Michele Raper Rittenhouse's Angel on My Shoulder will receive its West Coast premiere July 14 at the Coast Playhouse in W. Hollywood, directed by Mark Leonard. The drama is the first of a three-play series produced by D'Art Productions. There's one preview, July 13, and the show will run through Aug. 20.
Angel was originally presented as a staged reading at the 1997 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center. The story concerns a soldier of fortune who returns to America to find that his 16-year-old daughter has become involved with gangs and drugs in New York City. He takes her out in the wilderness for his version of rehabilitation and recalls the love affair he had with her mother in a war-torn African nation.
The three-character cast includes Joe Inscoe, Sandra P. Grant and Anita Thomas. Cheriana Hansen will understudy the play's female roles and perform the role of the 16-year-old on July 27-30.
Rittenhouse said the inspiration for her play came to her one night while camping in the mountains. "It's about the fragility and vulnerability of humans and nature," she said. "It was originally conceived as a 10-minute piece, which was then expanded into a one-act play and then finally into a full-length play." Rittenhosue is presently managing director for the Rutgers University-New Jersey Institute of Technology Theatre Arts program in Newark, NJ. Her play, The Scenario, will be presented there in Oct. 2000.
Remaining productions on D'Art's slate include Nikki and Bobby, a drama by Mark Leonard under the direction of Ann L. Gibbs, to be presented in Sept. 2000, and Dylan's Ghost, a comedy by Mark Leonard, to be presented in Oct. 2000.Coast Playhouse is located at 8325 Santa Monica Blvd. For tickets and information call Tickets LA at (323) 655-8587. Half price tickets will be available for Thursday performances only. Visit website www.dartproductions.com
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent