The Committee: Watts Translator 1965

John and Mel

John Brent and Mel Stewart. Photo by Fred Ross.

A while ago Alan Myerson lent us some reel to reel tapes and audio cassettes for use in our documentary project. WIth the help of the Bay Area Video Coalition, we digitized a number of reel to reel recordings from 1965-1967. We’ve found many gems, including recordings of workshops with Del Close, live shows, live sets, and rehearsal recordings.

One piece of material was particularly relevant in a year that was marked by a summer of uprisings against systems of white supremacy. We’re proud to present you The Committee from December 1965, looking back on the Watts uprisings from the previous summer. With John Brent, Mel Stewart, Jessica Myerson, and Scott Beach – and music by Ellsworth Milburn and an introduction by Garry Goodrow – we give you: The Committee: Watts Translator 1965.

We hope this brings you a smile or two.

Have a safe and healthy holiday season.

Sam Shaw and Jamie Wright


Who Says Satire Has a Limited Shelf Life?

Forty-Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, to stand for the National Anthem reminds us of how The Committee depicted a similar instance of non-violent resistance. As spot-on today as it was almost 50 years ago, The Committee’s “Star Spangled Banner” scene is emblematic of their vision of American nationalism, the militarism at the heart of our national identity, and what happens to protesters who won’t stand up and salute the flag. This clip is from 1969’s “A Session with The Committee”, but the scene goes back with the company to 1966 at least.  Featuring Peter Bonerz, Barbara Bosson, Carl Gottlieb, Christopher Ross, Garry Goodrow, Howard Hesseman, Jessica Myerson, and Mel Stewart. #respect #Kaepernick #nationalanthem

Austin, TX

After a long period of anticipation, the stars finally aligned to get us to Austin, TX to interview Latifah Taormina (aka Jessica Myerson), co-founder of The Committee. Latifah is an inspiring figure, and (thank you Latifah) an excellent host!

Her work in spearheading this legendary company with her then-husband Alan Myerson, her later work at The Pasadena Playhouse, and in her role as a leading light of the Austin theater community are all serve as excellent examples of what a motivation, focus, talent, and heart can do in service of theater and comedy.

Over the course of our two hour interview, Latifah broke down how she and Alan visualized The Committee and wrangled the initial investors upon their San Francisco arrival. She went on to talk about how the first cast was assembled, her dual role as company member and new mother, and the company’s method in creating new material, among many many other topics. She also passed along a pile of news clippings that we’ll be digging into for weeks.

We learned so much from this visit, including the fact that we need to schedule a return trip. Latifah is a wealth of knowledge about The Committee, and a delight to spend an afternoon with. Hope to get back to Austin soon.


Jamie Wright, Latifah Taormina, Sam Shaw. Pic by Director of Cinematography Justin Chin.


Latifah’s POV. Thanks to our Austin crew for the help out.

We also can’t resist plugging The Hideout Theatre. We caught their improvised Chekhov show Nothing and Everything and it was superb. If you’re in the area, check this theater out, they won’t disappoint. Thanks to Roy Janik and the cast for the hospitality. Austin TX has amazing improvisational theater.