The Garry Marshall Theatre’s Board of Directors announces Joseph Leo Bwarie and Dimitri Toscas as the newly formed nonprofit's first Artistic Directors. Bwarie and Toscas will shepherd the Garry Marshall Theatre into its inaugural season, bringing a bold artistic vision and a focus on community engagement.
Bwarie and Toscas have been forces behind some of the most successful productions at the 130-seat theatre - formerly the Falcon Theatre. Toscas, with his most recent Ovation Recommended Buyer & Cellar, has directed numerous standout productions including Scott and Hem, the West Coast premiere of Class, Bunny Bunny, Laurel and Hardy, and three commissioned original children’s shows, which he also wrote.
In the final season of the Falcon, Bwarie directed and starred in Troubadour Theater Company’s Little Drummer Bowie. For years he served as the Director of Children’s Theatre Development and was associate director alongside Garry Marshall for the Falcon’s world premiere of Billy & Ray.
In addition to his writing, directing and acting career, Garry Marshall spent 20 years with his theatre advancing up-and-coming artists and the live performance culture in Burbank and Toluca Lake. Now, with the passing of Mr. Marshall, his wife, Barbara, and the Marshall family are committed to continuing Garry’s legacy—in a new nonprofit organization.
“Garry Marshall believed that gathering people together to share a live storytelling experience was one of the most important ways we process our lives,” says Artistic Director Dimitri Toscas. “We are proud to continue that philosophy into the modern space of American theatre and establish our stage as a community stomping ground for exploration and education.”
With the Falcon Theatre closing its doors and ushering in the new era of the Garry Marshall Theatre, the once privately funded space is now the only nonprofit, mid-size Equity house in Burbank and Toluca Lake that produces a full season and maintains a subscriber base. Bwarie and Toscas are committed to promoting jobs in the arts while providing platforms for new voices and new stories balanced with strong reinterpretations of established and resonant works.
“We are excited about expanding our education focus and community building,” says Artistic Director Joseph Leo Bwarie. “Garry was all about connecting people and encouraging new artists to find their voices. With our new model, we aim to make the theatre a more activated space not only for the surrounding Burbank and Toluca Lake areas, but for our peers in the LA theatre community and the new talent flooding into this city every day.”
Over its 20 years, Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theatre fostered opportunities for many of American theatre’s most well-known artists, including Tony Award-winning Ben Platt (Dear Even Hanson), Tony nominated Rory O’Malley (Hamilton, Book Of Mormon), Tony Award-winning Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Lesli Margarita (Matilda) and Paul Vogt (Chicago, Hairspray) to name a few. Bwarie and Toscas intend to continue this history by welcoming the next generation of artists.
The Garry Marshall Theatre will establish a new 4-Show Subscription and year round programming including the introduction of the MarshallARTS Family Series and an innovative “out of the box” Hot Summer Series, as well as master classes, a new play festival, a film series, concerts, and educational workshops for young artists.
The inaugural season opens with Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play Master Class, inspired by the opera diva Maria Callas’ Juilliard master class series, and directed by Toscas. In the winter, Artistic Director Joseph Leo Bwarie will direct a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony-winning musical A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. Next is the West Coast premiere of Edward Albee’s Occupant, exploring the trials and triumphs of groundbreaking sculptor Louise Nevelson, and directed by Heather Chesley. And finally, Michael A. Shepperd will direct Neil Simon’s popular Laughter on the 23rd Floor, exposing the antics of a 1950s television writers’ room.
Bwarie and Toscas are supported by the new Garry Marshall Theatre Executive Director Sherry Greczmiel. The Board of Directors, including Barbara Marshall, Kathleen Marshall LaGambina, Heather Hall, and Joan Boyett, further supports the efforts of the new theatre.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
**** For information on Los Angeles theatre, tickets to theatre in North Hollywood's NoHo Arts District, theatre reviews, the NoHo Event Calendar, restaurants, news and local businesses in NoHo, or anything and everything about the NoHo Arts Community, bookmark nohoartsdistrict.com. Follow us on Twitter @OfficialNoHo. On Instagram @NoHoArtsDistrict and Facebook @NoHoArtsDistrict.