Meet the team behind MALA – CoHo Season 24

Brian Shnipper (Director/Co-Producer), Julana Torres (Actor), Anna Nicholas (Co-Producer)
MALA by Melinda Lopez
Featuring Julana Torres
Tickets available now!

The first production of CoHo’s 24th season may be a one-woman show, but it takes much more than just one person to make it happen. Meet the co-producer/director/actor trio who brought Melinda Lopez‘s Mala to CoHo and are leading the charge toward opening night on September 6:

Brian Shnipper (Director/Co-Producer) has had an impressive theatrical career as both a director and writer. His work has taken him all over the country, but he now calls Portland home. Here are just some of his stage credits: Brian conceived and directed the world premiere of Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays (Los Angeles Drama Critics Award) at the Coronet Theatre where it was hailed in the Los Angeles Times as “a burgeoning phenomenon” and a “vital achievement.” It has since been performed in over 100 theatres around the world including the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York, ACT in San Francisco, La Jolla Playhouse, Trinity Rep and Syracuse Stage. Actors who have performed include Debra Messing, Zachary Quinto, Alfre Woodard, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Matthew Broderick and Kathy Najimi. Off Broadway: Standing on Ceremony (New York Theatre Workshop), the world premiere of Will Scheffer’s Alien Boy (OOBR Award), Lubna and Family Commitment (EST). Regional: U.S. premiere of Daniel MacIvor’s The Best Brothers, Red, Opus and Bell, Book and Candle  (Ensemble Theatre Company), Lee Blessing’s A View of the Mountains (Pasadena Playhouse), Miracle on South Division Street, The Road to Appomattox (Colony Theatre), Trails (Broadway Rose Theatre Company – Drammy and PAMTA nominations), ICU starring Caroline Aaron (Circle X Theatre Co.), Voice of Good Hope about the life of Barbara Jordan starring Frankie Faison (Luna Stage – Star Ledger’s pick for the Year’s 10 Best). The world premiere of Wendy MacLeod’s Undescended, Say You Love Satan and All the Rage (Attic Theatre, Artistic Director 2008 – 2010). He served as Artistic Director for 12 Miles West Theatre Company in New Jersey where his credits include the world premieres of Joyce Carol Oates’ Separated and Nagle Jackson’s Barney Downsized. Playwright: It’s Not Unusual, Diary of a Lost Boy – adapted from Harry Kondoleon’s novel and co-written with Constance Congdon (recent reading at New Dramatists), Family Commitment (EST), What You Don’t Know (included in Smith in Kraus’s Best 10 Minute Plays) and What I Learned in Kindergarten (Profile Theatre’s 24 Hour. Play Fest). Learn even more at

Julana Torres is taking on the challenge of being the only person onstage for 75 minutes each night in Mala. A Portland local with an extensive career in dance, music, and theatre, Julana returned to the stage in 2016 after 10 years of teaching in Portland Public Schools where she established the full time dance program for Franklin High School. Since returning, she has been seen in Crowns (Portland Playhouse), Cop Out (Red Door Project), Between Riverside and Crazy (Artists Repertory Theatre), Water by the Spoonful (Profile Theatre), 26 Miles (Profile Theatre), Óye Oyá (Milagro Theatre), and Cuba Libre (Artists Rep). In 2017 she received a Drammy nomination for Best Actress in a Play for her work in Water by the Spoonful and another nomination in 2018 for Crowns. Julana recently co-starred as Paula in the Netflix series Trinkets, and can also be seen performing as the lead singer for popular Latin Jazz orchestra The Bobby Torres Ensemble.

Anna Nicholas (Co-Producer) recently returned to Portland after 20 years in NY and LA, and work that includes writing, acting, producing and directing. Produced plays include Petting Zoo Story (Primary Stages & NY Shorts Festival), VillaThrilla; Our Dark Connection, The Elegant Dinner, Searching for Mary Jane (commissioned for The Odyssey Theatre, LA Weekly Theatre Award nominee); Lu/Lou (Dorothy Lyman), The Beaver Suite (Friends and Artists Theatre & Metropolitan Stage, NYC) and Buddha Belly. Incunabula was performed and recorded for radio by LA Theatre Works (available on Audible) and is being developed as a musical. She is the winner of Playfest (2019) and Caltech’s science play prize (2018), as well as runner-up for The Dennis & Victoria Ross Foundation, Sundance Theatre Lab, Ebell, Susan Glaspell Prize, Route 66 (Chicago), Centenary Stages (New Jersey), and the Lila Acheson Wallace fellowship. Her work has won her spots at The Last Frontier Festival in Valdez, Alaska and The William Inge Play Fest. Her play MsRememberment was included in CoHo’s summer theatre lab in 2018. Producing credits include Tom Jacobson’s Captain of the Bible Quiz Team for Rogue Machine Theatre as part of its award-winning 2016 season and her own Villa Thrilla. She’s taught writing at the University of Oregon and was formerly a dramaturg and the managing director of the Ojai Playwrights Conference. She is a core playwright and acting member of EST/LA as well as company member of Rogue Machine, Circle X, The Victory, and Sacred Fools. She blogs for the LA Female Playwright’s Initiative and is a member of The Dramatists Guild, Alliance of LA Playwrights, RWA Published Authors Network, SAG/AFTRA and Actors Equity Association. Her current project is as writer/director of her second feature film to be shot on the Oregon coast next year. More at

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