Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hermosa Beach Playhouse's The Green Room a Winner

The Green Room

If you haven’t seen Hermosa Beach Playhouse’s world premiere of The Green Room by Chuck Pelletier, C. Stephen Foster and Rod Damer, you have one more weekend. And believe me, this one you don’t want to miss.

From the first note of this fresh new musical, you’d better pay attention because the words fly fast and furious, with energy to spare, from the sparkling young cast. If you’ve ever been an actor, wanted to be an actor, or known an actor, you’ll relate to the Broadway-hopeful dreams of these characters in their home away from home -- the green room.

The cast includes Stephanie Burkett Gerson, Zane Gerson, Jessica Gisen and Michael Willett. Book and lyrics are cleverly written and succeed in conveying the spirit of the characters, often using humor to make the point. Pelletier’s music satisfies the audience by moving through a number of styles. Together, the elements work to create a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

After I saw the show, I asked book writer, C. Stephen Foster to tell me a little bit about the evolution of The Green Room.

Where did the idea for the show come from?

The show originally came from Rod Damer’s one-act play based on his college experience. It was about the 4 characters' last college all-nighter.

The show is so entertaining and upbeat. What were you hoping the audience would take away from The Green Room?

The story follows four college theater students searching to find themselves as they question their parents, each other and their professors, but we didn’t want them to be bitter and jaded. The thrust of the show is “green” which represents growth and yearning. We’re hoping the audience takes the spirit of youth from the show.

How did you connect with HBP and how did that lead to them producing the show?

Chuck Pelletier (composer/lyricist) was cast in Hermosa Beach Playhouse’s musical Godspell. After the show wrapped, we gave artistic director Stephanie Coltrin the CD of the workshop recording. She immediately liked it and wanted to workshop the script with us and mount the show. We spent a long time reworking the material, the characters and the story line until we felt it was “right”.

What is the developmental history of the show....and where is it going after HBP?

Chuck originally brought the show to my theater company Off-Hollywood where we mounted the one-act of the musical. It contained, “It’s All About Me”, “Destination Stage Left”, “I Want to Go to Extremes,” “Waiting in the Wings” and “In the End”. It was a huge success. We felt we were on to something big and we decided to develop it into a full two-act musical! We fleshed out the story, characters and plot and did a 2-nighter of it at the Group Repertory Theater in the valley. The show was successful and then we found Stephanie Coltrin.

As for the future of The Green Room, we have a production opening August 7th in Sacramento starring Courtney Parks as Divonne, which is being presented at the California Stages by Friends of Dorothy Productions. We may also have a production in the fall in Orange County and we have several theaters across the country interested. We’re hoping to have it “sit” at a theater like the El Portal or the Colony in Los Angeles for an extended run. Of course, we’d love to have it at the Next Stages in New York.

Show runs through May 31. For tickets go to You can also purchase the “workshop” recording at or

"And the future stands before us like a child, screaming out to know our plans..." from The Green Room: the College Musical


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