Crimes of The Heart By Beth Henley

Crimes of The Heart By Beth Henley

Review of "Crimes of the Heart" from Diversity News

Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, ”Crimes of the Heart” opened on Friday night, August 13, 2010 at the Whitmore Lindley Theatre in North Hollywood, CA. Directed by Veronica DiPippo and produced by Alicia Benavides Greenfield and Sonia Curtis Acerra the story takes place in Hazelhurst, Mississippi.
In this stage play, one disaster after another falls into the laps of three Southern sisters. The playwright presents the tragedies in the form of story-telling gossip which kept the audience captivated and enthralled. The play is Greek tragedy meets Southern comedy.

The 3 siblings, Lenny, Meg and Babe share a love/hate relationship with one another, which is particularly evident between the oldest sister Lenny (played brilliantly by Sonia Curtis) and the middle sister, Meg (portrayed by Victoria Profeta). The story takes place on Lenny’s 30th birthday, in which every one has appeared to have either forgotten or treated it as if it were no big deal. In addition to her ‘turning-30 blues,’ she is told that her 20 year old horse, Billy Boy, has been struck and killed by lightning. As if this weren’t enough to keep her in a funk, she is continually reminded by her sisters that she has a shrunken ovary, which Lenny fears will keep her from finding a husband.

"I love theater. I was raised in NYC . I’ve done lots of theater as an actress, and then had a non-for profit theater NYC, which I produced plays . I came to LA after 911, to continue my acting career on TV &film. I always had a burning desire to produce and then this wonderful opportunity presented it self. I then realize that this was a gem. To work with mostly strong women from director to producers. I couldn’t turn it down .” said Alicia Benavides Greenfield, producer & actress. She continue “I’ve seen the film,and after reading the play by Beth Henley , I realized that it depicted and magnified quirky, dysfunctional, and traditional families. I felt strongly that anyone can relate to this fun emotional roller-coaster, hopefully not every day, but enough to feel for this strong characters portray in Beth Henley play.”

Lenny’s character is clearly sad, but endearing, as her trouble’s pale in comparison to her youngest sister, Babe (fancifully played by Kincaid Walker) who has just shot her husband, Zachary, in the stomach. When asked why she did it, she only replies, ”I didn’t like his voice.”

“Myself I’m from NYC have a strong desire to raise the bar. I have a strong theater background. LA theater is not as prevalent or respected as theater in NY. Hopes are to bring that belief-system to LA, and bringing the respect for Theatre here in Los Angeles. Why not ? The audience gets to see a live performances at affordable prices , and every nite as you know is different. Spontaniety is good ! As I’m a working Actress, I will continue to produce plays and films.” Concluded Ms. Benavides.

With Babe in deep trouble, the middle sister, Meg, returns from Hollywood, where her singing career has fallen apart due to going temporarily insane and becoming a lush, involving herself with too many men. The siblings grandfather is in the hospital possibly on his death bed and Meg doesn’t have the heart to tell him that she’s working a regular job and no longer singing. She concocks a few far-fetched stories about co-starring in a film and recording her new album to appease him. The story weaves in the fabric of life experience, just a true life experience molds us as children into who we become as adults. The 3 sisters have become accustomed with a dramatic and tragic existence, starting from their own troubled childhood, having to deal with their mother hanging herself with her cat to escape their abusive father.

“I love the play and did a scene from it in a Larry Moss advanced intensive. Larry gave me the part of Lenny and I was really moved by how deep she is and how funny and witty these southern characters in the play are. My friend Victoria Profeta and I had worked together on Laundry and Bourbon and wanted to work together again and after reading dozens of plays we chose Crimes of the Heart.” said producer & actress Sonia Curtis Acerra. She continue “I love the blend of comedy and drama in the play, and think it is a great play with a lot of heart and also wonderful roles for women. Larry Moss also told me that I should do the play, and I really respect Larry and trust his insight, so I did!”

Although the stories are comedic and seem chancy, Henley has created a touching story which relates to all and transcends time. The zany, offbeat behavior of the sisters take on a life of their own – silly, yet believable logic – so much so that when Babe explains that after she shot Zachary she made herself a pitcher of lemonade because she was thirsty, it seems perfectly realistic and normal. The writing of this play is sheer perfection, and the actors portray the characters with a believable brilliance. The sisters deal with each catastrophe in their own maniacal manner. It’s their survival instinct, bond with one another, honesty and love that makes this play believable as the audience sympathizes and laughs with them through each embellished experience. Through the silliness, the sadness and the wacky tales, this comedy drama is ultimately about letting go of the past and facing the future with hope, uncertainty and freedom.

Ms. Acerra added. “I hope to entertain the viewers and bring them both to laughter and tears. Theater and film provide a safe place for the audience to emote and experience their feelings by giving them permission to let go, so hopefully we are giving them that experience. As for the message, There is a theme of abuse in the play and showing women being oppressed a bit by men, plus it shows a character who is too afraid to stand up for herself but through her love for her sisters and with their support she finds the courage she needs to stand up and fight back.”

It is a perfectly blended mix of laughter and emotion. Under Veronica DiPippo’s sensitive direction, the Whitmore Lindley Theatre production comes across funny, believable and moving. The actors played their roles truthfully and their comedic timing was excellent. Their accents were convincing and the stage and dress were set true to the time period.

“My husband and I are going to produce a short film called “Most Precious Blood” about human trafficking, and I have a few scripts around town that I am trying to get the financing for or get sold to a network and made for television.” Ms. Acerra concluded.

The actresses – Sonia Curtis as Lenny, Brenda Lasker as Cousin Chick, Victoria Profeta as Meg and Kincaid Walker as Babe.

The actors – Nate Orr as Meg’s former boyfriend – Doc Porter, and Alec Beard as Babe’s lawyer, Barnette.

”Crimes of the Heart” is playing at the Whitmore Lindley Theatre located at 11006 Magnolica Blvd., North Hollywood, CA. 91601. Scheduled shows are August 13-15,th 20-22nd and 27-29th. To find out more go to

Crimes of the Heart Review By Diversity News Press


A Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Beth Henley
At The Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center
11006 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
(Located between Lankershim Blvd. and Vineland Ave. in the NoHo Arts District)
Opens August 13 and runs through August 29 
Performances: Fri & Sat nights at 8PM / Sun matinees at 2PM 
Call: (310) 367-6603 for more info, including industry comp information

Directed by: Veronica DiPippo
Produced by: Sonia Curtis Acerra and Alicia Benavides Greenfield
Cast (in order of appearance)
Sonia Curtis, Brenda Lasker, Nate Orr, Victoria Profeta, Kincaid Walker and Alec Beard


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    DIRECTOR Veronica DiPippo

    An award-winning filmmaker, director and writer, Veronica has directed numerous original works for theatre including Sins of the Father at The Met Theatre, Los Angeles, Off-the-Wall at the Writers Theatre, New York, and Roaring Girls at Musical Theatre Works, New York, as well as classics such as August Wilson’s Fences. As a playwright, over thirty productions of her plays and one-acts have been produced at theatres across the country.  Her newest play Lulu’s Last Stand is set to premiere at Theatre 40 in Los Angeles in October, 2010.  

    Veronica’s “karmic komedy” short film Dandelion Dharma won the coveted Audience Award for Best Live Action Short at the 2009 Palm Springs International ShortFest, considered to be one of the top five festivals for short films in the world.  Veronica also won a Best Director award for the film at San Francisco Women’s Film Festival.  After screening at festivals across the country, Dharma was recently acquired for international distribution by Shorts International. 

    As a screenwriter, she has worked with studios and independents including Disney Feature, DisneyToons, Four Moons, Basic Films U.K., Bullet Heart, Exile Productions and her own production company, Crunch Entertainment.  Projects currently in packaging include her screenplay Sonnet and her horror film Crimson Lake.  

    Veronica began her career as an actor with John Strasberg’s Mirror Repertory Company in New York City where she also studied acting with fellow company member Geraldine Page.  She is a graduate of The Drama Studio, London at Berkeley and SUNY where she holds a degree in writing for film and television.  She is a member of the Writers Guild, Women In Film, the Alliance of Women Directors and The Dramatists Guild.

    CAST (in order of appearance)

    Sonia Curtis as Lenny Magrath
    Training with renowned teachers such as Roy London, Cameron Thor, and Sandra Seacat, Sonia began booking roles in film and television on shows such as "Days of Our Lives," “Family Ties,” “Roseanne” and “So Little Time.” Her movie credits include “The Monster Squad,” “Terminal Bliss,” “Nowhere To Run,” “The Boston Strangler” and recently the short film "Deception."  Sonia coached actors for several years and has been writing and producing various projects for film, television and theater.  Sonia is currently finishing her degree at UCLA and continues to study with Larry Moss, whom she would like to thank for encouraging her to play "Lenny". 
     Brenda Lasker as Chick Boyle
    Last seen in Theatre East’s One Act Festival in The Weight, Brenda was part of Ron Sossi’s Koan Ensemble at The Odyssey and The Faust Projekt, as well as Durang Durang at the Hollywood Court and The Tamarind. A founding member of Roadworks Productions in Chicago, her work included the Midwest premiere of Eric Bogosian’s Suburbia, The Lights, Lion in the Streets (Jeff Citation for Outstanding Ensemble, Production), End of the Road, and Road. Film work includes: Charlotte, Gone But Not Forgotten, and Caught. With a B.S. in Speech from Northwestern University, she continues to work with Larry Moss.

      Nate Orr as Doc Porter
     Nate has appeared in numerous short films in NYC and LA and over 40 plays around the U.S. As a writer he has a comedy feature optioned, and is pitching a one-hour dramatic pilot around LA. With his wife, Paula Sword-Orr, he is the writer/producer of the web-series, Sally Loves Billy, which can be seen at He is also in talks with Disney Media Interactive Group to produce original content. Training: Improv with Upright Citizen’s Brigade, a BFA in Acting/Directing and BA in Telecommunications from U of Kentucky, and a MFA in Acting from U of Texas.
           Victoria Profeta as Meg Magrath
    Most recently, Victoria starred in Ca$h opposite Sean Bean and Chris Hemsworth and Push opposite Chazz Palminteri.  A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Victoria's other credits include the films Mr. Woodcock, Auteur, and Carrie's Choice, as well as guest spots on The Drew Carey Show and Miss Match.

    Kincaid Walker as Babe (Magrath) Botrelle
    Originally from Iowa, Kincaid Walker graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University in theatre. In Los Angeles, she has guest starred on television shows such as Cold Case, CSI: New York, Life, Gilmore Girls, George Lopez, Monk and in a recurring role on My Name is Earl, in addition to the play Questa at The Court Theatre opposite Dan Lauria and Wendie Malick. Commercially, Kincaid was recently seen in Bud Light's "Boutonniere" as a nail gun-wielding girlfriend, as well as 2010 national spots for Target, Toyota and State Farm Insurance.

      Alec Beard as Barnette Lloyd
    Off-Broadway: A Feminine Ending (Playwrights Horizons), Sand (Women's Project), As You Like It (The Public Theater). Regional: The Voysey Inheritance (Theatre 40), Lulu (Yale Repertory Theater), Once in a Lifetime (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Training: Yale School of Drama.


    Sonia Curtis Acerra
    Sonia Curtis Acerra was introduced to Hollywood through her father, a famous Hollywood stuntman. She grew up visiting film and television sets regularly and after playing the lead role in her high school musical "Bye Bye Birdie" she was hooked on acting. Sonia was accepted to the USC BFA Program for acting but was unable to attend because she began working right after high school. While working on various TV shows she continuously trained with great teachers such as Bill Traylor at The Loft, Roy London, Cameron Thor and Sandra Seacat. She went on to book recurring roles on "Family Ties", "Days of Our Lives", and  "Roseanne" and her film credits include "The Monster Squad" and "Terminal Bliss." After many years of acting Sonia also began to coach actors privately and in groups and began writing and developing scripts for film and television. Last year Sonia produced and starred in a short film "Deception" directed by award- winning director Pamela Dresser. Currently she has several projects in various stages of development. 

    Alicia Benavides Greenfield
    In 2000 Alicia founded the non-profit company, NewMan Theatre Company, in NYC. She produced original pieces, such as "Dinner at the Manse" by Ara Anasa, as well as "'Danny and the Deep Blue Sea" by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer/directer John Patrick Shanley, in which she played the lead role of "Roberta."  Alicia Majored in Film/Media at NYU and has trained and worked as an actress for the past 15 years.  Currently she studies with Joanne Barron/DW Brown in Los Angeles.  Alicia is honored to be debuting as a producer here in LA/ NoHo with "Crimes of the Heart". 

    Crimes of the Heart CREW

    Stage Manager: Cameron Lacy

    Cameron Lacy is a senior Theatre Performance major at Chapman University. Aside from the acting and technical work that Cameron does at school, he has started enveloping himself in the professional theatre world. He served on the production team as well as the lighting designer for the Blank Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival, he was the lighting designer for Dean Donofio's "Shut Your Stupid Face and Other Suggestions", and he continues to work in theatres around Hollywood and Santa Monica. Cameron is a young, eager actor who is trying to learn all aspects about the theatre to better help him achieve his ultimate goal of running his own theatre company someday."

    Assistant Stage Manager: Guillermo M Jorge
    Guillermo is a first generation American of Cuban/Spanish descent, originally from Coconut Grove, Florida. From the age of 14 he spent two years working the fishing barges in Barcelona, Spain with his uncle. Before moving to Los Angeles, Guillermo attended medical school in the Dominican Republic. He is also a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

    Set Designer & Light Design: Zac Polhamus

    Sound Design: Marc Aramian

    Light and Sound Tech: Matt Liberti
    Matt Liberti attended the School Of Visual Arts in New York City, where he studied Cinematography and Lighting Design, after college, he left New York in hopes of launching his career in film. He left home and started his across country journey to Hollywood California. Landing his first gig working on Crimes of the Heart play at the Whitmore Theater. He is very excited to work with an amazing cast and crew of professionals. He has also participated in student projects as well as working on the Montel Williams show.

    Assistant Light Tech: Joseph Montiel
    Joseph Michael Montiel (Lighting Assistant) has spent the last decade working in theater and developing his skills as an audio engineer. Recent credits include The Boys in the Band at the Coast Playhouse (ASM and audio engineer), Baby It's You (audio engineer), also at the Coast and back to Bacharach and David ( Audio Engineer) Jose studied recording at Long Beach City College and the Musicians Institute, as well as television and radio production at Los Angeles City College. Jose is delighted to be a part of this production!

    Props Master : Mariah McGuinness
    Mariah McGinnis a true "jack of many trades" and So Cal native can be considered a small fish in the industry but is chalk full of potential. Currently working as a freelance makeup artist has given her the time and opportunity to explore many areas of show biz field. On any given set you can find her putting in work as an actress, prop master, in the wardrobe department, or of course hair and makeup.

    Grace Kim
    Grace Kim is from Los Angeles and studied film and television at USC and hopes to pursue a career in the art department. Grace worked with props on shows like Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and for The LXD. Grace is currently exploring all aspects of art direction in the realm of photography, film, television, and theater.

    Mallory V Lopez

    Mallory's recent projects include casting assistant for the SAG short, Courage and 6.8. She has also worked as stage manager for The Gift Horse, the Chrysalis Stage production of Twelfth Night, or What You Will and Smash. Mallory was born to entertain people and will continue to do so in the future as she aspires to become a casting director. She can be contacted at

    Poster Art/Website Graphic Artist: Joel Garza

    Rehearsal Photos: Todd Monks

    Publicity: Esteban Steven Escobar of Diversity News PR
    Esteban Escobar has been working as ("Publicist") Public/Media Relations Specialist. He has been networking with other media/press professionals including public relations agents. He gets invited to cover events to publish them on DiversityNewsPublications.Com & and other web sites.
    Esteban's past projects includes Hand In Hand Benefit Concert, Tish Tha Dish Birthday Bash Benefiting The Salvation
    Army, Local Celebrity LA (a singing competition), Pool Time The Movie Premiere, Shine On 1 and 2 a music showcase. He has been in the USA since 1989 and has 2 sisters and mother. Esteban Escobar is known as “Steven” and he resides in Los Angeles County in the city of Hollywood. For more information visit

    (More Photos, Bios and Links to come soon)
    Note: Some of the headshots courtesy of Daniela Hubbard Photography

    About Crimes of the Heart

    At the core of this tragic comedy are the three Magrath sisters, Meg, Babe, and Lenny, who reunite at Old Granddaddy's home in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, after Babe shoots her abusive husband. The trio was raised in a dysfunctional family with a penchant for ugly predicaments and each has endured her share of hardship and misery. Past resentments bubble to the surface as they're forced to deal with assorted relatives and past relationships while coping with the latest incident that has disrupted their lives. Each sister is forced to face the consequences of the "crimes of the heart" she has committed.