Welcome and Thank You…

…for joining us at the second event for New Art City Theatre!

The past three months have seen a flurry of activity. On January 31st, a group of civic- minded individuals sat with us and listened as we outlined our dream for a Ventura- based theatre company focused exclusively on new works. Without their questions, suggestions, and support, producing two readings of brand-new theatre pieces would not have been possible in this brief period of time. Our gratitude to these friends is immense. We’re also deeply grateful to attendees from our March 21st reading who stepped up to join the “early adopters” in supporting our mission and vision. New Art City exists because of these fine folks. We think they deserve a round of applause.

A story without an audience is a lonely proposition. Your presence is vital. Without you, we might as well talk to the walls. But with your help, we can create unique and exciting theatre. Above all, we hope to bring you new plays and musicals that promote unity, inspire curiosity and provide joy.

Thanks for joining us on this journey!

Kirby and Bev Ward

Artistic Directors

If you have contributed to NACT and don’t see your name listed above, please, let us know!

*Members of NACT Advisory Board

Today’s readings are presented in loving memory of Peggy Hickey. Taken from us much too soon, Peg was a dear friend and, from day one, a champion of this project.

New Art City Theatre
presents a


Staged Reading
of a new show


Based on the film
“His Girl Friday” by Charles Lederer

which was a film adaptation of the play
The Front Page by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur

Book adaptation by
Kirby Ward and Beverly Ward

Music and lyrics by
Beverly Ward

Alan Ariano, David Burnham, Daniel DeYoung, Googy Gress, Norman Large, Louis Lotorto, Josie Montana McCoy, Craig McEldowney, Jenna Lea Rosen, Kevin Symons, Clarke Thorell, Beverly Ward, Kelly Ward, Kirby Ward

Stage Manager
Juliet Johnson

Eric Bucklin

Music Direction by
Christopher Bratten

Directed by
Kirby Ward


ALAN ARIANO (Murphy, Cooley) Broadway: M. Butterfly, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Shogun, Miss Saigon (Original 1991 Cast for 10 years), The King and I (LCT-Revival), Flower Drum Song (Tour). Off Broadway: Title role in Felix Starro (Ma-Yi), Good Enemy (Audible Theater), Letters Of Suresh (2nd Stage), Greater Clements (LCT), Shanghai Moon (Greenwich House). LA Theater: The King and I (La Mirada), Extraordinary Chambers(Geffen Playhouse) and Mamma Mia as Sam (East West Players). Regionally includes The King and I all over the country as The King & The Kralahome. TV: “Law & Order: SVU” (recurring), “FBI: Most Wanted,” “The Path, Treme, Gotham, Leverage” and more. www.alanariano.com

DAVID BURNHAM (Pettibone) was last seen on Broadway in the musical, “Wicked”, playing Fiyero, a role that he originated in the workshops of the show. He is an original Broadway cast member of the musical The Light In The Piazza, performing both on the Tony Awards and the PBS telecast “Live From Lincoln Center.” He is the recipient of the Helen Hayes Award for his portrayal of Fabrizio in the national tour of Piazza… Other national tours include playing Joesph in Joseph And The Amazing… and Peter in Jesus Christ Superstar. He has numerous regional theater, film and television credits, and has recorded two solo albums. www.davidburnham.com

DANIEL DEYOUNG (McHugh, Mike McGee) is a Los Angeles native, father, and husband. Some select highlights include: Theatre: Return to the Forbidden Planet at Rubicon Theatre Company, The American Shakespeare Center, The Independent Shakespeare Company, The Guthrie Theater, Arkansas Shakespeare Theater, The Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Sonoma Valley Shakespeare, Theater for the New City NYC, The Playwrights Center, Theater of Note, The Matrix. TV/Film: “Winning Time” on HBO, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “The Broken Legacy,” “Falling,” “Breaking Point” and numerous web series. You can check him out this summer at The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival, or listen to his horror podcast, “Nightcape,” at www.nightscapepod.com.

GOOGY GRESS (Sheriff Hartwell, Duffy) has been lucky enough to be an actor for a long time. He’s married to the actress and playwright Clarinda Ross and they have three kids, Clara, Frank, and Gus. He has a website googygress.com and you can learn more about him there. Always happy to say yes to Kirby and Beverly.

NORMAN LARGE (The Mayor) has enjoyed an extremely varied career, from principal artist with The New York City Opera to ten LA Ovation award nominations. From symphony engagements under Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa to playing more different guest starring roles on “Star Trek” than anyone in all of the series combined. From voicing characters in numerous Disney animated features to being recorded live at Carnegie Hall. From numerous original Broadway casts including Les Miserables (Bishop, Javert, Thenardier) to playing scenes with Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.” From dancing as star of Cats to playing opposite Leslie Nielson in “Repossessed” to standing by for Michael Crawford in The Phantom of The Opera. From recurring as a judge on “NYPD Blue” to touring Europe as Tony in West Side Story.

LOUIS LOTORTO (Ernie, Gus) is an award-winning actor/teaching artist/fight choreographer/text and audition coach, and proud member of Actors’ Equity Association for 34 years. Louis’ regional theatre credits include the Royal National Theatre Tour of An Enemy of the People with Sir Ian McKellen at the Ahmanson Theatre, two seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, Or), The Shakespeare Theatre (D.C.), ACT in Seattle, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Ensemble Theatre Company, among others. Ventura audiences may remember his portrayals of Ariel in The Tempest, Fool in King Lear and Millet in Fuddy Meers at Rubicon Theatre Company. www.louislotorto.com

JOSIE MONTANA MCCOY (Earl Williams) is always happy to work with these folks! He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BA in Journalism. Fun fact: His Girl Friday was the first film studied in his ‘Journalism in Film’ course! National Tours: Ragtime the Musical, Christmas Carol, Magic Tree House. Theatre credits include: Big River at Rubicon Theatre Company, Newsies, Floyd Collins, Hairspray, Into the Woods, Life Could Be a Dream, Root Beer Bandits, Frozen Live at the Hyperion. This summer you can catch him in the next Hyperion show: Rogers: The Musical. Now, with the power of being a dad, he searches for puns in nearly everything he hears or sees.

CRIAG MCELDOWNEY (Roy Benzinger, Mrs. Baldwin) is an actor/musician based in Los Angeles. Previous Ventura County appearances include Return The The Forbidden Planet (Bosun) and Sweeney Todd (Beadle). Other SoCal appearances include Peter and The Starcatcher (Black Stache), Show Boat (Ravenal). TV: “Fameless”, “Law & Order: SVU”, and the musical season 9 finale of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” directed by Susan Stroman. Craig is a proud AEA member and is a graduate of the University of Michigan Department of Musical Theatre.

JENNA LEA ROSEN (Mollie Malloy) Recent credits: Anne of Green Gables-A New Musical (Prissy/Anne Cover – Goodspeed), Beauty and the Beast (Belle-Moonlight), Grease (Sandy-McCoy/Rigby), Emma (Harriet – ETC), Sound of Music (Liesel-McCoy/Rigby), and Little Woman (Jo – 54 Below). Jenna voices multiple characters for Disney on “Sofia the First,” “Elena of Avalor,” “Fancy Nancy,” “Alice’s Wonderland Bakery,” and “Hailey’s On It.” T.V.: “Call Me Kat,” “Will Trent.” Jenna was recently a soloist for Disney with the Evergreen Symphony in Taiwan, and in her own solo concert, “Songs from a Disney Princess” at the El Campinal Theater. Instagram @jennalearosen

KEVIN SYMONS (Bruce Baldwin) has appeared in numerous theatrical productions in Los Angeles, New York and regional theaters. Most recently in The King & I at La Mirada Theatre and Damn Yankees at Musical Theatre West. He won an Ovation Award for The Complete History of America (Abridged) at the Garry Marshall Theatre. On Television, he is perhaps best known for playing Councilman Bill Dexhart on NBC’s hit comedy “Parks & Recreation” for four seasons. He has been a Series Regular, Recurring, and Guest Star on numerous series. On Film, he most recently appeared opposite Brad Pitt in “Babylon.” Instagram: @thekevinsymons

CLARKE THORELL (Mike Endicott, Evangeline) Professional Actor, Singer, Musician, amateur Yogi, Meditator, Humanitarian, Seeker, multi-passionate multi-hyphenate, Clarke works / plays in Television, Film, Broadway, Off-Broadway, Concerts, Voiceover, session recording, and sound healing. Highlights include performing the role of Henry Higgins in the Broadway revival of My Fair Lady, originating the role of Corny Collins in the Broadway company of Hairspray, playing four year old British girl, Cathy, in Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine, and “Russ”, of fictional Australian toddler-pop band, The Woggels, on TVs “30 Rock”. On the Bucket List, Clarke dreams of becoming the next official voice of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck.

KELLY WARD (Wilson, Louie, Stage Directions) has spent nearly 50 years working across a broad spectrum of the entertainment industry. Early in his career, Ward co-starred in the movies “Grease,” Samuel Fuller’s The Big Red One,” and Luis Valdez’s “Zoot Suit.” He later served as a V.P. at Universal Studios and at Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer. In between, Ward wrote, story-edited, and/or produced hundreds of television episodes, and co-authored the feature films “Once Upon a Forest” and “All Dogs Go To Heaven 2.” He’s been awarded the Humanitas Prize for writing and a Daytime Emmy for directing. Currently, he’s a freelance writer/director for theatre, television and film.


CHRISTOPHER LLOYD BRATTEN (Music Director) is a graduate of the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and currently pursuing a masters from Berklee. He also has an AA degree in ASL Interpreting. He’s the co-creator and former music supervisor of For The Record, a nationally acclaimed theatrical concert series based on films from famous directors. He’s had the pleasure of working with countless performers from stage, studio, and screen: Adam Pascal, Evan Rachel Wood, Leslie Odom Jr., Megan Hilty, Billy Porter, Rumer Willis, Neil Patrick Harris, Courtney Act, Adam Lambert, Eden Espinosa, Shoshana Bean, and more. Currently, he heads the musical theatre department at Hussian College Los Angeles.

JULIET JOHNSON (Stage Manager) is a recent valedictorian graduate of Pepperdine University with a BA in Theatre Arts (Acting). This will be their first show post graduation! Juliet has previously been a stage manager for Pepperdine University’s Dance in Flight and the Rubicon Theatre’s summer educational production of Once On This Island Jr. Her acting credits include Leontes in The Winter’s Tale and Ellen in the premiere show of Americana: A Murder Ballad at Pepperdine University. Their previous directing/ choreography credits include The Clean House (Director), Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Assistant Director/ Movement Coordinator), and Dance in Flight (Choreographer) at Pepperdine University.


BEVERLY WARD (Book, Composer, Lyricist, Hildy Johnson) fell in love with the performing arts as a child while attending the acclaimed San Diego Junior Theatre. By the time she was eighteen she was working with Anne Miller and Mickey Rooney in the National Tour of Sugar Babies. She has collaborated with husband Kirby Ward on multiple directorial projects and together they have written three musicals. Over the last three decades, Bev has appeared on and Off-Broadway, in numerous National Tours, and has sung with renowned musicians and orchestras all across America. You’ll find her first EP, Bev’s Noble House Of Pancake, featuring her original music, on iTunes. By special request from the Gershwin Estate, she and husband Kirby were invited to guest star with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra where their singing and dancing stopped the show in front of 18,000 people. She has performed for British Royalty, as well as First Ladies Hilary Clinton and Laura Bush. Bev is also a visual artist and has had several showings of her work in and around New England.

KIRBY WARD (Book, Director, Walter Burns) is an actor, writer, director and choreographer. Ventura audiences have enjoyed his work behind the scenes as director and choreographer for She Loves Me, Return to the Forbidden Planet and Big River at Rubicon Theatre. Broadway audiences know his work in Hal Prince’s Show Boat, Woman of the Year and Never Gonna Dance. He received an Olivier Award nomination for his portrayal of Bobby Child in London’s West End premier of Crazy For You. He’s appeared onstage with Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller in Sugar Babies, traded tap steps with Harold Nicholaus in My One and Only and toured the world with Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. His film work includes Bette Midler’s For The Boys and Blake Edwards’ S.O.B.