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Meet Jenn Scuderi Crafts of Theatre Unleashed in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenn Scuderi Crafts.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Theatre Unleashed was founded by 9 artists who met at another theatre in Hollywood in 2006. When that company started to go through some changes that made producing difficult the 9 of us set out to continue working together to produce small theatre in L.A.

At that time, most L.A. theatre fell into the category of “showcase” and was used as a stepping stone for hopeful actors to break into TV and film. However, we wanted to be different. We wanted to produce theatre in order to create and tell relevant stories, not just to be seen by “industry”.

Since that first meeting of the 9 founders in a living room, TU has grown to a company of around 50 active members and we’ve worked with hundreds of artists over the years. As we close our 10th season we’ve produced more than 100 individual productions including several that have toured to New York and San Diego. Several scripts from our company writers have been published and produced nationwide, and we have been honored each year at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Producing small theatre in L.A. is hard. We often work on a shoestring budget and we are all volunteers. For many years we were nomadic, and finding affordable space is a constant challenge. Three years ago, we converted a chapel in St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church to The Belfry Stage which is our current home.

Oftentimes, we jump into a project without a completely clear picture of how we’re going to pull it off. However, my goal since I took over the Artistic Director position in 2014 has always been that each production is better than the last, and I feel that we have achieved that goal time and time again.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Theatre Unleashed story. Tell us more about the business.
Theatre Unleashed is known for new takes on classics and nourishing the creation of original works. Our Writers’ Lab is very active and open to all members and friends of the company. We have seen some of our most successful productions come out of our company Writers’ Lab.

One set of productions we are known for is our holiday tradition, The Naughty and Nice Holiday Rep. Each holiday season we delight our audiences with both It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play (which is adapted by Founding Member Jim Martyka) and A Very Die Hard Christmas by Minnesota-based actor/writer Josh Carson. Patrons have told us that one or both of these shows have become a holiday tradition for them and we are thrilled to be part of their lives in that way.

Finally, as Artistic Director I believe what makes TU special is our members. We are a family. When auditioning for new members, I always ask actors why they are interested in joining a company. Oftentimes artists in L.A. are looking for an artistic home, and I am honored that we have been that home to so many.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe our luckiest moments have been when we’ve found the right people and projects at the right time. We have found some of our most successful projects through the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and considering there are generally over 300 productions at Fringe, finding one that not only fits our company well, but then is available for us to produce is pretty lucky!

Our 11th season will begin in the fall with The Woman In Black, a show that we have been trying to obtain the rights to produce for years, but they were unavailable. A few months ago, I happened to be looking through Instagram and saw a picture from a theatre in Chicago that was hashtagged “womaninblack”. We immediately applied for the rights and got them! We’re so excited to transform our lofted theater space into the haunting scenes of Susan Hill’s novel this Halloween. That was a happy bit of luck!

Pricing:

  • Tickets range from $10 – $20
  • Each year we pair with a charity. A $5 donation to the charity allows you to name your own ticket price

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Alicia Reyes Photography

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