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Military in the Arts

Marine and War Veterans, Ginger Lawrence, Jonathan Wong, and Christopher Loverro joined us live to discuss their transition from serving in the armed forces to becoming Hollywood actors.

Ginger Lawrence (Lily), originally from Puyallup, WA state, served in the Marine Corps for 12 years and has four deployments under her belt: three to Iraq and one tour to Afghanistan. She’s held several military occupational specialties, but her favorite and most memorable was as a journalist and photographer with the 4th Civil Affairs Group out of Washington D.C., where she has many published writings and photos including her first press release after meeting the President of the United States. She traveled with the Stonecroft Women’s group as a singer and public speaker along the West Coast 2011-2012, writing most of her own music and recording a CD. She is currently a senior at Biola University studying International Development. Ginger is the recipient of two meritorious promotions, three awards of commendation, and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Christopher Loverro (Lt. Johnson) is a former police officer and Iraq War veteran turned actor. Raised in Oakland, California he is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Peace and Conflict Studies department. While working as a Berkeley police officer, he joined the Army Reserves in 2001 and volunteered for a deployment to Iraq in 2003-2004. He served on a Civil Affairs team in support of the Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team (3-2) in Mosul, Iraq. Among various other missions he participated in humanitarian relief operations for over 2,000 refugees. Ironically, after surviving his year in Iraq, he returned to his job as a police officer and was injured in the line-of-duty while fighting a kidnapper. This eventually cut his law enforcement career short. He then attended film school to tell stories about veterans and the sacrifice they and their families make. His first semester project was to write a scene that required an Iraq War veteran. Unable to find any veterans who were acting in the area he decided to cast himself in the role. Here he discovered that acting is a great form of catharsis. His theater credits include Orlando in William Shakespeare’s As You Like and Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing. Christopher Loverro is trying to use acting and film making to promote awareness about veteran’s issues and recently founded Warriors For Peace, a theater company dedicated to bringing US veterans together with Veterans from other nations to perform Shakespeare.

Jonathan Wong (born and raised in Hong Kong), Actor in Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Ensemble’s current production of “Ajax in Iraq” with performances at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica through June 1 and has been  a Marine for over 3 years, a Marine Rifleman, in 4th Marines Division 4th Light Armored reconnaissance Battalion Headquarter and Support Company or 4th MARDIV, 4th LAR Bn, H&S Co. for short.

Not Man Apart has been performing in the Los Angeles area for several years re-examining Classics of Literature and our everyday world through a visceral interpretation and creates highly athletic and innovative theatrical events, which are life-affirming and consciousness expanding. Offering theatrical experiences to rival the excitement of Live Sports Events, and the Elegance and Intimacy of Dance.

Ajax in Iraq has performances on ThursdaysFridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. through June 1. Tickets are $25; Student Rush Thursdays: $10 at the door, subject to availability. The Miles Memorial Playhouse is located at 1130 Lincoln Blvd, Santa MonicaCA 90403 (just north of Wilshire Blvd.). Free event parking is available at the underground garage serving the 808 Wilshire Building., entry on Lincoln (just south of Wilshire Blvd.). For reservations and information, call (818) 618-4772.

Beyond Sight has performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through May 25. Tickets are $30. The Stella Adler Theatre is located at 6773 Hollywood Blvd., 2nd FloorHollywoodCA 90028. Parking at the Jefferson Building (garage entrance on McCadden, 1 block East of Highland) is $5 with theater validation. For reservations and information, call (310) 902-8220 or visit them online.

This segment aired on the KTLA 5 Morning News on May 15, 2014.