Painting Churches

Painting Churches

by Tina Howe
Directed by Robert May
January 15 – February 12, 2011

At its core this is a beautifully written play about love – love that has survived the crucible of a long marriage, love that continues to sustain even in the dimming of the day. It is said that Tina Howe uses words like brushstrokes.

“A theatrical family portrait that has the shimmer and depth of Renoir portraits.” N.Y. Times


Jill Drexler (Fanny Church) is challenged and excited to take on this role, and to be working with talented friends Robert, Charlie and DeNae.Recent roles at SRT include Not Now Darling, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Return Engagements, and The Lion in Winter. At other theaters in San Diego: The Avo (Ring Round the Moon, Moon Over Buffalo, You Never Can Tell); Diversionary (Torch Song Trilogy, Fit to Be Tied); North Coast Repertory (Buried Child, What’s Wrong with This Picture, The Diary of Anne Frank); and others. She is the proud recipient of the Craig Noel, San Diego Critics Circle, and Patté Awards. Jill is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and serves as the Artistic Director of SRT.

Charles Riendeau (Gardner Church) was last seen at SRT as the co-star of I’m Not Rappaport, opening our 2009-10 season. In 2010 Charlie was “Froggy” in The Foreigner at Avo, directed Social Security for SRT, and directed a reading of Under Milk Wood for Carlsbad Playreaders. Previously he appeared here in The Lion in Winter and Arsenic and Old Lace, and directed Red Herring, The O’Connor Girls, and All This and Moonlight. Other acting credits: The Foreigner, Hay Fever, Bedroom Farce, and On Golden Pond at the Avo in Vista; The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson in New York and San Diego; numerous roles with New Village Arts, North Coast Repertory, The Old Globe, ion, The Fritz, and Sledgehammer. He directed Welcome to Ramallah for Compass, and Barefoot in the Park for The Broadway in Vista. Charlie has performed in England with the Reader’s Theatre International, and also serves on the board of the S.D. Shakespeare Society.

DeNae Steele (Margaret Church) was last seen at SRT as Miss Tipdale in Not Now, Darling, as well as in The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Lala). Other credits include Back of the Throat, Buried Child, The Crucible, Steel Magnolias, Crimes of the Heart, Blood Brothers, Escape From Happiness, Sweeney Todd, Pippin, Moon Over Buffalo, The Phoenician Women, All in the Timing, Pericles, and others. Having performed in San Diego, Philadelphia, NJ, and DE, DeNae received her BFA with honors in Theatre from Rhodes College, where she was also awarded the Outstanding Theatre Graduate Award. Thanks to Bob for this opportunity.

Production Staff

Robert May (Director) directed last season’s acclaimed I’m Not Rappaport for SRT. He is an SRT board member, the associate artistic director, and the director of the SRT New Play Program. As a director, his credits include the Patté Award-winning A Prayer For My Daughter and the Billie Award-winning Pinter duo Ashes to Ashes and The Lover at 6th@Penn. He also helmed the critically acclaimed An Experiment with an Air Pump for Backyard Productions, and has directed multiple shows for the now-defunct but much loved and missed Fritz Theatre in their Fritz Blitz festivals. Robert earned an MFA from the University of Arizona and a BA from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Jenn Tyrer (Stage Manager) is pleased to be back at SRT, having previously stage managed The Last Night of Ballyhoo, The Shadow Box and Holiday Memories, among others. She recently worked as stage manager for The Seven Year Itch at New Village Arts, Malashock Thinks You Can Dance for Malashock, and throughout her career has worked for The Fritz, Diversionary, and North Coast Rep. To my fiance, Charles: “Go! And meet me at the museum at five-thirty sharp. And don’t ask me why or I’ll hit you with a bucket!”

Tim Wallace (Set Design) is happy to be working with SRT again. Past productions include The Last Night of Ballyhoo, The Shadow Box, Holiday Memories and They’re Playing Our Song. Tim is currently the resident scenery designer and Technical Director for New Village Arts in Carlsbad.

Darin Hibi (Set Construction) has been a scenic artist with the San Diego Opera since 2002. Before that, he was a graphic artist. Working with set designer Tim Wallace is nothing new; he has assisted Tim on various other projects, including the set construction of SRT’s Holiday Memories and They’re Playing Our Song last season.

Lesley Fitzpatrick (Properties) At SRT: Red Herring, Maternal Spirits, Arsenic and Old Lace. Other Venues: Laterthanever Productions: The Carver One Acts, Acts of Faith, Hanna and Martin (Patte Outstanding Production). Over the years: The Fritz, Playwrights Project, Theatre School at NCRT, Renaissance Theatre, Diversionary, New Village Arts, 6th@Penn, Asian American REp, Streisand Festival, NCRT, et al. 4C + JJ

Mitchell Simkovsky (Lighting Design) is a veteran of many SRT productions, and also has designed lighting for many other San Diego theaters. This season Mitchell will be designing the lighting for four out of our five productions.

Steve Murdock (Sound Design) A resident of San Diego for 11 years, Steve previously designed sound for SRT’s productions of Chapter Two and Not Now, Darling.

Debbie Sullivan (Costume Design) This is Debbie’s third production at SRT, having costumed Social Security and Over The River and Through the Woods. Her most recent production was Much Ado About Nothing (a la Empire/Regency era setting) at Point Loma Nazarene College. Other credits include San Diego City Schools’ Honors Theater’s Stefanie Hero, and San Diego and San Dieguito District high school productions. She is a member of the San Diego Costume Guild and was an exhibitor and participant in the 2010 Costume College.

Vanessa Thomas (Asst. Stage Manager) is excited to be working with SRT for her second show as an assistant stage manager. She recently graduated from Humboldt State University, where she studied music and was active with the theater department. She has played music for shows such as The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, City of Angels, The Full Monty, and Urinetown:The Musical. She looks forward to working with SRT in the future as well as getting involved with other local theater.

Production Photos


“Drexler and Riendeau are spot-on in their characterizations and will seem utterly familiar to audience members who have observed parental decline.” – Jean Lowerson, San Diego Gay & Lesbian News

“The production balanced heavy emotions with carefree humor quite well. Little tableaus of emotion and lighthearted gags give a sense of familiarity to this family and provide a needed depth to their characters. The actors playing the Church family were a very cohesive and well-established local cast. This show will surprise you with its bittersweet mirth. Don’t miss your chance to experience Painting Churches at Scripps Ranch Theatre.” – Allison Maderia-Joseph, San Diego’s Write Way

San Diego Gay & Lesbian News – January 26, 2011
San Diego’s Write Way – January 26, 2011
Pomerado News Group – January 1, 2011