Lee Hartgrave from BeyondChron gives NEXT TO NORMAL 4 glasses of campaign! Yum!

Lee Hartgrave from BeyondChron gives NEXT TO NORMAL 4 glasses of campaign! Yum!

Another great review, this time from Lee Hartgrave, and he predicts many awards coming for the show.  We hope so!  Warning: contains some spoilers.  Here’s a highlight:

“”The score is magical. …It sure as hell brings tears to your eyes. A mere musical phrase or dramatic moment brings out memories of all the times of our lives. This Cast Gives a performance of astonishing complexity and passionI expect that this show in San Francisco will also receive many nominations from the Critics Circle. ”


First review for NEXT TO NORMAL is a rave!

First review for NEXT TO NORMAL is a rave!

Our first review came in, hot off the virtual presses, from Charles Kruger and TheatreStorm.com  Charles has a lot of interesting things to say about the performances and the excellent production values, and says “This is a show that everyone can appreciate, but anybody who has direct experience in living with mental illness will find it especially moving.”

Read it all here: https://theatrestorm.com/2013/09/18/review-next-to-normal-at-custom-made-theatre-company/


“Sightlines” – a feast for the senses

“Sightlines” – a feast for the senses

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The Custom Made Theatre Company & the cell present
Darnell Williams and Tamara Scott in
By Mark Eisman
Directed by Leah S. Abrams

Original Score by Rona Siddiqui
Set Design:  Naomi Olson & The Seeing With Photography Collective
Additional Sound Design:  Maxx Kurzunski
Stage Manager:  Mackenzie Meeks

Nancy Manocherian, Founding Artistic Director, the cell & Kira Simring, Artistic Director, the cell / Brian Katz, Founding Artistic Director, Custom Made & Leah S. Abrams, Founding Executive Director, Custom Made

Nov. 23 – Dec. 15; Fri. & Sat. at 8:00 p.m.; Sun. at 2:00 p.m.
Photo Collective Portrait Session Demonstration following select Sunday performances.



Serendipity: Interview w/Darnell Williams & Nancy Manocherian


“Sightlines,” by Emmy Award nominee Mark Eisman, is an intimate two-person play about finding connection in an ever-blurring world.

Starring Daytime Emmy and NAACP Image Award winner Darnell Williams (All My Children’s Jesse Hubbard) as Davis, and Tamara Scott as Ruth, “Sightlines” takes us on a journey with two strangers who come together in the oddest of places, grasping in the dark for a human connection that will guide them out of the “rabbit hole.”  Out of the darkness and into the light. Out of the light and into the darkness, they smash their way “through the looking-glass” into a Lewis Carroll world and a love story defying conventional perceptions.

Walk into the cell and be transported into Eisman’s Wonderland with Naomi Olson‘s photographs of the blind community in Hawaii, featuring tactile imagery and sound clips. Round the corner and you’re in a dark room of work by the Seeing With Photography Collective, a local collective of sighted, visually-impaired, and blind photographers.  The Collective’s process creates luminous distortions, blurred or glowing forms resulting entirely from their photo technique, provoking the viewer or perceiver to ask, “What is seeing?  What does one choose to see?”

Leading you in an out of the rabbit hole is an original score by ASCAP Fnd/Max Dreyfus Scholarship recipient Rona Siddiqui, fresh off her NYC solo concert debut and featured songwriter stint in Bill Finn’s Cabaret at Barrington Stage and Lincoln Center’s “Broadway’s Future” concert series.

On select Sundays, the Collective will offer portrait sessions – watch the process! Portraits, as well as the photographs making up the set, will be on sale throughout the run of the production.

6th Annual Auction on the Stage – Sat Night!  Bid, win, and party!

6th Annual Auction on the Stage – Sat Night! Bid, win, and party!

Help us celebrate 15 years of Custom Made plays and musicals, bid on amazing one-of-a-kind items, and win raffles! Best yet, it is only $10 to come hang out with us, drink wine, and be entered for a chance to win amazing prizes!

Not in town, performing that night, just catching up on Mad Men? bid online!https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/AuctionHome.action?documentId=199079678

Featuring a Live music from Boarding Party-, a new pirate rock band, special guest performances, and a free-flowing wine bar and yummy homemade desserts, this is an awesome event you won’t want to miss.

Help support Custom Made’s award-winning theatre by bidding on items like vacation packages, theater and symphony tickets, and even a piano! Online bidding is now open at

And be sure to join us on Sat., July 20th for the live event. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. It’s only a $10 donation to get 10 raffle tickets. That’s 50% off a chance to win theater tickets all over town, a Custom Made subscription, and who knows what other goodies?


Meet the Cast, Director and very famous authors of THE BOOK OF LIZ!

Meet the Cast, Director and very famous authors of THE BOOK OF LIZ!

Jennie Brick (Liz) Jennie is having a (cheese)ball being back on the Custom Made stage after playing Luella earlier this year in Why Torture is Wrong, And The People Who Love Them. Sharing the stage with three such amazingly talented actors and working with Christopher Jenkins has been an absolute delight for her. Jennie recently returned to the stage after a 17 year hiatus. Her latest roles include Mama in ‘night, Mother, Vernadette in Dixie Swim Club, Mrs. Eynsford-Hill in Pygmalion, among others. You can see more of Jennie in We Players’ production of Macbeth at Fort Point in September and October, and then back at Custom Made in November and December playing Mrs. Darling and Smee in Peter and Wendy. By day Jennie is a voice-actor and a non-profit finance guru. Love and thanks to BB who makes her feel needed every day.  www.jenniebrick.com  JB-Headshot-no-name
Ashley Cowan (Sister Butterworth et al.) is tickled to be returning to the Custom Made stage after appearing in last year’s Studio Series production of “Release Point”. Originally from Avon, CT and a graduate of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, Ashley moved to San Francisco five years ago and has been enjoying burritos here ever since. A few of her favorite Bay Area credits include: almost all of the female (and occasional male) roles in “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding”, Viola in “Twelfth Night”, and Frieda in “Metamorphosize, Mon Amour”. She would love to extend a heartfelt thank you to her Will for providing endless laughs and frozen yogurt and her sister Kate for the positivity and supporting her crippling pet picture addiction. Lastly, many thanks to the cast and crew for this wonderful and fun opportunity to play and celebrate cheeseballs. bb
Christopher P. Kelly (Reverend Brightbee et al.) is thrilled to be back at Custom Made Theatre following his performance in Why Torture is Wrong… earlier this year.  Just off the West Coast Premiere of The Ape Woman, Christopher has had the great fortune of working with Dark Porch Theatre, The Darkroom, Middle School Poetry, Actor’s Ensemble of Berkeley, Moore Theatre, The Thunderbird Theater Company, City Lights of San Jose and No Nude Men Productions, among others.  Big thank yous to J, J, J, and the twins.  Contact Christopher at www.facebook.com/ckactor HS_photo
Dave Sikula (Reverend Tollhouse et al.) Previous roles: Dr. Marshall Boyle (Prelude to a Kiss), Max Tarasov (Superior Donuts) Edna Turnblad (Hairspray), Lawrence Jameson (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) “Ronald Reagan” (The Wedding Singer), the title roles in Uncle Vanya and Bullshot Crummond; Boris Trigorin (The Sea Gull), Hildy Johnson (The Front Page), The Devil (Don Juan in Hell), J. Carlyle Benson (Boy Meets Girl), John (Oleanna),  Mike Connor (The Philadelphia Story),Victor Prynne (Private Lives),  Charles J. Guiteau (Assassins), Moonface Martin (Anything Goes), Artie Shaughnessey (The House of Blue Leaves), Franklin D. Roosevelt (Annie), Pompey (Measure for Measure ), Oronte (The Misanthrope), Moon (The Real Inspector Hound), Avram (Fiddler on the Roof). Love to Pidge. Dave_Sikula-2816-Edit
Christopher Jenkins (Director)  is currently the Executive Producer of Ad Hoc Comedy, Inc. in New York, Jenkins made a splash on the Bay Area theatre scene in 2002 as producer of the award-winning San Francisco production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at th Victoria.  Hedwig ran six months and 152 performances, was nominated for six Bay Area Critics Circle awards and won the 2002 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.  He served nearly nine years as Company Manager at Berkeley Rep, and two as the Associate Artistic Director of Custom Made, where he directed Liz, Woody Allen’s God and Death and Shove.  Headshot
Amy Sedaris (Co-Playwright) Amy’s book, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People! (2010), includes a cover which can be easily made into a hat, as demonstrated, and worn, by David Letterman during her appearance on his Late Showin October 2010. Along with her brother David, Amy has co-authored several plays under the name “The Talent Family”: Stump the Host (1993), Stitches (1994), One Woman Shoe (1995), Incident at Cobblers Knob (1997) and The Little Frieda Mysteries. She also co-authored the play The Book of Liz with him. Her theater work includes a role as the stage manager in Paul Rudnick’s play The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.  amysedaris_190
David Sedaris (Co-Playwright).  Sedaris first gained prominence in 1994 with his book of stories and essays titled Barrel Fever. Sedaris became a frequent contributor when Ira Glass began a weekly hour-long PRI/Chicago Public Radio show, This American Life, in 1995. Sedaris began writing essays for Esquire and The New Yorker. In 1997, he published another collection of essays, Naked, which won the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Non-Fiction from Publishing Triangle in 1998. His next book, Me Talk Pretty One Day, was written mostly in France over seven months. In 2004, Sedaris published Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, which reached number 1 on The New York Times nonfiction baest seller list. Sedaris released Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, a collection of fables “detailing animals in strange adult situations, in 2008.  In 2013, Sedaris’ ninth book Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls was released.  contributor_davidsedarisphoto_p233_crop
Stefin Collins (u/sRev. Tollhouse et al.) is a CMTC company member. This is his 3rd time with Book of Liz. In 2008, he understudied all the male roles. In 2011, he house managed all 11 weeks of the extended/extended run. This, 3rd time, is his first to perform. He is excited be in this delightful little comedy. He’ll be appearing next in Picasso at the Lapin Agile in October, with Actors Ensemble of Berkeley. www.stefincollins.com stefin-collins