Thespiana 2019

***Everyone is welcome to the Opening Night Reception after the show Friday, September 13!***

Thespiana is back for 2019 and in a new venue, The MAT (Millibo Art Theatre), with three performances of seven all-new and original rehearsed play readings.

A reluctant hitman, an ambitious, amateur pianist who might be too good for his own good, and a giant from a futuristic freak show are among the amazing characters you'll meet in the fourth annual outing of Thespiana.

Thespiana is a staged-reading play festival showcasing the talents of local playwrights, directors and actors. It was founded by Charles (Chuck) Cabell, a retired Air Force Brigadier General (and musician) who had long dreamed of being a playwright and seeing his works on stage. He created Thespiana as a way to make that happen and at the same time create opportunities for other aspiring (and accomplished) playwrights.

Friday, September 13, 2019, 7:30PM
Saturday, September 14, 2019, 7:30PM
Sunday, September 15, 2019, 2PM

Tickets online $15

or call for reservations:

The plays:

Go Fish - written by Phil Ginsburg, directed by Elizabeth Kahn
A card game unlike any you've seen.

One Last Job - written and directed by Jeff Schmoyer
Is it ever, really?

Professor Pincklewhomper's School for Realistic Expectations, adapted excerpt - written by Mark and Lauren Arnest, directed by Mark Arnest
At the School for Realistic Expectations, founded by Professor Pincklewhomper 30 years ago, the teachers ensure happy lives for their students by teaching them not to bother striving, until a new student shows up who is interested in theater, which creates havoc for everyone as the administration encounters strange new feelings and admissions of insanity—or is it?

Speak of the Devil - written by Chuck Cabell, directed by Robert Tiffany
A young lawyer yearns to be a great pianist.

Thren - written and directed by Warren Epstein
Based on an excerpt from Warren Epstein's upcoming sci-fi novel "Carn," Thren tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a boy and a giant in a carnival in the distant future.

Veterans' Affair - written and directed by Sue Bachman
It’s Memorial Day at the VFW, when a wife and a Gulf War vet prod four ordinary Vietnam-era veterans into sharing their wartime experiences for the first time.

What Matters - written and directed by Debby Brewer
Johnny visits his mother.


Lauren Arnest (writer, Professor Pincklewhomper's School for Realistic Expectations) has been writing librettos and lyrics with composer husband Mark since 1997. Works include All About Love (1997, with Murray Ross), Pike’s Dream (2006), and Iron & Gold (first act, 2011).  The Notorious Nugget (2015) is a musical melodrama featuring a gold chunk shaped like a horse’s patootie. Lauren studied law before boredom drove her to the theater.

Mark Arnest (writer/director, Professor Pincklewhomper's School for Realistic Expectations) is a composer, music director, pianist and teacher in Colorado Springs. His instrumental compositions have been performed by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, and the Veronika String Quartet. Ludlow: Four Scenes for Orchestra was a finalist in the 2016 American Prize in orchestral composition, where it received a judge’s citation. Other prize-winning compositions include the one-act opera Pike’s Dream and Towards the Garden for chamber orchestra. The Chamber Orchestra of the Springs premiered his Shout, for 23 string instruments, in March 2019.

Mark is music director at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church; teaches music theory, composition, and piano at the Colorado Springs Conservatory; and has been known to churn out diminished seventh chords for the Iron Springs Chateau’s melodrama. In 2018 he was music director for Theatreworks’ acclaimed production of Oklahoma!

Sue Bachman (writer/director, Veterans' Affair; Mom, What Matters) is honored to return to Thespiana for the 3rd time. Her short plays have been performed for the last 9 seasons of Craft’s Our Shorts are Showing,  SET’s 2018 Christmas Shorts festival and this summer with Theatre D’Art’s Theatregasm. Others have been read aloud in Colorado Springs and Louisville, CO including Thespiana 2018. She is a theater graduate of Northwestern University and holds a master’s in International Business. A longtime character actress and recipient of Pikes Peak Arts Council’s 2013 Best Actress Award, Sue heads Drama Lab, a local playwriting workshop. She retired from full-time work in December of 2018 and thanks her husband Sy for indulging her passion for theater.

Debby Brewer (writer/director, What Matters; Felicia, Speak of the Devil) has been an amateur artist and thespian since her youth—her love of writing has come more recently. She is delighted by the opportunity to contribute a play to this year’s Thespiana. Much thanks to the playwright mentors, cast, and crew who helped to bring her play to life.

Charles P. (Chuck) Cabell Jr. (producer, Thespiana; writer, Speak of the Devil) founded Thespana in 2016. He is a 1958 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and has master’s degrees in both Astronautics, from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and Systems Management, from the University of Southern California. He also has a Doctoral Degree in Public Administration from The University of Southern California.

He retired from the Air Force as a Brigadier General after a thirty-year career (which included a flying tour in Vietnam), then spent eight years as a consultant to industry and the government in the areas of System Engineering, Risk Management, and Project Management.

He and his wife, Hallie, moved to Colorado Springs in 1990. Retired now, he devotes much of his life to writing and music.

Bruce Carter (Jim, Veterans’ Affair) has performed during the nearest 30+ years with First Company, Theatreworks Regional Theater, Springs Ensemble Theatre, Craft Production Resource, Star Bar Players, The Fine Arts Center, KCME Radio Theatre, About-Town Dinner Theatre, Smokebrush Theatre as well as Colorado Springs Music Theatre of yore. Additionally in films from Nate Shields Productions and Windstar Studios—and presently contributing to production of feature presentation The Great Divide from Sparkles Entertainment—but "the boards" be where his joys most abound. Deborah’s love and support maintain Bruce’s momentum as well as overcome any insipid inertia…simply blessed.

Anthony Cramer (Zack, Veterans' Affair; Johnny, What Matters) is a Pikes Peak Community College graduate with an Associate of Arts degree in Theatre. He has worked with Springs Ensemble Theatre, Theatre D’Art, Craft Production Resource, Millibo Art Theater, Dragon Theater Productions and four of Pikes Peak Community College's theatre productions. Anthony would like to thank his three kids for being his motivation, Sarah Shepherd Shaver for showing him how great theater can be and his family and friends for all their moral support.

Warren Epstein (writer/director, Thren; Man, Go Fish) has been a regular, as a writer, actor, director and emcee of Thespiana since its inception. He also is a member of the Springs Ensemble Theatre and recently performed in Borscht Belted, a one-man show he wrote that was produced by the Millibo Art Theatre.

Max Ferguson (Professor Pincklewhomper's School for Realistic Expectations) is an actor and theatre artist who works extensively throughout the community.  A member of SET, he recently directed and co-produced The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Some of his favorite performing credits include The Player, Heroines of Central Ohio here at the Millibo; Freddy, Noises Off, Lord Farquhar, Shrek, and Man, Jacque Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at the FAC, MacDonald Dick III, Servant of Two Masters, At Theaterworks, and Richard, Lion in Winter at SET.

Rachel Fey (Professor Pincklewhomper's School for Realistic Expectations) is thrilled to be at on the Millibo stage for the first time! She is an award-winning actress and owner of Premier Princess Entertainment. Past credits include Sally Bowles in Cabaret (The Theatre Project), Ado Annie in Oklahoma! (Theatreworks), and Claire in Ordinary Days (Mesa Repertory Theatre). She graduated from Colorado Mesa University with a B.F.A in Music Theatre. Rachel would like to thank her husband and daughter for their support.

Joe Forbeck (Thren, Thren; Bill, Veterans' Affair) Oh what a time it was. Lifetimes ago. I think it was 1993 when I first  worked with Warren. It was Son of Dada Circus. And now decades later, it’s happening again--working with Warren and my first time with Thespiana. A veteran area actor, Joe was last seen onstage during Theatre D’Art’s (TDA’s) production of Theatregasm in June, where he played several zany characters. Prior to that, he appeared in TDA’s production of Marisol. He thanks Thespiana for letting him come play. This is better than therapy! And as always, his performance is dedicated to Mimy and Ian.

Phil Ginsburg (writer, Go Fish)  is a performance poet/playwright. His work as appeared on stages in Colorado and New York City. His play Another Day in Polkatopia won the John Mineri Award in 2012 at the American Globe Theater in NY. In May 2018, his play Flush was performed on stage at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in NYC and his short play Messages from Marquez was performed in NYC in August 2019.

Jacob Hacker  (Dave, Speak of the Devil) is privileged to be a part of Thespiana for the 2nd time in his acting career. Jacob is from Garnett, KS, and studied Communications with an Emphasis on Theatre at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. He moved to Colorado 5 years ago and has been involved with several different companies. In Pueblo he has acted for Steel City Theatre Company and in Colorado Springs he has worked for Theatreworks, Craft Production Resources and returning for the 2nd year in a row for Thespiana. Jacob has a passion for original work and hopes you thoroughly enjoy tonight's performance!

Jess Hampton (stage manager) is excited to be a part of Thespiana 2019 once again as a stage manager. She has frequented the technical sides of theatre throughout the theatres in Colorado Springs, with occasional appearances on the other side of the curtain. A lighting designer and movement arts enthusiast besides, you will see her work this summer with Theatre D’Art, Craft, UCCSTC, Thespiana, and Theatreworks this fall! Jess is ever grateful to her family, friends, and the Colorado Springs community, who continue to support and encourage her career in theatre.

Elizabeth Kahn (director/Lobster, Go Fish) is excited to be involved in another year of Thespiana!  Past theater performances include Star Bar, the MAT, and Funky Little Theater Company. Elizabeth teaches high school English, enjoys reading, hiking, and practicing and teaching Yoga. Thanks to Phil for keeping her involved in the theater loop and thanks to you all for coming to the show!

Greg Lanning (Mac, Go Fish) has performed in the Colorado Springs theater scene for over 27 years.  Theaters include Theatreworks, Star Bar, The FAC,and Funky Little Theater Company.  He is pleased to be a part of Thespiana 2019. When not working in show business, he works in the Mental Health field. He would like to thank you all for supporting local theater!

Judith McKay (narrator/MC) acted in Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros and two musicals – A Bag Full of Miracles and My Old Friends. She was playwright and director of Temptations of a Playwright, and was assistant stage manager for Thespiana. For six years she has been host/producer of weekly interview talk show on public radio and community radio/podcast. Chuck, thank you for this opportunity for another wild and wonderful experience in Thespiana and for your never-ending passion and support of theater.

Mike Miller (Swordfish, Go Fish; Sid, One Last Job; Wayne, Veterans' Affair; Mr. Dunbar, What Matters) has worked both behind the scenes and on stage in the Colorado Springs area since 2009.  He is an L.A. transplant where he majored in screwing around and minored in actually working in the film industry. He has no aspirations at this point in his life other than to outlive IMPOTUS. Thanks to Jeff, Chuck, et al for the opportunity to work with Thespiana again and a special thanks to Keri for her love and caring as I head into my dotage.

Cara D. Pearce (Norah, Speak of the Devil) is thrilled to be making her debut at Thespiana and the MAT! Having been involved in the local theater scene since 1995, Cara has performed a wide variety of roles with the Fine Arts Center, Star Bar Players, Craft Production Resource, and other local companies. Some favorite production credits include Cinderella, The Sound of Music, Phantom, Two By Two, The Fantasticks, and the original musical Almost Jerusalem.  Most recently, Cara appeared in two plays in CPR’s Our Shorts Are Showing 7 at Springs Ensemble Theater and is ecstatic to be indulging her passion for original theater once again. Cara is also an accomplished pianist and singer, and proud mother to her three beautiful sons. Forever thanks to George and her boys for their endless support.

Thomas Runyon (Professor Pincklewhomper's School for Realistic Expectations) has performed with Fremont Civic Theater, Musical Notes, Damon Runyon Theater, and the Iron Springs Chateau. He is thrilled to perform at the MAT for the first time.

Jeff Schmoyer (writer/director, One Last Job) tech entrepreneur and still not famous writer, presents his fourth Thespiana work. He sends huge thanks to all the Thespiana actors and crew for their continued support. Find him at Jmars Ink.

Richard Sebastian-Coleman (Marty, Speak of the Devil; Leo, Thren) has been an active actor and writer in the Colorado Springs theater community since moving to the city three years ago. He is a member of Star Bar Players and helped establish the ARTx Collaborative of performing arts companies operating out of the Carter Payne building downtown. Richard has been a regular at Craft, having played two roles in the recent Our Shorts Are Showing 7, and  President Jared Kushner in Warren Epstein's Comedians from Space two years ago. Richard’s short play There’s Room on Top was featured in 2018’s Our Shorts are Showing and was accepted into Samuel French’s Off Off Broadway Festival and had a performance in New York City in August. Thank you for supporting live local theater!

Jim Sena (Bass, Professor Pincklewhomper's School for Realistic Expectations) frequents the worlds of early music ensembles and acapella jazz quartets, while always finding a home inside the Arnest oeuvre. Thanks to Lauren and Mark, as always.

Barbara Summerville (Pam, Thren; Cheryl, Veterans' Affair; Darla, What Matters) is proud to be part of Thespiana.  She has just completed her final season commercial salmon fishing in Alaska and is grateful to be back home and re-entering the theater community. She recently played Agatha in SET's production of The Moors.  Other recent roles include: the seamstress, Afterlife a Ghost Story, at SET, Hannah in Angels in America with Theatre D'Art and Heccuba in Trojan Women at PPCC. She is especially honored to be part of her brother Jim's story about his service in Vietnam. Thank you Sue Bachman, Warren Epstein and Debby Brewer for this opportunity.

Robert Tiffany - (director, Speak of the Devil; Ben, One Last Job; Frank, Veterans' Affair) is very happy to be back with Thespiana. You may recall his prior Thespiana performances as director/Roger in Temptations of a Playwright (2018), Walter, the bar-fly lecher in Come Here Often? (2017), and Jim in A Priest, a Rabbi, and a Horse (2016). Other COS roles include El Gallo in The Fantastics and Noah in Two By Two. Oh, and much, much love to his son, Mike, who makes all of this worthwhile.

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