Loading. Please wait...

Vanessa and French Stewart: A Match Made in the Geffen Green Room

Photo by Jeff Lorch Photography.

Photo by Jeff Lorch Photography

As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, the Geffen Playhouse wants to hear from you. Over the course of this season we will be chatting with artists, patrons and staff to hear about the plays that moved you, the memories that stick with you and what draws you back season to season. We encourage you to contact us at .

For this installment we’re joined by Geffen Playhouse artists Vanessa & French Stewart.

In what ways has being a Geffen artist added value to your life?
Vanessa Stewart: Our show Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara opened originally at Sacred Fools Theater. Gil Cates, Sr. helped us move it to the Geffen back then, and I’ve had a career ever since. As an artist, it was a dream to get a start here. It really validated me as both a writer and performer.
French Stewart: I’ve been fortunate to work in multiple capacities at the Geffen. Be it on stage, fundraisers, readings, Story Pirates for kids, or new play workshops. It’s an extremely warm and productive community. I’ve always walked away feeling the enrichment of building something: large, small, or just helpful.

What is your favorite memory (backstage/onstage) of being at the Geffen Playhouse?
FS: I was doing a play with the wonderful Matthew Modine when I saw a stunning actress walking down the hall in a nurse’s outfit. I said, “Hello, nurse.” She said: “You better take your medicine.” Matt saw my face and said, “Well, that’s that.” The nurse and myself are now happily married with a two-year-old daughter.
VS: It was a green room romance. He had to introduce himself to me twice because I looked completely different out of the Keely wig. The Geffen gave me more than my career. The Geffen gave me my husband and daughter.

In your mind, what is unique or special about the Geffen?
VS: The Geffen feels like a family that really cares about the artists that come through its doors. I remember being schooled by Gil Cates about how to make my show better. And every time I see Randall Arney, I feel included in this lovely way that makes me want to keep telling stories here.
FS: Location. It’s smack dab in the middle of Westwood and the UCLA campus. There’s a youthful energy that’s an irresistible reminder to have fun. Walking to rehearsal from your parking spot can be like a really good cup of coffee.

Why do you choose to give your talent to this theater in particular?
VS: I’m inspired by the people I see coming in and out of the doors. Not just the incredible actors, writers and directors. It’s also the backstage crew, the staff, the people running the joint: everyone has such a passion for what they do. It’s this infectious energy and love that spills out of the offices and into the rehearsal experience when you come to work.
FS: Passion, craftsmanship and care. As an actor that regularly works in 99-seat theater, I deeply appreciate the Geffen’s cultivation of local artists. Truly encouraging.

Is there anything else you would like to say about the Geffen?
FS: Yes. The next time I walk through the lobby, you can forget the gracious greeting or marvelous entertainment and place a 103 degree double latte into my greedy little hand. Up your game already.
VS: Actually, the beautiful glass of wine from Malibu Family Wines suits him just fine.
FS: Fair enough.
FS & VS: We love you, Geffen Playhouse.

Louis & Keely: ‘Live’ at the Sahara returns to the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse December 30. To purchase tickets, please click here.

Geffen Playhouse News

A not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching the cultural life of Los Angeles through plays and educational programs that inform, entertain and inspire. www.geffenplayhouse.org

Loading. Please wait...