BEETHOVEN & MISFORTUNE COOKIES
- By Joni Ravenna -
The true story of Kabin Thomas - An African American Music Appreciation Professor at The University of Arkansas - who was fired after a white student complained about the use of profanity and a graphic image depicting a lynching in one of his lessons. This is the story of how he lost himself and then found his way back.
Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies is the True Story about a much-loved university music professor who is abruptly fired after a white student complains. As Professor Thomas tries to figure out "what's next," he looks back at his life and his Detroit childhood in the context of the Motown, jazz, and classical music he loves.
As Kabin tries to find himself, different wounded aspects from the past resurface. Though immensely frightening to face what one has long repressed, there can be no way forward without first looking back.
Because of its uniquely cultural and educational elements, it has been produced in various Theatres and Universities around the Country. It explores issues of Freedom of Speech and how Universities choose to deal with students who are offended by the manner in which a lesson is taught. Ultimately, however, this is the story of rediscovering your identity after it's been pulled out from under you.
In 2020, the play was produced in San Diego in February. Also in 2020, it was produced virtually and via podcast. In 2019, the play was produced at Chapman University where it starred Rayshawn Chism,
Directed by Allison Bergman who heads up the Touring Production. For more performances see Reviews Page.
SOME RECENT AND NOT SO RECENT PRODUCTIONS OF BEETHOVEN AND MISFORTUNE COOKIES
2021 - San Francisco Playground Solo Festival.
2020 - Virtual production funded by Sean Rose, The Grok Studio and L.A. Dept. of Cultural Affairs.
2020 - PODCAST produced by Open Door Theatre starring Amir Abdullah.
2019 - OC Centric Festival Headliner.
2016 - New Works of Merit Honoree.
2014 - Optioned by Woodie King, Jr. for his Federal Theatre in NYC.
2013 - Extended at the Odyssey due to critical acclaim.
2013 - Performed at the Wharton Center, Michigan.
Actor - Professor Thomas
Rayshawn has been entertaining people since he was a child. A native of Los Angeles, CA; Rayshawn debuted on stage in 2005, and since then Rayshawn has been in over 20 theatre productions including, A Raisin in the Sun, Fences and most recently 7 Guitars. Rayshawn has also been featured in web series and film garnering him 2 awards for best supporting actor.
You can find and follow Rayshawn on Facebook and Instagram for all upcoming projects.
Director, Script Consultant
Allison Bergman is a director, script consultant and performance coach based in California. Favorite stage directing credits include THE ELEPHANT MAN, SEMINAR, ARCADIA, ARABIAN NIGHTS, URINETOWN, DANCING AT LUGHNASA, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, DADDY’S DYIN’ WHO’S GOT THE WILL, THERE GOES THE BRIDE, THE HEIDI CHRONICLES, DRIVING MISS DAISY, THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT, BARNUM, THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO and SWEENEY TODD.
She has also directed many premiere productions and development workshops in NYC and LA. She is thrilled to return to Los Angeles where she recently directed BEETHOVEN AND MISFORTUNE COOKIES, completed her first feature length film, and is in post-production on a short film.
She is developing new stage projects with Moving Arts, Unbound Productions and Musical Café. Ms. Bergman is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Boston University, L.A. City College Theatre Academy, and Directors Lab West. She has been honored with a Drama-Logue Award, and named Women In Theatre’s Outstanding Woman In Theatre.
Her book ACTING THE SONG is used in musical theatre training programs as a textbook and a teacher’s guide. Please visit allisonbergman.com to learn more.
Originally performed at L.A.'s Met Theatre and Odyssey Theatre where it was extended twice due to critical acclaim.
In 2012 through 2014 this one man play starred Ernest Harden, Junior and was directed by TJ Castronovo. (see bios below)
Ernest Harden, JR.
Actor - Professor Thomas
Ernest Harden, Jr. portrays Professor Thomas. Harden was seen at the MET in “Savage World,” but is possibly best known for his extensive work in TV and film, including recurring characters on “The Jeffersons” and “Santa Barbara” and starring roles opposite Bette Davis in “White Mama” and opposite Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes in “White Men Can’t Jump.”
T.J. Castronovo directs. He has directed many shows in L.A. (including “Brooklyn, U.S.A.,” “The Leopard,” “Campaign,” “Women in Shorts”) and off-Broadway. He is co-producer of the touring comedy “Viagra Falls.” Also an actor, he was a regular on the TV series “Taxi” as Tommy the bartender, subsequently appearing in many feature films and episodics. He produced the TV series “Tales From the Darkside,” for which he also directed selected episodes.