Spotlight Series: Meet Melanie MacQueen – Actress and Playwright Who Found Her Home Base Directing at 'Theatre 40'


Today's Spotlight focuses on Actress, Anime Voice Artist, and Playwright, Melanie MacQueen, who found her home base directing plays at Theatre 40, who I recently saw in that group’s annual production of "The Manor."


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Melanie MacQueen (MM): I have been lucky enough to be on all sides of a theatrical stage. I’ve acted in many plays over the years, although fewer recently. I am also a produced Playwright, although I have never published my plays—except for a few of my children’s plays. The majority of my Directing jobs have been at Theatre 40, my “Home Base” where I have directed several plays over the past couple of decades. And a theatre is always my favorite place to be!

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(MM): We had just opened the World Premiere of "Taming the Lion" by Jack Rushen, which had won the Julie Harris Playwrighting Award the previous year. It’s a true story set in Old Hollywood with characters based on real people–such as Louis B. Mayer and Joan Crawford.

(SB): I was so looking forward to seeing that show and had already booked my seats to review it. How did you communicate the shutdown with your cast and production team?

(MM): Our Artistic Director and I had been discussing what we needed to do about the show when the word came down from the Mayor of Beverly Hills that we must close. So, there was no further discussion. We sent an email out to everyone and said we’d open up after a couple of weeks IF that was a possibility.

(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(MM): We may film the show if that is possible to arrange with AEA and everyone involved, but we’re not sure we will be allowed to do so. Then, we might put it up on some other online platform. As far as doing it for an in-person audience, that does not seem possible unless the decision is made to bring it back in mid-May to play in rep with our next show.

(SB): What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(MM): Our next Theatre 40 production is supposed to be "[Incident] at Our Lady of Perpetual Help" which was being directed by our wonderful Ann Hearn Tobolowsky. I don’t know if they are trying to work on that–separately–or not. I think everything is in a holding pattern right now.

(SB): The entire world seems to be in a holding pattern at the moment without any idea what the future may bring. But for now, how are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(MM): I actually started a page dedicated to people who are currently doing art inspired by the “Shelter in Place” scenario we are all experiencing. It is called Celebratory Arts Festival, and the plan is to do a theatrical event at some venue –possibly Theatre 40 – after the worst of this is passed and it is safe to gather in groups once again. I’ve asked writer and musician friends to contribute work, as well as painter friends who might want to contribute their art to decorate the venue. I’ve already had one friend write and perform a song with his daughter from their seclusion, and another wrote a poem. We all want to visualize a time in our thoughts where we will again come together to present art to each other and to the public.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the ghost light on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(MM): Artists have always enlightened and explored dark times throughout history, and this time is no different. That is our calling, and we will continue. We always have told stories to each other; we always will. The “curtains” will rise again!

The main challenge for artists, in these kinds of dark times, is to bring out of this situation the best we can in ourselves and everyone around us, and call out, artistically, the worst that always arises, sadly, within us and others. We hold up many mirrors for us all to view the Human Journey, and we must never turn away.


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – November 4 - 10, 2019


Theatrical shows, Musicals, Staged Readings, Solo Shows, LGBTQ Theatre, and MORE, now registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.


Saint Joan

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For The Loyal

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The Manor

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Seven

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Wild at Hart

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Niki Haris and Donna De Lory

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Santasia: A Holiday Comedy

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The Legend of Georgia McBride

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The World is My Home: The Life of Paul Robison

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Big Queer Convo: 50 Years of Queer Theatre

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A Night in _____ Shorts

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Hot Tragic Dead Thing

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Enerjoyce: Evolution of a Pisces Baby Boomer

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Hot off the Press: Staged Readings at the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival

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Bunny the Elf LIVE!

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The Man Who Came to Dinner

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A Twisted Christmas Carol

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Little Black Dress: The Musical

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Growing Gills to Drown in the Desert

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EVENTS OPENING THIS WEEK

THE MANOR: MURDER AND MADNESS AT GREYSTONE @ Greystone Mansion

January 10, 2019 6:00 pm

The Manor- Murder and Madness at Greystone is by now a Los Angeles/Beverly Hills institution. The play, now in its seventeenth year, surpassed its 200th performance in 2014. The show is a roman a ...read more


JOHN SEBASTIAN@ Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine University

January 10, 2019 8:00 pm

As the founder, singer, and songwriter of The Lovin' Spoonful, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee John Sebastian has made an indelible mark on the American musical fabric. Boasting numerous Top 10 hits ...read more


JOCASTA: A MOTHERF**KING TRAGEDY @ The Broadwater

January 11, 2019 8:00 pm

An alcoholic tattoo artist, a kid who's been swimming laps for 25 years, an ex- con, and a woman who believes she can see the future help Jocasta when she is awakened from a ...read more


THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK @ The Complex

January 11, 2019 8:00 pm

LATINX “THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK” RETURNS FOR LIMITED SIX WEEK LOS ANGELES RUN Directed By Stan Zimmerman Saturday, January 12, 2019 TDOAF - New Main Graphic - 12.13.jpg Best Selling Book - Pulitzer ...read more


LAST CALL @ Atwater Village Theatre

January 11, 2019 8:00 pm

In this semi-autobiographical dramedy by writer/producer Anne Kenney (Outlander, Switched at Birth, L.A. Law), the Vaughn family's go-to defense mechanism of sarcasm and mordant humor falls short when the aging parents hatch a not-so-funny ...read more


BENDING THE SPOON @ Santa Monica Playhouse

January 11, 2019 8:00 pm

Three generations of a family prepare to celebrate the upcoming birthday of the youngest member. Doing so, however, forces them to come to terms with past relationships, past decisions and past actions involving a ...read more


OUR TOWN @ Westchester Playhouse

January 11, 2019 8:00 pm

The production is directed by Stanley Brown and produced by Kathy Dershimer for Kentwood Players with rights secured from Samuel French, Inc. Featured in the cast in alphabetical order are Dan Adams, Stephen Anthony ...read more


TWELFTH NIGHT @ Theatre Palisades (Pierson Playhouse)

January 11, 2019 8:00 pm

This is Illyria, folks! Our heroine is shipwrecked. Her brother presumably drowned. Disguising herself as a boy, she joins Duke Orsino's court. She is sent as his emissary to the Countess Olivia, who's mourning ...read more


SOUL CRUSHING DISCO BALL @ Hudson Guild Theatre

January 11, 2019 8:00 pm

Anarchy Pictures and Gia Paladino are proud to present a World Premiere play by an award-winning playwright team, Travis Perkins and Chambers Stevens. Opening January 4, 2019. The new play will be at The ...read more


SHOW UP, KIDS! INTERACTIVE FAMILY COMEDY @ The Complex

January 12, 2019 2:30 pm

Following a sold out, critically acclaimed, 7-month run in NYC, Peter Michael Marino's interactive "Show Up, Kids!” makes it west coast premiere at Complex Hollywood, January 12-20. This entirely unique, improvised, family show for ...read more


JEFFREY OSBORNE @ Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine University

January 12, 2019 8:00 pm

Dubbed "the number one hit maker of the 1980s" (Radio and Records), R&B singer Jeffrey Osborne has unequivocally made his mark on contemporary music. With hit singles like "Stay with Me Tonight," "Only Human," ...read more


INDEPENDENCE @ Theatre West

January 12, 2019 8:00 pm

Dr. Mary Walker (1832-1919) was the first female surgeon in the U.S. Army, a suffragist, an abolitionist, a prohibitionist, endured four months in a Confederate prison and remains, to this day, the only woman ...read more


ALASDAIR FRASER & NATALIE HAAS @ Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine University

January 13, 2019 2:00 pm

The musical partnership between consummate performer Alasdair Fraser, "the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling," and brilliant Californian cellist, Natalie Haas, spans the full spectrum between intimate chamber music and ecstatic dance energy. Over the ...read more


Ashton's Audio Interview: Carol Potter - Cindy Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210 stars "THE MANOR - MURDER AND MADNESS AT GREYSTONE" at Greystone Mansion

Enjoy this interview about “THE MANOR - MURDER AND MADNESS AT GREYSTONE” directed by Martin Thompson and staring Carol Potter(Cindy Walsh in a recurring role on the TV series Beverly Hills, 90210) at Greystone Mansion, running until Feb 4th. You can listen to this YouTube interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage.  For tickets and more info Click here.