Page 1

A Great Collaboration Urban Possibilities & The Geffen Playhouse Our Loving Thanks!

Our partnership with the Geffen Playhouse has become an essential part of our curriculum. With each class, it grows richer, deeper and expands to impact the lives of more adult students in the Skid Row community. We are eternally grateful for the unwavering support of Regina Miller, Ellen Catania, Jessica Brusilow Rollins, Kristen Smith Eshaya and the dedication of brilliant teaching artist Connor White and Jennifer Zakkai. Now as we team up with great job centers like Chrysalis, our collaboration has evolved to arm students with the crucial right-brained skills that boost job success. Data from two Federal Reserve Bank researchers show we are moving in the right direction. Thy examined ten years of employment data and discovered the largest gain have been in jobs that require “people skills, emotional intelligence, imagination and creativity.” The kinds of muscles that become strong through the disciplines of writing, theatre and performance. So, If it is true that we are moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age where imagination and storytelling will define us, together we are ahead of the curve. So from all of us at Urban Possibilities – thank you! We couldn’t do it without you and here’s a special thank you from just some of the students whose lives you’ve deeply touched. . . Craig Johnson & Eyvette Jones Johnson Founders of Urban Possibilities

Dear Geffen Playhouse, Thank you so much for everything you have done during our class . You guys are far more than just a playhouse. Jennifer and Connor were fantastic and the David Mamet play that we saw…”American Buffalo” inspired me to refine my own voice and writing skills. Kudos to the Geffen for setting the tone for thinking outside of the box and reaching out to those who might not normally get the chance to get involved with professional training. I hope the bond continues to grow and inspire…thanks for everything. David Lee Thompson

Jennifer, Connor, and the Geffen Playhouse when I was enrolled into the Empowerment class, I never thought such a treasure was hidden in this program. I feel different and strong enough to face the world now and in the future. Thank you for your patience, encouragement, and guidelines. God bless you. Lovingly, Carmen Alvarado

To the Geffen Playhouse, Jennifer, and Connor, Thank you for the time and effort you put into our class and for the great experiences that we have gotten from you. Thank you for all of the fun in Improv and how I learned the right way to perform from both of you. Thank you again Connor and Jennifer. I wish to see you always, share more experiences and let you know you have taught me a lot. I am out of words to tell you how grateful I am for what I have received from you. Thank you very much, Sally Shahine (You will always be with me in memory)

Thank you Geffen Playhouse for your valuable assistance to us at Urban Possibilities. I don’t believe we would be where we are today without your help. I personally have been able to experience a whole new world of creativity by attending plays at the Geffen Playhouse. You will never be forgotten. Michael K. Dorsey, Sr. Graphic Designer/Artist, MKDgraphics

Jennifer and Connor – Thank You! I cannot begin to say all that I appreciate about all the experiences of working with you! First, I wish to thank the Geffen Playhouse for the generous donation of tickets. They are gifts of such value that no price tag can be placed on them. I also thank you for the time you spent with us in preparation for our show! It was priceless!!! I am sure I can speak for everybody in saying that all of these experiences have been unbelievably wonderful. It’s like opening the window and letting out a bird to fly! I hope this is not the last time we see each other and I wish you much success! Esther Alejandro

To the Geffen Playhouse, the house where dreams are made - And to Connor and Jennifer, I want to personally thank you for helping us take the stage and in setting the pace. My blessings go out to the both of you. May you both continue to be successful in all that you do. The both of you are in a class all by yourself and may life treat you well. Thanks to the both of you for making my dreams a reality. Mark Gilmore

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to see “American Buffalo� and the chance to work with the wonderful Connor and Jennifer. They have such great energy and experiences. It was fun and I look forward to future ventures with the Geffen Playhouse. Thanks so much for the opportunity. Love, Eileen Knight

Jennifer & Connor, I thank you so much for selflessly giving of your precious time and sharing your much needed talent exercises and vocal techniques. Woo hoo! Respectfully, Tabia Salimu

Much love, much respect, good looking out… Thanks for being patient with us, especially my crazy, cool self. Thanks for taking the time out of your lives to empower our lives. Connor and Jennifer y’all some cool mofo’s. Much success and Continue blessing us! Joe Perry

Geffen Playhouse, Thank you to all the parties involved for allowing us the opportunity to participate in watching and experiencing “The Gift�. It gave me the feeling of wanting to partake in the Performing Arts. Being on stage for my Urban Possibilities reading left me feeling like I could do anything! It would have never come into fruition if I had not been invited by the Geffen to see what it is like to get on stage and get lost into your character. When you support the students from the Los Angeles Mission/Urban Possibilities class there is an out pouring of gladness in the hearts of many hurting people living on Skid Row. May God richly bless you for your kindness and compassion. Sincerely, Gabriel Contreras

I am so grateful to Connor and Jennifer for all their support with the Urban Possibilities Empowerment class. The experience was unbelievable, the energy of the night and the exhilaration I felt was something I have never experienced. It was so awesome to be a part of a group that otherwise would not mix and to feel the compassion and empathy of my fellow classmates. It helps me feel the same within myself. Thank you for everything that you have done for me and the class! Christian Lofland

Throughout my whole life I only been on stage twice, both of them during the end of the Urban Possibilities Empowerment class. Connor and Jennifer really exposed the man in me that I’d never met before. The Improv classes helped me to be prepared on stage. Without the help of Connor and Jennifer, I would have not performed the way I performed. My mom and dad, sisters and friends watched a superstar on stage. I feel like a superstar because I am. (hello!) It really feels good to speak on stage with an attitude! Thank you Geffen Playhouse, for teaching me the tools and providing me the lectures and time. It is a gift that keeps on giving. Thank you! Dimson Velasco

I have always loved theatre and have always been interested in acting and being on stage. I took a couple of acting and theatre classes in college as well. I can honestly say that I never experienced anything like I have experienced with the Geffen Playhouse and their teaching artists. They were the most fun, exciting and awesome teachers I’ve ever had! Connor was so animated amd made me feel comfortable with the things we were doing. Jennifer was great as well, and really knows what she was talking about. The Improv class was so much fun and really taught me a lot about being relaxed, confident and animated on stage. I improved so much because of that class. I was able to think outside the box. The plays were fantastic and I had so much fun, but they couldn’t compare to actually being on stage. It felt like a dream! I loved being able to share my story with an audience. Thank you so much Geffen Playhouse, for all that you do! Qiana Williams

To the Geffen Theater: I would like to honestly say that due to Urban Possibilities and the Geffen Playhouse I have changed. See I was an individual who could not get to say anything -let alone two words. I’ve spent a lot of years in prison. But because of the examples you have given me - shown by both your actions and words - it gave me permission to express myself like I did that night and I am forever grateful! So thank you Geffen Playhouse and especially Connor and Jennifer! As far as being on stage I was very proud and it brought out the real me and there’s so much more to come. Larry Best

To the Geffen Playhouse, the experience I had on stage was wonderful it was good to be up there. It made me feel very powerful to do what I did. I want to thank you so much for Connor and Jennifer for their support with the rehearsals, because without them It wouldn’t have been possible for me to express the most inspiring part for me. Charlie Marlow

Thank you Geffen Playhouse, for the opportunity to attend “The Gift”. It was my 1st play and an awesome experience. I would especially like to thank Connor and Jennifer for their support. I enjoyed the humor and Improv tactics they used to help me prepare for my Urban Possibilities performance. It has been an absolutely unforgettable experience! I’ve been inspired to keep writing and maybe even do some acting. It felt so good to be on stage, to see everyone so proud and happy to see me do a good job. That’s something different for once. Made me feel like I could really fly! Thank you and much love Alvin Pierre

Being on that stage with all the attention and eyes focused on me was almost indescribable! Just before I walked up onto the stage my heart was beating like a drum, feeling the vibrations echo in my throat. The moment I stepped up to the podium all the stress and nervousness disappeared, replaced with confidence. I was able to spit out some rhymes and let it just roll. Afterwards I could not believe the feeling of accomplishment that overwhelmed my soul. I actually was proud of myself and that is a feeling that has been missing for years. I now am looking forward to the next time I get to stand up on stage to share thoughts and experiences from my heart and my life. Chris Claypool

To the Geffen Playhouse, I would like to personally thank you all for being involved in my experience with the Urban Possibilities Empowerment class at the LA Mission. Thank you so much for allowing Conner and Jennifer to coach us. They are very personable and strong in their gift. They are seasoned professionals. We learned so much from them, from coming to the Geffen to see “The Gift”, to the rehearsal, to the coaching and finally the performance “unchained”! I am so still overwhelmed by the whole experience and will never forget it. It has forever changed my life. Thank you so much for being a part of this life changing experience for me. God bless you all! Derwin Woods

Thank you so much Connor and Jennifer for coming and helping with my piece. I would never have or never could have done this without you I just don’t know how to say thank you for being there and for your support. I will never forget you. I just felt so alive on that stage. God bless both of you Damont Webb

“So if it is true that we are moving from the Information age to the Conceptual Age where storytelling and imagination define us, then together we are ahead of the curve�

UP Alumni Student–Michael K. Dorsey is an artist, a budding leader in his community and an entrepreneur. He has overcome the hardest times you can imagine to get there – 40 years of addiction, with times of incarceration and homelessness. Michael is a testament to our work together. Our access to Geffen Playhouse plays, teaching artists and opportunities is a bold investment in the imagination of inner-city men and women which pays dividends. This affirmation he wrote in class one day shows the power of that ... I have unleashed the power of mind over matter The soul over ego, the spiritual over physical My creativity is the catalyst for the acquisition of my dreams.


This Report was produced by Michael K. Dorsey, owner of MKD Computer Services. U R B A N P O S S I B I L I T I E S

Urban Possibilities / Geffen Playhouse Collaboration  

A special thanks from Urban Possibilities writing class students