Chromolume Theatre’s name comes from the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical, Sunday in the Park with George, about an artist struggling to make art meaningful in 19th Century France. Chromolume Theatre was founded by two struggling artists in 2003 with its primary mission to present the American musical on an intimate level in an entertaining, intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying way. With growth and change, Chromolume Theatre’s mission has evolved with a new dedication to presenting Broadway’s forgotten gems and off-Broadway’s undiscovered treasured, and shining a light on productions that deserve a second look. Chromolume Theatre also provides opportunity for artists to shine who have not had such an opportunity in the past, as well as a dedication to diverse and multi-cultural casts and crews.

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Bird Lives!

By Willard Manus

august 15 – september 21, 2014
chromolume theatre

Bird Lives! is a solo play, with music, about the life and times of one of the giants of jazz music, who is also one of the founders of bebop jazz, Charlie Parker. Miles Davis once said, “You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker.”

bird lives!

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Montae Russell, Charlie Parker


Montae is a veteran television, theatre, and film actor is pleased to make his Chromolume Theatre debut, and is honored to be entrusted with the role of the great Charlie “Bird” Parker. He was seen on NBC’s ER for fifteen seasons as Paramedic Dwight Zadro, and won the SAG Award for Best Dramatic Ensemble four times. His film and cable credits include The Player’s Club, HBO’s Laurel Avenue, TNT’s Lily in Winter opposite Natalie Cole and Marla Gibbs; a three year stint on One Life to Live; and has made countless television episodic appearances — ShamelessDetroit 187Cold Case, to name a few. His extensive stage credits range from Broadway’s King Hedley IIA Few Good MenPrelude to a Kiss to Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Fences at the Kennedy Center, the NY Public Theatre’s East Texas Hotlinks, The Cleveland Playhouse’s African American production of The Glass Menagerie. Recent regional productions are 132 performances of the one man show Thurgood (Florida Studio Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theatre), The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry, (Los Angeles Theatre Center), Jitney (South Coast Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, NAACP Best Ensemble Award). He has performed in 9 of the 10 August Wilson plays, and will soon become the first actor to appear in all 10. He’s a University of Pittsburgh grad, and earned his MFA from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts. He’s a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, and is active in the South Los Angeles area with his non-profit organization Successful Youth Los Angeles. For more info, hit up: MontaeRussell.com. When praises go up, you know the rest…

Thomas Bell, Charlie Parker u/s


Since his first on-screen appearance on MTV’s Beauty and the Beach, Thomas Bell has appeared in over thirty films and plays, award winning national and international commercials, radio spots, print campaigns and television shows such as General HospitalThen There Was YouDays of our Livesi> to name a few. In the new digital media arena, he is currently a series regular on the series titled Those Guys and has performed sketch comedy pieces for Wikileaktv.com and Creeper films. Thomas has worked with award winning directors such as Mario Van Pebbles, Tommy Hicks, Denise Dowse and Kevin Smith across multiple forms of media and he is currently producing a new media series titled REBORN. Thomas has come a long way from Cinnaminson, New Jersey to share his love for acting with the world. He is cast most recently in the films LoveJackedWhere Fate Meets and Taken Away. Thomas is in his fifth season as Danny in Eastern Sky’s touring production of The Last Appeal. “I am truly blessed to be able to do this for a living.”

Tommy Hicks, Director


A veteran of the New York stage, Tommy is more known for his starring in film, most notably, Spike Lee’s groundbreaking feature, SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT!, Julie Dash’s Sundance Award winning, DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, and Sundance, LA Spirit, and MacArthur Genius award winning writer/director Charles Burnett’s feature film, THE GLASS SHIELD. Tommy is a former Walt Disney Studios Screenwriting Fellowship Award Winner, and has written commissioned screenplays for Robert Townsend’s Tinseltownsend Productions, and Cineville Films. Tommy has also lectured on Theater, Film, and Television at University campuses across the country for The American Program Bureau, and his company, Artist Resources Unlimited. Tommy dramaturged and directed the hit play, CHAMPION at the Beverly Hills Playhouse’s Skylight Theatre that was moved to New York City’s famed The New Federal Theatre for a critically acclaimed run. Most recently, Tommy directed Willard Manus’ ‘ROID RAGE at the Write Act Theatre in Hollywood, a workshop production of BIRD LIVES! at Leimert Park’s The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center and MIM & ROSE at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. Tommy is a member of the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit. Special thanks to Terri Hanauer, Mark Rydell and Don Bell.

Daniel Ingram, Scenic Design


Daniel has returned to the world of professional theatre after teaching high school drama for seven years. Daniel’s most recent designs include the highly successful Disassembly (Theatre of Note), In The Next Room (The Lounge Theater), Altar Boyz AND co-designing renovations for The Attic Theatre space itself. In addition to being Chromolume’s Technical Director, Daniel has worked as a scenic carpenter and/or running crew for Musical Theatre West, A Noise Within, and When You Wish theatre companies this season. Daniel would like to thank James Esposito for his insights and contributions to the Bird Lives! set, and Lauren Peters for taking the lead on the dance-room gentrification.

Amy Mazzaferro, Costume Design


Amy is very happy to be doing her first show with Chromolume Theatre. Amy studied costume design and construction at Southern Oregon University in Ashland Oregon. Past shows include The Picture of Dorian GreyDisney’s Beauty and the BeastCinderella, and Bye, Bye Birdie. Many thanks to her friends and family for their love and support. www.amymazzaferro.com.

Samantha Marie, Lighting Design


Samantha graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Dance Major, and Theater Arts Minor. Samantha grew up on the stage and began working in theater at 5 years old and has been a member as SAG since 1997. As a young actor she appeared in national commercials, TV shows, and lent her voice to animation. Her passion for performance grew in the Seattle area where she was on several dance companies including Westlake Performing Group, and Cruz Control. Samantha has danced in several music videos along with assisting choreographer Christina Woodard at the Edge in Hollywood and is an active member of the dance company Breed. As a stage manager, she has worked on The CrucibleThe ClubIn Love With Night, Theater and Dance Showcases, and Beats By Dre Conventions. She is currently the production manager of the dance department at Loyola Marymount University and the Assistant Theater Manager at Chromolume Theatre Company. She has recently choreographed Musical of Musicals, The Musical!I Love You You’re Perfect Now ChangeThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeePinkalicious, and Altar Boyz. She is thrilled about the opportunity to have worked on this wonderful show Bird Lives!

James Esposito, Sound Design


James is currently the V.P. of Operations at Chromolume Theatre. Scenic design credits include all three incarnations of Do Lord Remember Me and Love Songs – A Musical for Chromolume Theatre. Sound design credits include Do Lord Remember MeSecrets Every Smart Traveler Should KnowMerrily We Roll AlongCapsized FloatsamGreek TragedyMusical of Musicals, the MusicalAltar Boyz, and Strip, the latter of which he also directed. On stage, his credits include Company (Bobby), City of Angels (Munoz), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Thurio), Forever Plaid (Sparky), Fiddler on the Roof (Twice!), Cinderella and Chess just to name a few.

Lauren J. Peters, Stage Manager


Lauren J. Peters is enjoying the experience of working on such a special production. Originally a performer, Lauren started working in theater at the age of 3 and continues to work in various capacities both on stage and behind the scenes. Finding stage management her favorite place in the theater in high school, she has been working as a stage manager for 10 years around the Los Angeles area. She has worked on shows such as Forever Plaid and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in San Pedro at the Warner Grand Theatre for The RelevantStage Theater Company, at Stage52LA for Sustaining Sound Theatre Company’s production of Little Women, the Musical, The El Portal for the Kelrik Production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and here at Chromolume Theatre for the recent productions of The Musical of Musicals, the Musical and Altar Boyz. She is currently the Assistant Technical Director at Chromolume Theatre, and will be working on the upcoming production of Putting It Together in November and will be working on the upcoming production of 9 to 5 at Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center this Fall. Lauren feels very blessed to have the opportunity to be working in the field she is passionate about and feels she was born for. Thanks Mom & Ksells for all the support.

Willard Manus, Playwright


Willard Manus has had numerous plays produced in L.A., most recently Marilyn — My SecretBridge and Just a Song at Twilight. He is also a journalist and novelist whose best known work is Mott the Hoople, the novel from which the 70s British rock band took its name. Another recent play of his, Frank And Ava, won a Best Play Award at the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival and went on to an 8-month run at Three Clubs in Hollywood. Manus is a member of the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Mike Abramson, Marketing


Mike is an award winning producer and has successfully produced about a dozen shows in the Los Angeles area. Since 2011, Mike has served as an in-house Producer and Director of Marketing for DOMA Theatre Company where he has garnered critical acclaim for several musicals including Jekyll and Hyde (LA Weekly Critics Pick of the Week), Xanadu (LA Weekly GO), Avenue Q (LA Times Critics Choice, Ovation Recommended, and nominated for six 2013 Ovation Awards including Best Musical Intimate Theatre) and Dreamgirls (LA Times Critics Choice, Ovation Recommended, winner of three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards including Best Revival, nominated for five LA Weekly Theater Awards including Best Musical Production and winner of 11 Stage Scene LA Awards including Best Musical Production of the Year). Outside of DOMA, Mike has produced several successful plays and musicals including Is There Sex After Marriage? (Recommended, Top 10 – Stage Raw), The PokemusicalNocturneRentIts the Biz and Listen Can You Hear Me Now (Winner Best of Fringe) to name a few. Mike thanks James Esposito and the entire Chromolume Family for welcoming him with open arms.

Ken Werther, Publicity


Ken Werther Publicity has been a staple in the Los Angeles performing arts community since 1982. Currently: Broadway Under the StarsThe Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?Rise and Shine, or I Thought I Was WhiteAndronicus; LA Jewish Symphony 20th Anniversary; 2014 LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards; LALGBTC Cultural Arts Program; O Baby Mine (CD of kid’s songs and lullabies inspired by Shakespeare); Acting Dead (web series); Erich Bergen. www.KenWerther.com