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All American Girl – Press Release



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InterACT Theatre Company presents All American Girl

Annika Marks and Jeanne Syquia alternate in world premiere
of Wendy Graf’s provocative solo drama, July 3-July 26

 LOS ANGELES (May 26, 2015) — Playwright Wendy Graf (No Word In Guyanese for Me) explores the journey of an “all American girl” (Annika Marks and Jeanne Syquia, alternating) as she develops from innocent youth to radicalized extremist. Anita Khanzadian directs the world premiere of All American Girl for InterACT Theatre Company, opening July 3 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood.

Who will save the children? All American Girl follows Katie, a bright and attractive girl committed to rescuing innocents from hardship and poverty, as she evolves into a passionate extremist. How does a seemingly ordinary American kid become radicalized? Is violence ever justified? These are some of the questions Graf asks in her newest play.

“I’ve always been interested in understanding the choices people make that end up determining who they are,” she explains. “I don’t think there’s any single point that determines the road taken in life – the left turn instead of the right. This play doesn’t offer any answers, simply vantage points at which we pause and ask ‘what if?’ ”

“This play scared the hell out of me when I first read it,” says Khanzadian. “This young woman starts out wanting to save the world, to do right. But painful events in her life drive her to see everything through a different lens. The point is that this can happen to anyone. It’s not that different from blowing up abortion clinics. Extremism is not exclusively Muslim. It’s human.”

All American Girl was developed and read in Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA and Pacific Resident Theatre writing groups, and also received workshops at Fresh Produce’d LA, ALAP New Works Lab and the MET Theatre in Hollywood. The play was a winner at the 23rd annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference.

“InterACT’s mission is to produce work with an emphasis on the American experience,” states producing director Alan Naggar. “We’ve always been about quality theater, and with Wendy Graf at the pen and Anita Khanzadian at the helm, this one’s a slam dunk.”

Wendy Graf is a multiple award-winning playwright whose most recent plays include Closely Related Keys (directed by Shirley Jo Finney); No Word In Guyanese for Me (GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding L.A. Theater, Bitter Lemons “Top Rated” production); Behind the Gates; Lessons (L.A. production directed by Gordon Davidson); Leipzig (L.A. Drama Critics Circle nomination, Back Stage Garland Award, Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition finalist); The Book of Esther (San Fernando Valley Artistic Director Award nomination for Best Play, ASK Theater Projects Grant Award); Bethany/Bakol (Attic Theater One Act Winner); In the Time of Elephants; A Hollywood Fable; L.A. Tales; The Cross and the Saber; and Shanghai Ghetto. An evening of one-acts collected under the title Zeno’s Paradox includes Lester and Schloss (2008 Ellen Idelson Award winner, 2008 Arts and Letters Prize for Drama finalist, 2009 International Jewish Short Play Competition) and Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (EST/LA’s Winterfest 2009; 2010 FirstStage One Act winner). Ms. Graf is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA and Pacific Resident Theatre writing units, InterACT Theatre Company and the Dramatists Guild of America.

Anita Khanzadian, a member of InterACT Theatre Company since its inception 25 years ago, has directed InterACT productions of State of the Union; the dreamer examines his pillow; Death of a Salesman, starring Eddie Jones (L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Direction); Marathons (Drama-Logue Award, Direction); and The Root (Drama-Logue Awards, Direction and Best Ensemble), and co-directed Counsellor-at-Law (Ovation Award, Best Ensemble). For VS Theatre Company, she directed the West Coast premiere of John Patrick Shanley’s Beggars in the House of Plenty. In New York, she was artistic director of Theatre at St. Clement’s, co-artistic director of the American Renaissance Theatre, and guest director at Playwrights Horizons and Impossible Ragtime Theatre. Regional credits: Aspen Playwrights Festival; Philadelphia Theatre Company (Fool for Love and As Is) and Hyde Park Festival Theatre. As a recipient of U.S.I.A. guest artist grants, she conducted theater workshops and directed productions of Our Town, The Zoo Story and All My Sons in Madras and Calcutta, India, and in Dhaka, Bangladesh. One-person plays she has directed include Elizabeth Perry’s Sun Flower, about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, at the Washington Arena Stage; James Gleason’s Vietnam memoir, Actor Under Fire; Stephanie Satie’s Coming to America: Transformations, Refugees and Silent Witnesses; and Anna Khaja in Wendy Graf’s one-woman play, No Word in Guyanese for Me, which was presented the GLAAD award for best production in Los Angeles.

Annika Marks is best known for her role in Fox Searchlight’s The Sessions (winner of the Audience Award and the Special Jury Award for Ensemble Acting, Sundance Film Festival) and for her ongoing role as Monte Porter on The Fosters (ABC Family). Theater credits include Doesn’t Anyone Know What A Pancreas Is? (Ovation Award nomination for Featured Actress in a Play and StageSceneLA “Scenie” Award for Featured Actress/Comedy), the world premiere of Nicholas Kazan’s MLLE. GOD (StageSceneLA Award for Actress/Comedy-Drama), both for Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA; Wendy Graf’s Behind the Gates (StageSceneLA Award for Actress/Drama); Fielding Edlow’s The Something Nothing at the Lounge Theatre; and Bernie Weinraub’s The Accomplices for The Fountain Theatre. Additional film credits include eOne Film’s Grace (Best Actress Award, Woods Hole Film Festival) and Sonny Mallhi’s upcoming release, Anguish. Additional TV credits include Battle Creek (CBS), NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), Monday Mornings (TNT) and Southland (TNT). Marks is a graduate of the Circle in the Square Theatre School.

Jeanne Syquia can currently be seen as Lesly in The House of Yes, directed by Lee Sankowich at the Zephyr Theatre, and she recently appeared in the world premiere of Tommy Smith’s Fugue, directed by Chris Fields for The Echo Theater Company. She is a member of the Antaeus Company, where she was seen in Top Girls and The Autumn Garden. Other theater credits include The Nether (Kirk Douglas Theatre), The Tall Girls (DNA Series, La Jolla Playhouse), workshops of #therevolution and The Massoud Project (CTG), The Jacksonian (u/s, Geffen Playhouse), Sidhe and Big Death & Little Death (Road Theatre) and Puzzler (Sacred Fools), among others. TV/Film: Honey Buddies, The Mentalist, Brothers & Sisters, The Opening.

InterACT Theatre Company is a collective of theater professionals dedicated to creating character-driven ensemble works, with an emphasis on the American experience. Formed in 1990 as a reading group — the inspiration of actor Barry Heins and 15 of his New York actor friends — InterACT has evolved into “one of the most exciting theatrical hamlets in the urban forest,” with productions that exhibit a “respect for language and the poetic richness of the human experience” (Los Angeles Times). Since its inaugural full company production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood in 1993, the company has received 78 awards and 152 nominations for outstanding and/or distinguished achievement in theater.

Set design for All American Girl is by Joel Daavid, lighting design is by Carol Doehring, sound design is by Joseph SloeSlawinski; the dialect coach is Adam Michael Rose; graphic design is by Olivia Weissblum; photography is by Rick Friesen; the assistant director is Michele Rose Naggar; and the stage manager is Matt Fowler. Alan Naggar produces for InterAct Theatre Company.

All American Girl opens on Friday, July 3 (with Jeanne Syquia) and Sunday, July 5 (with Annika Marks) and continues on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through July 26 (dark July 4). All tickets are $30 except the performances on July 3 and July 5 (opening weekend), for which tickets are $34 and include a post-show reception. The Lounge Theatre is located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood CA 90038. To purchase tickets, call (818) 765-8732 or go to


Details for Calendar Listings
All American Girl

All American Girl – Playwright Wendy Graf (No Word In Guyanese for Me) explores the journey of an “all American girl” (Annika Marks and Jeanne Syquia, alternating) as she develops from innocent youth to radicalized extremist.

• Written by Wendy Graf
• Directed by Anita Khanzadian
• Starring Annika Marks and Jeanne Syquia (alternating)
• Produced by Alan Naggar
• Presented by InterACT Theatre Company, Alan Naggar, producing director

Previews: July 1 and July 2
Performances: July 3-July 26:
Tuesdays at 8 p.m.: July 7, 14, 21
Wednesdays at 8 p.m.: July 1 (preview), 8, 15, 22
Thursdays at 8 p.m.: July 2 (preview), 9, 16, 23
Fridays at 8 p.m.: July 3 (opening #1, with Jeanne Syquia), 10, 17, 24
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: July 11, 18, 25 (dark July 4)
Sundays at 3 p.m.: July 5 (opening #2, with Annika Marks), 12, 19, 26

Lounge Theatre
6201 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90038
(just east of Vine)

• (818) 765-8732 or
• Like us in facebook:
• Follow us on twitter: @interACTla

• General Admission: $30 (except July 3 and July 5)
• Opening weekend performances (July 3 and July 5): $34 (includes post-show reception)