Red Carpet Interview
2006 Founder Award – Stage Musical of the Year – 16th Annual LA Music Awards
2006 Founder Award – Musical Score of the Year – 16th Annual LA Music Awards
THOMAS GARCIA (Belushi, Adolph, Elvis. Assistant Choreographer, Dance Captain) is a proud member of AEA. Thomas has been seen in LA and across the country in Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, Peter Pan with Kathy Rigby, and Mame with Carol Lawrence. Other credits include Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Footloose, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Who’s Tommy, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Oklahoma, 42nd Street, Evita, Annie Get Your Gun, A Chorus Line, and Starr (produced by Robert Zemekis). He has also appeared in shows for Ford Motor Company (starring Gladys Knight and Deborah Gibson), The Spa Resort and Casino (starring Natalie Cole and Ruben Studdard), Harley Davidson, Rebock, and numerous shows for STAGE and The Actors Fund. TV credits include All That, Love Boat – The Next Wave, The Drew Carey Show, Seinfeld, and the upcoming reality show Work Out, which will air on Bravo this summer. Love and thanks to G.
BRENNA GRAZIANNO (Gomorrah, Gilda, Cass, Principal Dancer). Brenna’s passion and versatility as an actress, singer, and dancer landed her on the stage since she was a young girl. She moved to Los Angeles from South Florida to pursue her dreams, and recently wrapped work on several independent films including Monkey Man and A Study in the Orientation of Han Sum. Brenna made her California stage debut as Gloria in Damn Yankees and co-starred in the Hollywood production of the famed Off-Broadway show Jeffrey. Her Florida area credits include the role of Anita in West Side Story, Morales in A Chorus Line, and Veruka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She has trained and perfected her craft at the Ivana Chubbuck Studio in Los Angeles.
ALLA GREENE (Sodom, Marilyn, Karen, Principal Dancer) Alla Greene is a recent transplant from Portland, Oregon, and is just getting settled in Hollywood, California! A Ukranian native, she moved to Portland with her family at a young age and graduated from Linfield College with a BS in Health Sciences and from Portland State University with a Masters in Public and Health Administration. She studied at PSU in the opera program performing in The Saint of Bleeker Street, Snow Maiden, Beatrice et Benedict, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, A Mid Summer Night’s Dream, among others. Her favorite roles include playing Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro at the Astoria Music Festival and Heather in Beguiled Again. Here in LA, she has had the privilege of working with Jamie Kennedy in a short called Model Family. In addition to theatre work, Alla models, continues perfecting her craft, plays volleyball, and always enjoys sitting in a fabulous café and sipping on a delicious non-fat latte with her dearest friends!
ALLISON LYNN KRAMER (Janis). At long last the universe got it right! Since spotting Bob Seidemann’s famous photo of Janis in a book and thinking “I don’t remember posing for that”, Allison is overjoyed to be in the role she was born to play. An actress/singer since age 10, Allison has been very busy since moving out to LA many moons ago by working in film, commercials, and on many Hollywood stages performing sketch comedy and her own one-woman show. She is commercially represented by Coast-to-Coast Talent Group and is currently seeking theatrical representation. Allison would like to thank all of her friends and family for their support, yoga for keeping her sane, and her kitties, Janis and Sherpa, for being perfect, fluffy bundles of love. “Let yourself go and you’ll be more than you’ve ever thought of being.” –Janis Joplin
JACOB MAGNUSON (Jesus). Born and raised in Missouri, Jacob left his two parents and two brothers on the farm and moved to Los Angeles with hopes of becoming the next Brad Pitt. Jacob now knows how to bartend. His LA theatre credits include Walter Doty III’s Through the Ages at the Shrine Auditorium and Casting Billy’s Couch at the Hudson Guild Theatre. His extensive film and television credits include two projects which are currently in production. The comedy Honey, I’m Home (Dream Regime Productions) is in post-production and suspense/thriller Kismet (Def Films) is in pre-production. You can also catch Jacob performing stand-up comedy in various LA comedy clubs. Jacob is very excited about performing in this musical and having the opportunity to work with such great talent and direction, but mainly because now he will have played both Jesus and Superman, leaving him to fill only the role of Ron Jeremy in order to play all of his life long heroes.
KAREN MCCLAIN (Burning Bush), a native of Houston, is elated to be apart of this show. Her professional career spans over eight years. Recently, she was seen sharing the stage with some of LA’s most notable Broadway and television personalities such as Armelia McQueen and Reginald A Johnson, for the Black to Broadway Showcase (A Tribute to playwright August Wilson). Some other productions are Spunk (Blues Speak Women), Once on This Island (Mama Euralie), Nunsense (Sister Hubert), Smokey Joe’s Café (BJ), and The Colored Museum (Aunt Ethel/Mama) of which she was nominated for the 2005 Ovation Award as Featured Actress in a Play. Her recent film credits included Over the Wall, The Bliss, and 7-10 Split starring Tara Reid. Audiences may remember her on Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia along side comedian/actor Carlos Mencia as the nacho cheese customer. Karen loves to stay busy so visit her on the web at www.karenymcclain.com.
SMOKEY MILES (Moses) recently performed in and composed music for the LA Music Awards Best Stage Musical of the Year Night of the Black Cat at the Edgemar Center in Santa Monica. Previously he portrayed Bob Dylan in Dylan: Words and Music at the Zephyr Theater in San Francisco. He performed and was musical director in Rip Torn and the late Geraldine Page’s Sanctuary Theater in New York City and was musical director/composer/producer at The Cottage Marionette Theater in New York City and other theaters. He also produced and hosted the award-winning Smokey Miles Music Hour on cable access in LA. Smokey’s album Alien World was produced by legendary songwriter Otis Blackwell. A multi-instrumentalist, prolific songwriter, and composer, Miles has composed songs and scores for TV, CDs, shows, and films, including the recent award-winning documentaries Magic(s) and Arvik. He has performed internationally originals, folk, blues, jazz, country, and rock. Miles graduated from Princeton University. It is reported that he has another life as the cult icon, recording artist, Troma Films star, and burlesque comic Count Smokula.
JOHN MOSCHITTA, JR. (Satan). “America’s Favorite Fast Talker,” John has performed worldwide, completed over 750 commercials (including Fed Ex, Micro Machines), starred in four network television series, appeared in over 1000 TV shows, films, and plays, released two best selling comedy CDs (10 Classics in 10 Minutes, 10 Minute University), worked for over 500 corporations, and created the Motor Mouth board game. He has won dozens of awards including the Clio, been honored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and named the Most Effective Spokesman in the History of Advertising. John recently received rave reviews for his performance as Pangborn in the West Coast Premiere of Never Gonna Dance at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center and completed filming on three soon to be released “mock-umentaries: Bob Saget’s Farce of the Penguins; Putzanskya; and Queerspiracy. John is currently featured in all 10 episodes of VH-1’s I LOVE THE 80’s 3-D and can be heard as the voice of Hollywood Squares and Balderdash.
JOSE SINATRA (Lennon, Freddy) is from San Diego via Wheaton, Maryland. He appeared in an earlier version of Rock and Roll Heaven five years ago and, before that, in Plymouth Rock on the West Coast and HAIR on the East. He writes the column “Hosing Down” for The San Diego Troubadour, is a photographer (album covers and glamour), and has been singing with his group Jose Sinatra and the Troy Dante Inferno for more than twenty years. His book reviews have appeared in The San Diego Union-Tribune; other writings in The Reader, Revolt in Style, and The Little Shop of Horrors. He may be the late composer Georges Delerue’s biggest fan.
GUGUN DEEP SINGH (Jimi). Mr. Singh is a native of Toronto, Canada. He has been making a bloody fool of himself for years. After three years in Los Angeles, he resolved medicine wasn’t for him and dedicated himself to storytelling. He is an alumni of both Circle in the Square Theatre School’s Professional Musical Workshop and The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab. Film credits include Albert Brooks’ latest film Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, Kavi Raz’s Rising Shores, and Anna Axster’s experimental Panavision short Sweet Sting. Mad love and a punch in the arm to Makeda, Justin, Melissa, Bragg, Ana, and Jonathan.
ALEX SPENCER (Judy) feels blessed and is thrilled to be back on the LA stage after a brief hiatus recording her own album of blues and soul music, to breathe life back into the infamous Ms. Judy Garland. A native Californian, who moved to the Big Apple where here career really started, she’s a proud graduate of the acclaimed American Musical and Dramatic Academy, NYC (AMDA). Off Broadway credits: originated the role of Medusa in String of Pearls at Carnegie Hall; Taste of Honey; Josephine; and A Sondheim Celebration. National Tour: Cranium Palladium. Regional: favorite roles include Lady Macbeth at the Paramount Theatre (Festival Winner), Oklahoma! (Ado Anne), Bare (the workshop premiere, Stacy/Nadia us), Jesus Christ Superstar; Performance Riverside (Soul Sister), among others. TV/Film: Boy Meets World, Friends, The Cradle will Rock. She would like to thank her amazing husband Matt (BB) and both sides of her wonderful family, her “Boys,” and all her friends who continuously support her through it all. Especially Jen T.
DAVID E. TAYLOR (Morrison). Taylor would like to take this time to thank his mentors, David Hasselhoff, Patrick Swayze, and Patrick Duffy for giving him the courage to take the stage. Without their inspiration none of this would be possible. His film credits include the soon to be released Firefly, also Speech 101, N/A, and Bring it On. Notable television appearances include The Invisible Man and Veronica Mars. Taylor also lends his voice to various projects including the soon to be released XBox 360 video game The Call of Juarez, as well as numerous television and radio commercials for Carl’s Jr. He can be seen strumming his guitar in trendy dive dump bars across town playing his version of country music with a California twang. He resides by the beach. www.myspace.com/squirrellyd.
PRODUCTION STAFF (click photos for larger images)
JASON MERSHON (Book, Music, Lyrics. Producer, Director). From his early days as a music critic for a Los Angeles newspaper, to his stint as a rock concert promoter, and later as a sometimes Rock Star himself (Mershon toured nationally as lead singer of the BOX TOPS whose hits included “The Letter” and “Cry Like A Baby,” replacing original lead singer Alex Chilton), Jason met, worked, partied, and performed alongside dozens of rock legends –Many of whom are now regretfully in Rock And Roll Heaven. The first show for which he wrote and composed music was the Disco-Musical Getting Head, which was loosely based on his experiences as a nightclub promoter in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. For almost ten years, Jason produced parties, shows, and pageants in America’s top nightclubs including Studio 54 (NYC), The Limelight (Chicago, Atlanta), Paul Anka’s Jubilation (Las Vegas), 2001 Oydessy (where Saturday Night Fever was filmed in Brooklyn) Gilley’s and Billy Bob’s (Texas) and over 150 others in all fifty states. (continued below)
JASON MERSHON (continued) By the late 1980’s, he noticed the proliferation of “Celebrity Impersonator” shows popping up around the country — many of which featured tributes to many of his former friends and acquaintances who had passed on. While those shows only recreated the deceased performers live in concert, Jason decided to go beyond the impersonator shows and write a parody about Heaven and show what those deceased Music Legends were doing “Now and Today,” rubbing elbows with Historical and Biblical characters in the Afterlife. The current version of Rock and Roll Heaven — The Musical Comedy has been a fifteen year “work-in-progress.” Originally titled Heaven 1990 and later Heaven Rocks, Jason has produced various versions in Palm Springs, Boston, Cape Cod, Orange County, and San Diego. For its Hollywood Premier (and finally it’s completed version) Jason would like to give great thanks to his talented cast for the hard work and dedication on bringing this production to the stage. Next up… Rock And Roll Heaven — The Movie!!!
BRIAN PAUL (BP) MENDOZA (Choreographer) is pleased as Punch to have gotten the chance to work on Rock And Roll Heaven-The Musical Comedy before flying off to Utah Musical Theatre for the summer to stage Dames At Sea, Two By Two, and Song New World. NYC: Grease! As the dance captain/male swing of the wildly successful 1994 Broadway Revival starring Rosie O’Donnell, BP was singularly responsible for “putting replacements” into the New York company during it’s 1500 plus performances at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre as well as recreating and maintaining the original choreography for the first national tour. LA: Internet Dating: The Musical; It Came from Beyond; International City Theatre’s A Christmas Carol; and Raisin (2004 NAACP Nomination). Also, Arlene Hutton’s As It Is In Heaven, Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi and Deaf W Oliver! , which earned him Los Angeles’ most coveted theatre honor… The Ovation Award for the best Choreography. BP gives great thanks to Jason, Ron, Leigh, and Thomas for their unprecedented work on RNRH. You Rock!!!
DANNY CISTONE (Set Design) – Danny recently designed Hatful of Rain, currently running at the Meta Theatre. He directed Groovaloo at the Falcon Theatre, breaking attendance records. He directed and designed the one-man performance art piece, Music, Cocaine &Philosophy at Greenway Court. For 68 Cent Crew theatre company, set designs include What the Rabbi Saw, The Knights of Mary Phagan (NAACP Award Nomination), Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love, Sex and the I.R.S. , Boys Next Door, Lenny is Back (and Boy is he Pissed), A New War, Night Stories, Eyes for Consuela, and the world premiere of West of Brooklyn, which he also directed for the stage and screen. Other designs include An Evening with the Groovaloos, Dealer’s Choice, A Few Good Men (LAPremiere), Miss Margarita’s Way, Talk Radio, and the short film Chew and Screw. He doubles as Art Director/Performance Artist for the band Carbon 9.
KIMBERLY NEGRETE (Lighting Designer). Kimberly recently made the move to Los Angeles from Sacramento where she designed numerous productions at Runaway Stage Productions and the Chautauqua Playhouse. Most recently, Kimberly designed A Hatful of Rain at the Meta Theatre, the world premier of Sensitive Skin at the Elephant Asylum Theatre, No Exit at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and The Beauty Queen of Leenane at the Little Fish Theatre. She was also the Assistant Lighting Designer for the American Girl Revue at the new American Girl Place Theatre, which opened last month at The Grove in Los Angeles.
SJK CASTING (Team) has been involved in all aspects of the entertainment industry, from managing a Contemporary Christian Rock Band in Philadelphia, PA, to securing radio & television promotion for the band Bash N’ The Code. Negotiating a multi-record contract with Word Records, chartered several different cruise ships (hiring all of the entertainment for those cruises), and working with top Christian entertainers (Amy Grant, Russ Taff, Sandi Patti, Randy Stonehill, Sheila Walsh)… the list goes on and on! Finally moving to California, it was only a matter of time before Sandra (owner) got the acting bug, doing a few commercials and landing a role on a very short-lived sitcom, Common Law. Deciding that it was more challenging to work behind the camera, she became involved in Background Casting, working on variety of film and television projects (I Am Sam, Murder By Numbers, Bundy, and Boston Public). With her own company well established (Kuker Casting), Sandra joined forces with Leigh Fortier to become the Theatre Manager at the Hudson Theatre Complex. This opened up a new avenue… Theatre Casting.
PHILIP SOKOLOFF (Publicist) is LA’s most active theatre publicist, annually representing over 100 attractions in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Also an actor, his recent stage appearances include Ray Bradbury’s Almost Midnight at the New Place Theatre and The Tempest at the MET Theatre. Philip is a member of Actors’ Equity.