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Jan. 14, 2004
DH-04 TK 001
Contact: Thomas Knox
(310) 243-3367


California State University, Dominguez Hills
Stages Auditions for World Premier of “Detox”

CARSON, Calif: – California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) extends an open-casting call to would-be actors as they prepare to hold auditions for the world premier of “Detox,” a rock musical written by Rex Heuschkel, CSUDH professor of theatre arts, with music and lyrics by Jake Fleder. The play has been adapted by CSUDH alumna Sunee Foley. Auditions are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, March 1 and 2, at 7 p.m. “Detox” is slated for performances on April 23, 24, 30 and May 1 at 8 p.m., and May 2 at 2 p.m. in the University Theatre.

Directed by Sydell Weiner, CSUDH professor of theatre arts, “Detox” paints a vivid picture of the obstacles and victories of life in an alcohol and drug detox center. The play mixes drama, music and humor and ties these components together as the main characters flirt with the realities of life and substance addiction while exploring emotions of love and compassion.

“I wrote the first draft of ‘Detox’ many years ago while in an alcohol recovery program,” said Heuschkel who heads “Dominguez x 12,” a 12-step, self-help substance recovery network, which meets weekly on campus, based on the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. “It was my way of trying to put a disjointed life experience into some kind of responsible order. Upon my first draft of ‘Detox,’ I had discovered the one link to recovery that has kept me reaching to this day, hope. Hope in things getting better so long as I am willing to accept responsibility for who I am and what I do.”

Heuschkel said his life and the play’s script have gone through dynamic changes since the original draft. “A year ago, I took ‘Detox’ off the shelf, knocked off the dust and shared it with my colleagues,” Heuschkel continued. “I called in a former student who had a gift for dramatic writing, Sunee Foley, and she helped create a playable, dramatic structure.” Heuschkel has since recruited Jake Fleder to compose the play’s musical score and completed re-writes with Foley to bring “Detox” to the stage. Heuschkel said he is very nervous as the opening day draws closer.

Auditions are open to the public for six men and four women between the ages of 20 - 45. Four of the roles must be filled by actors who can sing. Prospective actors can check out copies of the script by calling the University Theatre office at (310) 243-3588 or by calling the play’s director at (310) 243-3534.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), the CSUDH Department of Theatre Arts participates regularly in the American College Theatre Festival. The University is a member of both the California Educational Theatre Association (CETA) and the Southern California Educational Theatre Association (SCETA). Moreover, actors compete each year for national recognition by auditioning for both the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA) and the League of Professional Theatres.

Profile on the Director

Sydell Weiner, Ph.D., is a director and actress from New York. She received her acting training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Yale School of Drama, and has performed professionally in both New York and Los Angeles. As a director, she has staged “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” “Gypsy,” “A Chorus Line,” “Uncommon Women and Others,” “Crimes of the Heart,” “A Shayna Maidel,” and many others. She teaches acting, directing, creative dramatics, speech and play analysis.

Dr. Weiner has published articles in The American Journal of Psychotherapy and the Journal of Clinical Psychology comparing the art of theatre to the practice of psychotherapy. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Torrance. Dr. Weiner is also listed in Who's Who in Entertainment, Who's Who Among American Women, and Who's Who in the World. She is a recipient of the Lyle Gibson Distinguished Professor Award for excellence in teaching.

Dr. Weiner is a CSUDH alumna who received her master’s degree in marriage and family counseling from the university in 1996.

Please visit the university Web site at for information on campus curriculum and activities. Learn more about upcoming events presented by the Department of Theatre Arts at

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Last updated Thursday, January 15, 2004, 2:58 pm, by Stephanie Brown (sb)