By Susan Rabin
Produced July 7-14, 2018, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts in Silicon Valley.
JIVE is an edgy comedy that uses local politics and talk radio to frame the story of Chet Williams, an outrageous white ‘shock- jock.’ Recently divorced from his wife Sara (Suzanne Nason), and fired from his Chicago radio program under a cloud, Chet (Andy Cooperfauss) gets rescued by old friend, Reverend Preston Taylor (James Creer), owner of San Francisco radio station, K-JIVE, which has a largely black audience. Friction immediately rises between Chet and black deejay Noreen Roosevelt (Leslie Ivy) as Noreen struggles against the glass ceiling. When Reverend Taylor runs for mayor, political correctness is stretched thin during apolitical debate between the Reverend and three inept candidates (Seton Chiang, Jaime Melendez, Siddarth Mathur) held live on the air. Young multi-racial engineer Raoul (Ajay Prater) digs up shocking revelations about Chet, and numerous callers (Lauren Garrick, Paul Goldberg, Jeremy Marquis, Ann Singer, Tiffani Amber Williams) struggle to make sense of Chet’s provocative personality. The Reverend risks losing his radio station as well as his mind over the bickering between Chet and Noreen and the sexual harassment allegation leveled by a parishioner. Zany and verging out of control, Chet dedicates himself to finding the real honesty and acceptance he desperately needs.
Reverend Preston Taylor: James Creer
Noreen Roosevelt: Leslie Ivy
Raoul Jackson: Aaron Prater
Chet Williams: Andy Cooperfauss
Dwayne/Jawan/Shaquille/Colombo: Jeremy Marquis
Lisa/Stacy/Melba: Lauren Garrick
Karen/Paisley: Ann Singer
Kaneesha: Tiffani Amber Williams
Sara Berman: Suzanne Nason
Murphy/John Chang: Seton Chiang
Jimmy: Paul Goldberg
Juanita Garcia: Jaime Melendez
Ravi Kapoor: Siddarth Mathur
Director: Susan Rabin
Scenic Designer/Builder: John Ramirez
Stage Manager: Elyssia Tingley
Asst. Stage Manager/Sound Design: Paul Goldberg
Costume Designer: Phoenix Singer
Light Board Operator: Alison Verbil (mvcpa)
Sound Board Operator: Dylan Moreland (mvcpa)
Windy City Productions® STAFF
Executive Producer: David Buchanan
Artistic Director: Susan Rabin
Associate Producer: James Creer
Marketing: Ann Singer
Graphic Design/Art Direction: Suzanne Nason, TwistStudio
Production Assistant: Paul Goldberg
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts STAFF Booking Coordinator: Jenn Poret
Executive Director: Scott Whisler
Marketing: Shonda Ranson, Susannah Greenwood
Operations Manager: Daniel Kays
Patron Services Manager: Hannah Crown
Technical Services Manager: Steven Crandell
Ticket Services Manager: Liz Nelson
DIRECTOR’S NOTES ON JIVE
In writing JIVE, my goal has been to present a provocative and unapologetic view of our mixed racial society and the challenge to accept our differences and make honest connections. For me, the word jive itself suggests bullshit – as when people claim their open-mindedness while acting with intolerance if others don’t agree with them. Or, while living privileged lives, they hypocritically admonish others about inclusiveness.
I grew up in the Jane Adams Housing projects on Chicago’s west side with a mix of Mexicans, Blacks, Jews, Italians, and Irish. One thing we certainly had in common was poverty. Later in life as I moved up to a more gentrified life style, I was very aware of well-meaning white people who bent over backwards to appear tolerant, yet tiptoed on eggshells and spoke to non-whites as if they were delicate children. I believe the better approach is to treat every individual, whatever color or ethnicity, like a person.
My father was a gambler. He often inflated his winnings and augmented any adventures and accomplishments in his need to impress others. His embellishments embarrassed me, but, on the flip side, they fed my imagination for writing colorful characters full of “jive talk.” In JIVE I use humor and sarcasm to ‘cut through the crap,’ at times mocking people who spin and manipulate.
JIVE is a comedy meant to entertain. At its core is a story of human relationships and the search for honesty and fairness. When the fictional K-JIVE radio station explores replacing jazz programming with “shock-talk” to be more relevant, the characters clash. On our set we have the actual vintage microphone used by the earliest hosts of The Tonight Show, Jack Paar and Steve Allen. We ask that the spirit of these entertainment pioneers anoint our play with hope for K-JIVE, local radio, jazz, and all who seek validation and acceptance.
The cast of JIVE is a mix of races, ethnicities, and ages. They include talented young actors, still in college, who engage with seasoned actors to drive the themes of the play. As they bring JIVE’s characters to life, please join us in enjoying the outrageous ride. It will remind you that straight talk ain’t easy.
SPECIAL THANKS: Kathy & Steve Pedone, Tom Gough, Janis Bergmann, and Bruce McLeod at Foothill Theatre Arts, Diane Baker at SF Academy of Art, Michael Krasny of KQED’s Forum, Andrea Bechert, Kathie Kratochvil, and John York at San Jose State University Department of Film & Theatre, Fran Dehn of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce, Lynn McCrae, Dave Bell of Bellboy Studios, Morrie Bobrow, All Saints’ Church, KBLX-FM, Robin Bradford, and master playwriting teacher - Will Dunne.