Off-Broadway Makes The Call, About Adoption and Race, Opening April 14 – Mobile

Guest blogger Lisa Ercolano sent us a copy of this Playbill article.  We can’t wait to read the reviews on this production about international adoption.  If any readers get a chance to see the play, we’d love to read what you think about it.

Kerry Butler, Kelly AuCoin, Eisa Davis Make The Call, About Adoption and Race, Opening April 14 – Mobile  The text images below are copies of this linked article.

Kerry Butler show playbillKerry Butler show playbill part 2Kerry Butler show playbill part 3

Click on the photo below for a different article about the production.

Kerry Butler, Russell G. Jones, Crystal A. Dickinson, Kelly AuCoin and Eisa Davis
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Gifts to the World by Emmy Farese



DWLA is thrilled to present Emmy and her prodigious talent.  Watch for her name to start appearing in the playbills for Broadway and National Tour musicals in a few years!

In 1998, Emmy Farese was born in Latvia and joined her adoptive parents Susan and Michael very soon after.  Always smiling, connecting well with others and moving with a zest for life, Emmy entered the world of performing arts at 2 ½ years old with dance lessons.  As she gradually increased her knowledge and skills in dance, she also began acting and vocal training.   Emmy, now 14,  has performed in professional, community and school theatre productions, as well as feature, independent, and student films and music videos.

She is a freshman at Canyon Crest Academy, a high school specializing in the arts in San Diego. In her spare time, Emmy enjoys hanging out with friends or playing with her tuxedo cat Chloe.  “I’m really happy in life and I’m so lucky to be where I am today. I’m really thankful for my parents and all the opportunities I’ve had.”

Emmy and her family have asked us to add a dedication to those family,friends and groups who were especially supportive in welcoming Emmy. “Special warm regards from our family to Brenda Baker, Kathlyn Brigham & family, Maryann & Frank Felice Jr. and Frank Felice III, Renee Mordente Singer and family, the Felice, Mentasti, Farese, Micek, Cebulski, Zvalaren, Kopala, Cebulski, Gettis, Micek, Families, B-Cliff, Forster-Loy, Adoption Center of Washington, D.C., CAFA Adoption support group, Laura and Anna, Las Madres San Jose, ’98, and friends/neighbors of Ocean Township, and Preston Forest in Cary, N.C.”



“Lullaby League” from “The Wizard of Oz” Sept. 2005–Emmy was 7 years old
This professional stage production from American Musical Theatre of San Jose (AMTSJ) starred James Monroe Iglehart (Broadway performer in Memphis and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as the Lion!

HipHop Performance

Emmy in “Taming of the Shrew”

In “Caucasian Chalk Circle”
with Dashiel Grusky and Max Grusky

Broadway Students Summit

Still from film “Little Black Girl”

All headshots by

Chris Evan Photography


Fertile Ground for Good Theater

by Lennie Magida

“It’s a comedy about infertility.”

That’s my standard response when people ask me about the play I’m currently directing, “Expecting Isabel” by Lisa Loomer. It’s been more than 25 years since I’ve been immersed in the world of infertility and adoption: the physical travails, emotional swings, medical mumbo-jumbo, constant expense, good and bad surprises…and the ultimate joy of adopting a child. But here I am again, thanks to theater. It’s art imitating a pivotal part of my life, except that – thank goodness! – the characters in my life weren’t nearly as crazy as the characters in the play. And it really is a comedy, albeit laced with many poignant moments – as one might expect, given the subject matter.

“Expecting Isabel” (or just “Iz,” as I’ve taken to calling it) is the story of Miranda and Nick, New Yorkers nearing age 40, eager to have a baby but having trouble conceiving. Miranda comes from a financially secure but emotionally difficult background: her father committed suicide, and her mother drinks too much. (But it’s a comedy, I swear!) Her job? Writing condolence cards. Nick, on the other hand, comes from a boisterous Italian American family that has its own set of quirks. He’s the odd man out in this working-class clan because he became a sculptor. He’s generally a glass-half-full guy – a marked contrast to Miranda, who opens the play by saying, “I am not a…‘happy’ woman.”

Nick announces that he’s ready for a child. At first Miranda resists…but then, poof, she’s obsessed. They embark on an Alice-in-Wonderland-esque quest for parenthood, dealing along the way with fellow would-be parents, a fertility specialist, a therapist, a loudmouth Russian cabbie, a marriage counselor, an adoption facilitator, several pregnant young women, a nightmare vision of a girl named Isabel, and assorted others…not to mention their own families and their relationship. All told, there are more than two dozen characters (and eight actors. Except for the two portraying Miranda and Nick, everyone in the cast plays multiple roles.)

We’re doing the play at Silver Spring Stage, near where I live in the Maryland suburbs. I’ve done a lot of acting, directing and producing with community theaters in this part of the DC region, and the Stage has pretty much become my “home” theater. (I’m on the board, too.) A few years ago, it decided to focus on plays that aren’t too typical for community theaters: contemporary, “different,” sometimes challenging dramas and comedies. “Iz” fits right in. It debuted in 1998, so its reproductive-technology-speak isn’t completely up-to-date, but it’s still indisputably a contemporary piece. I mean, “Our Town” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” don’t have scenes in which a character does a yoga handstand “to help the sperm find their way home.”

My involvement with “Iz” feels very meant-to-be. Given my history, I was interested in directing it as soon as I found out the Stage was doing it. But it was originally slated for June 2013…and that’s when my daughter, Nina – the wonderful result of our infertility-and-adoption saga way back when – is getting married. Oh well, I thought. But the director of one of the other plays was eager to take the June slot. So we swapped, and “Expecting Isabel” will be come forth into the world on January 11. Then, on June 8, I’ll have the immeasurable pleasure of being mom of the bride for our beautiful Nina, who became part of our family as a 2 pound, 5 ounce Filipina preemie nearly 26 years ago. It all feels like part of a wonderful cycle – which, come to think of it, is an awfully appropriate context for a comedy about infertility.

The “Iz” team has a lot to do before we open. (The wedding team also has a lot to do, but that’s another post!) My terrific actors are still getting to know all their characters, not to mention their lines. We’re figuring out costumes, lights, sound – the whole usual shebang. It’s a familiar process. And, of course, it’s not unusual to find elements of a play that relate to one’s own life.

But still…“Iz” is the first show in which it’s been relevant for me to describe what it was like when my infertility surgery failed, or when a pre-Nina adoption fell through after the baby was born. Both those things happen in “Expecting Isabel.” It’s so real that it feels almost surreal.

It is, if you’ll excuse the pun, fertile ground for good theater.

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