VOICES IN THE LIFE is a new play consisting of real-life monologues, shedding light on prostitution in Nevada from the early mining days of Virginia City to present day. It is Co-Created and Produced by Peabody and Emmy Award-winning Producer and Reno resident Norman Stephens, and Co-Created and Directed by Nevada Arts Council Fellowship recipient Cameron Crain. The intent of the play is to provide a provocative forum for public discussion about this topical and controversial subject.
From the “soiled doves” of Virginia City in the mid-1800’s to the to the trafficked teens of today, the goal of the production is to engage and educate audience members about the real life stories and struggles related to prostitution in Nevada. VOICES tells the stories of “working girls,” “madams,” and “johns,” in a series of monologues by a collection of Nevada and National playwrights, including Tony Award Winner John Pielmeier, Oscar nominated author, Richard Friedenberg as well as Reno authors Maggy Anthony, author of IMPOSSIBLY BLONDE: MARILYN AT 77 and Sage Ridge School and Yale graduate, Sarah DeLappe.
The character stories have originated with the words of working and surviving prostitutes themselves. Recently, a treasure trove of material was discovered in Reno, Nevada chronicling the personal details of hundreds of women who worked at the infamous Mustang Ranch from the mid-1960’s through the early 1970’s. Other resources include dozens of interviews of sex industry survivors, current prostitutes working outside and inside the brothels, “madams,” cops, cab drivers, government officials and the voices of the “johns” who buy sex. Excerpts of Jane McCormicks’ stunning new book, BREAKING MY SILENCE: CONFESSIONS OF A RAT PACK CALL GIRL, are also included.
The premier of VOICES will take place on July 19 & 20 at the Nevada Museum of Art in conjunction with the famous Artown Festival. Each performance will be followed with a “talk back” or question and answer session, hosted by one of the authors and celebratory. Auditions will be held in Reno during the spring and will be open to the professional acting community of northern Nevada (we collaborate with Nevada Casting as well as the Reno Theatre Alliance to help promote auditions). The Production and Design team boasts over 100 years of professional theatre experience, led by Crain and Stephens, including Robin Monteith, costume designer, Larry Seymour, Technical Director and Rick Patton, Lighting Designer.
- Cameron Crain – Mr. Cameron Crain is the Director and Co-Creator of VOICES IN THE LIFE, a project which he is deeply honored to develop with his esteemed colleague, Norman Stephens. Crain Co-Founded Nevada Shakespeare Company in 1999 and has served as Managing Artistic Director from the beginning. In that time he is responsible for raising over 1.5 million dollars for 32 productions. Crain is passionate about creating community with new theatre works, empowering artists to reimagine classic works and connecting young people with theatre. In 1999, he launched SHAKESPEARE IN SCHOOL, an education and outreach program which has served over 140,000 Nevada students in every county. He directed and starred in Jeanmarie Simpson’s powerful play, A SINGLE WOMAN, which ran Off-Broadway in 2005. He served as Executive Producer of the film version, featuring Simpson, Peter Coyote, Patricia Artquette and Martin Sheen. As an actor, Mr. Crain has played a variety of roles from Hamlet to Scrooge; however, playing the part of Harold Hill from Meredith Willson’s THE MUSIC MAN remains his favorite. Mr. Crain is the recipient of a Nevada Arts Council Fellowship and holds a Master Degree in Theatre from Southern Oregon University in Ashland. He has been the Director of Theatre for Sage Ridge School since 2006.
- Norman Stephens – Norman’s profound work is rooted deeply in the Humanities. His film making is filled with socially relevant projects which reveal the complexity of human nature and psychology. His stories make us confront our humanity. His film PROMISE, staring James Gardner and James Woods brought a new awareness of schizophrenia to a large audience. BANG BANG YOU’RE DEAD examines the contributors for school shootings, including teen bullying, mental instability, guns and violence. Norman started VOICES as a way to make the world more mindful of prostitution and its far-reaching consequences.Norman Stephens has been a senior creative executive and producer in television and film for twenty years. Projects under his watch at Warner Bros. Television as VP Movies and Miniseries and later Senior VP Creative Affairs garnered numerous Emmy Awards, including bests for picture, director, writer, actor and actress.In 1994, Stephens joined Village Roadshow Pictures as Executive Vice President, Film and Television where he supervised all creative matters and worked on Bruce Beresford’s Paradise Road for Fox Searchlight, Joey for MGM, and the Tarzan theatrical feature for Warner Bros. As an independent producer Stephens received best-picture Emmy and Peabody Awards for Bang Bang You’re Dead.He produced the remake of Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons, Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor and the remake of Sybil starring Jessica Lange and Tammy Blanchard and Darwin’s Darkest Hour for National Geographic Television and PBS/NOVA. He is currently a consultant and producer developing numerous independent projects, including the contemporary remake of Butterfield 8 with Mark Wolper and Warner Bros. from a script by J.F. Lawton.
- Richard Friedenberg – Richard Friedenberg broke into the ranks of Hollywood’s most sought-after writers with his Emmy nomination in 1981 for outstanding writing on the television movie BITTER HARVEST in 1981, and followed that the next year with the Emmy win for outstanding writing on PROMISE starring James Garner and James Woods. That powerful story of a brother who tries his best to fulfill a promise to care for his schizophrenic brother is still the most awarded film in television history. Friedenberg has been nominated three times for the coveted Humanitas Award, and received that for PROMISE.In the feature film world, Friedenberg wrote and directed THE EDUCATION OF LITTLE TREE, and in 1993 he wrote the A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT directed by Robert Redford, and was nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay. In 1993 he was recognized as the Screenwriter of the Year by ShoWest USA.Richard Friedenberg continues as one of the most prolific writers in both the television and feature film business with more than 15 movies produced in the past 20 years
- Maggy Anthony – Maggy O’Leary Anthony was born in Southern California to an Irish father and English-French-Dutch mother. The family moved to San Francisco when she was six years old and that is where she grew up, along with a brother, eight years older. The movies were an early love shared by the whole family that attended twice weekly, along with Maggy, beginning when she was only eighteen months old. So her early ambition was to be a movie star. As she grew older, she was an avid reader as was the rest of her family and she began to think that being a writer might be fun too.When she married, in her early twenties, she married Gene Anthony, a budding photojournalist who loved adventure too. Together they traveled to, and lived in, Paris, then Rio de Janeiro. In Rio she got to try out her movie ambition, and found it wasn’t as much fun as she’d thought. Finally, they settled in Berkeley, California in the late Sixties, where they had two children. In 1971, a serious illness followed by weeks of intense treatment, then the break-up of her marriage, propelled Maggy into seeking answers to her life questions in Zurich, Switzerland at the C. G. Jung Institute for Analytical Psychology. Once there, along with her two small children, she sought a continuation of her analysis begun in Berkeley, and attended classes, to try to map out her future.Her stay in Zurich prompted the writing of her first published book, “Jung’s Circle of Women: The Valkyries”, based on the women she met at the Institute, now much older but still writing, teaching and doing analysis.
Once back in Berkeley the following year, she began teaching classes in mythology, Jungian psychology and related subjects, always, writing. A second trip to Zurich was needed once the book was sold to a publisher, to gather more material. Following this, she went to the Cotswolds in England to put it all together. Of course, the children were with her.She has taught her classes and done her dream groups, all over the Western United States – California, Colorado, Oregon and now, Northern Nevada. She also lived in New York and taught there and did her dream groups. She is continuing to write, currently having five books in print.Maggy Anthony is the author of Jung’s Circle of Women: The Valkyries (Nicolas-Hays, 1999), written from her experiences while studying at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. A new work of fiction, that includes a collection of stories and a novella, Landscape of Desire (IUniverse/March 27, 2001), was published in March 2001. Maggy wrote Impossibly Blonde: Marilyn at 77 (iUniverse, Inc./August 17, 2004), to imagine how Marilyn might have matured into a wise, graceful and gorgeous old age. Maggy is currently working on her latest books, “Cup of the Ptolemies” and “The Institute”, in addition to the second in her Hank Faro series, “Death Plays it as it Lays.”
- John Pielmeier – John Pielmeier began his career with the play and movie Agnes of God and the television film Choices of the Heart. Most recently he has written and acted in the extremely successful television miniseries The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, and written a stage adaptation The Exorcist. In between he has won the Humanitas Award (plus two nominations), five Writers’ Guild Award nominations, a Gemini nomination, an Edgar Award, the Camie Award, a Christopher Award, and his projects have won a Gemini Award and been nominated for the Emmy Award (three times) and the Golden Globe Award. He is married to writer Irene O’Garden. They live in Garrison, New York. If you want to know more, please visit his website at www.johnpielmeier.com.
- Antonia Crane – Antonia Crane teaches teenagers creative writing in Los Angeles. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Akashic’s The Heroin Chronicles (Edited by Jerry Stahl), Soft Skull Press’ Johns, Marks, Tricks & Chickenhawks: Professionals & Their Clients Writing about Each Other, Dame Magazine, Salon, PANK magazine, Black Clock, Slake, The Los Angeles Review and other places. Her memoir “Spent” is forthcoming by Barnacle Books/Rare Bird Lit.
- Patti Wicklund – Patti Wicklund was born on November 5, 1952 at the Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is the youngest girl in a family of four. Her father Kenneth Wicklund was a postal carrier, and her mother Phyllis was a part-time grocery clerk for SUPERVALU prior to becoming a business manager for Lerner’s Publications. Patti grew up in the heart of the city where she attended her senior years at North High School. She is known in her community for being a number #1 golfer and all round athlete. After graduation, Patti went on to work for the City of Minneapolis while she continued her sports passion; playing softball for the Americs, winning State Titles, achieving the top ten in nationals, as well as, bowling with her high school friends.Upon the sudden passing of her father from bone marrow cancer in 1975, Patti entered the two (2) year Fine Arts Degree program at North Hennepin Community College. Upon completion, she chose to further her post secondary education by simultaneously completing two (2) degree programs. While attending college she became gainfully employed with the Gamma Copy & Print Company where she worked as a Press Operator. She completed both programs within three (3) years and graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from Metropolitan State University and a BFA in Visual Communications Design from “Minneapolis College of Art and Design.”At the age of 32, Patti was a highly educated unemployed student seeking work. After the printing business closed Patti joined the team at International Multifoods as a Data Entry Specialist. In 1985 Patti worked for Honeywell International as an accounting clerk in their records Management Division which ultimately led her to the opportunity of working for Deluxe Corporation in computer graphic arts and design. In addition, Patti freelanced for Republic Airlines and Northwest Airlines doing illustrations for their training programs, displays, as well as, children’s coloring boards, etc.
In Patti’s spare time, she wanted to use her knowledge and expertise to help others in her community with perfecting their photography skills. Thus she opened up a small black & white photography studio in White Bear Lake, called “Images At Work.”Patti has always kept a foot in the door regarding sports and from 1980 – 1985 she coached, refereed, and umpired several girls and women’s teams in basketball, volleyball, and softball.
In 1994, while celebrating her 41st birthday she was blessed with the opportunity of connecting with Jane McCormick while she was fundraising for families suffering from AIDS.The two friends were inseparable. Unfortunately, Patti was laid off from her current job when both ladies collaborated and decided to start their own successful house cleaning business. It was during this time Patti and Jane had great conversations about Jane’s colourful and very poignant past that Patti decided to write a book about Jane’s incredible life journey. In 2007, the book “Breaking My Silence, Confessions of a Rat Pack party girl and sex-trade survivor.” was completed and launched.
For the past several years, Patti has worked closely alongside her long-time friend Jane McCormick in their advocacy to stop “Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Domestic Violence.”Currently, Patti is producing Breaking My Silence programs with the Suburban Community Channel with Jane as the Host of the programs. The topics include interviews with Dr. Mic Hunter, author of Honor Betrayed, MN Coalition of Against Sexual Assault and personal stories of abuse.
On October 4, 2012, Jane and Patti received a “Community Involvement” Award for the programs they produced based on “Breaking My Silence.” The shows are interviews from victims, interviews with organizations that help victims and authors who write stories about victims. These programs are posted on Youtube and at www.breakingmysilence.net .Also, Patti and Jane are working on her second book which is scheduled to be completed in late, 2013.
- Jane McCormick – Jane E. McCormick was born on March 29, 1941 at the Indianapolis General Hospital in Indiana. She was the youngest child of Oren and Wilma Francis McCormick. Her father was a long-distance truck driver for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company and her mother was a stay at home mom and part-time violinist in the local Orchestra. Jane spent the first three (3) years of her life in Marion, Indiana where her father worked full-time. Due to his long periods away from home and family, Jane’s parents separated. Francis McCormick wanted to leave the sad memories behind, therefore both she and Jane moved to a 10 acre farm in Jonesboro, Indiana.At the tender age of three (3) years, Jane’s mother married one of the farm’s work hands, James Woodrow Allan (aka “Woodie”) prior to him being called back to the Marine Corp near the end of World War II. Jane’s brother, Dick returned to Jonesboro, Indiana to live with his loving grandparents Grandma Pauline (“Mo Mo”) and Grandpa Bill who was the town’s local Fire Chief. Jane, her mother and Woodie moved to Gary, Indiana to live in a tiny one-bedroom, one bathroom house joined to a restaurant. It was here that Jane’s first experience with child sexual abuse began and continued until she was nine (9) years old.The family later moved to Hawaii where her step-father had been relocated. The abuse towards Jane by her step-father continued; Jane chose to run-away hoping the abuse would end. The police picked her up and took Jane to the local police station where she finally disclosed the abuse she was enduring. Since her step father was a Master Sergeant in the Marine Corp. and Jane’s mother did not believe any abuse was happening; neither the police nor her mother protected Jane.At the age of seventeen (17) years Jane was married with two (2) beautiful daughters. Within three (3) years Jane and her Navy husband Bob Harvey, separated. Jane’s life began to spiral downwards when her ex-mother took her daughters because Jane was not able to support them financially. She wanted her girls to have a better life. Destitute and now penniless, Jane took a job as a cocktail waitress in the local bar. It was here that she met a salesman who promised Jane he would help her get back on her feet financially so she could care for her kids. He took her to the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas strip. It was here, Jane was introduced to prostitution as a “high class call girl” where she entertained the “Rich & Famous” Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Arnold Palmer, Sam Sneed, Jerry Lewis, and many other celebrities from around the world.During the next twelve (12) years Jane was subjected to intense forms of physical, mental, and emotional abuse, including being shot at, beaten, raped, knifed, both legs and one arm broken, her skull cracked open, and much, much more. Jane became addicted to drugs to suppress the deep seeded pain and anguish she experienced as a result of the long-term abuse she had endured since the age of three (3) years.When she turned twenty-nine (29) Jane instinctively knew that she needed to escape this abuse. Jane had a one shot chance to positively change her life. If she didn’t, Jane knew that one day she would end up dead never getting the opportunity of being reunited with her children and seeing them grow up.It was through Jane’s long, heartbreaking journey of healing that she met her current friend, Patti Wicklund. Jane’s true life story needed to be exposed to the world so that no other young person would be lured into the “Golden” promises from previous negative life experiences; for which there is little or no return. In 2007, she and Patti Wicklund completed writing the book, “Breaking My Silence, Confessions of a Rat Pack party girl and sex-trade survivor.”
Currently, Jane and Patti are continuing their international speaking engagements to teach the public about how they can join together in protecting our loved ones from being exploited by the perpetrators involved in “Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Domestic Violence.” Attendees have included the FBI, CIA, DEA, ATF, ICE, IRS, US Secret Service, Homeland Security, USPS, psychologists, high school teens, family members of the survivor, health care professionals, just to name a few.
On October 4, 2012, Jane and Patti received a “Community Involvement” Award for the programs they produced based on “Breaking My Silence.” The shows are interviews from victims, interviews with organizations that help victims and authors who write stories about victims. These programs are posted on Youtube and at www.breakingmysilence.net .
Currently, the Breaking My Silence is being promoted through iUniverse in November, 2012.
In late 2013, Jane and Patti are looking forward to releasing their second book.