Jerome by Ron Lagomarsino
The Road on Lankershim – THEATRE
5108 Lankershim Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(Street parking or paid lot parking at 5125 Lankershim Blvd)
Written and Directed by Ron Lagomarsino
JEROME- Danton Stone
FRANK- James Eckhouse
WILEY- James Handy
STAGE DIRECTIONS – Elizabeth Sampson
*Appears courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association
When their father dies unexpectedly Frank and Nick, estranged brothers, must reunite to care for their sibling Jerome who needs lifetime care. While the play chronicles the specific world of one household, hopefully it resonates for anyone who has felt the responsibility and burden of family. With humor and empathy JEROME tells a story without villains – one that asks the debt we owe our loved ones vs what we owe to ourselves.
No reservations or advance tickets. Admission is by donation ($15 suggested).
MEET OUR PLAYWRIGHT AND DIRECTOR
Jerome was a Finalist at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and was nominated for the L. Arnold Weissberger Award at Williamstown Theatre Festival. It has been developed at New York Stage & Film, Blank Theatre, Antaeus Theatre, Paciﬁc Resident Theatre, and EST/LA, where he is a member of the Playwrights Unit. His new play, Love the Sinner, was read in EST/LA’s Winterfest. He is currently adapting his screenplay “Haight & Stanyan” for television. With a working title “Golden Gate Park” the series follows the lives of several teenagers on the brink of adulthood in San Francisco in the tumultuous late 1960s.
As director Ron staged the world premieres of many plays, including works by Christopher Durang, Beth Henley, John Patrick Shanley, Jane Anderson, Joseph Dougherty, Lisa Loomer, and Alfred Uhry. For the premiere of Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy (Pulitzer Prize) he won the Outer Critics Circle Award and received Drama Desk and Helen Hayes nominations. On Broadway he directed the Stephen Flaherty/Lynn Ahrens/Joseph Dougherty musical My Favorite Year and Uhry’s Last Night of Ballyhoo (Tony, Best Play). His extensive TV credits span from “thirtysomething” and “My So-Called Life” to “Pretty Little Liars” and “Nashville.” His direction of David E. Kelley’s “Picket Fences” pilot garnered him the longform DGA Award, and for the pilot of “Homefront” he earned an Emmy nomination.
An Interview with Playwright Ron Lagomarsino
1: What is the name of your play?
2: What was your first job in the theatre?
My first paid job was as an actor at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival while an undergraduate at Santa Clara University. It was very glamorous because I had to take off spring semester during my junior year. Come to think of it, I had to pay them. For the privilege I guess. Hmm. But I did play all the great roles: The Haberdasher in SHREW, Another Drawer in HENRY IV, pt 2 (stage direction says “Enter Francis and another drawer”), and the Fifth Myrmidon (of five) in TROILUS & CRESSIDA. As a director my first job was as Assistant to the Director for YENTL THE YESHIVA BOY at the Chelsea Theater Center. I applied for the position while a graduate student in directing at NYU School of the Arts—my first month in New York actually. I was promoted to Assistant Director and was given the nonspeaking role of Fievl (they called me “Hawaii Fievl”). The production moved to Broadway but my role was cut. I didn’t get paid for this job either. Hmm. I have yet to be paid as a playwright. What up??
3: Do you ever model characters after real life people?
Sometimes I do, yes. Intentionally or not. As a leaping off point. Then the character spins out and evolves from there. Sometimes characters are composites of different people I know. Even the ones whom I insist are wholly original mysterious connections with people in my life. I find all the characters in myself —some way, somehow. That’s essential.
4: As an artist, what subjects tend to draw your interest?
I’m all over the map really. Family, friendship are rich areas to mine of course. An op-ed piece by Charles Blow spurred me to write my play LOVE THE SINNER. He described in depth the phenomenon of which groups voted for or against Prop 8 in 2008 (Same-sex marriage). This shocked me. Then it intrigued me. Then I started to jot down situations, permutations and ended up with two couples of wildly different belief systems, races, sexuality, and identity. My mandate was to avoid writing villains. Grey areas. Empathy. And a theme I seem to return to often: how unknowable we are to one another. Even the people closest to us have secrets that are sealed off to us. And it’s a two-way street.
5: Do you have other passions aside from playwriting?
Besides eating? Travel, music, reading, history, and gardening. My partner Michael and I are currently trying to create a barricade around our tomato plants that is critter-proof and not an eyesore. We have trapped four squirrels so far this summer. They were all relocated to Griffith Park.
6: Are you currently working on any new projects?
I am adapting a screenplay I wrote into a television pilot. After decades of directing in TV—and many pilots—this is my first attempt at the pilot form. It’s so difficult! Still I love the subject: Set in my native San Francisco during the 1967-68 senior year of several Catholic students on the brink of adulthood in one of the most tumultuous times in history.
7: Here’s a fun question! What is your favorite dessert?
Where to start. I’m really a dessert whore. Give me a Von’s white cake with white butter cream icing and colorful butter cream balloons and I am in heaven. My mom’s apple pie (which gets a shout-out in JEROME) and vanilla ice cream (also gets a lengthy tribute) are two of my faves. Lemon bars, date-nut bars, key lime pie and chocolate lava cake. Anything chocolate. Okay, I have to stop now.
8: Any acknowledgements or words of encouragement?
Truly there are so many people who have encouraged me or given me insightful notes for this play, I wouldn’t want to list them for fear of leaving someone out. My biggest champion is my partner Michael. He has always believed in me. When my own doubts or disappointments threaten to defeat me, he is always there to buck me up. Or bring me a white cake from Von’s. And one for himself.
9: Describe your play in 3 words!
Give. Love. Acceptance.