In 2004, LA based actor Bob Rusch decided to produce and act in a play called JERRY and TOM, by Rick Cleveland. He told his two producer friends, Dan Parr and Mike Greene, about the show and they both agreed to chip in and do some Theatre for the first time. Fate intervened as Bob found out his roommate Eric Johnson was in the first ever production of the show at the University of Iowa and had long wanted to do it again. Bob then found out that another friend, Dennis Cockrum, was in an early workshop of the play.
Bob quickly cast them both, and Dennis asked his friend Dave Florek to direct. During rehearsal, Bob was trying to find a name for his new theatre company. He told Eric that he wanted every show they do to have a great moment, just like in a play they had both done in Chicago, THE BOYS OF THE PEGGY AUGUST CLUB. That show was about a bachelor party and in one scene, a bunch of high school buddies sang along with their favorite song: ”Skypilot” by the Animals. Eric suggested this for a name and SkyPilot Theatre Company was born. JERRY and TOM was a critical success. A year and a half later, Bob decided he really wanted to make SkyPilot a true ensemble Company. He began to ask a few of his friends from different walks of life to join, with the idea of keeping it small.
2006 – They produced SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO by David Mamet. It was again a critical success and, this time, people came and saw it. SkyPilot ended 2006, and their “Chicago Trilogy”, with HELLCAB by Will Kern. This was the company’s first big audience success, with frequent sold-out houses. It was also a favorite of the critics, with the Tolucan Times calling it “a rollicking ride” and Backstage gushing that “Hellcab is a slice of heaven for the audience. You know you’re watching a good show when you don’t notice the clock. And this is one great show.”
2009 – Skypilot Theatre Company more then doubled in size with members thanks to the first ever general auditions and they will finish the year with the LA premiere of “End Of Civilization” by George F. Walker.
2010 – Making a dramatic change and taking on a completely new direction SkyPilot decided to only produce “Premiere” plays for it’s audience. After a series of readings were held in the Spring some new members were added in September. Also joining the fun was resident playwright Jeff Goode and he recruited 9 more resident playwrights to come along for the ride. Resident director Gideon Potter and managing director Joan Turner (they’re not a couple) also signed up. Jeff Goode’s play YES, SVETLANA, THERE IS A GRANDFATHER FROST was produced at the Luna Playhouse in Glendale in November to rave reviews.
2011 – SkyPilot produced it’s first Late-Night Series with its World Premiere of REWIND in February, 10 one-acts written by the SkyPilot resident playwrights, at the Victory Theatre in Burbank. Then SkyPilot decided to move into T.U. Studios in North Hollywood for the rest of our 2011 season and opened Jeff Goodes World Premiere THE EMANCIPATION OF ALABASTER MCGILL in May to amazing reviews and audience reaction. SkyPilot followed with the World Premiere of TO THE NEW GIRL by Samantha Macher in August. This critically-acclaimed, all-female acted and directed show played to sold-out audiences and forced an extended run. Next up in 2011 will be 4 MURDERS by Brett Neveu in October.
“…”Requiem for a Heavyweight” is the “Death of a Salesman”
of the prizefighting world, as powerful today as when the
Rod Serling teleplay first aired in 1956…”
“…You know you’re watching a good show when you
don’t notice the clock. And this is one great show.
Director Eric Johnson’s pacing is strictly pedal-to-the-metal.
And writer Will Kern demonstrates a tremendous ear and deft feel
for realistic dialogue that is spoken by a host of different characters…”
“…Cleverly, imaginatively, yet somewhat naively,
Mamet tell his story. Credit a fine cast and some good direction
to James Sharpe in keeping the play moving as well as it does.
Carlene Bezevic’s interesting 70′s costumes were first rate.
We’ll look forward to future performances by SkyPilot,
this new kid on the block...”
“…Taking Sides, by Ronald Harwood, is powerful, taking place in Berlin,
1946, with gut-wrenching performances by an extraordinary cast…”