Works in Development 2017/2018

Spare Stage Announces New Program for Workshop Development in 2017/2018

Spare Stage is pleased to announce that we are supporting three local creators as they develop their plays with workshops and performance opportunities in 2017 and 2018.

The Killing Jar, by Jennifer Lynne Roberts

After a successful staged reading in January, Spare Stage will further develop Jennifer Robert’s THE KILLING JAR with 4-5 half-day rehearsal workshops. Cast members, director (Laylah Muran de Assereto), playwright and dramaturg (Amanda J. Lee) will be focusing on specific areas in order to fine tune the script. Spare Stage has plans to move the play to full production in the summer or fall of 2018.

About the Play:

1962. It’s the cusp of the feminist art movement, the midst of the Cold War and a new Philippines Independence Day. Against this complicated backdrop is the story of the emergence of a young, female artist. Ava Bartim, an American painter and curator, arrives in the Philippines on the hottest day of the year to convince the American expatriate artist, Jefford Huso, to exhibit at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. As an admirer of his work, she is also hoping for an apprenticeship during her time at his studio outside Manila. Ava struggles to understand herself as an artist and a woman while trying to negotiate her place in the world. She soon discovers that her desire for a mentor and Jefford’s addiction to alcohol and women, jeopardize the show and Ava’s career, which hinges on this rare opportunity in a male dominated field.

Artistic Director Laylah Muran de Assereto says this about why she chose the play: “I have been drawn to this play because the language is poetic and powerful, the characters are all fully developed with complex, tense relationships to each other and their inner lives and motivations. The playwright is taking the angst-ridden male-artist story and turning it on its head with a young female artist as the protagonist and a young Filipina scientist and Filipino activist as her counterparts. The backdrop of expatriate artists in a country on the verge of conflict is intriguing.”

The Right Note, by Jerome Joseph Gentes and Rice Majors

In 2018, Spare Stage will produce a workshop series of Concert Performances for the new musical THE RIGHT NOTE, books and lyrics by Jerome Joseph Gentes and music and lyrics by Rice Majors. Over three weeks, THE RIGHT NOTE will receive 6 staged, off-book concert performances, with time in between for the creative team to make revisions and present the updated work. Auditions will be held in Summer 2017.

About the Musical:

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is updated to our contemporary world, where the major characters are competing on a singing reality TV show called The Right Note. At the start of the play, eliminations are down to eight contestants. The upcoming live TV episode will feature “Dynamic Duets,” during which the remaining contestants believe they will be able to pick their singing partners. One contestant has gone missing, though, and his twin sister takes his place during the dress rehearsal to keep him from being eliminated by default.

Of THE RIGHT NOTE, Laylah says, “I had the pleasure of directing a twenty minute excerpt from this in the Musical Cafe’s 2016 Winter Showcase, and I fell in love with it. I loved the adaptation of Twelfth Night with a diverse cast and terrific music. What touched me most was the balance the whimsy inherent in this familiar mistaken identity plot, inclusionary romance, and a nod to current popular culture; all of which is supported by a well-crafted text and a beautiful musical score. I really wanted to give Jerome and Rice an opportunity to develop the work and get as much exposure as they can for future opportunities.”


Jerome Joseph Gentes is a content designer, writer, and producer. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Fourteen Hills, Rougarou, Verbatim and Nin, among other publications, and he was a 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry. His stage work includes HOLD YOUR PIECE, songs for SHOW ME YOURS, and books and lyrics for the musicals ARIA 51 and SCHRODINGER’S CHRISTMAS. He was on the board of the Playwrights’ Center of SF until 2017; there, he co-produced the final Sheherezade (2015), which won the TBA Award for Outstanding Anthology, and PCSF’s inaugural Playoffs (2016). Jerome is Executive Director for Play Cafe and a founder and producer for Musical Cafe.

Amanda J. Lee was born in England, she grew up on the East Coast and has been a West Coast transplant for 26 years—San Francisco is where her creative heart lives. She believes passionately in theatre being the crucible for many different voices and stories, and looks forward to sharing Spare Stage’s projects with audiences. She finds theatre to be the perfect intersection for her interests and skills—she is an actor (recently seen in the Playwrights Center 2016 Playoffs-Short Play Festival); a dramaturg (for Golden Thread Productions 2015 ReOrient Festival, and several one-person shows); a published photographer; a researcher, and recently, wrote her first play, Waiting for Van Gogh. Other theatrical activities include reading new, unproduced plays for several literary committees, including the Magic and The Playwrights Foundation. Amanda received her MA in Theatre from SF State, with a BA in English, and a minor in Women’s Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University, and she is a member of LMDA (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America).

Rice Majors is a composer as well as a conductor/music director who has worked with the Cornell Savoyards, Ithaca Opera, and a variety of community and school organizations in upstate New York. In addition to The Right Note, Rice is working on a Hitchcockian musical and a cantata of Robin Hood. Rice works as a librarian at Santa Clara University and has a B.A. in music from Cornell University and a M.L.S. from Emporia State University.

Laylah Muran de Assereto has been involved in theatre and writing creative fiction since childhood. She was a board member with the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco (PCSF) from 2005-2009 in various roles, and volunteered as a literary committee member until 2017. In 2009 Laylah joined Wily West Productions as their Executive Producer where she served until 2015, presenting several award winning, nominated, and critically acclaimed productions of new works. Playwriting credits include I SAW IT, a collaborative work with 8 contributing playwrights, produced by Wily West Productions in 2015. AS OF ONE, a short play for ReproRights! The Body Politic produced as a staged reading as part of 3Girls Theatre’s Women’s Work Festival in August 2016 and again at PianoFight in November 2016. ANONYMOUS ME, JAIN, and CASH FOR CAPES, three short pieces included in Wily West’s Superheroes which received a 2014 TBA Nomination for Outstanding Anthology. CENSORED IN TEHRAN, a short play included in the 2010 PCSF production Sheherezade 10. She is a member of the 2016/2017 PlayGround Writer’s Pool and is returning to SF Olympians Festival as a playwright in October at the Exit. Her directing credits include, PCSF’s PLAYOFFS 2016, ReproRights! The Body Politic (2016), SF Olympians Festival VII: The Servants night of 3 one-acts, and PCSF’s Sheherezade’s Last Tales (2015) which received the TBA Award for Outstanding Anthology. Laylah performed Celia in TALKING HEADS by Alan Bennett, directed by Stephen Drewes for Spare Stage Theatre in March 2016 and as Decima in Ex Nihilo’s live recorded radio play series TERRA INCOGNITA as in April, June, August, and October 2016.

Jennifer Lynne Roberts holds an MFA from California College of Arts. She’s co-founder/producer of Ex Nihilo Theater and ReproRights! Theater, and is a member of the writer’s pool for Playground. Her play, THE KILLING JAR, was a finalist for Dayton Playhouse’s FutureFest 2014. Her short plays include LUNCH HOUR and THE LAST DANCE OF THE SUGAR PLUM FAIRY Playground seasons 2106 and 2017; MARS ONE PROJECT and MEET CLAUDIA, Wily West, and PHOTO DYNAMIC THERAPY with PCSF and Wily West. 2014. MARS ONE PROJECT won San Francisco Theater Pub’s Excellence in Theater Award (STUEY) for Best Short Play and was part of the Navigators Theater Company’s Lift-Off New Play Series and Otherworld Theatre’s PARAGON Science Fiction and Fantasy Play Festival. Commissions include San Francisco Olympians Festival V and VI; All Terrain Theater’s Women in Solodarity REPRO RIGHTS! WOMEN@RISK in collaboration with 3Girls Theatre Company: COWBOY NOIR: TALL TALES OF THE UNNATURAL for Pacific Play Company, Seattle; and wass Head Writer for two of Wily West Productions summer shows, ZERO HOUR: THE MARS EXPERIMENT and I SAW IT. Currently, she’s developing a full-length time traveler play, ACCOMMODATIONS, through Quantum Dragon Theatre’s new play development program, The Forge.

For more information:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s