Her dad was a gambler, her mother was a stripper, and they were both misfits on the Last Frontier.
In her memoir, Johnny's Girl, author Kim Rich recalls the world her parents inhabited when they came to Anchorage, Alaska back in 1958. "Everything was wide open and full of hope," Rich wrote. "Fifteen years later, [all that] changed because of...the Trans Alaska pipeline. Suddenly there was big money, and the people who inhabited the world of my parents had become much more lethal."
Rich has now adapted her 1993 biography into a play, directed by Anita Maynard-Losh at Douglas, AK's Perseverance Theatre. The show, which was made into opens May 15 for a run through May 31. [Previously, Johnny's Girl was also made into a 1995 television movie starring Treat Williams.]
For Rich, the play brings her story full circle, not only because her dad was murdered in 1973, but because twenty years ago she took a class at the University of Alaska Southeast that had her working with Perseverance on various projects.
For tickets and information on Johnny's Girl at Perseverance Theatre, 914 Third St., Douglas, call (907) 364-2421. *
In other Perseverance news, a Brown University graduate with a background in Czechoslovakian "guerilla" theatre, Peter DuBois, 28, has been named the artistic director of Alaska's Perseverance Theatre. He replaces Molly D. Smith, who leaves in June to head up Washington DC's Arena Stage.
Before receiving his MA in theatre history, DuBois spent three years in Prague to soak up "the post-revolutionary energy there." He formed the controversial Asylum theatre group and then rose to direct in commercial venues throughout Bohemia. Returning to the States, DuBois studied at Brown, where he met up with the professor -- and Pulitzer-winning dramatist -- Paula Vogel (How I Learned To Drive), who has a 15 year relationship with Perseverance.
Kate Bowns, chairman of the theatre's search committee, has said that 70 people applied for the artistic director slot. DuBois got the nod because, "he's a visionary artist, charismatic leader and creative problem-solver."
Says DuBois, who describes himself as "fiercely collaborative," "The prospect of working in Juneau fills me with the same renewed energy, fear and enthusiasm that moving to Prague did six years ago... I am attracted to the difficulty and challenge Alaska poses for a New Englander."
Producing director Joyce Parry Moore told Playbill On-Line (Apr. 27) that before DuBois reaches Alaska, he'll direct an Off-Off-Broadway show at NY's Castillo Cultural Center. It's Alva Rogers' adaptation of Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill's Seven Deadly Sins, set to open in early June.
Asked about the upcoming season at Perseverance, Moore said outgoing artistic director Smith had already laid the groundwork for some shows, and that a full schedule should be announced soon. "The theme this year will be transition and change," said Moore. "We'll revive one or two pieces mounted earlier in Perseverance's history, as well as some new plays. Also, it's likely we'll do Lisa Loomer's The Waiting Room, which had been in our play-reading festival."
For tickets and information on productions at the Perseverance Theatre, call (907) 364-2421.
-- By David Lefkowitz