WINGS testimonial

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As some of you may know, our Artistic Director, Randy Reinholz is also the Director of the School of Theatre, Television, and Film at San Diego State University. He's been a professor there for about ten years and, needless to say, has worked with a lot of students.
Upon graduation, a good number of those students pack their bags and head north to the City of Angels (or around there). Many find work in TV, a few in films, a lot in commercials, and some (like me!) find they're better suited to working behind the scenes.

Regardless of which path (or paths) former students chose to take, it's always nice when they're able to squeeze some time out of their busy lives to visit us at the Autry to catch a show, say hi, or update us on their ongoings. And it's even better when a student finds time to do all three of these things in one swoop.

One such student (Miss Cheryl Lynn Wanless), did just that a few weeks ago. She came to see WINGS, chit-chatted with Randy a bit, then sent us the most endearing letter that she so graciously gave me permission to share with all of you. It's a simple testament to how powerful theatre can be and how moving WINGS OF NIGHT SKY truly is.

On behalf of everyone at Native Voices, we'd like to thank Cheryl for spending her time with us and for her heartfelt message. We truly appreciate your honesty and kindness in sending us this note and we do hope you come back to see us again.

I saw the show! I really enjoyed it. Obviously the lighting was impeccable...but i was expecting that when i saw craig wolf in the program. i dont know how he does that. its gotta be a gift. i dont know a parnell from a floodlight, but i can appreciate how triumphant it must be to capture the feel of the play so perfectly. i loved the guitar. i also love theater like that because its glorious to see people using that area of their brain while so many people are so negative about the economy and everything these days. howard fine says actors create from their pain and i honestly believe that. when you hear stories like that it really puts your life in perspective.
i have always said i love art because i can walk in a theater and see a small place and a small set, and before i know it i can see everyone who the actress is talking about (as peter larlham says: all u need is a space). i visualized every person in the actress's life, as she was such a tremendous storyteller. she really drew me in. i love how art serves as a therapy for people. i can identify with that a lot, as i have used art as a tool to express myself through the up's and down's in my life. i even brought my date, who is a known, working (fortunate) tv actor, and he loved it. turns out his mother is cherokee! so he knew a lot more about the terminology from literally going to pow wow's as a kid.
also...the t.s. eliot reference...we were arguing over this because he was saying t.s. eliot was christian and that was why that actress was saying he needed to put his hands in clay. however... i was thinking she was saying that because (i love t.s. eliot) and maybe his work would not have been so dark if he had art (i.e. clay) in his life...i.e. his work the wasteland. looking forward to seeing more shows soon. the staff was really nice! thanks!
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Free screening of WE SHALL REMAIN

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For those in the San Diego area who are looking for something to do Thursday night, come join me at 6p for a screening of and reception for the KPBS mini-series WE SHALL REMAIN.

From KPBS' website:
WE SHALL REMAIN is a groundbreaking mini-series that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history. Five 90-minute documentaries spanning 300 years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native-American perspective. Be among the first in San Diego to see a preview of this much anticipated 5-part documentary series which airs in April on KPBS. Join us for an advanced screening and panel discussion on the current state of Native American tribes here in San Diego County.

For more information visit I hope to see you there!
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NV's stimulus plans

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So, if you love Native Voices (and who doesn't!) and have friends who can help support Native Voices (that would be you!) - ask them to BUY A TICKET -- just have them call 323.667.2000, ext. 354 to reserve their seats for this beautiful show! Tickets are $20 general admission and $12 for Autry members - pretty reasonable if you ask me!

Now, if your friends want to support Native Voices AND the Red Circle Project (RCP) Cultural Benefit fundraiser in recognition of National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - there's a benefit pre-show party and performance on March 21st starting at 6pm - Performance at 8pm. Tickets for this event are $25 and can be purchased at the Red Circle Project website or by calling 213.201.1311

DEAL OF THE DECADE! Become an Autry National Center Member and receive two free tickets to WINGS OF NIGHT SKY, WINGS OF MORNING LIGHT (a $40 value)!
Go to for more information about membership. When you join be sure to mention Native Voices to receive your two free tickets! Individual Memberships start at $45 / Dual Memberships $55 / Family Memberships $65.

DEAL #1 Tonight and next Thursday are PAY WHAT YOU CAN nights (suggested donation $10)

DEAL #2 Below is a "Buy one get one FREE" coupon -- make your reservations and pay HALF-PRICE at the door ($10 per ticket)

DEAL #3 Bring a group of 10 and get 40% OFF -- Call Christi at 323.466.5830 or e-mail

See! We've got lots of ways to help you help us fill the theater and show your support of Native Voices at the Autry! Won't you help us make 2009 a banner year for the nation's premiere Native American Theater Company? See you at the theater!
- jbs
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The reviews are in!

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"Breath-taking ... Sound and music are integrated flawlessly ... Wonderfully realized ... Moments of true genius! ... Harjo is a marvel, and her voice is beautiful! ... A grammy award-winning musician with a poetic Indian story - what a combination!"
These are just a few of the responses theatre-goers wrote to us after seeing 'Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light' during its opening weekend at the Autry. If you're one of the almost 500 people who watched Joy Harjo and Larry Mitchell during the play's first week, you already know what many others will soon learn- 'Wings' is now aloft, flying high on the praises being sung both by theatre-goers and critics alike!
From now until Sunday, March 29th, Joy Harjo's unique and deeply personal blend of performance, poetry, singing, and virtuoso sax come together to weave a spell on audiences. Reserve your seats today. Tickets are $20 for general admission, with a special $12 rate for Autry members and group sales.
For a limited time only, a select number of discount tickets are available for members of Goldstar and LA Stage Alliance; theater-goers can also take advantage of two pay-what-you-can performances, on Thursday, March 19th at 8pm, and Thursday, March 26th at 8pm (for individual ticket buyers only).
-- r. deely

And here's what our critics had to say! Click on the links to access the full articles.

Los Angeles Times
Her painful journey from a traumatic childhood to serenity and acceptance is well-charted, an inspirational odyssey that makes "Wings" take flight.
-- F. Kathleen Foley

Los Angeles WeeklyNative American poet and musician Joy Harjo is a woman who communes with spirits, and in this music-embellished piece, she opines about struggle, survival and transcendence in a powerful and eloquent voice.
-- Deborah

IndyBay Review
Harjo takes her audience on a journey that begins and ends with healing. If the essence of ceremony can be put on stage, she has done it.
-- Corina Roberts
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Flying high with Joy Harjo and Larry Mitchell

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Thursday, March 12th.

The evening began with an intimate blessing led by long-time friend of Native Voices, Mr. Robert Greygrass. I had never been a part of NV's blessings because I'm usually unable to attend our opening night performances so I was particularly excited about this one. We all formed a circle around the first two rows of chairs in the theatre, passed around some burning sweet grass (at least I think that's what it was), and proceeded to go around the circle to say a few words of thanksgiving. I won't reiterate what was said but being a part of that group just made me so proud to be a part of Native Voices' family. You'll hear a lot of people talk about how being a part of NV is like being a part of a larger entity; like being a part of something that's bigger than themselves; and, for the most part, it's true. Randy and Jeannie really embrace all the artists who have become a part of Native Voices; artists who are fair-weather friends are treated with the same love and respect that our seasoned veterans are lucky to receive and that is a true gift. During the blessing, many mentioned that generosity and kindness filters down and we have Randy and Jeannie to thank for that.

After the blessing, we all disbursed in order to give our full attention to the show's opening. Joy and Larry headed to the Green Room for their pre-show agendas while our stage manager, Dale, along with his crew, made his final adjustments. At a quarter-till, I peeked my head out into the lobby only to be delighfully surprised by the amount of people that were gathered there. We had a very good house for our opening; a lot of friendly faces and a few old friends. Everyone there in full support of Joy, Larry, and Native Voices.

Now, as ridiculous as this may sound, I have never seen a reading or a presentation or anything of the sort of this play. Although it was one of our retreat plays in 2008, I was never in the room during its workshops (because I was dramaturging another play that workshopped at the same time) nor was I able to attend its public reading at the Autry (because I had to stay in San Diego for the LMDA Conference). Since then, I've received (and read) the many drafts Joy's written; have heard all the fantastic reports from Randy and Jeannie who travelled to New Mexico and Hawaii to rehearse with Joy and Larry; and, of course, I've kept a diligent eye on Joan's rehearsal blogs for the show. Most of what I've heard about WINGS has been via email or through conversations in passing. So this night, March 12th, would be the very first time I would see WINGS in any way, shape, or form. It was the first time I would see this play without my computer screen. Needless to say, I was very excited and couldn't wait for the show to begin.

For those who haven't seen the show yet (don't worry- I won't give anything away), it's a one-woman show with music. It is a story that weaves together the stories of many women- Native and non-Native. It is a show that blends Joy's poetic world with her musical one. It's a play that features two award-winning artists performing in a genre that's new to them both. It's a journey through grief, desperation, hope, and liberation. It is a healing ceremony; though probably not in the way you think a healing ceremony would be like. It is modern storytelling at its best and it was an experience that I am very proud to have been a witness to and, in a very small way, to have been a part of.

Every now and then, a play will come along that lifts your spirit. It will transcend space and time, reach into your soul, and leave you enlightened. That is WINGS OF NIGHT SKY, WINGS OF MORNING LIGHT. This small unassuming script with the powerful music and lyrics took flight in L.A. Have you seen it yet? You may want to buy your tickets now before we sell out. When word gets out about this play, admission will be hard to come by.

Visit our website for ticket information or check out my post below for special offers. Also, if you click on our slideshow (upper right hand corner), you'll be able to view photos from the show. Captions are included for those who like to put things in perspective.

In the meantime, here's what other audience members had to say:
It lifted my spirits!
Loved the artistic quality!
I'll be coming back with friends!
Wow! Very Powerful!
Everything was fabulous! Sounded great! Looked wonderful!
Joy is very talented and the show was insightful! Truly Amazing!
Outstanding performance by Joy Harjo!
The poetry and scenery were fantastic!
It was a surprise! I went with her on her journey! Beautiful set, lights, music!
Spiritually renewing!
Great performance, gripping story!
Larry Mitchell on guitar was outstanding!
Beautifully written and performed!
A hidden gem!
So Cal residents need to know more clearly what's happening here!
Her voice and spirit soars!
Thank you for the gift!
Sound & music was integrated flawlessly!
Script was creative and beautiful!
Integration of set and lights was seamless!
Alternative and experimental Native Theater!
A grammy award winning musician with an Indian story - what a combo!
Modern Native storytelling!
Moments of true genius!
Thank you!
Great blend of storytelling and music!
Harjo's voice is beautiful!
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Buy your tickets now!

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Just a note to all of our Native Voices friends and supporters -- The word has gone out far and wide that we're opening Joy Harjo's extraordinary one-woman show WINGS OF NIGHT SKY, WINGS OF MORNING LIGHT this Thursday, March 12th. We'd like to thank the Autry's Marketing and Publicity Staff and Christi Crow from FLAG Marketing and Group Sales for their great work!

But Native Voices needs your help too -- we all know nothing works better than friend-to-friend and word-of-mouth to fill the theater! Especially in this economic climate. So please tell all your friends about this amazing show! You won't want to miss it!

And don't forget to visit Joan's blog! Share it with friends to learn about the WINGS process, see production/rehearsal photos, and learn more about the creative team.

Preview performances are March 10 & 11 at 8p. Tickets are only $10.
See below for a special 2-for-1 coupon good for any performance.
All other performances are $20 for General Admission and $12 for Autry Members.
Show OPENS on March 12th and runs until March 29th.
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8p.
Saturdays and Sundays at 2p.
Visit or call 323-667-2000, ext. 354 to make your reservations.

We hope to see you at the theatre!!
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Native Voices on the Web

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Craving more of Native Voices? Visit our Autry website at, be our friend on Myspace or find our fan page on Facebook.

As I write this, our entire production team is in the midst of tech rehearsals for our upcoming world premiere of Joy Harjo's WINGS OF NIGHT SKY, WINGS OF MORNING LIGHT. The show received its first reading at the Public Theatre's 2007 Native Theatre Festival and has been in development with Native Voices ever since. We were with Joy in New York, met her in New Mexico, visited her home in Hawaii, and even held rehearsals in sunny San Diego. This week, WINGS finally lands in the City of Angels and officially opens this Thursday, March 12 and runs until Sunday, March 29.

Visit our blog for more info and contact me for a special 2-for-1 coupon. We hope to see you at the theatre!a
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