Hollywood actor, coach brings one-man show to SETX

Stevens also to hold acting workshops for kids, young adult, Nov. 7

Chambers Stevens performs "It's Who You KNow," The show will be presented Nov. 6 and 7 in Lamar University's Studio Theatre. The show is produced by Divergent Theater.

Chambers Stevens performs “It’s Who You Know,” The show will be presented Nov. 6 and 7 in Lamar University’s Studio Theatre. The show is produced by Divergent Theater.

Living in Hollywood is the ideal place for someone with an eye for the celebrity. But it takes a real storyteller to appreciate the tales that come from such close encounters.

Fortunately, actor/comedian Chambers Stevens has a file full of anecdotes from 40 years in show business and will bring his latest one-man show, “It’s Who You Know,” in cooperation with Divergent Theater, to Lamar University’s Studio Theatre, Nov. 6 and 7.

Tickets are $15, $5 for Lamar University students with valid ID, and are available online at www.divergenttheater.com.

This is not Stevens first visit to Southeast Texas. He is a frequent visitor to the area to conduct workshops and he even premiered this show when it was still in its workshop stage.

“After touring the country, it is fantastic to be back in Beaumont where I debuted the show,” Stevens said. “People in Southeast Texas have the best sense of humor. I always have a blast there.”

The Beaumont date is the latest stop in a multi-state tour.

Stevens said the idea for the show came from a meeting with Steven Soderbergh at a screening of the movie director’s documentary “And Everything is Going Fine,” about humorist Spalding Gray. Soderbergh told Stevens about a film, “Personal History of American Trash,” where Gray pulls scripts of plays he had been in from a box, and proceeds to tell anecdotes about his experiences in those plays.

“I thought that would be a perfect idea now,” Stevens says.”No one would care about plays, but because I live in Los Angeles, it would be cool to talk about celebrity encounters.”

He describes the show as being like”sit-down comedy.”

Stevens is one of the top acting coaches in Hollywood, and his wife is producer for Disney, so he has more than his share of run-ins with the rich and famous.

“I’ve worked with them, known them — and run into them at the supermarket,” he says. “I have stories that are funny, sad, hilarious and even angry.”

Stevens grew up in Nashville, so many of his stories involve country music stars.

“It started when the Mandrell sisters moved in next door when I was 10,” he says. Johnny Cash sponsored my Little League baseball team, and Faith Hill was in the first acting class I taught.”

In the show, Stevens shuffles a deck of 100 cards, each with the name of a celebrity. He pulls out a name and his natural talent for storytelling kicks in. No two shows are the same.

An Emmy-nominated author and playwright, Stevens has been lauded for his previous shows. His previous one-man show, “Desperate for Magic,” won the Backstage Garland award. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Star shines in ‘Desperate for Magic’ The dude is worthy! Way!!!” The paper also called him a “kinetic explosion.”

Stevens is a frequent collaborator with Divergent Theater, including the hilarious “My Dirty Little Secret,” which was performed in Beaumont in Nov. 2014.

“We at Divergent have had the opportunity over the past eight years to become very familiar with Chambers’ works,” artistic director Ramona Young says. “Chambers is a frequent visitor to Beaumont. He comes every year to host acting workshops for children, teens and young adults where he teaches them how to break into the business.

“We are especially pleased to collaborate with Lamar University for this presentation. Chambers will also conduct a masterclass for the students while he is here. It perfectly fits with Divergent’s mission to build a strong theatrical bonds across the whole Southeast Texas community.”

Stevens said that he is excited for everyone to see the show, especially students.

“When I was 18 or 19 I first saw Spalding Gray, Eric Bogosian and Whoopi Goldberg, and they inspired me,” he says. “Maybe (students) will be inspired to tell their own stories.”

Stevens says that he travels a lot and no matter what plane he gets on, people are reading about celebrities.

“That’s what this show is, a deeper version of People magazine,” he laughs.

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Stevens will bring his expertise to Beaumont with a pair of acting workshops; an advanced commercial workshop for kids and young adults which will include a showcase in front of a panel of local producers, and a Hollywood 101 workshop for kids on the Disney and Nickelodeon style of acting.

The workshops, hosted by Divergent Theater, are scheduled for Saturd­­ay, Nov. 7, 8 a.m.-noon for the advanced commercial workshop, and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. for the Hollywood 101 workshop.

The workshops will be held in the Assembly Hall at All Saints Episcopal School, 4108 Delaware in Beaumont.

Cost is $100 for the commercial workshop with producer panel and $75 for the Hollywood 101 workshop for kids. Advance reservations are required. Reserve a spot online at Divergenttheater.com or go to facebook.com/divergenttheater.

Stevens is an expert in preparing actors for television, commercial and film auditions.

“We are really excited to offer this unique showcase for actors interested in getting into local commercials,” Ramona Young, Divergent Theater artistic director, said. “This workshop not only gives participants a chance to learn everything they need to know about preparing for a television commercial audition, but they will also get feedback from area professionals.”

Showcase panelists include Darryl Corley of KFDM and KJAC, and Josh Yawn of Joshua Productions.

Stevens is an expert on the Disney style and has a multitude of clients on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. He is an established coach and the author of seven books of monologues, scenes and commercials for young actors.

“Chambers has a gift with children and teenagers,” Young said. “When he is coaching them on auditioning and different acting styles that are currently en vogue in Hollywood, he is super high energy. He’s fun, he does voices, he connects on their level — he’s just hilarious. Kids love him.”

He will teach students how to focus on the laugh, how to make an impression, and the difference between single camera and multi-camera auditions.

Stevens is married to Betsy Sullenger, producer of the Disney Channel hit “Liv and Maddie,” and he recently won in five categories “Best in L.A.” awards from Backstage, the national magazine for the film and television industry.

“Chambers instruction includes techniques on memorization and how to make your audition stand out,” Young said. “There will also be scene and monologue work to help the young actors develop their skills.”

This will be Stevens’ eighth trip to Beaumont, during which he has taught dozens of Southeast Texas’ young actors.

“Kids are the best,” he said. “They are so full of creativity and energy. Their imaginations are powerful so they can throw themselves in to any scene. Plus they are so hungry for help from someone who knows what they are doing.”

For more on the workshops, visit www.divergenttheater.com or www.facebook.com/divergenttheater.

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