This Spotlight focuses on Christine Joëlle, an actress I first saw onstage in the summer of 2004 as Madge Owens in Picnic, directed by Gail Bernardi for Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse. Christine and I went on to work together in many productions for the community theatre group, both onstage and on production teams. Since then, I have been fortunate to follow her path across the stages of professional theatre companies all over town, always enjoying her ability to transform herself into a great variety of characters – often during the same show! And I am also a very happy customer of her pet care service, Movin’ Paws.
Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your own theatrical background?
Christine Joëlle (CJ): I graduated from James Madison University and attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since moving to Los Angeles, I have worked in several theaters all around the city, having performed in over 60 stage productions. I am a proud theatre company member of THE ROAD and THEATRE 40 and union member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA.
(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?
(CJ): I was currently working on Mistakes Were Made: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda by Jerry Mayer at The Santa Monica Playhouse. We were on its 4th extension before having to postpone until a future date.
(SB): How was the shutdown communicated with the cast and production team?
(CJ): Via emails and phone calls. Ultimately, we came to a mutual decision to close the theatre for our and our patron’s safety.
(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?
(CJ): Our producers, Evelyn Rudie and Chris DeCarlo will most likely resume running the show. I have no doubt that all the cast members would be delighted to return.
(SB): I really enjoyed Mistakes Were Made: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda and all the characters you played in it. It’s so much fun to attend a show that keeps you laughing - and crying - at the same time from start to finish at such universal human foibles! Here is my review on Broadway World.
What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?
(CJ): I was not planning to be in other shows at the moment. But I do have a strong feeling many fall shows and activities may not happen either. For example, the Haunted Play production staff of the immersive theatre show Delusion will most likely not take place this year because it’s the type of show where you must secure and rent a location by May/June in order for production planning to commence.
Caleb Slavens, Alison Blanchard, Christine Joëlle and Christian Pedersen in "Flare Path" at Theatre 40. Photo by Ed Krieger(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?
(CJ): I’m definitely becoming a master of ZOOM chats! Ha! And am putting my self-tape skills to good use as well.
I am also the owner and CEO of a successful pet care service called Movin’ Paws. So, I’ve been busy keeping it movin’ during these crazy times. If you need any dog/cat care for your furry ones, we’d be delighted to lend a helping paw. Check out our services at MovinPaws.com
(SB): My dog Cody, bird Ernie, and I all highly recommend Movin’ Paws for their excellent service and personal care of your pets!
What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?
(CJ): Stay Strong and Safe. Without our health, our return to the stage shall take longer. The Arts and our creative community shall never die. We shall need it now more than ever. Keep that creative flow going!
(SB): And in closing to you personally, Christine – windmills!
This article first appeared on Broadway World.
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From a Penny Dreadful to family-friendly shows. From comedy and improv to interactive escape rooms. From Death Tours to dystopia, Shakespeare tragedies to Star Trek-Marlowe, improv to interactive escape room, or Chills & Thrills to Masoch and DeSade–the following is a list of theatrical, interactive and immersive experiences playing throughout Los Angeles in time to celebrate the Halloween season.
The Manitou House - October 25 - 26, 2019
Based on his screenplay of the same name, Trace Oakley has adapted "The Manitou House" especially for Culver City Public Theatre and their annual Halloween production. Founded in 1998, now in its 22nd year, Culver City Public Theatre is committed to enriching the community by providing classic, contemporary, and original productions, for audiences of all ages. CCPT is known for its summer performances in the park, as well as for its more edgy and intimate productions the rest of the year.
A successful writer, looking for inspiration, moves back to his boyhood town and into the house where he grew up. After a series of very strange occurrences in the house, he finds it is haunted by the baby-sitter he terrorized as a child...
Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium - October 25 - 27, 2019
Brooke and Zeke, two students thrilled to learn that they’ve won the starring roles in the new school musical — a mysterious production called The Phantom. But when strange, seemingly supernatural events begin interrupting rehearsals, the friends begin to wonder whether the show they’re acting in might be cursed.
In the slightly spooky, family-friendly world of "Goosebumps the Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium," Brooke and Zeke must race to find out whether they’re being haunted by ghosts or hoodwinked by pranksters. This show is wonderful for the entire family, ages 4 and up.
Absolutely Halloween - October 26 - 27, 2019
“Absolutely Halloween is absolutely great!,” raves showmag.com. “An absolute family treat!,” Exclaims the Tolucan times. It’s the classic family theatre Halloween musical for kids 2 to 102 – the heartwarming Rudie-DeCarlo tale of the aptly-named Candy, a sweet young girl who learns some surprising lessons about life, love, laughter, and sugar, from a delightful array of characters who take her on a magical All Hallow’s Eve adventure. Help Cattypuss, Patty Patches, Stuffy Steve, Lester the Jester, and Fifika the French Fortune-teller happily save Halloween for one more year.
As witching hour approaches, kids, and parents, too, discover the value of team spirit, friendship, sharing, making choices and moderation, especially when it comes to treats and sweets. Halloween month special: come in costume, and get two-for-one tickets for any future family theatre show. Now an audience favorite holiday tradition and back by audience demand for its 13th October run, absolutely Halloween is one in a series of original Rudie-DeCarlo fairy tale musical comedies that make up the award-winning family theatre musical matinee series for kids 2 to 102 now celebrating its 50th year as it cuts across the imaginary generation gap by providing an experience the entire family can enjoy.
An Excuse to Behave Badly – The Variety Show - October 25 - 27, 2019
"An Excuse to Behave Badly – The Variety Show!" is a one-hour variety show with a mix of stand-up comedy, sketch comedy, and the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival hit and Encore! Producers’ Award-winner "An Excuse to Behave Badly" by Jenni Halina.
The short play is a hilarious tale of four women on Halloween getting into misadventures while waiting for an Uber. Directed by Emily Lappi, the ensemble will feature a diverse group of LA’s top up-and-coming talent. In alphabetical order, they are Farida Amer, Seth Austin, Jenni Halina, Jermaine Jackson, Emily Lappi, Matt Morillo, Nica, Katie Oliver, Jaret Sacrey, Alex Owens Sarno, Yvette Saunders, and Royce Shockley.
NOW AND CONTINUING
Ravenswood Manor - October 24, 2019 – November 22, 2019
Taking a page from the cult classic "Dark Shadows", Justin Sayre's Ravenswood Manor brings audiences the gothic and hilarious goings-on of a small New England town during the spring of 1976. Directed by Tom DeTrinis and Jessica Hanna, Ravenswood Manor is an episodic theatrical event with two new episodes of the ever-unfolding adventure premiering each of the six-week run.
With a cast of comedic heavy hitters that includes, Drew Droege, Sam Pancake, Daniele Gaither, Leslie-Anne Huff, Ryan Garcia, Angela Cristanello, and Justin Sayre. Plus guest stars weekly! Join us this fall for the spooky, the silly, the glamour and the camp.
The Séance - October 24, 2019 – November 3, 2019
About: madam ruby has invited you and a few guests to participate in her séance and step beyond the veil. But who or what will be waiting for you? This is a frightening interactive theatre experience with live actors and special effects. You will be required to interact with your surroundings and others, living or dead, in the room. # of participants- up to 8. This is a public event. There may be people you don’t know in your show. Tickets: $45- $60 per person depending on the date and time of performance. The show is roughly 1 hour long. Ages- only age 16+ admitted.
Warnings- light touching, strobe lights, fog, and smells. The audience must be able to navigate stairs on their own.
The Psych Ward - October 24, 2019 – November 3, 2019
An escape room with a fun twist! The psych ward is an interactive game of deduction, trust, and betrayal with escape room, board game, and immersive theatre elements. About- sane or insane? Trustworthy or not? These are the questions dr. Griffin wants you to answer. He has created a social experiment for a select group of patients. Some of these patients he believes are sane, others, completely insane. Like lab rats, he has put you inside his twisted experiment of paranoia and challenges you to figure out who to trust and who to betray. Difficulty- every game will have one winning and one losing team. # of Players- 5-8. This is a PRIVATE game. We will not put your group with strangers. A minimum of 5 players are required to play this game. Ages- This game is recommended for ages 16+. No one under the age of 14 will be admitted.
WARNING- This game contains loud noises, flashing lights, small spaces, and restraints. This game is not scary but you may be put in tense situations.
Open all year long.
The Hex Room - October 24, 2019 – November 3, 2019
About –this is a real-life adventure game where you are in the center of the action! Can you survive a horror film? This murderous horror movie fan wants to watch you try. Each player will take a quiz before the game to find out which character they are: the nerd, virgin, jock, rebel, prom queen, or detective. Your team will be divided up into separate rooms where you must work individually and as a team. Not only do you need to escape, but you must also survive! Who will live? Who will die? Difficulty – very hard. 20% escape rate. 5% survival rate. # of players – 5-10. This is a private game. We will not put your group with strangers. If more than 6 tickets are purchased, some rooms may have 2 players. Having trouble finding enough people for the minimum # requirement? Try finding teammates on our facebook group here. Ages – this game is for ages 16+. This is an extreme horror experience. Anyone under the age of 16 will not be admitted and no refund will be given. Children can not be left unattended in the lobby. If you are under the age of 18 please have a parent/ guardian fill out a waiver before you arrive. Please find waivers at the bottom of the faq page.
For advanced players – in this game, your goal is to escape and survive! Every player will be given a unique set of puzzles to solve at any time during the game. If the player solves their personal hex puzzle and escapes the room, they will have “survived.”
Open all year long! Wednesday-Sunday.
The Fun House - October 24, 2019 – November 3, 2019
The puzzles can be challenging and are designed to test adults. If your party will have children under the age of 13 we recommend checking out fun house-kids! This is an interactive experience where you are put in the center of the action! Come one, come all! Step right up and see if you have what it takes to become a magnificent magician! In this room filled with trickery and illusions, you and your team will be put to the test. Work to beat the clock as you search for clues and solve mind-boggling puzzles in a topsy-turvy experience of a lifetime! Now all you need to do is ask yourself, do you have the wits of a magician? Or are you as clueless as a clown? Difficulty – medium. 40% escape rate. # of players – 4-8 players. This game is private- we will not group you with strangers.
Ages – The Fun House is open to all ages. Anyone under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult age 18+. The puzzles can be challenging and are designed to test adults.
Open all year long! Wednesday-Sunday.
Night of the Living Dead - October 24, 2019 – November 10, 2019
The Group Rep presents George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” adapted for the stage by Gus Krieger, directed by Drina Durazo. Seven strangers barricade themselves inside a Pennsylvania farmhouse, attempting to escape the bloodthirsty, flesh-eating ghouls ravaging the countryside.
Beset by the walking dead outside, and ever-rising interpersonal tensions within, the group begins their desperate attempt to survive the night…October 4 – November 10. Fridays/Saturdays at 8:00 pm. Sundays at 2:00 pm. Special performances, Wednesday, October 30, 2019, and Thursday, October 31, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. Talkbacks after Sunday matinees October 13 and October 27, 2019.
Give Up the Ghost - October 25, 2019 – November 2, 2019
Give Up the Ghost reverses the typical Halloween haunt—here, you play your dead self called back from the shore of Eternity to bear witness to the sorrows and terrors of the living. This is not a gore fest or jump-scare maze. You will interact with characters at the edge of life and death in scenes that can be violent, tragic, intense, and occasionally darkly humorous. The choices you make will haunt you, will change your own story, and just might change the entire narrative. What choices will you make, as your light grows dim?
Each show lasts approximately 80 minutes. Some scenes are open for viewing anytime, others require a Shadow to guide you. Some scenes are for large groups, some are for smaller groups, some are for one person only. You will likely not get to see all the scenes in one viewing, but that's OK, your story is unique. Participants can choose to interact with the actors or not. You can touch some actors (from fingertips to elbow only, not roughly), actors will not touch you.
There will be a waiver to sign at check-in.
A portion of the box office goes both to the First Christian Church of Whittier (501c3) before they convert to low-income senior housing, and The Game Academy, a 501c3 that uses role-playing for education.
Orwell's 1984 - October 24, 2019 – December 7, 2019
Winston Smith hates his job. He works in the Ministry of Information rewriting history to serve the interests of the powerful. Winston’s soul is stirring with rebellion and his heart alive with love. Welcome to a world of no privacy, where electronic screens create paranoia, divisiveness, and hatred for the ‘other’. Here, the state manufactures consent for perpetual war, truth is manipulated, and love itself is an act of rebellion.
Directed by Tim Robbins and adapted by Michael Gene Sullivan, this acclaimed, wildly successful production of George Orwell’s classic returns to The Actors’ Gang Theater after touring throughout the world!
Urban Death Tour of Haunted Theatre - October 25, 2019 – November 2, 2019
Zombie Joe’s underground theatre group proudly presents the 2019 7th Annual Urban Death Tour of Terror: Haunted Theatre Attraction! For ages 17 and up on Fridays & Saturday nights October 4-26, 2019, and November 1-2, 2019, plus Halloween Thursday, October 31, 2019
Warning: graphic content, trigger warnings, and full nudity.
**New for 2019: for ages 8 and up a family-friendly urban death tour every Saturday at 7 p.m. October 5-26, 2019, and November 2, 2019, plus 7 p.m. Halloween night Thursday, October 31, 2019.
Deadly - October 25, 2019 – November 2, 2019
World premiere musical! They were intelligent, ambitious, independent women. It just wouldn't do. 1893. A time of hope and optimism as the World's Fair turns the globe's eyes toward Chicago. But within this cultural explosion of art and technology, a demon lurks beneath. Taking advantage of the modern woman's adventuresome spirit, H.H. Holmes builds a hotel - a murder castle - to entrap and kill unsuspecting ladies new to the big city.
From the team behind the critical and box-office hit Stoneface, playwright Vanessa Claire Stewart (Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara), composer Ryan Thomas Johnson (Watson), and director Jaime Robledo (Mr. Burns, a post-electric play), "Deadly" examines one of the most famous true crime cases in history, through the unlikely lens of the victims' experience.
The Mystery of Irma Vep: A Penny Dreadful - October 25, 2019 – November 10, 2019
Actors Co-op’s Season Opener (Hollywood)
Enter into the longer nights of autumn with Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep - A Penny Dreadful, directed by Carla Cackowski, a hilarious fright fest, complete with a cast of monsters and an Egyptian princess. This two-actor, multi-character show will spellbind audiences with its nod to the classic Gothic melodramas and early fright flicks of the 30s and 40s.
Macbeth - October 25, 2019 – November 3, 2019
House of Bards Theatre Company has announced the cast of their first production, Shakespeare’s dynamic drama "Macbeth" directed by Michael Richey. The new company, headed by television and film actors and producers Reneé O’Connor and Jed Sura, opens their inaugural show on October 11 at the Grand Annex located in the Arts District of San Pedro, California.
No stranger to iconic roles, O'Connor is taking on the formidable Lady Macbeth. O’Connor is best known as Gabrielle, Xena’s trusted sidekick on the tremendously popular fantasy series Xena: Warrior Princess. Other credits include roles on Criminal Minds, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and NYPD Blue. On stage, she recently starred in the Los Angeles premiere of Steven Dietz’s On Clover Road and played Nurse in the Southern Shakespeare Festival’s production of Romeo and Juliet. O’Connor reprises the role of Lady Macbeth after a 2002 production with Shakespeare by the Sea.
Klingon Tamburlaine - October 25, 2019 – November 9, 2019
The Complex Hollywood and The School of Night are thrilled to announce the return of Klingon Tamburlaine to the Ruby Theater in Hollywood beginning October 12th. The Klingon performance troupe, Gabh ghe’naQ, returns to earth after a sold-out run on Qo’noS to perform their unique take on Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great, parts I and II. Klingon Tamburlaine is an exciting new take on the seldom-produced classic that inaugurated the Elizabethan theatrical renaissance.
Tragedy! Romance! Mighty verse! Great battles waged on land and in space! Honor and glory! Qapla’!
Masoch and DeSade - October 25, 2019 and November 2, 2019
Two archetypes walk into a bar–a bar at the edge of the New World–named for America's first great poet, owned and operated by an African American.
The archetypes in question are, however, profoundly European.
A meditation/horror story on imperialism, paranoia, biblical violence, and perversion in the modern world in the style of Edgar Allan Poe.
Chills & Thrills - October 30, 2019 and November 3, 2019
LFT Company Members handpick a selection of off-beat short plays. They’re creepy, weird, and freaky tales that scream Halloween!
Titus Andronicus - October 31, 2019 and November 2, 2019
This Halloween, Director Mikey Mulhearn, and Intimacy/Fight Director Celina Surniak, transform the space beneath EverBar into an arena of death. Laced with opaque tarp, horrific acts of violence, and inspired by classic Hollywood horror films- Shakespeare on the Deck brings you closer than ever to one of the Bard’s most experimental works.
Returning triumphantly to Rome, general Titus Andronicus brings with him the Goth Queen Tamora and her three sons as prisoners of war. Sacrificing the eldest Goth son to appease the ghosts of his fallen own; his refusal to accept the title of emperor; and his blatant disregard for Tamora’s pleas of mercy–Titus sets into motion a horrific cycle of mutilation, rape, and murder.
Sally Spectre the Musical - November 1 - 2, 2019
The evening will open with a “Costumed. Multi-Media, Concert Reading” of Sally Spectre the Musical. (Book, Music and Lyrics by David P. Johnson) This multiple award-winning Tim Burton-esque musical experience about the ghost of a little girl trying to find her way through purgatory is touching and charming and leaves viewers in a world of imaginative wonder. The presentation will feature video segments to accompany live performers to help tell the story in a very inventive fashion.
Romeo and Juliet in Hell - November 1 - 23, 2019
Romeo and Juliet, dead, wake up to find themselves stuck in their Personal Hell – forced to listen to "West Side Story" music for eternity. To escape, they must suffer through a production of their life story performed by the other inhabitants of Hell – Shakespeare’s dead characters – who butcher the story in hysterical ways! "Romeo And Juliet In Hell" is full of theatre-goer inside jokes, Broadway show tunes, and madcap madness! Recommended for ages 15 and up.
This show returns once again after premiering at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2014.