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Coming in April for the first time at Stories on Stage – Science Fiction!

Kim Stanley RobinsonNEW 2- Credit Sean CurtinStories on Stage Sacramento is excited to present

a modern master of science fiction

Kim Stanley Robinson

Friday, April 29, 2016 at Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30. A $10 donation is suggested.

Called “one of the greatest living science fiction writers” by Tim Kreider of The New Yorker, Davis resident Kim Stanley Robinson has won just about every imaginable award given in his genre—the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the World Fantasy Award. In May, he’ll receive the prestigious Robert A. Heinlein Award, bestowed for “outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space.” This award recognizes an author’s body of work, which in Robinson’s case totals 19 novels, including his groundbreaking Mars trilogy, and over 40 short stories. Many of his novels and stories have ecological, cultural and political themes and often feature scientists as heroes. This willingness to tackle controversial political issues has earned him praise, again from The New Yorker’s Tim Kreider, as “one of the most important political writers working in America today,” and his work was labeled by the Atlantic as “the gold-standard of realistic, and highly literary, science-fiction writing.”

His recently published short story “Oral Argument” will be read by Sacramento actor and Stories on Stage Sacramento favorite Blair Leatherwood.

Also appearing is emerging writer Andy Stewart, whose science fiction stories have appeared in Big Bridge, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and ZYZZYVA. He is a contributing reviewer for RAIN TAXI and The Review of Contemporary Fiction.A native Texan,
he graduated with an MFA is Creative Writing from San Diego State University and now lives and writes in Davis, California.

His short story Typhoid Jack will be read by Sacramento voice actor and producer Paul Kinney

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Pulitzer-Prize Winning author Adam Johnson coming to Stories on Stage Sacramento, September 25, at Verge Center for the Arts

Adam JOhnson 2Two years ago, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed novel set in North Korea, The Orphan Master’s Son.  Now, with his new collection of short stories, Fortune Smiles, Adam Johnson solidifies his reputation as one of this country’s most provocative, powerful, and original writers. Subtle, surreal, darkly comic, both hilarious and heartbreaking, the six stories in Fortune Smiles showcase Johnson’s range  with unique examinations of love and loss, natural disasters, technology, and how the political shapes the personal. The collection, published August 18, has won universal acclaim: it was a New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice,” and earned raves from (among others)  The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. One one of the stories in the collection, “Nirvana,” won the prestigious Sunday Times short story prize.

In the story selected for reading at Stories on Stage, “Interesting Facts,” JohnsonAdam Johnson Fortune Smiles daringly mines his own life to create the tough and heartbreaking narrator, a woman whose illness makes her feel like a ghost in her own home. Adam Johnson is an associate professor of English at Stanford University, where he was a Stegner Fellow. Born in South Dakota and raised in Arizona, Johnson and his wife Stephanie live in San Francisco with their three
children.

Kelley Ogden 2Reading “Interesting Facts,” from Fortune Smiles is Sacramento actress Kelley Ogden. Kelley is an accomplished performer, director and producer, most recently seen in the Capital Stage production of Rapture, Blister, Burn. She’s a co-founder of the acclaimed KOLT Run Creations theatre company and has appeared there in various productions. Regional credits also include Twelfth Night at Sacramento Shakespeare Festival; Sherlock’s Last Case and Leaving Iowa with Main Street Theatre Works; and Put Out with Theater Galatea. Kelley earned her BFA in Performance from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago.
Now in its sixth season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction to a growing Sacramento audience. Beginning with the 200+ people who attended the January kickoff event featuring Tobias Wolff, with readings by Janis Stevens and James Wheatley, enthusiastic attendees have heard readings from the work of Elena Mauli Shapiro, Sharma Shields, Ann Packer, Karen Bender, Kathryn Ma, T. Geronimo Johnson, and Bonnie ZoBell, and now, Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson. Many local writers have had their fiction read here, and some local writers, such as Naomi Williams, the featured writer for October, have moved from “emerging” writer status to “featured” writer status with the publication of much-acclaimed debut novels. We’re proud of our 2015 season – and look forward to presenting more fine writing, well told, to Sacramento lovers of literature.

Stories on Stage Sacramento, Friday September 25 at Verge Center for the Arts, 625 Street, Sacramento. Doors open at 7:00PM, readings begin at 7:30. A $5 donation is suggested.

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Fireworks in July: T. Geronimo Johnson and a Staged Reading from his novel Welcome to Braggsville, in partnership with Celebration Arts and Verge Center for the Arts.

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T. Geronimo Johnson

SOMETIMES a writer’s words leap off the page, grab you by the hair, throw you down, wake you up, challenge your assumptions, shock you into seeing the world differently, and you know that the usual Stories on Stage format will not be enough to contain the author’s crazy, wonderful prose.  Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson is that kind of novel – a smart, funny, insightful, many-layered coming-of-age story about four college students who descend from Berkeley into a small town in the heart of the deep South, thinking they’ll show these Southerners a thing or two.

SO, on July 31, Stories on Stage will present a staged reading from Welcome to Braggsvile, in cooperation with Celebration Arts. We’ll feature five actors, James Wheatley, Kristine David, Doug Pieper, Tarig Elsiddig, and Sam Sims reading excerpts from key parts of the book, in an evening of electrifying, crackling  theatre you will not want to miss.

At Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento, July 31, 2015. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30. The performance is a benefit for Celebration Arts: a donation of $10 is suggested and more is appreciated!

About T. Geronimo Johnson

Born and raised in New Orleans, T. Geronimo Johnson received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his M.A. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from UC Berkeley. He has taught writing and held fellowships—including a Stegner Fellowship and an Iowa Arts Fellowship—at Arizona State University, the University of Iowa, UC Berkeley, Western Michigan University and Stanford. His first novel, Hold it ‘Til it Hurts, was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction Johnson is currently a visiting professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Berkeley, California.

About Welcome to Braggsville

A young, white, working-class Southerner named D’aron Davenport is smart enough to get a scholarship to Berkeley. Eventually, shell-shocked D’aron meets up with three other students hovering on the fringes: an earnest girl from Iowa named Candice who claims to be part Native American; an African-American guy named Charlie from inner-city Chicago; and Louis, a sassy Asian teen from San WELCOME TO BRAGGSVILLE coverFrancisco whose goal in life is to become, as he says, “the next Lenny Bruce Lee, kung fu comedian.”

In their sophomore year, this band of friends makes the fatal error of signing up together for a course called “American History X, Y, and Z: Alternative Perspectives.” One day in class, the topic of historical reenactments comes up and D’aron lets slip that his hometown of Braggsville stages a kind of glorious “Lost Cause” Civil War battle reenactment every year. Faster than you can say “performative intervention,” D’aron’s friends persuade him that it would be cool to visit Braggsville and stage a scene to helpfully remind its residents about the horrors of slavery. Louis, the Asian guy, will be in blackface, playing a slave; when he acts “uppity,” he’ll be whipped and then mock lynched by the other three students. What ensues, however, once D’aron and his idealistic friends reach Braggsville, is an out-of-control disaster.

About the actors:

james wheatley 2James Wheatley is Founder and Artistic Director of Celebration Arts. The mission of this all-volunteer organization is to provide training and performance opportunities for community residents in the areas of drama, dance and music.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 as well as 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.

Kristine David. Kristine David 2Kristine has been featured as an actor and musician throughout Northern California. She has appeared with B Street Theatre (Provenance, Bob), Capital Stage (Mauritius, Much Ado About Nothing), Sacramento Theater Company (Julius Caesar, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet) & Big Idea Theatre (Inventing Van Gogh, Complete Female Stage Beauty.)

Dougie PieperDoug Pieper. Highlights of Doug’s 22-year theatre career include an Elly nomination for his role in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, appearances in Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap, Sam Shepherd’s Buried Child, The Boys Next Door, The Little Dog Laughed, and as Timmy Boggs in The Last Time I Saw Timmy Boggs.   He’s been heard on-air as the COOL101.9  movie review critic, and appeared in many regional commercials. He recently graduated school as a Surgical Technologist, and lives in Natomas with his husband and their 4 dogs. He’s grateful to be back at Stories On Stage for a second adventure.

Tarig Elsiddig

An actor and a singer, Tarig Elsiddig has appeared at Celebration Arts in In The Red And Brown Water, A New Song For Christmas, Jitney, and The Bluest Eye. Born in Hayward California, he has been in love with acting for as long as he can remember.He’s thrilled to be appearing at Stories on Stage.

Sam Sims 2

Sam Sims  made his theatrical debut in James Wheatley’s A New Song For Christmas. He’s also an aspiring photographer studying at Sacramento City College, focusing on high fashion photography. He’s an artist  open to any form of art and is excited to be a part of this event.

A sampling of what critics say about Welcome to Braggsville:

“The most dazzling, most unsettling, most oh-my-God-listen-up novel you’ll read this year. T. Geronimo Johnson plays cultural criticism like it’s acid jazz. His shockingly funny story pricks every nerve of the American body politic. Welcome to Braggsville. It’s about time.” — The Washington Post

More about the Welcome to Braggsville, Geronimo Johnson, and critical acclaim at http://www.geronimo1.com/

More about Celebration Arts at http://www.celebrationarts.net/

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Stories on Stage in April: Ann Packer

WhAnn Packer 2at a year we’re having at Stories on Stage Sacramento!

In January, Tobias Wolff graced our season-opening event with his wisdom, humor, and masterful stories. And now, in April, we are thrilled and honored to bring you another leading American writer – Ann Packer.  She’s the award-winning author of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier, and now her new novel, The Children’s Crusade, is earning even higher accolades. In addition to starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist, The Children’s Crusade was named “Book of the Week” by People Magazine, “Pick of the Week” by Publisher’s Weekly, and an Amazon “Best Book of April 2015.”  Enthused Dan Cryer of the San Francisco Chronicle: “I’ve rarely read a novel so astute about the jumble of love and respect, rivalry and envy, empathy and scorn that makes up family dynamics…Packer is also a superb storyteller. ”

In addition to The Children’s Crusade, Ann Packer is the acclaimed author of two collections of short fiction, Swim Back to Me and Mendocino and Other Stories, and two bestselling novels, Songs Without Words and The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, which received the Kate Chopin Literary Award, among many other prizes and honors. She lives in San Carlos, CA.

Reading the first chapter from The Children’s Crusade (praised in the New York Times Sunday Book Review as “some of Packer’s best and most rapturous prose”) will be  Matthew Rives. Matt is well-known in Sacramento as an actor equally adept at comic and serious roles.  Most recently he appeared as “Henry Higgins” in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

Also appearing with Ann Packer is Lois Ann Abraham, author of the short story collection Circus Girl, published by Ad Lumen Press. Lois is a professor of English at American River College, focusing on literature and creative writing, both fiction & non-fiction. Her stories have appeared in Sojourner, Chico News & Review, Writing on the Edge, Inside English, Burning the Little Candle (Ad Lumen), Convergences, and elsewhere. She was a featured author at the 2015 Sacramento Public Library’s “Authors on the Move.”

Kellie Yvonne Raines will be reading the title story from Circus Girl. Kellie  is an Associate Artist with KOLT Run Creations where she has appeared in My Own Stranger, Vinegar Tom, Antigone, and Escape From Happiness.

Stories on Stage, with Ann Packer and Lois Ann Abraham, Friday, April 24, 2015 at the Verge Center for The Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento. Doors open at 7PM; readings begin at 7:30. $5 donation suggested.

Please note that we’ll be at Verge Center for the Arts this month. 

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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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August at Stories on Stage: Featured writers and actors

Our featured writer this month is

Anthony Marra

author of the widely acclaimed and PEN-shortlisted novel

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

appearing with Anthony is Sacramento writer

Julie Woodside

An excerpt from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena 

will be read by Ruby Sketchley

Julie Woodside’s short story The Stone Wall will be read by Tory Scroggins

THIS MONTH ONLY: STORIES ON STAGE WILL BE HELD AT

VERGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS

625 S Street, Sacramento

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

anthony-marra 2Anthony Marra’s debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, is a New York Times bestseller, on a dozen national “best ten” lists, the winner of the 2014 National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize,  on the shortlist for the 2014 PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize for debut novel, and was recently named Book of the Year by the Northern California Independent Booksellers. Anthony has also won a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Narrative Prize, the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction, and the inaugural 2014 Carla Furstenberg Cohen Fiction Award. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he now teaches as the Jones Lecturer in Fiction. He has lived and studied in Eastern Europe, and currently lives in Oakland, California. There’s more about Anthony at http://anthonymarra.net/

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Julie Woodside is a member of the Urban Hive, Coffee and Ink, and KMWriters writing groups. Her fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in various on-line publications, and her poetry has been published in Tule Review and Poets INC.  She is currently working on a collection of short stories and her first novel. When not writing, she enjoys her semi-retirement job with a local manufacturer of outrigger canoes, as well as cooking, reading, and volunteering at local theatres.

 

 

Ruby Sketchley

Ruby Sketchley is currently a company member at Big Idea Theatre, She has also been seen in plays at KOLT, Resurrection Theatre, MSTW, Closet Door Theatre, and ASQP, and has served on the board of the Capital Film Arts Alliance.  She’s been seen on many television and radio commercials, as well as in feature and short films. With her husband, she runs a film production company, whose most recent project is a documentary on home death care. A veteran of several appearances at Stories on Stage, Ruby particularly values the experience of reading to an audience:  “Having a story read to me takes me back to my childhood, and that wonderful freedom to paint pictures in my mind. I hope the audience finds that same magic as they listen to the stories being presented at Stories on Stage.”

 

Tory Scroggins

Tory Scroggins began his career a make-up artist in Los Angeles, where he perfected the look of such famous faces as Beyoncé,  Janet Jackson and Usher. He transitioned to acting in 2000, and has since performed in nearly two dozen stage plays, in addition to appearances on television and in film. Tory moved to Sacramento two years ago, and is currently majoring in theatre arts at Sacramento City College. He recently appeared there in the play Scapino.  Tory can be seen in August Wilson’s Jitney, opening September 5th at The Celebration Arts Theatre. Follow him on twitter @ToryScroggins1

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