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Janine Gateland enchants audiences in ‘Turn Off the Lights’

Janine Gateland was a mere seven years old when she knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. At the time, a young child in Yorkshire, England, she had just stepped onto a stage for the first time, ready to show off her skills to the many eyes on her. It was in that moment that she fell in love with performing, becoming intoxicated by the adrenaline that came with entertaining an audience.

“I loved the energy you got from the audience and being able to perform and effect people. I remember every family Christmas party I would gather everyone around, dress up and put on a dance performance all on my own in our living room. I just loved to perform to people because I could become someone totally different. I was always very shy as a child but once I was on that stage or in front of the camera, I could become someone else,” she said.

Despite starting out in theatre, Gateland has made a name for herself in the United Kingdom as a film and television actor. She has contributed greatly to the success of acclaimed productions like F***, Marry, Kill, Modern American Nightmare, Illville, and many more. As a leader of her industry, she strives to show off her versatility with each and every character she embodies, and audiences around the world have been captivated by her work.

Last Summer, Gateland decided to return to her stage roots and take a role in the play Turn Off The Lights. She was drawn to the story, and loved the characters. She also was happy to work alongside Dennis Delsing, who recently worked with Clint Eastwood in Jersey Boys.

The production, put on at the McCadden Place Theatre, follows the McCallister family, who live in a modest house in a nice neighborhood of Los Angeles. Charlotte and James have four grown-up children. Daisy the selfie lover and Logan, the hopelessly in love kid; both still live at home. Samantha the fashion-conscious entertainment lawyer and Emma an entertainment media lawyer who both come by frequently. The house is always filled with friends and family. There’s never a dull moment when Charlotte’s alcoholic friend Miranda is over and the crazy rebellious kid Angel who just wants to cause trouble and create fireworks. There’s David and Genesis who are friends of the family and think they are Bonnie and Clyde running from the law. It’s a crazy household and all Charlotte wants is an easy life.

Unbeknownst to Charlotte, her husband James is about to drop a bombshell on the family. James has got himself into a financial mess. He borrowed money off an old dodgy friend who turns out to be the biggest drug dealer in town. Now the bad guy wants his money back sooner than agreed. He has threatened James, and he is coming after him and his family if he doesn’t pay him back immediately. James has to protect his family no matter what it takes.

“This is the story of a regular family who have a lot of ups and downs but are able to pull together when things get bad. Each character has their own little story going on and it all comes together as the show progresses. There are a lot of heated moments, romantic moments, scary moments and plenty of funny moments. It’s an important story that anyone can relate to. We found a lot of audience members recognizing the relationships between mother/father and daughter, siblings and friends and it was good that they could make that connection,” said Gateland.

In the play, Gateland plays Samantha. On top of being a hot-shot lawyer, she is the oldest of her three siblings and they all look up to her, and she is very close with her parents. The play takes an interesting turn, and Samantha feels she has to swoop in and save the day, as it is her nature. Gateland became very attached to her character throughout her time working on Turn Off the Lights, and found her very fun to play.

To prepare for the role, Gateland first had to extensively research the type of person that would have a job as an entertainment lawyer. Samantha is very well educated, confident and strong, takes no bullshit and isn’t just a regular lawyer; she’s a fashion-conscious woman who loves her job. Therefore, Gateland had to give Samantha that confident and educated look, making her very direct in the way she speaks to people was important, how she holds herself, how she dresses and why she says what she says. She also had to make sure her American accent was impeccable, working closely with her voice coach to ensure authenticity and not distract the audience. In the end, her hard work paid off, as she was one of the most memorable performances of the show.

“Janine takes her work very seriously, she always shows up on time and puts in the hours. She knows how to handle direction and is very on point all the time,” said Dorrill Griffin, Director of Turn Off the Lights.

Turn Off the Lights has a perfect audience score on, one of Los Angeles’ top entertainment calendars and websites. Many of the audience reviews call out Gateland specifically, citing her as their “favorite character”, “a breath of fresh air” and “a delight to watch”. The praise feels great, but just being back on the stage was enough of a reward for Gateland.

“A lot of hours went into rehearsals and I worked hard on my role for this show. It’s nice to see it was so well received. We got a lot of great feedback from the audience and it was so nice to work with such talented cast members who were extremely committed to the work like me. A lot of behind the scenes work went into this show. The set was impeccable, and we had the best tech guy in Los Angeles who’s worked on some great shows in town and my makeup artist did a fabulous job,” she concluded.

Written by Annabelle Lee
Published Feb. 25th, 2019

Janine Gateland enchants audiences in ‘Turn Off the Lights’ Reviewed by JaamZIN on 8:34:00 AM Rating: 5
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