UPDATE: July 2015
Star of BOULEVARD NIGHTS Richard Yniguez (l) with Coach Tony Huante at handball courts in Commerce, California (2009)
Just a brief note for today. have been meeting when possible with the irascible and inimitable DANNY MORA, who's mentoring me on my screenplay ROLLOUT! It's inspired by the true story of Tony Huante, an amazing man who for 20 years coached kids from the barrios of East L.A. and City of Commerce, producing several pro national champs, but more importantly, keeping lots of kids out of gangs and in school. Hope to have a new draft of the feature script by September.
Danny's an amazing man himself, with a long career in the entertainment world as a nationally touring standup comedian who back in the day worked the same stage as the just-starting-out Jay Leno and Robin Williams; as a screenwriter (LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, among others); and as an actor (most recently seen in MCFARLAND, USA, opposite Kevin Costner). He coaches lots of actors as well, and counsels various other writers and artists, such as LA CUCARACHA creator Lalo Alcaraz.
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Meanwhile, I have been working hard on expanding the 20-minute Douglass piece to a full-length one-man play titled FREDERICK DOUGLASS—UNEXPECTED. We did a stage reading of the piece at the Flight Theatre in the Complex in Hollywood at the end of May to an invitation-only audience of industry people whose feedback we trust. Rif Hutton starring as Douglass, David Wendell Boykins directed, and Consuelo Flores (my wife) produced. That version ran 97 minutes. The current draft runs 85.
Here's just some of what packed-house audiences had to say about LINCOLN ADJACENT:
• "WOW! With a stellar cast, amazing writing, and smooth flow, Lincoln adjacent is a supreme pleasure to watch."
• "A riveting play with breathtaking performances ...A powerhouse of stunning writing by Roger Q. Mason and Stephen Blackburn."
• "Powerful and compelling interconnected stories with a stunning cast."
• "These are personal stories, heart-wrenching in their honesty and in the hands of such capable actors."
• "Thoughtful and insightful writing comes alive with a stellar compelling cast."
• "A terrific theatre outing."
Read more audience reviews at
LINCOLN ADJACENT won a Hollywood Fringe Festival ENCORE PRODUCERS AWARD and was extended for two performances in July. My 20-minute, one-man play about Frederick Douglass, was one of three short plays comprising LINCOLN ADJACENT, a production by Onion Creek at this year's Hollywood Fringe Festival. My wife Consuelo Flores co-produced with Roger Q. Mason, who authored the other two short plays.
Frederick Douglass escaped slavery, educated himself and became a riveting political agitator, one of the great men of the 19th century. An advisor and gadfly to Lincoln, Douglass’ manners and eruditeness helped convince Lincoln of the humanity of African Americans. Douglass prodded and convinced Lincoln to let black men fight in the Union Army to win on the field of battle freedom for all African Americans. Without the legions of black soldiers, the Union might very well have lost the war, or at least made peace with the Confederacy without ending slavery. Without Douglass, there probably wouldn’t be any movies about Lincoln. My contribution to LINCOLN ADJACENT takes place decades after Lincoln’s death, when Douglass in his twilight years remained a respected, yet still controversial figure, even among African Americans.
"A Grecian extravaganza... always engrossing and fun to watch" —Backstage Photo by Joel Daavid
Fierce Backbone Theatre Company produced THE ROCK OF ABANDON on a frayed shoestring at the 99-seat Lillian Theatre in October-November of 2012.
The production looked great, with well-paced direction by Tiger Reel, strong acting by the enthusiastic and diverse cast, and we garnered great reviews.
"Riveting" —Stagehappenings.com Photo by Joel Daavid
When blacklisted dramatist Euripides (Jim Hanna) turns sleuth in order to avenge the murder of a courtesan who jilted him years ago, his investigation unmasks blackmail and treason, putting him on a collision course with the powers-that-be, including the charismatic, rapist general Alkibiades, who has beguiled Athens into launching an unnecessary war.
"This masterpiece delivers twists and turns worthy of Hitchcock himself." —Examiner.com
Photo by Joel Daavid
Assemblyman Kritias (Gary Rubenstein), General Lamakos (Jeffrey Wylie), Ambassador Lycos (Drew McAuliffe), and General Alkibiades (Todd Babcock, back right) toast preemptive war in THE ROCK OF ABANDON, inspired by historical events. Written by Stephen Blackburn, directed by Tiger Reel.
Photo by Joel Daavid
Costume ladies of the gods Antoinette Muto (l) and Kim Little (r). They created for us the wonderful period costumes. Their company, Muto-Little, based in Larchmont near Paramount Studios, has built the costumes for scores of movies, tv shows and Disneyland shows, and for stars including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Rhianna, and more recently, for the Billboard Awards, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber. Thanks Antoinette and Kim!