California Stage presents: Janis Stevens as Dorothea Puente

Janis Stevens has been cast as Dorothea Puente: New play to open in January!

Janis Stevens plays Dorothea Puente
Janis Stevens.

Drama Desk Award Nominee Janis Stevens has been chosen to portray Dorothea Puente in California Stage’s newly commissioned play on Sacramento’s infamous boarding house murders.

Janis is very pleased to return to California Stage to star in the premiere of Mark Loewenstern’s new play.  Her extensive credits as an actress are known from Maine to NYC to Florida and back across the USA to the theaters in her hometown, Sacramento. Janis’s directing credits at California Stage include award winning productions like: Widowers’ Houses; Love, Isadora; Winter’s Waltz and Reckless.  Director Megan Cooper said that Janis Stevens’ characterization of Dorothea Puente at a public reading last year astounded everybody and we were overjoyed to give her the role.

TDorothea Puentehe play is entitled: Dorothea Puente Tells All! An Evening with the Magnanimous, Distinguished and Noble Lady of Sacramento. It was researched and written over a three-year period by Mark Loewenstern, a winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival and a three-time finalist for the Heideman Award and a semi-finalist for the nationally prestigious Playwrights Award of The O’Neill Theater Center.

The play will premiere Friday, January 24, 2020 and will play Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 2PM through Sunday, February 23.

Lowenstern’s extensive research has uncovered elements of Ms. Puente’s temperament and personal relationships which are not publicly known. His play reaches deep into her personality and gives us new insight into a murderer who does not fit the common definition of a “Serial Killer.” Producer Ray Tatar added, “Dorothea’s motives revealed in Mark’s play will change many peoples ideas about this killer. Her outward personality belied the twisted values that shocked many who knew her.”

Tickets available here or by phone reservation at 916-451-5822.

5 thoughts on “California Stage presents: Janis Stevens as Dorothea Puente

  1. Ray, et al,

    I must admit I was a bit shocked when I saw the title so, of course, I clicked on it!

    My gal is a lifelong professional artist and I am a lifelong lover and supporter of all things arts and humanities.

    If her crazy schedule allows, we will attend. And if we are shocked, we will be shocked! If we learn something new, we will learn. But art is art and it speaks for itself. Well, I certainly don’t speak for it. But universe willing, we will experience your art and I applaud you for being BOLD! And for contributing to the culture of our community.


  2. As a criminal historian I am disgusted that this play was even considered. Puente was a life long con artist, and a multi-murderer. There is nothing to celebrate about her life. She should not be humanized in any way. Puente was a monster…. shame on California Stage

    1. David,

      I am surprised at your response to the clear irony in the title of the play. Of course, Dorothea was a con artist and a murderer, but I think people should see a play before they condemn it and assume that there are no lessons to be learned.

      We researched her story for two years and found information we believe expands public understanding about her and about serial killers in general.

      We also held open public readings of this play and a few people came loaded with knee jerk negative responses to the community impact of someone like Dorothea Puente. After heartfelt talk-backs, NO ONE walked away with your opinion.

      Please consider that Hitler did much more than Dorothea in her darkest dreams, and there are hundreds of plays and movies about him. Our play looks straight at her personality and motivations. It peels back the psychosis of a narcissistic con artist who completely outwitted our weakened social service system — not to mention a number of intelligent, highly respected community individuals — for years.

      David, it is a worthy subject for our times; there are very important lessons still to be learned from the actions of this horrible person.

      And I am assuming that you are not one of those people that think our Theaters should only be doing plays like “Hello Dolly” or “Guys and Dolls.”

      — Ray Tatar
      Founder, California Stage

    2. David, One could say the same of Macbeth, Richard III, the Godfather, Aaron Burr — need I go on? It’s drama, it’s theater, it’s an opportunity to make creative art (and perhaps some understanding of human psyche) out of a monstrous story. I’ll be attending, looking to learn something.

    3. Where in the description of this play does it mention “celebrating” Dorothea Puente? This simply seems to me to be a play that examines the thoughts and motivations of a notorious killer . . . which has been done since film was invented!

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