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Los Angeles Times

An artist with range has tastes to match


April 13, 2008

Playwright Laurel Ollstein is a bit of a cliche in this town: Actress-writer-director. But she's the real deal. As a member of the Hollywood ensemble company the Actors' Gang, she has worked as an actress and playwright in many collaborative pieces, including "Hysteria," "Blood Love Madness" and "Insomniac." Her award-winning one-woman play on writer Dorothy Parker was produced across the country and she currently teaches playwriting, acting, directing and screenwriting. Her next role is that of writer and co-director of "Showing Our Age," a play exploring the myths and realities of aging and based on material she gathered through interviews at 40 senior centers. She chatted with Liesl Bradner about her favorite pop-culture pastimes. For entire article see

Laurel Ollstein is an award-winning actress and writer, a director and a teacher in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and San Francisco. For many years, as a member of the ACTORS’GANG (founded by Tim Robbins), she collaborated as an actress and debuted her new plays. She is currently a member of ABOUT PRODUCTIONS where her contributions include writer/actor in On Earth as It Is in Heaven and writer/director for Showing Our Age, produced at the Ford Theater in Los Angeles with support through an NEA grant. She is also an artistic associate of PLAYWRIGHT'S ARENA, who produced her play The Dark Ages, and where she directed their 365 Plays. As a writer, her artistic involvement with EST-LA has continued for many years and most recently her play Anatomy of A Brain Injury was selected for Winterfest.

Plays produced around the country include the long-running, one woman show LAUGHTER HOPE AND A SOCK IN THE EYE (about Dorothy Parker), INSOMNIAC, STORAGE ROOM, POT ROAST, CHEESE, BLACKWELL’S CORNER, ESTHER’S MOUSTACHE, THE DARK AGES, BIAS CUT and the book writer for the musical OPA! which won best over all production in the MIDTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL in New York City in 2008 and played to sold out houses at the Queen’s Theatre in Sept. 2009. DOROTHY PARKER IN THE BATH has played in the Estrogenuis Festival in New York City in 2009, the Acts of the Edge Festival in Santa Monica, California and Short and Sweet in Singapore in 2010.

CHEESE was published by Original Works Publishing 2010. See

Her essays and memoir pieces have been published by The Middle English Literary Group, the Sea Oats Review, Tiny Lights and Fresh Yarn.

Teaching experience includes adjunct faculty positions at Loyola Marymount University; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); UC Redlands and CalArts. She was chosen at the Faith Broome Playwright in Residence for the University of Oklahoma. She holds an MFA in Playwrighting from UCLA.