Johansen, who now lives in Los Angeles, will direct the four-actor drama featuring a New York-based cast.
In Kansas City, Johansen performed in “Copenhagen,” produced by the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre; “Omnium Gatherum” at the Unicorn Theatre; “The Front Page” at Kansas City Repertory Theatre; and “The Odd Couple” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” both at the New Theatre. He also directed “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” with Katie Gilchrist for his own company, Martin Tanner Productions, as well as the world premiere of “Caldwell’s Bomb” by Bill Rogers at the KC Fringe Festival.
He also directed and appeared in several productions for the Great Plains Theatre in Abilene, Kan.
Johansen said he relocated to Los Angeles about three years ago to be closer to family.
“My daughter and son-in-law are both in the film business behind the camera … and they have one daughter who is my only grandchild,” he said. “And, of course, I’m pursuing acting along with the 2.7 million people who are out here pursuing acting.”
Johansen said he still owns a condominium in Kansas City and expects to be based here again someday.
He described “Fading Light” as a drama about the uncovering of family secrets.
“It’s about a decades-old accident that was always enshrouded in secrets and lies passed down through a family,” he said. “The truth gets exposed, and then everything goes to hell in a hand basket. The show opens with an adult brother and sister and their dead mother in an room in a nursing home, and through a series of dreams we found out why. I believe it has appropriate doses of humor and poignancy.”
Johansen said he wrote a draft of the piece a couple of years ago and submitted it to the Blank Theatre in Hollywood. The company, through its Living Room Series, provides a forum for emerging playwrights.
“It was a script-in-hand, fully staged reading,” he said. “So it’s kind of a workshop for the playwright. … Then I took all my notes from that experience and did a fairly extensive rewrite.”
Johansen said he maintains a close relationship with other Kansas City-based playwrights — especially Bill Rogers, Vicki Vodrey and Michelle T. Johnson. It was Vodrey, in fact, who encouraged Johansen to submit “Fading Light” to the New York festival. (Vodrey’s “Hard Day’s Night” is also part of the New York Fringe this summer.)
“She said, ‘You ought to submit it,’ so I did and was pleasantly surprised when they accepted it,” he said.
The New York International Fringe Festival runs Aug. 14-30 at various venues in downtown Manhattan. Learn more at FringeNYC.org.