Rick Najera to Direct the CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase for 10th Consecutive Year
LOS ANGELES – CA – October 29, 2014 – (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – Award-winning film and television screenwriter, director, author and comedian, Rick Najera will direct THE CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE for the 10th consecutive year.
Each year, more than 4,000 talented and diverse actors audition for THE CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE. 20 standout performers are selected, and placed under the direction of Rick Najera and CBS’ production team, consisting of Fern Orenstein, Senior Vice President of Casting; Josie Thomas, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer; Peter Golden, Executive Vice President, Talent and Casting and Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, Vice President, Diversity and Communications. Since its conception, ten years ago, THE CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE has developed into a hybrid comedy show with Broadway-worth live performances and original, creative writing.
“Rick brings immense levels of passion, energy and expertise. This program would not be as successful without his efforts”
“Rick is an amazing director and an invaluable asset to the CBS Diversity Talent Showcase team,” said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i. “Rick brings immense levels of passion, energy and expertise. This program would not be as successful without his efforts.”
THE CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE highlights the talents of generally underrepresented ethnic groups such as Latinos, African Americans, Asian American/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans with extensive sketch comedy experience. Additionally, actors with disabilities or LGBT actors of any ethnicity are cast and given the opportunity to play roles that point out the entertainment industry’s biases through satire and parody. Najera, an expert in entertainment diversity and author of award-winning book, “Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood,” works and mentors the most diverse talent pool in the industry.
Najera was first asked to direct the show in 2005 on the heels of completing a run on Broadway with his stage comedy, Latinologues. He was the task and opportunity to shape the talents of a group of up-and-coming multicultural actors and put on an industry wide performance that brought attention to diverse talent. Najera agreed and a new standard of industry showcases was born.
Najera not only directs the show, but mentors the actors of all levels, teaches writing and stage performance, and punches up sketches that are close to falling flat. Najera pulls out the best from each actor and shapes the show into four live polished performances each January, that is presented to an overflowing theatre filled with casting directors, managers and industry agents.
It’s no wonder with Najera’s background in sketch comedy (“In Living Color”, “MAD TV”, “Latinologues on Broadway”) and keen eye for talent and direction, that more than 26 showcase actors have gone on to land series regular roles including “Saturday Night Live”.
Najera has received two Writers Guild of America (WGA) award nominations for Best Writer in a Television Series for Fox’s “MAD TV” and “50 Most Creatives in Hollywood” by Variety. Najera won an ALMA Award for writing the feature film, “Nothing Like the Holidays” starring Debra Messing, Elizabeth Peña, Alfred Molina, John Leguizamo and Freddy Rodriguez.
The CBS Diversity Comedy Showcase will take place in January 2015. For more information on Rick Najera, visit www.ricknajera.com.