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Impact Report

Your generosity: Brought lasting hope, skills and grit to youth living with unconscionable challenges and lack of resources across Los Angeles. Helped schools move from the lowest performing in the nation to being recognized on

US News & World Report’s list of the best. Helped veterans soar. Helped us all think, feel, act and love better, bigger and bolder.


FOR EXAMPLE, For example, this young woman, a recent graduate from the Geffen’s year-long, rigorous arts education and writing program offered to high school students in Watts and Boyle Heights, is now attending UCLA.

She credits the skills, perspective and “jumpstart” she received from the Geffen with getting her on the path to becoming the first in her family to apply to college — and to being accepted into such an outstanding university as UCLA.

Improving the quality of life for all of us by sharing the beauty and power of live theater and the exceptional artists who make it possible with as many youth and adults in need as possible.

The set for “Significant Other� at the Geffen Playhouse

The Geffen’s Education & Community Engagement Pro-





Through your generosity, more than one thousand youth gained mind and heart-opening learning and life experiences through the Geffen’s High Partnerships Program, HIGHSchool SCHOOL PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM a year-long, immersive and enduring experience centered upon attending a season of plays at the Geffen and working with Geffen artists to unlock their creative and critical thinking skills, and to help catapult and support their hopes and dreams.

Thanks to you young people growing up in some of LA’s most soul-crushing neighborhoods experienced the joy and power of live theater

for the first time in their lives.

After this play, I see things in a whole new perspective. I don’t feel so alone now.

— 10th grader from Van Nuys High

Will Von Vogt and Concetta Tomei in “Significant Other”

Marcel Spears and Marin Ireland in “Ironboun


Ironbound was a great play. It had many underlying themes and struggles of motherhood and being poor. My favorite element of the play was witnessing the character of Darja

I felt as though I was learning and growing right along with her character.

grow as a Polish immigrant.

“I learned from this play

that money isn’t everything

you need in this world, even though it’s a necessity.

Ironbound was very raw and realistic. My family has faced similar obstacles when trying to get jobs, obtain money,

I’m glad I could take away something from seeing it, even if I am not Polish.

and hitting rock bottom. It was all so real, and

Arye Gross after performing in “Underneath the Lintel: An Impressive Presentation of Lovely Evidences�

Thanks to your generosity, youth attending schools where arts programs have been slashed

finally discovered what participating in the arts can bring to their lives.


Everyone should have the ability to know

what seeing a play is like and the importance of understanding someone else's story,


instead of just their own. —10th Grader from Westchester High


This past year, students had the privilege of experiencing Emergency,

written and

performed by Daniel Beaty. In his one-person show, Daniel brings multiple characters to life through an astonishing array of physical and vocal skills, as they respond to a slave ship suddenly rising up in front of the Statue of Liberty. Through this juxtaposition, he explores external and internal oppression and what it means to be free.

In Daniel’s performance and comments during a talk back afterwards, our high school students encountered a powerful voice addressing societal wrongs with insight, humor and humanity. His approach to helping students create original monologues informed a series of workshops given by Geffen Teaching Artists, who guided students to write about difficult situations in life or society changing for the better and to present their monologues with conviction. In addition to appreciating the opportunity to express themselves artistically and authentically, many students, realizing their classmates also had struggles, noted they no longer felt alone.

Daniel’s influence on our students — as an artist, educator, activist and human being — is a testament to the power of the arts to inspire a sense of agency within individuals and connection among community members and to dare everyone to dream.

— Jennifer Zakkai, Director of Education & Community Engagement

Thanks to you young people were able to see plays that opened up their minds and hearts to whole new perspectives and possibilities in life.


Emergency was completely jaw-dropping. I

felt like

a different person after seeing it.


Seeing Emergency greatly impacted me. As a young black woman, I could understand and relate to the characters and their individual struggles.

It forced me to consider the fact that much of the burden I have, I place on myself. It made me more community-minded and hopeful.

This play served as a call-to-action for individuals to define and search for what makes them free. Emergency really changed my view of the world. I didn’t want the play to end.

Emergency was an amazing play that allowed me to think about things from a different point of view.

It opened

up so many new perspectives not only for me but for all of my classmates. I

learned that no matter the

circumstances, you can still be great if you work towards it.

Geffen Playhouse Teaching Artists Darien Battle, Brian Allman, Michael McClain, Tara Ricasa, Robert Paterno, Ramy El-Etreby, Jessica Winward, Caris Not pictured: Celia Rivera

ssa Pinckney, and David Guerra.

Your generosity brought highly gifted and inspiring teaching artists into the lives of the youth.

What the students would like you to know:

From working with the Geffen’s teaching artists I learned that there is way more to the world than we know and think there is.

I learned that you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. And believe me,

I was VERY uncomfortable, but in a good way.

Thanks to you youth who have never been more than a few miles from where they live got to experience other parts of Los Angeles and

feel that they are part of a larger community that cares about them and has profoundly invested in their success.

“care about us.

What surprised me is how much all of these people


To you from one of their teachers

Thank you for making the Geffen’s plays available to the youth of Los Angeles.

Many of my students are suffering the effects of poverty, including displacement and abuse. Being

a part of the Geffen’s High School Partnerships Program this year absolutely helped address these challenges. The plays dramatized some of the struggles that marginalized

My students felt affirmed and inspired by the narratives on stage.

people face.

The greatest impact of the program has been how it inspired my students in the way that only art can. The plays combined multiple themes that we explore in English Language Arts, so the program was closely tied to our work in class. This whole experience has reminded me that my students live in an insular community. They crave new opportunities. Thank you for the incredible opportunities you’ve given our students. —Iona Cano, English Language Arts Teacher Lennox Academy, Inglewood

Thanks to your generosity, more than 1,000 high school students were able to participate in and benefit from the Geffen’s yearlong High School Partnerships Program, including students from: Santee Education Complex in South LA, Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, Lennox Academy in Inglewood, Van Nuys High School and Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet.

Your generosity made it possible for us to expand and deepen our High School Partnerships Program this past year, by having more students witness the art on Geffen Playhouse stages and engage in learning experiences designed around each show. For students in drama classes, attendance at plays leads to encounters with writing, directing, performance, and design at the highest levels. Those in English classes often focus on how they empathize with the plays’ characters, or on how they relate to the cultural and historical contexts of each story. All students engage in creative activities, connect deeply to the themes of the plays, and back up their opinions with reasons. Many come away from the program with enhanced appreciation for different points of view. In these ways, students

not only learn about theater, they also grow as human beings, thinkers, and citizens.

— Jennifer Zakkai, Director of Education & Community Engagement

Thank you for improving the lives of youth living in some of Los Angeles’ most disadvantaged communities. Your generosity opened up a whole new world of possibility, creativity and life-long participation in the arts for each and every one of these young people.

Thanks to you

Youth who barely believed they would make it through tenth grade, not only made it through, they developed the writing, critical thinking skills, creativity and confidence to stay in school and to get on a path to college.

THE GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE LITERACY PROJECT at Mendez High School in Boyle Heights and at Jordan High School in Watts

Thanks to you, youth

living in an area of Los Angeles

where more than 50% of their peers drop out of high school, where less than 5% of the adults have a college degree and where over 60% of the adults have less than a high school degree

achieved this: Completed a year-long rigorous program (The Geffen Playhouse Literacy Project) through which they developed solid skills in critical thinking, writing, and expressing their ideas that put them on a much more solid path to graduating from high school put them on a much more solid path to obtaining a higher education increased their understanding of their own strengths, humanity, potential and passions in life.

What the Literacy Project is not: Teaching youth how to read.

What it is: Helping youth discover, unlock and develop their critical thinking, creativity and writing skills — as well as their passion for the arts, for persistence, and for learning — through a year-long guided journey with plays, artists and expert writing coaches and a proven program the Geffen has built in collaboration with Mendez and Jordan High School educators, the UCLA Graduate School of Education, and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.

Mendez High School

Jordan High School

Your generosity invested in: Five trips to the Geffen Playhouse to experience live plays throughout the school year

time with the artists involved in each play.

Major classroom time throughout the year with world-class Geffen Playhouse teaching artists who helped students develop their creative courage and critical thinking skills as they responded to each play. Teaching artist David Guerra

Major classroom time throughout the year with world-class Literacy Coaches, trained by the Geffen and UCLA, who helped students learn how to write essays in response to each play. Literacy Coaches Heather Ward, Robin Axworthy and Negretta Freeman

Major classroom time throughout the year with Teacher Leaders from UCLA who provided one-on-one time with each student as well as support and training for each classroom teacher.

Teacher Leaders Lois Clark and Johnetta Fleming with Jordan High School Teacher Cait Cibulsky


“ “

The coaching was a massive support to me. I felt like I was being prepared for bigger things.

This project helped me to be more articulate. Before this, the sentences I would write would be so simple and dry. In addition, I would have ideas, but I just didn’t know how to put them on paper.

“ “

This project gave me the opportunity to learn how to express my ideas and it opened up a whole new perspective.

Working with the coaches was a highlight of the program for me.

Literacy Coach Robin Axworthy works with a student at Mendez High School

One-Student’s Story of Transformation, as told by his teacher

This past year, I worked as a teaching artist for the Geffen Playhouse Literacy Project at Jordan High School in Watts. I was lucky enough to witness the transformation of many students. One was a student named Pedro. Any form of public speaking was his worst nightmare. Throughout the year we gave him the opportunity to speak, implored him even, but

most days he was silent. On a good day, he would

provide a head nod, yes, or shake, no, from his hood-adorned head. We implemented a workshop where students self-scripted life-like scenes based on their relationships. We broke each class into groups in order to have more one-on-one time with the students and to give every student the opportunity to say a line on stage in front of their classmates. Pedro was in my group. When I explained to him that our goal was for him to say a line out loud in front of the class, he refused. Over the course of our four-day workshop I worked with him and scaffolded the rehearsals with him.

At first, he

whispered the line, then said it the classmate next to him, then out to me while I

was about 5 feet from him and then 10 feet, and then on stage when no one was listening. When the time came for him to say his line in the scene he said it out loud in front of the audience of his peers, clearly and proudly. I left that workshop feeling so proud of the progress that he had made. When I went back to the school to help facilitate student exit interviews a few weeks later, I was blown away! His

hood was down, he was carrying himself with confidence and answered all the interviewer’s questions with no issues. His voice was clear and strong. Seeing Pedro’s transformation gave me a great boost of confidence in the effectiveness of this work. It was a privilege to work at Jordan. All the students, not only Pedro, grew exponentially, and I was thrilled to witness it.

— Carissa Pinckney, Geffen Playhouse Teaching Artist


At Mendez High School, the Geffen Playhouse Literacy Project has shared in a joyous history of accomplishment. To help students sustain their careers in school and beyond, the Project began by addressing their lack of belief in themselves as successful learners and their gaps as writers and speakers. Six years later, as a positive school culture and student learning have flowered at Mendez, the Project still helps those with significant needs advance and also supports students in developing the confidence and skills to join AP classes and apply to 4-year colleges. Our commitment to working with schools as partners and customizing our program to best meet their needs, has guided our first-time replication of the Literacy Project at another educationally underserved high school — David Starr Jordan Education Complex in Watts. Students were guided in teaching artist and literacy coaching sessions to build a nourishing community and open themselves to guidance from talented and caring professionals designed to help them unleash their potential and place their much-needed voices in the world.

— Jennifer Zakkai Geffen Playhouse Director of Education and Community Engagement and Director of the Geffen Playhouse Literacy Project

To You from the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools:

On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors at Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your ongoing support of the Geffen’s Education Programs every season and for making our partnership with the Geffen Playhouse possible for eight years now! This past year, one of our highest-needs high schools, Jordan High School in Watts, embraced the full Geffen Playhouse Literacy Project in every 10th grade English class on their campus. This was a huge leap forward for the students. From the beginning of the school year to the end, our teachers and school leaders saw improvements in these 10th graders’ writing and communication skills, in their confidence and belief in themselves, and in their attitudes towards school overall – thanks, in part, to the Geffen’s master Teaching Artists and expert Literacy Coaches who dedicated hours upon hours to working with our students in their classrooms. Some students shared that the Teaching Artists helped them step out of their comfort zones and become more confident in communicating their ideas, while other students felt that working with the Literacy Coaches was the highlight of the program. One student expressed ‘I didn’t want to share at first. Now I raise my hand and volunteer to read my writing. I notice other students are doing it too.’

We know that the expansion of the Literacy Project to Jordan High School this past year was a significant investment for the Geffen Playhouse donors to make in our school and students. We are forever grateful for your commitment to our students and to this world-class arts organization that continues to change the lives of Los Angeles’s youth through theater, one day at a time. —Joan Sullivan Chief Executive Officer Partnership for Los Angeles Schools

We are forever grateful for your commitment to our students and to this world-class arts organization that continues to change the lives of Los Angeles’s youth through theater, one day at a time. —Joan Sullivan

Please read this:


Thank you for invigorating our campus with a deep love and appreciation for theater arts and for giving our students of Jordan High School this one-of-a-kind experience.

It is, without a doubt, life-changing.


Thanks to your generosity, students have a chance to awaken the writer within them through the Geffen’s Literacy Project and to take on a true active role in nurturing their voices. The small coaching groups the students work in provide even the quietest and most unsure students the opportunity to receive personalized mentorship to empower their words and writing.

Thank you for believing in theater. Thank you for believing in arts education. Thank you for believing in accessibility, inclusivity and the voices and perspectives of widely diverse communities. Your generosity helps people find their voices, develop friendships, and creates artists and life-long theater goers.

It is such a pleasure to witness them teaming up with their Literacy Coaches and getting down to the nitty and gritty of what makes their writing powerful.

You are integral in creating a magnificent legacy for the Los Angeles Community. Truly, all of the community and educational dreams and goals we have would not be possible without your personal contribution. Thank you!

—Joannarae Ibañez Geffen Playhouse Education Coordinator

— Celia Rivera Geffen Playhouse Teaching Artist and Community Engagement Coordinator

On behalf of every young person who is now much more solidly on a path to higher education and to the life of their dreams because of your generosity,

thank you.

The difference your support made to special populations of the most underserved through our LIGHTS UP PROGRAM

We believe that all people of all ages are entitled to experience the arts, to engage their imaginative powers, and to learn through the arts. We also realize that thousands in our community are completely left out of arts experiences, not only because they cannot afford them but also because they are not aware of how to access them or even what is available. We developed LIGHTS UP to address this gap in access to the arts and the unmet need for arts programs that serve adults, not just youth. But instead of simply opening our doors and offering free theater tickets on a first-come, first-served basis, we directed our outreach through L.A. social service organizations that serve disadvantaged and socially isolated young adults, adults and senior citizens. This past season, 47 nonprofits partnered with us to send group leaders to support the participation of their constituents who have the least access to the arts and who could benefit the most from such immersive, year-round opportunities to see plays, receive and read our Study Guides, attend workshops with our teaching artists, and meet and interact with Geffen playwrights, directors, designers and more. Target Audience: The most underserved, disadvantaged adult populations of Los Angeles County including: • Veterans who are recovering from PTSD and other major physical and emotional challenges as a result of their service; • Seniors who are socially isolated and economically disadvantaged; • Young adults who have recently transitioned out of foster care and who are without a support system; • Adults who are transitioning out of homelessness; • Adults who are challenged by serious health or physical issues, including those living with HIV/AIDS and those who are recent amputees.

Tyne Daly in “Chasing Mem’ries: A Different Kind of Musical”

After seeing Chasing Mem’ries, I had a great sense of relief, feeling I am not alone in my insanity after losing the love of my life. I feel the wind on my face again. And yes, like a breath of fresh air in my heart.

I loved the play. It touched a part of me I didn’t realize was still so fragile. The story, the lyrics, the emotions were spot on in telling this story. I am so glad I had the opportunity to experience this. Love really is the most important thing of all.

Will Von Vogt in “Significant Other”

‘Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.’ This play made me realize how each generation goes through this sometimes painful, sometimes successful search for love, family and happiness. It provoked mindfulness and appreciation of others.

This play made me think about the sweetness of friendships that help us accept what we are given in life, and inspire us to have the courage to create what we want for ourselves.

I loved the play and experienced the full gambit of emotions. Even though it was a historical piece, the topics are still relevant in 2018.

I was inspired by the characters’ fortitude, heartened by the family elements in the play and the deep connections, and happy that the play ended on the notes of love and hope.

I identified a lot with the characters and their struggles and their support of each other.

Kelly McCreary and Caroline Stephanie Clay in “Skeleton Crew”

After seeing this play, I felt a deeper connection with my parents. I really reflected upon my previous thoughts and actions having to do with my parents.

I was very moved by the relationship developed in the end by the mother and daughter. I also left the performance with a smile from laughing so much!

Halley Feiffer and Jason Butler Harner in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City”

Marin Ireland and Christian Camargo in “Ironbound�

This play made me think about all of the people in LA who may have come here from other countries and the assumptions we all make about their lives and daily existence. Everybody has a story and it is usually much more complex than we may realize. We constantly have to be reminded that ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover.’

I think the

play teaches very well the need for compassion for

people who are homeless. They have their story and it is usually very similar

to our own and what we have to do to survive.

As a survivor of domestic violence, this play had me thinking about events of my own past that I have not thought about for a long time. I hope we can soon live in a world that takes domestic violence more seriously and offers more resources and opportunities to women who are victims of abuse.


The foster youth we serve have never been to plays. And it is unlikely that they would make the effort to attend a play, as they have no idea of the magic that unfolds in a theater. So

without the generosity of the Geffen and its donors, this whole demographic of foster teens would never have this experience.

Our kids loved the plays. They were fascinated by the relationships and the loyalties.

The plays have a huge effect on them. They are mesmerized

that the actors are ‘right there’ on the stage. They are amazed that the actors have to deliver every line live and not make a mistake. It is really amazing to watch the kids light up with opinions and comments after seeing a play.

The whole experience of being in the beautiful theater, seeing a live performance and learning proper theater behavior is so important and gives them important cultural experiences.

—Kendall Wolf Executive Director, It’s Time For Kids

“extremely grateful We are

to the Geffen’s donors for all they give to brighten

the lives of so many seniors. We treasure this


— Barbara Harrison, St. Monica Senior Ministries

life and perspective have immensely “ My changed

since being able to participate in the Lights Up

Program. Years ago I was able to attend plays and concerts. I am now retired and not able to do so.

I was lost without this privilege until I became

involved with the Geffen’s Lights Up group.

My life and independence

have been enhanced 100%. I am indeed very grateful.

“ the great joys of my life.

Attending the incredible performances at the Geffen Playhouse is one of

At my age it’s difficult to remember everything but I am so delighted that I do not forget the plays that I see at the Geffen Playhouse. They stimulate me and keep my mind engaged and active.

Thank you.

Thank you for working beside us in the Skid Row community to bring students like Norma back to life. — Eyvette Jones-Johnson

Norma Eaton and Denise Hamilton from Urban Possibilities

Founder & Executive Director of Urban Possibilities

I am a survivor of domestic violence and homelessness. As a middleclass woman, I never imagined those circumstances would ever happen to me. But I felt like damaged goods, unrepairable, unlovable, and making plans to end my life.

When I joined Urban Possibilities, I had no idea the significant impact that writing and theatre would have on my life or that they would be key to my healing. The


Playhouse was life support for me. Attending plays allows us a chance to escape the pain of homelessness and hunger. The joy on our faces and laughter that fills the Geffen’s lobby is like a child opening a present on Christmas morning. A priceless moment.

I could write volumes about the power of working with the Geffen’s teaching artists to

transformative, magical and empowering. We will carry their lessons with us for the rest of our lives.

prepare us for the stage. Their work is

Words can’t express how life-changing your partnership with Urban Possibilities is and the emotional effect it has on individuals who are living in homelessness, joblessness and those of us who have suffered abuse and its traumatic effects.

Thank you for changing

lives, restoring voices and allowing individuals to come alive through your investment in Urban Possibilities and the power of theatre.

—Norma Eaton, Graduate & Program Coordinator, Urban Possibilities

On behalf of each and every person who was able to participate in the joy of theater arts because of your generosity, thank you.

The joy: • of experiencing first-hand the genius of a playwright or the awe-inspiring performance of an actor; • of experiencing that moment where you forget that you are even at a “play”; • of spending time with artists who want you to get as much as possible out of each play and who care about your responses to each play; • of expanding your mind through new ideas brought up by the play; • of challenging yourself to understand a point of view with which you disagree or had not thought of before; • of laughing; • of being with hundreds of others and going through something together; • of realizing that you are not alone; • of knowing that you are welcome at all times; • of knowing that this is your theater, too.

Daniel Beaty performing “Emergency”

The difference your support made to the veterans served through our


Daphne D. Wright, (U.S. Navy, Cryptologic Technician Operator)

The participants came from all of the branches of the military. They ranged in age from mid-twenties to late eighties.

Pictured above in top row, left to right are: Daphne D. Wright, Nathan Tetreault, Fred Arak, Charlene Medina, Nic Nassuet, and Tamara Graham. Bottom row are: Michelle Rivera and James Martinez

Thanks to your humanity and generosity: Veterans gained the opportunity to learn how to professionally write and perform their stories on our stage. Veterans who were struggling with re-entry into civilian lives uncovered stories of resilience, hope and support. Veterans learned how to turn their stories into assets. Audiences gained a much more authentic understanding of what veterans have experienced as well as the depth of our shared humanity. Veterans found peace, community, catharsis and joy.

86% of the audience reported that they

learned something entirely

new about veterans from attending this performance.

What those who experienced their stories would like you to know:

“ “ “

This was a spectacular performance.

Seeing this greatly widened my scope of reference about who are veterans are.

It broadened my understanding of veterans’ perspectives, struggles and triumphs.

“ “ “ “

Each story highlighted something so specific and personal, which shined a light on the humanity of veterans.

This deepened my compassion.

It brought their feelings, their fears, their vulnerability to the front for me.

I plan to encourage all my friends to attend next year’s performance.

Charlene Medina, (U.S. Army, Ammunition Specialist)

What the vets would like you to know:

“ “

This project really showed me that I can have a voice. I feel like I am a part of this community now. Thank you, Geffen donors.

Because of this program I was able to talk about how a sexual assault affected over 20 years of my life.

April Fitzsimmons, (U.S. Air Force, Intelligence Analyst), Artistic Director of our Vets Writing & Performance Project, with participants

Donors should know that I learned so much from this work, from the Geffen. In addition to learning how to write and perform, I also learned a lot from my fellow veterans about their experiences. The whole project was deeply inspiring.

This experience has made me embrace my disability more. I had a lot of tears writing my story and I revealed more about myself to the world than ever. This made me strong and more confident.

Nic Nassuet (U.S. Army, Counter-Intelligence Agent)

“A journey like no other.�

1 Finding my story

2 And my voice

Tamarra Graham (U.S. Navy, Psychologist)


Honing my performance skills

4 Performing for a live audience

Unforgettable memories

One Soldier’s Reflections and Gratitude:


I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserves 14 days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I was trained as a field radio operator. In 2003, our battalion was deployed to Kuwait in anticipation of the invasion of Iraq. We were attached to Task Force Tarawa during the invasion and established security in the city of An Nasiriyah. In 2005, I volunteered to return to Iraq for another deployment. For my actions during this deployment I was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. In 2012, I separated from the Marine Corps with an Honorable Discharge.

I believe that theatre is a tremendously powerful tool for all communities but especially for the veteran community. The history of western theatre begins with Greek soldiers returning from wars and telling stories. It is a way to process, to reflect, and to heal. Our modern western society has lost that sense of catharsis and it is truly a gift that the Geffen Playhouse has picked up the mantle to lead in this aspect. The Geffen’s programs allow veterans to be welcomed back into the community at large, to be recognized for their service and to know that they do not stand apart from anyone else, but that they are a vital part that makes up our whole society.

When I was invited to participate in the Geffen’s Veterans Writing and Performance Project, I was overjoyed to be included. Having the opportunity to reflect, write, and hone my personal story from my enlistment and first deployment was such a gift. And to have the experience of standing on that stage sharing my story with a packed house to an amazingly supportive audience is a memory that I will cherish for as long as I draw breath. To be asked to return to the Geffen as a Fellow with The Mission Continues and to become part of the Geffen family over the course of the six-month fellowship was a dream come true. Many places wave the flag and like to show how supportive they are of veterans and the military community, but the Geffen shows it daily.

There are too many magical and amazing moments that I’ve experienced at the Geffen that it is very difficult to select just one, from meeting Sir Anthony Hopkins as he dropped by to take a peek at the theatre, to witnessing the brilliant tributes to Lin-Manuel Miranda and Dick Van Dyke, to attending the opening night of A Christmas Carol, to being at Mendez High School and witnessing how the Geffen’s Literacy Project has helped students. But if I really had to select just one highlight it would be when I stood on the stage of the Gil Cates Theater and shared what I went through while wearing the uniform of a U.S. Marine.

As someone who has benefited first hand and who has witnessed how your generosity has helped so many others, I cannot express enough gratitude to you for your support and patronage.

— Brian Majestic (U.S. Marine Corps), Mission Continues Fellow & 2017 Participant of Veterans Writing & Performance Project

With love and gratitude to you from all of us hereincludin

We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the cultural life of Greater Los Angeles through plays and educational programs that inform, entertain and inspire.

We are proud to be formally affiliated with UCLA, and to be a Four-Star Charity, receiving the highest possible rating for fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability.

Our vital and vibrant education programs would not be possible without your

Your personal love of theater and belief in its transformational power inspires us and in turn leads directly to the inspiration of young minds across our city.


Theater must be for everyone, regardless of the contents of your bank account or the color of your skin. We come together to huddle in the dark and share human stories — to see our lives reflected on stage or to learn about other worlds, cultures, and perspectives.

To bring students into our theater is the greatest of joys — with every student performance, a new generation opens their eyes to the power and potential of theatre.

— Matt Shakman Geffen Playhouse Artistic Director

Through the generosity you extend to the Geffen Playhouse, you reach directly into the lives of our education and community engagement program participants. You provide access to the artistry and humanity presented on our stages and to discussions and activities that deepen the theatergoing experience. You make possible special performances and opportunities, such as student matinees and the Veterans Writing & Performance Project,

that support the growth and aspirations of those we serve. Your contributions to the Literacy Project affect the school careers, and, therefore, the futures of hundreds and hundreds of young people. Because you care, you are a positive presence in the lives of community members across Los Angeles.

—Jennifer Zakkai Director of Education and Community Engagement

My father was a principal in New York City public and private schools for almost 60 years. I learned early on that education was the key to unlocking students' potential and absolutely critical for the growth and development of our own humanity. My mother came to America when she was 15 and as an immigrant her stories and perspective on life were key to shaping my passion for loving all kinds of stories.

There’s something about everyone being in the same room and having a common experience that is powerful and increasingly rare. It warms my soul to think that 500 strangers arrive every night at the Geffen Playhouse, turn off their cell phones and come together over the art of storytelling. It gives me hope when I listen to students’ questions and read their essays prompted by our plays. We can disagree, love a play, hate a play, debate the ending, cry and laugh. But mostly, our humanity is challenged by the narrative. At times, stories can also heal us when we feel lost. Theater opens up our heart to different perspectives and cultures. I am grateful to everyone who supports our Education Programs. My heart is full. Thank you for giving so many students and community members the opportunity to gather and experience world class theater. —Regina Miller Chief Development Officer

I have been working at the Geffen Playhouse for 9 years – getting engaged, married and having my son while working here. As anyone involved with the Geffen will tell you, this is a very special place to be. I love that I work upstairs of a theater (if my 7 year old self could see me now!). I love the work that we do on our stage and am proud of the stories we tell. I love the people I work with, both my co-workers and donors like you! I love the phone calls and e-mails, sharing stories about our lives. I speak with some of the kindest and most generous people – what a great way to spend my week! Mostly though, I’m proud of the work we do in our community, especially with high school students. The first student matinee of the season is one of my favorite days of the year…The students who come in the building have all been prepped by their Teaching Artists to be here and to see the show, but the look on their faces when they walk into the building is so priceless. Most have never stepped outside of their neighborhoods and here they are, seeing a show (often for the first time). Some are dressed up and some are in school hoodies but the looks of awe are all the same. The first matinee is always a wee bit loud as the students are just learning to be audience members and their questions during the talk back are said with some hesitation as they speak with the actors they just watched on stage. Flash forward to the final matinee of the season and these students walk in like they own the building, confident that they belong. The questions they ask in the talk back are smart and confident showing all they’ve learned throughout the season. I will never forget, a couple seasons ago during a matinee of Barcelona, a student said “I noticed that the lighting on stage got brighter as the characters opened up and revealed more about each other – was that intentional?” It blew my mind! These students are so incredible – Many have been dealt a difficult hand in life, and it makes my heart smile to be even a small part of opening their eyes to a whole new world. Thank you for your generosity and for helping us be a part of their journey and thank you for letting me and the Geffen be a part of yours. We love having you as part of our family and I am already looking forward to the next time we e-mail or speak.

— Jamie Mikelich

Director of Individual Giving

To the most loyal, committed, passionate donors on the planet – Thank you for your generosity of heart, mind and spirit, time and time again. Thank you for believing in this magical place and in the people who have poured their hearts and souls into the art you see unfold onstage every night. Thank you for your deep love of live theater and for keeping this art form relevant in a time when we need it more than ever to keep us connected to one another. Thank you for helping us share this love and passion for theater and for art with the diverse Los Angeles community. We would not be here without you, and we count our blessings every day for the many ways you continue to support, challenge and inspire us day after day, year after year. With sincere gratitude,

— Jessica Brusilow Rollins Director of Education Partnerships & Donor Relations

Our gratitude to you for what you give and mean to the Geffen Playhouse has no end. From all of us at the Geffen Playhouse, including Holly Rice, Board Chair of the Geffen’s Education Programs, (pictured left) and Jennifer Zakkai, Director of Education and Community Engagement, (right) thank you for bringing the beauty, power and joy of theater arts into the lives of so many. — Gil Cates, Jr. Geffen Playhouse Executive Director

High Schools Served through the Geffen Playhouse Literacy Project: Mendez High School, Boyle Heights Jordan High School, Watts



San Fernando Valley

H Woodland Hills

High Schools Served through our High School Partnerships Program: Jordan High School, Watts Lennox Academy, Inglewood Mendez High School, Boyle Heights Roosevelt Senior High School, Boyle Heights Santee Education Complex, South Los Angeles Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet, Westchester Van Nuys High School, Van Nuys



H Van Nuys








H HHollywood H Downtown West H H HHollywood H HH H HH H H H Boyle Heights H H H H H West Los Angeles H East Los Angeles South  Santa Monica H H H H H H Los Angles Venice H Culver City H H H H Westchester H Inglewood H Watts H H Thank you for H


helping us serve and reach so many schools and communities of Los Angeles County


H Torrance H Long Beach

Schools and Organizations Served through our LIGHTS UP/Access Program: Affordable Living for the Aging AIDS Healthcare Foundation Alexandria House Being Alive Beverly Hills Adult School The Bridge Builders Foundation Claude Pepper Senior Community Center Cultural Education Project Culver Slauson Center East Los Angeles College Felicia Mahood Senior Center Fifty-Fifty Leadership Get Lit - Words Ignite Holman United Methodist Church Homeboy Industries Israel Levin Service Center It’s Time for Kids LGBT Center Long Beach Central Area Association Math/Science Upward Bound Mutual Amputee Aid Foundation My Friend’s Place New Directions Oasis Baldwin Hills Pasadena City College Puente Project Santa Monica Emeritus College Santa Monica Library Adult Literacy Project Shaarei Telfila Congregation Silvercrest Senior Residence Center St. Monica Senior Ministries UCLA Pathway Project Urban Possibilities Veterans Home of West Los Angeles West Hollywood Community Housing Corp. West Valley Occupational Center — ESL and more

Our gratitude to all of the artists For everything they did to support our Education & Community Engagement Programs

Pictured in rows at right, from left to right and top to bottom: Amari Cheatom, Arye Gross, Caroline Stephanie Clay, Christian Camargo, Daniel Beaty Concetta Tomei, D.B. Woodside, Eileen T’Kaye, Halley Feiffer, Jason Butler Harner, JoBeth Williams, John Garet Stoker, Josiah Bania, Keilly McQuial, Kelly McCreary Marcel Spears, Marin Ireland, Melanie Field, Preston Martin, Robert Forester, Scott Kradolfer, Tyne Daly, Vella Lovell, and Will Von Vogt


26 28

30 27


17 31 15 18





1 5 3





Quincy Jones*


Merle Dandridge


Linda Bernstein Rubin & Tony Rubin


Dr. Brad Edgerton & Louise Edgerton


Glorya Kaufman*

Howard Tenenbaum, Board Chair, & Jodi Tenenbaum 2

Adi Greenberg, Vice Chair, & Jerry Greenberg 3

Loretta Everett Kaufman & Victor Kaufman with Lin-Manuel Miranda 4 Patricia Kiernan Applegate, Secretary

10 Carla Malden & Norman Beil 11

Pamela Robinson, Chair Emeritus, & Robert Hollander

12 Holly Rice & Vince Gilligan


13 Vicki Mann Simms* & Ron Simms and Dr. Judith Reichman


14 Chancellor Gene D. Block & Carol Block 15 Michael Centeno & Valarie de la Garza


16 Jason Delane Lee & Yvonne Lee 17 Frank Mancuso,*Chair Emeritus & Fay Mancuso 20

18 Arthur Greenberg


19 B. Scott Minerd 20 Herb Gelfand,* Chair Emeritus, & Bev Gelfand 21 Harold Brown & Eileen Brown 22 22 David Geffen* 9 11

23 Chancellor Charles E. Young,* Chair Emeritus, & Judy Young 24 Richard Sherman & Barbara Sherman


25 Cynthia P. Stafford & guests 8

26 Patricia Glaser & Sam Mudie 27 Fred Specktor & Nancy Heller



28 Beth Behrs & Michael Gladis 29 Gil Cates, Jr. & Elizabeth Cates 30 Kevin Bright & Claudia Bright 31 Sue Fleishman *Trustee


GRATITUDE TO YOU FROM THE GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE BOARD 32 Bruce Ramer,* Founding Chair, & Madeline Ramer 33 Mary Ann Cloyd, Treasurer 34 Teri Schwartz 35 Jerry Moss* & Tina Morse 36 Andy Spahn* & Jennifer Perry 37 Robert A. Daly* & Carole B. Sager 38 Matt Shakman, Artistic Director 39 Howard Tenenbaum, Board Chair 40 Barry Meyer & Wendy Meyer 41

Susan Mallory & Peter Mallory and Daniel Beaty

42 Kimberly Steward with Lin-Manuel Miranda


43 Lorraine Spurge & Patrick Mitchell 44 Martha Henderson, Chair Emeritus 45 Jeffrey Katzenberg* & Marilyn Katzenberg


46 Mark Fleischer & Susan Fleischer 47 Ginny Mancini* 48 Steven Spielberg* & Kate Capshaw 49 Ron Meyer* & Kelly Meyer 50 Steve Tisch*


51 Marc Weinstock & Aurora Weinstock Not pictured: Kirsten Combs*

*Trustee 32




46 47



40 39

41 42


36 37








18 15









4 5






Miranda Tollman, Chair, with her mom, Pippa Scott


Hannah Linkenhoker


Allen Shay


Kirsten Hansen


Wendy Kurtzman & David Auerbach


Debra Davis with her daughter, Audrey Povar


John McCrite & Juan Lopez


Eric Rollins


Laura Kennedy

10 Stephanie Carson & Jonathan Carson 11

Tiffany Mayberry

12 John Sonego & Tom Faughnan 20

13 Kevyn Wynn with Pamela Robinson Hollander 14 Ann Gianopulos & Jim Gianopulos 15 Priscila Giraldo with son, Matt Kolodziejczyk, & Tiffany Smith 16 Eric Heer & Samantha Heer

10 17 Lori Collins 18 Laurie Ziegler 19 Danny Passman & Soundis Passman 9 7

20 Natasha Gross & Nick Gross 21 Ellyce Cooper with a friend 22 Yvonne Lee & Jason Lee and family


23 Jessica Queller


Dedicated, with love always, to those we lost in 2018, including these Geffen artists, donors and staff members:

Paul Allen Richard Dunn Alvin B. IbaĂąez Ricky Jay Bernice Jeffrey John Mahoney Rikki Rosen Neil Simon Shannon Helene Sylvain

THANK YOU for investing in the youth, adults, schools and communities we serve and in the power of the arts to connect us all to much higher levels of hope, humanity, opportunity, insight, joy and success.

10886 Le Conte Avenue • Los Angeles, CA 90024 • 310.208.6500

Our thanks to Jeff Lorch for his outstanding photography throughout this report, including this shot above.

Profile for Geffen Playhouse

Geffen Playhouse 2019 Impact Report  

Geffen Playhouse 2019 Impact Report