Miss A Columnist

Melissa Curtin covers charity and style related events and loves to cover LA's best in beauty, fashion, and culture. She is an educator who recently returned to the classroom to motivate and inspire third graders at a private school in Pacific Palisades. In 2012, she launched an educational T-shirt line called Wear2learn. When she is not working out, hiking a canyon, or at the beach, she is writing. Her latest dream come true has been travel writing for Johnny Jet.

After teaching in the Maryland public school system for almost a decade, she left the conservative East Coast environment in Washington, DC for West Coast living. Eager for adventure, inner growth, and a new environment, she packed her car and took to the open road on her own landing in her new home - Hollywood, California. As a Connecticut Yankee at heart, she has now lived in Los Angeles for six years surrounded by the stars.

Melissa graduated from Gettysburg College with a double major in psychology and art history. Soon after, she earned a Master's Degree in education. Melissa traveled around the world on Semester at Sea, and earned a Fulbright Scholarship which enabled her to teach in England. A lust for travel and learning has fueled her globe trotting ever since. Some of her favorite destinations are Costa Rica, Thailand, Fiji, Morocco, Vietnam, Belgium, Italy, Sicily, Prague, Egypt, Australia, Greece, and Paris.

Los Angeles has won over her heart. She is constantly taking advantage of what LA LA Land has to offer - new boutiques and restaurants, finding great deals, discovering new hikes and beaches, music, and West Coast fashion.

The Play “A Heap of Livin'” Premiers At The Odyssey In Santa Monica


A Heap of Livin’ stars: (Standing) Jayne Brook, with Didi Conn and Larry Pressman (Seated) (Photo credit: Lew Abramson)

A new comedy drama unfolds as the Inkwell Theater Company production showcases its talent at The Odyssey Theater in Santa Monica. A Heap of Livin’ tells the story of Eden and Pearl, the middle-aged daughters of legendary folk singer Ramblin’ Harry Roe who have split the responsibility of helping him as he’s gotten older. The play is set in the sisters’ chic apartment in New York, then in L.A., in their father’s rustic home. The sisters’ past unravels as they try to figure out how to take care of their ailing father. Witty banter ensues. A Heap of Livin’ looks at secret family dynamics and the emotional and financial costs of aging. Although the sisters’ lives have led them on completely different paths, they seem to be able to bond through all the fighting by assisting their obstinate, dying father. The play is also quite funny! I found myself laughing aloud throughout. The comedic aspects of the play remind us of the necessity for laughter in the midst of despair.

One touching scene occurs as it is revealed that the sisters’ friend Rachel, played by Salli Saffioti, is an orthodox Jew who lost her husband on 9/11. The audience learns how Rachel’s own children and parents don’t speak to her because she left the religion. According to Orthodox Jewish beliefs, a husband must be alive to allow for a “divorce” or else the woman cannot date or remarry. The play showcases the choices women within Orthodox Judaism must make. Actress Salli Saffioti has appeared with Nicole Kidman in the film Rabbit Hole and with Melissa Leo in The Space Between. 


Actors Didi Conn and Jayne Brook (Photo credit: Lew Abramson)

As always, L.A. provides an incredibly talented cast of characters. Lawrence Pressman (Ramblin’ Harry) has starred on Broadway in Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam as well as the critically-acclaimed production of Man in the Glass Booth directed by Harold Pinter. His nominations and awards include Ovation, LADCC, Garland, Maddy, LA Weekly, GLAAD, Dramalogue, and Broadway’s Theatre World Award. Mr. Pressman has more than 150 television and film credits. Other seasoned actors showcase their talent too. Jayne Brook plays Eden, a successful writer in New York who generously gives her money to her family. She was a series regular for four and a half seasons on the Emmy- and Golden Globe-recognized drama, Chicago Hope. Didi Conn plays her sister Pearl, a mom from Orange County.  She has starred as Frenchy, the beauty school drop-out in the films Grease, and Grease II. Her Broadway credits include Lost In Yonkers, Say Goodnight, Gracie!, The Green Bird, and A Christmas Carol.  Also, Didi Conn is a guest actress at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute; she is the co-founder of First Stage. 

The play not only boasts the Playwright Elliot Shoenman who is also an Emmy Award winner, but the show includes original music by David Shire, an Oscar/Grammy Award winner who has received multiple Tony/Emmy nominees. Elliot’s work, the Ovation Award nominated AfterMath, starring Annie Potts, played to sold-out houses at the Odyssey last season, launched by the Inkwell Theater.


(Photo credit: www.odysseytheatre.com)

WATCH this comedy drama as A Heap of Livin’ is about to end….

WHEN:  Performances are 8pm Thursdays-Saturdays, and 2pm on Sundays through March 17, 2013

The Odyssey Theatre
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.,
Los Angeles, 90025
Ph. 310-477-2055

TICKETS: Tickets are $25 on Thursdays & Fridays, and $30 on Saturdays & Sundays For reservations: 310-477-2055 ext 2, or click here to reserve tickets.




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