Les Hanson - Co-Artistic Director and Founder


Les Hanson (Founding Artistic Director) – Mr. Hanson formed the West Coast Ensemble in 1981 and has served as the Artistic Director since its inception, overseeing its growth from a company of 20 theatre artists working out of a Hollywood storefront into one of Los Angeles’ foremost 99-seat theatre companies. He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Theatre and Communications from the University of Montana, and produced and managed the premiere season of the Montana Repertory Theatre. He has served as artistic director, guest director and choreographer for many stock Theatres throughout the Northwest, staging the musical comedy An Italian Straw Hat and the operas The Girl of the Golden West and How The West Was One. Mr. Hanson served as guest artist at Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival and performed in and directed a nine-country tour of The Fantasticks for the USO. For West Coast Ensemble Theatre, Mr. Hanson directed The Balkan Women, Don Juan in Chicago, A Soldier’s Play, Diary of a Scoundrel, Some Rain and Playboy of the West Indies. As Artistic Director, Mr. Hanson’s duties include the supervision of all artistic programming including the selection of a four-show MainStage and four-show Second Season; oversight of all productions including selection and supervision of creative staff; consultation with and dramaturgy for new playwrights; coordination of a Directors Lab for training new directors and a Playwrights Unit to nurture emerging writers; supervision and participation in WCE’s Theatre Conservatory; and management of theatre staff including business manager, managing director and marketing director. He is proud to have introduced more than 100 new plays and playwrights to Southern California.

 

Richard Israel - Co-Artistic Director


Mr. Israel has been on the management team of West Coast Ensemble Theatre since 1994. He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Arizona and has spent the last 15 years as an actor, director and theatre manager. The recipient of the LADCC Milton Katselas Award for Career Achievement in Directing, Richard has directed a wide array of plays and musicals at WCE including the world premiere of Brian Christopher Williams’ Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins, the L.A. premiere of Big - The Musical, Assassins (LADCC Award for Outstanding Ensemble), the L.A. premiere of Adam Guettel & Tina Landau’s groundbreaking musical Floyd Collins (BackStage West Garland Award for Direction); and the west coast premiere of David Lindsay Abaire’s Wonder of the World (L.A. Times Critic’s Choice). Elsewhere in southern California he has directed Meet Me In St. Louis for Musical Theatre West, the Ahrens/Mencken A Christmas Carol for the Norris Theatre, and 1776 and Big River for The Actor’s Co-op.  Richard is a Resident Director for the Nine O’Clock Players, the performing arts wing of the Assistance League of Southern California. He was also a guest director at Galveston Island Musicals where he directed My Fair Lady and at Idyllwild Arts Academy, where he directed Peter Parnell’s The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket. As the Co-Artistic Director for West Coast Ensemble Theatre, Mr. Israel is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization including establishment of the annual production and fundraising calendar; oversight of all aspects of production for all MainStage and Second Season shows; coordination with Business Manager and Producing Director; and coordination of the annual season subscription program including design of printed materials and development of the marketing plan.

 

JJ Jackman - Managing Director of Fund Raising


Mr. Jackman joined West Coast Ensemble in 2000, completing the WCE Intern program in the fall of that year. He has appeared on stage in productions in North Carolina and Los Angeles, including lead roles in Tim Kelly's Dracula and Nicky Silver's Pterodactyls. His one-act play entitled Love and Cookies was produced by WCE in April of 2005. As a Managing Director of WCE, JJ oversees the fundraising committee, planning and implementing all non-production-related fundraising throughout the year for the company. JJ is currently the Director of Admissions for the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). A proud native of North Carolina, he holds a BA in Psychology from Wake Forest University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

 

Suzanne Doss - Managing Director of Membership


Miss Doss began her involvement at West Coast Ensemble in 1992 in WCE’s Intern Program, a conservatory program dedicated to training actors in all areas of theatre. After completing this program, she began her career as a stage manager, working on such critically acclaimed productions as The Human Comedy, Macabaret and the world premiere play Someone’s Knocking. She soon began working as a stage manager for other theatre companies including The Musical Theatre Guild and The Neurotic Young Urbanites. As West Coast Ensemble’s resident Assistant Director, Ms. Doss has worked on critically acclaimed productions of The Diary of Anne Frank, Merrily We Roll Along, A New Brain, the Ovation-nominated Sunday In The Park With George, Wonder of the World and Floyd Collins. Ms. Doss attended Whittier College where she studied Theatre Arts. After working as a nurse’s aide for the Orange County Department of Education/Special Education Department, she began a career as a bookkeeper and business manager. She currently works for Gelfand Rennert and Feldman, one of the top entertainment business management firms in the country. As the New Works Development Director, Ms. Doss is responsible for West Coast Ensemble’s original play development program. Her specific duties include working with WCE's Artistic Director to identify new plays that are appropriate for development; coordinating readings of new works and establishing a new works production calendar; and coordination between playwrights and creative staff for the continued development of new works.

 

David Elzer/DEMAND PR - Marketing/Publicity

DEMAND PR represents Cabrillo Music Theatre, Celebration Theatre, Colony Theatre Company, Furious Theatre Company, Havok Theatre Company, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, NoHo Arts Center Ensemble, Open Fist Theatre Company, Rubicon Theatre Company, Theatre Tribe and West Coast Ensemble.  He is also an Ovation, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, LA Weekly, Garland Award-winning theatrical producer with the critically-acclaimed, record breaking, 19-month run of The Marvelous Wonderettes and Winter Wonderettes at the El Portal Forum Theatre and for the smash-hit, critically acclaimed production of Life Could Be A Dream, currently playing at the Hudson Mainstage in Hollywood. He also produced the Drama League nominated Off-Broadway and Laguna Playhouse productions of The Marvelous Wonderettes as well as the upcoming Laguna Playhouse production of Life Could Be A Dream.. Also a producer on The Best Is Yet To Come: The Music of Cy Coleman at the Rubicon; Dracula at the NoHo Arts Center, Sister Act: The Musical (now in London), Vanities The Musical; Jewtopia - Off Broadway, The Laramie Project at the Laguna Playhouse and Catalpa and Shyness is Nice at the Alliance.  He is also developing several other projects for production next year.

 our staff
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Don Cummings - Literary Associate


Don’s critically acclaimed plays have been produced on both coasts: The Fat of the Land, American Air, What Do Men Live By?, Stark Raving Mad, The Winner, Piss Play is About Minorities So It's Really Important and A Good Smoke. The Fat of the Land was a semifinalist for the Kaufman & Hart Award for new American comedy and received a Los Angeles Ovation Award for best featured actor (Dan Alemshah). A Good Smoke was a semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill 2008 theater conference. It had a reading in June, 2009 at The Public Theater in New York starring Meryl Streep, Henry Wolfe Gummer, Grace Gummer and Debra Monk and has been optioned for Broadway. Piss Play was produced in the Summer, 2009 New York Cringe Festival where it received the Golden Pineapple award for best play of the festival. His movie, Who Killed Michelle Levesque? is in development with the producers who made the movie Elf. His collection of creative nonfiction essays are loosely held together in his yet-to-be-published memoir, Open Trench, named after his blog. Mr. Cummings is a graduate of Tufts University, The Neighborhood Playhouse and a member of West Coast Ensemble and The Dramatists Guild. www.doncummings.net

 


Sara J. Stuckey - Managing Director of Marketing

Miss Stuckey joined West Coast Ensemble in 2008 and has been seen in WCE’s productions of Miss Witherspoon, The Graduate, BIG: The Musical, and Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins.  Sara received her BFA in theatre from the University of Montana and toured with the Montana Repertory Theatre during their 1995 shows – Smoke on the Mountain and Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound.  Sara is also a veteran member of the Illustrious Virginia City Players and The Great American Melodrama where she brought America’s original melodramas and vaudevilles to the stage.  Miss Stuckey is an accomplished musician and dancer, enjoys running marathons for charitable organizations (EIF/Revlon Run Walk for Women’s Cancers & Team Fox for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research) and has considered pursuing the title of Sommelier…but she enjoys drinking wine too much.  As Marketing Director, Sara oversees the communication and distribution of marketing and promotional material for West Coast Ensemble shows, the management of patron relations, and the implementation of social media advertising campaigns.

 
 

Jaffee & Associates, LLC - Business Management

Jaffee & Associates, LLC has been associated with the lionhearted West Coast Ensemble, serving the non-profit organization’s business management needs since 1985.  Services offered by Jaffee & Associates include bookkeeping services, financial plans and management services designed to provide the client with an exact snapshot of their financial status in these rapidly changing times.   Client demographics include professional Actors, Directors and Producers in the Motion Picture Industry, Luxury Retail Stores, Restaurants, Jewelry Designers, Non-Profit Organizations, Manufacturers, and wealthy Investors.  For further exploration please visit at Jaffeeandassociates.com

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