The Pasadena Playhouse Blog


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We are proud to support Pomona College’s upcoming production, Urinetown.

In a dystopian future, an unflinching water shortage caused by a 20-year drought has led to a government ban on private toilets and a proliferation of paid public toilets, owned and operated by a single megalomaniac company: the Urine Good Company. If the poor don’t obey the strict laws prohibiting free urination, they’ll be sent to the dreaded and mysterious Urinetown. A brilliant satire, Urinetown is a wickedly funny, fast-paced and intelligent comedic romp that empowers the working class and satirizes the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility and municipal politics – issues that we continuously have to face in our global society today.

Catch the play from Thursday, April 7 – Sunday, April 10.



1. Who have been some of your favorite characters to portray?

James Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Goldberg in Birthday Party come to mind. Terry in Casa Valentina is up there.

2. What have you learned so far from your role as Theodore/Terry in Casa Valentina?

The need we all have to be real in the world and to our deepest inner self at the same time. It’s usually one or the other.

3. You’ve guest starred in a lot of shows, including “The Drew Carey Show,” “Gilmore Girls,” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Which shows have been the most fun to guest star in?

“Mary Tyler Moore” I remember best – their second season. They were like a well-oiled Commedia del Arte troupe, except with great writers.

4. What do you think is distinctive about acting in theater compared to acting in television and film?

Physical energy is greater demanded in the theatre, so you can project the details of a character. The techno stuff takes care of the projection part in film & TV.

5. Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?

Maureen Stapleton, Jason Robards. This Casa Valentina company (including David Lee, our director) is way up there. A very happy company.

6. You recently had a recurring role on the Amazon hit, “Transparent.” How does Jeffrey Tambor’s character Maura differ from your character Terry?

“Transparent” is about the trans community, but Maura is transgender, not a transvestite like Terry. It’s a complicated subject; a (male) transvestite wants to assume a woman’s persona, but only for a time before returning to his masculine identity.

7. Who are some of your acting role models?

Maureen Stapleton, Jason Robards, Alfred Lunt, George C. Scott; Olivier, Gielgud, Ralph Richardson. Lots of others.

8. What is your favorite play?

King Lear.

9. What is your favorite musical?


10. Why should people see Casa Valentina?

Any play that can show us another and relatively unexplored version of humanity is worth seeing. It’s very, very funny and very touching.



raymond mcanally b&w2

1. Tell us about your experience at The Playhouse so far.

The Playhouse is so beautiful, artistic, welcoming, and alive. In the midst of all of this history, you have a staff busy making art happen in the present. So, The Playhouse has this living, breathing timelessness to it. That gives me great joy. And the coffee is good.

2. It says on your resume that you double majored in philosophy and theatre. Who is your favorite philosopher and why?

I wrote my dissertation on Kierkegaard’s Indirect Communication. For me, it’s still a perfect synthesis of what I explored studying both acting and philosophy. I’ve always been glad I double majored. I remember telling my parents the good news that, “If acting doesn’t work out, I always have philosophy as a back-up plan.”

3. We read that you have a one-man show called Size Matters that has fifteen characters. Can you tell us about this?

I wanted to be honest about the roller coaster ride of being a big guy in acting and in life. Since guys don’t usually talk about body issues, I decided I had to get really open and personal with the comedy. I play myself, my nephew, my wife, my father, and eleven other characters that might or might not be based on real people. I love the dialogue the show starts with. Once my schedule clears, I hope to bring it to Los Angeles for a West Coast Premiere.

4. What are some of your favorite things about your home state, Tennessee?

I’m a Tennessean seven generations back, so it hits me on a level that is hard to put into words. Throughout my life, “Tennessee” has called me in three ways: the land, loved ones, and music.  Growing up, every thing we did centered around all three. I go home to recharge every few months, and my visits always boil down to those three staples.

5. How did having a former Miss Tennessee as a parent help you prepare for your portrayal of Albert/Bessie?

I’m pretty sure Bessie would be my Mom’s kind of contestant; Mom performed one of Hamlet’s monologues for her talent. Bessie would no doubt be talking as well. Bessie isn’t winning any pageants, but she’s gotten some good tips from a Mom who cares.

6. What are some of the most useful skills you’ve learned from being an Eagle Scout?

Scouting taught me a great deal about problem-solving and team work using the resources at hand. My troop was filled with guys who are still my best friends to this day.  We’re like brothers… probably because we willfully put ourselves in danger on a constant basis growing up. I mean, we had to use that first aid training somehow.

7. It also says on your online resume that you’re a dialect coach. What would you say is the most challenging dialect to learn?

Dialects have a musicality and if you can’t find that you’re going to get a lot of “inconsistency” notes. But nothing is more nerve racking than testing out a dialect for a native speaker. I know I’m really hard on actors doing “southern accents.” I’m looking at you, Keanu!

8. What is your favorite play?

Off the top of my head, One Man, Two Guvnors. The audience should feel like it’s gone off the rails and ANYTHING could happen. It’s hysterical.

9. What is your favorite musical?

The one where I get to do a ton of physical comedy and lip sync all my songs. I think it’s called Closed Before Opening.

10. Why should people see Casa Valentina?

Because you think you know what this world is about, but I promise you, you don’t have a clue. You’ll laugh-out-loud and then you’ll say, “I HAD NO IDEA!” Come on out and push your boundaries a little!


To find out more about Raymond and his previous or upcoming work, you can check out his website or his Facebook page.

L.A. Times names CASA VALENTINA a Critics’ Choice!

Casa Valentina L.A. Times



Mahaffey, Valerie b&w photo1. What was your first Pasadena Playhouse production? 

My first production at Pasadena Playhouse was Carnal Knowledge by Jules Feiffer. I think that it had been done as a movie first and we were the first to do it as an actual play. I may be wrong but that’s how I remember it.

2. Can you tell us a little about the the role you play as “Rita” in Casa Valentina?

I am not very good at talking about a role that I’m currently playing. If I talk too much about it, it puts me in my head instead of my heart, which is where she lives. But I can tell you that I love playing Rita. I love her. I think she’s a good woman and I think she is trying her best to make life go smoothly for all the people around her that she adores, her friends and her husband.

3. We read that you were born in Sumatra, Indonesia. Do you have a childhood memory of growing up there, or have you been back to visit? 

Yes, I was born and raised in Indonesia until I was 11 years old. It is a beautiful country with the most gentle, wonderful people. I have been back since I was a child, but I am too sad to go back again because the lady who was a second mother to me has passed away and I can’t bear to be there without her. That may change someday; I’d love for my daughter to see my birth country.

4. Have you ever been star-struck, and can you share your experience?

I have been star-struck in an incapacitating way perhaps only twice. Once was when I was working with Carol Burnett playing her daughter. “Oh my gosh, this is Carol Burnett!” I got over it quickly, though. I did, however, practice throwing a drink in the face of a statue before I threw it into Carol’s face. She is so nice and- as the world knows- so talented. It was wonderful to be rehearsing this play in the small theater upstairs that is named in honor of her daughter, Carrie Hamilton. The other time I was star-struck was very recently. Clint Eastwood hired me off of the taped audition for his new movie about Sullenberger, who landed the plane on the Hudson. I first met him before my first shot in the movie on the actual Hudson River. I turned around, and there he was- smiling at me, holding out his hand to shake my hand. I just about froze in amazement. He is so iconic; I was flummoxed for a second. Then I smiled and got down to work with him.

5. Last week Christian Clemenson discussed how he feels about his Emmy award. Can you tell us how it feels to have an Emmy?

It does feel wonderful to have an Emmy. That cliche thing people say about being rewarded by your peers is quite true. For all those actors out there who decided that that piece of work is very good- it just makes you happy.

6. You have played a lot of characters over the years. Which characters have you found to be the most personally relatable? Which characters were the most challenging to portray?

I’ll give you surprisingly challenging first. I played Juliet twice when I was a young woman, and it was like I would have a good scene that night- and then it was so hard to get another scene right. It was like, “Aaaaaah, it was good last night…” but, it was so wonderful to play her.

I don’t know what has been fun, I usually have a pretty good time with anything I do, some of course more fun than others. And not necessarily “ha ha” fun, but, you know, rewarding.

And then personally relatable, I don’t know. I really don’t know. Because you always put yourself in it; you can only go by how you feel. I do remember my mother, at one point, being very upset, and saying, “Why do they always make you be a crazy person?” Because I get cast as a crazy person a lot. I said, “I don’t know, Mom. I guess that’s in me.”

7. Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?

One of my very best friends is the actor Tom Hulce. And we had the great good fortune of being cast together a lot. He was my second Romeo, and he did three other plays, and now he’s a producer On Broadway and Off Broadway. He hired me to do a play in New York a while ago. He is one of the best people on the planet.

Another best person on the planet is David Hyde Pierce. I love working with David.

I’m trying to think. My husband, Joseph Kell. I met him doing a play. He’s one of the most talented, great people. Of course, when you’re married to someone you find their flaws, but, he’s found mine as well.

8. What is your favorite play? 

I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know.

9. What is your favorite musical?

I don’t know either. One that springs to mind is not my favorite, but it’s my husband’s favorite, I think, and that was Jesus Christ Superstar. The rock musical is so…if you listen to that thing-beautiful!

10. Why should people see Casa Valentina

Because it’s so unusual. The subject matter was completely unknown to me before this. I don’t know that you’ll go away understanding anything more than when you came into the theatre, but you’ll get a glimpse into some wonderful people’s lives that you hadn’t considered before.

Also, the play is funnier than I realized, and also sadder than I realized. It’s got something for every end of the spectrum of emotion.


NV150x150-2Save $5 on Nonmember Tickets!
Use Code: PPH5*
Through March 20, 2016

Native Voices Presents: They Don’t Talk Back
By Frank Henry Kaash Katasse
Directed by Randy Reinholz

Native Voices presents the world premiere of Frank Henry Kaash Katasse’s They Don’t Talk Back in association with La Jolla Playhouse and Perseverance Theatre. In this new play, a troubled teen from a broken home receives the culture shock of a lifetime when he is sent to live and work with his Tlingit grandparents in a remote fishing village in Alaska. This funny, heartfelt exploration of the meaning of family and life emerges in a contemporary coming-of-age story.

Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 323.495.4354.

Native Voices at the Autry
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027

*Code PPH5 is valid for $5 off tickets to THEY DON’T TALK BACK. Offer expires March 20, 2016 and is good on all remaining performances. Discount is available on Nonmember tickets. Offer not valid on previous purchases and cannot be combined with any other offer. All tickets are subject to availability.


MenopauseArticle“I can relate to the Cymbalta commercials,” Sandra Tsing Loh told ABC News. “The woman is staring out the window blinking because the light is too bright. She looks like she could put a gun to her head in a tedious walk through the park. She can’t get out of bed and enjoy, ‘the simple daily pleasures.’”

In a recent interview with ABC News concerning her memoir titled, “The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones,” which the upcoming show is based on, Loh discusses menopause, the inspiration behind writing her book, and her elderly Chinese immigrant father.

To read the interview, click here.

For tickets and more information, click here.

Luminario Ballet Presents: LedZAerial 10th Anniversary, 2006 – 2016

Performance mag ad copy

Ballet and aerial to the music of Led Zeppelin
General: $25

VIP Booth Seating: $40

Special Guest Star performer and choreographer Dreya Weber!

Special Guest Musical Director Dr. A Phoenix Delgado will conduct a classical quintet playing Led Zeppelin.
Luminario Ballet will perform several of your favorite Led Zeppelin songs to the original tracks, and also Kashmir, recorded by LedZAerial musicians in 2006* *Robin Finck, Ana Lenchantin, Paz Lenchantin, Martin St Pierre, Tim Alexander and Jeffrey Brown*

LedZAerial choreography by: Judith FLEX Helle, Bianca Sapetto, Dreya Weber, Russ Stark

Located at Faisdodo, 5253 West Adams Bl, Los Angeles, CA 90016.

General: $25     VIP booth seating $40

Purchase tickets on our website:

Special 3 course Prix Fixe dinner at Faisdodo Cafe Club 5257 West Adams Blvd.  7-8 pm before the show. $25 per person. Call 323-931-4636 for reservation.



This week’s Ambassador Spotlight is Lenore Bond Almanzar.

Driving by the Pasadena Playhouse after it was boarded up in 1969, Lenore Almanzar told herself, “If it ever reopens, I will do my best to see that it stays that way.” In 1979, she responded to a small notice in the paper requesting assistance with the reopening of the Playhouse. That was the beginning of the Friends and Lenore’s 37 years of volunteer service as Friend, President of the Friends, and Ambassador, as well as Front of House Manager since the 1980’s.

Lenore graduated from The Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts in 1954. She married a fellow student and upon graduation set off on tour. She has many, many stories of her life in the theatre, including a New York play where all the checks bounced on New Years eve, and acting in The Star Creatures. Playhouse students played most of the roles, made costumes and built sets for this ‘50’s monster movie which was only topped that year by The Killer Tomatoes!

As Front of House Manager, Lenore continues to be the warm and reassuring presence that patrons greet when they first walk into the front lobby. Thank you, Lenore!


Christian Clemenson

Q: Tell us about your experience at The Playhouse so far.

A: I’ve enjoyed working at The Playhouse tremendously. I love the history of the place, the building itself is beautiful. The people are warm and friendly. And Pasadena is a wonderful place to spend my days and evenings. Everything has been great so far.


Q: How would you describe the differences between working/acting in theater, film, and television?

A: Television is a fast, instinctive process. You must show up ready to work and with some ideas. You have to be willing to dive in to the deep end with alacrity.

Theater is a slower and perhaps deeper process. There is time for exploration and discussion and experimentation.

They’re both collaborative arts but on the stage, the actor has to create the drama every night. With television, you do it once, and then an editor can piece it together as she likes and create something new out of your original work. In theater, I have more a sense of ‘ownership’ of and responsibility for my performance. And I like that.


Q: What is your favorite part about working in theater?

A: The camaraderie. The esprit de corp. And of course the magic that happens between live actors and an audience.


Q: We read that you starred in and directed local theater plays at Humboldt’s Castle Theatre. How has directing influenced the way you approach acting?

A: Oh, dear. I was a child when I did that back in my hometown. I’m definitely NOT a director — I’ve learned that much in all these years! I do my best NOT to think as a director when I act.


Q: What is it like to have an Emmy Award?

A: It’s an odd, wonderful thing. I don’t act to win awards, but knowing that your work moved your peers in some way is compelling and gratifying. Most of the time, I don’t think about it at all. But then I’ll catch sight of that big, shiny, gold-plated winged thing and remember, ‘oh, right. I won that.’ It still makes me smile.


Q: How do you transition between such diverse characters, like your current role on the hit “American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson” and your role as Charlotte/Isadore in Casa Valentina?

A: I’m a character actor. Going from a 1990’s conservative DA to a 1960’s transvestite organizer is a bit of a leap, but it is exactly that sort of leap that made me want to be an actor. I love playing people at the extreme edges. I love finding humanity in all of them.


Q: Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?

James Spader in “Boston Legal.” We’ve been friends since high school. It’s an amazingly rich experience to act in scenes with your best friend.


Q: What is your favorite play?

A: Three Sisters. I’ve been in it twice and would do it again in a heartbeat. It’s the play that made me realize acting can be a serious, fulfilling art.


Q: What is your favorite musical?

A Little Night Music. Romantic, cynical, and wise. And all that gorgeous music!


Q: Why should people see Casa Valentina?

A: It’s a fascinating play. And this production and cast are excellent. It reminds me most of Fierstein’s earlier plays like Torch Song. It’s funny but with an edge. And it delves deep. I promise that it will make you think in new ways about gender expression and conformity. And how being true to ourselves can have serious costs.

Click here for tickets and more information.