By Bryana Turner
Directed by Kim Strassburger
Set at the dawn of the 20th Century, Bull in a China Shop traces the true story of Mary Woolley and her partner Jeannette Marks as they set out to revolutionize women’s education and electrify the suffrage movement. Told with a modern twist that shoots from the hip, this surprising, whip-smart comedy examines the ambition and desires of two women bent on changing the course of history, and how they ended up changing each other.
Bryna Turner is a Brooklyn-based playwright originally from Northern California. Bull in a China Shop premiered at LCT3 in 2017. Her work has also been developed with Abingdon Theatre Company, Clubbed Thumb, Colt Coeur, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Mendocino Theatre Company, Mount Holyoke College, Rainbow Theatre Project, and Rutgers University. Other plays include: Carlo at the Wedding; Lights Over Philo; The Stand-In; and How to Separate Your Soul from Your Body (in ten easy steps!). She is an alum of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writer’s Group, a MacDowell fellow, and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Rutgers University. She is currently working on a commission for Lincoln Center Theater and was awarded their Emerging Artist Award of 2018.
Andréa Agosto (Pearl) is an award-winning filmmaker (Kansas City Film Fest) and actress (International Model & Talent Association). Ms. Agosto is thankful for each performance opportunity. She is excited to return to Diversionary in Bull in a China Shop. Her favorite credits include: The Magic in This Soul (Grant/John), Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley: From Slavery to Modiste (Elizabeth Keckley), Cardboard Piano (Adiel/Ruth), Homos, or Everyone in America (Laila), Avenue Q (Gary Coleman), The Best Goodbye (Sabina), Cell (Gwen), You Can’t Take it With You (Rheba), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Nina), Bare (Tanya), Flyin’ West (Minnie), Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters (Manyara), Working (Maggie Holmes), Big River (Alice), High School Musical (Taylor), and Grease (Rizzo). For more information, please visit: ARTIST ALLY SPONSOR: Alan C. Campbell
Maybelle Covington (Felicity) is excited to make her Diversionary Theatre debut this fall. Favorite acting credits: As Bees in Honey Drown (Onstage Playhouse), 25th Annual Spelling Bee (USD), Tartuffe (USD MFA), Fault of Falling (SD Fringe 2017). Maybelle earned her BA in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies and psychology and is represented by Shamon-Frietas Talent. Endless thanks to Brett and Minori Covington, for their encouragement and support, and always, love to Gage Prior and the family at 417.
Jo Anne Glover (Woolley) is so excited to be working at Diversionary. Co-Founder of San Diego’s MOXIE Theatre, she has worked On- and Off-Broadway, in Los Angeles, and regionally. In San Diego, she has worked with MOXIE, Cygnet Theatre (resident artist), San Diego Rep, New Village Arts, Intrepid. Some credits include The Revolutionists, The Kid Thing (SDCC Best Actress Nominee), Emilie, Maple & Vine, Hickorydickory, Zoot Suit, Our Town, Or, The Norman Conquests, The Receptionist (SDCC Best Supp. Actress), Summer and Smoke, Expecting Isabel, Drink Me, Rabbit Hole, Bleeding Kansas, Off The Ground, The Listener, Bluebonnet Court, Devil Dog Six, WET, Miss Witherspoon, Dog Act, Limonades Tous les Jours (Patte award, Best Actress), Pulp, Kimberly Akimbo, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Hamlet, Stop Kiss, and Othello. In addition to her work as an actress, she has worked as a producer in New York and Los Angeles. This one is for my Sisters, Delicia & Jen, who have taught me how to be a kickass woman.
Tamara McMillian (Jeannette Marks) is absolutely jubilant about her debut at Diversionary! She recently has appeared as Seneca in New Village Arts production of Men On Boats. Other credits include: The Award-Winning Production of The Ballad of Emmett Till (Ion Theatre) Father Comes Home From The Wars (Intrepid Theatre) as well as other favorite credits: A Song For Coretta, Da Kink In My Hair, and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Wasn’t Enough. Originally from Monroeville A.L., Tamara received her B.A. in Theatre from Alabama State University and has recently trained in the Ivanna Chubbuck Technique with renown actress (Tasha Smith.) Tamara believes in the transformative power of theatre as a social, political, emotional, mental, spiritual, and humanistic force vital to the health of any society, and selflessly understands her duty as a voice for the voiceless. Thank you to the Diversionary family for an opportunity on your platform. Instagram:Tamaramcmill
Milena (Sellers) Phillips* (Dean Welsh) – is very excited to make her debut with Diversionary Theatre. She was most recently seen as Old Shady in Men on Boats (New Village Arts) and Sadie Delany in Having Our Say (New Village Arts), for which she was a nominee for Outstanding Lead Performance in a play by the San Diego Critics Circle. Milena was recognized by the San Diego Critics Circle with the prestigious Craig Noel Award for “Outstanding Ensemble,” in Cygnet Theatre’s August Wilson Repertory Company of Seven Guitars and King Hedley II. Her credits also include Jaclyn in Rasheeda Speaking (Vantage Theatre), Ruth in the U.S. Premiere of Calendar Girls (Sullivan Players), Two seasons as Dinah in Dixie Swim Club (Different Stages) and she was a nominee for an Aubrey Award from ACT and the Patio Playhouse Award for Major Supporting Actress for her role as Marrell in This (Patio Playhouse). Milena has performed on film and television in numerous roles and is a member of SAG-AFTRA. Her love for acting is equaled only to her love of children. She co-founded the Jonathan Sellers & Charlie Keever Foundation established in memory of her son to promote the safety of children through education. Milena also co-authored and published a book titled, “Always Fly Away, A Children’s Safety Book.”
*Denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association
Kim Strassburger (Director) is thrilled to be returning to Diversionary Theatre having previously directed A Civil War Christmas and A New Brain. Other directing credits include Romeo, Romeo and Juliet (Roustabouts Theatre Company); 8 Songs For A Mad King (2017 Craig Noel Award-Outstanding Special Event & Best of Festival-San Diego International Fringe Festival/Bodhi Tree Productions); Sunday In The Park With George with Glenn Paris (2017 Craig Noel Award-Outstanding Direction of a Musical), Master Class, Passion (Nomination-2014 Craig Noel Award-Outstanding Direction of a Musical), Grey Gardens, Gypsy with Claudio Raygoza (Nomination-2011 Craig Noel Award-Outstanding Direction of a Musical) and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Ion Theatre); Gutenberg! The Musical! (Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company); and Seascape (New Village Arts Theatre). Recent acting credits include The Moors (Diversionary Theatre) and The Normal Heart (2017 Craig Noel Award-Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play/Ion Theatre) and The Woman In Black with Jason Heil (CSU San Marcos). Kim is a graduate of the Catholic University of America, studied at LAMDA, and is a 2014 member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. She also teaches Acting at the Coronado School of the Arts.
Ron Logan (Scenic Design) is designing his fourth show at Diversionary Theatre. Previous Scenic Design: Akeelah and the Bee (San Diego Junior Theatre); Art, Little Women: The Musical, Into the Woods (Point Loma Nazarene University); A New Brain, Amazons and Their Men, Lizard Boy, Ballast – Craig Noel Award for Outstanding New Play (Diversionary Theatre); Abundance (Backyard Renaissance), The Elephant Man (Backyard Renaissance & Oceanside Theatre Company); Sea of Souls, Ryes, Six, Grove (ion theatre – workshopped original works); Geeks! The Musical (ion’s BlkBox). Co-scenic Design: Bug (ion). Associate Projection Design (with Joe Huppert): Lizard Boy (Diversionary); The Elephant Man (Backyard Renaissance & Oceanside Theatre Company); The Dybbuk of Hannah and Sam’s Wedding, The Oldest Boy – Craig Noel Co-Award for Best Projection Design (SD Rep). Charge Artist: A Jewish Joke (Roustabouts), Now or Later (Diversionary), Lettice and Lovage (SRT). Creative Director for the San Diego International Fringe Festival since 2014. Graphic Designer for Scripps Ranch Theatre’s 2014-15, 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 seasons; for Oceanside Theatre Company’s 2017 season; for Grossmont College’s 2018-19 season, and for The Wizard of Oz, and On Broadway starring The Drifters (Algonquin Arts Theatre – New Jersey). Professional graphic designer for 28 years. Primary designer for U.S. Soccer Federation for 17 years. Co-producer with Hannah Logan – Logan2 (Logan Squared) Productions – which just produced their fifth annual That 24 Hour Thing for SD Fringe, and their fifth quarterly reading of Theatre: Undone at the San Diego Public Library’s Neil Morgan Auditorium.
Beth Connelly (Costume Designer) is delighted to return to Diversionary Theatre with Bull in a China Shop. Her previous Diversionary productions include A Civil War Christmas and A New Brain. Beth has the privilege to be the Designer in Residence at Coronado School of the Arts. Her work in and around San Diego includes productions with San Diego Musical Theater; The Coronado Island Film Festival; ACT-San Diego; CYC Theatre; J*Company; and Leading Light Theatre. When Beth isn’t designing, she is a full-time real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California. “Special love and thanks to director, Kim Strassburger, for counting me as a member of your team and for letting me come to play! Enjoy!”
Curtis Mueller (Lighting Designer) returns to Diversionary having designed The Happiest Place on Earth, Cardboard Piano, Homos, Well, 2.5 Minute Ride, Lizard Boy, Manhandled, Now or Later, A Civil War Christmas, Amazons and Their Men, Man Clan, and A New Brain. Select local credits include: Withering Heights, Margin of Error (Roustabouts Theatre Company); End of The Rainbow, Quality of Life, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, I Hate Hamlet, All My Sons, Macbeth (Intrepid Theatre Company); Big River, The 1940s Radio Hour, Seascape (New Village Arts); Chess in concert, Next to Normal, Spring Awakening (Cabaret at the Merc Summer Series). Curtis has also worked extensively with Coronado School of The Arts. Curtis holds a BFA in Lighting Design from California Institute of The Arts.
TJ Fucella (Sound Designer) is honored to be returning to Diversionary as a sound designer. His recent credits include Cinderella Eats Rice & Beans, and Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story (New Village Arts), as well as Gypsy, On The 20th Century, Shockheaded Peter, and Spamalot (Cygnet Theatre Company), Father Comes Home From The War, and Perfect Arrangement (Intrepid), Miracl
Bonnie Durben (Properties Designer) Diversionary Theatre: The Loneliest Girl in the World, The Happiest Place on Earth, Cardboard Piano, The Moors, 2.5 Minute Ride, Well, Ballast, Mystery of Love and Sex, The Boy who danced on Air, Now or Later, She-Rantulas, Baby With The Bathwater, A New Brain and Amazons and Their Men. Moonlight Theatre Productions: Aida, Little Mermaid, Sunset Blvd, In The Heights, Sister Act, Peter Pan, Titanic, Addams Family, Music Man, Shrek, All Shook Up and Big Fish. Scripps Ranch: Skin Deep, Good People. Mira Costa Theatre: Waiting For Lefty, Oklahoma, These Shining Lights, Romeo and Juliet, Seven, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Urinetown. Cygnet Theatre: Animal Crackers, On The Twentieth Century and 57 other productions. Bonnie is a member of the Society of Property Artisans and Managers.
Tiffany Tang (Dramaturge) is a writer, actor and producer in San Diego and a proud alumna of Mount Holyoke College. She is Associate Director at Intrepid Theatre Company, where she is also Project Director for Exiled Voices: The Refugee Art Experience. She is also producer and director for Final Draft, the New Play Festival at New Village Arts. Theatre acting credits at Diversionary include Amazons and Their Men and Well. Acting credits elsewhere include Far Away (New York Theatre Workshop); Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing (Cry Havoc, NYC); Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth (Intrepid Theatre Company); Men on Boats (New Village Arts); The Vagina Monologues, Longview TX (InnerMission Productions). Recent acting film credits include Blood Will Have Blood (Best Picture, San Diego Film Awards), A Life Lived (Best Picture, LA Underground FF), Reality Bytes (48HFP Audience Choice, Best Of, San Diego Film Award Nominee), The Coatsworth-Higgenses of San Junipero (48HFP Audience Choice) and Isabel (Winner, San Diego TRUE Film Competition). Tiffany earned her MFA at the Actors Studio Drama School at the New School in New York City and is a contributor for the San Diego Union-Tribune and Samuel French’s Breaking Character Magazine and the author of Creepy Little Death Poems.
Taylor Todd (Stage Manager) is so excited to be back at Diversionary! Some selected technical credits include stage
manager for Bachelorette (Backyard Renaissance), Tarrytown (Backyard Renaissance), Father
Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2, & 3 (Intrepid), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Intrepid &
New Village Arts), Perfect Arrangement (Intrepid), Mystery of Love and
Sex (Diversionary), ART (Intrepid), Gutenberg! The Musical! (Backyard Renaissance), Woody
Guthrie’s American Song (Intrepid), The Seagull (Old Globe/USD MFA), End of the
Rainbow (Intrepid), Anton’s Shorts; Three Brief Comedies by Chekhov (USD), and assistant stage
manager for Cardboard Piano (Diversionary), Parlour Song (Backyard Renaissance), Oliver!
(Cabrillo Stage, Santa Cruz), and Anatomy of Gray (USD). Taylor graduated from the
University of San Diego with a degree in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies.
This surprising, uber-smart comedy takes an intense look at a time in American history when the women’s movement needed an injection of passion and leadership, and they sure got it with Woolley and Marks. Through the lens of their love story, a community of women fighting to be heard and seen as equals is revealed on urgent and intimate terms. This important new play by an exciting rising playwright speaks to our current moment in profound ways. Its funny, sexy and incredibly relevant.
“A pugnacious, tender, and gloriously funny new play about how necessary bravery is. –The New York Times’ Critic’s Pick
“Brilliant” – San Diego Story
“Brimming with immediate, persuasive emotional clarity.”- San Diego Story
“Jo Anne Glover’s swagger and intellectual bravado astutely defined Mary Woolley”- San Diego Story
“Turner’s topic was vital then—and now—and perhaps always.”- San Diego Story
“Director Kim Strassburger’s sharply acted San Diego premiere gets full impact out of Turner’s lacerating wit.” –San Diego Union-Tribune
“A touching and funny love story. Without sugarcoating the problems the couple face, Strassburger’s interpretation is a positive and sincere look at commitment.” -Talkin’ Broadway
“Glover brings a fiery and passionate energy.” –Talkin’ Broadway
“An overall successful opening season play. Hats off to Diversionary.” -Carol Davis
“Both Glover and McMillian are at their best.” -Carol Davis
“It’s also heartening and heartbreaking to be with them engaging in their struggles for equality, especially now.”-Carol Davis
“This play by Bryna Turner is a lot like its main character of Mary Woolley (Jo Anne Glover); it’s direct, sentimental, funny, and confrontational. ” -BroadwayWorld.com
“Glover and McMillian are fantastic as they depict the ups and downs that come with a long term relationships between two driven people. ” –BroadwayWorld.com
“Glover is excellent as Woolley, she is both a confident and caring character, who understands the world she lives in but can also see what more it can become.” –BroadwayWorld.com
“Covington can do a lot to make the audience laugh with a few lines, or sometimes without even saying a word.” –BroadwayWorld.com
“Phillips is sympathetic as the Dean who must deal with both the increasingly irate donors and the increasingly determined Woolley.” –BroadwayWorld.com
“BULL IN A CHINA SHOP is a funny and poignant love story that highlights the eternal struggles of commitment, ambition, and equality in a relationship.” –BroadwayWorld.com
“Credit to director Kim Strassburger for wrestling with a multi-styled text, to Ron Logan for his minimalist set, and to Diversionary Theatre, now in its 33rd season, for staging plays with important subjects San Diegans wouldn’t see elsewhere.” –San Diego Reader
Please join us after the October 12th performance of Bull in A China Shop for a special talkback with Lillian Faderman, Lillian Faderman is an internationally known scholar of lesbian history and literature, as well as ethnic history and literature. Alongside Phyllis Irwin, Allison Rossett, and Sue Reynolds, Lillian is one of our generous Production Sponsors for the show!