'Spec' is Spectacular!
The Tolucan Times & Canyon Crier

Carol Kaufman Segal
13 October 2004
(page 18)

Sometimes people make choices in their life’s work, and even though they are successful, they never feel fulfilled. That is the case with our hero, Al, played by John LeMay. Although he has been a successful lawyer, Al’s dream has been to be a filmmaker. He gives up his career and decides to put his complete efforts into making a great movie.

He convinces his young writer friend Mike (Joseph Gregori) that they can both become rich if he will write a “spec” script that he names Virus, a horror film with a cast of girls who are willing to take off their clothes. Al gets the backing of some questionable friends, Ted (Tim Abell), Hicks (Rod Rowland) and Browner (Mark Siverten) who have more than filmmaking in mind. Thus, Al and Mike find themselves with their backers in a desert location in the Middle East. Al is determined to save his film even though he and his cohorts find more than they bargained for in the unexpected perilous locale in which they find themselves.

This is the story of Spec, playing at the Alliance Repertory Theatre in Burbank. It was written by Tom Grimes, directed by Scott Campbell, and is a production of the Alliance Repertory Company.

Not only do Al and Mike find themselves in a surprising situation in the second act, but the audience was a bit surprised when we returned after the first act. Without giving anything away, I will tell you that the action is stupendous, as are the actors in this production. Though the play is produced on a small stage, the action we observe and the actors’ outstanding performances creates a great deal of excitement. Credit is due to all of those behind the scenes: Erin Underwood (Assistant Director), Mathew Jacobs (Production Designer), Brent Breath (Stage Manager), Russ Ketterinham (Lighting Designer), Drew Dalzell (Sound Designer), Gelareh Khalioun and Nadine D. Parkos (Costume Designers), and Crystal Cartwright (Special Effects/Makeup).

Spec was first shown in Los Angeles in 1990 at the Met Theatre. Because of its relevance in today’s time, Scott Campbell called the playwright about a year ago and told him that he would like to do the play, that he thought now seemed like the “the time is right.” Grimes said that after all these years, there was very little that had to be changed to update the script.

Spec will continue to play Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. through Nov. 14, at the Alliance Theatre, 3204 W. Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank. Ticket prices are $20 and are available online at www.tix.com or by calling 1-800-595-4849.

Photo (by Scott Campbell): Mark Sivertsen, John D. LeMay, Rodney Rowland, Joseph Gregori and Tim Abell.