Colony Theatre to Open Season with World Premiere of Family Planning

Jun 27, 2014
Family Planning

The Colony Theatre is thrilled to present the first production of its historic 40th Anniversary season, the World Premiere of FAMILY PLANNING by Michelle Kholos Brooks. The production stars Christina Pickles and Bruce Weitz, who between them have a combined total of 14 Emmy nominations, and is directed by Cameron Watson, who has been heralded as "one of our finest contemporary directors" by The Los Angeles Times, while The Wall Street Journal declared his work "the best in the country."

FAMILY PLANNING will preview on Wednesday, July 9; Thursday, July 10; and Friday, July 11 at 8:00pm. It will open on Saturday, July 12 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, August 10 at The Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third Street in Burbank. First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then your parents move in. Larry is a New Age Jewish Buddhist. Diane is a narcissistic Auntie Mame wannabe. They have been divorced since forever. When they lose their second spouses and most of their finances, both move in with their daughter and son-in-law. What could possibly go wrong? A captivating exploration of the comedy and the drama that ensue when relatives are packed into the same small space and actually forced to behave like a functional family.

The Colony has long been a vibrant center of L.A.'s theatre life. Its subscribers renew at an astounding rate of 90%, and in 2012 the theatre received nine Ovation Award nominations, including the coveted one for Best Season. From its beginnings in 1975 as a 99-seat Equity-waiver theatre in Silver Lake, the company became so successful artistically, and built such a large subscriber base, that in 2000 it was able to move into a 270-seat state-of-the-art theatre created for it by the City of Burbank. As such, it became one of only a handful of mid-sized professional theatres in the L.A. area that produce a year-round season of plays and musicals, and that employ actors under contract with Actors' Equity Association. MICHELLE KHOLOS BROOKS (Playwright) was most recently a Finalist for the 2014 Riva Shiner Comedy Award, Bloomington Playwrights Project, for Family Planning. Her play Kalamazoo, co-written with Kelly Younger, was the Winner of the 2014 Riva Shiner Comedy Award and will be produced Fall, 2014, at Bloomington Playwrights Project and Pacific Resident Theatre. Brooks' play, Chair, is currently a semi-finalist for the Firehouse Theatre's Festival of New American Plays. Other select works for the stage include: Two Parents, Two Weddings, Two Years, (Wings Theatre, New York City, Laurelgrove Theatre Company, Los Angeles); See How We Are (Laurelgrove Theatre Company); Love and Other Allergies (Vox Humana Theatre Ensemble); and Famous in Luxembourg (Rogue Machine, Around-the-Clock Short Play Festival), among others. Additional staged readings of various works have been produced at Snapshots, a benefit to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Foundation; Venue 9 Theatre, San Francisco; The Barrow Group, New York; and the Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, New York. Brooks earned a B.A. from Emerson College and an M.F.A. in Fiction from Otis College of Art and Design. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America and Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, CA. She currently lives in her hometown of Los Angeles with her husband and son. CAMERON WATSON (Director) recently directed the smash-hit revival of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls at The Antaeus Company. Cameron's memorable productions at The Colony Theatre include The Savannah Disputation, On Golden Pond, Grace & Glorie, Educating Rita and the legendary west coast premiere of Trying starring Alan Mandell and Rebecca Mozo, which broke box office records and swept the awards circuit that season. Cameron directed the critically-acclaimed, multi-racial production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons at The Matrix Theatre Company, I Never Sang For My Father at The New American Theatre, I Capture the Castle and A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Rolling With Laughter at The El Portal in Los Angeles, The Edinburgh Festival, and in London's West End. A regular guest artist at the USC School of Dramatic Art, Cameron directedOur Town as part of the MFA Repertory. He wrote and directed the Miramax feature film Our Very Own starring Allison Janney in an Independent Spirit Award-nominated performance. He created the upcoming web series Break A Hip starring Christina Pickles along with Allison Janney, Peri Gilpin, and Octavia Spencer. CHRISTINA PICKLES (Diane) was born into an English theatrical family and trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She had an extensive Broadway and Off-Broadway career before being cast in Saint Elsewhere, which launched her television career. She received five Emmy nominations for her role as Nurse Helen Rosenthal. Christina continued to appear in many television shows including Friends, for which she received an Emmy nomination as Ross and Monica's dysfunctional mother. Her recent television credits include Comedy Central'sChildren's Hospital, Growing Up Fisher, and Wild and Precious. Christina received Los Angeles Critics' Awards forCloud Nine, Undiscovered Country, and The Letters of Janet Flanner. She appeared in Antaeus' production ofTonight at Eight Thirty, The West Coast premiere of Dead Man's Cell Phone, and at The Colony Theatre she starred in On Golden Pond. Her films include Grace of My Heart, Legends of the Fall, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, andThe Wedding Singer. Christina's voiceover career includes numerous commercial campaigns and NPR recordings. She recently ventured into webseries including Robin Banks and the Bank Robbers and stars in the upcoming Break a Hip. BRUCE WEITZ (Larry) has appeared in over 70 Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatre productions. He has also appeared in 21 feature films and over 100 television shows. He has been nominated eight times for Emmys: one time for the mini-series Baby M, one time for the series Midnight Caller and six times for Hill Street Blues, winning the Emmy in 1984 for his portrayal of Mick Belker in that show. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a master's degree in theatre. DEE ANN NEWKIRK (Sidney) is doubly excited to be returning to The Colony, where she first appeared as multiple characters in Almost, Maine, as well as to once again be under the wonderful direction of Cameron Watson, who originally directed her as daughter Alice, opposite Philip Baker Hall, in Robert Anderson's I Never Sang For My Father at The New American Theatre. Dee Ann recently played Frankie in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Luneand Tekla in August Strindberg's The Creditors at Santa Barbara Ensemble. Other recent LA Theatre credits include Beth in Dinner With Friends at Theatre 40 and Carol in Michael O'Malley's Diverting Devotion. On Broadway, she understudied in the Roundabout Theatre's production of A Month in the Country with Helen Mirren, F. Murray Abraham, and Jennifer Garner, and has performed in numerous Off- and Off-Off-Broadway plays, including various roles at The Barrow Group. Regionally, she has appeared on various stages across the country including One Foot on the Floor (World Premiere, Denver Center Theatre Company), The Nerd (Colonial Theatre), and Machinal (Two Rivers Theatre Co.). JACK SUNDMACHER (Michael) is excited to be making his debut at The Colony Theatre. He most recently appeared in The Car Plays at the Radar LA Festival. Other LA theatre credits include: Paul in Loose Ends, Andrei in Three Sisters, Haemon in Antigone, all at the Odyssey Theatre. NY stage credits include: Malcolm in Macbeth (Pulse Theatre), Feste in Twelfth Night (Kraine Theatre), Treplev in The Seagull (The Studio Theatre), Dorilant in The Country Wife, and Borgheim in Little Eyolf (both at The Westside Repertory Theatre). Recently, he wrote, produced and acted in the short film, Captain, which was accepted in numerous festivals, receiving the Audience Award at the West Virginia Film Festival. He is a graduate of the William Esper Studio and The New Actors Workshop in New York City. FAMILY PLANNING features an award-winning design team. Scenic Design is by David Potts (Emmy Award - HBO's Deadwood). The Costume Design is by Kate Bergh (LA Stage Scene - Costume Designer of the Year, 2011 and 2012). The Lighting Design is by Jared A. Sayeg (Ovation nominations, Trying and Kiss Me, Kate). The Sound Design is by Steven Cahill (Ovation nominations, Defying Gravity, Driving Miss Daisy, and A Streetcar Named Desire). Props Design and Set Dressing is by Colony Theatre resident designer John McElveney. FAMILY PLANNING will open on Saturday, July 12 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, August 10. Performances for FAMILY PLANNING are Thursdays & Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 3:00pm & 8:00pm; and Sundays at 2:00pm. Ticket prices range from $20.00 - $49.00 (group discounts are available). FAMILY PLANNINGwill preview will preview on Wednesday, July 9; Thursday, July 10; and Friday, July 11 at 8:00pm at The Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third Street (at Cypress) adjacent to the Burbank Town Center Mall. Opening night performance with reception - all tickets $55.00. There are question-and-answer talkbacks after the performances on Friday, July 18 and Thursday, July 31. For tickets, call the Colony Theatre Box Office at 818/558-7000 ext. 15 or online at The Colony Theatre is located at 555 North Third Street, at the corner of Cypress, in the heart of Downtown Burbank. For further information, call (818) 558-7000. Fax number: (818) 558-7110. E-mail: Or visit our website at