Writers Group Members

Members Current Projects Membership

Deana Barone co-wrote a night-long interactive play, A MATCH MADE IN MANHATTAN, with Matt Okin, which ran weekly for a year in NYC. Her full-length play, KISS, ran at Brickolage in Venice, CA, and her one act, HUMPTY DUMPTY, ran to critical acclaim at the Elephant Theatre, LA, as part of “Love Bites.” Her multi-character, interactive, experimental solo play, METAFAM: A SOLO CONCOCTION, which she wrote and performed, played to critical acclaim and sold out houses at the 2016 WhiteFire SoloFest and the 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival. It has been requested as part of the Binge Fest at the Santa Monica Playhouse for Fall, 2016. Her plays, HAND SANDWICH, ON THE TOILET, INCUBATION, and DATED were all part of “The Road Theatre Annual Playwrights’ Festival,” and I WANT TO GO WITH YOU part of the “PRT 23 Hour Play Series.” Her full length play, BITS OF BONE, will be part of the “Fall Fruit” series at PRT in October, 2016. She will start filming a pilot she co-wrote with Dan Finkel (DAPHNIA) in Fall 2016. Deana hosts storytelling shows and tells stories all around LA, including the Moth StorySlam, which she has won. She runs The TellTale Company, and created “The Trunk Show,” a multi-genre storytelling production. She has directed, dramaturged and developed  over 100 pieces including the solo shows 30JJ OR BUST: THE WORLD IS MY UNDERWIRE by Joan Afton, DUCK UGLY by Claire Thomasina J., and MOM, DAD, I HAVE ADHD AND OTHER WAYS TO DISAPPOINT THE INDIAN FAMILY by Rasika Mathur. She coaches acting and storytelling privately, is a guest artist at UC Santa Barbara and Cal State LA in creative writing and performance, and does pitch coaching for business types (Sell/Tell From Your Heart), including DirectTV. Deana also acts, and has had the fortune to win some awards doing so. She has TV, film, commercial, voice over, and many theatre credits including Off-Broadway, regional east coast, and all around LA. She is a proud member of the now defunct Elephant and a current member of The Road and VS. Theatre Companies. She is honored and blessed to now be a part of PRT.


Michelle Kholos Brooks’s play, HOSTAGE, was chosen as a finalist for the 2016/17 Woodward/Newman Drama Award. It was first presented at the Skylight Theatre’s INKubator series and later at The Road Theatre Summer Playwrights Festival. KALAMAZOO, co-written with Kelly Younger was the winner of the Riva Shiner Comedy Award, Bloomington Playwright’s Project and was recently been published by Dramatists Play Service. FAMILY PLANNING made its world premiere at the Colony Theatre, Los Angeles with additional support from EST-LA and Pacific Resident Theatre. It was a finalist for the Riva Shriner Comedy Award, Bloomington Playwrights Project. Brooks’ play, Chair was a finalist for the Firehouse Theatre’s Festival of New American Plays. IZZY IS SICK and TINY PONY were recently featured at various reading series at Pacific Resident Theatre. 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; Drama West, Los Angeles; and the Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, New York. Bad Outfit Productions produced Brooks’ plays, CAB and ALLERGIC TO WALNUTS as short films. Publications include Room Magazine and The Daily Beast. 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 Los Angeles, CA. She lives in Venice, California with her husband and son.

David Byrd brings a unique combination of creative, entrepreneurial, political and managerial experience to his work as a member of the PRT Writers Group. The 2015 Fall Fruit Reading Series featured three of David’s works (UNKNOWABLE TRUTH; DRIVE THRU; LOVE, LIES, AND LINGERING AMONG FRIENDS). A member of the Writers’ Group for over a decade, David has also produced documentary films, worked in television production, and is the current Board Chair of the Organization of Black Screenwriters. David’s background also includes spending many years as a political professional. He managed campaigns, directed crisis communications, and wrote, directed, and produced hundreds of radio, television, and digital spots for international, statewide and citywide campaigns and ballot initiatives. He remains one of the few African-Americans to serve as the sole media consultant for a statewide race in the United States. The grit and grind of his experiences works it’s way into David’s work at the PRT and fuels his mission of exploring the complications and mysteries of the human condition. A Springfield, Massachusetts native, educated at Howard University in Washington, D.C., David now considers Los Angeles his home.


Michael Joseph Carr is an actor/writer/producer of Irish descent and was born and brought up in Birmingham, England. After being awarded a grant from the Birmingham City Council, he attended the East 15 Acting School in London. Following graduation he appeared in repertory seasons at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre, The Colchester Repertory Theatre Essex, The Pomegranate Repertory Theatre Chesterfield and The Belgrade Theatre Coventry, UK. He also appeared at The Red Lion Theatre London, White Bear Theatre London, and Barons Court Theatre London. Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, Michael began writing. He wrote a James Bond spoof for children, BLUNDERBALL, which was performed by The Stage Kids Theater Company at the Pierson Playhouse in Santa Monica. He then co-wrote, produced, and directed the Feature Film TONY 5. Michael is a regular writing contributor to “Sunday Best,” a writing workshop at the Ensemble Studio Theatre West and is a member of the Pacific Residents Theatre Writing Group.


Ginna Carter is proud to be a longtime member of Pacific Resident Theater.
Ginna’s play TRAFFIC SCHOOL won the Source Theater’s National One-Act playwriting competition in 2003. Her play DOROTHY has been developed and workshopped at the Hartford Stage Brand:NEW play festival; The Alley Theatre in Houston; The Roundabout Theatre’s Black Box in New York; and Pacific Resident Theater. DOROTHY, A CURRENT ACCOUNT made its debut at Rogue Machine Off The Clock in November 2014. Ginna is currently playing Alma in THE ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE at PRT, where she’s also appeared in KING LEAR FOR SEVEN ACTORS, ANATOL, EVERYDAY LIFE, and THE BRUTAL LANGUAGE OF LOVE. She is a member of Rogue Machine Theatre, The ECHO Theater Company, Theatre of NOTE, and Salty Shakespeare. She has performed regionally at Hartford Stage, and The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. Ginna graduated from Harvard/Radcliffe College. She is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC where she studied with Syd Field and James Ragan.


Valerie Dillman is a writer/actress. She wrote the critically acclaimed play SARAH’S WAR which was featured as one of LA STAGE’s best new plays of 2012.  Her latest play about the spiritualist Pearl Curran set in 1912 THE CHANNEL was selected as a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neil National Playwright Conference. She also co-wrote,  produced and starred in the TV comedy pilot WAKE UP AMERICA!




Cyndy Fujikawa received her BA in theatre at San Francisco State University and MFA at the American Conservatory Theatre.  She began writing short stories for “June”, an SF Bay Area journal for women developing performable material. One of these stories, OLD MAN RIVER, was a brief account of her father, actor Jerry Fujikawa, and was later developed as a solo performance in New York with Lark Theatre Co., The Women’s Project, New York Theatre Workshop and had its East Village debut at Mabou Mines where Cyndy became a Resident Artist and Van Lier Fellow. OLD MAN RIVER premiered Off-Broadway at the New Victory Theater and later had its west coast premiere at Theatre West. Cyndy is one of the first recipients of the Van Lier Fellowship at New York Theatre Workshop, where she developed another autobiographically based work about vaudeville entertainers.  (Last year, this project THE LAST VAUDEVILLIAN received a workshop in the PRT Co-Op). She was commissioned by Cornerstone Theatre Co (under Bill Rauch) to adapt the cherished memoir FAREWELL TO MANZANAR to the stage. It was produced at the Mark Taper Forum Auditorium at Central Library and later at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy.

Tania Gutsche has been involved in a number of productions of her plays at Pacific Resident Theatre with the writers group since 2002, including pieces in DINER TIMES, STUCK, last year’s FALL FRUIT and numerous 23 hour events. Tania has a BA from the University of Arizona in Dramatic Theory, and has also published art criticism and poetry.






Wendy Graf is an award winning playwright whose plays have been produced throughout the country. Recent plays include: ALL AMERICAN GIRL (Stage Raw Recommended Top Ten/2015 nom Playwriting and Solo performance; LA Times Pick of the Week; LA Weekly “GO!” StageSceneLA 2015 Outstanding Solo Performance Production; Bitter Lemons 2015 Ten Best); CLOSELY RELATED KEYS (dir by Shirley Jo Finney; NAACP win/nominations); NO WORD IN GUYANESE FOR ME (2012 GLAAD Award Outstanding L.A. Theater); BEHIND THE GATES; LESSONS (L.A. production dir by Gordon Davidson); LEIPZIG (LADCC nomination; Garland award/Playwriting; Dorothy Silver finalist); THE BOOK OF ESTHER (San Fernando Valley Artistic Directors nominations including Best Play; ASK Theater Projects Grant Award); BETHANY/BAKOL (Attic Theater One Act Winner, produced September 2009 and her newest, PLEASE DON’T ASK ABOUT BECKET, opening 2016. Recent award winning short plays: SOPHIE/ALEXANDER/LISBOA; ASHES TO ASHES; A HOLLYWOOD FABLE; LESTER AND SCHLOSS; REPORTS OF MY DEATH HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED; A SHONDA; RED AND BLUE.

Neil McGowan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from West Virginia University in Theatre. His short films, LIKE OLD TIMES and TRIP AND SLOAN, both of which he wrote and stars in and are directed by Keith Stevenson, have appeared in many film festivals across the country. His screenplay NUMBERED won the 2008 Slamdance Screenplay Contest. His play TRACKS IN THE SNOW won the Mildred and Albert Panowski Playwriting Award at Northern Michigan University. His play LONE-ANON, produced at Rogue Machine Theatre, was named one of the Top Ten plays of 2013 by L.A. Weekly Magazine. He has adapted that play to a movie called LONERS, which has completed filming and will be released next year. His play MY GIRLFRIEND IS AN ALIEN! BY KEITH DEFACTO opened at Pacific Resident Theatre in August, 2016.


Vince Melocchi is originally from Western Pennsylvania. While attending Penn State University, and short on credits, he took the only class still open: “Principles of Playwriting.” Having never written a play before, he panicked upon learning he had to have a one-act play written by the end of the term. So, he called his father for advice: ”Write what you know, son. You don’t know about King Henry the 5th, do you? So, write what you know.” That night he began work on his one-act play MAKING MOVES, about a group of janitors in a Western Pennsylvania hospital. MAKING MOVES was produced at Penn State the next year. He went on to attend the Professional Training Program for Actors at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. While at A.C.T, he also worked in the “Plays in Progress” unit, focusing on the reading and development of new plays. After A.C.T, he moved to Chicago and worked  as a professional actor onstage. Eventually, he moved to Southern California and became a member of the award winning Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, CA., where he co-created “The Writers Group at PRT,” with fellow actor/writer Valerie Dillman. It was in that writers workshop that his critically acclaimed, Ovation award nominated, full length play, LIONS was born. After various workshop stagings and readings, LIONS was produced as part of PRT’s 2008 season, with director Guillermo Cienfuegos at the helm. After its sold out run at PRT, LIONS was published by “Samuel French,” the prestigious publisher of dramatic literature. Following LIONS, his play, JULIA, had its world premiere in 2010 at the Pacific Resident Theatre. JULIA was also directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, and produced by Keith Stevenson, Melody Fernandez and Dan Cole. After a very successful, sold-out run, it moved to Off-Broadway’s 59e59 Theatres in the spring of 2011 and was recently published by “Stage Rights Dramatic Publishers.” In the fall of 2014, his play NICE THINGS (Directed by Elina de Santos) had its world premiere at Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles. His full length play, BURIED IN THE NIGHT, was a O’Neill Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist in 2016. His writing also includes a number of one-act plays, including: BULLY, THE LAST LINEN DAY, and the aforementioned MAKING MOVES. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Mary Portser received the 2004 Otis Guernsey “New Voices in American Theatre” award from the William Inge Theatre, which published her short play, JUST ANOTHER WINTRY NIGHT, in “The William Inge Variations.” MOIRA was produced by the Fishamble Theatre Company in Dublin, Ireland. YOU DON’T KNOW ME, HOMESPUN and WRECKED were developed at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference. HOMESPUN was subsequently part of Ensemble Studio Theatre L.A.’s, “Best of the Fest” and WRECKED was included in the Katselas Company’s Inkubator series and workshopped in the Co-op at Pacific Resident Theatre. THE TRAIN IN MY HOTEL, NO TIME FOR WOMEN and ANIMAL LIFE have been part of EST L.A.’s Winterfest series. UNDERTOW was part of its “Launchpad” series. GRAINNE, a finalist for the O’Neill, was staged as part of the Blank Theatre’s “Living Room Series.” MISS MARTIN’S MOUTH was the winner of the Los Angeles City College One-Act play Festival. Theatre West produced STOPGAP and DISTRESS SIGNALS, a series of comic monologues performed by the author. For seven years Mary wrote and performed with a comedy group, “the Paranoids,” at the West Bank Café and Catch A Rising Star in New York, and at the Kenyon Festival Theatre in Ohio. SAVE THE LOOPHOLES, culled from Paranoids’ material, was produced at the Judith Anderson Theatre on Theatre Row. Several of her monologues are included in the “Audition Arsenal” series, published by Smith and Kraus. Excerpts from her first novel, SQUAWK, can be read in the online journals, “Stirring” and “Bartleby Snopes.”


Shanti Reinhardt is a playwright and actress based in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of The American Conservatory Theatre and BADA in Oxford, England. She is very excited that her new one-act, FOOL’S BREW, will be making it’s debut in PRT’s 2016 Fall Fruit Series. Her play, OTIS, was part of 2015 Road Theatre Summer Playwrights Festival and will soon have a workshop production in PRT’s Co-op in the Spring of 2017. BLUNT FORCE was presented in the 2016 “Made in LA” series at The Mark Taper Auditorium under a grant from The Los Angeles Library. It also had a workshop production at PRT’s Co-op in May of 2013, and a sold-out run with extension. A ten-minute version of BLUNT FORCE was included in the 2013 Road Theatre Summer Playwrights Festival following her 2012 festival play, STARLIGHT. BLUNT FORCE is currently being adapted as a film. Her critically acclaimed one–woman show, HOLLYWOOD HANAI ran at Theatre of NOTE and went on to The HBO workspace. Other plays include: POLLY AMORE, RAISING HELL and WISHES OF MATINICUS. She has also written and performed with The Groundlings Sunday Show.


Oren Safdie is a playwright-in-residence at La MaMa in New York. More recently he’s helmed the Malibu Stage Co. where his off-Broadway / London hit PRIVATE JOKES, PUBLIC PLACES debuted. His next play, THE LAST WORD, moved off- Broadway and starred  Emmy Award Winner Daniel J. Travanti. Other productions include the recent NYC hits UNSEAMLY, FALSE SOLUTION, CHECKS & BALANCES, THE BILBAO EFFECT, WEST BANK, UK, JEWS & JESUS, FIDDLER SUB-TERRAIN, and LA COMPAGNIE, which he developed into a 1⁄2-hour pilot for CBS. As a screenwriter, Oren scripted the film YOU CAN THANK ME LATER starring Ellen Burstyn, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Newport Film Festival, and the Israeli film BITTERSWEET, which played the Jerusalem and Montreal World Film Festivals. Oren has also written for METROPOLIS, DWELL, THE FORWARD, JERUSALEM POST, TIMES OF ISRAEL and THE NEW REPUBLIC. Playwrights Canada Press and Dramatists Play Service have published his plays, and he is the recipient of grants from Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des Arts et des Lettres Quebec, John Golden Foundation, and Graham Foundation. He recently taught playwriting at the University of Miami. His play, MR. GOLDBERG GOES TO TEL AVIV, opens this February in Montreal.


Judith Scott is a Second City Theatre alum with six years on the Chicago and Toronto mainstages. Her television and film work include DEXTER, CSI MIAMI, MURDER IN THE FIRST, FRACTURE and GUESS WHO. She appeared in ANATOL on the PRT mainstage and has written and produced several plays at PRT: LA REGINA and THE BOOK OF JUDITH. Judith was a producer-writer for SOURCES SAY produced in the PRT co-op and also a long term student of LARRY MOSS and ADELE CABOT. Judith is now a certified organic farmer. But please, do not ask her to farm a darn thing.






Keith Stevenson has been a member of PRT since 1998. He received a 2012 Ovation Award nomination for “Best Original Playwriting” for OUT THERE ON FRIED MEAT RIDGE RD., in which he also performed. Since then, he’s added A FRIED MEAT CHRISTMAS and THE UNFRYABLE MEATNESS OF BEING to his cult-hit comedy series. He directed BLUNT FORCE nd Neil McGowan’s LONE-ANON at PRT, the second of which also played at Rogue Machine Theatre and was named one of LA Weekly’s Top 10 Plays of 2013. He and McGowan co-founded Wee Small Films [weesmallfilms.com] and have created several festival shorts including IN THE A.M. OF DEC. 26TH AT THE CORNER OF KOGOSAK AND CUNNINGHAM IN BARROW and ALL THAT GLITTERS, as well as LIKE OLD TIMES and TRIP AND SLOAN, both of which were nominated for Best Short Film at the Austin Film Festival. Performance credits include LIONS, THE HASTY HEART and ORPHEUS DESCENDING at PRT, THE STEWARD OF CHRISTENDOM at the Pittsburgh Public Theater and JULIA, which transferred to 59e59 Theaters in NYC after it’s run at PRT, which he produced.


KELLY YOUNGER. Full-length plays include KALAMAZOO (co-written with Michelle Kholos Brooks, 6 month run at PRT, winner of the Reva Shiner Comedy award with a sold out run at Bloomington Playwrights Project, and Adirondack Theatre Festival in NY, published by Dramatist Play Service); THIS WORLD WE KNOW (Firehouse Theatre, Winner of the New American Play Festival), TENDER (Gloucester Stage and Off Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club), BANISHED CHILDREN OF EVE (Off Broadway at Irish Repertory Theatre), and ONCE A MARINE (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre). Short plays include BEST LEI’D PLANS(Stella Adler, published by Smith and Kraus); LET’S GET PHYSICAL(Edinburgh Fringe Festival); MANDATE (Playwrights Horizons, winner of the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival, published by Samuel French, critics choice Edinburgh Fringe Festival); I THINK YOU THINK I LOVE YOU (published by Playscripts, Inc.). He is also a screenwriter who has developed feature work with Barry Josephson (ENCHANTED), Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 5), Robert Lawrence (CLUELESS), Gil Netter (LIFE OF PI) as well as Mandeville Films, DreamWorks Animation, and the Disney Channel.  He is currently working on a new Disney Animation feature directed by Steve Anderson and produced by John Lasseter.  He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Sean.

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