I have been working on this play about my darling granny, Dale Messick for 10 years now. I had my first reading of this play — a very early draft — at A.C.T in San Francisco in August of 2003, the summer I did a literary internship at the theater. I remember getting the idea and writing every morning before I’d go into work. Wow! I’ve come full circle, haven’t I? That summer, right after the internship ended, I went on to a trip to Spain with my then boyfriend and he proposed while we rode around on a horse-drawn carriage in a beautiful small town. What a summer! I thought I had this play — and it was such a big play, for really my first big play. But I didn’t have it, not yet….and my grandma passed away two years later.
I graduated, I worked, I married, I had two babies…and I still didn’t quite have it, and then with children, I felt I was slowing down and it wasn’t going to happen. But then, there was the Comic Book Theater festival and Eric Gould who forced me with a stick to re-write my play. Then, there was another year and a half of work — where I met with actors and my friend and director Jamie Ramsburg every week for 7 months to get a second draft. I’m sharper and better at the same time that I’m also dragging my feet and I’m scared because I know I’ve got so much hard work ahead of me. I’m nothing if not determined, and believe me — a mommy with two young children who wants to get anything done needs to be determined. So here we go — a totally new version of the play — that is a draft mind you, and this is only a staged reading. But let me just say in all honesty, this play is pretty special and you will feel very fortunate to have seen it.
Play Info —
6TH STREET PLAYHOUSE IN CONNECTION WITH THE REDWOOD WRITERS presents
A STAGED READING OF REPORTER GIRL a play about Dale Messick and Brenda Starr Reporter by Laura Rohrman
ONE NIGHT ONLY JULY 21ST AT 6PM at the 6TH STREET PLAYHOUSE
52 W. 6th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401 Phone: (707) 523-4185 (24-hour voice mail)
SANTA ROSA, CA (JULY 9TH, 2013) – Reporter Girl is Laura Rohrman’s full-length play about cartoonist Dale Messick, who created of the famous cartoon strip Brenda Starr Reporter in 1940. Directed by BROWEN SHEERS the play is a is a sexy re-imagining of Messick’s life in the 1940’s just as her career was taking off.
THE STAGED READING OF Reporter Girl will perform SUNDAY, JULY 21st at 6:00pm with a talk back with the author after the performance. The price for the reading is free/donations accepted. No reservation required.
About Dale Messick/Brenda Starr Reporter:
Dale Messick was born in South Bend Indiana in 1906, and made her way to New York City working as a greeting card artist in the early 1930’s. In April 1940, she gained major success when her cartoon strip Brenda Starr Reporter won a contest in the Daily News and launched her long cartooning career. The strip was very popular and ran for 71 years and only just ended in 2011. Dale Messick wrote and drew the strip for 40 years, retiring in 1980 when she moved to Santa Rosa, CA to be hear her daughter and two grandchildren, Laura “Noni” Rohrman (the playwright) and her grandson Curt and their mother, Starr Rohrman (Dale’s only child). She lived mostly in Oakmont, CA and was a colorful character in the area, often sketching people wherever she went. She passed away after a long illness in 2005, just shy of 98. Dale Messick is credited with being the first female syndicated cartoonist in the world. At its height of popularity, Brenda Starr Reporter was syndicated in over 250 newspapers worldwide and in 1945 Brenda Starr got a full-color Sunday page. In 1977 Brenda Starr’s wedding to long-time love Basil St. John was celebrated worldwide.
About The Playwright:
In addition to being the maternal granddaughter of Dale Messick, Laura “Noni” Rohrman grew up in the Bay Area (Penngrove) and was involved in theater as an actor as a teenager. In 2000, Laura moved to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a playwright. She has since had over 50 productions worldwide and completed her MFA in theater at the New School for Drama. Her work has been developed and produced with theaters around the world. She’s been a finalist for several major playwriting awards including: The O’Neill Festival, Samuel French One-Act festival and a Weissberger Award Nominee. Laura has been working on Reporter Girl for ten years. She started the play in 2003 as an exercise in graduate school when her grandmother was still alive. She’s just completed a seven-month workshop sponsored by The New School For Drama’s Alumni Project in New York City to complete a new version of the work. For more information: http://www.laurarohrman.com