Crowded Kitchen Players debut of Charlie Barnett’s TWELVENESS a Creative Collaboration Both On & Offstage!

(Lehigh Valley) Crowded Kitchen Players (CKP) presents the premiere of Twelveness, a poignant, smartly funny new play by renowned musician /composer Charlie Barnett, and directed by George B. Miller.

Twelveness runs June 8 thru June 18 at The Ice House in Bethlehem, as part of the innovative IceHouse Tonight Series.

Twelvenessis based on the real friendship—and tennis rivalry—between two very different early 20th century composers: the respected but severe Arnold Schoenberg and the wildly popular George Gershwin, who sponsored Schoenberg’s family when they fled Nazi-era Vienna for the US.

Set in 1937 Los Angeles, the play features Schoenberg; Gershwin; Schoenberg's wife, Gertrud; and Gershwin's girlfriend, actress Ginger Rogers.

On the court and over dinner, these four mismatched friends and lovers debate the nature of artistic process and artistic inspiration.

Looming over the quartet is the fact that, unknown to them but known to the audience, Gershwin is suffering from a brain tumor that will take his life within a year.

“A while ago, a friend told me a curious fact: In 1936, George Gershwin had a standing tennis date in Los Angeles with Arnold Schoenberg…” says Charlie Barnett. “Can you imagine a more incongruous pair'Gi and Ge compressed 3

"The seemingly effortless crowd pleaser, Gershwin, up against the cerebral Teutonic composer, Schoenberg, who probably would have been horrified if, during a performance of one of his challenging atonal works, the crowd had accidentally been pleased!

"I couldn’t get these two out of my mind…so I wrote a play about them, called Twelveness - after Schoenberg’s 12-tone serial technique, natch.”

CKP Producer Ara Barlieb and Barnett have known each other and occasionally worked together since their days as students at Easton Area High School. When Barnett shared the script for Twelveness with Barlieb and Crowded Kitchen Players, Barlieb asked George B. Miller to join the team, making Twelveness the first of CKP's 71 productions to be directed by a guest director.

Miller, Artistic Director of Selkie Theatre, directs a seasoned cast included CKP veterans Ryan MacNamara as George Gershwin and Stephanie Gawlas Walsh as Ginger Rogers, in addition to newcomers Robert Salsburg as Arnold Schoenberg, and Syd Stauffer as Gertrud Schoenberg.

CKP Producers are Ara Barlieb and Pamela Wallace; Barlieb also serves as sound and light designer.

Crowded Kitchen Players presents Twelveness by Charlie Barnett, directed by George B. Miller, at The Ice House on Bethlehem’s Sand Island as part of the Ice House Tonight Series on June 9, 10, 11 and June 16, 17, 18.

CKP will also host a special post-show Meet The Author Reception on Saturday, June 10.

June 8, 9, 10, 16, 17 performances are at 8pm. June 11 and 18 shows are at 2 pm. Tickets are $18, $14 senior/$10 student. Thursday, June 8 is a $15 preview Night.

Seating is limited. For reservations, please call 610-395-7176, write ckplayers@rcncom or visit

For artists interviews, media comps, etc, please write This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Charlie Barnett, Playwright

An accomplished and popular American composer, Charlie Barnett is the winner of numerous awards for his film scores, including the Rome International Film Festival’s Jerry Goldsmith Award, and several Emmy nominations. Barnett has cored over 400 television and theatrical films; television credits include Saturday Night Live, Weeds, Royal Pains, America’s Most Wanted, and Archer. Barnett’s lively orchestral and chamber works are performed both nationally and internationally. Notable collaborations include a spoken-word piece written and performed with Dr. Maya Angelou. As a producer, Barnett has recorded scores of pop and jazz albums for labels including Def Jam and Elektra. And as a performer, he plays guitar and piano for Chaise Lounge, an eclectic jazz band that frequently appears on the national college-radio charts with his original compositions. His musical The Last Days of Cleopatra, inspired by the making of the movie Cleopatra, has been produced at the New York City Fringe. Barnett has also been heard as an occasional commentator on NPR. His essay “Hitching a Ride with Junior McGee” was included in the network’s Classic Driveway Moments compilation.

Robert Salsburg (Arnold Schoenberg) Joining us from the Wilkes-Barre area, Robert studied acting with Charles Kakatsakis at Bard College, with Bill Hickey, and with his mother, a noted director, actor and teacher. After a detour as a set designer in the early days of Off-Off Broadway, in summer stock, and elsewhere, he returned to the stage as an actor in theatre for children and in showcase productions in New York City. He’s appeared several times as a guest artist with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble and the Electric Theatre Company in Scranton. His extensive voice work for film and media includes a recurring role as Narrator with the voice-actor ensemble Radio listeners may find his voice familiar from his many years as a Public Radio classical music and arts feature host, on WNYC in New York, our own WDIY, and Northeastern PA’s WVIA-FM.

Ryan MacNamara (George Gershwin)

Since his first performance at Civic Theatre in 2013, Valley native Ryan MacNamara has performed on stage and film with companies across the Valley, including Crowded Kitchen Players, Touchstone Theatre, Selkie Theatre, Brandon C. Lay's Living Proof Pictures, Pennsylvania Playhouse, and most recently as Jack in Global ImpACTORS Group's The Tin Woman. He handcrafts and sells fine soaps for his business, Touched Body & Bath Co., and works part-time in a cosmetics lab. He earned his B.S. in biochemistry from Arizona State University in 2011.

Syd Stauffer (Gertrud Schoenberg)

Syd has been performing in and around the area for decades. Recently, she has played Chelsea in Civic Theatre’s On Golden Pond, Claire in Global ImpActors’ Group’s Proof, Robin Hood in Allentown Public Theatre’s Robin Hood and Phyllida in the Pennsylvania Playhouse’s Explorers Club. For nine years, she has been a member of an improv comedy troupe. She has also performed in film, TV, radio, and the internet as well as onstage in Philly and New York.

Stephanie Gawlas Walsh (Ginger Rogers)

A Crowded Kitchen Player's veteran, Stephanie has been acting since she was 13, and has performed in theatre productions throughout Pennsylvania and northern Virginia. Stephanie studied theatre at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and earned her theatre minor in 2011. Some favorite past roles include Juliet, Romeo and Juliet; Lydia Lansing, Shakespeare in Hollywood; Essie, You Can't Take It with You; Louise Heindbedder, Fox on the Fairway; Miranda, The Tempest; and Antoinette, A Flea in Her Ear.

George B Miller (Director)

George has worked in theater and film for 45+ years as an actor, director, playwright, designer, and arts educator. Currently Artistic Director of Selkie Theatre, he spent 16 years as Artistic Director of The Theatre Outlet. He has served on the PA Council on the Arts, and as a Resident Artist with Lehigh University, the US National Parks Service, and the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis. In Ireland, premieres George directed include Til Kingdom Come with Age Action Ireland, Goodwill for Galway Theatre Festival, and Maiden Voyages at Dublin’s Liberty Hall. He directed the Ireland/USA tour of Bombshells and My Brilliant Divorce for Ireland’s Jasango Theatre, For Penguin’s Sake and Terminal Hip for the Galway Fringe Festival, and has performed with Irish TV network TG4. Other recent directing stints include Touchstone’s Young Playwright’s Festival, Howard Zinn’s Voices Of A People’s History of the United States, Occupy Your Mind from NYC’s The Civilians, Selkie’s Electric Cow: The GreenPlay Festival, To Kill A Mockingbird and Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike for Pennsylvania Playhouse, Fragile/Dalgety and Casa Valentina with The IceHouse Tonight Series, and The Fisher King, Scotland Road, Anna in the Tropics, and A Doll’s House for Northampton Community College

Crowded Kitchen Players (Ara Barlieb and Pamela Wallace, producers/co-founders)

CKP is a regional theater company that has evolved from reviving long-forgotten and neglected masterpieces of comedy and melodrama, such as Animal Crackers, Death Takes a Holiday, The Prisoner of Zenda, and Twentieth Century, to staging as many as three or four original new works from regional writers, including Brian McDermott (Tidings, Look Out, Bartender Chronicles) and Ara Barlieb (Pints Pounds & Pilgrims, A Shropshire Lad, Here Lies Seymour P. Needlemeyer, etc.). Charlie Barnett's new play Twelveness is CKP's 71st production since the 2000-2001 season, having staged shows at Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, PA for five years, Main Street Theatre (now McCoole's) in Quakertown for seven years, and The IceHouse in Bethlehem, PA since 2014-15.