Melinda Gilb & Steve Gunderson in Bakerfield Mist - Photo by Angie Clement

The Roustabouts Readings Series


The Roustabouts Theatre Co. is dedicated to entertaining, educating, and inspiring audiences in southern California by producing fresh visions of classics, well-known contemporary plays and new works. Don't miss our popular "Readings Series" with local artists and storytellers from the region.






The Roustabouts Solo Show Contest
Featuring New Writers & Performers of San Diego


Don’t miss The Roustabouts Theatre Co.'s 1st Annual Solo Show Contest featuring the writing and performing talent from four new San Diego artists. There are few worlds better suited to express the writers’ own voice, ideas and abilities than in a one-person show. This genre is dear to our hearts and The Roustabouts Theatre Co. is devoted to helping local writers/performers develop better and higher quality pieces, as well as increase their visibility and spread the good news of San Diego’s endless well of extraordinary talent.


The two evenings are a culmination of a workshop which focused on fine-tuning plays and projects by new writers/performers. Marni Freedman (The 7 Essential Writing Tools) and Phil Johnson (The Roustabouts, founding member) have helped shape and direct these pieces for this two-night-only event and each will judged by several established San Diego critics. The pieces will then be considered for further production opportunities.


With a hope to add these up and coming writers to the roster of current TRTC writers, which include Will Cooper (Margin of Error), Marni Freedman & Phil Johnson (A Jewish Joke), Ruff Yeager (She-Rantulas from Outer Space in 3D), Omri Schein (Withering Heights), Rachael VanWormer (The Sighting), and more. These two evenings of new and emerging writers and performers promise to be something you will not want to miss!


Moxie Theatre

6663 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115


June 26  7:00PM

Knitting At Nuremberg by KM McNeel

Crapshoot! Why I Voted for Trump, By Al Stone as Told to Todd Blakesley by Todd Blakesley


June 27  7:00PM

Too Lazy to Be Satan by Suzana Norberg

No Way Back by Mahshid Hager




Featured Works & Writers/Artists


All works presented are the culmination of The Roustabouts Theatre Co. Solo Workshop led by Phil Johnson and Marni Freedman with additional coaching by Tracy Jones.



Knitting At Nuremberg written by KM McNeel and performed by Sandy Campbell


Synopsis: 1950, Memphis, Tennessee.  When grandmother Hilda’s husband goes out for cream she and her granddaughter are left alone to face an unexpected visit from the KKK. Shaken, armed with only her memories, Hilda's role as a translator during the Nuremberg Trials in Germany haunts her and serves as a surprise key to overcoming a new enemy. Based on true events.


KM McNeel has worked and lived internationally, settling in San Diego in 2008. During the 1990s and 2000s, KM was widely known as an artist for her collaboration at the Natural History Museum, Oxford, England.  She holds degrees from Vanderbilt University, Trinity University, and Central St. Martins College of Art, London. She is currently writing her memoirs as a communications officer traveling for charities, and additionally, a mystery novel set in the oil fracking fields of Texas, as well as Knitting At Nuremberg, a one-act solo performance based on actual events in the life of a family member. She is a guest blogger on Feisty Writers.


Sandy Campbell is thrilled to a part of The Roustabouts Solo Show Contest showcase. She played Birdie in the Roustabouts’ reading of The Little Foxes. She recently performed with the inimitable Phil Johnson in Last of the Red Hot Lovers at North Coast Repertory Theatre. Sandy has won several awards from the San Diego Critics Circle including for her portrayals of Lucille Frank in Parade and Ruella in Communicating Doors for Cygnet, and Maria Callas in Master Class for ION Theatre.  She recently appeared in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at Cygnet Theatre and Noises Off at Lamb's Players Theatre. Sandy is also a cabaret artist and her CD "Crazy World" can be found on and iTunes. Proud Actors' Equity member. 




Crapshoot! Why I Voted For Trump, By Al Stone As Told To Todd Blakesley written and performed by Todd Blakesley


Synopsis: Al Stone had never voted in his life.  Why bother?  No one elected had ever made his life better.  But this time felt different, so … why not take a chance?  Join this hapless, affable California neophyte as he tries to understand why everyone seems to want to rip him apart. A hilarious look at our careening American Dream.


A native San Diegan, Todd Blakesley has been working in theater as an actor, playwright, producer and managing director for over 50 years.  He has worked with the San Diego International Fringe Festival as Festival Coordinator since its inception (2013-2017).  He is co-creator of Twainfest, Write Out Loud’s free literary festival, now in its 9th year.  He has specialized in full-immersion theater works since the 1970’s beginning with his Artistic Directorship of Mission Beach’s infamous Crystal Palace Theatre.  – Grasping to understand our new world order, Todd will attend a clowning workshop this summer with Avner the Eccentric at the Celebration Barn Theatre in Maine.




Too Lazy To Be Satan written and performed by Suzana Norberg


Synopsis: In a wild journey through marital hell, new playwright Suzana Norberg chronicles the hilariously dark tale of escaping her suffocating Slavic-immigrant family in the Midwest at age 23, only to arrive in California and recklessly marry a 40-year-old "born-again" Christian who turns out to be a belligerent couch barnacle.


Suzana Norberg is a writer and actor with an affinity for comedy and improv. Her solo show was adapted from her unpublished memoir — Too Lazy to Be Satan: How I Escaped a Perpetually Unemployed Leech and a Church of Fundamentalist Freaks — a finalist in the 2017 San Diego Book Awards. Sue is also the co-creator of Christian Crafternoon (web series), gently mocking the religiously self-righteous since 2012. Behold it on YouTube. Additionally, she's an avocational eavesdropper and illustrator; see the intersection of the two on Instagram @Suzana_Norberg. Special skills include accents, dialects, and wild optimism.




No Way Back written by Mahshid Hager and performed by Hannah Logan


Synopsis: No Way Back is the true story of one family’s desperate escape out of Iran in 1981. We watch through the eyes of ten-year-old Mahshid as her country is cast into revolution, turmoil, and war. Her family’s secret escape out of the country will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last scene.


Mahshid Fashandi Hager is a licensed marriage and family therapist, with a private practice in Rancho Bernardo, California. She specializes in Somatic Experiencing, a treatment modality for survivors of trauma. She is passionate about her work with her clients and believes deeply that trauma healing is possible. She discovered her interest in writing while working on her blog, The Tribe Of Us, where she shares stories about her multi-cultural background and what it is like to live and raise a family in the United States today.  Mahshid has been calling San Diego "home" for the past 27 years. She currently lives there with her husband and two teenage sons.


Hannah Logan is an actor, writer, director, and producer. She received a San Diego Critics’ Circle Award for her portrayal of Agnes in ion theatre’s Bug, and SDCC nomination for her portrayal of Virginia in New Village Arts’ The Clean House. This year she is slated to direct anomaly.exe in Scripps Ranch’s OOAL Fest. As a writer, Hannah’s plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego. At the SD Int’l Fringe Festival she and her partner Ron produce THAT 24-HOUR THING, which last year received Critic’s Pick and Fringe Best Bet.




TRTC Solo Workshop Instructor & Solo Show Director


Phil Johnson is a proud founding partner of The Roustabouts Theatre Co. As an actor/ writer, his latest solo show, A Jewish Joke (co-written with Marni Freedman, directed by David Ellenstein) opens Off Broadway on Theatre Row in NYC this February, having just closed in San Diego for The Roustabouts, as well as touring regionally: Chicago’s Victory Gardens, New Haven, and St. Louis. ( Other original shows: Withering Heights, written and performed with Omri Schein and directed by Ellenstein, for TRTC; She-Rantulas from Outer Space in 3D!, co-written with Ruff Yeager, for Diversionary Theatre and the NY Fringe Festival; and Hound of the Baskervilles, as a San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst Grantee, at North Coast Rep in 2012. Phil played in Les Misérables on Broadway and on tour; the Canadian production of Sunset Boulevard; and the 1st National Co. of Miss Saigon. He is a two-time winner of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel Award for acting, for Midsummer Night’s Dream at Intrepid Theatre Company, and The Man Who Came to Dinner. So. California theatres include North Coast Rep (Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Spelling Bee), Old Globe (How the Grinch...), and Cygnet Theatre (Mistakes Were Made, Pageant). Local directing credits include SD Playwrights Project and Scripps Ranch Theatre.




TRTC Solo Workshop Instructor


Marni Freedman (BFA, LMFT) is a produced, published, and award-winning writer. After graduating as an award-winning student from the USC School of Filmic Writing, Marni began her career with her play, Two Goldsteins on Acid, which was produced in Los Angeles. She worked as a script doctor for top film companies and worked as a script agent for the Mary Sue Seymour Agency. One of her plays was made into a film, Playing Mona Lisa, and was produced by Disney. Marni has written for Tony Award-winning Harvey Fierstein, Academy Award-nominee Elliot Gould and Emmy Award-winner, Johnny Galecki. Marni teaches at San Diego Writers Ink, UCSD Extension, The Center for Creative Aging, runs the successful San Diego Writers Network and produces a yearly theatrical Memoir Showcase. Last year, Marni and her husband Carlos edited the Anthology, The Literary Vine, which was published by Wolfheart Press. This year they will be editing and publishing the First Annual Memoir Showcase Anthology, published by MCM Press. Marni is also a therapist for artists and writers. Her welcoming, easy-going nature and solid background are the underpinnings of what makes her such a popular writing coach across the country. Marni is a unique writing coach because she has a tool for almost everything. She has a way of taking complicated information and translating it into easy-to-grasp, step-by-step information. Her character worksheets and plotting devices have been met with rave reviews. Her first book on writing, 7 Essential Writing Tools: That Will Absolutely Make Your Writing Better (And Enliven the Soul) is an Amazon Bestseller. Her next two books, Permission to Roar, A Handbook for Thought Leaders Who Want to Write, and The Memoir Map will be out in 2018. You can also find Marni on Facebook or at, a writing hub to help writers find and believe in their authentic voice.






Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You

By Christopher Durang


Sister Mary Ignatius has happily been teaching children about the glories of Catholicism and the perils of sin and hellfire for years at her church. She lectures members on her strict beliefs while showing off her newest pupil, obedient young Thomas. Sister Mary’s lecture soon takes a dark turn when four of her former pupils arrive to perform a religious pageant for her. Sister Mary is horrified to learn that one of her former students has become the happy mother of an illegitimate child, one is a content homosexual, and another has had two abortions.


What’s a good shepherd to do when her flock has strayed so far from the path of righteousness? The results may surprise you. Deeply unsettling, yet absolutely hilarious, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You examines sharp truths about human nature and religion.


Starring Shana Wride

Directed by Ruff Yeager


Diversionary Theatre

4545 Park Blvd. #101, San Diego, CA 92116

August 13  7:00PM


Tickets On Sale Soon


Cast & Creative Team





Shana Wride appeared in the Roustabouts readings of The Price and The Little Foxes. She was most recently seen at Diversionary Theatre in 2.5 Minute Ride for which she received the 2017 Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Solo Performance by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle. She has worked as a theatre actor and director both locally and regionally at Cygnet Theatre, Diversionary Theatre, Intrepid Theatre, Moxie Theatre, Compass Theatre, The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, The Colony Theatre, Open Fist Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Gaslamp Quarter Theatre, Sledgehammer Theatre. While living in Los Angeles, she co-hosted the nationally syndicated radio show, “Women Aloud” with actor/comedienne Mo Gaffney.






Ruff Yeager is proud to be a Founding Partner of The Roustabouts Theatre Co. A product of the San Diego's East County, he graduated from Helix High School and then moved to Missouri for his college education; graduating from Evangel College (B.S.) and Missouri State University (M.A.). A professor of Theatre Arts at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Ruff enjoys teaching the next generation of actors, directors, and playwrights. As Artistic Director of Playwrights Projects' Plays by Young Writers, he mentors young California playwrights and oversees the artistic vision of the yearly festival. 






Real Women Have Curves

A Co-Production With Amigos Del Rep

By Josefina Lopez


Curves on a blossoming young woman can be sexy, but not if you are told you have too many of them. Real Women Have Curves is a humorous and warmhearted look at a Mexican-American teenage girl coming of age in a boiling cauldron of cultural expectations, class constrictions, family duty, and her own personal aspirations.


San Diego Repertory Theatre

79 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101

September 17






Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge

A New Roustabouts Tradition!

By Christopher Durang


The Roustabouts Theatre Co. invites you to the 2nd Annual ultimate Christmas party with the drunken Mrs. Bob Cratchit, the bumbling Ghost of Christmas Past, and the eternally cranky Ebenezer Scrooge. They're joined by the rest of Dickens' beloved characters in Durang's mash-up of the season's most beloved stories: A Christmas Carol, The Gift of the Magi, It's a Wonderful Life, and more! 


'Tis the season for regret, envy, and greed as Mrs. Bob Cratchit ditches the hubby and the brats for a hilariously twisted adventure all her own. So fill your glass with laughter, garnish it with a few "bah humbugs," and join the wild binge with a few of San Diego's most talented actors as the award-winning The Roustabouts Theatre Co. presents Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge.


Directed by Ruff Yeager


Central Library - Neil Morgan Auditorium

 330 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101

 December 15  2:00PM





Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge Reading

Past Readings


Bakersfield Mist

By Stephen Sachs

Starring Steve Gunderson and Melinda Gilb

Directed by Shana Wride


Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge

By Christopher Durang

Starring Linda Libby

Directed by Ruff Yeager


The Little Foxes

By Lillian Hellman

Starring Shana Wride

Directed by Ruff Yeager


The Price

By Arthur Miller

Starring Tom Stephenson & Phil Johnson

Directed by Rosina Reynolds


The Grotesques

By Omri Schein, After book by Aharon Appelfeld

Starring Sandy Campbell & Rosina Reynolds

Directed by Shana Wride



By Will Cooper

Starring Amanda Sitton Wallace

Directed by Kim Strassburger