The Pope Joan Company


Production Team

MICHAEL BUTLER (Producer) is best known as the force that brought the world famous hit musical HaiR to Broadway, thus distinguishing it as the most notorious production of its time, and breaking new ground in musical theatre. Several songs from HaiR went on to become top 40 hits and today retain their place among all-time popular American classic rock songs. Mr. Butler’s involvement with theatre also includes work on Lenny, The Golden Apple, West Side Story, Cantonsville 9, and Reggae on Broadway. His accomplishments are hardly limited to the entertainment industry. He has filled civic roles in both local and national politics and has been twice listed as an enemy on President Richard Nixon’s “Enemies List.” He has served as Special Advisor to Senator John F. Kennedy on the Middle East, Chancellor of the Lincoln Academy, Commissioner of the Port of Chicago, President of the Organization of Economic Development in Illinois, PA to Governor Otto Kerner, President of the Illinois Sports Council, and he was a Democratic Candidate in Du Page County for the State Senate.

323.960.4412 x2

CHRISTOPHER MOORE (Book, Lyrics, Music) is a playwright under contract to Michael Butler Productions. He is the recipient of the Joseph Jefferson Award for Production, Direction, and New Work, and has directed his own work as the inaugural offering of The Mercury Theater in Chicago.
BO CROWELL (Director and Choreographer) has been in theatre for all of his rememebering. Studied modern dance and movement principals at Roger Wiliams College with Kelli Davis and Gary Shore. Danced with Alvin Ailey Dance Co and Senta Driver’s Post Modern-Harry Dance Co. Studied in NY at the Merce Cunningham Studios. Santa Fe Dance Foundation, starred in Sue West’s modern ballet The Dry Spell in Santa Fe, funded by a grant from the National Endowment as a Benefit for Farm Aid. In LA, he danced for Louise Reichlin and Dancers. One of the founding members of The Candlefish Theatre Co where he produced, directed, acted, and/or designed all of their seasons. There in 1998, he met Michael Butler while doing a critically acclaimed run of HaiR which took him to Moscow where he lived for four months while directing and choreographing the first ever version of the rock musical which is still being performed. He is also a touring video technician and has toured the world with such bands as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Santana, Depech Mode, Metallica, Motley Crue, and Kelli Clarkson, to name a few. He recently won the prestigious LA Weekly award for best Musical and Best Choreographer for his fortirth anniversary of HaiR.
RANDY BOWSER (Musical Arrangement) wrote Dorian-The Remarkable Mister Gray (book, lyrics, music) which was produced in Oregon in 2008, and is now in rehearsals in Moscow.
BRIAN MURPHY (Musical Director) continues to collaborate with the creators of original musicals in various capacities - music director, conductor, vocal arranger, and orchestrator - including Morris Bobrow’s Party of One, Mark and Brian Karmelich’s Jesus’ Kid Brother, Genga Productions’ Tight Quarters, Matt Goldsby’s If Only... , Ron Weiner’s Internet Dating: The Musical, Wayland Pickard’s Is This Any Way to Start a Marriage? , Jerry Sternbach’s Mommy, Mommy: The Musical...Musical, Great Expectations on the Hudson Backstage, and Nymphony in 12-D for Playwrights 6. Brian’s other music direction credits include the inaugural production of the Covina Center for the Performing Arts, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the Colony, William Finn’s Elegies: A Song Cycle for Workman Arts & Entertainment, and Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along at the West Coast Ensemble (Garland Award). He reprised his role as music director of Merrily for the Reprise! series at UCLA, a production which starred Teri Hatcher, Jean Louisa Kelly, Stella Stevens and Hugh Panaro.
SHON LEBLANC (Costume Designer) has designed over 600 productions in Los Angeles and throughout the US. He has garnered 6 Garland awards, a Drama Critics Circle Award, LA Weekly award, Ovation Award (Theatre Neos’ The Women), 9 Drama-Logue awards, the LAVC and Garland award for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with James Barbour and Lynne Wintersteller at NOHO Arts, and NAACP nomination for Bluebonnet Court. He recently won the LADCC award for The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore at the Fountain Theatre. In 2006, Shon designed 6 world premiere productions, including Manor of Trust, Equinox, One Way Ticket to Hell, Lizard, Conjunto, Bluebonnet Court, and the west coast premiere of Friends like These with Donna Mills. Shon owns Valentino’s Costumes in Los Angeles, and teaches Costume Design at the Academy of Art University.
BRENT MASON (Set Designer) Born and raised in Perth, Australia, where at the age of 10 watched a TV special on the making of The Empire Strikes Back, where he was inspired by the designs of the film sets. This drove him to pursue collage at the Edith Cowan Academy of Performing Arts, studying in Production and Design. After Graduating in 1991, Brent realized that there was little film or theater in Perth, and endeavored to travel to America where he got a job as head of the scene shop at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts summer camp where in one summer over 70 theatrical productions are put on over 12 weeks. Here he honed in on his design and theatrical painting skills. Every summer Brent enjoys the challenge of putting up bigger and better shows at French Woods. During the winter, Brent started to make his break into small film productions and ultimately settled down to freelance at various high schools such as Milken Community High School and Crossroads School of the arts, teaching technical theater to students and putting up productions at those schools. During that time freelancing there, Brent also has worked on several music videos, movie theatrical displays, television, and feature films. Brent continues to enjoy working his roots in theater and film and looks forward to upcoming productions in the near future.
JEREMY PIVNIK (Lighting Designer) has designed numerous productions, both locally and nationally, with such theatres and with such companies as the Pasadena Playhouse, The Colony, The El Portal, The Theatre @ Boston Court, International City Theatre, Echo Theatre Company, The Road Theatre Company, Playwright’s Arena, Metrostage, and The Rubicon Theatre Company, as well as in such cities as Washington, DC, San Francisco, and New York. He has been nominated for and received numerous awards, including the LA Drama Critics Circle Award, a 2008 Ovation Award, and Angstrom Award for Career Achievement.
REBECCA KESSIN (Sound Engineer) Recent sound designs include the upcoming production of The Graduate (West Coast Ensemble), Miss Witherspoon (West Coast Ensemble), Kiss of the Spiderwoman (Havok Theatre Company), She Loves Me (Rubicon Theatre Company), Educating Rita (The Colony), OCHSA Season Finale! (Orange County Performing Arts Center), Music from a Sparkling Planet (West Coast Ensemble), and the award winning film Zombie Love. Rebecca holds an MFA in Sound Design from the California Institute of the Arts.
BYRON J. BATISTA (Wig Master) Byron has just returned from Maine where he spent the last three seasons as Wig Master/Wardrobe Supervisor for over 13 shows. Byron has been a Star Dresser with the Los Angeles Opera, Opera Pacific, Wicked/LA and Phantom of the Opera, as well as Les Miserables in Concert and dressing Lorna Luft at the Hollywood Bowl. He also toured as the Star Dresser with the First National Tour of Hairspray! Other recent local productions include Shanghi Moon, Waiting for Godot, Night of the Iguana, Man of La Mancha, and Loot. Currently he is working on Stormy Weather with Leslie Uggams and is looking forward to Taming of the Shrew, and Sweeney Todd.
CLAIRE DUNLAP (Associate Producer) has been involved in many critically acclaimed as well as award winning theatre productions including the 40th anniversary production of HaiR with Michael Butler and Bo Crowell in which she was given a producer award for Best Musical 2007, LA Weekly Awards. Other producer/acting credits include Faith after Dark (Dir. B. Crowell-LA Weekly recommended), The Rimers of Eldrich by Lanford Wilson (Dir. B. Crowell-LA Weekly Pick of the Week), Mandy’s Yearbook, Action Heroes, The Vagina Monologues, and Ink, among others. Favorite roles include Loose Knit (Meg) by Theresa Rebeck, Fool for Love (May) by Sam Shepard, and The Tempest (Trinculo) by William Shakespeare. Claire has produced and acted at The Candlefish, Jewel Box, Met, and Stella Adler Theatres in Los Angeles and various others in Santa Barbara.
LEIGH MCLEOD FORTIER (Producer) -- Plays produced by Leigh have garnered over 20 LA Weekly Awards (including LA Weekly best musical, Medea, the Musical), over 10 NAACP Awards (16 Nominations), three of the five GLAAD Media Awards nominations for Best Play in one season (including award recipient Medea, the Musical), and numerous Backstage West Awards. Highlights include the smash hit The Very Worst of Varla Jean Merman and Burn This (directed by Jessica Kubzansky at the Odyssey Theatre), along with multiple award winning plays The Talented Tenth directed by Oz Scott and starring Robert Guillaume at the Hudson Avenue Theatre, Up The Mountain by Kevin Arkadie (numerous producer awards and LA Times 10-Best), and Kathy and Mo: The Dark Side starring Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney at the Henry Fonda Theatre. Other productions include The New Bozena (directed by Rainn Wilson), Walking the Blonde (presented by Kathy Bates and Sharon Gless), Snakebit by David Marshall Grant (nominated for GLAAD Media Award), and Jimmy Tingle’s Uncommon Sense both at the Coast Playhouse. Leigh co-created and produced the hit musical A Gay Christmas Carol (GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Production), and produced Streamers, and Christmas with the Crawfords at the Hudson. Until recently, Leigh served as the Co-Artistic Director of four Hudson Theatres along with founder Elizabeth Reilly and remains co-chair of the Hudson Theatre Board-of-Directors. Currently, Leigh is Founder and President of Plays411, a full-service theatrical production company and ticket agency.
MELINA FRANKS (Production Stage Manager) is new to the LA area, coming from the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. She is very honored to be a part of this wonderful production and is extremely thankful to the producers and directors of this production for giving her this opportunity. Melina has staged managed productions at Monterey Peninsula College’s Morgan Stock Theater and the Pacific Repertory Theater of Carmel, including such shows as Quilters, Communicating Doors, Our Town, Kiss Me Kate, and The Vagina Monologues. She holds three Associates Degrees, in Acting, Directing, and Technical Theater from Monterey Peninsula College, and has been an on-call Union Technician for the International Alliance for Theatrical Stage Employees Local 611 for 5 years. Melina brings her experience built in Monterey and hopes to share every bit of it with everyone she meets in Los Angeles and Orange County.
HEATHER SORENSEN (Sound Board Operator) has worked on education versions of Songs for a New World, Sweeney Todd, and Les Miserables. She has also worked on original productions That Untraveled World and Blu, and professionally at various venues at SeaWorld San Antonio. She is currently attending the California Institute of the Arts and majoring in Sound Design.

The Pope Joan Company Principal Players

The Pope Joan Company Ensemble

back to the homepage

Care to comment or leave a message? Visit the Pope Joan Post Office
Register now for updates and information!