Willard Manus (born September 28, 1930) is a Los Angeles-based novelist, playwright, and journalist. His original play “Dietrich” just enjoyed a limited Off Broadway engagement at the famed Triad Theatre to packed houses and excellent reviews.
Accompanied by pianist Russell Daisey and starring Cindy Marinangel, “Dietrich” is a based on a true story. Set in May 1960, the play takes place when Marlene Dietrich returned to the Berlin stage for the first time since fleeing the Hitler regime in the 1930’s.
Inside her dressing room at the Tatiana Palast Theater, Dietrich weighs whether to go through with the live performance despite threats on her life by Nazi sympathizers who resent her for having spent much of World War II entertaining American soldiers on the front lines. To them, Dietrich is a turncoat; a traitor who deserves to be shot and killed on stage.
Willard Manus is a playwright, journalist and novelist. He is a member of the playwrights/director’s unit of The Actors Studio. His most recent plays are “Joe and Marilyn: A Love Story,” “Frank and Ava” (now a motion picture) and “Who Killed Comrade Rabbit?” His best known book is Mott the Hoople (1966), the novel from which the British 1970s hard rock band derived their name. Manus was born in New York. He is the author of This Way to Paradise: Dancing on the Tables, a memoir of life in Lindos, Rhodes, Greece, from the 1960s to the 1990s. Additionally he has had a dozen other books published, most recently a young adult novel, A Dog Called Leka, which deals with a young lad sailing the Aegean islands in the company of an exceptional dog. More than two dozen of his plays have been produced in Los Angeles, regionally and in Europe. He has been a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association since 1981.
Cindy Marinangel (Marlene Dietrich) is a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio and a graduate of the Chicago Second City Conservatory. Marinangel was recently seen in “Beverly Hills Christmas,” a holiday film starring actor Dean Cain that airs seasonally on UPtv. She is a voice over talent, an avid ballroom dancer, animal advocate and producer of film, theatre and dance shows.
Russell Daisey is an internationally acclaimed pianist, singer and songwriter. He performed at The First Hiroshima International Peace Summit (on stage with the Dalai Lama); the Palais des Congres in Paris; before President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; as well as Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Ellie Wiesel, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Betty Williams.
For bookings reviews and inquiries:
Works Written by Willard Manus:
Southern California Correspondent for Playbill On-Line (1995-2000).
Monthly columnist (theatre, opera, books, movies, jazz & blues) What’s Up Magazine &, Lively-Arts.com , Total Theater, The Outlook, Daily News, North-East Newspapers, Pasadena Star News, and many others
Love Under Aegean Skies – Amazon E-Book
Mott the Hoople, McGraw-Hill Co & Pinnacle Books – Amazon E-Book
The Fighting Men, Panjandrum Books – Amazon E-Book
The Fixers, Ace Books – E-Book
Connubial Bliss, Panjandrum Books – Amazon E-Book
The Pigskin Rabbi, Breakaway Books – Amazon E-Book
The Island Kids, Anglo-Hellenic Publishing Co (Picture Book)
· Young adult
The Proud Rebel, Ridge Press/Teenage Book Club
Sea Treasure, Doubleday
Mystery of the Flooded Mine, Doubleday
A Dog Called Leka, Viveca Smith Publishing Co – Amazon E-Book
This Way to Paradise–Dancing on the Tables, Lycabettus Press
Actual Productions: Bon Appetit (Los Angeles, 1984, director Bert Rosario)
Diamonds (Los Angeles, 1985, director Richmond Shepard)
Hemingway–On the Edge (Los Angeles, 1993, director Lonny Chapman)
In My Father’s House (Los Angeles, 2000, director Jerome Guardino)
Junk Food (Los Angeles, 1981, director Rick Edelstein)
MM at 58 (Los Angeles, 1989, director Gary Guidinger)
The Deepest Hunger (Los Angeles, 1984, director Lonny Chapman)
The Electronic Lincoln (Los Angeles, 1992, director Susan Deitz)
Their Finest Hour–Churchill and Murrow (Woodstock, director Nicola Sheara)
The Kendo Master (Los Angeles, 1981, director Sab Shimono)
The Last Laugh (Los Angeles, 1999, director John Lant)
The Love Boutique (Los Angeles, 1989, director Walter Olkiewicz)
The Penis Monologues (Los Angeles, 2002, director Louis Fantasia)
Man in the Sun
The Call (Los Angeles, 2006, director Gregory Crafts)
Reap the Whirlwind (Los Angeles, 2000, director Doug Lowry)
Walt-Sweet Bird of Freedom (Los Angeles, 1984, director Lonny Chapman)
Central Avenue–The Musical (Los Angeles, 2007, director Louis Fantasia).
“In My Father’s House”
“Prez, the Lester Young Story”
Frank & Ava”
Joe & Marilyn, a Love Story”
“The Life and Loves of Marlene Dietrich:
The Wicked, Wicked, Mae West”
and other plays…..
Boys Will Be Boys, Fox TV.
Secrets of Midland Heights, CBS-TV.
Too Close For Comfort, ABC-TV.
Leka de hond (A dog called Leka), translated by Gerrit Brand, Uitgeverij Nobelman, 2012.
With Artistic Regards,
“Marinangel’s excellent performance made me catch myself many times thinking that I was watching the ‘real’ Marlene.”
— Petra Schuermann (Germanworldonline.com)