Marketing professor puts a new spin on Internet hook ups

Marketing professor, Art Shulman, sheds light onto the romantic life of senior citizens in his new play, ‘BAGELS’.

Shulman is the writer and director of “BAGELS.” He said the play is a “romantic comedy about two seniors who meet through an Internet dating service.”

The idea for the play came from an argument he had with his wife over a bagel.

His wife Rebecca had placed a bagel in the toaster and while she was in the other room setting the table, Shulman took her bagel out and replaced it with his.

“When she came back into the kitchen and reached to the toaster for her bagel I informed her that that was my bagel, and hers was on the counter. She got very upset at me for removing her bagel. The dialogue that ensued became the impetus for the play,” he said.

“From there, I made up a plot, which had nothing to do with my wife’s bagel, and it became a one-act play.”

His new one-act quickly turned into a full-length and it has been well received by others.

Shulman has been writing plays since 1994 and so far has written a total of 25 plays.

“I’ve had a slew of productions in North Hollywood, including about 13 productions of full-length plays, plus a couple of Christmas plays, and several one-acts,” he said.

His plays are frequently shown at the Lonny Chapman Theatre and at the Secret Rose Theatre.

“I have had professional relationships with the people who select the plays at these theaters, and most of my productions have been box office hits. So, they let me do more plays,” he said.

Although marketing is his first love, he said playwriting interests him as well and he tries to incorporate that into his classes.

“Marketing is just plain interesting to me, constantly involving and requiring creativity… I try to keep my lectures interesting for [students]. I sort of feel I’m in show business when I’m in front of a class,” he said.

His students appreciate his teaching style and the way he interacts with his students.

Laura Ockerman, a former student of Shulman’s, said that he tries to make the class more interesting with group activities and genuinely cares about his students

“He encourages his students to participate and he listens to his students and is very approachable in regards to asking questions and getting to know them personally,” she said.

Shulman said that it is unusual if a year goes by that he has not written a play.

“[I] got into it fortuitously when a marketing colleague of mine, who was with an acting group, took some monologues I’d written to his group. They liked them, and for some reason or another, at their suggestion, I decided to make them into a play,” he said.

“I really enjoy the writing process, and even the rewriting, which is necessary for playwrights”, he said.

Ockerman has seen many of his plays and said that he is a great writer.

“He is a creative thinker with great comedic timing,” she said.

“‘BAGELS’ was fantastic. It was very funny and the acting was very good,” Ockerman said.

Shulman said that the play does serve as a reminder “that people of all ages, including older folks, who we know as seniors, can still be vital, and can form meaningful relationships.”

“I’d say it’s not for children under 12, but aside from that I think people of all ages will enjoy it,” Shulman said.

“I would definitely recommend it,” Ockerman said. “In fact, I’m going to see it again.”

BAGELS’ is currently running Fridays and Saturdays at 8p.m., and Sundays at 2p.m. at the Secret Rose Theatre located at 11246 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood until April 11th. General admission tickets are $22, $17 for seniors and $10 for students with a valid ID. For more information, call (818) 782-4254, or visit http://www.secretrose.com/.