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A Perfect Ganesh

Written by Terrence McNally
Directed by Michael Fontaine
Original Music by Christopher Ris
Choreography by Rann Shinar

$30  General
$28  Seniors: Fridays & Saturdays

The pilgrimage tradition is turned on its head when two outwardly unremarkable, middle-aged friends throw themselves into a rousing tour of India, each with her own secret dreams of what the fabled land of intoxicating opposites will do for the suffering she hides within. Who else but the golden elephant god could intervene? Fluid in his power to assume any guise, Ganesha is the spiritual center around which the play spins itself, drawing upon the tragic and the comic, the beautiful and the deplorable, until a breathtaking release arrives for both women.

This production is made possible by gifts from
Sponsor Circle Members
with additional support from



Heren Patel


John Browning

Margaret Civil

Laura Jorgensen

Katharine Brynne

Elly Lichenstein



Michael Fontaine


Christopher Ris

Stage Manager

Alisha Ramos

Set Designer

Wayne Hovey

Costume Designer

Ellen Howes

Lighting Designer


Sound Designer

Jared Emerson-Johnson

Specialty Properties

Donnie Frank


John Browning (Man) graduated from SSU with a BA in acting and has been consistently working as an actor in Sonoma County.  He joined Narrow Way Stage in 2007 and help form the company into a nonprofit as Marketing Director. John has worked at many local playhouses including 6thStreet, Main Stage West, Spreckels, Napa Valley Opera House, Lucky Penny, Left Edge, Glaser Center and The Cannery. Acting highlights include: BugRichard III, Julius Caesar, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Grace, Miss Firecracker Contest, Noises Off!, Hedda Gabler, Antigone, The North Plan, Zombie Town, Shakespeare in Love, Hamlet, The Children’s HourBecky Shaw, Spamalotand August: Osage County for which he won a SFBAC award. His Cinnabar credits include Driving Miss DaisyArcadia and Time Stands Still.  John is thrilled to be working with Elly and the rest of the cast and crew on A Perfect Ganesh. Much love to his husband and family for all of their support over the years.

Laura Jorgensen (Margaret Civil) is delighted to be back at Cinnabar. She has appeared in many plays at Cinnabar over the years, most recently in Quartet, Driving Miss Daisy, A Clean House and On the Verge, and directed We Won’t Pay We Won’t Pay.  At Cinnabar, she also appeared in John O’Keefe’s premieres of Glamour and Queer Theory.  At Main Stage West she recently performed in Buried Child, House of Yes, Road to Mecca, 4000 Miles, Exit the King and Other Desert Cities.  She has worked with Undermain Theater in Dallas, Texas in Endgame and Really. Laura has created and performed nine shows with her husband, Fred Curchack, including Golden Buddha Beach, An American Dream Play, NOH: Angels, Demon’s and Dreamers, Monkey: The Quest to the West, Milarepa, Grandpa’s Home Videos and Burying Our Father: A Biblical Debacle.

LichensteinElly Lichenstein (Katherine Brynne) joined Cinnabar in 1975 after a short career as a cellist in Belgium. Studying voice with Cinnabar’s founder Marvin Klebe, drama with Richard Blake and Laura’s husband Fred Curchack, and movement with Ann Woodhead, she sang at least 50 roles with the company as an opera singer until retiring from the operatic stage in 1999. A passionate proponent of intimate theater and opera, she serves as Cinnabar’s artistic director, directs opera and musicals, including Cabaret, this season’s opening production. She also recently appeared onstage as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, and as Jeannette in Jane Anderson’s The Quality of Life. Elly also directs and makes appearances on neighboring stages in the Bay Area. She will direct this season’s final offering,  The Barber of Seville as a co-production with San Francisco’s Pocket Opera.

A graduate of San Francisco State University’s Theatre Arts Program and a Native San Franciscan, Haren Patel (Ganesha) is super-duper excited to be in his first show with Cinnabar Theater. He feels super duper blessed because he gets to embody one of India’s most beloved and favorite deities. Hopefully, Heren feels he’s perfect enough for the elephant headed God, as Ganesha is the remover of obstacles. Heren was last seen in Indra’s Net Theater’s production of Partition as the real life mathematical genius Srinivasan Ramanujan. His other credits include: Faultline Theater’s #bros, Marin OnStage’s Ideation, Bay Area Children’s Theatre’s Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, CustomMade Theatre’s Of Serpents and Sea Spray, and Theatre Rhinoceros’ Breaking the Code.  In the near future, Heren hopes to one day move to Mumbai, India, the capital of the Bollywood film industry, and make more friends along the way. Heren would like to thank the Cinnabar team for blessing him with this role, and he would like to thank his lovely Ganesha friends for giving him a perfect fun time!


For the past 40-plus years, Michael Fontaine (Director) has been a singer, actor and director for numerous regional theater productions in the North Bay and beyond. He holds undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees with an emphasis in the performing arts. His Cinnabar Theater credits include directing numerous productions, starting with The Fantasticks in 1989 and continuing to the recent 2018 award winning production of Good People. He is pleased to once again be working on A Perfect Ganesh – one of his favorite plays – which he had the good fortune of directing previously for Cinnabar in 2000.

HoveyWayne Hovey (Scenic Designer) has been working in the technical side of theater for more than 40 years, doing everything from backstage work to set, sound and lighting design and stage management. He has provided set design for Cinnabar’s Jacques Brel is Alive and Well, The Marriage of Figaro, Bad Dates, Mahalia Jackson, The Most Happy FellaMan of La Mancha and cabaret musical My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Cabaret and Love, Linda. He’s provided light design for more than 15 shows at Cinnabar, including The Magic Flute, The Odd Couple, Pagliacci, and the world premiere of Trevor Allen’s One Stone (Einstein), as well as last season’s The Fantasticks and this season’s Cabaret and Love, Linda. Wayne serves as Cinnabar’s Technical Director.

Ellen Howes (Costume Designer) has worked in film, theater, dance, and fashion. While she primarily works as a costume designer, she often designs the props and sets for the projects she works on as well. As a costume designer particularly interested in subtle parody and satire, Ellen hopes to someday work for a sketch comedy series, but has been primarily working in live theater and fashion photo-shoots as of late. An eccentric soul with eclectic tastes, it was only natural that Ellen was drawn to design, a career that allows her to continue to learn and create well after her educational career. Ellen’s previous theater credits include My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Good People , The Great God Pan and Love, Linda at Cinnabar.

RamosAlisha Ramos (Stage Manager) works for several theatre companies around Sonoma County as a Stage Manager, Lighting Designer, and Props Designer. Her recent work includes Lighting Designer for Cinnabar’s production of Underneath the Lintel and Shrek, Associate Lighting Designer for Broadway Under the Stars with Transcendence Theatre Company, along with prop designing for their Holiday Show. Recent productions as Stage Manager include: Addams Family, Guys & Dolls Jr, Transcendence: Family Show, Amadeus, and Music Man. Perfect Ganesh will be Alisha’s 4th production at Cinnabar.

Christopher Ris (composer) began his study of sarod and vocal music in 1971 under Maestro Ali Akbar Khan. He has since performed as a soloist, with Khansahib’s orchestra The New Maihar Band, has composed music  for 3 films on life in India and an episode of the television series Young Indiana Jones. He has collaborated with flamenco dancer Rosa Montoya and flamenco guitarist Guillermo Rios and Necati Celik, principal oudist of the National Orchestra of Turkey. In 1974 he began a long lived relationship with the renowned kathak dancer Chitresh Das.From 1981 until 2000 he became Mr. Das’ primary musical accompanist and composer in residence for both his personal performances and his Chhandam Dance Company. Together they dramatically changed the style of kathak accompaniment, bringing the instrumentalist into the simultaneous improvisations with the dancer that were formerly the province of the tabla drummer alone. He has also collaborated extensively with his wife, kathak dancer and singer Marni Ris.