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Jan 25th, 2014 and before

posted Jul 16, 2014, 6:08 PM by James Carey   [ updated Aug 8, 2014, 12:42 PM ]
Jan 25th, 2014
Just got off stage from performing COMING TO ZIM at the ATTIC for the first time. It was a fund raiser for my tour - raised about two hundred
dollars. But the reaction to the show was amazing. Now I know this show plays everywhere. Africa and America. Great night!!

Jan. 20th, 2014
Have booked a tour of Southern Africa which includes Harare, Zimbabwe, then Lilongwe, Malawi, and finally Cape Town SA. total of 9 performances with also workshops and teaching along the way. Doing another of the NIAA Teacher Outreach workshop tours with Musa for two weeks. Should be awesome!

Sunday, Dec. 15
Interviewed with Chrysalis Theatre in Long Beach to direct their play, The Memory of Water.

Thursday, Dec. 12
Interviewed with Cider Mill Playhouse in upstate NY state to be their Executive Director. Sounds like interesting job.

Tuesday, Dec. 10
Bought my ticket to go to Zim for the 2nd Teacher Outreach Workshops. Trying to book shows in Harare, and Cape Town for Coming To Zim - but so far no bookings - cannot get any info on theatres or leads to rent spaces. Frustrating.

Saturday, Nov. 16
Have an interview with Houston's Country Playhouse to be Executive Director, sold my play Coming to Zim to KAS Germany for international German Broadcast, and got hired by Theatre of Note in Los Angeles to direct their West Coast premiere of Banshee. Now that is a GREAT 2 days!!!

Monday, Oct. 21 - The Blank Theatre
I will be directing a workshop production of Lily Mercer's Memory Loss as part of the Blank's Living Room Series.

Charles, a lonely and bitter man who earns his living tuning pianos, receives a surprise visit from Noah, the 20-year-old son of Charles’ former lover David, an Amish man, who years ago ran back to the community where he felt safe, but shamed for being homosexual. The lines between good and evil blur as Noah and his anything-but-pious girlfriend Shaenna, turn this world upside down, and force Charles to choose between his memories of the past, and his vision for the future.

May 25
Just returned from Zimbabwe where I presented my one man show Coming to Zim to sold out audiences and had to extend the show for a week at HIFA in Harare. Then helped get the NIAA Teacher Training Outreach Program off the ground with my colleagues Victoria, Musa and Chipo. Very successful response to the program.

April 8, 2013
While on my way to Harare, I will stop in Dubai, UAE. I just confirmed a meeting with DUCTAC Theatre to talk about the possibility of bring COME TOGETHER there.

April 2, 2013
I did a public reading of Coming to Zim at the ATTIC. Small audience but the response was amazing. I was shocked at how well they responded to the show. Just some tweaking and work on the tech. I open in a month in Harare.

March 15, 2013
Officially invited to present my one-man show, Coming to Zim at HIFA in Harare, Zimbabwe. Very Excited.

Feb. 10, 2013
Over the past few months I have been working as a consultant for NIAA Drama in Zimbabwe organizing and conducting a search for interested American theatre artists to work with them as teachers and adjudicators in the future. I have found an extremely talented group of teachers and performance artists in all areas that want to go and give back. It is both heartwarming to see all these people who want to share, and frustrating because at this moment there is no money to promote this project.

Also been invited by HIFA (Harare International Festival of Arts) to present a show in May 2013. Not sure what I am bring just yet, and need to find funding. More to follow.

Jan. 21, 2013
It has been about 6 months since I last wrote here. I have rented the ATTIC Theatre complex to the Chormolume Theatre group until 2014 and been working with NIAA in finding new Americans to work with their organization in Zimbabwe. The search for a new American adjudicator started in October and I received about 30 resumes of people interested in the job. I narrowed that down to 8 finalists that I sent to Harare for their interview process. The interviews will start in a few days. I am happy that I could continue my relationship with these amazing people.

I had been invited to do a show in Harare for the HIFA festival but the American embassy will not support any American theatre that does not have an AIDS theme to it. My question would they support a music act, or a dance troupe, or a visual artist if the work did not have AIDS as a theme? Seems very short sighted to me.

Not sure how to progress at this moment.

August 20, 2012
I have just returned to America after working in Harare, Zimbabwe for the Zimbabwe National Institute of Allied Arts helping to teach classes and judge the National Drama and Poetry Festival presented by school children in June 2012. That was followed by teaching some acting workshop in Rome, Italy for the Abarico Theatre in Rome, Italy.

Looking forward to helping develop further contact and linkage between the NIAA and a possible non-profit here to help foster the continued drama education of the school kids in Zim.

Please read my blog above for content and stories about the trip. Good to be home.

JAN. 28, 2012
Today is my birthday, and met with John Michael at the Celebration. He seemed to like my idea of the Elton John Cabaret and talked about a possible June production before I left for Africa. Spent the night working on a song list and production ideas. Their space is a real thrust, so this would be very fun to sing and stage there.

Craig's production of Much Ado opened at the ATTIC last night - so the theatre is cruising along. Keeping an eye on it, but it seems to be doing okay. Spent a week in January redoing the lobby - so that looks nice at the moment.

Some problems are coming up with Africa. Some funding for plane flight fell through so the trip maybe in jeopardy. Told them I would come anyway - have not heard the final word yet. Hope this comes off.

DEC. 27, 2011

Year is about over! It has been a very long one, and one filled with evaluation for myself and the ATTIC. The ATTIC turned 25 this year, I developed, directed and produced the Beatles show - which has been sitting in my head for about 20 years, I am traveling once again with Theatre jobs in Africa and Europe - wow!, and I have taken my first long break from the ATTIC in 25 years, and I am undecided if I am returning. Yet, the theatre is limping along and managed to finish the year with money in the bank and almost all debts paid off.

I received a very nice email from John Michael Beck at the Celebration about my Elton John Project that I pitched to him about a month ago. Looks like he wants to meet and talk about it in early Jan. 2012. That would be a lot of fun to work on with them if it comes together.

NOV. 29, 2011

I no longer hate the ATTIC. A few weeks off and a nice Thanksgiving has been helpful. I have to find someone or some group to run the place while I am in Africa and Europe. I am trying to either secure enough rental business or a long term rental to cover the expenses of the theatre. I am so excited about those two projects - it is all I seem to talk about now. Looking for grants to help with travel expenses.

NOV. 22, 2011

Heard from Mark Rigney that Birds has been published by Smith & Kraus for their Best Short Plays 2012 anthology. YAY for Mark!

OCT. 25, 2011

Officially, I am burned out! I am so tired in my bones that I cannot lift my head. I have run this theatre for 25 years and I just don't have an idea in my head. Starting in November, I am taking a few months off and let the place run itself. I need time to evaluate my future with the ATTIC. I will still put in a few hours a week to do business items - but Craig Jessen is directing a two show mini-season - and I am going to let him. But I cannot help him. Everytime someone says ATTIC, I suddenly get extremely tired. Theatre has always been my passion but right now the light does not burn very bright. If it was not for the two jobs in Zimbabwe and Rome in Summer 2012, I would go sell insurance. Well, just kidding about that.

OCT. 11, 2011

I just heard by email from the National Institute of Allied Arts in Zimbabwe. They offered me a position as judge of the National Festival of Drama and Poetry in June 2012. Of course, I accepted at once. What an adventure! Africa here I come.

OCT. 8, 2011

The Festival is over and Birds did really well. We did not win any awards but the playwright hinted that the play was going to be published. That will jazz the cast!

SEPT. 16, 2011

Festival opens tonight and Birds looks strong. It would be great to win this Festival once more - but I really like this play and I think it is the best play in the Festival from a writing standpoint.

SEPT. 10, 2011

I just received a letter of invitation to direct a show for the Abarico Theatre in Rome, Italy. My friend Fefe set it up. I may take the Beatle show there or an English version of Goat Island. WOW!

SEPT. 3, 2011

Had to let an actress go over the weekend. Her view of the character was completely different than mine, and when I gave her instruction or requested she try something else - she would just say - I will do whatever you want me to do. She always made a very weak choice and then would not defend it. So we agreed to part ways. I brought in Sarah Walh from last year's Festival. What a difference! Pretty, eager, willing to try new things and her energy completely changed the play. THANK YOU!

AUG. 27, 2011


Now on a one act play that is part of the Festival. Migratory Birds of Iraq is a very subtle but excellent play about three soldiers far from and not involved in any combat anymore with nothing to do but watch birds. Opens on September 16th.



Having seen this show some time ago, it's good to report that a number of rough edges have been smoothened, so that this cabaret-style tribute to the music of the Beatles returns in fine form. This go-round, instead of a bland backdrop, the stage is festooned with a colorful collage of posters from the group's albums and individual concerts. Also, in this version there are four actors (two men, two women) instead of six, which makes for a smoother run and less distraction. Some new songs have been added, but the bulk of the selections are the Beatles' popular love songs, which Marc Ginsburg, Betsy Hammer, Victoria Summer and John Szura sing with nary a missed note under James Carey's direction. What really makes this show is the laid-back, cabaret atmosphere, which was completely absent before. Also added are a few well-timed gags. The instrumental soundtrack has undergone a few tweaks as well -- it's a tad more conventional, but it makes for easy listening. Some highlights are "If I Fell," flawlessly rendered by Ginsburg; "Hello" and "Come Together" performed by the group; and "We Can Work it Out," sung by Szura. The Attic Theatre and Film Center, 5429 W. Washington Blvd., Mid-City; Fri.-Sat, 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m.; through Aug. 28. attictheatre.org. (Lovell Estell III)

August 5, 2011
Come Together opens tonight. I feel the show is very strong. It is not the same as the first version. Stronger singers, 4 instead of 6, new songs, new cast, not as much fun in rehearsal. This cast did not bond like the other one - but I think the music is stronger. Now it is up to the world. I am sleeping for a week after tonight! Break legs tonight!

July 20, 2011
Wow, I just could not find a straight appearing 20's guy for Come Together. So we started rehearsal while I looked - I have some fabulous singers this time. Everyone is a really strong belter. But my 20's girl would not change a class schedule vs. rehearsal so I had to drop her. We decided to go forward as a quartet this time. I spent all of yesterday re-ordering the show and re-blocking the 1st act. WOW!

July 8, 2011
It was a really busy May and June. Come Together opened and was pretty successful. I was very happy to see it up and out of my head. It is a really fun show. I have tried to market it to other theatres and producers - so far no luck - but it is the way to go - create your own work. Goat Island could not be cast so that is on the back burner for the moment. Found out we did not get the grant for the One Act Festival for this year. Put a big dent in our plans - trying to raise money on Indiegogo.com. We are remounting Come Together again for August - so in the midst of recasting. So many good singers in LA. It always amazes me - how much talent is here!

May 2, 2011
Will finish casting tomorrow for Come Together - A Beatles Musical Revue. I got the rights from BMI and permission to do it at the ATTIC. I have walked this line very carefully. I know I will get a letter from SONY going 'you can't do that' - but I plan to have ALL the licenses so they can go F... themselves. I have been working on this thing for months and we are doing it. I think I have a potentially amazing cast if they all join up. Dane Whitlock has been an amazing help with casting and working on the tracks with Garage Band. This is either going to rock or bomb big time. No safe choices here!

April 9, 2011
I worked all week on the Beatle project. Me doing a musical revue is a little daunting. But I have the music all picked or recorded. I have studied the lyrics and I know the size of the cast and the storyline to follow. I really think we are ready to start casting this sucker.

March 27, 2011
We had the first rehearsal for Sidewalk today. Ty has completely rewritten my source material which is fine - I still thing this will work as a children's piece and the original sources material will work for adults as well.

March 26, 2001
Marla delivered the final rewrite of Goat Island. I won't have much time to read it now because of Where the Sidewalk Ends is casting and starting rehearsal. Plans of the summer drama program are moving ahead. It is exciting to see.

March 5, 2011
Had a great 2nd reading of the Goat Island script. Marla was there to hear and discuss possible changes. She put the actors together for this reading - Eden again, Karen, Lara, and Arie. Very nice read. Not quite the sense of madness as the last reading but overall stronger reactions. Lara read a very strong Pia. We discussed some cuts in Act 1, adding a little scene and additional trimming in Act 2, and a small reordering of Act 3 to help with the rise and off of the action. Very excited to get into casting for this play. Should have the final draft in 2 to 3 weeks.

March 3, 2011
I had a reading of what I call the "Southern Project" to see if there was anything to this book and may be a play. Informal reading with Michelle and Allison. There might be something there - but I have to totally re-write it. We'll see.

Feb. 28, 2011
Hired Ty Freedman to direct the Silverstein project as a children's show. It worked once - I am sure that it will work again.

Feb. 26, 2011
Was finally able to get a reading of Goat going. Marla could not be there - but it was great to here the new rewrite outloud. Christine, Scott, Eden, and Allison helped me out. And Jamie was there to give me some notes. What was exciting was to hear the totally madness of these people. Exciting.

November 25, 2010
I need to get to work, and the ATTIC needs to fill a weekend in Dec. So I am bringing out the first show I ever directed for the ATTIC. My adaption of two Truman Capote stories - Called A TRUMAN CAPOTE CHRISTMAS. These scripts are 25 years old!!!!! OMG! So fare I have Eden & Chris from Cherry Orchard, Jeff from Flight, and John Szura in the cast. Start rehearsal on Thursday, Dec. 3rd. I am also producing - why do I do this????

October 31, 2010
Well, I just finished a 3 week run as a ZOMBIE at the Queen Mary in Long Beach for their annual horror show. What a hoot! My mug was seen by almost 20,000 people I am told. And my voice is entirely shot from going BOO for 6 hours a night for three weeks. Different, met great people - not sure will do it again. But certainly an experience.

October 18, 2010
Started updates with Marla on Crime on Goat Island. Looking forward to this project. Think it will kick ass!!
Side note - the ATTIC was up for a long term rental starting in Jan. 2011, and the guy just backed out. So we are producing a 25th season. WHEW this is going to be tough.

September 19, 2010
The DRW One Act Festival closed last night to a sold-out audience. The girls were awesome - the fight and power that the show always needed. We just never got enough rehearsal time before we opened. Very happy withe the final result! Plus we got wonderful show shots from my friend Vivian. They are going to look great on the ATTIC website and next year's grants. Now on to the home sweet home project as an actor.

September 16, 2010
Met with Chris Smith about Crime on Goat Island. Want him to play Angelo. Think he would be fantastic. I talked with Marla on Wednesday - she had time to do the rewrite - shooting for a May opening.

September 14, 2010
I just booked two paying acting jobs in LA. One is a living art installation at the Audrey Skirball Museum called home sweet home. Then 2 weeks playing a monster at the Queen Mary for major change. How strange and enjoyable.

September 11, 2010
Side By Side By Sondheim, a show that I produced for the ATTIC, just won 4 awards from StageScene LA. Best Ensemble for a Musical, Best Musical Direction, Best Director, and Outstanding Production of a Musical. That one is mine! YAY! What a wonderful show it was. Very proud of it!

September 3, 2010
Opening night of the 19th DRW One Act Festival. Into You is the first show of the night. I think it played well. The audience seemed to be with it. The main plot point comes about half way through and then it hits you in the face. It is well constructed and I hope we got Lee's script across. We were reviewed by LA Weekly.

August 30, 2010
First tech rehearsal for Into You. We did not get as much rehearsal as I would have liked, but I am very confident in the cast. Sandra, Kate, and Eden (from Cherry Orchard) do a wonderful job with this short yet extremely powerful one act. I hope the audience likes it as well.

August 12, 2010
First reading of the new Lee Blessing play, Sandra and Katie were there. Eden from The Cherry Orchard plays the other woman. She was at a film premiere in Michigan so my friend, Jen sat in for her. This script is really good. A lot a wonderful stuff with the characters to work on.

June 20, 2010
The Cherry Orchard closed to an over-flow audience at the house where it was staged. A very successful show!

June 10, 2010
The Cherry Orchard is still running for Oasis, and an surprise review by Steven Leigh Morris for the LA Weekly came out today. Surprise in that no one (the producers) told me about the review at all, so it was a surprise to see it. He pretty much slammed me and the show. He says that there are several very lovely performances, and one really very nice moment that he detailed thus "...with such power, you feel the Earth shifting in its orbit." Yet says that I am still searching to understand why Chekhov is relevant in the 21st century. Understand? Cherry Orchard is even more relevant today then ever with foreclosures, and fortunes lost, and life changed forever. Is it sour grapes to try and defend yourself from what you feel is an unjust or uninformed review? My complaint about reviewers - not Steven usually - is they get to come for one night and trash (or praise) months of work in 1000 words or less. Then if you try to defend the work, you are unprofessional and defensive. It seems like a lose/lose situation to me. Steven failed to mention the most important part of the site-specific production - the house itself. How can you come to a site-specific production and not mention the site, and how it effects the production and the actors, and how it works or does not work in the context of the play. In this production, the house is the 12th cast member - it helps make the evening memorable and unusual. It determined how the play itself would be staged and done. Not to mention that aspect of the play is under serving the concept and the work of over 30 people to get the play up. Yet ... I like the show - I watched it again last weekend after being away a while. And while there are always things that you would like to change in the direction of performance or development - the bottom line is that the show and the house work together famously and it is a fun enjoyable evening of Chekhov in a fantastic setting. That is my review!

May 30, 2010
The Cherry Orchard opened on Friday night. I was not there for the opening due to a personal incident that came up, but I hear that it went very well. And there was a blow out party. They deserve it - we all do. This was a very tough play. A lot of backstage turmoil and drama. And a lot of onstage turmoil as well. Much more then was in the play most of the time. I had a rewrite/update that I did not want forced on me by the Board of Directors - The Board seemed to fight with the producer Nicole Farmer on every detail and it was tiring to be caught between that constant battling. What a mess. But over all, it was a wonderful experience - an amazing cast including the terrific Mr. Jimmy Greene, 83 years old and still out acting everyone around him. He was on Broadway in 1951 with Olivia DeHavaland!! Member of the APA/Phoenix Theatre group on New York in the '60's. Great guy. Great crew, Great producer in Nicole Farmer - Incredible house and very generous homeowners. I am very proud of the show! Now a vacation!

April 24, 2010
We blocked the First Act today in blazing sunshine in the backyard of Karen and Jerry's house. Using their full back patio and doors leading into the house, plus an upstairs balcony this show is happening in real time for the actors. They are always "onstage" because the audience can see into the house and kitchen areas - so in effect there is no offstage. It was complex to block all that considering all the site lines, real time activities of the cast members offstage and how they get in and around the real house to their next entrance. It is interesting!!

April 20, 2010
The second rehearsal of Cherry Orchard was last night and this is going to be fun. Cherry Orchard updated and done in a real home with the audience in and around us like in a murder mystery show. Very challenging for the actors and me, the director. No fourth wall, in real time, people running all over a large house to get to their cues, outside and inside! We open in late May!

March 24, 2010
Start casting for a new production of The Cherry Orchard for Oasis Theatre Company to be done interactive and in a private home here in LA. Producer is Nicole Farmer. Looks like a lot of fun!

November 19, 2009
A Cost of Freedom will screen at DayDream Republic Studios as part of an arts festival. Cool!

November 4, 2009
Marla offered to help me update the script to get it ready for production sometime in 2010.

November 3, 2009
Had a reading of Crime on Goat Island at my house. Reading went well and everyone seems very excited to move forward.

October 3rd, 2009
Won Festival Audience Choice Award for Best Actor in the role of Tom in Cross Purposes. Yay!

September 12th, 2009
Directed a short play for Standing On Ceremony, 12 short plays celebrating Gay Marriage at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. My piece was called White Marriage and is a world premiere by Jeffery Hatcher (author of Tuesday with Morrie among others). Show is possibly going to play in NYC next year. So here's hoping!

September 11th, 2009
Opened in a new one act at the ATTIC One Act Festival, Cross Purposes by Frank Cosca. Playing the role of Tom, a Catholic priest who has an affair with a female college student.