Coming Up Roses: Meet the Cast

Posted: November 21st, 2013 | 1 Comment »

This week is the opening of The Rose Tree! Our workshop production marks L’Enfant Terrible’s first full length original play. It will be presented in partnership with Artworks Theatre and the Open Fist. For more information and tickets click here. But before you do, why don’t you find out where all of our talented actors are from. They have included a little secret about themselves so read on! (Then go buy your tickets.)

Lindsey, Stephanie and Jordana

Lindsey, Stephanie and Jordana

Lindsey Andersen plays Astrid

I’ve spent my life mostly building imaginative things and characters – a consequence of being born to an architect & fairy-believing new-ager in Woodacre, CA. Six months ago I moved to Los Angeles after living in NYC for 12 years. The New York theater world was wonderful, but I liked it here when I visited so I stayed. I love my improv team, Feminist Boy, writing sketch comedy, and have my own company, Wild Town Productions. You can creep on me at

No one in the cast knows, I make little personalized dolls – often for wedding cakes.

Stephanie Crothers plays Jane

I am the oldest of 3 children born and raised in Los Angeles. As a creative kid, if I wasn’t in dance class, soccer or swim practice, I was drawing, writing, and performing comedy sketches for my family. I studied at the USC School of Theater and later became a member of The Open Fist Theater Company where I have been for almost a year. I am so grateful to be part of the LA theater community where the diversity of artistic passion and skill continues to inspire me.

Secretly, I hope someday to give a home to many different kinds of animals, including a pet crow.

Jordana Berliner plays The Nymphean Fairy Star of the South

I grew up in Petaluma, California. I have a B.A. in theatre from UCSD and a M.A. in psychology from Pacifica. I trained to be a therapist, working primarily with people with dementia. My master’s thesis dealt with certain defense mechanisms in response to early childhood trauma. The thesis, in part, inspired the role of The Nymphean Fairy Star of the South. I believe The Rose Tree is a timeless play that gives a voice to children who have been abandoned, abused, and/or neglected. The Rose Tree is important to me because it shows the significance of healthy interpersonal relationships in healing past abuses.

When I was 11, I was the female California state bowling champion.

Shannon Nicola and Nook

Shannon, Nicola and Yancy (aka Nook)

Shannon Dieriex plays Crumbcake

I was born in Anaheim, CA with the acting gene it’s on the 21st chromosome. I am a member of SAG-AFTRA and the Born to Act Players. I appear in the new Cher video Women’s World. I attended Cypress College where I studied theater arts and participated in several of their stage productions. I have done a lot of background work in movies and TV. I’ve won over 40 gold medals in Special Olympics mostly in swimming and gymnastics. I am so excited to play the role of Crumbcake in The Rose Tree. I love the people I am working with. It’s going to be a great show.

Nicola Hersh plays Mother Mayi

I have been a member of the Open Fist Theatre Company for over 11 years and performed in over 15 productions. A personal favorite was A LIFE OF EASE. I originally came from the San Francisco Bay Area where I was a member of the Actor’s Theatre of San Francisco and acted in and directed numerous productions. Stage: Death of A Salesman, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, The Dead, Escape from Happiness, Playhouse Creatures, and Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean to name a few. TV: Monk, Providence, Shameless. Film: 50 First Date, Apartment 206. I am a member of SAG/AFTRA

Oh, and I went around the world for my 50th birthday!

Yancy Holmes plays John Strong

Yancy Holmes is from Long Beach, California and his interest in theater sparked at the age of seventeen performing in high school. He went on to attend UCLA’s theater program graduating in 2008 and his time at the university only served to pique the passion of his curiosity in the acting world. “The Rose Tree” is Yancy’s fourth collaboration with Efrain Schunior performing in past plays such as Mosquito Bites (which Angela Berliner also wrote), Marisol, and A Mouthful of Birds. He is blessed and happy to be a part of this energetic and magical cast.

No one else knows that when I was a small child my dad compared me to a tiny nook & cranny. So my family nickname is Nook. They still call me this today!

Alex Monica and Elizabeth

Alex, Monica and Elizabeth

Alex Marshall-Brown plays Jzon D’o

Hey! I’m expanding my definition of myself as a person in this world and pursuing all things that interest me. This mindset allows me to DO the activities I’ve always wanted to; from Muay Thai, to Fire Dancing, & perhaps even stunt driving soon! Acting has always been a given, but now that I’m making FUN a priority in my life, living onstage or on set is all the more thrilling. I’m grateful for that refreshed perspective on Life.

Fun fact: Since the age of five, I used to be my father’s hostess at high end government cocktail parties. Most sophisticated moment: when I opened my first bottle of wine for some dignitaries. First party foul: seconds later when I shattered the bottle and spilled all the red wine onto my father’s carpet.

Monica Lawson plays Rosie

Monica is super excited to be playing Rosie in The Rose Tree! Before she made her way into the magical world of the Rose Tree, she fell in love with acting when she performed in her first school play at the age of 8! Several plays continued thereafter at church & throughout high school when she decided to take acting on full time & enrolled in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Having performed throughout the city doing theater, film, comedy improv, & voiceover, Monica decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue film, television, & her love of improv at the Groundlings School. Visit

I had a phobia of puppets as a child.

Elizabeth Pan plays Sarah

I grew up in the glamorous town of Thousand Oaks, CA. My first acting gig was that of the butt end of Nana the Dog in Westlake Elementary’s production of Peter Pan. It’s been all downhill from there. I couldn’t be more excited to be in The Rose Tree and having the pleasure to work with such talented and fun people. The cast cracks me up every day.

One secret that the cast doesn’t know about me is that I am going to backpack through Patagonia two weeks after the show closes! And that I always brake for ice cream. Ok, that’s two secrets.

Mary Ann Karthik and Angela

Mary Ann, Karthik and Angela (as Ophelia)

Mary Ann Pianka plays Wretch

Having been born and raised in Lancaster, PA, I grew up around lots of trees that I always thought were magical. I am as grateful for that childhood as I am for being able to pursue acting. In lieu of my senior year of high school, I moved to LA for a year to work before college. Now a recent graduate from Syracuse University’s Drama Department, I am back in LA and working in the entertainment industry. I am proud to call The Rose Tree my first theatrical production on the west coast.

Finding an ancient coin is a life goal of mine.

Karthik Srinivasan plays Hanzi

Originally from New Delhi, Karthik stumbled into acting while pursuing his Electrical Engineering degree at Virginia Tech (go Hokies!). With numerous thespian adventures on the east coast under his belt, his west coast exploits  have, fortunately enough, led to work on television (How I Met Your Mother, The Bold & Beautiful), commercials (HP, Verizon), voiceover (Medal of Honor), as well as on stage (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity). Karthik is here: Follow him @KarthikVasan

Random secret trivia: Besides English, I can speak 5 other languages.

Angela Berliner is the Playwright

I was born and raised in Petaluma, CA. The first play I ever wrote was an adaptation of the Perseus story which I directed for my first grade talent show. Since then, I have been lucky enough to have had several plays produced at The Actors’ Gang, including Little, Scrooge Must Die and my family-friendly plays Pericles on the High Seas, Titus the Clownicus, King O’Leary, and Cymbeline the Puppet King. I then co-founded L’Enfant Terrible where we produced the Fun Family Festival of Tragedy at the Bootleg Theater which included Titus and O’Leary, but also Hamlet, Prince of Puddles and Macbeth and the Monster. Macbeth has also been performed at the Madcat Theater in Miami and Hamlet toured to the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Louisiana. The Rose Tree was born from all the sad stories, fictional and real, of the lost, missing, and unwanted kids in the world. I wanted to give them a safe place to go; a home. And that became the Rose Tree.

Secret no one else in The Rose Tree knows about me: All my secrets can be found locked away somewhere in my plays.

a magical place...

A Devine Vision for All Ages Theater

Posted: February 26th, 2013 | No Comments »

Debbie Levine and Walking the Tightrope

There is an amazing family friendly play you should know about: Walking the Tightrope at the 24th Street Theatre. It stars Paige White (whom we interviewed last week) and is directed by Debbie Devine.

Debbie and her husband (and producing partner) Jay McAdams were two of LA Weekly’s People of 2012 and together they run the 24th Street Theatre. She has been an Arts Education leader for 15 years and dedicated to sophisticated work for families. She is the director of the LA Philharmonic’s “orchestral theater” and Hollywood Bowl’s Summer Sounds and the Chair of Theater at the Colburn School. The plays at 24th Street Theater are often in Spanish with English subtitles and tour across the country, to Mexico, and through South America. Describing her work Debbie proclaims that “A single 30 year old man should be just as moved and engaged as a 4 year old girl.” We couldn’t agree more.

Do you have a quarter? If you live near the 24th Street theater you will get a penny in change when you go to the box office. Because tickets are 24 cents for neighbors! The LA Times says: “Delicately poised between children’s fable and adult reverie at once, only to become another transcendent thing altogether, Walking the Tightrope at 24th Street Theatre delivers the evocative, cathartic goods.”

So check it out! In the meantime we asked Debbie some questions that none of the other newspapers in town have asked. Enjoy our fifth installment of L’Interview in which we introduce you to another amazing artists.

Do you have a favorite childhood story?

Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique 😉 It meant I had to grow up and be a warrior.

Do you have a favorite letter or word?

Cool. Our after school program is called After ‘Cool because it’s just that cool.

Did you have any nicknames when you were a kid?


What’s your favorite piece of music of all time?

Amazing Grace

Name three characteristics of every creative person you’ve met.

Crazy, heart broken, indefatigable and contrary

Popsicle, creamsicle, or fudgesicle?

Ice-cream sandwich

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What’s your secret?

Napping. I’m tired.

Did you have a fort, a tree house, or a secret hiding place where you would go to when you were upset or wanted to hide?

Two chairs and a sheet.

What is the most rewarding creative project you have ever worked on and why?

Building 24th Street Theatre. Because we can both touch our local community and touch our international community while touring. Around the world we have so much in common.

Walking the Tightrope is playing at the 24th Street Theatre on Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 through March 30. The performance is in English. Click the banner below for more information! Don’t miss it!

24th Street Theater

Bookmark this Paige

Posted: February 20th, 2013 | No Comments »

paige-rose tree image

Meet Paige White, a rising star of Los Angeles’ theater scene. Paige will be gracing our boards as the voice of Sara in tomorrow’s benefit reading of The Rose Tree. Join us for this wonderful event and help bring a family together. You can also see her in the fantastic family friendly production of Walking the Tightrope at the 24th Street Theater.

When did you start performing?

I did a recitation of Shel Silverstein poetry in first grade. People laughed and I was hooked. My mom was really sick through all of my childhood and I loved the escape it provided.

What bedtime story do you remember best?

Little Pilgrim’s Progress (big Christian family)

Name three qualities of creative people.

The front page with Paige

Paige appeared in the critically acclaimed War Cycle at Los Angeles Theater Ensemble.

Inquisitive, hungry, (24 hours later she adds…) and forgetful?

Do you approach playing children characters differently than playing adults?

Kids are emotional live wires. They haven’t developed their cloaking devices. They feel fully. They react first and process intellectually later. This is not to diminish their intellect. They are more comfortable in living in the not knowing, in the discovery. Because they are still discovering their world and who they are. Adults can get trapped in thinking they know more than they do.

Favorite cereal growing up?

Fruity Pebbles… but I wasn’t allowed to have it. I just longed for it.

If you were making a music box what song would it play?

Sound of Music – best movie ever.

Come hear Page at our reading of The Rose Tree this Thursday, February 21 and then you should run, not walk, to see her in Walking The Tightrope at 24th Street Theater.

Peek Behind the Poster

Posted: June 20th, 2011 | No Comments »


Find out the who the real monster is June 11 at 12 o'clock

Meet Andrew Leman, the artist behind the Fun Family Festival poster and logo. Above, you can see the evolution of Macbeth’s monster. Looks like what ends up being a gripping graphic started out as an action figure.

Posted below are some animals who auditioned for the buffalo and chicken jobs but didn’t get cast.

What’s your favorite cartoon of all time?

What’s Opera, Doc?

What do you read, watch, or look at every day?

Most days I read or at least skim the website Boing Boing. I find much of what’s posted there quite interesting.

What are you working on right now?

The Arkham Sanitarium sanity assessment and diagnostic kit. What started off as a goofy idea has become a fabulously complicated and comprehensive goofy product with elaborate calculating wheels, a board game, six decks of cards, inkblots, and custom-made pencils, among other things.

Popsicle, Fugicle, or Creamsicle?

Definitely Fudgsicle.

What are your favorite works of art?

Hommage by Leopoldo Maler

Paintings by Lyonel Feininger and Hugh Ferriss, sculptures by Paul Manship and Donald De Lue.

Graphics and lettering by Chris Ware.

What’s your favorite music of all time?

Possibly Aubade from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev or maybe Brahms’ Rhapsody 79 No. 2, but I’d love to hear it fully orchestrated. Also What the Thunder Said as played by Duke Ellington’s All Star Road Band is pretty great, as is Glenn Miller’s String of Pearls

What’s the most fun you have ever had in a theater?

Noises Off in London with Sean Branney in 1988.

Where can we see more of your designs/work? or or

Take a look at the full poster on our Fun Family Festival Event Page

Say hello to Hamlet

Posted: May 27th, 2011 | No Comments »

Meet Brian Kimmet the princely puddle maker in Hamlet, Prince of Puddles. You can also see him as Macbeth in Macbeth and the Monster and Eddie Bastino of Bastardistan in King O’Leary – all part of the Fun Family Festival of Tragedy.

What’s behind your best work?

A phenomenal ensemble and a genius director.

Name three characteristics of every creative person you have met.

Sensitive, expressive and crazy

What would you put in a time capsule if you were to open it 50 years from now on 2061?

A Twinkie. I hear they’ve got an incredible shelf life.

What’s your favorite word or letter?

Until an age I’m ashamed to admit, I thought LMNO was one letter. Cause when you sing the alphabet song, those four kind of all run together! So that’s my favorite.

What’s your favorite music of all time?

All time?! Jeez Louise! My grandpa playing the piano. He was a jazz pianist in the 30’s and even at 96 years old he could still tickle the ivories with the best of them.

What are you working on right now?

I am thrilled to be working with L’Enfant Terrible on the Fun Family Festival of Tragedy. I also host the show ‘The Morning After’ on There’s a new 5-minute episode every weekday covering everything you missed from the night before in TV & pop culture. It’s short, sweet and super fun.

Popsicle, Fugicle, or Creamsicle?

Creamsicle. Hands down.

You could check out the Morning After Show or you could meet Brian in person at the Fun Family Festival of Tragedy. Opening June 4 at the Bootleg Theater.