American Fiesta
by
Steven Tomlinson

Starring

Larry Cedar

American Fiesta


Director
Scenic Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Properties Design & Set Dressing
Production Stage Manager
Video Design
Public Relations
Technical Director
Set Construction
Sound Design Assistant
Production Crew

Light Board Operator
Sound Board Operator
Stage Crew
Key Art
Production Photography

David Rose
David Potts
Kate Bergh
Jared A. Sayeg
Dave Mickey
MacAndME
Brian Cordoba
Dave Mickey & Kristen Campbell
David Elzer/Demand PR
Robert T. Kyle
Red Colegrove
Jenna Riley
Watson Bradshaw, Cuyler Perry,
Chris Rivera, Genetra Tull
Amanda Ragan
Brie Quinn
Andrea Dean, Cuyler Perry
Doirean Heldt
Michael Lamont


Running Time

Approximately 80 Minutes
American Fiesta is performed without intermission



A Note From the Playwright

I was a 28-year-old assistant professor of Economics at The University of Texas and I was trying to figure out how to play big. I loved teaching, I spent a lot of time reading voraciously - devotional classics and books about spirituality - and I went to the theater and the movies and absorbed art. And what I was not doing was any academic research of any kind whatsoever, which, if you’re on the tenure track, is a problem. I figured I needed some sort of intervention.

So I sought out a wise man, a professor at the local seminary who had a reputation for insight and tough love. And I said, "I love business education, I love theology, and I love theater. So will you tell me what to do? Do I hold my nose and do the research and get tenure? Or do I move to New York and write plays until I’m discovered? Or do I give it all up, join the seminary, and become a priest? Whatever you say, I am going to do."

JOHN MOROGIELLOHe said, "This is the stupidest question anyone has ever asked me."

He said, "You’re telling me there are the three things you love and you want me to tell you which two to cut off so you can limp along on the other one. This is not how things work. The advice I have for you is 'don’t discard.' Find a way to keep all three of these things in the mix." I said, "Yeah, but what am I going to do for a living?" He said, "You’ll find out. Right now what you do is engage in all three things. They’ll talk to each other in your life and something will begin to happen."

So I did it. I started taking classes at the seminary in theological ethics, I started taking creative writing classes at UT and going to open-mike nights on Sixth Street to perform monologues.

And I found that these sources of inspiration that were active in my life were starting to talk to each other. I was using improv techniques in my economics classes. I was using technology from the classroom in my theater pieces. And I also discovered that since money is god to most of us, an economist has a lot to contribute to a seminary. At one point, the seminary dean came to me and said, "Would you be willing to teach a class on the spiritual power of money?" And I didn’t even have to think about that. I said, "Yes, yes I will." And I went home and somehow the syllabus came together. These lines began to blur and cross and then one of the local theaters wanted to produce an evening of my monologues.

Then I got a call from a businessman, for whom I have great respect, who was organizing a conference for technology executives and he asked if I’d write a play for the occasion. And I said, "No, I’m not entertainment." He said, "We need someone who can reflect on the spiritual significance of the technology stock market bubble." And I thought, "I’m in. I can do that!" If you’d told me when I was 18 that I could get a job as a corporate-spiritual-playwright, I would have majored in that.

As things started to fit together, I was concluding that part of playing big was the small ways of demonstrating what you can do well, small ways to package your intention, and get it out in the world. We might call it "lead with what you love."

- Steven Tomlinson



FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

I started producing theatre in the mid-seventies. At that time, the only recognition for LA theatre was from the critics, in
the form of the LA Drama Critics’ Circle Awards. They were a big deal, and the only game in town.

The LADCC Awards dinner was always fun, and we certainly cherished getting their plaques, but still, to most theatre people it just didn’t seem right that critics were the only ones who decided what work was worthy of acknowledgement. "Why can’t we have awards like the Tonys?" we’d ask each other. "Awards voted on by fellow theatre professionals?"

The answer was obvious. The Tony awards honor Broadway, and it’s not difficult for a Tony voter to see every single Broadway show in the course of a season. Not so in Los Angeles, where there are scores of small theatres and over 400 plays and musicals produced every single year. It’s utterly impossible for a voter to see everything.

But then the smart folks at Theatre LA (now LA Stage Alliance) figured it out. They assembled a voter pool of over 100 theatre professionals, each of whom pledged to see at least 25 shows over the season. They devised a scoring system of 1-10, with one decimal place allowed, and came up with strict guidelines for the scoring of each award category. They recruited graphic designer Chris Komuro of Center Theatre Group to create the beautiful statuette. They recruited a programmer, our own Michael Wadler, to design a computer program to crunch the numbers, and the accounting firm of KPMG Peat-Marwick to maintain it. The top scorers in each category would be the nominees.

The first competitive Ovation Award season was launched in the fall of 1993, and voters spent the year seeing every show they possibly could. Many saw the minimum of 25, but some very conscientious voters saw well over 100! The nominees were announced the following autumn, and on November 14, 1994, the Alex theatre in Glendale hosted the first gala Ovation Awards ceremony. And oh, what a glorious night it was! For the first time in anyone’s memory we all gathered in one place and collectively embraced each others’ work, the first time - ever - we felt our strength and value as a theatre community.

In one historic night, the Ovation Awards Ceremony became The Theatrical Event of the Year, and that hasn’t changed in 18 years.

In the current season, The Colony is very proud of our nine Ovation nominations. They are: Anne Gee Byrd, Best Lead Actress, The Savannah Disputation, Josh Clark, Best Featured Actor, The Savannah Disputation, both Bonnie Bailey-Reed and Rebecca Mozo, Best Featured Actress, The Savannah Disputation, the entire cast of The Savannah Disputation for Best Ensemble, Lisa Hopkins, Best Choreography, Dames at Sea, Stephen Gifford, Best Set Design, Old Wicked Songs, Drew Dalzell, Best Sound Design, Old Wicked Songs, and - the jewel in the crown of the Ovations - BEST SEASON, for Shooting Star, Travels With My Aunt, Old Wicked Songs, Dames at Sea, The Savannah Disputation, and Blame It On Beckett.

This year’s ceremony will be held November 12th at the beautiful Los Angeles Theatre in downtown LA. As always, we will be there!

Barbara Beckley
Artistic Director


SPECIAL THANKS

Lowell Bartholomee   Brad Brown   Troy Dudley   Kit Fox
Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association
Christina J. Moore   Saarin Schwartz   Wadler Data Systems

With Very Special Thanks to

Djanet Strumreiter