CRC Entertainment Press Release

Theatre Areas: Hollywood , Los Angeles , Los Feliz, Eagle Rock, Glendale , Burbank ,

West Hollywood and the Valley

Write Act Repertory continues its 2010 mainstage season with

Brooklyn, USA

Based on true events of Murder, INC. in New York City during the 1930’s – 1940’s.

Write Act Repertory and Producing and Artistic Directors John Lant and Ken Cosby with producer Anne Mesa in association with CRC Entertainment and Lois Shaffer Oda, proudly announce their production of Brooklyn, USA as the Write Act Rep 2010 Season continues. This compelling bio-play chronicles the infamous principle characters of Murder, INC. and will have an extended engagement at the Write Act Repertory Theatre officially opening Saturday May 15th to Saturday July 31st, 2010.

This is a true story based on real events of Murder Incorporated, the enforcement arm of America ‘s crime syndicate. With mobsters like Bugsy Siegel, Lepke Buchalter, Albert Anastasia, Abe “Kid Twist” Reles, “Pittsburgh” Phil Strauss, Frank “Dasher” Abbandando, and Harry “Happy” Maione. They formed the firing squad of a national underworld cartel that controlled gambling, unions, loan-sharking and narcotics from the end of Prohibition through the 1950’s across America . Centered in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn , at the height of its efficiency under Lepke and Anastasia, “Lord High Executioner”, Murder, INC. was responsible for thousands of killings coast to coast. Even though guns and knives were used, more imaginative methods like live cremation, slow strangling, quicklime, and live burials were the killing methods that each man made his MO mark with. Some victims were serenaded with a chorus of “Oh bury me not, in old Canarsie,” or were tortured with unbelievable brutality by skillful killers like “ Pittsburgh ” Phil, expertly inserting an ice pick into a “bum’s” ear, scrambling his brains, making it appear like a cerebral hemorrhage to the most seasoned coroner.

This is a story of crime by remorseless killers committed in the name of greed, against those who had run afoul of the cartel and anyone who threatened its existence, and of those good people who would stand up against the Syndicate. Those few individuals who refused to live in fear, dreaming of a better life at a time when their families fleeing from the tightening strangle hold of the Nazis in Europe was peaking. At its climax, a world broken by one stool pigeon whose first-hand knowledge of dozens of killings would send four men directly to the electric chair, including the biggest fish of all, Lepke Buchalter.

“What an amazing opportunity to produce a work of this magnitude,” states Producing Artistic Director John Lant. “I am extremely excited that this lost gem was brought to my attention by Rico Simonini (playing Smiley) and Director TJ Castronovo. As Brooklyn natives, their excitement and passion about a very big part of our American History and local legend was apparent in our open dialogue about Write Act Rep having to do this play. I look forward to having this be our first play that plays an extended performance schedule for over two months, giving it time to breathe and develop, instead of cutting off its legs due to a shortened production run.

My desire is Write Act Rep can offer our members a place of artistic safety, cultivating an environment to challenge themselves and others that they work with. The realized goal of this project is to perpetuate an enriching live theatre experience by being able to perform for more than just six weeks. We have been very fortunate that St. Stephen’s and Father Jamie Edwards-Acton allows us the chance to build a patron base as we move into our 12th Season. With the support of patrons, the artistic and socially conscious community, our wonderful company members and original scripts, I am very proud of the collaboration between all of our artists and the Write Act Rep Staff that makes a special project like this happen.”

CONTACT: Anne Mesa 310.721.9660

Brooklyn USA opens at the beautifully rebuilt Write Act Repertory Theatre on the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church campus, located at 6128 Yucca Avenue in Hollywood , two blocks east of the famous Capitol Records building near Gower and Franklin off the 101 Freeway. Free ample parking is located one block south in the lower church parking lot at 6125 Carlos Street . The theatre, which features an outdoor patio reception area, is both air-conditioned and heated. Seating is limited. Refreshments preceding and following the show.


8 PM, Thursdays through Saturdays from Thursday May 13th – Saturday July 31st, 2010.

(not playing Memorial Day or July 4th Weekends)

Press Opening Saturday May 15th, 2010. Cocktail reception preceding and following the show.

Tickets are $25; $20 discount tickets for Seniors, Students, and Groups.

For reservations, call (323) 469 – 3113

For further information please check our website at

The Team includes Director TJ Castronovo – Produced by Anne Mesa, John Lant with Write Act Repertory – Lighting Design by Mark Baker.

Thomas J Castronovo, Director, is a Brooklyn native who came out to LA and made his film debut in the mobster classic Mad Dog Cole (1961), a film which featured then little known actors Gene Hackman, Telly Savalas, and Jerry Orbach. In addition to an acting career, he went on to produce and direct film and television including the series Tales from the Dark Side. A student of Michael Chekhov and member of the Actors Studio Directors’ Unit, TJ is known for directing and developing new works for the stage and is listed as original director and producer on several published works by Samuel French. He recently returned from New Orleans where he introduced and directed two works for the stage and with his producing partners has several projects in development for both the stage and screen.

John Bright, Playwright, was born in 1908 in Baltimore . He began his career at age 13 as a newspaper copy-boy; later becoming a crime reporter and biographer. Bright first teamed with writing partner Kubec Glasmo as co-author of gangster stories. The pair penned films with the landmark crime melodrama The Public Enemy (1931) that also launched the career of James Cagney. Other Warner Bros. movies of the period on which Bright and Glasmon collaborated include: Blonde Crazy (1931), Taxi (1932), The Crowd Roars (1932) and Three on a Match (1932). With Glasmon, Bright helped form the Screen Writers Guild, now Writers Guild of America. Then Bright teamed up with New York newspaper writer, eventual wartime correspondent, and playwright Asa Bordages to write Brooklyn USA, a story inspired by the real life assassination of a union leader by the syndicate. Bright’s final screenwriting credit before being blacklisted in the 1950s was The Brave Bulls (1951). After years of self-exile in Mexico , Bright returned to the U.S. and worked as literary advisor for Bill Cosby’s production company and continued to advocate for writers until his death in 1989.

Brooklyn USA was first performed on Broadway (at what is now the Eugene O’Neil Theatre) in 1941, receiving critical acclaim before closing with the US entry into World War II. Due to his blacklisting during the witch hunts of the 1950’s, Bright’s works, including Brooklyn USA, were also shelved, never to be performed. Director TJ Castronovo revived the play in the 1970’s in Los Angeles and received the Dramalogue award for best director and ensemble. This is the third known production of this unpublished work upon which Warner Brothers based film classics such as Murder Inc., and The Enforcer.

The Cast Includes: Will Beinbrink*, Danitha Bockoven, Ryan Christiansen, Johnny Crear, Adriana DeMeo*, David Doman, Stevie Guttman, Shelly Kurtz*, Louie Liberti, Elisabeth Noone*, Vince Palmieri, Bud Sabatino, Rico Simonini* and Johnny Williams.

Alternate Cast Includes: Aaron Berjohn, Carlyn Blount, Steve Castello, Diane Chernansky, David DiBrienza, Joshua Fanaroff*, Gregory Guardino, Pepper Jay, Stefan Lysenko, Philip Matthew McCann, Chris Muto, Kevin Olsen, Joe Sabatino and Jack Seal*. (*Appears courtesy of Actors Equity Association)

CONTACT: Anne Mesa 310.721.9660


Press Opening Saturday May 15th and runs through Saturday July 31st, 2010.

No Performance on Memorial Day and July 4th Weekends

8:00 PM – Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Box Office opens at 7:30 PM

(All Performances will feature a “Meet and Greet the Artists” reception following the show.)


Write Act Repertory Theatre

6128 Yucca Avenue

Hollywood CA 90028

(North of Vine Street – two blocks east of the Historic Landmark Capitol Records Building )

Free Parking in the lot on the south side of St. Stephen’s Church on 6125 Carlos Street


General Admission: $25

Discounted Rate: $20 (Seniors / Students / Groups)

Refreshments included (refreshments may be taken into the theatre.)

INFORMATION & RESERVATIONS: For information visit us at

Call: (323) 469 – 3113

Reservations Suggested

General Admission Seating


Press & Publicity: Anne Mesa (Producer) – 310.721.9660 – Additional Information: Write Act Repertory continues its 2009 – 2010 Mainstage Productions with Brooklyn USA by John Bright & Asa Bourges and The Persians adapted by Robert Auletta. Off-night series of plays include The Coffee Club by David Zimmerman, That Hootchie by Shoshannah, and Karma –The Mus

CRC Entertainment
10806 Ventura Blvd, Suite 5
Studio City CA 91604
Tel: 818-487-0700
Fax: 818-487-1445

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