The Victory Theatre presents Who's Your Daddy
No one expected Johnny O'Callaghan to ever become a father. But a documentary shoot in Africa becomes a nine-month adventure during which he finds a son... and discovers himself. The Victory Theater Center presents the world premiere of a comedic true story about a single man's struggle to adopt against all odds. Who's Your Daddy?, written and performed by Johnny O'Callaghan and directed by Tom Ormeny, opens at The Little Victory Theatre on November 11, with previews beginning November 4.
Six years after he adopted a three-year old orphan from Uganda, O'Callaghan is ready to talk about his sometimes hair-raising and-in hind-sight, at least-often hilarious odyssey.
"I went to Africa on a lark," he explains. "I was feeling sorry for myself because I'd just broken up from a relationship, and my acting career wasn't moving fast enough. I didn't realize how privileged I was - then I went to Uganda and it was a shock."
The last-minute invitation to accompany a friend on a documentary shoot took O'Callaghan to the House of Hope Orphanage in remote Kasese. In Uganda, he found himself in a country ravaged by poverty and AIDS, a dangerous place for a musungu ("whitey") during a time of political upheaval.
"I hadn't come to Africa to adopt - that was the farthest thing from my mind," he continues. "But when I saw Odin, there was an instant connection. I'm very spiritual and was doing a lot of meditating at the time, so I was open to the possibilities and acted on my impulse. I think that's also what carried me through the very tough challenges I had to navigate once I made my decision."
Born in Dublin and educated in Belfast, O'Callaghan (best known as "Niam" on SciFi Channel's Stargate Atlantis) relishes the idea of going back to his theater roots. "This play is about telling a story, which is where I started as an actor. I'm finding that everywhere I go, this experience seems to affect people. Maybe it taps into people's dreams, into their faith that you can achieve whatever you want if you're persistent. Or maybe," he laughs, "it's the fact that I'm not your typical 'perfect parent.'"
Tom Ormeny found himself profoundly touched when he heard an early reading of the play, and knew right away he wanted to direct it at the Victory. "It's such a unique story, and it's funny and it's heartfelt" he says. "It's not just about an adoption - it's the journey of a man's awakening as a human being, of coming into himself."
Set design for Who's Your Daddy is by Lucan Melkonian; lighting design is by Carol Doehring; sound design is by Rob Corn; graphic design is by Jennifer Logan; and the production stage manager is Michael Meleck. Who's Your Daddy? is produced by Victory Artistic Co-Director Maria Gobetti and Georganne Aldrich Heller.
Johnny O'Callaghan has performed in Ireland, Canada and the USA and is a citizen of all three. His New York theater credits include the sold-out hit Ladies and Gents, an Irish noir thriller performed in the Bethesda Fountain restrooms in New York's Central Park; the U.S. premiere of Run & Vodka, a one-man show by Conor Mcpherson that was subsequently filmed by HBO and NBC; Howie The Rookie by Mark O'Rowe directed by Emmy Award winner Nancy Malone at the Irish Arts Centre; and the recurring role of Stephen Dedalus in Bloomsday on Broadway. In Los Angeles, he starred in Martin McDonagh's The Lonesome West at the Odyssey Theatre, earning praise for his "sensitive performance" and labeled "a find" by the Los Angeles Times, and he performs regularly with California's Artists Radio Theatre. Other film and TV credits include Joyce Carol Oates' We Were The Mulvaney's, CBS' The Agency with Beau Bridges, the Independent hit Clutch, the CBS movie of the week Deep In My Heart with Anne Bancroft, Haven't We Met Before with Nicolette Sheridan, Marin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, and the mini series ZOS Zone of Separation. O'Callaghan has a Masters in Psychology with an emphasis in Healing, and is currently in private practice. An avid athlete, he recently participated in the Maui and Malibu Triathlons. He and his son, now a healthy, happy, soccer-playing 4th grader, live together in Los Angeles.
Tom Ormeny co-founded and built the Victory Theatre Center in 1979, where he's been Artistic Co-Director for 32 years. For the Victory, he has directed Back to Back for the Olympic Arts Festival, Venus In Orange, and The World's Largest Rodent among others, and produced such critically acclaimed world premieres as Ten Cent Night, Sex and Education and The Miss Firecracker Contest. He belongs to the Directors Guild of America and has directed for Disney where he also coached The New Mickey Mouse Club Show. Tom wrote and produced the play Life on the Line, which premiered at the Victory. As an actor, he appeared on the Victory stage in critically acclaimed productions such as Old Glory, My Old Friends, Broken Glass, On the Money, Haunted Wilderness, Escape from Happiness, Meet the Wilsons and Oleanna. Tom has also performed at International City Theatre, the Odyssey Theatre, and the Met Theatre, and has extensive television credits including shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Heartland and Boston Legal. Tom works actively in arts advocacy; he was instrumental in forming Los Angeles Municipal Promotions (LAMP), served eight terms as the president of the Los Angeles Theatre Alliance, and is President Emeritus of the Board of Governors of Theatre LA. Tom is the proud recipient of Theatre L.A.'s Ovation Award: "The James A.Doolittle Award for Leadership in Theatre."
Who's Your Daddy? opens for press on November 11 and runs Fridays @ 8 pm, Saturdays @ 8 pm, and Sundays @ 4 pm through December 18. Three preview performances take place on November 4, 5 and 6 on the same schedule. Tickets range from $24-$34. The Little Victory Theatre is located at 3326 W. Victory Blvd in Burbank, CA 91505. For information and to purchase tickets, call 818-841-5422 or go to www.thevictorytheatrecenter.org.