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The Riot in Compton’s Cafeteria: Play Workshop

Join us for the second-ever reading of scenes from a new play about Tenderloin history, The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, based on events surrounding the United States’ first-ever anti-police riot by the LGBTQ community. Mark Nassar along with Tenderloin Museum director Katie Conry conceived of the idea of an interactive play based on the Compton’s Cafeteria riot, inspired by the Tenderloin Museum’s exhibits on the subject. Nassar, in collaboration with long-term Tenderloin drag queens (and TLM collaborators) Donna Persona and Collette LeGrande, has spent the past year writing the play The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot. The first ever reading took place for a packed house at the Tenderloin Museum Turns Two. On July 18th the actors will read a revised version based on feedback from this first performance. We very much value transparency and community input, and invite you to be a part of the process of workshopping this play. The play will premiere in its finalized form this fall in the Tenderloin.

Mark Nassar boasts an impressive record of artistic success, having written plays and screenplays, and has also acted in theater, TV and film. Mr. Nassar is also the co-creator of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, the longest running Off-Broadway comedy in New York City history. More recently, he wrote the screenplay, A Line in the Sand, a film directed by Jeffrey Chernov, in which he also had a principal role. In 2008, the film won Best Feature and the Audience Award at numerous film festivals, as well as the Grand Jury prize at the Canada International Film Festival. He also attended the Djerassi Artists Residency in Woodside, California, where he completed a new play, Shouting in the Wilderness, and is currently playing Sal the owner in San Francisco’s immersive hit – The Speakeasy.

Collette LeGrande is the twice former Grand Duchess of the Ducal Court of San Francisco. She has raised funds for charity in the Tenderloin for 30 years, supporting AIDS Emergency Fund, Magnet, Mama Reinhardt's Toys for Tots, and many others. She has worked at Aunt Charlie’s since 1998 and organizes her own bi-weekly drag show, the Dream Queens Revue.

Donna Personna is an artist and performer, who first hit the stage with the legendary Cockettes. She was the subject of the 2013 Iris Prize-winning short “My Mother,” by Jay Bedwani, and is currently in production with Bedwani on another documentary film. She serves on the board of directors committees for Trans March and the Transgender Day of Remembrance, working to gain wider visibility for transgender rights.

Featured Actors:

Lavale William-Davis is an Oakland based Actor and performer. He has been doing theater for 13 + years and performing as his Drag alter ego Coco Buttah for the past 4 years.

Drew Todd has performed in numerous shows with San Francisco’s famous Thrillpeddlers.

Cristopher Alvaro is a neuroscientist, writer, solo performer and drag artist. Cris has written and created three solo shows as a part of Solo Performance Workshop in San Francisco, including their show, Outside the Wildtype, which explores the challenges of gender expression within and beyond academia. Cris also performs drag regularly in Oakland, CA under the alias of Aequorea Victoria.

AeJay Mitchell - Bay Area Musical Theatre Credits: Tobias Twitch in Something for the Boys (42nd Street Moon), C.C. White in Dreamgirls (Broadway by the Bay- TBA Nominated Best Ensemble, Best Musical Production), Mayor Shinn in Music Man (Berkeley Playhouse), Prospector/Jockey in Road Show (Theatre Rhinoceros), Scarecrow in The Wiz (Berkeley Playhouse), Hans/1st Sailor in Cabaret (Broadway by the Bay) Rusty Charlie in Guys and Dolls (Berkeley Playhouse). He recently choreographed Theatre Rhinoceros’ well-received Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Thomas Cokenias - Sidney in The Sign in Sidney Bruestein’s Window, Niko in Zorba!, Tony in Dial M for Murder, Moon in The Real Inspector Hound. After a long hiatus he resumed acting in 2008, appearing as Sammy in Exchange at the Bay Area One Act Festival, as Wyatt in the West Coast premiere of Emmit and Ava, as Fred in Lakeboat, as Ted in The Last Barbecue, all three at the Firescape theater, as Suloj in the independent feature Bullish, and in numerous student film projects. His favorite work is in ABCD categories: Authorities, Bad Guys, Cops, Creeps, Dads and Detectives; in films: Lasso, Fruitvale Station, Man from Reno, The Wisdom Tree, Veracruz, Last Exit, Love Hurts; in plays: Dad in The Dreamer Examines His Pillow and Erie Smith in Hughie.

Barbara Pond is a Bay Area native who has been acting, singing, and dancing since 1997. Favorite roles include Nancy in The Boyfriend with 42nd Street Moon, Maria in The Sound of Music at The Vallejo Music Theatre, Lucy Schmeeler in On the Town with The Diablo Theatre Company, and Edith in Blithe Spirit at MIRA Theatre Guild. She has studied acting with Studio A.C.T and Nancy Berwid, voice with Scarlett Hepworth, and is a current member of Bay-Area- based Le CanCan Bijou, The Decobelles, and The Stark Ravens Historical Players.

Free admission; Donations to support the production of the play are welcomed and appreciated.