NEWS AND REVIEWS
VeneIssa Verdugo stars in HEIRESS,'69, a solo show currently performing at The Elephant Studio Theatre in Hollywood, features Verdugo as Abigail Anne Folger. Born in 1943 to a prominent family based in San Francisco whose great great grandfather founded the Folger Coffee Company, Abigail was raised in a well off lifestyle. In spite of this prestige, she chose to work for social issues and concerns while in her 20's as the 1960's showcased its series of strife and uncertainty, especially within her home state of California. Abigail's inner life was only known to those that personallyknew her but a tragic event occurred in the summer of 1969, as she along with seven others, were paid an unwelcome visit by one Charles Manson's gang of 'followers" that shocked the nation that summer, having its after affects to live on to the present day.
In her performance, Venessa Verdugo plays the coffee heiress as a human spirit who appears to the California Parole Board in Sacramento in the current year of 2010. Wearing a period outfit from the latter 1960's, she speaks to the board (in this case, the theatre audience) while sitting behind a bleached blond table. It eventually ended too soon for her just because she was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Actress Venessa Verdugo also came from a historic family but for nearly an hour's time she IS Abigail, a person who shows that one can't forget what occurred in the Hollywood Hills generations ago.
Directed by Elizabeth Romaine Rolnick and written by Venessa Verdugo, HEIRESS,'69 is a bold story that is just as humble as it is shocking. It's simple yet intense. And for the record, nobody associated with the crime in question attended that day's parole proceedings. PS...the board denied parole!
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Venessa Verdugo and Matt Johnson handle their roles with finesse and provide some of the drama's lighter moments...
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Reviewed by Dany Margolies/ Backstage West
This one will undoubtedly rank on more than one most memorable theatre-experience list. An audience never numbering more than ten is swept up by Tour Guide-actor Venessa Verdugo who divulges a bit of her real-life family's long and illustrious history in Los Angeles-taken on a half-hour tour of the historic facility. We see dark paneled dining rooms perhaps haunted by the ghosts of Chaplin, Valentino or members of the Chandler and Doheny Families. The presence of place as a principal character is the undeniable star in this outing.