The Pasadena Playhouse Blog



Q. Tell us about your journey becoming an accomplished actor.

A. I started acting when I was a teenager and ended up getting a BFA in Theater Performance from Baylor University. Although I did some acting work here and there throughout the years, I really didn’t start pursuing it wholeheartedly until I went to Rutgers for my MFA. My journey has been a long one with many twists and turns, but the fact that I’m here, performing at the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse, is proof that if your patient and persistent, opportunities will present themselves. Like most things in life, it’s all about timing.

Q. What is one thing that you are most excited about for this show?

A. It is a great honor to be telling the stories of these true American heroes. And to be doing so under the leadership of Ricardo Khan, who is one of the most generous and humble artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. This is truly the kind of project I’ve always dreamed of being a part of.

Q. Out of all the plays that you have been in, which one has been your favorite and why?

A. I had the privilege of playing John Proctor in The Crucible. In my mind it’s one of the best roles ever written. I’d love to play it again someday.

Q. What is the hardest role you’ve ever had to play, and why?

A. Jerry in Betrayal. I let myself get completely intimidated by role. I do hope I get a chance to play it again someday too as an opportunity to redeem myself. I actually think it’s a good role for me.

Q. What is some advise you would give to aspiring actors?

A. Be patient. It takes some people years to start booking work, sometimes even decades. If you’re not prepared to wait as long as it takes, I wouldn’t even bother. Often you here people say, “I’m gonna give it until I’m thirty, or 40 or whatever.” I think that’s the wrong attitude to have. Give it as long as it takes. If you’re patient and persistent, opportunities will present themselves. One more thing is to not be defensive but to treat everybody in the business with respect. The only regrets I have in my journey are when I failed to do either of those things.

Q. What are some things you like to do for fun?

A. I like to workout. I’m a member of the Reebok Crossfit LAB in West Hollywood, and I spend as much time there as my schedule will allow. Mostly, I love spending time with my beautiful girlfriend Jenny, and our sweet daughter Agnes.(Agnes is our Dog we rescued in far west Texas).

CLICK HERE for tickets and more information.


Q: Where were you born and raised?

A: I was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Q: Tell us about your journey becoming an accomplished actor?

A: I was originally a baseball player throughout high school and college. Then I fell into acting by mistake. I took an acting class and really had a blast, I began to audition for plays and was given many opportunities to act. This spurred me forward in my pursuits to be a professional actor. It carried me through undergrad and into a Master’s program. Since graduation I have worked primarily as an actor, traveling throughout the east coast and now onto the west coast.

Q: What are some things you like to do in your free time?

A: I love to cook, fish, sports, wiffle ball, movies and anything that involves a competitive edge.

Q: Is there a particular show that you could call your favorite (that you acted in)?

A: My favorite show hands down was Streetcar Named Desire, playing the role of Stanley.

Q: Name an actor who has inspired your life and tell us why.

A: I think it would be hard considering there are so many that have influenced my career and process. But I will narrow it down to Mark Rylance for his honesty, the energy he brings to the stage and his ability to work the Shakespearean text. The other would be Daniel Day-Lewis, for his talent, commitment to his characters and choice of projects he takes on.

CLICK HERE for tickets and more information.


Keri & Tom Vondra with their children Daniel and Nicole
Keri & Tom Vondra with their children Daniel and Nicole
This week’s Patron Spotlight features Pasadena Playhouse first-time attendee, Keri Vondra.

“My family and I saw Peter Pan And Tinker Bell – A Pirates Christmas and absolutely loved it! It was the first time we went to The Pasadena Playhouse and we were very impressed. Everyone working was so kind and made the experience more personal. The kids loved writing Santa a letter and the snow that fell on us as we left. The play was well done with such great talent. Our favorite part was the interaction with the audience and the modern day songs. Our family will definitely be going back again.”

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Q: This is your first time acting at The Pasadena Playhouse, how does it feel?

A: I feel very honored to make my Pasadena Playhouse debut. The theatre has a great reputation both on the east and west coast.

Q: Tell us about your journey becoming an accomplished actor?

A: I started taking acting classes when I was in 6th grade. At the time I had a chronic stutter, every other word. I took an “exploratory wheel” class, which basically was 9 weeks of art, theatre, computers and music. During the 9 weeks of theatre, I had to memorize and perform the “I Have A Dream” speech by Martin Luther King. After the presentation my teacher commented that I did not stutter once during the performance. She then encouraged me to audition for the theatre magnet program that was based in the middle school. She thought it would help me control the stuttering. She was right. I went on to attend a performing arts high school, gained a Bachelors of Fine Arts in theatre from the University of Evansville, and a Masters of Fine Arts (with a focus on Shakespeare) from the University of Delaware. I look back at all the shows I’ve done, awards I have won, and people I’ve gotten to meet and am very grateful for that day in 6th grade when my life took a change for the better.

Q: As an actor, what’s one question that you never get tired of hearing?

A: I never get tired of people asking me how I got started, because I feel like my story is one that proves that anything is possible.

Q: What is one thing that you are most excited about for this show?

A: I’m excited about the opportunity to introduce people to these wonderful human beings that have given their lives for the betterment of the world.

Q: Out of all the plays that you have been in, which one has been a favorite and why?

A: I got the opportunity to do Tarell McCraney’s trilogy “The Brother/Sister Plays” a few years ago. It has been one of my favorite experiences to date. Besides the fact that I was honored with a best actor award, the message, the company of actors, and playing 3 completely different characters were all reasons that made this experience wonderful. This experienced changed me as an actor because it demanded me to be a better actor.

CLICK HERE for tickets and more information.



Talkback Tuesdays at The Playhouse is a post-show series in which a panel of community experts and esteemed guests discuss and explore selected themes of the show with the audience.

February 9, 2016 following the 8:00 p.m. performance

Wars Abroad, Wars at Home, The War Inside: A Veterans Journey Back Home to Pasadena, in partnership with Pasadena City College.
Patriotism and Military Service are more than just words to Veterans, acutely so at times of war. For playwrights Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan the play Fly is theatre at its finest, a space to hear the stories and feel the emotions of those that cannot or will not speak. Join us on this Talkback Tuesday as Veterans from several different conflicts abroad come back home to Pasadena and share how the stories of Tuskegee are reflected in their own transitions back into our community and the world today.

Panelists: To include Pasadena City College Veterans Resource Center students and local Pasadena Veterans. Facilitated by: Victor Vazquez (Community Organizer)

February 16, 2016 following the 8:00 p.m. performance

Featuring speakers from USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

CLICK HERE for more details


Post-show at The Playhouse is our series of talks immediately following a Mainstage performance which feature members of the cast, crew and artistic team and break down the barrier between the audience and the artists. Participation of the artists is completely voluntary. We thank them for sharing their time, talents and providing our audience members with a glimpse into the theater-making process. This event is free to patrons who have purchased tickets to the performance preceding the talk-back.

Sunday, February 14, 2016 following the 2:00 p.m. performance.

Thursday, February 18, 2016 following the 8:00 p.m. performance, in partnership with our community partner Antelope Valley College.

Sunday, February 21, 2016 following the 7:00 p.m. performance, in partnership with our community partner Antelope Valley College.

CLICK HERE for more information.


Svetlana and Sasha Fisher
Svetlana and Sasha Fisher
This week’s Patron Spotlight features Pasadena Playhouse attendee, Svetlana Fisher.

“I am a frequent patron of The Playhouse, last one being Breaking Through, which I enjoyed just as much as the Peter Pan And Tinker Bell – A Pirates Christmas. I find the shows at The Playhouse to be very dynamic covering a wide range of genres, high quality production with extremely talented casts all of which makes it a wonderful theatrical experience. I’ll be sure to return for another great production in the near future.”

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Frank Ferrante brings his one-man ‘Evening With Groucho’ to the Pasadena Playhouse

Frank Ferrante describes himself as a new vaudevillian: Just like the performers of the past, he’s on the road every year, performing his one-man show, “An Evening With Groucho,” in which he channels the acerbically brilliant Groucho Marx.

Having played the most famous of the Marx Brothers for 30 years, Ferrante has developed his rituals.

“I love setting up my dressing room,” he said. “I lay everything out the same way.”

He does some light stretching. He does some vocalizing. He spends 2 1/2 to three hours on tech for the show, including the sound check and talking to the spotlight operator.

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Life story: Frank Ferrante brings Groucho Marx to Pasadena

Frank Ferrante in “An Evening with Groucho.” Courtesy of Frank Ferrante Productions 
Groucho performer Frank Ferrante out of makeup. Photo credit: LaRae Lobdell

An Evening With Groucho

When: 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave.

Tickets: $25-$60.

Information: 626-356-7529.

Imagine it’s 1934, and Groucho Marx is starring in his own one-man stage show.

That’s the premise of “An Evening With Groucho,” starring Frank Ferrante as the iconic comic.

The international traveling show, which showcases the 52-year-old Arcadia-based actor and director whom The New York Times called the “greatest living interpreter of Groucho Marx’s material,” comes to the Pasadena Playhouse for three performances Saturday and Sunday. With his…


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Laugh Your Way into the New Year at An Evening with Groucho

Tuesday, January 5, 2016 | 10:53 pm

Frank Ferrante in “An Evening with Groucho.” Photo Courtesy Frank Ferrante Productions

Frank Ferrante: Photo Credit: LaRae Lobdell

They say laughter is the best medicine so get ready for your daily dose – just in time for cold and flu season. Frank Ferrante brings Groucho back to life in this laugh your socks off funny show….


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