February at Stories on Stage: Elena Mauli Shapiro and Tigh Rickman: readers Eric Baldwin and Cynthia Speakman

We’re very excited to bring  Elena Mauli ShapiroElena Mauli Shapiro back to Stories on Stage Sacramento. Elena’s a Bay area writer whose first novel, 13 Rue Therese, was praised as a “sensual treat” by USA Today, and a London Times reviewer said of her “…Mauli Shapiro writes not so much like an angel as an imp: hot, jabbing and naughty, with a tight grip on the senses….” Her second novel, In The Red, was highlighted in “A Year of Reading” in The Millions as “…spectacular…a dark story about a bright young woman’s descent into a criminal underworld, realism interlaced with fairy tales…. an expert meditation on money, morality, and belonging.” From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “…Shapiro’s deft leaps forward in time and frequent use of eerie Romanian folks tales help make this dark story a multilayered literary treat.”

Elena was born in Paris and moved to the US at thirteen.  She amassed several degrees in literature and writing at Stanford, Mills College, and UC Davis.  Both of her novels were published Little, Brown:  13 rue Thérèse,  in 2013, and  In the Red,  in 2014.  Her short fiction has appeared in journals such as Zyzzyva, Five Chapters, and Farallon Review. She lives in the Bay Area with her scientist husband and two elderly half-Siamese cats who spend all day following sunbeams around the house. There’s more about Elena, her life,  and her work on her website http://elenamaulishapiro.com/

Her short story”Vanity,” which appears in the current issue of Farallon Review, will be read by Sacramento actor Eric Baldwin.  A Stories on Stage favorite, Eric has worked locally, regional, nationally and internationally. He served as the Artistic Director of Quantum Theatre in Los Angeles from 2000-2004 and founded Sacramento’s Resurrection Theatre. Favorite roles include Henry V, Macbeth, Biff in Death of a Salesman, Prospero in The Tempest, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Pale in Burn This and Barry Champlain in Talk Radio.

We’re also pleased to introduce emerging writer Tigh Rickman. He’s a native Sacramentan and a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA at the University of Southern Maine. His writing has appeared in The Bradford ReView, The Conium Review, The Farallon Review, Celebrities in Disgrace and The Salty Beatnik. He lives with his girlfriend Kelly in Oak Park where they tend to a pair of spoiled rotten chickens, and he is currently restoring a 1950s Airstream travel trailer. In his spare time he frequents junk shops, looking for old objects and the stories they tell.

Tigh’s short story eViews.com will be read by Cynthia Mitchell Speakman, another Stories on Stage favorite. Cynthia has been performing with the spoken word group StoryVoices, and teaching children’s theatre for over 10 years. She’s appeared in plays ranging from The Glass Menagerie and Death of a Salesman to Harvey and Alice in Wonderland as the Queen of Hearts. She recently completed work in an independent film, In God We Trust, to be released in March. You may occasionally hear her in radio commercials or see her downtown giving a Segway tour or Hysterical Walk in Old Sac.

Stories on Stage Sacramento

at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 1719 25th Street, (25th and R Arts Complex,) Sacramento

Friday, February 27

Doors open at 7PM: readings begin at 7:30

$5 donation suggested

Copies of 13 Rue Therese,  In the Red, and Farallon Review will be for sale

 

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Presenting Janis Stevens and James Wheatley, readers for our season opener with Tobias Wolff

For our opening event – Tobias Wolff, January 30 – we are thrilled to announce a dream team of readers for two of Wolff’s best-known short stories.

Janis Stevens will read “In The Garden of the North American Martyrs.”

Janis is an inJanis Stevensternationally acclaimed actress and one of the leading lights of Sacramento theatre.  Talented and accomplished as both an actor and director, she’s currently helming a production of Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine for Big Idea Theatre. She has appeared internationally in Vienna, Austria, in such shows as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, and Blithe Spirit.  Nationally she has appeared in numerous plays at the Theatre at Monmouth in Maine where she is a member of the Resident Company and at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. She is an Associate Artist with Capital Stage in Sacramento, where she has directed productions such as reasons to be pretty, Fool for Love, American Buffalo, How I Learned to Drive and the Capital Stage adaptation Hedda Gabler.  Recent roles include Katharine Hepburn in Kate at Sacramento Theatre Company and Maria Callas in Master Class at Capital Stage. Janis was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for “Outstanding Solo Performance” in Rick Foster’s Vivien at the American Theatre of Actors off-off-Broadway and received the Elly Award from the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance for Best Dramatic Actress for her performance in Becoming Julia Morgan and for Best Direction for Love, Isadora, both at California Stage.  A proud member of Actors Equity, she is also an Adjunct Professor of Theatre Arts at American River College.

James Wheatley will read “Bullet in the Brain”

James Wheatley

James Wheatley, actor, dancer, and musician  is Founder and Artistic Director of Celebration Arts.  He began the much-honored organization as a venue for dance in 1976 and expanded the organization to include choral performance and theatre in 1986.  For nearly three decades he has been the guiding spirit for this all-volunteer organization, which  mounts theatrical, musical, and dance productions and also provides training and performance opportunities for community residents. His original musical play for Celebration Arts, A New Song For Christmas, which he wrote, composed, choreographed and acted in, was presented last season to sold-out audiences. Among his many stage appearances, the most recent have been in Driving Miss Daisy at Chautauqua Playhouse, The Sunset Limited for Actors’ Theatre of Sacramento and The Train Driver and Jitney at Celebration Arts. He has won six Elly awards and a Chesley Award for his acting, an Elly for his original script Petra as well as an Elly for Lifetime Achievement.

His next project will be directing In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney, showing February 6 – March 14 at Celebration Arts.

 

Stories on Stage’s sixth season opening event will take place at Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30PM. A $10 donation is suggested.

(None of this is possible without our superb casting director, Peggi Wood. Thank you, thank you Peggi!)

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Inaugurating our sixth season…Tobias Wolff!

When we met last summer to plan Stories on Stage’s sixth season, I asked everyone to write down a dream list – writers we loved, writers we fantasized might accept an invitation to be our featured author. Writers – truth be told – we never expected to lure to Sacramento.  Tobias Wolff was on everyone’s list. I took a deep breath and e-mailed the invitation. I waited. I expected a polite rejection, but within days, I received Tobias Wolff’s gracious acceptance.

And so – as simply as that –  Stories on Stage is very pleased to announce that Tobias Wolff is the featured writer for the inaugural event of our sixth season.

tobias wolff 2

 

Presenting

An Evening with Tobias Wolff

The date: Friday, January 30, 7:30 PM

The location: Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento

The format: two of Wolff’s most powerful short stories – In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, and Bullet in the Brain will be read by two of Sacramento’s most prominent actors.

Suggested donation: $10

We’ll have more about this event and the other writers featured at Stories on Stage this coming year (some of the other writers on our dream list also accepted!) in future posts.

Mark your calendars for January 30: you won’t want to miss a chance to see, hear, and meet one of America’s foremost writers. 

 

 

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Happy Holidays from Stories on Stage

BookTree1-550x550Happy Holidays and Merry Bookmas from Stories on Stage

We’re taking a break this month, but if you’re looking for something to do with your December Final Friday, may we suggest a glass of wine, a lively fire, and a good book? Or, several good books – all from the wonderful writers who made 2014 such a great season. Here they are, in order:

  • January –  Marisa SilverMary Coin, Alone With You 
  • March –  Natalie Baszile, Queen Sugar
  • April  – Peter Orner, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, Love and Shame and Love
  • May  – Kate Milliken, If I’d Known You Were Coming and Joey Garcia, When Your Heart Breaks It’s Opening to Love
  • June  –  Tom Barbash, Stay Up With Me
  • July  –  Kirstin ChenSoy Sauce for Beginners
  • August  –  Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
  • September –  Michael Spurgeon, Let The Water Hold Me Down, and Anara Guard, Remedies for Hunger
  • October  –  Katie Crouch, Abroad
  • November  – Evan Morgan Williams, Thorn, and Valerie Fioravanti, Garbage Night at the Opera

Coming up soon: our 2015 season announcement! Watch this space….and mark all the Final Fridays of 2015 on your calendar as must-attend Stories on Stage events!

Many, many thanks to our sponsors and volunteers – The Sacramento Poetry Center, The Avid Reader, Pushkin’s Bakery, our casting director Peggi Wood, Tatiana Morfas, Ana Cotham, Tim Foley, Geoffrey Neill, Ruth Blank, Kevin McKenna, Corinne Litchfield, David Hagarty, Joey Garcia, and to Valerie Fioravanti, founder and guiding spirit.

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November at Stories on Stage: Evan Morgan Williams and Valerie Fioravanti

We’re celebrating the conclusion of our fifth successful season with our  annual

Sharat Chandra Fiction Prize event

 featuring this year’s winner

Evan Morgan Williams

also featuring

former Sharat Chandra Fiction Prize winner and Stories on Stage founder

Valerie Fioravanti

Readings by Jeff and Susan Webster and Gay Cooper

November 28, 2014

Sacramento Poetry Center

Doors open 7PM, readings begin at 7:30

$5 donation suggested

 

Evan Morgan Evan WilliamsWilliams’ collection of short stories, Thorn, is the 2013 winner of the Sharat Chandra Fiction Prize, awarded by BkMk Press (University of Missouri – Kansas City) and judged by Al Young. Williams earned his MFA at the University of Montana. He has published over forty stories in literary magazines including Witness, Kenyon Review, ZYZZYVA, Antioch Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Northwest Review. He lives with his family in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches in a public school. To read selections of his work and learn more about him, visit his blog, Stories and News http://bit.ly/storiesandnews

Valerie Fioravanti

Valerie Fioravanti is the author of Garbage Night at the Opera, winner of the 2011 Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. Her work has appeared in many literary magazines, including North American Review, Cimarron Review, and Hunger Mountain. Her fiction has received four Pushcart Prize nominations, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy. Valerie works privately as a writing teacher, editor, and mentor. “The Tough Guy Test” is taken from her recently completed second collection, Bridge & Tunnel. Her website is http://www.valeriefioravanti.com/

 

We are happy to welcome back Stories on Stage favorites Gay Cooper and Jeff Webster as this month’s readers. Jeff will be joined by his wife, Susan, in reading Evan Williams‘ short story “Ivory” from his prize-winning collection Thorn. Gay Cooper will read “The Tough Guy Test” from Valerie Fioravanti’s new collection, Bridge & Tunnel.

Jeff Webster

Sue WebsterThis is Jeff Webster’s ’s fourth appearance at Stories on Stage, and he is very pleased to be reading with his wife, Susan. Jeff had been active in the Sacramento theater scene for several years before he and Susan retired to the Tucson area in 2013. Fortunately, he has found a lively theater community in the desert. He recently played Paul in Ken Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffaloand Detective Sergeant Troughton in Ray Cooney’s  Run for Your Wife. Susan Webster is pleased to co-read “Ivory” with her husband Jeff. In college, she was cast in several plays, including the leading role of Beatrice in A View from the Bridge. More recently, she played multiple roles in a medical training video and Mary in the short film, A Love Remembered. Sue has been a hospice volunteer for 21 years, both in Sacramento and in Green Valley, Arizona.

Gay Cooper 2

Gay Cooper is thrilled to be returning to Stories on Stage. She is an actor who has worked with many theater companies in town, including Resurrection Theater, Big Idea Theater, Kolt Run Creations, and California Stage.  She has also worked in commercials and industrial films. Gay has had the pleasure of participating in previous Chandra Prize winner celebrations and is a Stories on Stage favorite, reading for both the Sacramento series as well as Davis.

We are looking for emerging writers! If you have a story you think would fit the Stories on Stage format (2500 – 4500 words, literary fiction, plenty of scene and dialogue) we’d love to hear from you. Send in pdf or word document to suestaats@comcast.net.

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October at Stories on Stage: Bestselling author Katie Crouch

A night of mystery and suspense

with Katie Crouch,  and a reading from her  new novel

Abroad

Also appearing

Sacramento writer Paul Mann

OCTOBER 24, 2014

Sacramento Poetry Center

Doors open 7PM, readings begin at 7:30

$5 donation suggested

Katie Crouch 2

Author of the bestselling novels Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs, Crouch’s latest novel, Abroad, is a mystery wound through and through with betrayal and thrilling secrets.  Based on the Amanda Knox incident, Abroad tells the story of a young Irish girl, Taz, who travels to Italy to study and is swept up in an ultimately fatal whirlwind. The novel was praised in the San Francisco Chronicle as a “psychological, grab-your-throat thriller,” holding the reader “in its ever-tightening grip, with a heady mix of history, burning secrets and exquisite language…’we were all alive, and we loved and hated and lived brilliant messy existences.  The air was thick with our wanting’ says Taz in the novel’s knockout last pages. Don’t forget me, these pages beg, and Crouch’s haunting, disturbing story makes sure that to do such a thing would be absolutely impossible.” Abroad  was selected for the New Republic, Elle, Newsday, and the Chicago Tribune Summer Reading Lists.

Ms. Crouch covered the Amanda Knox appeal for Slate magazine, and has also written for The Guardian, the New York Times, McSweeney’s, Tin House, and Salon. She writes a regular column on The Rumpus called “Missed.” A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Crouch is a MacDowell fellow and an alumna of Brown University and the Columbia University MFA program. She teaches at San Francisco State University and lives in Bolinas, California with the writer Peter Orner and their daughter Phoebe.  There’s more about her at http://katiecrouch.net/

Paul Mann 4Paul Mann’s colorful stories of mystery and mayhem are set in his native Florida. He lives in Sacramento with his lovely wife, energetic and beautiful daughter, and loyal canine. By day he works as an investigator representing death row inmates in their Habeas appeals in federal courts. His stories have appeared in The Farallon Review, Susurrus, Sunken Lines, CrimeSpree, The Saturnalian, and Sacramento News & Review, as well as Stories on Stage Sacramento and Davis. In the little spare time he has, he spends time with his family, works on his short story collection, enjoys bicycling and swimming, restoring old bikes, woodworking, and tinkering in his shop. He also firmly believes that one can never have too many bikes. More about Paul at http://www.paulmarshallmann.com

 

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September Authors and Actors at Stories on Stage

Michael Spurgeon

author of

Let The Water Hold Me Down

and

Anara Guard

author of

Remedies for Hunger

Stories on Stage at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 1719 25th St.

Friday, September 26 at 7:30 PM

Doors open at 7PM. $5 Donation suggested

Michael Spurgeoon1Our featured writer, Michael Spurgeon, is the author of Let The Water Hold Me Down, a novel of friendship, love, and betrayal set in the Mexican state of Chiapas during the 1994 Zapatista rebellion. Michael was living  in San Cristobal de Las Casas at the time of the uprising. He is currently a tenured professor of English at American River College, and his writing has appeared in regional and national journals, including The North American ReviewSonora ReviewThe Packinghouse Review, and many others. He is the author of two short collections of poems–Valente’s Delicate Wrist (Talent House Press, 1998) and Prosthetic Breath & Other Poems (3300 Press, 1995)–and his poetry has been anthologized in Burning the Little Candle (Ad Lumen Press, 2013) and Late Peaches: Poems by Sacramento Poets (SPC Press, 2013). He is co-founder and Board President of 916 Ink, a Sacramento area non-profit dedicated to promoting children’s literacy through creative writing. Let The Water Hold Me Down (Ad Lumen Press 2013) is his first novel.

Tim GaffaneyAn excerpt from Michael’s novel will be read by Tim Gaffaney. Tim has performed on stage for nearly 40 years in musicals, comedies and dramas.   Local credits include Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing and the Waiter in She Loves Me (Davis Shakespeare Ensemble); La Fleche in Moliere’s The Miser and Wayne Wellacre in Inspecting Carole (Woodland Opera House); and Applegate in Damn Yankees (Davis Musical Theater Company). He formerly performed with the Foundry Players of Washington, DC, and helped launch the Capital City Players before returning to California.  He has volunteered as a news and fiction reader for the blind in Washington, DC and Sacramento. Tim also serves as casting director for our sister series, Stories on Stage Davis.

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Our emerging writer, Anara Guard, grew up in Chicago where her first job was tending the corner newsstand for a penny a minute while Carl the Newspaper Man ate his lunch. She later worked in a thrift shop, pharmacy, check clearinghouse, food co-op, community radio station, small town library, as a maid in a resort on the shores of Lake Michigan, and a women’s self-defense teacher. She studied writing at the Urban Gateways Young Writers Workshop of Chicago with Kathleen Agena, St. Joseph’s College with Stu Dybek, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference with Robert Cohen and Alix Ohlin. She graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Boston. Remedies for Hunger is her second collection of stories; in 2010, Back Pages Publishing issued The Sound of One Body. Her poetry has been published in Convergence and Late Peaches, an anthology of Sacramento poets.

Kristine DavidReading Anara’s story Zhee Zhou will be Kristine David.  An actor and musician, Kristine has been seen on many Sacramento stages including: B Street Theatre (Provenance, Bob), Capital Stage (Mauritius, Much Ado About Nothing), Sacramento Theater Company (Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet) & Big Idea Theatre (Inventing Van Gogh, Complete Female Stage Beauty.)

 

Copies of both books will be for sale at the event, thanks to

The Avid Reader

avid reader logo

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