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Past Department News

Cal Rep's Polaroid Stories is "Compelling"

Posted on December 12th, 2017

Polaroid Stories

"The staging choices made by director Eric Hoff conveyed a sense of the labyrinth of a world the actors had to navigate. The sound design, blocking, usage of lighting and fight choreography also aided in developing a sense of unease and chaos that the audience and cast were to exist in for the duration of the show."

Read the full review here.

CSULB Lighting Designers win Hog Factor 2017

Posted on November 17th, 2017

Hog Factor Winners

A team of Long Beach lighting design students won The Hog Factor 2017, a national competition open to all graduate lighting students from MFA and undergraduate lighting design programs in the United States. The other finalists were teams from Carnegie Mellon University and Cincinnati Conservertory of Music. Each of the students won a $15,000 lightboard, and a $40,000 lightboard was awarded to our department as well.

For more information about the event click here.

Cal Rep begins Devising Democracy with WOKE!: A Revolutionary Cabaret

Posted on October 23rd, 2017

Jeff Janisheki

“In a world of epic problems, we need epic theatre. With that as our guiding spirit, we have a bold new initiative: Devising Democracy. Over the course of the next four years, Cal Rep commits to developing and producing one to two devised theatre pieces each season. Each show will shed light on the urgent social and political issues plaguing our planet. Each year, Cal Rep will also network with other campuses locally and across the state: to create a system where students at CSULB and other schools can share their devised work with each other and have a platform for dialogues about concerns that are vital to communities across California. Each Cal Rep production will also feature an array of “theatre actions” – community outreach events as well as talks by scholars, cultural leaders and activists. Democracy is a living process. It needs to be constantly reinvented, reimagined and devised. This four-year-long project – with its productions, cross-campus events and theatre actions – is our way of creating democracy through theatre. Democracy comes from the Greek: demos meaning the people and kratos meaning force or power. Our Devising Democracy series is about the force, the power, of people – devising, sharing, learning and connecting to audiences and other artists through the medium of theatre.”

"Democracy is a living process. It needs to be constantly reinvented, reimagined and devised."

- Cal Rep Artistic Director Jeff Janisheki

WOKE graphic

Undergraduate featured in DIG MAG for her work in the Theatre Arts Department

Posted on October 15th, 2017

Oralia Urias always knew that she wanted to have a career in the theater. As a child, she would perform skits for her family. “I did sports, and I did everything (else), but I kind of quit things,” Urias said. “Theater was the one thing I kept going back to, and I knew it was going to be my career.”

She got serious about theater in high school after seeing an improv group from Cerritos College perform at her school. Once she started attending Cerritos, Urias auditioned for the group and was accepted.

Since transferring to Cal State Long Beach, Urias has worked with the Cal State Long Beach theater department on some of its plays and has stage-managed some of the shows.

However, finding roles off-campus has been harder, mostly due to the fact that she finds it hard to find roles that she can see herself in.

Read the full article.

CSU Long Beach Lighting Students Selected as Hog Factor 2017 Finalists

Posted on August 14th, 2017

Several CSU Long Beach lighting students have made the finals for The Hog Factor, a national competition open to all graduate lighting students from MFA and undergraduate lighting design programs in the United States.Teams of our lighting students and one performance student created virtual lighting designs last semester and entered them into this competition. All the projects were impressive, and displayed a deft sensitivity to music and light. The Long Beach Three team will all receive free travel and lodging for the Live Design Conference in Las Vegas this October, and will present their final project presentation at the High End Systems Booth on the convention floor.

"I am so proud of the finalists and all the CSULB students who entered the competition. Being selected as a finalist among the many MFA and undergraduate programs that entered is an honor and a tribute to these students' talents."

- Professor David Jacques

Theatre Arts Class Brings Laughter to the Community

Posted on March 3rd, 2017

Theatre of Engagment class

In April the students from the Theatre of Engagement class partnered with HealthCare Partners LB, which sponsors a monthly activity to the historic Federation Towers, a senior center that provides affordable housing for seniors and has been serving the Long Beach community for 30 years. The interactive community-based class applied their theatre practices to bring storytelling, cultural mapping, and human connection exercises to a group of people that are often forgotten. The Theatre of Community Engagement students filled the space with laughter and passionate storytelling. The success of the collaboration affirmed that HealthCare Partners will continue to sponsor THEA 418 in an ongoing community partnership.

"It was an honor to observe our students thrive in leadership, and selflessly give in accessing their humanity,"
said professor Anna Steers. Theatre of Engagment class

Cal Rep Ends 2016-2017 Season with Good Boys and True

Updated April 24th, 2017


California State University Long Beach (CSULB) Theatre Arts Department presents Good Boys and True, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed by Hugh O’Gorman. This probing family drama about a high school senior involved in an explosive scandal plays April 28 to May 13 in the Players Theatre, ending CSULB’s eclectic season of self-discovery.

Brandon Hardy leads a privileged life. He is the handsome captain of the football team at St. Joe’s School for Boys. He's a perfect son, a standout student with Ivy league dreams. He's following in his father's footsteps and a mother's dream. Then the sex tape is discovered. Circulating through the locker room at St Joe's is a tape that pulls Brandon, his family and his classmates into a spiral of lies, secrets, and life-changing choices. Is it just boys being boys? When is a secret too terrible to even speak its name? Will Brandon stay true to his mother's dream or will he follow in the footsteps of prep school boys of the past?

Read the full press release.

CSULB Theatre Arts Interrogates Gender Roles in Modern Adaptation of a Classic

Updated April 5th, 2017


Ingmar Bergman’s Nora, adapted and translated by Frederick J. Marker opens April 14 at California State University Long Beach Theatre Arts in the Studio Theatre. This lean and stripped down adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House sheds light on a world where independence is outrageous and feminism is scandalous.

Nora, a loving mother and devoted housewife, relishes in her marriage to her husband Torvald. When an old friend from her past arrives on her doorstep, the threads of her reality begin to come undone and Nora realizes that her past will soon resurface. Has Nora been keeping secrets from her husband, or has she been hiding the truth from herself all along? Nora tells the classic story of A Doll’s House in a fast-paced, modernized manner, which includes the infamous ’door slam heard around the world’, invoking countless debates and discussions regarding the plights of women since A Doll’s House first premiered in 1879.

Read the full press release on Nora.

Theatre Arts Faculty Receives Fulbright Award

Updated March 2nd, 2017

Dr. Shanti Pillai, an artist, scholar, writer, and Theatre Arts faculty member has been awarded a Fulbright Research Award. The Fulbright Research Award is a highly competitive scholarship that funds research for international education. The Fulbright Program seeks to increase mutual understanding and support friendly and peaceful relations between people of the United States and of other countries. “This award is a testament to Dr. Pillai’s incredible work as an artist and a scholar,” said Department Chair Jeff Janisheski.

Dr. Pillai’s research with women artists’ contributions to the evolving world of contemporary performance in India focuses on how these women have paved the road to new forms of performance practice that offer alternative perspectives on the relationship between the body, space, and identity. The Fulbright Research Award will fund her work in India in support of her book project, Feminist Kinesthesia: Women as Innovators of Contemporary Performance in India.

CSULB Theatre Arts Grapples With Race in Dynamic Coming of Age Musical

Posted on Feburary 27th, 2017


California State University Long Beach (CSULB) Theatre Arts presents The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, with book, music and lyrics by Kirsten Childs and directed by Dr. Jaye Austin Williams. This imaginative and multifaceted musical follows Viveca, a black woman who hides behind a mask of cheerfulness while searching for success on the Broadway stage and for love in her life. Viveca pursues her dreams from 1960s LA to present day New York City, navigating through some of America’s most turbulent times. Playing March 10 to March 25 in the University Theatre, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin continues CSULB Theatre Arts’ “season of self-discovery.”

Read the full press release on The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin.

She Kills Monsters Takes Audiences on an Action-Packed Adventure of Self-Discovery

Posted on February 22nd, 2017

She Kills Monsters Logo
Photo by Keith I. Polakoff

Read Broadway World's review of She Kills Monsters by George Brietigam.

“Highly recommend[ed]...Unbelievably moving and imaginative!...Colorful, entertaining, and brutal. There was never a dull moment on stage...All the elements f[ell] together to create the perfect show.”

Read the DIG Magazine's review by Parker Shannon

"An evening you won't soon forget...brilliant staging."

Read the Daily 49er's reviewS by Jason Enns

Read the Long Beach Gazette's review by Chris Carpenter

Chicago Opera Theatre Features Lighting Design from CSULB Faculty

Updated February 20th, 2017

Head of Design and Lighting Design Faculty David Jacques's lighting design for Chicago Opera Theatre’s world-premiere production of the new opera The Invention of Morel, opened February 18th. Jacques previously designed COT’s productions of Therese Raquin and The Fall of the House of Usher. The Invention of Morel is an adaptation of La invención de Morel, a 1940 novel by the influential Argentine author Adolfo Bioy Casares, and is a co-production with Long Beach Opera. The production runs through February 26, 2017; more information about this production is available. Read the Chicago Tribune's review of the production.

Jacques also designed lights for Utah Opera's production of Man of La Mancha, which closed January 29th.

production shot of The Invention of Morel
The cast of Chicago Opera Theatre's The Invention of Morel

Alumni Featured on Cover of American Theatre

Posted on February 9th, 2017

Exciting news follows CSULB Theatre Arts alumnus Raymond Lee. He has been cast in a new HBO series written by Alan Ball, creator of Six Feet Under and True Blood. He was cast alongside Sosie Bacon, Daniel Zovatto and Jerrika Hinton in this untitled “tragicomic meditation” series about a husband and wife who build a family by adopting children from Vietnam, Somalia and Colombia before having their own child. Lee will play Duc, an ambitious life coach who masks a painful past he has not faced.

Raymond Lee is also featured on the cover of American Theatre’s February 2017 issue. The full script of Vietgone was published in the magazine along with an interview with playwright Qui Nguyen. In 2015, Lee originated the role of Quang in the world premiere of Vietgone at South Coast Repertory Theatre, before traveling with the production to Manhattan Theatre Club for its New York premiere.

CSULB Theatre Arts Kicks off Spring Semester with She Kills Monsters

Posted on Feburary 6th, 2017


California State University Long Beach (CSULB) Theatre Arts presents She Kills Monsters, written by Qui Nguyen, and directed by Amanda McRaven with movement by Julie Granata Hunicutt. This hyper-theatrical comedy playing February 17 to February 26 at the Studio Theatre kicks off an eclectic season of shows at CSULB.

She Kills Monsters tells the story of Agnes, a young woman who finds a notebook written by Tilly, her recently deceased younger sister. Age kept the two sisters apart in life, but after Tilly’s sudden death Agnes leaps into the fantastical world of Dungeons & Dragons in a desperate attempt to understand the sister she barely knew. Agnes stumbles into a journey of revelatory self-discovery, but as she dives deeper into her sister’s domain, the lines between reality and game begin to blur, clashing with family expectations and putting Agnes’s real-world relationships at risk. Agnes must decide what is most important – the memories of her family, or the possibilities of her own future.

Read the full press release now.

"Caged Birds: Cal Rep/University Players, Spring 2017"

Posted on January 25th, 2017

“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill/of things unknown but longed for still/and his tune is heard on the distant hill/for the caged bird sings of freedom.” Poet Maya Angelou

This Spring Season for Cal Rep and University Players is a dynamic, eclectic range of plays. From the hyper-theatrical, stylized world of Qui Nguyen’s She Kills Monsters to the gritty realism of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Good Boys and True. From the brightly colorful world of Kirsten Childs’ Bubbly Black Girl Sheds her Chameleon Skin to the stark, sterile world of Ingmar Bergman’s Nora, adapted from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House by Frederick J. Marker. From established writers like Ibsen and Bergman, to the emerging voices of African-American writer Kirsten Childs, Vietnamese-American playwright Qui Nguyen, and Broadway/TV writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. This diversity of productions represents the spectrum of what we do here in CSULB’s Theatre Arts Department: we challenge our students with a range of aesthetics, approaches and texts; and we expose our audiences to a wide array of work – contemporary and classic, musicals and dramas, stylized and naturalistic.

More specifically, these four pieces all share very specific, common threads: they are all stories of young people, similar in age to the students on our campus; they are all portraits of one central character in crisis; three of the four focus on stories of young women and their struggles within the restrictions of society; and they are all stories of characters fighting oppression and feeling marginalized. Overall, the four main characters of these plays are trapped; they are all the caged birds in Maya Angelou’s poem – struggling to find themselves and “sing of freedom.”

Great works of art ask great questions. The four plays this spring season all ask the same question: Who do we become when society won’t accept who we are? This central conflict in the plays is a deeply moving drama – and even more urgent now in a divided America, where the day after the presidential inauguration millions of people march worldwide as an act of resistance and protest. Each of these plays are about characters resisting forces that still confront us: racism, sexism, homophobia and issues of class.

I am thrilled to see all of you this Spring at our Cal Rep/University Players shows – and watch the journey of these characters, each struggling to break out of their cage, sing of freedom and fly.

Jeff Janisheski
Artistic Director
Cal Rep

Read an article about CSULB Theatre Arts' Spring Season, published in the Daily 49er.

Rehearsal photo of She Kills Monsters
The cast of She Kills Monsters in rehearsal. Photo credit: Jose Oliver De Castro

CSULB Theatre Students and Faculty Gather to Pledge for a Better Future with The Ghost Light Project

Posted on January 20th, 2017 ghostlight banner

Ghostlight collage

CSULB's theatre department, led by Alexandra Billings, joined a national coalition of theaters to launch THE GHOSTLIGHT PROJECT, a celebration and affirmation of the power of theatre to spark change whilst honoring human diversity.

On Thursday Jan. 20th the theatre department gathered in "a collective, simultaneous action, together creating light for times ahead" to pledge help for the marginalized by telling their stories, and to keep them safe. The gathering of students, faculty, and staff used cellphones, candles and flashlights to illuminate their hope for a better future and sang "Give a Little Bit" by SuperTramp during the ceremony to dedicate the Theatre Arts Department as a place for peace, hope, diversity, and inclusion.

The Ghost Light Project was inspired by the tradition of leaving an illuminated "ghost light" in a darkened theater. Artists and communities across the country made the pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone-regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

With this light we dedicate our theater as a beacon to all those in the darkness

This light will shine to spread our belief in goodness truth and love

Read an article about the action on CSULB's webpage.

Long Beach Playhouse Headed by Two CSULB Alumni

Posted on January 20th, 2017

phot of mooney and vonderschmitt -Gazette photo by Harry Saltzgaver

Madison Mooney a CSULB alumna, left, and Andrew Vonderschmitt sit on Long Beach Playhouse's main stage. Mooney will take over from Vonderschmitt as executive director, and her fellow CSULB alumnus Sean Gray, previously Long Beach Playhouse's Technical Director, will be the new Artistic Director.

Read more about the transition and Long Beach Playhouse in the Gazette's article by Harry Saltzgraver

"I'm Going Back to the Theatre."

Posted on November 17th, 2016

I'm going back to the theater because it's where we learn to listen to the other.

In a moment where suddenly the notion that our leader might not be "one of us" feels less like a foreign, red state idea, I must replay the last two acts of our national drama to understand what pain I missed and what voices I dismissed. I need to relearn that theatrical lesson that everyone onstage matters and see who we have forgotten: I need to be reminded of that essential empathy we learn through drama.

I'm going back to the theater because it's where democracy began.

I've written in recent weeks about the shared birthplace of western theater and democracy - ancient Greece. The Greeks believed, roughly 2500 years ago, that theater was so important that they paid every eligible citizen to attend their theater festivals. A precondition of sitting for government was sitting in a theater. Against electoral maps that tell the story of major voting blocs dividing cleanly by levels of education and prophetic, dire warnings about the necessity of an educated electorate, I wonder - what did the ancient Greeks understand about the marriage between government and theater that we have forgotten?

Is it a mere historical quirk that the century that preceded the golden age of Greek drama and democracy was one consumed by a deeply divided state that gave birth to the word "tyrant"?

I'm going back to theater because I need it.

I need the solace of a shared community, an audience. I need the complexity of a coherent narrative. I need to grapple with demons we have collectively conjured on both sides of our aisles and I need to figure out what comes next and how art can remind us of hope.

I'm going back to the theater because we've left something that the world desperately needs on it's stages and we need to bring it back.

Anthony Byrnes, Head of Theatre Management and host of KCRW's Opening the Curtain

Theatre Arts Class Makes a Difference with Community Partners

Posted on December 6th, 2016

In October the students from Theatre Arts' Educational Performance in Community class volunteered their services as actors in partnership with Kaiser Permanente. EPIC students were a vital component in facilitating the annual Kaiser: Physicians Symposium Poverty Simulation. Students role-played scenarios to rehearse conflict resolution with the aim to equip doctors in diversity training. This is the first year EPIC has participated in the Symposium, and there are plans to continue the partnership with another event this spring.

EPIC students train in the methodologies professed by Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed. Drawing from the core principles and tenants of TotO, EPIC students designed a drama class which they taught for the Youth Program at the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach. This semester marked the second creative collaboration between the CSULB Department of Theatre Arts and the LGBTQ Center's Youth Program, with a third collaboration in development for spring 2017. "One of my primary objectives for EPIC stems from the desire to foster ongoing partnerships, returning to the same organizations is paramount in transforming discussion into substantive action," shared Professor Anna Steers

snapshot of Povery Simulation
Above and below: Photos from the Kaiser: Physicians Symposium Poverty Simulation. Photo credit: Anna Steers.
snapshot of Povery Simulation
snapshot of Povery Simulation

CSULB Theatre Arts Alum Opening Vietgone in New York

Posted on October 18th, 2016

Raymond lee Headshot

CSULB Theatre Arts alumnus Raymond Lee is taking the role he originated in Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone to New York. After a successful World Premier at South Coast Repertory Theatre in 2015, the production about two Vietnam War refugees falling in love in an American refugee camp is now playing at Manhattan Theatre Club. Lee plays Quang, one of the refugees.

During a Q & A session for Vietgone, Lee was asked what his most memorable “show must go on” moment was and he responded with a memory from the CSULB Theatre Arts production of Pericles, in 2007 on the Studio Theatre stage. During the performance, he had a sneeze attack and forgot his lines, proceeding to reciting Shakespeare before stepping off the stage. Before graduating from CSULB in 2008, Lee also performed in University Players productions Caucasian Chalk Circle, Spring Awakening, Machinal and Out Loud: Slam Poetry.

Read the full interview with Lee.

Learn more about Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Vietgone.

Read the New York Times review by Charles Isherwood.

Read Alexis Soloski's review in The Guardian.

production shot of Out Load: Poetry Slam
Raymond Lee and Elisa Richter ('08) in Out Loud: Poetry Slam at CSULB. Photo credit: Kip Polokoff.

Community Comes Together to Hurt and Heal After Orlando

Posted on November 16th, 2016

Names of After Orlando Victims
“There are still a lot of raw emotions surrounding the topic that can range from grief to anger to fear...It is a chance for all of us to sit together and process together and move forward."

Read more about After Orlando here in the Daily 49er's article by Natalee Coloman.

Revenge Tragedy The Duchess of Malfi Takes the Stage at Cal State Long Beach

Posted on November 8th, 2016

Duchess of Malfi Show Poster


California State University Long Beach (CSULB) Theatre Arts Department presents The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster playing December 2 to December 11 in the Studio Theatre on the campus of CSULB. The Duchess of Malfi, a macabre Jacobean play first performed in 1613, is directed by internationally-renowned Shakespeare teacher and director Rob Clare.

Set against the backdrop of a raw and exposed land, this production shares the bloody and evocative story of a widowed Duchess who is left in a prominent political position with great wealth after the death of her husband. When the Duchess and Antonio, a man in her service, confess their love for one another they are secretly married. Discovering their sister’s betrayal, the Duchess’s brothers are driven mad by greed and will stop at nothing to control their sister’s power, leading to mutual destruction.

Read the full press release.

In Memory of Former Provost David Dowell

Posted on October 27th, 2016

David Dowell Headshot

The CSULB Theatre Arts members would like to extend our deepest condolences to Dave Dowell’s family, friends and colleagues.

Dave Dowell was a truly passionate lover of the arts. During his time as Provost he seized every opportunity to attend COTA performances and special events. I dearly remember Dave zipping through the Theatre Arts doors to grab his seat in anticipation of an event. I often caught myself observing Dave watching our students’ work as he did so with great curiosity, joy and infectious enthusiasm. What was most moving was to observe Dave’s behavior after our performances. Dave would eagerly seek out the young artists to ask questions about their process, share his enthusiasm, and express the impact the productions made on him. He was a cheerleader for our students and reveled in these post-show exchanges.

Dave’s generosity of energy dedicated to strengthening our department was extraordinary. He always made the time to listen, strategize, and support the work with our students. Through Dave’s collaborative leadership our department is substantially stronger now. We have increased faculty and staff members, received necessary teaching equipment, and moved back to campus into the University Theatre as a shared and technologically-updated performance space. None of this would have been possible without Dave’s passionate commitment and leadership.

Our Theatre Arts community was delighted when Dave accepted our invitation to be honored at last spring’s Theatre Art a la Carte Gala. His numerous contributions to our department and COTA have facilitated great improvements in our student’s educational opportunities and his presence as an Honoree was deeply moving.

Most fondly I recall his pleasure in talking about his family. Every time we met, he took the time to share stories of vacation adventures, his children’s many accomplishments and his deep dedication, despite his extraordinarily busy schedule, to spending time with his loved ones.

Dave will be missed dearly and always remembered as a man of great integrity, honor, passion and action. His legacy is vast and speaks to his longtime dedication to enriching the lives of all of our students at CSULB and his inspiring love for his family.

Anne D’Zmura
Head of Directing
Former Theatre Arts Chair

Dave Dowell at Theatre Art a la Carte 2016
Provost David Dowell examines MFA Scenic Designer Lin Xiyu's set model at Theatre Art à la Carte, May 2016.

Acrobatics and Dance in World Premiere of Elements

Posted on October 27th, 2016

Elements Show Poster


Elements tells a powerful story of humans and nature colliding through acrobatic physical theatre. Set against the backdrop of our modern world, Sally and Avi are two strangers stuck in their cardboard-cutout lives, never noticing one another. Enter the elements, who shake Avi and Sally from their daily haze, changing their lives and the world around them.

Rread the full press release on "Flight".

World renowned director holds workshop for CSULB actors

Posted on October 28th, 2016

CSULB theatre arts students attended an acting workshop with world renowned director Mr. Stephen Simms, Head of Acting at the Birmingham School of Acting in the U.K. Mr. Simms has appeared in London’s West End and in various television shows and films. He has directed numerous classical and contemporary productions, and is a long standing member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Shakespearean workshop gave students the opportunity to explore and refine their craft under the guidance of a master. “I was fascinated with the discussion of iambic pentameter and how to use it as a blueprint for the script, I’ve never seen it used to determine point of view,” said April Sigman-Marx , MFA Acting graduate student and teaching assistant. “I’ll be able to use this to demystify and bring Shakespeare to life.”

Simms workshop
Simms workshop

Group shot of Workshop

Women from the Flossie Lewis Center Attend Stop the World

Posted on October 20th, 2016

Anna Steers, CSULB Theatre Arts adjunct performance faculty, has been bringing women from the Flossie Lewis Center to CSULB Theatre Arts productions for the last three seasons. Flossie Lewis is a non-profit organization, residential and outpatient treatment center that has helped hundreds of women recover. Steers says, "This tradition has truly touched their lives in big ways. Likewise, the women have made an impact on our student's academic journey - truly a symbiotic relationship. Thanks again for supporting the cause." Pictured here is the group that attended Stop the World, I Want to Get Off last week as they toured the costume shop and got on stage with Student Representative President Julia Beaty.

Flossie Lewis at Stop the World

English National Opera Features Lighting Design from CSULB Faculty

Posted on October 18th, 2016

David Jacques Headshot

Head of Design and Lighting Design Faculty David Jacques opens the English National Opera production of Tosca at The Coliseum in the West End of London this month, for which he designed lights. This is a revival of the 2011 production directed by Catherine Malfitano, with set design by Frank Philipp Schlössman and costume design by Gideon Davey. The Evening Standard calls the show “one of the most gripping Toscas seen in London,” and the Daily Telegraph lauds “Catherine Malfitano's powerful and moving Tosca.” The production runs through December 3, 2016; More information about the Tosca production is available.

production shot of Tosca

Trevor Biship Directs Staged Reading at Anaheim's Chance Theatre

Posted on October 17th, 2016

Trevor Biship (CSULB Theatre Arts Directing Faculty) is directing a staged reading of a new work by playwright Lauren Yee (Ching Chong Chinaman, The Hatmaker's Wife, Samsara, King of the Yees) as a part of the Chance Theatre in Anaheim's On The Radar new play development series. Lauren is a Chinese American playwright whose plays have been at the Goodman Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Kirk Douglas Theatre, among others. Trevor is an Ovation Award-nominated director in Los Angeles whose work has been seen on many stages, including CSULB; this is his sixth production for the Chance. The Chance Theatre in Anaheim is one of twelve cutting-edge theatre companies who recently received a grant from the American Theatre Wing for its outstanding new play development, education programs, and community engagement.

"Stop the World" and Read the Reviews for our Latest Production

Posted on October 17th, 2016

"Worth seeing for any musical fans"
" and the performers have serious talent"
Read the Daily 49er's review on "Stop the World" by Jason Enns.

"Raucous local revival...extraordinary"
"Christain Sullivan is...a major talent in the making"
"Rarely performed yet truly groundbreaking"

Read The Gazettes's review by Chris Carpenter.

Reviews are in: A View From the Bridge "shocks" and "intrigues" audiences

Posted on October 4th, 2016

An "impressive cast of both professionals and undergraduate students is the single best element of this production...Josh Nathan, as Eddie, and Kathleen Wilhoite (recognizable from her numerous TV and film appearances) as Beatrice are superb as their conflicted spouses."
Read the Long Beach Gazette's review by Chris Carpenter.

"The audience reaches catharsis, not because good or evil prevails, but because the characters themselves allow their most internal desires to be fully known."

Read the Daily 49er's review by Hanna Suarez.

"Director Jeff Paul...perfectly regulates the onstage energy flow so that the big moments pay off spectacularly...the domestic dynamic between Eddie, Beatrice, and Catherine is worthy of particular note."
Read the Random Lengths News's review by Greggory Moore.

Theatre Faculty at Emmys for Award-winning Show Transparent

Posted on September 23rd, 2016

Alexandra Billings, Assistant Professor in the Theatre Arts department, attended the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 18th. Alex plays Davina on Transparent, which was nominated for nine Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy Series. The show went on to win three Emmys, including Outstanding Directing for the show’s creator, Jill Soloway. Alex’s red-carpet look, which made multiple best-dressed lists, was designed by Megan Knowles, a graduate of CSULB Theatre Art’s MFA in Costume Design program.

Alexandra Billings and Joanne Gordon Team Up For Stop The World, I Want to Get Off

Posted on September 15th, 2016

Stop the World, I Want to Get Off Poster


CSULB Theatre Arts Department’s University Players’ presents Stop the World, I Want to Get Off with book, music, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, directed by Joanne Gordon. This quirky British musical features Alexandra Billings from Amazon’s Transparent as Evie and plays in the Studio Theatre on the CSULB campus October 7, 2016 through October 16, 2016. Read the full press release on this production.

CSULB Theatre Arts Named to “Top BA Theatre Programs” List

Posted on September 12th, 2016

The CSULB Theatre Arts Department has been named one of the top-ten BA Theatre Programs in the United States by OnStageBlog.Com. The list was compiled based on “tuition, curriculum, faculty, career support, basically everything [a prospective student] would consider before making a college choice." To see the full article, More information is available in this article.

Meet our New Artistic Director and Department Chair, Jeff Janisheski

Posted on September 1st, 2016

Jeff Janisheski Headshot

Theatre is an ancient technology. A body. A stage. An audience. A communion. This communion can be with an audience of one or thousands. It is the quality of the communion, not the size of the crowd that matters. Throughout my career as a teacher, leader and director, the focus of my work has been on this core question – how do we make that connection between the stage-event and the audience more charged, electric and alive? And that is precisely my mission here for Cal Rep: to create indelible events on stage that connect deeply to our community.

I have had an eclectic and exciting journey that has led me here. For the past four years I was Head of Acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, Australia – one of the world’s leading drama schools with alumni such as Cate Blanchett, Judy Davis, Mel Gibson, Hugo Weaving and Baz Luhrmann. From 2008-2011 I was Artistic Director of the National Theater Institute at the Tony Award-winning Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut. Prior to NTI, I was Associate Artistic Director at the off-Broadway theater Classic Stage Company where I associate-produced shows featuring a broad spectrum of artists – from Tony and Oscar Award-winning actors to downtown’s most experimental companies. All of these experiences have prepared me for where I am now and I am truly thrilled to be here. I am deeply impressed by the range of work here, the passion of the students and the stellar faculty and staff.

As Artistic Director of Cal Rep and Chair of Theatre Arts my mantras are the following three words: community, connection and collaboration. How can we build a greater sense of community within our department, the school and beyond; how can we connect more to our audiences on campus and in Long Beach; and how can we collaborate more within our department, with other programs at CSULB, and with local and national artists? These are my goals and they speak to the heart of what we do in theatre.

This fall season for Cal Rep and University Players is extremely dynamic: from Arthur Miller’s classic A View from the Bridge about the dark side of the American dream, directed by CSULB alum Jeff Paul; to the savagery of John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi directed by acclaimed British director Rob Clare; to the hyper-theatricality of the devised work Elements created by Ezra LeBank and Rebecca Nakano; to the soaring 1960s musical Stop the World, I Want to Get Off directed by Joanne Gordon and featuring Alexandra Billings (co-star on the Emmy Award-winning show Transparent). The breadth of these shows matches the diversity and range of what we do here.

I hope you join us and look forward to seeing you at our shows. Together we can expand these circles of community, connection and collaboration.


Jeff Janisheski
Artistic Director, Cal Rep
Chair of Theatre Arts

Norris Foundation Grant Allows CSULB Theatre Arts Students to Travel the World

Posted on August 29th, 2016

Last fall, MBA/MFA Theatre Management student Sean Book successfully applied for and was awarded the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation Grant on behalf of the Theatre Arts Department. This $10,000 grant has allowed our students to participate in professional development workshops, conferences and travel. Learn more about the student recipients of the grant and where they traveled.

Cal Rep Opens 2016-2017 Season with Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge

Posted on August 29th, 2016

View from the Bridge Poster


California Repertory Company (Cal Rep) at California State University, Long Beach announces the opening of its 2016-2017 season with Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, directed by CSULB alumnus Jeff Paul. The Broadway production of A View from the Bridge recently received the 2016 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Cal Rep’s staging of this timeless classic runs September 23-October 8 in the recently renovated University Theatre. This intense examination of human nature – the dangers of obsessive jealousy, xenophobia, and homophobia verses the inherent instinct for survival – was a powerful comment on current events when it was written in 1955, and resonates still. Read the full press release on this event now.

CSULB Theatre Arts Announces 2016 – 2017 Season

Posted on July 14th, 2016


The CSULB Theatre Arts Department has selected and announced the productions for the 2016–2017 season. The season was selected with aims to make an immediate and meaningful connection to contemporary audiences through the work of budding and veteran artists, according to Olivia Sather of the Season Selection Committee. “By including a variety of theatrical productions we allow something for everyone in a community that reaches beyond the students on campus into the culturally diverse city of Long Beach,” said Sather. Audiences this season can expect a variety of classic plays, contemporary comedies, and compelling dramas, including two rarely produced musicals and an original movement piece. More information about each show and the full press release is available.

Anna Steers, Theatre Arts Faculty Member and Alumna, Honored by Work in Community

Posted on April 28th, 2016

headhsot of Anna Steers

Anna Steers is being honored as "Volunteer of the Year" at the 26th Annual Flossie Lewis Fundraiser, for the drama classes her EPIC (Educational Performance In Community) classes have taught to the clients of Flossie over the last couple years. Flossie Lewis is a residential and outpatient treatment center that has helped hundreds of women recover. The women at Flossie have been thrilled to visit our department as well, attending our past productions of Ubu the Sh*t and Rent. In the Spring 2016 semester, Anna Steers’ EPIC class taught weekly drama classes to the women of the Flossie Lewis Shelter. As part of EPIC’s outreach into the community, the CSULB Theatre Arts Department sponsored the women to see Rent. The women of Flossie Lewis were taken on a tour of the building by Ms. Steers, visited a rehearsal for an upcoming Theatre Threshold production, and got to watch the cast of Rent warmup before seeing the show. Learn more about EPIC here.

The women of Flossie Lewis with the cast of Rent

The women of Flossie Lewis with the cast of Rent.

Theatre Arts Faculty Member to Speak at Faculty Supper Club

Posted on April 14th, 2016

Headshot of Andrea Caban

This spring’s Faculty Supper Club hosted by President Conoley at her residence, is featuring CSULB Theatre Art's Head of Voice and Speech, Asst. Professor Andrea Caban, who will speak on her research using the voice, speech and accents training she teaches in her actor-training courses, to help people with ALS prolong the ability to speak without the use of assistive technology. The talk is called, "Accent Modification and ALS: An Unexpected Application of Actor Training”. The event is open to all Faculty and Emerita Faculty, and will be held Tuesday, May 3 from 5 to 7 pm at the Miller House, located at 1430 El Mirador, Long Beach.

Miami To Los Angeles: A Theatrical Portrait of the Cuban-American Experience

Posted on April 8th, 2016

Bird in the Hand Show Poster


CSULB Theatre Arts Department will hold a panel discussion entitled Miami to Los Angeles: A Theatrical Portrait of the Cuban-American Experience at 3:30pm on Saturday April 9th, immediately following the 2:00 matinee performance of Bird in the Hand. The panel members include nationally-recognized experts from Tulane University, Latino Theatre Company, CSULB Chicano/ Latin American Studies, as well as the directors of the production, Dr. Shanti Pillai and Marc Gomes. Using the play as a springboard for discussion the panelists will focus on Cuban- American experiences in Miami and Los Angeles. This event is free and open to the public; attending the play prior to the panel is encouraged but not required. More information on the panelists and to read the full press release is available.

CSULB Faculty Presents at American Comparative Literature Association’s Annual Conference

Posted on April 8th, 2016

Headshot of Jaye Austin Williams

Theatre Arts faculty member Dr. Jaye Austin Williams, presented her paper entitled, “The Subtext Uttered: ‘The Theatre’ as Metonymic Anathema to Black Radical Critique" at Harvard University as part of the American Comparative Literature Association’s (ACLA) Annual Conference March 17-20. The paper is part of a three-panel caucus around the theme, “Black Matter: The Times and Spaces of Black Movement, Black Thought and Black Creation”. You can learn more about the American Comparative Literature Association here.

Take a Dive in the CSULB Production of A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick

Posted on March 23rd, 2016

Cool Dip Show Poster


Theatre Arts Department’s University Players presents A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick by Kia Corthron, directed by Dr. Jaye Austin Williams. This dramatic work tackles the issues of loss, social injustice, religion, and race. A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick plays April 22nd through May 7th in the Players Theatre on the CSULB campus. Williams hopes that this play will inspire audiences to think about the current relevance of “water, its potential scarcity, the crisis of the potential scarcity, its tainting, and the crisis of that in terms other than merely environmental.” Read the full press release on A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick.

Tickets on Sale Now for CSULB Theatre Arts Department's Annual Gala May 1st

Posted on March 16th, 2016

Theatre Art a La Carte 2016 Graphic


CSULB Theatre Arts Department recently announced their 2nd annual gala, Theatre Art á la Carte, to raise funds for student educational programs, honor community partners, and “celebrate all things theatre.” The event, to be held on Sunday, May 1st at the Theatre Arts building, will be hosted by Craig Anton with performances by Alexandra Billings and The Global Water Dancers. Honorees are Dr. David Dowell, CSULB’s Provost and Senior Vice President, retiring this year; Jerry and Flora Loeb, long-time CSULB Theatre Arts board members and greater Long Beach arts contributors; and Jeremy Ancalade, VP of Operations at The Trevor Project and alumnus of the program. Read the full press release on this gala.

Update on KCACTF: Current Student Wins Award

Posted on March 10th, 2016

Headshot of current CSULB Theatre Arts student Tahirih Moeller

A Live Mixtape, written by current Theatre Arts student Tahirih Moeller (pictured at left), is the second-place recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Theatre Creator Award. This comes with a $500 cash award, an invitation to the Kennedy Center for the KCACTF National Festival April 12-16, as well as membership in the Dramatists Guild and with the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. Tahirih Moeller’s powerful play, A Live Mixtape, will be produced this spring in Theatre Threshold, to be directed by Caylee Norris. Performance dates include April 13 and 14 at 11pm, and April 15 at 12pm in Theatre Arts Room 24/26. Learn more about the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Flamingos Flock the Stage in CSULB Production of Bird in the Hand

Posted on March 9th, 2016

Bird in the Hand Production Graphic


CSULB Theatre Arts Department’s University Players presents Bird in the Hand by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, directed by Shanti Pillai and Marc Gomes. A wry comedy blending theatre, dance, visual art, and original composition, Bird in the Hand plays April 8th through April 19th in the Studio Theatre on the CSULB campus. Pillai hopes that students will clearly identify with “the theme of being a second generation immigrant, as well as the universal themes of nostalgia, class, and identity.” Pillai is working with undergraduate students to incorporate Indian theatre techniques, “though it doesn’t look like Indian theatre. I am working with students who I want to have a unique experience towards their orientation to the stage. I think it is valuable for them to have.” Read the full press release on Bird in the Hand.

CSULB Theatre Arts Student and Alumna are Finalists for Nationally-Recognized Playwriting Award

Posted on February 22nd, 2016

Current student Tahirih Moeller and alumna Colleen McCandless (Class of 2015) are finalists for the John Cauble Short Play Award at Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). Tahirih Moeller’s powerful play, A Live Mixtape, will be produced this spring in Theatre Threshold, to be directed by Caylee Norris. Performance dates include April 13 and 14 at 11pm, and April 15 at 12pm in Theatre Arts Room 24/26. Colleen McCandless' play Fledgling was produced as part of Theatre Threshold's 2014-15 season. Theatre Threshold is the Theatre Arts Department's professionally-modeled, student-run educational company at CSULB. Faculty members Patricia Loughrey, Trevor Biship, Dr. Jaye Austin-Williams, and Anne D'Zmura provided additional support, advocacy, and mentorship to both student finalists. Stay tuned for further KCACTF updates! Learn more about the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Rent at CSULB

Posted on February 9th, 2016

Rent Production Graphic


CSULB University Players kicks off its spring semester with the Pulitzer and Tony award-winning play Rent written by Jonathan Larson and directed by Joanne Gordon. Celebrating the 20th anniversary since its Broadway premiere, Rent opens March 3rd and runs through March 19th. Based off of Puccini’s La Bohème, Rent tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists demonstrating their resilience to survive in New York City’s East Village during the dangerous time and threat of HIV/AIDS. Gordon believes that this play “is essentially an anti-capitalist piece...The only way that we can liberate ourselves, is through art and love.” Rread the full press release on Rent here.

New Donor Wall Honors Contributors To CSULB Theatre Arts

Posted on February 8th, 2016


CSULB Theatre Arts Department is proud to announce the inauguration of their new donor wall, created in appreciation of the individuals and corporations who have generously contributed to the department. The donor wall will be revealed at the opening of the first show of the semester, Mutual Consent, the evening of February 12th. Spearheaded by third-year MBA/MFA Theatre Management student Sean Book, the donor wall uses repurposed lighting lenses from the recently technologically-updated University Theatre and LED lighting to spotlight and bring focus to the corporations and individuals who have supported our department. Read the full press release on New Donors here.

World Premiere of Mutual Consent at CSULB’s California Repertory Company

Posted on January 21st, 2016

Mutual Consent Production Graphic


CSULB’s California Repertory Company proudly presents the World Premiere of Mutual Consent, written by Nancy Bell and Peter Grandbois and directed by Anne Justine D’Zmura. Opening on Valentine’s Day weekend and running through February 21st, Mutual Consent explores what it means to be in a true romantic relationship in today’s society. In an intriguing blend of absurdity and lyricism, this vignette-style drama tells the story of how multiple couples navigate marriage, commitment, and the challenges of contemporary life while exploring the beauties and discontents of love in adulthood. Read the full press release on Mutual Consent.

California Repertory Returns To Renovated University Theatre With Churchill’s Far Away

Posted on November 12th, 2015

Far Away Production Graphic


CSULB Theatre Arts Department and California Repertory Company are thrilled to present Caryl Churchill’s play Far Away in the newly upgraded University Theatre. The process of returning to the University Theatre began over two years ago and required the concerted efforts of numerous individuals across campus...The return to the University Theatre will provide Cal Rep productions with a technologically updated performance venue for students to work in and for public enjoyment. Read the full press release on Far Away.

Andrea Caban to Present at Penn State Arts and Design Research Incubator

Posted on November 10th, 2015

Faculty member Andrea Caban (Voice and Speech) will present two events about ALS and speech modification at the Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI) at Penn State. On Tuesday, November 17th, Caban will first speak about "Voicework, Accent Modification and ALS: A Case Study In Prolonging The Ability To Speak." Later that same day, she will perform a workshop production of her one-woman show The Voice Bank, which was performed as part of the Affinity Series at CSULB in October 2015. The full article is available on Penn State's website.

Affinity Series’ The Voice Bank raises $400 for ALS Golden West Chapter

Posted on October 27th, 2015

The Voice Bank Production Graphic

CSULB Theatre Art’s Affinity Series recently presented The Voice Bank, written and performed by Andrea Caban and directed by Amanda McRaven, with performances October 9 – 11. The Voice Bank tells the true story of one woman, Terry, who defies her ALS diagnosis to fight for the privilege to keep speaking. The Affinity Series partnered with the ALS Association’s Golden West chapter to raise funds to benefit Long Beach residents affected by ALS. Patrons donated generously at all performances, resulting in $400 raised to fight ALS. Caban will be taking The Voice Bank to Penn State’s Art and Design Research Incubator Nov 12- 20th and giving a lecture that details the research on which the play is based. Learn more about the incubator (pdf).

Brian Mulligan to teach at HB Studio in New York

Posted on October 23rd, 2015

Brian Mulligan Headshot

Brian Mulligan (CSULB Theatre: Adjunct Faculty) has been invited to HB Studio in New York in January to co-teach the Hagen Teacher Training intensive alongside head of the Hagen Institute, Carol Rosenfeld. Brian will mentor participating teachers on Uta Hagen's approach to Scene Study, while Ms. Rosenfeld will take the lead on the Exercises from Hagen's A Challenge for the Actor. Learn more about the Institute's Hagen Teacher Training.

Diversity a Central Theme in Devised Performance - EPIC: #ethnocentricCRAP

Posted on October 23rd, 2015

Mutual Consent Production Graphic


Analyzing how discrimination plays a role in students’ lives and in the Long Beach community, the ensemble of EPIC: #enthnocentricCRAP takes the stage in a brand new work. Playing November 20 – December 6, director Anna Steers expects the show to engage, excite, and provoke audiences. Devised in response to the nation’s most recent string of hate crimes and racial attacks, EPIC: #ethnocentricCRAP was conceived and created by undergraduate students. “It is more than a play, it is a movement centered on creating awareness of ethnocentrism,” said Steers. Read the full press release on EPIC: #ethnocentricCRAP.

Cal Rep Brings Award-Winning Playwright’s Work to Life

Posted on October 23rd, 2015

Far Away Production Graphic


CSULB Theatre Arts Department’s California Repertory Company is thrilled to present Far Away, written by Caryl Churchill and directed by Trevor Biship. Playing Friday November 12th through Saturday December 5th, Far Away is a timely and thought-provoking work set in a government-controlled dystopia, following a young woman as she becomes an adult and struggles to understand the world around her. Director Trevor Biship, who last season directed The Colored Museum at CSULB, will be working with a cast of both graduate and undergraduate theatre students to present this piece, written by industry-renowned playwright Caryl Churchill. Read the full press release on Caryl Churchill and Far Away.

Bare Bones Production of the Scottish Play Comes to Long Beach

Far Away Production Graphic


CSULB Theatre Arts Department’s University Players presents Shakespeare in the Raw: Macbeth, directed by Elizabeth Swain. Playing Tuesday, October 13th through October 25th, the production portrays the Bard’s hauntingly infamous play in a bare-bones theatrical experience. This production of Macbeth will be done in the ‘raw,’ with no show-specific technical support. That means that the stage will be mostly bare; no lighting, sound, or production design and definitely no period-piece costumes. All of the focus in this production is on the actors, text, and story. Read the full press release on Shakespeare in the Raw: Macbeth.

Cal Rep Celebrates One of Its Finest, Opens Season with S/He & Me: A Theatrical Cabaret

Far Away Production Graphic


California Repertory Company is proud to open its 2015-2016 season with the premiere of S/He & Me: A Theatrical Cabaret, written by Alexandra Billings, and conceived and directed by Joanne Gordon. Playing September 25th through October 11th, S/He & Me: A Theatrical Cabaret explores the evolving relationship between Alexandra Billings and Scott – the boy she once was... It tells a non-linear story of love and reconciliation and celebrates the journey of transgender actress Alexandra Billings as she examines her relationships with her parents, her wife Chrisanne, and with herself – both as Alex and as Scott. Read the full press release on S/He & Me: A Theatrical Cabaret.