Praise for these “Merely Players”

“Merely Players” enjoyed a stellar run at the Lounge Theatre this summer.


What folks have been saying:

Under Joanna Syiek’s bubbly direction, Emily Arkuss, Adam Ballard, Katie DeShan, Sara Guarnieri, Ari Gwasdoff, Josh Hillinger, Joseph McMahon, Nick Pavelich, Courtney Reed, Seth Salsbury, Kelley Schulte, and Caleb Mills Stewart do all-around sparkling work, with special snaps for Salsbury’s Broadway pipes, and oodles of kudos to ace musical director Jennifer Lin, who not only tickles the ivory but plays a dryly sarcastic “Jen.”

Songs are funny and catchy, wild-and-crazy characters are straight (or not so straight) out of an actual Max Ginsburg painting, choreography by director Syiek is infectiously fun, and with Corwin Evans’ sound design and Brandon Baruch’s lighting adding a professional sheen to the show’s bare stage, Merely Players ends up an absolute delight.” – Steven Stanley, StageSceneLA


“Merely Players tells the story of Boyle Community Players/FB, a fictitious theatre company out of Boyle Heights. Past BCP shows have included (in a wonderful bit of inspired backstory): Waiting for (a Werewolf named) Godot, Damned Yankees (in Hell)!; The Little Prints; Greece! The Musical; Saturday Night Malaria; Fifty Shades of Blue; The Catcher in the Rye: A Rock Experience, and more.

The director, Joanna Syiek, who also served as choreographer, did a good job of illuminating this process while performing it herself. Specifically, she seemed to draw realistic archetypal performances from the acting ensemble, making the movement work and seem realistic…She was also able to make the characters appropriately flawed, so that we could see the character of the director actually direct the real actors as actors to become the characters the actors had to become.” – Daniel Faigin, Observations from the Road


“We watch the show develop from the first audition through opening night, and the journey is amusing. There is even the added clever component of casting a couple of audience members in the show, ensuring a different performance each time.

The cast is uniformly talented and…Alex Syiek’s music & lyrics fit the show well and in a meta-theatrical concept, Music Director Jennifer Lin also plays the Bus Stop MD. She acquits herself well in both roles.” – Michael Van Duzer, Showmag


From audience members who got pulled into the fray:

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To audience members who couldn’t look away:Jos IMG_82581sqt


The show was also extended into July as part of the ENCORE! Producers’ Award


Merely Players is a meta-exploration of the theatre scene that follows a struggling (and mostly terrible) theatre troupe, the Boyle Community Players, as they attempt to put on a musical that maybe really should never have been written in the first place.

Book by James Penca
Music/Lyrics by Alex Syiek
Direction and Musical Staging by Joanna Syiek
Musical Direction by Jennifer Lin

Produced by Color and Light Theatre Ensemble


Emily Arkuss, Adam Foster Ballard, Katie DeShan, Sara Guarnieri, Ari Gwasdoff, Josh Hillinger, Ian Klingenberg, Rose Leisner, Joseph McMahon, Nick Pavelich, Courtney Cameron Reed, Seth Salsbury, Kelsey Schulte, Caleb Mills Stewart

Assistant Direction: Mitchell Webb
Stage Management: Chiffon Valentine
Sound Design: Corwin Evans
Lighting Design: Brandon Baruch

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