on projects that challenge me beyond what I have ever done before, and that will grow me as an artist and a collaborator.

Parenthood can be a challenge for theatre professionals. When a company like AlterTheater—where you are an associate artist—invites actors to bring their children into the rehearsal process, it generates interest. How has having a daughter impacted your perspective on the field?

There is nothing more immediate than the needs of one’s children, and if an ensemble like AlterTheater can not only accommodate but embrace the sometimes fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants reality that is having children in the process, there is amazing beauty and messiness and collaboration and group parenting that happens nowhere else on earth. In a piece that is all about the African American church like The Amen Corner, it would be inconceivable that this church would exist without children: crying babies who are passed between whoever was available to rock and cradle and feed them (often the teens in the church), kids who palmed their quarters given them to put in the collection plate so they could buy candy after church... Having children in the theatre helps it to reflect real life.

Because I thought that the worst thing that could happen was that someone could say “No,” I started asking to bring my daughter to rehearsals from the time she was four years old. I was shocked to find that often I was the first person who had ever done that, and pleased to be told that she would be welcome almost all of the time. Consequently, she is an awesome theatregoer, critic, supporter, positive energy bringer, fan, and well-rounded 13-year-old. And she made her theatre debut in The Amen Corner, which thrilled her mama to no end. Let’s assume that the answer will be “Yes,” and ask to bring our children into our world of theatre.

Congratulations on your 2015 TBA Awards for both Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role in a Play and Direction of a Play Score for The Amen Corner! What it like to shift between two roles on the same production? 

First, the awards were a great honor. Thank you. It was an adventure to be doing a scene where I had a major event take place for my character, where I really had to be in the moment, but at the same time be thinking, “This song is too loud for this part of the play,” or “The tempo of this song is so fast that it’s going to finish before the end of the scene." The great blessing of this play was that I had the most amazing people to work with. Their musicality was awesome, their ability to learn a part by ear in a short time and sing it in four-part harmony was something miraculous, and their support of me in my dual role was so amazing that I realize now I never would have been able to do it without this exact group of ensemble-minded, heart-driven, musically-inclined, risk-taking precious souls.

How else has being a Theatre Bay Area member impacted your career?

Theatre Bay Area provides me with so much that I can’t get anywhere else. I look to it for auditions; for what I should go see; for artists to keep an eye out for; to enlighten me about aspects of the theatre that I know very little about, like puppetry, sound design, and stage combat; and to provide me with fabulous full scripts of current plays. And I cannot tell you how many times I have had questions in my mind about the business and Velina’s column, “The Business of Show Biz,” provided answers and insight.

Tell us about your involvement with the violence prevention program No More Tears/Healing Circle.

No More Tears is a program in San Quentin State Prison whose mission is “[t]o curb violence and detrimental behaviors within targeted communities by utilizing the specialized knowledge and experience of former perpetrators of violence and crime. These former perpetrators hold themselves accountable to bring solutions to the communities where they once contributed to the problem.” The Healing Circle actually brings together family members (mostly mothers) who have lost children to violence to meet with former perpetrators of violence, in order to begin the healing and forgiveness process that is vital to all involved. 

It’s no surprise that I came to [these programs] through theatre. An incarcerated man wrote a play about a hardened young man, starting from when he committed the murder that got him into prison, through the healing process brought about through No More Tears/Healing Circle.

I performed in this play in San Quentin, and after it was over, shared my desire to support this organization. These incarcerated men, having heard this from many who had come inside their walls, were naturally skeptical, as so many had vowed to support their organization and were never seen again. I took their challenge and started working as a sponsor for them. I am more than proud to be a part of this healing.

Any other exciting happenings on the horizon you’d like to share with our TBA readers?
 

I am thrilled/terrified to be a part of Shotgun’s upcoming season, where I’ll be performing in Hamlet Roulette, where every night we’ll pick from Yorick’s skull which character we’ll be playing on that particular night. Shaking with fear, tingling with excitement. I’ll also have the pleasure of performing in a gem of a show called Grand Concourse in the season, where I’ll get to stretch my muscles by playing a nun. Challenges await–the lifeblood of the theatre!

 

Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community. 

Tags:  Featured Member  TBA Awards 

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Featured Member: Celia Maurice

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Interview by Laura Ng 

Meet our newest featured member, Celia Maurice! Before breaking out to Bay Area theatre audiences, this witty Brit’s acting and music career was already blooming across the pond. Her Bay Area stage journey has leapt and bounded since her early appearances at TBA’s General Auditions—most recently, she received a TBA Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Principal Role in a Play, recognizing her stellar turn in a play by fellow English national Harold Pinter.


TBA featured member (and TBA Award recipient!) Celia Maurice. Photo: Ben Krantz

 

You’ve had a wealth of work onstage, not only in the theatre, but also a career as a violist (among mastery of other instruments and languages) and volunteer-administering the Braille Transcription Project. How have these experiences/endeavors influenced your path?

Each time I have had a job outside of the theatre, it is a reminder that I’d rather be on stage. That having an exhausting, annoying, fed-up day in the theatre world is many thousands of times better than having a mediocre day stuck behind a desk listening to people prattle on about, well, whatever Excel spreadsheet or flavored latte is of desperate importance that day.

Working with Braille, I initially had hoped to have a job that would make a difference in people’s lives. My father was a corneal researcher, so this made sense. I have never taken a job in order to discover how people think, react or behave in order to inform my acting. Afterwards, though, I can use snippets. However, working with the Braille project only made me realize that I have an easy life. Can’t think it informed me much otherwise. I know it would educate or elucidate if I said that now I have a basic understanding of what it is to navigate the world, sightless, but I don’t.

As for the viola and piano—music is the one thing I really deeply know.  And the practice, daily, of scales and the repetition of phrases within a piece has, indeed, been of massive use when translated into theatrical terms. Actors don’t really have the same sort of daily work unless we are actively preparing for a part (at least that’s my m.o.).  On my first day at the Neighborhood Playhouse, Sandy Meisner’s question to our class was whether any of us played an instrument. When I bravely (since I was innocent enough not to be terrified of him at that point) put up my hand, he asked me what I had to do to get to (the proverbial) Carnegie Hall, I gave the answer—practice. Every day. If one can’t manage to play a scale in every key/mode, train your fingers and the bow hand, every day, you’ll have no foundation at all on which to grow. He agreed and then proceeded to tear every notion of “acting” out of our angst-ridden, ego-laden heads.

Still hot off the 2015 TBA Awards, we have to congratulate you on your award for Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role in a Play! It’s fascinating that you were previously nominated for this same role portraying Meg in Pinter’s The Birthday Party just last year. Did that come up when you joined the new cast/production? What was it like to reprise the role so soon?

Thank you! So, last year was funny that way—I did Breaking the Code with Theatre Rhino twice, interspersed by two different productions of Birthday Party. When I joined Off-Broadway West’s production, I was asked some questions about staging and acting styles. But it felt as though we all started from scratch, which made our Finalist nomination for Ensemble feel so happily deserved. The only real benefit was that the lines came back in a snap, so I could really just concentrate on discovering Meg in a deeper, rougher way. Anyway, I love Pinter, and coming from the same area of North London, the words just fit.

You started performing in London, or as you put it, north of “Ye Olde Thames.” Tell us more about coming to the Bay Area, why you chose to be here and growing into the TBA community.

Did I really say “Ye Olde Thames”? How embarrassing. Remove it immediately! Otherwise, next thing you know I’ll be belting out “Consider Yourself” and wearing ragged trousers with a Union Jack embroidered on my bum.

Ah, well, moving here. That’s far too long a story. I didn’t choose to come here. We moved from London when I was a teen. Of course, now I feel as though I have been embraced, and am really a part of the community. 

What is your favorite part of being a Theatre Bay Area member?

Having a family that speak the same language, can play together and cheer for each other.

Having lived so many lives, what are your dreams for the future? Is there anything else you’d like to tell our TBA readership, as an actor or otherwise?

There is plenty more theatre I want to do. Restoration and Jacobean isn’t done much, and I’ve barely done any Shakespeare and would love to do so. I’m now interested in new pieces as well (thanks to Jeffrey Lo)—updated classics, etc. I can’t really do anything else, so I’m happily stuck with you lot. There are a couple of actors and directors I’d love to work with, and if I had any sense of how to market myself, I’d list them here, in bold. Next up, I’ll be reunited with director Susan Evans as Mrs. Warren at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre.

What to say—I’ve been very lucky to have had near-constant work in the last four years. One's time does come. As I stumble into my dotage, I hope to meet many more of you out there in the trenches and continue the lively exchange of humanity in all its forms. And if there’s a lot of giggling, count me in fer sure*.

*“Fer sure” was in an American accent just so y’all know I can do one.

Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community. 

Tags:  actor  Featured Member  TBA Awards 

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From the Executive Director: Morning After

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, November 17, 2015

By Brad Erickson

 

It’s the morning after the second annual TBA Awards Celebration and the cheering—three nonstop hours of cheering—from last night’s event is still ringing in my brain (I’m pretty sure it’s the cheering and not the hangover from the way-too-much-fun after-party at PianoFight). The first reaction this morning is, “Thank God we made it! We can relax!” and the second, like on the day after Christmas, is that we’ve got 364 long days before next year’s event. 

The production values that our producers Nick Olivero and David Gluck brought to the evening were so high that I am tempted to review the celebration as if it were one of the productions highlighted at last night’s ceremony. Five stars, huge applause, falling-out-of-his-chair-Little-Man for MC Ron Campbell; for scriptwriter Allison Page; for announcer Carrie Paff; for the Killing My Lobster crew’s satirical opening number; for the show-stopping performances from Broadway By the Bay, San Jose Stage Company and Altarena Playhouse; and for the moving musical tribute led by Amy Lizardo and Teresa Attridge. We not only talked about theatrical achievement, we saw it live and on stage.

And what a stage. The Geary Theater is our community’s Notre Dame, and for this event American Conservatory Theater throws open the cathedral doors. Not only does ACT waive the usual rental fee, the company donates countless hours of staff time, from the box office, to the production crew to the executive offices. Watching hundreds of theatre artists, dressed to the nines and hailing from theatre companies of all sizes around the region, pouring into that burnished and glowing house and greeting each other so exuberantly (so very exuberantly that we had to hold the curtain a full 15 minutes) makes real the notion of a theatre “community” that we at Theatre Bay Area talk about so often.

Like last year, I was struck by the jubilation that rang out all night long, from the finalists as they appeared on stage, from the award recipients, from their friends and colleagues in the house and from those who may have been completely unfamiliar with an artist or a company until the names were announced. I heard no murmuring over those who might have been passed over. There was no need for a “triage for bruised egos,” as Ron Campbell joked—instead I sensed an extraordinary collective clap on the back for all the artists and their work.

What I did hear, many times, were comments like this from one veteran artistic director: “Who is that new company? I keep hearing their name over and over!” Or, “Wow, that number was terrific. I really need to go to [fill in the blank] Theatre more often!” Or even, “I’ve been in the Bay Area for years and I’ve never seen [fill in the blank]’s work. I’ve got to go!”

This might be the sweetest outcome of this program—if we are encouraged to explore the true depth and breadth of this theatre community we call home, and discover for ourselves the wealth of artistic achievement flourishing so joyfully on our stages night after night.


Click here for the full list of 2015 TBA Awards Recipients. 

Brad Erickson is executive director of Theatre Bay Area.

Tags:  Executive Director's Note  TBA Awards 

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Program Director's Note: Awards Buzz

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, October 13, 2015

By Dale Albright

There is hardly a more exciting time in the TBA offices than as we are gearing up for our now-annual TBA Awards Celebration: tallying and verifying the results, recording the videos announcing the finalists (watched by over 8,000 people so far!), having great social media conversations with excited finalists and, of course, getting our ducks in a row for a fantastic event.


 TBA program director Dale Albright.

But what I really love about the TBA Awards is that it is a year-round program recognizing excellence in the field and raising the profile of theatre in the Bay Area. There’s stuff to get excited about every week (heck, practically every night). Hundreds of adjudicators are seeing productions like clockwork and, in many cases, it’s at companies that they may not have attended otherwise. By virtue of this process, Bay Area artists are seeing the work of their peers in new and exciting ways…truly changing the conversation. And of course, every week TBA puts out a list of TBA Awards Recommended productions (those that have met an established threshold of adjudicating) so that we can spread the accolades of the peer adjudicator pool far and wide—and so companies can add the buzz to their marketing material while the show is still playing!

All of this is to say, we are looking forward immensely to November 16. What a great night to see old (and new) friends and celebrate the year that was in Bay Area theatre. Hope to see you there!

 

Dale Albright is program director for Theatre Bay Area, and a Bay Area actor and director.

Tags:  TBA Awards 

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Featured Member: Justin Gillman

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Interview by Sal Mattos

Our next featured member is actor and ArtistRepSF company founder Justin Gillman. As an ATLAS alumnus, Titan Award winner and TBA Awards adjudicator, he’s been one of our most active members since he moved to the Bay Area in 2011. Many actors dream of making it to L.A. or NY to work, but it was landing in San Francisco that really got Gillman’s career started. 


TBA featured member Justin Gillman. Photo: Lisa Keating

 

Tell us a little about your background in theatre.

My first week of freshman year in high school, I was a loner and had nowhere to sit for lunch. I found this little room tucked away at the edge of campus with some friendly and lively people in it, and soon realized that I had inadvertently crashed a Drama Club meeting. Sign-ups were going around for auditions for the fall production, As You Like It. I signed up simply so I could blend into the crowd, eventually got cast as Silvius, and the rest is history!

I love all kinds of theatre, and I make it a goal to always try to switch it up whenever I can—new works, modern, classical, musical, experimental, etc. I have a lot of really great training from UC Santa Barbara and Columbia University, and one of the best things I’ve learned is to always strive to build theatrical muscle and to never settle for the expected or the ordinary. Though acting will always remain my first love, this sensibility has also led me to branch out into other theatrical arenas (writing, directing and producing).

You’re an ATLAS alumnus, as well as a Titan Award winner. Tell us what that experience was like, and how it’s affected your career. 

ATLAS was an incredible experience for me on many levels. It was beautiful to see so many artists participate in the program, and to be able to feed off of everyone’s passion and love for Bay Area theatre. The program also allowed me to focus on what was truly important to me as an actor. Prior to ATLAS, I felt like I was just jumping from show to show, without any sort of goal setting or plans for the future. ATLAS helped me to create my career road map; I refer to it every day now as a rubric for all my theatre-related decisions. For instance, I didn’t know how important it was for me to join Equity until I actually wrote it down. Now, I have a plan and I’m sticking to it! Also, I am so grateful to have received the Titan Award. Money is always tight, and to be able to pay for new headshots (thanks, Lisa Keating!), business cards, and a website will allow me to make the next leap in my career. And getting to have Liam Vincent (an accomplished and fabulous Bay Area actor) as my mentor has been such an enlightening experience.

How has your journey this last year held up to the career map you devised in ATLAS?

Acting can be a frustrating profession, and a lot of my own personal frustration comes from the fact that there is so much that is out of my hands (getting through the right doors, having the right look, getting that part you think you deserve). What I can sometimes forget is how much is in my hands! Some answers to my daily frustrations: My headshot is five years old and doesn’t even look like me any more. (Answer: Get a new one!) There’s never enough time in the day to feel accomplished. (Answer: Wake up earlier!) Why am I even submitting for this audition? It’s not like they’re going to seriously consider me. (Answer: You won’t know if you don’t try!) I know these seem like logical answers, but it can get very crowded in an actor’s head. Especially mine.

You’re a fairly recent transplant to the Bay Area. What was the transition like, and what advice might you give to those just moving here, looking for work?

I moved to the Bay Area from NY in 2011. And even though NY was a nightmare for me in many ways, I was still worried that the Bay Area would not provide me with as many opportunities. Boy, was I wrong. 

I think the most important part of my transition to the Bay Area was that, in NY, I had been labeled as a recent graduate student with a particular set of skills taught to me by my university; the Bay Area simply treated me as an actor. While labeling and typecasting still go on, there is such a plethora of opportunities that are truly within your grasp here. And if you’re not getting the parts you want, put on your own play and rent out space at the Exit and do it yourself! I did that this past winter with a friend of mine, with a small but well-received production of Rabbit Hole (in a role I would probably never have been cast in, but was crucial for me to attempt for my own growth)—that quickly transitioned into a full-fledged theatre company, ArtistsRepSF! That never would have happened for me as quickly in NY. Here in the Bay Area, I can go from my day job to a commercial audition to an industrial shoot to a musical theatre audition to rehearsal for a Restoration comedy, and I never feel like I’m a particular kind of actor. I’m simply an actor. The Bay Area is here to help you find out who you are as an artist. 

What’s something you really like about the theatre scene here in the Bay Area? 

Everyone is doing great and daring work here—the huge companies, the midsize companies and the small-but-fierce companies. It’s a pretty incredible town if you’re able to see The Pillowman, The Mystery of Irma Vep, and Company all in one summer season. Also, word-of-mouth is an explosively potent tool here, so if you see a show and like it, scream about it on social media. People will listen! I know I do!

What’s one of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on?

I just played Katurian in The Breadbox’s production of Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman this summer, and it was truly the highlight of my acting career thus far. McDonagh’s play is one of the most vital pieces of literature on the topic of the importance of art. The production itself was hilarious, brutal, violent and pretty scary. And the process was guided by the firm, intuitive and graceful hand of Ariel Craft, one of the best directors working in the Bay Area today. It was a perfect storm of awesomeness!

What’s been your most memorable theatre moment thus far: good, bad, proud achievement or total embarrassment?

My family and my boyfriend’s family (who had not yet met) decided to come to the same performance of The Pillowman, and I had the pleasure of listening to them meet for the first time as they were taking their seats, while I was blindfolded onstage for 15 minutes during the pre-show. #OnlyInTheatre

Any upcoming projects to share with TBA’s members?

My next show, Aphra Behn’s The Rover, runs Oct. 15-Nov. 22 at Shotgun Players! I also highly recommend going to The Breadbox’s season-closer, Medea (directed by boyfriend extraordinaire Oren Stevens), playing Oct. 2-17 at Exit Stage Left.

A big shout-out to my theatre company, ArtistsRepSF, whose next show, Peer Gynt, runs Jan. 22-Feb. 6, 2016 at Exit Stage Left!

You can also see me later this season in Born Yesterday at Center Rep (Jan. 29-Feb. 27) and Will Eno’s Middletown at Custom Made Theatre Co. (Mar. 24-Apr. 23).

After that, I’m taking a long nap.

Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community. 

 

Tags:  Acting  Actor  Adjudicator  ATLAS Program  Auditions  career  Featured Member  TBA Awards  Titan Award 

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Spring Sale for New Members: A Great Graduation Gift - just $50!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, April 21, 2015

 

 

You read that right: for a limited time, individual Theatre Bay Area membership can be had for just $50 (new and lapsed members only). If you know someone who should be a member but hasn’t taken the step to join, now is a great time to nudge them towards our website. Use the promo code: 2015SpringSale.

A Theatre Bay Area membership makes a great graduation gift for students in your life! TBA membership includes lots of perks for them to enjoy: 

Free and discount tickets to shows around the Bay Area
Audition and job postings
Eligibility for General Auditions
Opportunity to adjudicate for the TBA Awards - meaning more free tickets to shows!

Act now - offer ends June 30!

Tags:  arts education  Membership  TBA Awards  TBA general auditions 

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Claire Rice to Head TBA Awards Program

Posted By TBA Staff, Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hello, TBA Awards adjudicators and theatre-makers at participating companies,

It is my extreme pleasure to announce that much-loved former staff member and frequent local director and playwright, Claire Rice, has returned to Theatre Bay Area to lead all aspects of the fledgling TBA Awards program. Some of you will remember Claire as our events coordinator from 2010-2013, managing the General Auditions, the Annual Conference and numerous fundraising events.

 
New TBA Awards program manager Claire Rice. Photo: Claire Rice


Claire brings with her a terrific background in theatre as a writer and director. Having earned her MFA in playwriting at San Francisco State, her work has been produced by such companies as Thunderbird Theatre Company and No Nude Men. Recently, she directed the critically acclaimed Hilarity as part of DIVAfest.

Claire says, "I'm excited to be back at Theatre Bay Area working to support a program that is bringing the community together to celebrate our combined success."

I want to thank Robert Sokol for his fantastic work in bringing the TBA Awards to this point. Because of his dedication to Bay Area theatre-makers and his thoughtful development of the awards program, our community can now take pride in having a credible, region-wide, peer-adjudicated awards program that raises the profile of theatre in the Bay Area.

Beginning April 16, 2015, please direct all questions about Theatre Bay Area's TBA Awards program to Claire by emailing awards@theatrebayarea.org or by calling (415) 430-1140, ext. 35.


Sincerely,

Dale Albright
Theatre Bay Area Director of Field Services

 

Tags:  Adjudicator  Claire Rice  TBA Awards 

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Featured Member: Leontyne Mbele-Mbong

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's easy to be excited about Leontyne Mbele-Mbong, our latest featured member. She's rounding out a pretty spectacular year of work by sharing the stage with her mentor L. Peter Callender in the TBA Award-recommended Breakfast with Mugabe at Aurora Theatre Company. Just last month, Leontyne received the TBA Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Principal Role in a Play for playing the title role in Medea with African-American Shakespeare Company. The title of the award is a little long, but with Leontyne's adeptness with text, she'll have no problem saying it!

TBA Featured Member Leontyne Mbele-Mbong.

 

Tell us a little about your theatre work.

I've been performing in the Bay Area for sixteen years. I moved here after graduating from Macalester College with a BA in Dramatic Arts. I started off singing with Lamplighters Music Theatre, but I realized that I missed doing legit theatre. My first play in the Bay Area was Map of the World with TheatreFirst—they paid me to act! I have since performed with Woman's Will, Central Works, Solano College, ACT's First Look, Impact Theater, SF Playwrights Center, Altarena Playhouse, African-American Shakespeare Company, Aluminous Collective, and most recently Aurora Theatre Company where I am currently doing Breakfast with Mugabe.

 

I seem to have done a lot of Shakespeare and classics—not by any particular design but I guess we are drawn to each other. I love figuring out the poetry of Shakespeare, rolling the vocabulary and sentence structure of classic theatre on my tongue. I don't know if Lorraine Hansberry and August Wilson count as classics yet, but, lord, to speak their words—what a treat!

 

I think that is what I love most about theatre: to speak the speech. To discover how each character speaks, why, and what that says about them. It's an adventure every time.

 

What's one of your favorite shows that you've worked on?

Am I allowed two? A Raisin in the Sun: I love that play, for starters, and Ruth is such a wonderful character: she's so fully realized, though not a woman of many words. She watches a lot, absorbs and reflects back. It was a fun challenge to make sure she didn't just become part of the furniture. She is a study in active listening.

 

The title role of Medea was a journey I had never taken. I had never worked so hard on a role, developing her language and movement, fine-tuning every moment. When I first looked at that script I was terrified. There were no stage directions, no easing into things—just raw emotion from the start. And I thought, what on earth do I with this? There is nothing to hold on to. I just have to jump and free fall. That was an exhilarating rush!

 

What do you like about the theatre scene here in the Bay?

I admire the collaboration, the variety, the multitude of cultures telling their unique stories. What boggles my mind is how in spite of financial difficulties, all of the theatres are devoted to serving the community. Such hard work, countless hours, creativity, resourcefulness. It's amazing!

 

Do you have a resource or piece of advice you'd like to share?

Hard work and preparation are what allow me to step on stage with confidence. To help me in that process, I have found that having a coach who knows me and how to make me express myself to the best of my ability, and can help me focus on the specifics on my performance, can be a tremendous boon. For me that coach is L. Peter Callender—that's my resource. My advice: find the coach that works for you, who challenges you and helps bring out your best work.


Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community.

  

 

Tags:  Featured Member  Leontyne Mbele-Mbong  TBA Awards 

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TBA Booth at the Castro Street Fair

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, September 23, 2014

 

Photo: "that great rainbow flag" by torbakhopper HE DEAD on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.  

 

Theatre Bay Area will be rocking our very own booth at the Castro Street Fair on October 5! Visit us at our wee home away from home, near Castro and 18th Street, to learn about TBA membership, the TBA Awards, the many amazing shows playing all over the Bay Area, and more! You can come say hello to Brad, Dale, James and Michelle from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Love and rainbows, 

Theatre Bay Area



Tags:  Community Events  Membership  TBA Awards 

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TBA Awards Finalists Announced September 18!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Updated: Monday, September 15, 2014

 

 

It's so close we can taste it—the announcement of the first-ever cohort of
TBA Awards Finalists this Thursday, September 18!


Beginning at 10:30 a.m., we will roll out a series of brief announcement videos on YouTube, premiering a new video every half hour until all categories have been announced. The links to the YouTube videos will be published here in TBA Awards News!


Once all finalists have been announced, we will publish the full list of TBA Awards Finalists. And then we'll hold our breath until the glittering, glamorous November 10 Awards Gala to find out which of these talented, hard-working artists will ultimately receive TBA Awards!



Catch the excitement! Tune in on Thursday, September 18!




Tags:  TBA Awards 

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