Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kittens In A Cage Web Series Kickstarter!

Updates For Kittens Web Series!

Constantine Maroulis Is Gonna Rock The Cellblock!

Update #10 · Dec. 05, 2012 · comment
Stoic Entertainment is convulsing with excitement to announce yet another amazing celeb to join Kittens In A Cage.  From American Idol finalist to a Tony nom to TV star and back again in the newest theatrical blockbuster - Jekyll & Hyde - we landed Constantine Maroulis!!!
Born in Brooklyn, New York and later raised in the nearby suburbs of New Jersey, Constantine James Maroulis grew up surrounded by a wide array of polarized music from classic rock, alternative and spirituals to jazz and jam band antics. It was not unusual to see Constantine onstage at a Summer Stock theater production while afterwards heading straight to a nightclub to front a band. There, he gained the invaluable experience of burning both ends of the entertainment candle that would help him nail his audition that garnered his spot to attend the prestigious Boston Conservatory of Music.
During this time Constantine worked consistently to build his impressive resume that included lead roles in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Jesus Christ Superstar, along with his first work in the dramas of William Shakespeare and a slew of student and indie films. Additionally, Constantine was singled out for an apprenticeship at the legendary Williamstown Theater Festival, there he appeared on the main stage in Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Donald Margulies' God of Vengeance.
After completing school, Maroulis returned to his native New York City where he soon landed the role of Roger in the ever-popular musical RENT. For the better part of the next year Constantine electrified audiences nightly, receiving critical praise touring North America and Asia with the show.  Upon completion of the RENT tour, Constantine returned to Manhattan where he busied himself with his rock band by night and auditions by day.
By chance, a friend coaxed him into auditioning for American Idol. He not only made the cut but eventually, Constantine became a finalist. There he performed everything from Tin Pan Alley standards like "My Funny Valentine," rhythm and blues classics like Otis Redding's "Too Hard To Handle," and the epic stadium rock of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," which he would later record when he was personally invited by Queen guitarist Brian May.
Soon after that season ended, Maroulis embarked on the traditional sold out summer arena tour for American Idol finalists. This, on the heels of the multi-platinum selling American Idol Season 4 CD where Constantine contributed his moody rendering of "My Funny Valentine." Eventually Maroulis was able to find time to record his own very first solo album simply titled Constantine.
Constantine yearned to get back to his theater roots, subsequently doing just that in 2006 when he was cast in his first Broadway leading part, this for a special limited engagement of the Tony nominated musical The Wedding Singer. This was followed by another ensemble piece with the eclectic 1960s off-Broadway gem Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris where Constantine garnered a string of excellent reviews. Spinning off of that run Constantine surprised audiences when he was added to the cast of the classic daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful where a part was written especially for him in the role of Constantine Paros.
Maroulis took a meeting with the producers of a particular 1980s hair metal mix tape musical entitled Rock of Ages, which had tried to ignite interest out of town with limited success. Yet something happened soon after Rock of Ages opened off- Broadway, the magical cast led by Constantine himself would soon start people talking, in no time it debuted on Broadway to critical raves and packed houses nightly. The show itself was honored with a Tony nomination as well as the aforementioned nod to Constantine himself.
Now the father of a toddler named Malena James, Maroulis has taken fatherhood to heart and merged it with his rock star chops which led him to become the face for Disney's Rock Star Mickey Mouse toy where he was seen in the national television commercial performing the Kinks classic "You Really Got Me." Constantine has consistently made himself available for charitable causes, lending his talents to Broadway Cares, St. Jude's Children's Fund, The Hellenic Scholarship Foundation and the Sarcoma Foundation just to name a few.
Maroulis worked diligently with the Neiderlander Organization to create a re-imagined version of Frank Wildhorn's epic musical Jekyll & Hyde. Constantine is currently co-starring with the talented Deborah Cox and embark on a massive 25-week tour before arriving on Broadway in 2013.
Stoic Entertainment is lucky to have caught Constantine while he is in town so that he can play with us in Kittens In A Cage.
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Holy Mother Of All Matrons - Gigi Bermingham Rules This Roost!!!

Update #9 · Dec. 03, 2012 · comment
What ever Matron wants, Matron gets...  Don't step out of line because Gigi Bermingham as the Matron will make you wish you were never born.  This cellblock gestapo is a force of nature.  Run for cover if you're in the path of her wrath!
Gigi recently made her directorial debut with YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU at Antaeus Co. in North Hollywood (L.A. Weekly and Ovation-recommended!), which was not a bad way to prepare for the role of the controlling Matron in Kittens In A Cage. As an actor, she received the 2012 Garland Award and was nominated by the LA Drama Critics Circle for her performance in HERMETICALLY SEALED at Katselas Theatre Co. Other awards include the LA Stage Alliance OVATION and LA Drama Critics Circle Awards for her solo comedy NON-VITAL ORGANS. In 2012 she has also appeared at Pasadena Playhouse in THE HEIRESS with Richard Chamberlain and Julia Duffy; and at Antaeus in THE SEAGULL. Her film work includes Rob Reiner's ALEX AND EMMA and the upcoming SAVE THE DATE. She can currently be seen onstage at Antaeus in CABARET NOEL (through December 17) singing in French.
From the moment Gigi read her first line in the script, we all fell in love with her.  A HUGE thanks from Stoic Entertainment for joining this incredible ensemble.
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Faith in us.

Update #8 · Dec. 03, 2012 · comment
Our campaign is half over, or half started, pending your level of optimism. You have all exhibited that critical show of support for us and faith in our abilities and for that I will be forever in your debt.
As of this moment we are %31 percent funded. And this fact is thanks to you and your generosity.
I wanted to ask you to be generous once again by re-posting our link to you friends on Twitter and Facebook and by telling  your friend's about us. Perhaps you know someone who would love this project, someone who might love a weekly laugh or someone who wanted to support us but never quite took the action to click on us and donate? Now is the time.
Did you know that if we generate enough "hits" it increases our chance at becoming a staff pick? If we can make that happen, the donations will come barreling in.
Here is the link.
Very grateful,
Jillian Armenante

Broadway Babe - Laura Heisler Plays Pill Poppin' Lois For Kittens

Update #7 · Dec. 02, 2012 · comment
Straight off the stage of The Geffen Playhouse, Laura Heisler joins her feline compatriots in Kittens In A Cage as Lois.  From her impressive Broadway credits to her endearing indie film roles, you'll fall in love with this incredible actress, but don't be fooled.  You don't land in the big house just for takin' some dope.
Laura Heisler currently lives in LA, after working as an actor in New York City for many years. TIME OUT NY named her as one of twenty actors "who keep NYC theater's heart beating," and the following year THE VILLAGE VOICE cited her as one of six actors ("Singular Sensations") in a special Obies feature. Laura made her Broadway debut in the play CORAM BOY, and recently received Lucille Lortel and Drama League Award nominations for her work in KIN, directed by Sam Gold, at Playwrights Horizons. Laura also appeared in DORIS TO DARLENE and PEOPLE BE HEARD, both at Playwrights Horizons; she starred in THE MISTAKES MADELINE MADE, by Liz Meriwether, at Naked Angels; she originated the title role in the world premiere of Sarah Ruhl's acclaimed play EURYDICE at Madison Rep, and she has acted in numerous plays Off-Broadway and regionally, including Williamstown Theatre Festival, South Coast Rep, McCarter Theatre, Soho Rep, Woolly Mammoth, The Old Globe, and many others. On television, she has guest-starred on episodes of GREY'S ANATOMY, BONES, THE MIDDLE, THE DEFENDERS, NUMB3RS, and UGLY BETTY. Her film work includes the indie horror YELLOWBRICKROAD, COLD SOULS, COACH, and FORGED. Laura just completed a run in the world premiere of BUILD, by Michael Golamco, at The Geffen Playhouse.
Stoic Entertainment is incredibly excited to welcome Miss Heisler to the fold.  If you have already donated to help get Kittens In A Cage on the little screen - Thank You!  If you haven't pledged yet, please do it today - we only have a little more than two weeks to go.  Meow!
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Rebecca Mozo Is Just A Good Girl Who Done A Bad Thing...

Update #6 · Nov. 30, 2012 · comment
Rebecca Mozo wandered her way in to Marquetta State Prison with just a ukuele and a smile. Oh, yeah... and a homicide rap. But was it really her fault?  Her character Junie doesn't think so.  See if this fresh meat can make it through Episode 1 by watching Kittens In A Cage in 2013!
Miss Mozo attended Rutgers University and studied at The Globe in London. Shortly thereafter she moved to Los Angeles and the first job she landed was playing Anya in The Cherry Orchard opposite Annette Bening, Alfred Molina and Sarah Paulson at The Mark Taper Forum. Rebecca has been nominated for several Ovation awards and has appeared in regional theaters across the country including In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play at South Coast Repertory, A Noise Within, The Colony and Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey where she appeared in "I Capture the Castle" and is the only actress to play the part of Cassandra Mortmain in the U.S..  Rebecca has appeared in television shows such as Medium, Cold Case, Pizza Time and Young and the Restless. Film credits include award winning indie film Zerophilia, Headless Horseman, The Waterhole and They Bury Their Own opposite John Glover. She also narrates audio books including the entire Vampire Diaries series. She is a member of Antaeus Company in Los Angeles and is a very proud Jersey Girl.
And Stoic Entertainment is beyond proud of having this Jersey Girl (who is born run with tramps like us) in Kittens In A Cage  If you haven't had a chance to support our project, please do so today.  We have a big cash mountain to climb and only have a few days left to get to the top!
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Kittens in a Cage Web Series!

The original web series Kittens In A Cage flips the 1950's "Women in Prison" film genre on its hysterical, homicidal, hot ass!
  • Launched: Nov 19, 2012
  • Funding ends: Dec 19, 2012
Jillian Armenante, award winning actress, playwright and director and Jim Anzide, award winning artistic director and producer have teamed up once again to dream up the perfect idea... this time, for a web series. Already in a love affair with the genre of 1950's women in prison flicks, Jillian wrote the script based on the play Kittens In A Cage by Kelleen Conway Blanchard.
We felt it was time for a web series to capture the tone of archetypical women’s prison movies with a twisted, wicked and hilarious sense of humor. We assembled an incredible cast for the first read through and knew in an instant that we chose the perfect piece.  The reading was so well executed by our actors, and so well received...we could barely be contained from fits of uncontrollable laughter. Twenty plus years in the business, this doesn't happen very often, trust me.
Our cast and cameos are from some of your favorite television shows, movies, popular webisodes and bands.  Some of our celebrity guest cameos that we can tell you about at this moment are Joel McHale, Amy Brenneman, Constantine Maroulis and Michaela Watkins.  And we've only just begun the process!
We know that you'll be coming back every week to see this very funny and talented cast of incredible characters and be surprised by who might be showing up in one of the supporting roles.  We've called in a lot of favors but there is still so much we have to pay for, rent, buy, lease... steal?
The biggest challenge facing us is that we are filming it as if it is a feature. We want to guarantee that we will have our actors, crew and locations for an extended period of time. We will be shooting over 90 pages in just 21 days. It's a HUGE undertaking, but it will guarantee that we will have the first two seasons in the can. Jillian has spent 25 years in front of and behind the camera. Jim and Jillian are multi-award winning producers who are used to rivaling the odds and meeting with great success. They are also doppelgangers.
We need your help!  And we will reward you in many different ways for doing so, including your favorite new web series - Kittens In A Cage!
We are so thrilled to announce the amazing cast and crew that you just witnessed in the video clip.  Just click on their name below to see their IMDB page.
▪    Jillian Armenante as Barbara Winchester - Cannibal
▪    Kathryne Dora Brown as Peggy Djokovic - Thief and Murderer
▪    Rebecca Field as Jeanine Sucklow - Axe Murderer
▪    Laura Heisler  as Lois Milkwood - Murderer
▪    Rebecca Mozo as Junie Butler - Ukulele Player
▪    Lauren Weedman as Victoria Woodburn – Pyromaniac
▪    Gigi Bermingham as The Matron
▪    La Toya London as Nancy
Production Team
▪    Jillian Armenante - Executive Producer/Director/Writer/Composer
▪    Peter Alton - Cinematographer
▪    Jim Anzide - Producer
▪    Alice Dodd - Associate Producer
▪    Michele Dunn - Costume Designer
▪    Kathleen Pardo - Hair/Make Up
▪    Mark Nichols - Composer
▪    Dan Gellert - Music Mixer
▪    Gary Smoot - Logo Design
▪    Kelleen Conway Blanchard - Based on the play by


Kittens in a Cage – I Can’t Quit You

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Photo: Ian Johnston; Francesca Mondelli in Annex Theater’s “Kittens In A Cage”
Published at August 14, 2012.
Okay. I shouldn’t like Kittens in a Cage at Annex Theatre (through August 25th; tickets). I really shouldn’t. It’s a riff on lezploitation and reminded me of a really bad ’70s softcore porn about lesbians in prison that someone (who was totally not me) might have watched on Skinemax when they were fifteen. But I can’t help it. I love Kittens in a Cage.
Yes, it’s campy. There’s not a message, or a greater purpose. There’s a one-armed matron who has all the vigor (and lines) from a B-movie villain. There’s no redemption and the most traumatizing thing that happens actually doesn’t matter because this is a land without lasting consequences for our leading ladies.
But it has a ukelele! A pretty lady sings with a southern twang (I’m from Tennessee so this made my stomach backflip)! And gorgeous women kissing one another and having feelings! And I learned so many new ways to refer to my genitalia (most of them were fish related, but still they were clever)! And it’s the first show I’ve seen in a long time that has an all-female cast with a female playwright (ladies writing about lady-loving–unheard of)!
Under impeccable direction by Bret Fetzer, Kittens in a Cage by Kelleen Conway Blanchard is a joyous bad-girl romp through a lesbian-loving field of daisies where bitches get shanked in the shower. So, the plot–and there is one–focuses on Junie (played by the dark-haired vixen Francesca Mondelli), who was unfortunately backstabbed by her friends after innocently shooting a bankteller in the neck. It could happen to anyone.
Junie’s no-good friends sold her out and she’s sent off to a woman’s correctional facility run by the one-armed matron (Lisa Viertel) and the rough around the edges prison guard, Nancy (Katie Driscoll). Viertel and Driscoll play beautifully off each other with clear affection and unrequited love though they both despise the uncleanliness of homosexuality. (Their exchanges reminded me wonderfully of Captain Monica Stark and Cookie in Psycho Beach Party.)
Junie then becomes the object of affection as the “new fish” (sorry, brief pause while I chuckle) in a pool of despicable inmates who are all several steps away from the line of sanity. Quickly, Junie falls for her cellmate, Vickie (played by the omg-I-want-to-cuddle-with-you Laurel Ryan) which don’t sit right with the other fishes, specifically the big kahuna, Jeanine.
Jeanine (Tracy Leigh), played with an accent that sounded unbelievably like AppleJack from MLP: Friendship is Magic, lusts after the seemingly simple Junie and has some of the best references to vaginas and cunnilingus I have ever heard. Jeanine’s over-the-top “I’m gonna get you” panache is paired with the subtle and remarkable Erin Pike who plays the silent Barbara, incarcerated for eating a girl scout troupe.
But of course, not all can be happy in a lesbian prison. Sigh. No. You can’t just have hot people in skimpy outfits, lusting after one another. We can’t just live in that world…of imprisonment. Oh no. Dark and nefarious things are happening. Our resident crazy (played by the seamlessly shifting Erin Stewart) comes to deliver the harrowing news in true “I took a few too many blue pills,” fashion: The matron likes to “fix” the inmates with science! Cue the sound of things buzzing and a green light cue.
Speaking of lighting and sound, we have the talents of Tess Malone and Kyle Thompson, respectively. Malone’s lights get creepy at all the good parts. And Thompson’s SCIENCE! noises seemed to be taken direct from Bride of Frankenstein (in a good way). Not to mention the songs which I absolutely wanted more of, written by a very talented man named Rick Miller.
At this point I’d normally advocate for some deeper meaning. Something that would elevate this play to the next level, make it more than just a lesbian comedy with a lot of cleavage. But, I can’t do it. In its B-movie, lezsploitation simplicity, Kittens in a Cage  resonates. It’s not the same crap (see: wedding/dinner party gone awry). It’s mocking exploitation as opposed to actively exploiting (seriously, I stopped looking at cleavage when Junie started singing). And hey, it’s actually funny in a clever way.
Especially in a season of Annex’s that has been unbelievably male (I’m looking at you, Lewis and Clark), Kittens overflows with female talent with the additional bonus of incredible singing, acting, grisly biting of license plates, and a truly funny script. Kittens in a Cage may not be a change-your-life night of theatre, but it’s certainly a welcome relief to the heat. Especially in a time when women are still having the “Women: Do they have a sense of humor?” debate, I’ll take Kittens in a Cage over A. R. Gurney any day.



Posted by on 29 Jul 2012 / 1 Comment

So what’s not to love about a play starring 7 local powerhouse actresses and written by an equally strong local, female playwright?! Given the dearth of substantive roles for women in theatre and film, it is great to see a show like “Kittens in a Cage” infused with so much estrogen and feminine prowess.  (I’m just not sure why they didn’t choose a female director for the show as well!).
Written by Kelleen Conway Blanchard and directed by Bret Fetzer, “Kittens in a Cage” is “a tough love story about bad broads that can’t get no breaks!” It tells the story of a young girl named “Junie” (played by Francesca Mondelli) who finds herself in the middle of a bank robbery that went wrong. Basically, she was set up by her thug friends and framed for the crime, an act that ultimately lands her in prison where she meets the other characters of this jailhouse comedy.
The prison is headed by the always fabulous Lisa Viertel who plays the “Prison Matron,” – a Doctor Evil type of character who has a prosthetic hook arm, a tortured fondness for monkeys, and an undying belief in the power of science to reform the inmates.
“Junie” is schooled in the world of prison life by her cellmate, “Vickie,” (played by Laurel Ryan), who is a bit of a pyromaniac herself. In time, the two develop a romantic connection with each other as they defend themselves against the other inmates and against the Prison Matron’s scientific experiments as well.
Rounding out the cast includes: “Nancy,” the closet lesbian, Barney Fife-ish prison guard (played by Katie Driscoll) who is in love with the prison matron; “Jeanine” (played by Tracy Leigh), the redneck, lesbian murderess whose got eyes for “Junie”; “Barbara” (played by Erin Pike), the Hannibal Lecter-like cannibal with a sweet tooth for Girl Scouts; and finally the actress, Erin Stewart, who plays a variety of roles, one of which is “Lois,” a baby killing pill head.
The entire cast does a great job, and it is obvious that they are having a lot of fun in their respective roles; and when I saw the show on opening night, it was obvious that the audience had just as much fun watching them.
Indeed, the play is packed with the kind of bawdy, lowbrow humor that you would expect from a comedy set in a women’s prison : a lot of lesbian jokes, a lot of girl on girl action (in all senses of the word), and a lot of pulling things out of vaginas. In short, it is just a good time, not to be taken too seriously.
Finally, the technical design is NOT the focus of this production. Suffice it to say that the set and lighting designs are simple and functional. Here, it’s all about the actresses, as it should be!
“Kittens in a Cage” plays through August 25th at the Annex Theatre on Capitol Hill. 1100 E. Pike St. For tickets call 206-728-0933 or on the web at

The Ladies of Kittens!

37 Minutes with Kittens in a Cage

Photographing the artists of “Kittens in a Cage” for Annex Theatre

After photographing K. Brian Neel with his two darling kittens I dared to photograph the “other” kittens hot in Seattle right now: the ladies starring in “Kittens in a Cage.”
I was able to get 5 of the 7 actresses at my studio the last week of their performance here in Seattle and I believe they have only 2 performances left: Friday and Saturday at 8pm.  Home stretch ladies!
Special thanks to my dear friend Wynne Earle for her help with stylizing and lighting on this set.





Cast in this feature:  Francesca