Actors Reporter visits the set of Finding the Burnett Heart at the Lillian Theatre

Actors Day in LA on the set of Finding the Burnett Heart with director Jeremy Aldridge and actors James Handy, Colleen McGrann, Joel Johnstone, and Jeff L. Williams.

For sixteen-year old Tyler Burnett (Joel Johnstone), it’s hard enough just being a teenager, without being suddenly forced to share your room with your seventy-year old grandfather (James Handy), a man who has based his entire life on making others miserable. They are a cross-generational odd couple whose dysfunction is heightened by the fact they are family, which makes for riveting drama and hilarious comedy. Trapped together in a room barely big enough for one boy’s dream, these adversaries discover and, with great difficulty, eventually embrace the meaning of tolerance that differences are a good thing and that each generation can learn from the other.

Coleen McGrann and Joel Johnstone

Finding the Burnett Heart beautifully and powerfully conveys that crisis reveals ones true nature: the vital importance of unconditional love, the transformative power of acceptance, our capacity for change/growth, and the true meaning of family. Most importantly, this is a story of life and death — how quickly and unexpectedly we can die, which makes it more important how we choose to live.

James Handy

Written By Paul Elliott
Directed by Jeremy Aldridge

Jeff L. Williams

Meet the cast.
James Handy has performed at many regional theatres including Hartford Stage, The Guthrie, Cinncinati Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, The Olney and The Westport Playhouse in plays such as A Moon for The Misbegotten, Death of a Salesman, Guys and Dolls, That Championship Season, Mister Roberts, Translations, Company, Dracula, and Juno and the Paycock, to name a few. Some of his off-Broadway credits include All My Sons, Kerouac, Full Moon, Ice Bridge, Home is The Hero and The Shadow of a Gunman.

Film credits: The Verdict, Bird, Burglar, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Arachnophobia, The Rocketeer, K-9, Gang-related, Guarding Tess, Jumanji, Unbreakable, 15 Minutes and Ash Wednesday. TV Credits: recurring roles on NYPD Blues, Profiler, Undercover, Breaking News, Melrose Place, Alias and The West Wing, plus many TV Movies. James recently has guest starred on Criminal Minds, Raising the Bar, Castle, and The Young and The Restless. L.A. theatre credits: The Speed OF Darkness, Faithful, Te Tavern, Book of Says, Cairo, Sympathetic Magic, Waiting for Lefty and U.S. premiere of David Hare’s Stuff Happens.

Joel Johnstone’s  recent theatre credits include Bitter Sweet, Everybody Say Cheese (Falcon Theatre), Rules of The Universe, Lanford Wilsons A Sense of Place (NYC Premiere), Fall Forward (Rising Phoenix Rep.), Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night (London). BA in theatre from Fordham University and BADA, both Oxford and London. Recent TV and film credits: Spinning Into Butter, Criminal Minds, Urban Gothic (UK/Bravo), and Magritte Moment. He also just completed writing, directing and starring in his own short film, The Pilgrim & The Private Eye.

Colleen McGramm is a veteran of television, film and theatre and a true chameleon. She loves the challenge of morphing from character to character.  She earned her Screen Actors Guild card right out of high school by landing a guest spot on Dallas while it was filming in Texas, her home state, and she was hooked.  Colleen soon moved to Hollywood to pursue her love of acting and storytelling.  She dove into acting classes, got an agent and landed a recurring role on Days Of Our Lives and has been acting ever since.  Her most recent television credits include recurring roles on Justified, E.R., Desperate Housewives, Without a Trace, South of Nowhere, Entourage, Judging Amy and Boston Public.  Films have included, Paved with Good Intentions, Christmas with the Kranks and The Church Feather.  Theatre roles in the Los Angeles area: To Kill A Mockingbird, Jakes Women, The Shadow Box, The Traveling Lady, Grace and Glorie and Women of Manhattan.  When Colleen is not acting, she is busy with her family and home full or critters.  She also owns and operates The Missing Piece Gina Stoj, co-founder of Theater 48 (a non-profit corporation dedicated to presenting theater that matters –, makes her producing debut with the stage play, Finding the Burnett Heart, along with Jeff L. Williams, Jennifer Schwartz, and Lena Coleman.

Jeff L. Williams’ film and TV credits include Boys in the Hood, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, Desperate Housewives, and All My Children.

Thurs, Fri, Sat 8 pm
Sun 3pm

Director Jeremy Aldridge and Cast

$25 Thurs, Fri, Sat
$20 Sunday Matinee
Special Show Info
Running time: 115 minutes.
There will be an intermission.
For a more info regarding the play, please visit
Elephant Stages – Lillian Theatre
6322 Santa Monica Blvd
(Santa Monica & 1076 Lillian Way)
Los Angeles, CA  90038
Ample Street Parking

Special Theatre Info
Wheelchair Access
The theatre has concessions.
(323) 960-7792
Photographer Josh Brazile.

Read more: Broadway World

And please Read more at: Back Stage Review

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