Friday, January 29, 2016

U. S. Drag: Meet the Cast!

MARIA COSTELLO (Bookstore Manager/Janice/Bartender/Christen) is delighted to be making her debut with Dragon Theatre Company. She is a Film Actors Program graduate from Shelton Studios in San Francisco. Recent credits include Beyond Therapy at Shelton Theater.

 JOSIAH FRAMPTON (Christopher) is excited for his first role at the Dragon Theatre. He was recently seen at Los Altos Stage Company playing The Duke/Dr Carrasco in their production of Man of La Mancha. Before that he performed at City Lights Theatre playing Riff in their production of West Side Story and Patsy in Spamalot. He has also worked with Cabrillo stage in multiple productions including playing Manny/Freddy in Escaping Queens (2012-13), Ensemble in The Full Monty (2011), and Ernst in Cabaret (2010). He has also had the pleasure of working with Tabard Theatre as Clive in See How They Run (2011), and Hillbarn Theatre in the Quartet of Will Roger’s Follies (2011).

LIZ FREDERICK (Angela) is ecstatic to make her Dragon Theatre debut in U.S. Drag. She is a recent graduate from The University of Southern California, where she received a BA in Dramatic Arts and a BA in Psychology.  She recently played Isabel in Celebration Arts Theatre Production of My Children! My Africa!, as well as Julia in Fefu and her Friends while at USC. Other credits include Kersten in August Strindberg's Playing With Fire and performing in The Vagina Monologues in Galway, Ireland. Liz would like to thank her friends and family for their continued love and support.  

WILLIAM GAOIRAN (Ned) is a recent graduate of San Jose State University, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. He has worked on various productions that include stage, film, and voice over work. Recently, he appeared in San Jose State University's productions of Dead Man Walking (Chaplain Farley) and Zoot Suit (Rudy) collaborating with El Teatro Campesino. When he is not acting, he spends his time playing the guitar, singing, training in martial arts, and working on writing projects. He would like to thank you all for attending and hope you will enjoy the show.

After graduating from Stanford in 2011, OLIVIA HAAS (Allison) moved to NYC where she enjoyed stints at The Public Theater and Manhattan Theatre Club. After realizing that it’s hard to live in New York with no money, she moved to LA where she enjoyed a longer stint working in film and television. After realizing that she wasn’t actually enjoying that stint, she chose to ditch the entertainment industry and return to the Bay Area where she is thoroughly enjoying her newfound peace of mind. A writer/director at heart, Olivia has had her plays produced both locally and Off(Off)-Broadway, and she has trained as an improviser at The Groundlings in Los Angeles. This is her first Dragon Production.

LAUREN HAYES (Mary) is thrilled to be making her Dragon debut! Bay Area theater credits include The Skin of our Teeth at the Douglass Morrison Theatre. Prior to moving back to the Bay Area, her NYC credits included Quiet Peninsula (NYC Fringe), The Mysteries, #Serials@TheFlea, and These Seven Sicknesses (all at The Flea Theater), One Heart for Two (Winkel & Balktick’s Laboratory), and Stop the Virgens (St. Ann’s Warehouse). A Bay Area native, she holds a BS in chemistry from Stanford University and was a member of the Flea Theater’s resident acting company for three years in NYC.

PETER RAY JUAREZ (Evan) received a MA in Theatre Arts from San Jose State University, where he is the 2014 recipient for the Teatro Award and holds a BA in Theatre Arts from California State University at Chico. Selected credits include Paco/ Gypsy in Man of La Mancha at Los Altos Stage Company, Macbeth in Macbeth and Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing at SJSU, Spartan in Lysistrata, Doctor/ Trouble in In The Blood, Sheriff in SlyFox, and Zhao in Natural Selection at CSUC.

JEREMY RYAN (James) is thrilled to return to the Dragon after appearing in 2013's Les Liasons Dangerueses as Chevalier Danceny. Most recently, Jeremy appeared as Terry in City Lights Theater Company's production of Handle With Care. Also at City Lights, Jeremy has appeared in Truce: A Christmas Wish from the Great War, Spamalot, and West Side Story. Other favorite roles include Biff Loman in Death of a Salesman (Broadway West) Sebastian in Twelfth Night (Silicon Valley Shakespeare) and Jake Mace in House and Garden (The Pear Theatre). Jeremy is a company member at Play On Words San Jose and a graduate of the Foothill Theatre Conservatory.

Monday, January 25, 2016

About the Playwright: Gina Gionfriddo

Gina Gionfriddo grew up in Washington, D. C. where she attended the Georgetown Day School. She graduated from Barnard College and in 1997 received an MFA in Playwrighting from Brown University where she studied with acclaimed playwright Paula Vogel.

U. S. Drag was actually Ms. Gionfriddo’s thesis production at Brown University and was awarded the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, an honor for female playwrights, which she shared in a tie with Susan Miller in 2002. Also in 2002 she was given the Helen Merril Award for Emerging Playwrights.

Her next play, After Ashley (Dragon’s 2013 season) caught the eye of RenĂ© Balcer, the head writer and executive producer of Law & Order. Balcer hired her after he read After Ashley. Balcer said: “She really has an ear for the dialogue of everyday Americans and the quirkiness of everyday Americans... the kind of people you see being interviewed on Nancy Grace.”

Her next play, Becky Shaw, premiered at the Humana Festival in 2008 and opened off-Broadway that same year. It was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama - she lost to Ruined by Lynn Nottage.

In 2012, Gionfriddo’s play Rapture, Blister, Burn hit the stage off-Broadway and was nominated for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize Award in Drama but lost out to Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar.

In addition to writing plays, Ms. Gionfriddo has a busy career in television, where she wrote and produced for both Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She’s also written episodes for the acclaimed Netflix series House of Cards and Borgia.

Ms. Gionfriddo currently lives in New York City where she is a single mother.