Meet the Cast and Director of PRELUDE TO A KISS

Meet the Cast and Director of PRELUDE TO A KISS

Allison Page (Rita) is excited to be back at Custom Made for the first time since Book of Liz in 2011. Allison is an actor/comedian/writer/proud native of the tundra of northern Minnesota. She is a member of San Francisco sketch comedy phenomenon Killing My Lobster and has performed with SF Sketchfest, The SF Improv Festival, Boxcar Theatre, SF Theater Pub, The SF Olympians Festival, SF Fringe Festival, SF Comedy College, The Paul Bunyan Playhouse and others. Her performances include BEEEEEAAR (The Bear), The Seven Year Itch (The Girl), Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), A Gap in Generations (Arlecchino), Barefoot in the Park (Corie), and a nearly three and a half year stint in Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding playing almost everyone. She has appeared numerous times with her sketch comedy duo Wegent & Page, her improv team Clean Sanchez and appeared as herself in the web series Everybody’s a Comedian. allison2
Charles Lewis III (Tom/Minister/Jamaican Waiter) is an actor, writer, and director in the San Francisco Bay Area theatre scene. He has previously written for San Francisco TheaterPub, Wily West Productions, and the San Francisco Olympians Festival. A prolific presence in front of the curtain, the companies for which he’s acted include such renowned local names as ACT, PianoFight, Impact, Cutting Ball, New Conservatory Theatre Centre, Playwrights Centre of San Francisco, Wily West, Atmos Theatre, No Nude Men, TheaterPub, and Custom Made (of which he is a member). He has made nearly as many appearances on film and television. He can also be found on-line, condensing his nonsensical thoughts on Twitter @SimonPatt. His more long-winded ramblings can be found on his blog, charles2
Dave Sikula (Dr. Boyle) Previous roles: 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). This performance is dedicated to Bill Meade. Love to Pidge dave2
Elena Ruggiero (Aunt Dorothy/Leah) is so grateful to be making her debut performance with Custom Made! Previous credits include: A Chorus Line (Sheila), Chicago (Kitty/Ensemble), Grease (Rizzo), Sweet Charity (Niki), Passion Play (Mary 2), Ghosts (Regina) and California Suite (Millie). She has performed at the Jean Shelton Actor’s Lab and won Best Actress in the SF Fringe Festival a few years back. In addition to performing, Elena has also taught dance and acting at elementary and high schools throughout the Bay Area and is currently on staff with Linda Bulgo’s Musical Productions, a children’s musical theatre company based in San Francisco. She also loves baking cupcakes with her sister! Elena would like to thank her family & friends (who she rarely gets to see) for their endless support. There’s no way I could do it without you elena2
Jan Carty Marsh (Mrs. Boyle) has a B.A. in theatre, has served internships with The San Francisco Mime Troupe and Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and is a SAG/AFTRA member and Equity Membership Candidate.  Although primarily an actor, she has helped get new works produced or read as an Associate Producer at Bindlestiff Studios and a Producing Director for the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco.  She was most recently seen in Theater Pub’s, TAMING OF THE SHREW and The Exit’s “Behind the Curtain” readings, and is now loving Marion’s family—she’s not teasing you jan2
Nick Trengove (Peter) has appeared in various plays throughout the SF Bay Area and is just tickled to be working with the Custom Made Theater Company again. His recent credits include Slugs and Kicks with Theatre Rhino and The Strindberg Chamber Plays with Cutting Ball Theatre. He would like to give special thanks to his family and friends for all the love and support, and to nearly everything that happened in the 90s — without these things, he would not be the man he is today.

Richard Wenzel (Old Man) is a Bay Area native and a company member of Custom Made.  He was most recently seen here as “Love” in Spalding Gray’s Stories Left to Tell, and Satan in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.  He feels especially lucky to be a part of this production as this has always been one of his favorite scripts and he is very happy to be doing it with such a lovely and talented group of people.  He has also worked with No Nude Men, Wily West, NCTC, Center Rep, Willows, 42nd St. Moon and Cutting Ball.  He can be seen onscreen as an FBI Agent in the indie film Strange Culture and heard singing as the Baker Bear in Gage Taylor’s children’s DVD, Bears at Work.  He has trained in voice with Daniel Levenstein and acting with Katherine Keats of Mark Monroe Studios in Los Angeles.

Will Leschber (Taylor) recently moved to the bay area and is happy to be making his Custom Made Theatre debut. Including the summer sojourn he spent in San Francisco circa 2010, his recent forays onto the stage include: The Atmos Theatre production of Twelfth Night, The SF Fringe Festival one act Weird Romance, and Theatre Pub’s rockin’ concert-style rendition of RENT. Additionally, he is overjoyed to have had the opportunity to direct a production of The Hobbit for Young Performers Theatre. He would like to thank his wonderful Ashley for the constant laughter and support, Stuart for the abundance of positivity he open the door to, and his parents for everything else


Stuart Bousel (Director) has previously directed M. Butterfly and The Merchant of Venice at Custom Made, and will be returning to direct The Crucible next year. A staple of the Bay Area theater scene for over ten years, his directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night and The Frogs for Theater in The Woods, and Measure For Measure and Taming of The Shrew for the San Francisco Theater Pub, of which he is also a Founding Artistic Director. He is a writer whose work has appeared three times in the Bay One Acts Festival (Housebroken, Speak Roughly, Brainkill), been produced by Wily West Productions (Juno en Victoria, A Late Lunch) and No Nude Men Productions (Speak To Me, Troijka, Edenites), who will be producing his play Age of Beauty at the Exit Theater in August. He is also the founder and Executive Director of the San Francisco Olympians Festival and has published one novel, Dry Country. Find out more about his work at


Revelatory Moments

Revelatory Moments

As our Paulinka (Megan Briggs) wrote, Sunday was our “designer run.”  This is when all the staff, observe a mid-rehearsal in our process so they can get a sense of the staging, tone and mood of the play.  Most of it will be subject to change and already, two days later, most of it has.  One of the reasons for this anticipated adjustment is that this is the first time we had any audience.  We were removing ourselves from the vacuum.   And the view outside the pressure chamber was unexpected, as it always is.

When we started rehearsing A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY I was coming out of three months’ worth of dramaturgical research, mostly reading various political and social histories of the rise and fall of Weimar Republic, and the first two years of the Third Reich.   I talked endlessly about the parallels of Weimar’s crumbling and unstable democracy and our own mistaken security that ours could never fall.  I brought up the Capitalist Putsch against Roosevelt.  We looked at Kushner’s own (self-admittedly immature) comparisons between Regan/Thatcher and Adolf Hitler.  We talked about what I thought was going to be our big question: how the hell did this happen, and who was responsible?  That’s a good play, right?

Kushner has other ideas.  While watching our Agnes (Xanadu Bruggers) and her friends sit around her dining room table, and make witty jokes and tell stories, I flashed back to college and remembered the same scene in a different cozy apartment.  I laughed, along with our staff, at a couple’s inability to relax enough to have sex, and beamed with joy when these good, good people think that the tides of Progress are going their way, which reminded me a little of the nights of Clinton’s and  Obama’s election.  Then Hitler is elected and the Reichstag burns, and we are in less familiar territory, though perhaps not if you take Fox News seriously.  God willing, we will never know the darkness of Germany, 1933, let alone the catastrophe to follow.

However, because Kushner’s characters are so recognizable to the progressives among us, we cannot help but be moved and then transplant ourselves into Agnes’ modern flat, with all the ghosts and revelations that are contained there.  A Bright Room Called Day is realistic in that its characters speak very intelligently about the political and social world they know, but they are so recognizable, so like our own friends and lovers, that we are instantly conveyed into this funny, sad and mystical world.

Plays are always about people, not ideas.  We already knew that of course, but the view of the forest (as opposed to the trees)   I got at the designer run is that we were too worried about what was outside the apartment.  This was the first part of our work: understanding the terror coming around the corner, and what caused it.  Check, we’ve got that down I think.  Now, going forward, it is all about making these people are recognizable as possible, and us, as an audience, falling in love with these crazy artists, revolutionaries, communists, and Agnes, who holds them all together.

Oh yeah, and there’s the Devil, too.  But that’s for another post.

Meet the Little Brother Cast and Crew

Meet the Little Brother Cast and Crew

Little Brother PostcardAdapted and Directed by Josh Costello

Cory Censoprano, Marissa Keltie, Daniel Petzold

Stage Manager – Maxx Kurzunski
Set Design – Sarah Phykitt
Costume Design – Miyuki Bierlein
Light Design – Krista Smith
Sound Design / Composition- Chris Houston
Videography – Pauline Luppert
More Videography – Darl Andrew Packard
Properties – Sarah Spero
Choreography – Daunielle Rasmussen
Asst. Director – Sarah Nagelvoort