LOS ANGELES (Aug. 8, 2013) – Juliet Landau and James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Spike and Drusilla) are joined by Carol Locatell, Robert Towers, and Dagney Kerr for the world premiere of an off-beat and heartfelt new comedy by Elin Hampton. Round Swamp Entertainment, in association with Greenway Arts Alliance, presents The Bells of West 87th, opening Sept. 7 at the Greenway Court Theatre.
About to turn 40, building manager and amateur poet Molly Fein (Landau) is still single and craving a new life independent of her crazy, dysfunctional parents. Does she dare introduce them to the new boyfriend (Marsters) she’s recently met at night school?
Molly’s elderly mother Ida (Locatell) and father Eli (Towers) have been separated for years. Ida’s supposed to be living with Molly’s “perfect” younger sister Maxine (Kerr) on nearby Staten Island. Instead, she’s secretly holed up with Molly, living smack next door to her nearly deaf husband and using a system of hidden bells to track his whereabouts from the other side of the wall.
“It’s a very funny set-up that sounds completely out there, but was inspired by true events,” explains director Richard Pierce. “In the end, though, the real comedy comes out of the characters. They’re so well-written and full of heart. Molly’s poetry is hilarious.”
According to Pierce, “The environment is such an integral part of the play. The bells are almost like another character.”
“The characters are heightened… but we all know these people,” says Hampton. “The grown daughter who’s still not fully independent, her helicopter parents who are trying to redefine themselves and remain vibrant as they age, the boyfriend who struggles to make a living but has big dreams. What drives all of these people is hope. It all comes down to finding our place in the world, and not letting it be foisted upon us.”
The Bells of West 87th was developed in readings at InterACT Theatre Company’s 2012 InerACTivity Festival and the Road Theatre Company’s 2012 Summer Playwrights Festival.
Set design for The Bells of West 87th is by Jeff McLaughlin; lighting design is by Michael Gend; sound design is by Cricket S. Myers; costume design is by Susanne Klein; graphic design is by Kiff Scholl, afKiff Design; production stage manager is John H. Freeland, Jr.; associate producer is Victoria Watson; producer is Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners; and executive producer is David Fury.
Juliet Landau (Molly Fein) created the role of Drusilla on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and appeared on Buffy and Angel over the course of six seasons. Films include Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, New Line Cinema’s Theodore Rex and the upcoming features The Bronx Bull, Where the Road Runs Out and Fairfield. Last year, she starred as Roberta in a critically acclaimed production of John Patrick Shanley’s, Danny And The Deep Blue Sea for Crown City Theatre.
Dagney Kerr (Maxine) stars in the upcoming Hallmark movie Strawberry Summer, and Daily Variety singled out her performance in the feature film Park as “positively radiant” and “hilarious.” Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans know her as Kathy, Buffy’s college roommate from (literally) Hell.
Carol Locatell (Ida) has been seen on Broadway in Broadway Bound, The Shadow Box and The Rose Tattoo. She originated the role of Fonsia Dorsey in the world premiere of D. L. Coburn’s The Gin Game.
James Marsters (Chris) played punk-goth vampire Spike for six seasons on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the final season of the spin-off show Angel. Other series: Smallville (as Brainiac); Torchwood (as the ruthless and sexually deviant Captain); Without a Trace; and SyFy’s Warehouse 13. Classical theater includes Macbeth, She Stoops to Conquer, The Importance of Being Earnest and Frost/Nixon for L.A. Theatre Works.
Robert Towers (Eli) was the original Los Angeles Snoopy in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. Most recently he has been seen on stage in The Beat Goes On: A Musical Revue and 1776 for Musical Theatre West. On film, he was young (old) Benjamin in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Elin Hampton’s writing credits include the hit musical Who’s Your Mommy?! (aka Amother Musical), written with composer Gerald Sternbach, which played to sold-out houses at the Hudson Backstage and has been optioned for the New York stage, as well as writing and producing credits on television shows such as Mad About You, Dream On, Pinky and the Brain, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Jackie Thomas Show, Rugrats, House of Buggin, Life’s Work and Baby Bob.
Richard Pierce has directed numerous theater productions in L.A., most recently Mitch Album’s Duck Hunter Shoots Angel. He is a multiple award-winning executive producer whose credits include telefilms Witness to the Execution (Writer’s Guild Award, Paul Selvin Award). The Substitute Wife starring Farrah Fawcett (Writer’s Guild nominee) for NBC, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom starring Holly Hunter (Emmy, Cable Ace and Writers Guild Awards) for HBO, Disney Channel’s In A Heartbeat (Prism Award), the ABC mini-series 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Michael Caine and Patrick Dempsey, and the MOW The Absolute Truth with Jane Seymour and Bruce Greenwood for CBS.
Performances of The Bells of West 87th take place Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays @ 6 p.m., Sept. 7 through Oct. 13. There will be two previews on Thursday, Sept. 5 and Friday, Sept. 6, both at 8 p.m. General admission for all performances is $34, except the performances on Sept. 15 and Sept. 19, which are $50 and include a post-performance Q & A with the cast, and the previews which are $25. The Greenway Court Theatre is located at 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036. To purchase tickets, call (323) 655-7679 x100 or www.greenwayarts.org.