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Sheldon Epps

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OPINION
February 26, 2010 | Patt Morrison
The Pasadena Playhouse has had more close calls than Pearl White, more farewells (and miraculous recoveries) than Sarah Bernhardt. And here we go again. The theater, which began 93 years ago as a troupe of actors in the Crown City, switched off its stage lights again earlier this month. Its artistic director, Sheldon Epps, who has been there for more than a dozen years, pledges to resolve its finances once and for all -- $2 million would do the trick, he says -- and to open the doors of the exquisite and historic 1925 playhouse once more.
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ENTERTAINMENT
December 5, 2013 | By Deborah Vankin
The Pasadena Playhouse announced Thursday that Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) will star in the world premiere of “Above the Fold.” Written by former New York Times correspondent Bernard Weinraub, "Above the Fold" is set in a journalism world in transition, amid a shift from print to digital storytelling. Jane, the character to be played by Henson, is an African American newspaper reporter covering three white fraternity boys accused of raping an African American woman at a Southern university.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 24, 2013 | By Nardine Saad
Pasadena Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps is set to direct the world premiere of "Sleepless in Seattle -- The Musical," when the show opens at the theater in May. He replaces the previously announced Lonny Price. Jeff Arch, who wrote the original story and co-wrote the screenplay for the 1993 romantic comedy that starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, wrote the book for the musical. Ben Toth composed the music and Sam Forman wrote the lyrics. "I am pleased that a recent change in my own schedule allows me to take on the joy and excitement of directing this musical and working even more closely with Jeff, Ben and Sam," Epps said in a statement Thursday.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 25, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
One of Barack Obama's most heartfelt moments as president and the vitriol of online bigots contributed to director Sheldon Epps' decision to put a new twist on "12 Angry Men" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Using casting as a bullhorn, he's turned the mid-1950s chestnut about tense deliberations in a jury room into a forum on black-white relations. The Obama moment that inspired Epps, the playhouse's longtime artistic director, was the president's speech last July after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 6, 2011 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
Robin Givens is stirring on an antique divan, waking with a wicked hangover to several harsh realities. At least she's not alone. Sheldon Epps, who may be one of the calmest and most self-possessed men in show business, is sitting not 12 feet away. Epps is there to guide Givens — who became a 1980s sitcom star, then saw her marriage and divorce from boxer Mike Tyson turn into a public soap opera — and the rest of the cast of "Blues for an Alabama Sky. " Pearl Cleage's 1995 drama, set in Harlem during the Great Depression, examines the gumption and talent it takes to hold on to one's dreams and integrity when times are lean and how easily they can be snuffed out. Epps is in his 15th season as artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 24, 1997 | Don Shirley
Throughout its long history, the Pasadena Playhouse never paid much attention to black playwrights or themes. It's difficult to be sure that none of the playhouse's first 1,059 shows--from 1917 until a dormant period began in 1969--were by black writers, because some of those playwrights have faded into obscurity. However, a scan of the list of those productions reveals no recognizable black writers.
MAGAZINE
October 13, 2002 | RENEE VOGEL
In June I went to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, mainly just to relax. It's one of those great places where there's not an awful lot to do. The biggest decision of the day is where you're going to have dinner. And for a small Mexican fishing village, the food is great. There are three or four extraordinary restaurants. We stayed at a beautiful hotel called Villa del Sol. Our room was 50 yards from the beach. Most of every day we spent on that golden sand beach, reading.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 19, 1997 | DON SHIRLEY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Filling a job that has been vacant since 1992, stage director Sheldon Epps has been named artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse. Epps, who is African American, is the first nonwhite artistic director at any of Southern California's major professional theater companies. He comes from the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, where he has been associate artistic director since 1994. But he has directed, as a freelancer at Pasadena, "On Borrowed Time" in 1992, "Blues in the Night" in 1995 and "Mr.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 11, 1995 | Jan Breslauer, Jan Breslauer is a regular contributor to Calendar
Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival may have pioneered "non-traditional" casting decades ago but colorblind classics are still far from the norm at resident theaters across the country. For Sheldon Epps, however, they're standard practice. As one of the few prominent African American directors as likely to be found at the helm of an Ibsen production as an August Wilson, Epps has refused to allow himself to be pigeonholed. And he affords the same consideration to his actors.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 25, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
One of Barack Obama's most heartfelt moments as president and the vitriol of online bigots contributed to director Sheldon Epps' decision to put a new twist on "12 Angry Men" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Using casting as a bullhorn, he's turned the mid-1950s chestnut about tense deliberations in a jury room into a forum on black-white relations. The Obama moment that inspired Epps, the playhouse's longtime artistic director, was the president's speech last July after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 6, 2013 | By Jamie Wetherbe
Actor French Stewart, it seems, has double booked. The Pasadena Playhouse announced Tuesday it will postpone his show "Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton" to accommodate the actor's new TV gig. Stewart is in the cast of the CBS sitcom "Mom," with Anna Faris, that premieres this fall. The playhouse will instead present the classic courtroom drama "Twelve Angry Men," which will run Nov. 5 to Dec. 1. Officials didn't give a new opening date for "Stoneface. " PHOTOS: Hollywood stars on stage “It is indeed our hope to produce 'Stoneface' at some point in the future," Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps said in a statement.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 24, 2013 | By David Ng
Annie is from Baltimore. Sam is from Seattle. They meet on top of the Empire State Building in New York. But will the musical version of their love story be heading to London? "Sleepless in Seattle," the musical version of the hit 1993 movie, is eyeing the West End as its next possible destination. Sheldon Epps, the artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse, where the show debuted this year, confirmed that talks are underway for a London production that could happen as early as next year.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 1, 2013 | By Karen Wada
As his actors run through a crucial scene - one in which hopes are dashed and the plot is thickened - director Sheldon Epps watches with a contemplative eye. "Good," Epps says at the scene's end, his elegant baritone filling the Pasadena Playhouse rehearsal space. "Let's do it again. But this time, I want you to take every pause out. " The actors look up. "You may get them back," he says reassuringly. "Let's try it. " CRITICS' PICKS: What to watch, where to go, what to eat and more Afterward, amid approving nods, Epps explains.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 22, 2013 | By David Ng, Los Angeles Times
The Pasadena Playhouse will present a revival of "Smokey Joe's Cafe" and a new play from former New York Times journalist Bernard Weinraub as part of its 2013-14 season, announced Thursday. In all, the company will present six main stage productions, including a holiday special, the same number as this season. The Pasadena Playhouse has been working toward financial stability since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010. That same year, the company ceased producing for several months because of financial difficulties.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 24, 2013 | By Nardine Saad
Pasadena Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps is set to direct the world premiere of "Sleepless in Seattle -- The Musical," when the show opens at the theater in May. He replaces the previously announced Lonny Price. Jeff Arch, who wrote the original story and co-wrote the screenplay for the 1993 romantic comedy that starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, wrote the book for the musical. Ben Toth composed the music and Sam Forman wrote the lyrics. "I am pleased that a recent change in my own schedule allows me to take on the joy and excitement of directing this musical and working even more closely with Jeff, Ben and Sam," Epps said in a statement Thursday.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 23, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
If the Pasadena Playhouse had decided to adopt a theme song when a dire economy and long-standing debts forced it to cease operations for most of 2010 while it tried to claw its way back to solvency, “Stand by Me,” the 1961 pop-soul classic sung by Ben E. King, would have fit the situation precisely. It turns out that Mike Stoller, who co-wrote and co-produced “Stand By Me,” among dozens of other indelible hits of the 1950s and 1960s on which he teamed with his partner, the late Jerry Leiber, was paying attention, along with his wife, musician Corky Hale Stoller.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 13, 2012 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
Sheldon Epps has renewed his contract as artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse, and Elizabeth Doran will join him as its new executive director after nearly four years as managing director of the Actors' Gang in Culver City. Epps has led the company since 1997 and helped see it through the 2010 financial crisis in which the playhouse closed for eight months, then emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. After shedding more than $1 million in debt, it has regained its balance with two successful seasons, winning good reviews for four of the five plays staged in 2011-12.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 1, 2013 | By Karen Wada
As his actors run through a crucial scene - one in which hopes are dashed and the plot is thickened - director Sheldon Epps watches with a contemplative eye. "Good," Epps says at the scene's end, his elegant baritone filling the Pasadena Playhouse rehearsal space. "Let's do it again. But this time, I want you to take every pause out. " The actors look up. "You may get them back," he says reassuringly. "Let's try it. " CRITICS' PICKS: What to watch, where to go, what to eat and more Afterward, amid approving nods, Epps explains.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 11, 2012 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
Kris Lythgoe had a problem that many a Los Angeles parent might relate to: Christmas was coming, and he wanted to take his young son, George, to a show the whole family could enjoy. Nothing seemed to fit. But Lythgoe was equipped to do something about it, coming from a family with a certain expertise in organizing entertainment that appeals to a wide age spectrum. His father, Nigel, is executive producer of "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance. " His mother, Bonnie, is a veteran stage director and choreographer.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 12, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Artists come in many varieties. There are those whose work appears in galleries and on stages. And then there are those whose work receives little public attention but is created with the same expressiveness, dedication to excellence and desire for meaning. Esther, an African American seamstress living in a respectable New York City rooming house in 1905, belongs to the second category. A plain, unmarried 35-year-old with diminished prospects for personal happiness, she puts the best of herself into her sewing, making sexy garments for those who have more use for them than a spinster like herself.
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