JONI RAVENNA

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Joni Ravenna aka Joni Ravenna Sussman

A graduate of USC, Joni Ravenna is a multi-hyphenate:  TV writer/producer, journalist, published author and award-winning playwright. She is also Co- Author of the book, "You Let Some GIRL Beat You?- The Ann Meyers Drysdale Story" (Behler Publications, 2012) which Forbes Magazine called "a stunning portrayal of one of today's legendary women's basketball treasures."  In November, 2020, the Pipeline Book Adaptation Team selected it as runner up to the winner out of 1700 submissions. They are currently working on a development deal.

 

Ravenna was editor of the OC Woman section of Parenting Magazine from 2004 to 2014 while also producing the TV series "Earth Trek" for PBS National. She has had the honor of working with such luminaries as David Lynch, Forrest Whitaker,, Sean Astin and Ally Sheedy. Other TV writing credits include:  "Great Sports Vacations"  (a 36 part Cable-Ace Nominated TV series for the Travel Channel), "The Donovan Concert, Live at the Kodak" for PBS,  "Hello Paradise", (a 72 part series for KVCR -pbs), "Judy, Frank and Dean" and "Latin Legends at the Orpheus."   Over the years,  Ravenna has interviewed  leaders in various fields including:  Sean Connery, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Jim Brown, Jamal Wilkes, Julius Erving, Johnny Bench,  Sugar Ray Leonard, Elgin Baylor, Bruce Jenner, Dyan Cannon, Kirk Douglas, and Brad Pitt to name a few.

 

Some of Ravenna's full length plays, include "A Brush with Fate," which ran at the West Coast Ensemble theatre in Hollywood where it garnered a Dramalogue nod,  and  "Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies," a commissioned work which was extended twice at The Odyssey Theatre (Hollywood, starring Ernest Harden, Jr.,) in 2013 due to critical acclaim. "Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies,"  was a New Works of Merit Honoree in 2016 and  recently completed a run  at Chapman University in Orange. In 2021, it was featured in the San Francisco Playground Festival starting Rayshawn Chism. Select monologues from the play are available through Smith and Kraus Publishers  (Aug. 2021).

Her newest play, ASYLUM, was produced in 2019 as part of the New Voices Festival in Anaheim at Stage Door Rep.    

 

Her published full-length, "For Pete's Sake," (Brooklyn Publishers under  name JR Sussman) enjoyed a three month stint at the Chance Theatre in Anaheim, California where it was nominated Best New Play by OC Weekly.  That play was a finalist in Playwrights' Circle National Playwriting Competition.  Her One-Act  "Sex, Love and The Premature Evacuation"  was the winner of International Keepitcoming.com playwriting competition among others, and a finalist in the Strawberry Festival in NYC.   That same year her  short comedy "The Green Grocer"  was produced at the Tulip Festival in NYC. That play is currently  at the Baytown Theatre in Houston, TX.

Another commission for Ravenna came from  The Black Rock Center for the  Arts, which hired her to write  a play teaching Elementary school students math through music. That play, "Jack of Hearts" was performed throughout  Maryland School District  and throughout the Palm Springs Unified School District.

 

Her newest play, TUCKED AWAY, about modern-day slavery, premiered  March, 2019,  as part of the  INK Fest at the Hollywood Hudson theatres where the 45 minute One Act came in runner up to the Best Play ( a full length) out of 25 accepted submissions.  

 

In  2016, her One Act, "Twisted," was produced at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood as part of the 2 Cents Ink Acting Out Fest.  Her newest full length play, "Blinded," received a staged reading at the Theatre For The New City in NYC  on June 6th, 2016,  (under the name "Blind Ambition") where it was directed by Broadway Veteran, Larry Cahn. In 2017, her new play, "Blinded," received its world premier in North Hollywood at The Brickhouse Theatre where it was produced by John Lant, and received rave reviews from the press.  

 

Joni is  also  currently working on a Broadway-bound musical called 'THE MANAGER.'  It's the true story as told to Ravenna by Greg McDonald, whom the press called "The bastard son of Colonel Parker" (Elvis' Manager). The Manager received a full staged reading on May 19, 2019 at the 360 seat Claire Trevor Theatre at UCI (University of California at Irvine.) 

In February of 2020  "Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies was part of Black History Month at San Diego Performing Arts University.