Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – February 25 – March 10, 2019

Theatrical shows registered on the Better Lemons calendar!
For more shows visit our Calendar.
For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

Trojan Women

“Archway Theatre’s immersive post-modern retelling of the aftermath of the Trojan War. Priam, Hector, and Paris are all dead. Queen Hecuba and the women of Troy are now the spoils of war, and must await their fate at the hands of the conquering Greeks.”

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Cemetery of Tortured Souls

“Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group proudly presents their All-New Horror-Theatre Spectacular haunted by The Golden Age of Hollywood in 1930’s. While the only escape from The Great Depression were the movies, there was no escape for those entrapped by the glitter of Tinseltown: These restless spirits of stars and villains from yesteryear rise from their forgotten graves – to wander their final resting place and re-live their final moments in eternal damnation!”

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What Matters Now?/! (Another Political Pop-Up of the Theatrical Kind)

“Open Fist’s annual “political pop-up” features a rotating roster of short plays by writers from across the country that explore our nation’s current social and political climate and how the past year has affected us. Finding it hard to get off the couch and get to the theater? ”

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CATS!

“The record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber that has captivated audiences in over 30 countries and 15 languages, is now on tour across North America! Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater—”Memory”. Winner of 7 Tony Awards® including BEST MUSICAL, CATS tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. The original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Phantom, School of Rock, Sunset Boulevard), original scenic and costume design by John Napier (Les Misérables), all-new lighting design by Natasha Katz (Aladdin), all-new sound design by Mick Potter, new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton) based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne (Phantom) and direction by Trevor Nunn (Les Misérables) make this production a new CATS for a new generation!…Now and Forever.”

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THE MEATBALL CHRONICLES

“The Meatball Chronicles follows one woman through humorous and sometimes heart wrenching meals that align with stories of her childhood, her relationships with men, and in particular, her complicated relationship to her mother.
Mansini crafts this piece in a way that transcends her own story into universal themes that anyone who has a family can love. As she kneads the dough and thickens the sauce through each Italian recipe, the stories associated with those recipes reveal the complex ways that families cope, laugh, grieve, and show their love through food.”

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The Judas Kiss

“In spring of 1895, Oscar Wilde was larger than life. His masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, was a hit in the West End and he was the toast of London. Yet by summer he was serving two years in prison for gross indecency. Punished for “the love that dare not speak its name,” Wilde remained devoted to his beloved, Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. The Judas Kiss revolves around two pivotal moments in his life: the day when, cajoled by Bosie into an ill-fated trial, he decides to stay in England and face imprisonment, and a night when, after his release two years later, the lover for whom he risked everything betrays him again. David Hare’s masterful play pulses with the ecstasy and anguish of an enamored heart.”

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Native Voices at the Autry Presents Pure Native

“Brewster’s back! Rising from the ashes with a slick plan for a bottled water plant on reservation land. There’s mixed agreement and opposition from family and friends, including an old flame with a grudge—but is he the secret ingredient for success? This play was workshopped as Corn Soup. Native Voices at the Autry is devoted to developing and producing new works for the stage by Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nations playwrights..”

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THE ELEPHANT MAN

“’The Elephant Man’ is based on the life of John Merrick who lived in London during the latter part of the 19th Century. A horribly deformed young man who has been a freak attraction in traveling side shows, John is found abandoned and helpless and is admitted for observation to Whitechapel, a prestigious London hospital. Under the care of the famous young doctor, Fredrick Treves, Merrick is educated and introduced to London society. Through their eyes, he is changed from sensational object of pity, to an urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy and literati. It his dream that he will become a man like any other…but unbeknownst to him, he exceeds even that.”

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JOAN and WHAT DID THEY SAY – An Evening of One Acts

“An Evening Of One Acts: JOAN and WHAT DID THEY SAY
JOAN is an imaginary tale of Joan Crawford’s journey through the Bardo and her adjustment to the fact that her soul will move onto the unknown. During this dream state Joan reflects on–her life–her career–her enemies–her loves–those that helped create the film legend she became.
WHAT DID THEY SAY explores gender and sexuality in an unconventional family dramedy, taking place in Los Angeles today. As experienced in today’s rough political climate, families don’t always share the same values. Family members can be rough among themselves, and where Julian’s dad is gay, and his older sister Harper identifies as a dyke, his twin sibling Felicia struggles to understand Julian’s gender identity.”

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LA DRAMA CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS

“The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC), which presented its first awards for excellence in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Ventura County a half-century ago, has begun the gala celebration of its 50th anniversary by announcing its nominations for the year 2018 (Dec. 1, 2017 – Nov. 30, 2018).
The LADCC is further thrilled to announce that this historic occasion will take place on Monday, April 8, 2019 at one of the region’s most historic and beautiful theatres, Pasadena Playhouse, at 39 S. El Molino Avenue in Pasadena.”

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The Mother of Henry

“In the working class melting pot that was Boyle Heights in the 1960s, five diverse employees in the return department at Sears form a tight bond as they cope with upheaval in their personal lives, their community and the rapidly changing world around them. Connie, a Latinx single working class mother, realizes her agency and discovers her true identity when the anxieties of war, civil unrest and political assassinations plaguing the country tragically affect her own life. Infused with period music and magical realism.”

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The Shape of Things

“Neil LaBute’s 2001 drama “The Shape of Things” is set in a small university town in the American Midwest and centers on the lives of four young students who become emotionally and romantically involved. How far would you go for love? For art? What would you be willing to change? What price might you pay? Such are the painful questions explored in the play. A young student drifts into an ever-changing relationship with an art major while his best friend’s engagement crumbles, unleashing a drama that peels back the skin of two modern-day relationships.”

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The MisMatch Game

“For a record-breaking 15th year, it’s time once again to “get ready to match the stars” with a new edition of Dennis Hensley’s The MisMatch Game. The side-splitting parody of the ‘70s game show has set the rafters ringing with laughter since its debut in 2004. The show the LA Times calls, “witty, ribald … an adventure in surrealist era bending” returns to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre for two hilarious shows.”

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Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival

“The overall theme of the Festival will be I, Woman and the theme of the Opening Night GALA will be In Tribute To. The Champagne GALA and Awards Ceremony will take place on March 22, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. nd will be directed by Denise Dowse (Imposters) and hosted by Starletta DuPois (The Notebook) and Kym Whitley (Young and Hungry). The event will honor five women of exceptional achievement and contribution to the world of theatre (Eternity Awardee- Jenifer Lewis; Integrity Awardee- Leslie Ishii; Maverick Awardee- Sandra Tsing Loh; Rainbow Awardee- Whitney Weston; and posthumously, Infinity Awardee-Carol Channing. There will be special live performances in addition to the awards presentation.”

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IN RESPONSE: Year of the Woman (Still)

“Past and present issues of women including current the #MeToo movement are explored through a collection of dramatic, humorous and thought-provoking, monologues, poems and dance. All the material is written by women. Sunday performances are followed by an audience talkback.”

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Church Basement Ladies

“Church Basement Ladies, a celebration of the church basement kitchen and the women who work there, features four distinct characters and their relationships as they organize the food and the problems of a rural Minnesota church. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, the show and music give us a touching, funny look at their lives as we see them handle a record breaking Christmas dinner, the funeral of a dear friend, a Hawaiian Easter Fundraiser, and a steaming hot July wedding. They stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep the Pastor on due course while thoroughly enjoying, (and tolerating) each other. Funny and down to earth, you will recognize these ladies as they begin to see the Church year unfold from below the House of God.”

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The Sunshine Experience

“So do a little dance! Make a little love! Get down tonight with The Sunshine Experience – the nation’s premier tribute to KC and the Sunshine Band. “Shake, Shake Shake Your Booty” to their funky tunes and fall in love with KCSB’s triple-platinum sound all over again! ‘Cause “That’s the way–uh huh, uh huh–I like it!” The Sunshine Experience delivers a high-energy, adrenaline-pumping show with spot-on musical arrangements and amazing choreography.”

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A Terrible Show for Terrible People

“A Terrible Show for Terrible People is a raunchy and rambunctious, non-verbal solo clown performance that is both boner- and vomit-inducing. Physical comedian Bonnie He takes the audience through a voyeuristic window into personal tragedy, triumph, and titillation. Mostly titillation. Hehe. TIT-illation. You’re not just watching a Terrible Show – you’re participating in the destruction of common decency.”

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HEISENBERG

“LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE is thrilled to present a co-production with the Rubicon Theatre Company, the critically acclaimed (LA Times Critics’ Choice) production of HEISENBERG, written by Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) directed by Katherine Farmer (South Pacific, Gulf View Drive) and starring Faline England (Valentine’s Day) & Joe Spano (Hill Street Blues and NCIS). Comments Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard, “What a special opportunity to co-produce this critically acclaimed production with the Rubicon Theatre Company. Simon Stephens has written a funny, tender and quirky love story that celebrates human relationships in all their complexity. Faline England and Joe Spano are giving masterful performances under the brilliant direction of the gifted Katharine Farmer.”

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The Second Coming of Klaus Kinski

“Fresh off an LA Stage Alliance Ovation nomination for Lead Actor in a Play, WTFN brings back Andrew Perez in the Encore Award-winning THE SECOND COMING OF KLAUS KINSKI!…resurrected for 3 consecutive Friday nights — March 22, 29 & April 5 at the Pico Playhouse…Klaus Kinski is one of the most celebrated and controversial actors in the history of world cinema. The reckless abandon with which he approached both life and art left him tortured, demonized and worshipped. He now resurrects to shake your souls with one last command performance. THE SECOND COMING OF KLAUS KINSKI.”

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🍋


Producers of the Capezio A.C.E. Awards ‘Break the Floor’ Bring ‘MOVES at The Montalbán’ in a Three Day Festival of Dance

Break the Floor Productions, longtime producer of the Capezio A.C.E. Awards, in partnership with The Montalbán, brings MOVES at The Montalbán, a three-day festival celebrating emerging talent in dance, to Los Angeles, Friday, March 15 – Sunday, March 17, 2019.

The dance festival offers audiences the chance to see new talent in the world of choreography and dance. The inaugural festival’s three-day engagement inside the historic theatre will host engaging, world-premiere live dance performances inside the historic theatre.

After each performance, audiences can gain access to an exclusive Rooftop After Party featuring talent from the show and more live dancing.

The festival will feature all styles of dance, with pre and post-show entertainment, during the entire weekend.

According to a statement, MOVES at The Montalbán will feature a line-up to include “winners of the coveted Capezio A.C.E Award for outstanding choreography”–awards presented each year to the top choreographers of the future.” The festival with include performances by recent Capezio A.C.E Award winners Entity Contemporary Dance Company, co-directed by Marissa Osato and Will Johnston, tap company Rhythmatic, directed by Nick Young, and contemporary choreographer Lukas McFarlane. The festival will also feature veteran choreographers of various backgrounds providing attendees a body of work and teachings from a variety of disciplines.

Will Johnston by Mike Esperanza.

“We wanted to create a dance festival here, in Los Angeles, for years and we’re thrilled that the recent winners of the Capezio A.C.E. Awards will be able to show off their talents to all of the dance fans in LA,” said Nikole Vallins, a producer with Break the Floor Productions in a statement. “Presenting this festival at the iconic Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood just adds to the amazing opportunity for these outstanding choreographers and dancers.”Led by owner Gil Stroming, Break the Floor Production is a dance entertainment company with a reach of over 500,000 dancers annually. The company has produced tours of Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound shows “Dance Reimagined” and “After the Curtain,” and this summer Al Blackstone’s “Freddie Falls in Love” will be performed for New York audiences at the Joyce Theater.

Founded by Nick Young, Rhythmatic recently appeared on the NBC hit competition show “World of Dance.” Since then,  Young and his dancers have performed in Bermuda, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

Los Angeles-based Entity Contemporary Dance, founded in 2009 by choreographers Will Johnston, Marissa Osato, and Elm Pizarro, “interweaves modern, jazz, and hip-hop dance techniques” with a desire to “forge connections between the Southern California hip-hop and contemporary dance communities.” The Company has produced two full-length works, “Braxon vs. Oregon” (2014/2015) and “PEEL” (2016/2017), which ran in Los Angeles, and toured San Francisco, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Locally, they hold open company class every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood.

25-year-old Creative/Choreographer Lukas McFarlane, from Canada, was crowned the UK and Ireland’s best dance act, winning Sky1’s hit TV show, “Got to Dance” in 2013 at just 19. Now assistant creative director to Brian Friedman on “The X Factor,” he is also a choreographer on the show. He’s choreographed for the BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing,” ITV’s “The Voice UK” and “Change Your Tune.,” and has worked on “So You Think You Can Dance” in four countries, including here in the U.S.  and is a teacher and Creative Director of his London-based dance company UnTitled Dance Company.

Located just south of the world-famous Hollywood & Vine intersection, The Montalbán is Hollywood’s classic theatre reborn for a new era of performing arts, and screened entertainment. In 1999, Emmy Award-winning actor Ricardo Montalbán and his Foundation bought the building in 1999, with a goal to provide “inspiration and employment for young Latinos as well as other underrepresented people throughout the community,” in Hollywood. Since 1927, the classic Beaux Arts building was the first “legitimate live Broadway-style theater in Hollywood” and is one of the few remaining mid-sized and fully equipped proscenium theaters in Los Angeles, featuring orchestra, mezzanine, loge, and balcony seating. The rooftop space, with a bar, concession stand, and full kitchen, hosts contemporary and classic films screened throughout the year. Once owned by Howard Hughes, CBS Radio, A&P grocery chain heir Huntington Hartford, and the Greek Theater’s James Doolittle, The Montalbán is now under the direction of Montalbán’s son-in-law Gilbert Smith.

MOVES at The Montalbán is located at 1615 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90028. Tickets are $40/$65 nightly, and festival passes are available for $80/$120 (general admission/VIP packages), Friday, March 15 – Sunday, March 17, 2019. For more information or for tickets, please contact the box office at 323-461-6999 or visit MOVES at The Montalbán.

The ‘59th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration’ Free Music and Dance

This year’s 59th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration, performed Live at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, will also be broadcast live on PBS SoCal and KCET and streamed live at pbssocal.org, Monday, December 24, 2018, from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
The annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration presented by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors provides Angelenos of all ages and is Los Angeles’ largest multicultural holiday celebration. The event honors the dynamic, rich cultures of the county where many diverse L.A.-based artists and community groups showcase their talent, artistry and traditions on The Music Center’s iconic Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage.
The show is broadcast live in Southern California on PBS SoCal and KCET and viewers can also live stream it on pbssocal.org. An estimated audience of more than 4,000 will watch the show live at The Music Center, with more than 18 million local viewers enjoy the program on television and online.
This year’s co-hosts, internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán and actor Brian White (Ambitions, Bronx SIU, Ray Donovan), and over 20 music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from all over L.A. Will help celebrate the season during the free, three-hour holiday show.
Highlights of the 59th annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration include the Daniel Ho & Halau Keali’i o Nalani, performing original songs in English and Hawaiian with hula choreography, Le Ballet Dembaya, a professional West African drum and dance company, Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts, a Filipino dance ensemble of traditional music and costumes, Lorenzo Johnson & Praizum, a diverse choir with upbeat, positive hymns, including traditional, contemporary, hip-hop, R&B, Christian and gospel, and Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, an all-female ensemble of festive Mariachi music.

New to this year’s show will feature Infinite Flow, America’s first professional wheelchair ballroom dance company, Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, the largest majority African American orchestra in the country, the Pasadena Girls’ Choir, a newly formed under the Musical Director Barbara Allen (America’s Got Talent, Dancing With The Stars), the Paso de Oro Dance Company, performing regional dances in celebration of Mexican and Latin culture, and Tres Souls, performing sounds and songs of the 1940s-1960s Bolero style popularized during the golden era of Mexican cinema.
Additional performers will include the Citrus Singers, a 45-member a cappella and handbell ensemble from Citrus College, the Colburn Concert Choir and the Young Men’s Chorus from the Colburn School of Performing Arts, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the Harmonic Bronze Handbell Ensemble, a music ensemble of 11-to-18-year-olds representing the communities of Acton and Agua Dulce, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Precious Blood School Children’s Choir Filipino youth ensemble performing in Tagalog and English, official Korean cultural ambassador(s) Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy, Los Robles Master Chorale, MUSYCA Children’s Choir, Pacifico Dance Company with classical and contemporary Mexican dance, and The Spirit Chorale of Los Angeles is a professional ensemble dedicated to keeping alive the Negro spiritual along with jazz, blues and original gospel works.

The 59th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration free live show is Monday, December 24, 2018, from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012. First come, first seated. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. and patrons may come and go throughout the three-hour performance. The live broadcast on PBS SoCal, KCET, and online at pbssocal.org airs from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. The broadcast program will encore on Christmas Day, December 25, 2018, on PBS SoCal 2 at 3 a.m., 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., and on December 26, 2018, at 11 a.m.
For more information, call (213) 972-3099 or visit the show website at HolidayCelebration.org. The show is free, there are no reservations or tickets needed to attend the show, and there is free parking at The Music Center parking garage.

 


TODAY! Shows Around the Southland to Bring Music into Your Holidays

Bob’s Holiday Office Party

TODAY! Insurance agent Bob Finhead’s whacked out friends and clients stop by his Neuterburg, Iowa (population 382) office for their annual holiday bash. The town mayor, the sheriff, the twin farmer sisters, the stoner, the town alcoholic, the town “party girl” and the pastor’s “emotionally disturbed” wife have already RSVP’d for this year’s event, but Bob has dreams of a bigger life and wants to escape their narrow-minded thinking.
Last show is today, Thursday, December 20, 2018.
Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave. Los Angeles, CA. 90039

The Black Hole: A new Alt-Holiday Comedy

TODAY! Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group is presenting Michael Sargent’s “off-beat holiday comedy about a new young hire who throws things out of orbit at The Black Hole – an underground club for men in L.A. just 12 days to ‘X-Mas 1984.’ Can longtime lovers Fred & Joey fight gravity? Or will they be sucked into The Black Hole?” Recommended for Ages 16 and up.
Last show is today, Thursday, December 20, 2018.
Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group at Z.J.U. 4850 Lankershim Blvd North Hollywood CA 91601 playing until Thursday, December 20, 2018.

Bob Baker’s Nutcracker

“Bob Baker’s adaptation of the ballet classic and one of Bob Baker Marionette Theater’s most beloved shows since it’s opening in 1969! For the first time outside of its original location, the imagination dwells in a space specially outfitted for optimal holiday and puppetry joy.” The Bob Baker Marionette Theater will feature over 100 handcrafted puppets from the Sugarplum Fairy and her Promenading Cakes, through the Waltzing Flowers, and all “the wonders beyond the Mysterious Door!”
Now through December 30, 2018.
The Pasadena Playhouse  – 39 S. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

A Christmas Carol

A Carol Christmas is a new musical version of the immortal Charles Dickens classic set in America right now. Instead of a man named Scrooge we have a woman named Carol, a successful, driven, demanding, Home-Shopping Network maven who cares nothing for Christmas and wants her staff to work right through the holidays. All of the characters you know and love — Marley, Cratchit, Fred, and Tiny Tim are women in this fun, charming, and touching family-friendly new musical.”
Playing now until December 30, 2018.
The Group Rep/The Lonny Chapman Theatre – 10900 Burbank Blvd
N. Hollywood, CA 91601

A Christmas Story

TODAY! In 1983, the movie “A Christmas Story” was released–now a classic in its genre– was based on radio personality and author Jean Shepherd’s first volume of stories, his 1960’s radio shows, and his iconic character, Ralphie Parker. Shepherd wrote the screenplay with Leigh Brown and director Bob Clark [best known for the Porky’s trilogy] Now the Sierra Madre Playhouse is presenting the stage adaptation of A Christmas Story as its holiday attraction. The Parker family gets its Christmas tree. Ralphie’s dad, The Old Man, wins a very special prize in a contest. Ralphie is pursued by a girl in his class. Ralphie is pursued by the class bully. And, most famously, Ralphie sets off on a campaign to acquire his most-desired Christmas present, a Red Ryder BB air rifle.
Playing today, Thursday, December 20, through December 30, 2018.
“You’ll put your eye out, kid.”
The Sierra Madre Playhouse – 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024

It’s a Wonderful Life

This 1940’s live radio-style version of Frank Capra’s timeless classic comes to life onstage at the Pasadena Playhouse this year, with Simon Helberg “as the down-on-his-luck George Bailey whose guardian angel shows him what his town would have been like had he’d never been born.”
Playing now until Sunday, December 23, 2018
The Pasadena Playhouse  – 39 S. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

The Nutcracker

The Los Angeles Youth Ballet will tell the story of The Nutcracker, originally written by E.T.A. Hoffmann and ballet score by Tchaikovsky, whose ballet “received its debut over 100 years ago in 1892.” Spend an evening with family for this enchanting Holiday classic in the one of the City of Glendale’s treasured landmark theatres.
Playing Friday, December 21, 2018 – Sunday, December 23, 2018.
Alex Theatre – 216 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203

The Nutcracker

Los Angeles Ballet will present their annual production of The Nutcracker. “One snowy Christmas Eve, at a great townhouse where a party is in full swing, local magician Herr Drosselmeyer arrives with gifts for the children, including a wooden nutcracker for Clara, the oldest child. When the clock strikes midnight, an adventure begins and the Nutcracker comes to life, leading our heroine Clara into a war between mice and tin soldiers, and into the enchanted Land of Sweets where a dance festival awaits them as a reward for defeating the dastardly mouse army.” Set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, The Nutcracker features original choreography by Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, set design by Catherine Kanner, and costume design by Mikael Melbye.
Playing December 22 – 24, 2018, with two shows each day.

UCLA Royce Hall – 10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles, CA 90095

Santasia

SANTASIA – A Holiday Comedy” by Shaun and Brandon Loeser, is celebrating its 19th year, the off-Broadway “laugh out loud annual holiday romp, is the perfect blend of Yuletide snark and sentiment, and has been compared to “The Carol Burnett Show”, “The Kids in the Hall”, “In Living Color”, “Saturday Night Live” and Vaudeville. This multi-media holiday special has it all including classic Rankin and Bass Claymation inspired movies, musical parodies, and heartfelt holiday moments.
Playing now until December 23, 2018.
Whitefire Theatre – 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks 91423

Special

Presented by Ol’ Bait Shop Productions is the World Premiere comedy, “Special,” that commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the worst variety show in television history with a behind-the-scenes imagined look of how “The Star Wars Holiday Special” came to be. Riding on the coattails of what was at that point the most popular movie of all time, it featured appearances by cast members, including Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, with guest stars, a “holographic” Jefferson Starship, a cartoon sequence with the first appearance of Boba Fett, a celebration of the Wookiee holiday Life Day (because there’s no Christmas in Space), and Imperial Storm Troopers. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.
Playing now through January 13, 2019.
Theatre of NOTE – 1517 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Sugar Plum Fairy

“Sugar Plum Fairy is a thoroughly original story about a 12-year-old girl who dreams of dancing the lead in The Nutcracker with a cast of characters you won’t forget,” said Ashton Marcus. “…an offbeat holiday treat that Adults and Kids love! Join in if you like, (think G-rated “Rocky Horror” fun) and don’t forget to wear your ugly holiday sweater, tutu or silly Hanukah hat. It’s 75 minutes of madcap merriment that will send you home smiling!”
Playing now until Sunday, December 23, 2018.
Skylight Theatre – 1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

The Wonderful Winter of Oz

Panto at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium! The Lythgoe Family Panto will take you to the enchanted land of Oz through the British tradition of pantomime, in a retelling of the L. Frank Baum family classic, where audiences participation is part of the show, promising an “evening full of song, dance and holiday merriment, with Kermit the Frog as the Wizard!”Today, Thursday, December 20, 2018, through Sunday, December 30, 2018.
Pasadena Civic Auditorium – 300 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91101

JOAN OF ART – Hollywood Forever, Urban Death, LOADED and LA Comic Con

Halloween is all about witches, ghosts, goblins, zombies and anything and everything that can scare you silly and there are many events happening this weekend that will do just that.

One of my favorites is on Saturday, October 27th noon until midnight. It’s the 19th DIA DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVAL put on by Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

This year they are honoring the Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars and the sun. This is a celebration to the divine feminine, the loving mother that unites us all. If you can’t wait till Saturday, Friday they will be having The Ceremonial Altar set up starting at 3pm.

I’ve gone to this festival the last five years and have never been disappointed. The costumes, altars, art, food, crafts and music is awesome. Walking through the cemetery you feel as if you’ve been transported to another time, another place.

It’s definitely something you must experience at least once. Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of life and it’s also a day to remember those that are no longer with us, but this festival is anything but sad. It’s bright and joyful and a time to sing and dance.

General admission is $35.00 per person. Children 8 years and under are admitted free until 4pm. Seniors 65 and over are also admitted free until 4pm. They encourage you to dress in Dia de Los Muertos attire. Fine Mexican cuisine and a wide spectrum of Day of the Dead arts and crafts are available for purchase.

Location Address: Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles 90038. To purchase ticket and find out more information about this fabulous event go to LadyOfTheDead.com.

URBAN DEATH TOUR OF TERROR: Haunted Theatre Attraction

URBAN DEATH TOUR OF TERROR: Haunted Theatre Attraction

For more scary fun there’s ZOMBIE JOES UNDERGROUND THEATRE GROUP’s production of URBAN DEATH TOUR OF TERROR.

The Urban Death Tour of Terror made its European debut at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the largest performing arts festival in the world, haunting audiences with its signature brand of live horror. Created by Zombie Joe and Jana Wimer, Urban Death reveals our deepest fears through a series of wordless non-linear vignettes and intense physical performances.

You will experience a maze of inexplicable horrors, unfathomable monstrosities and meet the disturbed spirits that walk among us. What could be better?

Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre is located at 4850 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood. For tickets and more information go to ZombieJoes.tix.com.

Now as much as I love being scared I equally enjoy laughing so this weekend you’ll find me at LOS ANGELES COMIC CON which will take place, October 26th – October 28th at the Los Angeles Convention center located at 1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles.

Last year 90,000 people attended this event. It’s one of the most diverse and celebrated pop culture happenings in the U.S.. There will be over seven hundred diverse artists and vendors selling comics, collectibles, art, toys, apparel and everything in between.

You will also get up close and personal with some of the biggest and best names in the entertainment industry with hand picked selection of panels and meet n’ greet opportunities as well as a confluence of comics, gaming, horror, anime, film, television and according to the event creators, one obscure thing that you thought everyone had forgotten about.

For more information and to purchase tickets go to ComicConLA.com.

Now after screaming and laughing I’m ready to sit back and see some extraordinary performers so I’ll be ending the weekend at the Ford Amphitheater where Heidi Drucker Dance Company will be performing.

At sunset performers and audience members will share the confined space of the Ford’s loading dock, transformed by award winning choreographer Heidi Duckler into the arresting site specific work LOADED.

According to Drucker as our society contemplates the implications of erecting walls, both physical and psychological – LOADED explores how borders manifest in physical space- who is allowed inside and who is kept out, how control is confronted and how dreams of freedom are realized.

Heidi hopes to inspire audiences to think differently about their assumptions of borders and ‘the other’ and ideally to become more accepting of those who come from different places in our society.

I’ve seen her company in the past and they are absolutely mesmerizing. I’m sure this year at the Ford will be no exception. Showtimes: Saturday October 27th and Sunday October 28th at 5:30pm.

Tickets are $50.00 and $25.00 for students. For tix go to FordTheatres.org/calendar/heidi-drucker. The Ford Amphitheatre is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd East Los Angeles 90068.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, have a great one!


Now Registered This Week on the Better Lemons Calendar – September 17 through September 23, 2018

NEW! Theatrical shows, Musical Concerts, and Film Festivals registered on the Better Lemons calendar!
For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

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Now Registered This Week on the Better Lemons Calendar – September 10 through September 16, 2018

NEW! Theatrical shows, Musical Concerts, and Film Festivals registered on the Better Lemons calendar!
For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

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Audio Interview: The cast of "Newsie" at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged “newsies,” who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.*
Enjoy this interview about “Disney’s Newsie” at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, running until June 24th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*Taken from the website


Fire, Glass-Walk With Me: A Revealing Interview With Vixen DeVille

Fire-eating, glass-walking, circus aerial, magic, burlesque, costume crafting, comedy, and acting—British actress Cat LaCohie fits all of these skills into her life and her new solo show “Vixen DeVille Revealed”, coming to the Hollywood Fringe Festival this June.

Originally from Newcastle, LaCohie began her career in London, with appearances at Cafe De Paris, The Ritz Hotel and at the Charing Cross Theatre in West End, since relocating to Los Angeles.

Having performed regularly at The Viper Room, LA Convention Center, The Roosevelt Hotel, Harvelle’s Santa Monica and Long Beach, and at The Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, and with multiple television appearances like “Masters Of Illusion,” she also teaches her craft both privately and in group workshops with classes that range from “Introduction to Burlesque & Body Confidence”—where she teaches you to “embrace the freedom to express yourself…the good, the bad and the wobbly!”—to full “Solo Act Development”, along with “Costume Crafting” and specialty performance skills that include fire performance, aerial and more.



Also currently performing with the Doll Face Dames, where there are over 30 people in the troupe who perform in rotation throughout LA, LaCohie often serves as a form of host—or Mistress of Ceremonies—a position she found through her unique use of comedy, burlesque, and having the additional benefit of a British accent in Los Angeles.

In that, she works up the audience in preparation for the show to come, laying out the rules and restrictions with charm.

“We want you to be loud and rowdy, in certain ways!,” said LaCohie. “So as the host we’ll get people up and shouting. We’ll tell you what the rules are—don’t touch the girls, don’t do this, do this, don’t do that—It’s kind of like a stand-up comedienne.”

Starting her career in burlesque in 2006, she performed for nearly eight years in the U.K. When coming to Los Angeles, she only brought three burlesque outfits, just in case she needed them, because her idea and goal was to focus on acting.

“I figured, if I need to, I can make some money doing burlesque,” she said. But ultimately, she simply missed it as a performance artist and decided to continue her style of burlesque performing in Los Angeles, which then lead to teaching.

Photos by Monique A. LeBleu
Cat LaCohie, Vixen DeVille, teaches burlesque technique, style, confidence, personalization at Madilyn Clark Studios, in Burbank, Calfornia, April 9, 2018.

She began teaching basic burlesque routine moves for a company, which she found pedestrian at the time. But in conversations, people expressed fascination and a desire to perform themselves, but had reservations varying from body confidence issues to disbelief that they could ever learn the skills or master the courage.

“I met people who said ‘Oh, I could never perform burlesque!’ or “I could never do … but, want to do it!,'” said LaCohie. “If you have anything in you that wants to do this, then why are you talking yourself out of it?”

In teaching, she then began focusing not on the dance moves, or the technique of it. “Looking at your confidence, looking at your character, what pleases you, and what you’re going to have fun doing in front of an audience … do you want to show your dark side, or your fun side, or your sexy side,” said LaCohie.

Aside from burlesque, LaCohie is trained in fire performance—including fire eating, fire fans and fire spinning, and body burning—aerial performance, and glass walking, the latter of which she incorporates a dance where she rolls in glass and experiments with ballet. But her experimentation has not been without dangers.

From minor injuries to her knee and legs while performing in an acting class in the UK, to more serious injuries while focused and teaching after coming to Los Angeles.

Early on, while training in the Meisner Acting Technique, she thought to incorporate the new skill of glass walking into a scene with another student. After smashing a bottle in the scene, while focused on the scene, she knelt into it – a risky transaction for the yet fully trained glass walker.

Cat LaCohie, Vixen DeVille, at Madilyn Clark Studios, in Burbank, Calfornia, April 9, 2018.

“[during the scene] I thought, ‘Why is it cold?’ And there’s blood dripping all over me. And my teacher goes. ‘Whatever hinders you is your task, continue with the scene!,'” said LaCohie, so she did. “So then the guy with me in the scene is helping me mop up the blood. So I thought, ‘Well I guess I can’t kneel down in it!'”

Another incident, in a distracted moment while teaching, LaCohie leaned back into preset broken glass, cutting deep enough into her hand to tear tendons. Once again, she quickly made temporary self-ministrations to her wounds so that she could continue while teaching in the moment, leaving a lengthy and costly recovery for a future time.

Encouraged after speaking with friends who’ve participated in the annual Hollywood Fringe Festival, LaCohie has now decided to pull her skills into a solo show. For the annual festival that brings Hollywood smaller theaters to the forefront of attention each summer, she will premiere “Vixen DeVille Revealed.”

Incorporating burlesque, circus, magic, comedy, LaCohie promises to reveal “the truth behind her multi-talented Burlesque persona, VixenDeVille’”, and invite you to “discover your own inner Vixen.”

With a limited VIP Experience, she will even teach you to eat fire or walk on broken glass, live on stage as part of the show.

In the meantime, LaCohie will be teaching a two-hour workshop at The Lounge Theatre on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at 11 a.m. with an introduction to the Basics of Burlesque Performance.

With plans to return to Newcastle and London sometime soon after the Hollywood Fringe Festival, LaCohie plans to bring Vixen DeVille Revealed home.

Vixen DeVille Revealedopens June 1, 2018, at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, CA 90038.

Go here for more show information and tickets.

For more on Cat LaCohie, listen to the podcast:


Events Opening This Week

THE TRAGEDY OF MEDUSA @ Son of Semele

January 16, 2019 8:00 pm

The romantic relationship between the goddess Athena and her human priestess, Medusa is complicated when the other gods find out and intervene. This nuanced and challenging retelling of the classical Medusa myth is poetic …read more


DEFINITION OF MAN @ Arena Theater

January 17, 2019 7:00 pm

A sexier, more violent Waiting for Godot, Definition of Man is a physicalized post-modern decreation myth. The one-act was created by Nikki Muller and Jason Rosario by synthesizing personal narratives, academic texts and Russian …read more


THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN @ Antaeus Theatre at Kiki David Gindler Performing Arts Center

January 17, 2019 8:00 pm

Inspired by the real-life filming of the documentary Man of Aran, Olivier Award-winning playwright Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy is set on the small Aran Island community of Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) off the Western Coast …read more


IT IS DONE @ Theatre 40

January 17, 2019 8:00 pm

Hank’s Bar is a roadside joint on a desolate highway in the middle of nowhere. Hank the barkeep (played by Kurtis Bedford) passes the time when he has no customers by perusing a porn …read more


DOUBLE DOUBLE – A MEDITATION ON MACBETH @ The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

January 17, 2019 8:00 pm

Macbeth didn’t die on the battlefield of Dunsinane — he entered witness protection and was relocated to 1950s Los Angeles to sell insurance.  Double Double collides Macbeth with the classic film noir Double Indemnity, delivering …read more


GRAY PEOPLE (2019 EXTENSION)@ The Belfry Stage (Upstairs)

January 17, 2019 8:30 pm

Critics Lemonade: 100%
Audience Lemonade: 100%

Walter Kartman and Kyle Felts – Photo Credit: Carlos R. Hernandez Kyle Felts, Walter Kartman and Olivia Lemmon – Photo Credit: Carlos R. Hernandez…read more


BRILLIANT TRACES@ Lounge Theatre

January 18, 2019 8:00 pm

Rosannah Deluce has been driving for days. Her car dies in a snowbound corner of Alaska. In distress, she seeks shelter in the only nearby structure, an old barn that is the home of …read more


HOW TO PRODUCE A HOLLYWOOD FRINGE SHOW @ Studio C

January 19, 2019 1:00 pm

Excited about the thought of doing a show at HFF, but have concerns and questions? Get the answers to your questions and an overview of the Hollywood Fringe in this 3 hour workshop, taught …read more


LIZZIE @ Bootleg Theater

January 19, 2019 7:30 pm

Critics Lemonade: 100%

EXTENDED! LIZZIE will now bring the axe down at the Bootleg Theater Jan. 19-27, 2019 On a sweltering summer morning in 1892, in a small New England city, a prominent businessman and his wife were …read more


SHEENA EASTON@ Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine University

January 19, 2019 8:00 pm

Grammy Award winning singer, recording artist and actress Sheena Easton is a versatile performer who is a top concert attraction around the world. Known for numerous hit songs, including “U Got the Look” with …read more


THE 39 STEPS @ Morgan-Wixson Theatre

January 19, 2019 8:00 pm

Hitchcock meets hilarious in this fast-paced mystery/romantic comedy/adventure for everyone who loves the magic of theater. The Morgan-Wixson presents The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan and based …read more


HIR @ Odyssey Theatre

January 19, 2019 8:00 pm

A darkly funny, shockingly absurd and endlessly surprising vision of a world in transition by MacArthur genius Taylor Mac. Somewhere in the suburbs, Isaac has returned from Afghanistan with a dishonorable discharge, only to …read more


AN EVENING WITH JOHN WILKES BOOTH @ Theatre West

January 19, 2019 8:00 pm

John Wilkes Booth (1838-1865) was notable on several accounts. He was a successful and wealthy actor, and member of a celebrated show business family (son of Junius Brutus Booth and brother to Edwin and …read more


FAMILY SECRETS@ Jewish Women’s Theatre @ The Braid

January 19, 2019 8:00 pm

Moving and funny show of stories exploring secrets only whispered about, until now! …read more


SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE FINAL PROBLEM (OLD TIME RADIO STYLE) @ Long Beach Performing Arts Center (Beverly O’Neill Theatre)

January 19, 2019 8:00 pm

When Holmes and Moriarty face off at Reichbach, one or both must fall! In the last of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first run of Sherlock Holmes stories, he wanted a dramatic showdown between the super-sleuth …read more


CINDERELLA @ Santa Monica Playhouse

January 20, 2019 12:30 pm

The Los Angeles Times dubbed this Santa Monica Playhouse original family theatre musical  “An Enchanting Cinderella!…captivates its young audience, highlighted by fast pacing, fancy costuming and a lovely, unweepy Cinderella…she’s no slouch with a …read more


THE MARRIAGE ZONE @ Santa Monica Playhouse

January 20, 2019 3:00 pm

Critics Lemonade: 87%
Audience Lemonade: 100%

Cal and Beth are selling their home. They’re visited by Skip and Ellie, an engaged couple, very much in love who are eager to buy their first home. They’re joined by Mike and Liz, …read more


ALEICHEM SHOLOM! THE WIT AND WISDOM OF SHOLOM ALEICHEM @ Santa Monica Playhouse

January 20, 2019 3:30 pm

Critics Lemonade: 92%

Extended Once More! Take a journey through the life, loves and laughter of the world’s most beloved Yiddish humorist, as you are treated to an in-depth look at the foolish philosophers, philosophical fools, comical …read more


ROD SERLING’S STORIES FROM THE ZONE @ Theatre 40

January 21, 2019 8:00 pm

Rod Serling’s Stories from the Zone consists of stage adaptations of two classic episodes of his best-loved TV series. Mr. Garrity and the Graves: In the Old West circa 1890, a man and his …read more


WELL @ Lindhurst Theatre at Pepperdine University

January 22, 2019 7:30 pm

“This play is not about my mother and me,” begins Lisa Kron in this hilarious, moving story that combines the genres of solo performance and experimental theatre with the timeless story of mothers and …read more


BILL FRISELL “WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR” FEATURING PETRA HADEN, THOMAS MORGAN, & RUDY ROYSTON @ Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine University

January 22, 2019 8:00 pm

With a career that has spanned more than 35 years, guitarist and composer Bill Frisell’s diverse catalog has been described as “the best recorded output …read more 


Opening Shows This Week

FEEDBACK MONTHLY FILM FESTIVAL @ Regal L.A. LIVE Cinemas

April 5, 2018 7:00 pm

The FEEDBACK Monthly Film Festival coming to Los Angeles.. Our LA home is Regal L.A. LIVE Cinemas, located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles (beside the Staples Center) at 1000 W Olympic Blvd. The …read more


L.A. DANCE PROJECT @ Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

April 5, 2018 7:30 pm

The Wallis is thrilled to announce L.A. Dance Project as its first Company-in-Residence! Collaborating with the company’s Artistic Director Benjamin Millepied, The Wallis welcomes L.A. Dance Project in a series of programs in both …read more

TOWNE STREET THEATRE’S 10 TEN-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL @ Stella Adler Theatre

April 5, 2018 8:00 pm

For a decade, Towne Street Theatre (TST) has produced the popular Ten-Minute Play Festival. This year’s succession of lively and compelling 10 ten-minute plays are based on the theme of “celebration” and tell stories …read more


THE WILLOWS @ Bootleg Theater

April 6, 2018 7:00 pm

At The Willows funeral home, Mark is being groomed to take over the family business from his father. But an unexpected reunion with the one that got away could derail those carefully laid plans …read more


CLASSIC ALBUMS LIVE PERFORM LED ZEPPELIN I @ La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

April 6, 2018 8:00 pm

Classic Albums Live has earned their reputation of performing rock’s most influential albums live on stage note for note, cut for cut. Featuring a roster of world-class musicians from across the globe, they will …read more


DEATHTRAP @ Lonny Chapman Theatre

April 6, 2018 8:00 pm

The Group Rep presents Ira Levin’s comic thriller Deathtrap directed by Jules Aaron, produced by Larry Eisenberg. A successful-but-currently-stalled playwright whose recent offerings have been flops, conspires with his wife to “collaborate” with a …read more


ICE @ 24th Street Theatre

April 7, 2018 7:30 pm

A bilingual, humorous journey in search of what it means to be “American.” Two baseball players from Sinaloa, Mexico arrive in the U.S. with big dreams… but no documents. Armed with their Tia’s famous …read more


CLASSIC ALBUMS LIVE PERFORM PINK FLOYD’S THE WALL @ La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

April 7, 2018 8:00 pm

“The Wall” was Pink Floyd’s eleventh studio album, released in 1979, and is regarded as one of the most famous concept albums of all time. Classic Albums Live, with its roster of world-class musicians …read more


THE SEAGULL @ Atwater Village Theatre

April 7, 2018 8:00 pm

This modernized, comedic reinterpretation of Chekhov’s masterpiece The Seagull is a comedy custom made for Los Angeles. One of the most beloved plays of the last hundred years, The Seagull reveals its writer’s great …read more


GERONIMO: LIFE ON THE RESERVATION @ Santa Monica Playhouse The Main Stage

April 7, 2018 8:00 pm

The critically acclaimed, seldom told story of Geronimo’s life as a POW on the Fort Sill Indian Reservation. Starring veteran performer Rudy Ramos (Ironsides, The High Chaparral, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Movie, The …read more


Female Fusion: The Intersection of Art and Activism Invertigo Dance Theatre’s Laura Karlin

Laura Karlin, the visionary artistic director of Invertigo Dance Theatre, shares a sunny Culver City home with her partner Isak Ziegner, an artist and woodworker. There is a converted garage serving as the dance company office with room for 2 full time staffers in addition to Karlin, gorgeous wood throughout the remodeled kitchen, a bountiful garden, an older ailing rescue dog (who sadly passed away between the interview and publication) and a friendly, surprisingly vocal rescue cat. The entire atmosphere is open and welcoming, inviting collaboration and conversation. Even the post person is treated daily to freshly clipped flowers!

Karlin grew up in Southern California and in England. Her parents are both British and as a result, she has something approximating a Mid Atlantic accent, popular among the upper class denizens of stage and film. She has wild red hair and porcelain skin and the combination of these traits gives her a sort of elfin 1940s movie star quality. It is entrancing. It is also, as are physical descriptions in general, deceiving. Far from a fragile fairy, Karlin is a very modern, highly educated, determined and effective leader. She graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with degrees in Choreography/Production and LGBT Rights, spending one of those years attending the London School of Economics and Social Sciences. After graduation, she returned to London, deepening her dance and choreography experiences by studying with such luminaries as Akram Khan and working with Snapdragon Dance and Synergy Dance Theatre.

Karlin returned to Los Angeles in 2006 to work on a commission with Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company at the invitation of founder Kate Hutter. Though she planned to stay for only three months, she kept getting work and stayed because as she says with a laugh, you are not going to say, “Sorry actual people offering me actual things with actual money but I have a hypothetical career in another city that I have to scratch out of nothing in a city with a ton of gatekeepers….” She founded Invertigo Dance Theatre in 2007 because, “I’m not really phenomenal at waiting for other people to allow me to do something.” She always envisioned herself a choreographer and began at the tender age of eight; creating her own compositions and filling notebooks with stick figures, overhead views and movement phrases set to such 90s classics as Seal’s eponymous first album and Enya’s greatest hits. When she started her company, her office consisted of a laptop on her bed, but she initiated it with the same core values that continue today: the creation of community, of original work, of connections and a strong commitment to paying her dancers for their invaluable contributions all corralled by a dogged work ethic. Her community engagement was originally part of the vision, but there has been a learning curve and an institutional growth period to arrive at the multi-dimensional, in terms of artistry, management and community engagement, company that exists today. She acknowledges that everything from stubbornness, to “immense luck” to various forms of privilege account for the fact that over ten years later, Invertigo not only exists, but thrives in three distinct but interlinked components; Invertigo Dance Theatre Company, Dancing through Parkinson’s, and Invert/ed, the community exchange educational program.

Invertigo Dance Theatre presents timely, vivacious and important work. It is kinetic, beautiful, thought provoking story-telling. Karlin runs the company as what she slyly refers to as a “benevolent monarchy.” Though there is a great deal of give and take in the process, Karlin is the decision maker. Dancers are brought on not because of what they look like or their physical virtuosity, but because of who they are. Her choreography and storytelling centers around various types of transformation: internal, emotional and in journey. “I like arcs…In any Invertigo show I want you to start one place, go to a lot of other places and then end a different place or end in the same place, but changed.” Karlin approaches physical objects with the same whimsy. She likes “when things can be other things….I think that the reason that transformation is so fascinating to me is that it is ultimately hopeful and it also acknowledges the absolute spectrum of possibility that we have. It allows for nuance and change, which are two threads in the work that I really strive for. I don’t want to put anything black and white out there because I think that there are very few things that are without nuance. I like that Invertigo lives in in-between spaces. That it allows people to come to the work as they are and to be changed or to return to where they were but to see things through a different lens.”

Karlin is a politically and socially active person. She identifies as an intersectional feminist and works with many organizations as a private citizen. When asked how this affects her work, she is deliberate and thoughtful in answering. “I am not creating work that I would say preaches a particular viewpoint. I personally have many firmly held political or personal views about things. There are artists making incredible work coming more from a place of advocacy and activism. Where I seem to function as an artist is allowing situations and characters and contexts to be what they are and to look at things from different angles and different perspectives and to present things as I wish they were or I wish they would be treated.”

Photo Credit: Interior Design by Cheryl Mann Productions

Karlin works with a wonderful group of artists, both regular company members and an extended group for additional performances. She is constantly rethinking and broadening and questioning. She has always had a diverse racial makeup of dancers and doesn’t hire to fill a rainbow, but is highly aware and active in terms of audience, community engagement, the cultural landscape and representation. She is constantly expanding language in casting, for example, “casting dancers of any gender classification”. She is specific that gender roles are fluid in her pieces, everyone lifts everyone else and she has couples of every combination. It is all in service of storytelling. The work often grows out of the dancers cast. 2014’s Reeling, set in a bar, has both a Lesbian couple and a bi-sexual character, but their sexual identies are not the focus of the dance, their relationships and the situation that they are in are what is paramount. Interior Design, choreographed in 2017 tells the story of an interracial couple because Jonathan Bryant and Hyosun Choi are Black and Korean American respectively and they were the dancers cast. The story line grew out of those dancers’ identities. Other elements of the story (which I won’t spoil here!) are more universal. The combination of specific and universal is part of what makes the company so accessible. It comes down to “a rich variety of stories told by a rich variety of people.”

Family is important to Karlin and to the development of her company. Her partner Isak is integral to the evolution of it, from early set design, to catering benefits to the back and forth that comes from working in close quarters. Karlin has a close family, and describes her parents as lovely people. Her mother, a company board member, is active in the Dancing with Parkinson’s baking cookies, taking classes and keeping everyone happy. Her brother Toby Karlin is “an insanely talented” musician and has composed numerous pieces for the company in addition to accompanying some classes. And her father, while loathe to describe himself as an artist, is supportive of those who are. This warm family dynamic carries over into the company, instilling a cohesive dynamic into the mix which is also embraced by Executive Director Tara Aesquivel and Brittany A. Gash, the Director of Marketing and Development, both of whom share the open office space.

In addition to collaborating with her dancers, Karlin has a symbiotic relationship with the mercurial dance community in Los Angeles and is quite a wonderful ambassador for it. She trained here, prior to college and then again after, and lists numerous Los Angeles artistic directors and choreographers as pioneers and inspiration; First is of course Kate Hutter, who brought her back to Los Angeles. Deborah Brockus, Lula and Tamica Washington, Ana Maria Alvarez, and Pat Taylor are all on the tip of her tongue,

and she has specific compliments for each. She admires Brockus’ lovegevity, will and pursuit of vision. She is in awe of the family spirit that Lula, Erwin and Tamica Washington share and revel in. She is immensely grateful to Hutter. She laughs as she notes that they are all women, saying that there is something in the homegrown, grassroots landscape of Los Angeles that allows all of these brilliant self-created and self-motivated artists to thrive. These are powerhouse dance companies, yet there is a persistent outside vision of Los Angeles as a desert wasteland of dance. When asked about it, Karlin acknowledges the existence of the idea and posits that there could be an element of misogyny in the lack of national recognition for the heavily female led Los Angeles scene, but for the most part Karlin refuses to be distracted by negativity and remains “inspired by the amazing tapestry of arts” in the city. She also spends much of her time seeing these other companies, and promoting them, giving concrete action to the creation and maintenance of a solid dance community in the Southland. “I really believe in acknowledging the people around you and the exceptional work that they are doing and I believe in having a strong palate, a strong cultural landscape.” It is imperative to see (and support) other people’s work. “You don’t have to like it and you don’t have to wish that you were making the same art….There is space for all of us to be saying what we need to say.”

Photo Credit: Joe Lambie

Dancing Through Parkinson’s was founded in 2011, modeled upon the same program that is run in New York by the Mark Morris Dance group and Brooklyn Parkinson’s Group. It consists of dance classes that are structured around the dancers present each day. This is “a real dance class. It is challenging.” Most classes start in a chair and progress to across the floor sequences and finish in a big circle. Dancers, caregivers, friends and family are all invited to dance together and everyone is encouraged to go at their own pace. Individuality is encouraged with the phrase “there are no mistakes, only solos.”

Even before founding Dancing Through Parkinson’s, Invertigo and Karlin began cultivating a relationship with Inner City Arts, eventually creating Invert/Ed. This is a multi-disciplinary program bringing arts and storytelling workshops to numerous city venues. Examples include public programs for tots at Descanso Gardens and the Annenberg Center for the Arts, school residencies, both short and long term and The Storytelling through Movement workshops that are for performing artists as well as kids and other laypersons. Invertigo Dance Theatre, Dancing through Parkinson’s and Inver/Ed are separate but related entities. When asked about the connectivity of the programs, Karlin brought up legendary choreographer Liz Lerman and her theory of vertical ranking. People are traditionally assessed in a vertical continuum, with “elite” dancers and athletes at the top, then weekend warriors, “regular” people, and at the bottom of the pole, those who are differently abled or confined to wheelchairs. What if instead, the line was horizontal and everyone were just different but on the same playing field. It is a brilliant concept and can be applied not only to movement, but to research and vision statements as well. Invertigo seems to work very much on the horizontal in the approach to theatre, education and community exchange, with no one aspect outranking the other.

“Dance theatre is an incredible lens and that lens can either be a mirror into which you look and you see yourself and then you are then able to see yourself a little bit differently or it is a window that you can look through and see the world in a different way or see a different part of the world, like both of those are really equally valid….and I think that art can really do both.”

Invertigo Dance Theatre is busy and performing next at The Palm Springs Dance Festival. Go and see this vibrant and important company.

Featured image photo credit: James Foote