How did you get started on stage?
I’ve been performing ever since I can remember. It was the thing to do.
When did you open Actors Forum Theatre?
In August of 1975, a group of eager actors, some of whom were originally from New York where theatre was part of the creative tapestry, and I founded Actors Forum Theatre. The group was looking to put up a production of “DYLAN” and couldn’t find an appropriate venue in which to produce it. My husband, the late Mike Singer, and I found just the right space in Hollywood on Cahuenga Blvd. West, across the street from the Hanna Barberra Animation Studios. This space later became Actors Forum Theatre’s permanent home, and remained so for almost two decades, providing opportunities for actors, directors, writers, producers, and theatre artists to perform and work on their craft in a safe and nurturing environment.
What made you decide to open a theatre in NoHo?
The Cahuenga building was sold in 1994, and the new landlord was asking too much money for the space. So, based on conversations we had had with David Cox, who ran the American Renegade Theater (where the NoHo Arts Center is now), Mike and I decided to check out NoHo. David was very excited about the emerging NoHo Arts District. We started looking for a building in NoHo and while driving around the area, we noticed a storefront we thought would work. We purchased the building at 10655 Magnolia Blvd. that had once been a furniture store, and converted it into a theatre. Mike and I wanted to make sure that our audiences would be comfortable in the new space, so we added central air and heat, as well as wheelchair access to the theatre.
What have been some of your favorite plays produced at Actors Forum?
Actors Forum Theatre has been honored many times over the years, with excellent reviews and numerous awards, and I have many favorite productions. The breakout hit “BOX 27” comes to mind. This was the Los Angeles premiere of a new play that examined the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, looking at homosexuality in a different light. Actors Forum Theatre also housed Fritz Coleman’s first solo outing, “IT’S ME, DAD”, which played to sell-out audiences for about a year. Other favorites productions of mine include “THE GREAT SEBASTIANS”, “THE BOY FRIEND”, the astounding magic of Falkenstein and Willard in “FIREFLIES - - WIZARDS OF MAGIC”, “A HATFUL OF RAIN”, Julie Sheppard’s “JUDY GARLAND - - A NIGHT IN THE LIFE”, and Don Scribner’s solo show “TWO ROOMS IN THE VALLEY”.
What is the best piece of advice you can give a young actor?
Never give up!
Since you have been in the NoHo theatrical community seventeen years, what do you feel needs to still happen in the district?
I’d like to see better communication and cooperation within the NoHo theater community and more often; some meetings and get-togethers so that the theaters really get to know one another. For instance, I was able to pass a play that was submitted to me at Actors Forum Theatre, to Zombie Joe at ZJU, that I thought would be more appropriate for his theater. He ended up getting in touch with the playwright and producing the play. Had I not met Zombie Joe at a theater meeting, that play might have gone unproduced. I’ve also lent set and prop pieces to theaters local in NoHo.
I have had rental productions referred to me by sister theaters who thought Actors Forum Theatre might be the best place for a particular production. This was the case with Kate Burns Randolph’s production of THE BELLE OF AMHERST. Avery Schreiber Theatre’s Linda Fulton suggested to Kate that she contact me, that Actors Forum Theatre might be the perfect theatre for her production.
Last but not least...tell us about the new show you are producing?
The young actor/playwright Ted Ryan, who participates in the Actors Forum Tuesday Night Workshop, did a reading of PULLING LEATHER with the hopes of having it produced here. At the time, the play didn’t catch my attention. Later, Ted approached me again, and we worked together on developing the piece as a play. I love to work with new plays and emerging playwrights, so working on PULLING LEATHER with its intriguing characters, was right up my alley. PULLING LEATHER is about a professional bronc rider who faces a much tougher challenge than a bucking bronc when he loses his nerve in the rodeo ring and he is forced to confront both a romantic challenge and a deep, dark secret from his past. PULLING LEATHER will have its world premiere at Actors Forum Theatre, October 1 through October 30.
PULLING LEATHER runs October 1 through October 30, Friday & Saturday at 8pm with a Sunday Matinee at 2pm.
General Admission - $20; Seniors/Students/Groups - $15
Ticket Purchase/Information: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/869535 or (323) 822-7898
Actors Forum Theatre is located at 10655 Magnolia Boulevard, NoHo Arts District 91601.