Russell on January 24, 2015 and February 10, 2015 performed at Stage Left Studio in a staged reading of Monica Bauer's MY OCCASION OF SIN under the direction of Dev Bondarin. The ensemble cast included Frances McGarry (pictured, far right), Joan Anderson, Quinn Warren, and J. Dolan Byrnes.
Inspired by true events that led to one of the worst race riots in the author’s birthplace of Omaha, Nebraska, MY OCCASION OF SIN is set in a segregated city in 1969. Two men from very different backgrounds: Luigi, an African American jazz drummer and George, a white music store owner who specializes in the accordion, are thrown together by fate, finding common ground in their love of music. At the same time, Mary Margaret and Vivian, two young girls from opposite sides of the segregated city, each drink in the new jazz scene for reasons of their own. Music seems to unite and uplift everyone around … at first. Soon “occasions of sin” – where fear, mistrust and racism fester – are inescapable. Violence erupts, changing everyone’s lives forever.*
Russell played Luigi.
"Russell Jordan - you were as always amazing! Wow!" - Playwright Penny Jackson (via Facebook)
"omigod this piece is powerful. When I tried to talk to you and Dolan afterwards, I couldn't do it without crying, so I ran away instead. / It's all still going on today. All this mess. / On another level, I loved everything that was said about jazz because it applies to improv which I'm obsessed with. / The cast was stellar, your writing Monica is stellar, I believed every minute of it." - Ramona Pula (via Facebook)
"I was so taken by the reading of My Occasion of Sin last night that I left the theater enervated and ready to face the world head on. / The theme of this play is so pervasive in today's society--at least with people who have sensibilities like ours--and feel compassion for people who are categorically mistreated and lack the bias that is unfortunately a basic part of the historical fabric of this country." - Jeff Gaster (via Facebook)
"It's so great!" - Playwright, Duncan Pflaster (via Facebook)
"I'd go see the show again tomorrow!!!" - Connie Nardella (via Facebook)
The reading raised funds benefiting Fire Recovery Funds of playwrights Duncan Pflaster and Andrew Rothkin, and their roommate Kim Jones, who lost their home in early January 2014.
* excerpt from synopsis from Urban Stages website description of 2012 Off Broadway premiere."