A CONVERSATION WITH  PLAYWRIGHT/WRITER/ACTOR DON CUMMINGS

I met with playwright Don Cummings to discuss the world premiere of Don’s play, The Water Tribe, a joint production of VS. Theatre Company and Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA at VS. Theatre.

Don was born in Bronxville and grew up in Suffern, both in New York. He attended Tufts University and spent a semester studying in Paris. After college Don attended the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York City for two years to study acting with Sanford Meisner. In 2019, he published Bent But Not Broken, the first memoir about Peyronie’s disease, a disfiguring but potentially treatable penile condition that afflicts 5% of the male population. I reviewed it for the New York Journal of Books

Don and his husband Adam Waring, a TV writer and entertainment exec, are “annoying Francophiles.” With their poodle/bichon Maude, they live “on the edge of Hollywood, just south of the border; we can see Hollywood from our window.”

When we sat down at a restaurant in the Loz Feliz section of Los Angeles, Don told me his impetus for writing The Water Tribe. As you can imagine, water and tribes figure prominently. Each is significant for Don as the conjurer of this tale. A big part of the motivation began on a trip with Adam:

“When we were in Africa, I was really moved by the pain of this woman in this Masai tribe. She really kept staring at me and it was more than just interest. I decided, I don't know if it’s true, but I decided that she wanted out of there and it was really upsetting me.

I don't know if I'm an atheist. I'm against a lot of organized groups in general, and because of this I wanted to write a play that was almost like a George Bernard Shaw play, to prove that tribes are terrible, and how everything about them is oppressive and horrible.

I did a Google search and discovered there are endless articles showing that if people are not in tribes, they will die.”

What is the significance of water in the play?

“The water actually came from the Flint Michigan thing. Did you know that Flint Michigan is the tip of the iceberg?

There are hundreds and hundreds of municipalities in the United States that do not have safe, chemical-free drinking water, Newark, tons of places in western Pennsylvania, everywhere.

In Africa women walk five kilometers each way to get water and the roads are unsafe. Young girls and women get raped on these trips all the time.”

What were the easiest aspect and the most difficult challenge of writing The Water Tribe?

“The easiest thing was knowing who the characters were. That came to me effortlessly. I knew the number of characters. I knew I wanted a young couple and there needed to be some foils, and that all came to me, and it was pretty easy.

The hardest part about writing this play, and it’s the hardest part I have with every play, is not knowing when it’s done. I don’t mind editing and killing my darlings, that’s fine, but it was not knowing which things to kill. And there was some stuff in this play, about four or five items that were going on, that I had to cut. And I would say the hardest part wasn’t removing them, the hardest part was gaining awareness that they needed to be removed. And without the help of others, I would not had the awareness.”

How were you able to create Claudia, who is such a believable and authentic female character? 

“I have a lot of strong, amazing women whom I grew up with, who inspire me. Part of the reason I became a playwright was because I was an actor. And part of being an actor is that you're constantly putting yourself in the shoes of others, so it wasn’t that hard for me to create Claudia's character.

I’ve always had a ton of female friends, so I feel that I understand them. The truth is the lead character’s emotional life is based on my emotional life. Of course it has changed and it's fiction, but the fear of abandonment and not being connected to others is something I feel. So it’s universal, and if it’s a man or a woman, it doesn’t make a difference.”

Do you have hopes and dreams for The Water Tribe after its run at VS. Theatre?

“After the premier, I’d love to see the play at the Taper or Geffen or South Coast Rep. I’d love for it to have a regional theater life with other companies performing it.”

What would you like the audience to take away after watching this play? (I got a little teary when I got his answer)

This is so general, but that’s okay; I hope that people will listen to each other, in general listen to other people, with a more compassionate understanding that everyone struggles. That’s what I want. That’s it.”

What play would you choose if the world were to suddenly spin off its axis and you were only be able to see one work for the rest of your life?

“I would want to see ‘The Three Sisters’ over and over again. I want it to constantly change, and I want it to not only change in casting, but I want it to constantly change in style, because for me it’s kind of a perfect play. It’s probably the play that I’ve read the most.

That play, ‘Burn This,’ and ‘Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ are probably the three plays I've read the most. But if I was in some kind of purgatory and I could just see one of them over and over again, I think ‘The Three Sisters’ has the biggest world and the most room for variation.”

In your opinion, are playwrights ever satisfied with their plays?

“I’m going to go in the opposite direction. I think most playwrights always find something they think they could do better, something could be better. But I am not that person because I like to move on to the next thing. And actually the truth is I’m usually more satisfied. I feel that my job is to make sure that the stuff on the page is correct for me. I haven't been in a situation where I felt like my plays needed to be drastically changed, because I do work on them for a long time before they’re up on their feet. Some painters have the attitude of 'oh, I want to go back and retouch a little thing,' or there are novelists who, even when their novel is published, not only do they want to change it, but they actually sit around and do change it. They take their published manuscript and start tinkering with it. To me, that’s nuts; I like to move on, so I’m actually usually pretty satisfied.”

Whom would you like to thank for this production opportunity? 

“I want to thank Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, especially for the development process. Without the playwrights’ unit, this play would not be as good as it is, so they are really number one I'd want to thank.

I also have to thank Johnny Clark for the space over at VS. Theatre Company. He’s been a big supporter of my work and we were always talking about the day when we could do something together, and this was it. So I’m glad that in an industry where people can just say things and not mean them, he’s of his word. At VS. Theatre Company there is a lot of risk-taking, and lots of wonderful new work happens. It’s a great place and I’m really grateful to be a part of it!

And I have to thank Crystal Jackson and Lizzy Ross, my co-producers, who were organizing everything (and still do). A big thanks has to also go to Tricia Small who is a tireless, super creative director who has this incredible ability to not only work well with actors, but is excited by all the design and the physical elements of a play. A lot of directors are good at one or the other. She really does it all. She’s willing to roll up her sleeves and push her resources and her list of people who can help, and she did all that. I am super, super grateful!

And lastly my cast, Hannah Prichard, Christopher Reiling, Jayne Taini, Jon Gentry, and Alexandra Daniels. I’m grateful that they’re part of my play, but I’m also really grateful that they formed a family and are having a good time.”


The Water Tribe opens tomorrow, Friday the 17th, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm, through February 9, 2020. The VS. Theatre is located at 5453 West Pico Blvd. in LA.

If you’re in the L.A. area, you shouldn’t miss it. Tickets are available at ESTLosAngeles.org.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – January 13 - 19, 2020


Theatrical, One-Person, Improv, and Comedy shows, Music, Dance, and Award Shows registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.


Making God Laugh by Sean Grennan

Share on social media.

Human Interest Story

Share on social media.

Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México de Silvia Lozano

Share on social media.

Cirque Éloize

Share on social media.

Ballet BC's Romeo + Juliet

Share on social media.

The MisMatch Game

Share on social media.

RED INK

Share on social media.

More Guns!

Share on social media.

Canuck as F🍁ck

Share on social media.

Earthquakes in London

Share on social media.

Plus One

Share on social media.

Ballet West's Giselle

Share on social media.

The 19th Annual 50 HOUR DRIVE-BY THEATRE FESTIVAL

Share on social media.

Surviving 'MN Nice'. . . and becoming brave AF

Share on social media.

The Los Angeles Women's Theatre festival

Share on social media.

STOMP: 25th Anniversary

Share on social media.

FOUND

Share on social media.

Activities of Daily Living

Share on social media.

Men are From Mars-Women are From Venus LIVE at North Coast Rep

Share on social media.

Theatre 40 Musical Matinee

Share on social media.


Best Theatre of the Year - Looking Back At L.A.’s 2019

I give to you my personal list of the best theatre Los Angeles offered in 2019, with a few swipes at the less of the best….

First off, the production of August Wilson’s Jitney at the Mark Taper Forum. Wilson’s works share a distinction with those of Shakespeare, in that when the plays of either are fortunate enough to be housed in a production of true artistry one finds theatre nirvana, which is what director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and cast provided L.A. audiences with.

The cast —Steven Antony JonesFrancois BattisteAmari CheatomNija OkoroRay Anthony ThomasHarvy BlanksKeith Randolph SmithBrian D. Coats, and Anthony Chisholm returning to the role which earned him a Drama Desk Award and Obie in 2000’s off-Broadway production— performed as keys on a perfectly tuned piano, with  Santiago-Hudson assuring not one false note was sounded.

Contributing to this perfect harmony were David Gallo’s set, Jane Cox’s deft light design and Toni-Leslie James’ superlatively unobtrusive costumes.


In six short years the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts has won L.A.’s appreciation for the work produced and Artistic Director Paul Crewes its respect for his guidance.

This year that appreciation and respect were given further validation: The Old Man and the Old Moon by the PigPen Theatre Company, was an intoxicating entwining of old world folklore, Arabian night tales and the poetic arts of a Celtic seanchaís resulting in an evening of wondrous magic which is the essence of theatre.


Some twenty-five years ago at the old Tiffany Theatre on Sunset Boulevard, the marvelous Hershey Felder presented his first solo show based on the life of a great composer.  Having previously brought Chopin and Beethoven to the Wallis, this year Felder returned again— and again was…well, marvelous.

Hershey Felder: A Paris Love Story, are the reminiscences of his first youthful journey to Paris which are placed as a palimpsest in homage to his favorite composer Achille-Claude Debussy.  Directed by Trevor Hay it was perhaps the most enchanting show of the season.


We have the Wallis to thank for Renée Taylor’s one-woman show, My Life on a Diet Best known to movie lovers as Eva Braun in Mel Brooks’ The Producers (1968) and to TV viewers as Fran Drescher’s mother on the CBS sitcom The Nanny, Taylor, with her late husband Joseph Bologna, co-wrote the Oscar nominated Lovers and Other Strangers as well as two additional screenplays and 21 more plays.

It was a privilege and a joy to be in the company of the 86 year old Taylor who is a juggernaut of talent as well as a living history of both Broadway and Hollywood, and, personally, I wanted her show to go on longer than its 90 minutes.

Like a week longer.  Maybe two.


The Wallis also deserves thanks for bringing back talented David Mynne, whose one-man presentation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations was one of last year’s high-water mark.

A Christmas Carol, this year’s Dickens offering, was less satisfying but Mynne’s performance was nevertheless amazing to watch.


The Fountain Theatre, which I regard as one of the jewels in the crown of the L.A. theatre community offered little this year that drew my interest and what did, I’m afraid, I was less than thrilled by.

Idris Goodwin’s play Hype Man, though not without merit, I found weak and I thought the cast, Clarissa ThibeauxChad Addison and Matthew Hancock and director Deena Selenow, brought more to the play than the play brought to the stage.

Of course, there was no performance of the Forever Flamenco series that I was not enraptured by.  These monthly Juergas of dancers and singers, overseen by Deborah Culver at the Fountain since 1990, I have often heralded as one of the best kept secrets in L.A. and one of its hottest tickets.


The Long Beach International City Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Price was a show one should regret if missed.

David Nevell as a man who sees in the wreckage of his father’s life the failure of his own, and Elyse Mirto as the wife who sees her husband’s true worth but is unable to make him believe it, were each outstanding.

In the most Biblical referenced of Miller’s plays, Bo Foxworth’s layered performance as the prodigal son allowed the audience to see that the chains forged by his choices were as heavy as those of his brother.

As the secondhand furniture dealer Mister Solomon, which is the heartbeat of the play, Tony Abatemarco fluctuated adroitly between the Old Testament’s wise Solomon and Faust’s wheeling-dealing Mephistopheles.

I find director John Henry Davis to be rather hit or miss, but with The Price he undeniably knocked one out of the stadium.

DoubleDouble playwright Guy Zimmerman and director Juli Crockett, by a fusion of the 1944 noir classic Double Indemnity with Shakespeare’s Scottish play, successfully brought another artistic chimera to the stage.

Zimmerman and Crockett juggled snippets of dialogue and hints of shared motifs, transforming a trio of Barbara Stanwyck doppelgangers  (Henita TeloJenny Greer and Isabella Boose) into a Greek Chorus to warn  Saughn Buchholz as Walter-Walter of the fate awaiting his Oedipus MacMurray.

From concept to execution, this production had the luster that craft and intelligence brings; sharing in the credit for this are scenic designer Melissa Ficociello and Michael Feldman’s ballads.


Bill Irwin’s On Beckett was perhaps more lecture than show, but what a subject to lecture on and what a lecturer to hear.  Having been a fan of Bill Irwin since his Old Hats and Fool Moon days, what I found so extraordinary in his discourse/performance/dissertation/sermon on the works of the great Irish playwright on the stage at Kirk Douglas Theatre, was Irwin’s ability to delve into those “linguistic non-spaces” Beckett supplies, and weave relevance into those silences found there.


Playwright Lauren Gunderson is the current “flavor of the month” from the New York theatre scene.  I find most of her works “vanilla” at best.  But there are a couple of her plays which, while not on the level of “Chocolate Therapy,” come close to “Chunky Monkey” status.

Ada and the Engine is one.  It tells the story of the rakish Lord Byron’s daughter, Ada, and her contribution to the development of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, precursor to the modern computer.  In their staging, Theatre Unleashed emphasized the play’s strengths while cloaking its weaknesses, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging production.

As the two dominant men in Ada’s life —William King-Noel, later Lord Lovelace and the driven Charles Babbage— Gregory Crafts and Alex Knox gave faultless performances.  But it was Jessie Sherman in the titular role that captured the audience and herded them on the pathway from the joys of dreams to the price paid for them.

Director Heidi Powers enriched the production by her employment of Denise Barrett’s costumes and use of Kevin Hilton’s animation which shattered the black box’s confines by expanding the vista of ideas.

Less successful, but certainly more frenzied was the Theatre Unleashed production of Never Ever Land by playwright Rider Strong, centering on the allegations against Michael Jackson’s involvement with underaged boys.  Director Michael A. Shepperd applied cunning and skill but was only moderately successful in masking the play’s faults.  On the other hand, Josh Randall as the “abused” lad’s manipulating father and Leif Gantvoort as the unctuous news commentator after a story turned in exceptional performances.


As a former puppeteer, I admit I was a sucker for Les Miz And Friends! A Puppet Parody and my hearty guffaws filled the Hudson Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Nathan Makaryk and Geneviève Flati co-directed their “re-envisioning” of Les Misérables, the much beloved musical based on Victor Hugo’s much renowned classic.  The crushing poverty, sexual exploitation, brutal police and civil bloodshed are still there, they just added a ton of puppets and screwed with the songs.

Performer-puppeteers Kelly RogersKevin GarciaGabrielle JacksonJaycob HunterHailey Tweter and Carter Michael kept the laughter coming, as did Christopher Robert Smith as Javert.

The production was packed with silly puns and dopey jokes, but what came as a total surprise, at least to me, was the quality of the cast’s musical chops.  Some credit for this must go to “musical accompaniment, Orchestrator and Arranger” David Norris.  Here’s hoping Makaryk and Flati set their satirical sights on another classic of the musical theatre.


I did manage to see Rogue Machine’s Disposable Necessities in their new space in Santa Monica.  Playwright Neil McGowan has conceived a clever work akin to an old “slam-door” comedy where an actor would rush out as one character to re-enter as another seconds later.  But, McGowan does away with the “doors” by setting his work in a protean near future when bodies are changed with wardrobe like ease.  The device supplies the show with laughs, but also with difficulties.  Claire Blackwelder isn’t up to the demands of conveying the persona of an elderly chauvinistic lecher dwelling in young lady with a body worthy of Vargas’ watercolors.  Nor does Jefferson Reid have the acting apparatus to conjure the reality of a spoiled white boy deposited into the body a black urban teen; the rest of the cast, Billy FlynnDarrett Sanders and the always superb Ann Noble, having the benefit of experience turn in stellar performances.

We look forward to what Rogue Machine and Artistic Director John Perrin Flynn have in store for us in 2020.


The Judas Kiss by British playwright David Hare travels the oft-treaded ground of Oscar Wilde’s disgrace following the infamous trial for libel he foolishly instigated against the father of his young lover Boise.

Director Michael Michetti’s production at The Boston Court was lushly mounted with sets by designer Se Hyun OhDianne K. Graebner’s costumes, and lighting design by David Hernandez, but all the lushness could not conceal the piece’s anemia of dramatic tension.
Some atonement was found in the performances of Darius De La Cruz as Robbie Rose, Wilde’s most stouthearted friend and that of Colin Bates as the self-centered Boise.
But it was the sincerity and depth of humanity which Rob Nagle brought to the role of Wilde that served as the most memorable feature of a rather forgettable show.


The Hollywood Fringe Festival held every June along the strip of Santa Monica Blvd running from Highland Avenue to Vine Street should be a seasonal Mecca for the creative souls of this city and those with any reverence towards the arts.  HFF 2019 boasted a total of 405 individual productions and sold over 67,000 tickets.

Here were the standouts for me:
Mil Grus, featured the absurdly inspired clowning of Helene UdyGrayson MorrisJeremy SappJenson Lavellee and Isaac Kessler under Dean Evans’ direction and took TVO’s “Best of the Fringe.”   The show, along with its five misshapen blobs of bizarre silliness, just opened in New York.

Theatre Unleashed made their presence felt at the Fringe with Tattered Capes by Gregory Crafts, an intelligent and clever account of the marital woes that befall two caped crusaders.  With outstanding performances from Chris ClabaughTravis Joe Dixon and Joanna MercedesCrafts’ play celebrated the superheroes of our childhood while reverberating with deeper questions regarding the secret identities we use in concealing our true selves from those we love.

Designer Denise Barrett provided the super costumes and Corey Lynn Howe’s direction was more powerful than a locomotive.

With Son of A Bitch, Director Billy Ray Brewton fashioned an American Morality play about, to quote my fellow critic David Narine, “Lee Atwater’s  – Republican-Strategist-Liar-Driven-Liar-Brilliant-Liar- Son of a Bitch – rise to power.”

Featuring solid performances by Dennis Gersten as George H.W. Bush, Luke Forbes as “W” and David McElwee as Atwater, playwright, Lucy Gillespie’s work was a much-needed history lesson.

Another political offering at the Fringe was The Mayor’s Debate of Tranquility, Nebraskaa silly and sinister parable on the American electorate.

A local news broadcaster, Emily Dorsett, hosts a mayoral debate in the American heartland.  The candidates include the gay uber-liberal lesbian (Kate Hellen) a Tea-Partier (Lucie Beeby) and the slimy incumbent (Jim Hanna who also penned the script).

The debate goes from glad-handing to backstabbing with gleeful alacrity and the laughs roar out.  But beneath the chortles, Hanna and his cast slip a grim warning; that in this nation today, the “amber waves of grain” are closer to Rod Sterling’s “cornfield.”

Butcher Holler Here We Come written by Casey Wimpee was perhaps the Festival’s most successful immersive piece.  The audience is confined in a room dark as pitch, sharing in the fate of five miners trapped beneath the earth.  Under the astute direction of Leah Bonvissuto, the voices of the unseen miners, Michael MasonIsaac ByrneAdam BelvoMorrison Keddie and Adam Willson, spin about the audience, webbing them in desperation.

Spencer Green’s twisted take on the anthropomorphic beast fables of Aesop, The Scorpion and the Frog, was riotously engaging.  Showcasing the talents of Matthew LeavittChristine Sage and Alex Parker it was hands down one of the Fringe’s most thoroughly enjoyable offerings.

Public Domain the Musicalwhile not perfect, had highpoints that would make your nose bleed. Sam Pasternack (who wrote the book, composed the music, supplied the lyrics and directed) gathered some first-rate performers for this musical ragging of the Disney Corporation’s propensity to squeeze profits from any character in the public domain.  Pasternack uses those public domain icons that Disney overlooked: Oedipus (Max Mahle), The Monkey Paw (Max Ash), Rosie the Riveter (Codi Coates) and…er, Potato Mussolini (Ben Cassil).  Let it be known, costume designer Ember Everett, rose to the occasion.  One of my favorite numbers was Oedipus’ song, “The Way to Become a Hero (is to be at the right place at the right time.)  Were there flaws in the production?  Of course, but it also had a Potato Mussolini!

Solo shows are the stock in trade for any Fringe and HFF 2019 had some extraordinary ones, with the TVO’s “Best Solo Show (Female) going to Raised By Wolves, a cautionary tale about life among alpha-males and evil step-mothers, written and performed by Marla Black.

TVO’s “Best Solo Show (Male) went to Monica Bauer’s Made For Each Other, an astonishingly tender tale staring John Fico as a man who learns that even those in their flabby fifties are deserving of love.

Cathy Schenkelberg arrived at the Fringe with a double whammy for Scientology; first there was Squeeze My Cans, her harrowing one-woman show about the 20 plus years she spent in the cult of L. Ron Hubbard.

Then there was that show’s musical clone Squeeze My Cabaret, in which Schenkelberg related the same tale but showed that she has a pair of pipes on her that could knock the smug superciliousness off Tom Cruise’s puss at twenty yards.

In HFF 2018 Yokko brought her New York based company Ren Gyo Soh with a Japanese Butoh re-fitting of Euripides, Butoh Medea.  This year Yokko turned her efforts on Shakespeare with Hide Your Fires: Butoh Lady Macbeth adapted by Sean Michael Welch and directed by Brian Rhinehart.  Both shows were equally entrancing.

Two excellent productions which deserved greater exposure were Clark Wade-A Jazzy Tragedy, written and performed by Esquizito, AKA EP Perez which drew on memories of New Orleans’ Golden Age;

 And

Stephen Lang’s Beyond Glory based on the recollections of Medal of Honor winners for which Steve Scott took TVO’s “Best Actor” award.

From Ireland came Drought, poetess-songsmith-performer Kate Radford’s haunting indictment of the toxicity of sexual abuse, which TVO acknowledged as the “Best International Show.”

Her true-life tale of a model being afflicted with alopecia was shared by Jannica Olin in (IM)Perfekt. Olin managed to inspire her audiences and at the same time convulse them with laughter.

With Black Boxing, playwright Matt Ritchey held a funhouse mirror to the very concept of solo shows.  Directed by Matthew Martin this raucously funny gem chronicled every pitfall solo shows face.  Fittingly, this send-up of a one-man show featured performances by Ritchey and Jim Niedzialkowski.

Finally, I’ll close with one of the most satisfying shows in HFF 2019, Temple Tantrum, written and performed by Nicole Steinwedell. Raised in a right-wing Christian cult, Steinwedell broke free and plunged into a world diametrically different – Hollywood.  Steinwedell told her tale with the slashes of vibrancy one expects on a Jackson Pollack canvas.

Steinwedell’s dynamism, like the dissonance of a “perfect storm,” may have dissipated into an ineffable silence, but for director Kimleigh Smith who ably applied orchestration to the tempest, assuring awareness of the work’s import and clarity, for which she took TVO’s “Best Director” honors.

Of course the Fringe had disappointments: Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive the Apocalypse, Princess Magic’s Trash Time Revue, and Lincoln 2020.  But these were in a minority.

And the larger L.A. theatre scene had its pratfalls too:

Between Riverside and Crazy, (It won a Pulitzer Prize for drama, just like Enter Madame and Men in White!), Scraps (whose playwright the program told us “never learned to properly write a play.” I buy that.) and The Play That Goes Wrong (which I’m sure would have been much funnier if I hadn’t seen it.)

But these were in a minority as well.

The demands of theatre are arduous, and despite good intentions, dedicated labor and inspired concept, we often fail or falter through our own faults or fate’s callous insensitivity.  This is when we should recall the words of Robert Ingersoll:

“…when men and women belong to a profession
that can count Shakespeare in its number,
they should feel nothing but pride.” ¹

And so I say to all my good friends, to all the stagehands, house managers, dancers, marketing directors, composers, ushers, wardrobe supervisors, directors, set designers, choreographers, carpenters, light board operators, set dressers, producers, sound designers, singers, dramaturges, dialogue coaches, box office agents, fight choreographers, company managers, janitors, make-up artists, musicians, spotlight operators, set builders, technical directors, videographers, dressers, prop masters, parking attendants, playwrights, actors, stage managers, wig makers, publicists, scene painters, critics and most importantly to all who make up our theater, let us join together in 2020 and do what we do best – make magic!

From all of us at theTVolution.com we hope 2020 brings you good fortune, good health and of course, great theatre.


JOAN OF ART: Under The Big Top, Flamenco, One Women Show With Music and a Seance

This week has a diverse amount of activities...even one of the unworldly kind.

I'll start with one that first appeared in Los Angeles in 1987 during the Los Angeles Festival. It was the opening night of the Festival and since that time Cirque Du Soleil has blown the minds of everyone including myself who has had the good fortune of seeing everyone of their incredible shows.

Well good news is that they are back in town with their new show VOLTA at Dodger Stadium. VOLTA is based on extreme sports; the principal character is a game show contestant named Was. It is the company's 41st production since it began and it's the 18th show presented under the Big Top.

VOLTA tells a spellbinding story about the freedom to choose and the thrill of blazing your own trail. It's the story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one's true potential and the power of the group to make that possible. It celebrates the freedom of movement and creativity. I can promise you that this show will not only be spectacular but as many of their shows do, will tug at your heart strings.

I for one can't wait to see this new production and if you would too then go to CirqueDuSoleil.com/volta for tickets and more information. The Show runs January 18th until March 8th.

Dodger Stadium is located at 1000 Vin Scully Avenue in LA 90012.

Now I absolutely love dance. I've studied modern and jazz for years. The one thing I've never tackled despite my deep admiration of the form is FLAMENCO. Luckily I get to attend The Ultimate Flamenco Dinner Show on Saturday January 18th in Long Beach.

Full of passionate dance and vibrant guitar playing, Andalusia native La Sole-Yvette Garcia's artistically diverse show encompasses the culturally rich, technically intricate art of flamenco.

But that's not all. Along with an evening's worth of exceptional entertainment, you'll enjoy Algeria's delicious Spanish and Latin American cuisine which includes classic dishes and deserts. Food and dance...What could be better?

I've been here before and I can promise the cuisine is delicious and the dancing sensational.

Performances start at 7:30pm and run throughout the year. For tickets and more information go to AlegriaCocinaLatina.com. The restaurant is located at 115 Pine Avenue in Long Beach 90802.

Next the WHITEFIRE THEATRE is presenting SOLOFEST 2020, a celebration of the solo journey. I've been an actress for many years but never even attempted to do a solo show because for me, being alone on the stage, is over the top scary. Having said that, I have incredible admiration for those people that do it and pull it off.

I've seen many one person shows at this theatre and all of them have been excellent. Their first show appropriately entitled LADIES FIRST started on January 4th and will be running on the 18th, 25th, 12th, 19th, 26th and February 1st and 8th.

Ladies First is a one woman musical written by Krisy Dennis and Bob Garret and performed by Krisy Dennis.

The show celebrates 14 amazing women from the original suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst to feminist activists Katharine Hepburn and Nora Ephron. Their monologues are inspired by speeches, quotes and interviews with these great women.

Krisy also sings songs by artists such as Alicia Keys, Kate Bush, and Stephen Sondheim.

The Whiteface Theatre is located at 13500 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks 91423. For tickets and more information go to WhitefireTheatre.com.

 

Lastly if ghosts are your thing then you must see WHISPERS IN THE DARK where they promise you will find some. This is an Unsolved Murder Séance.

There's a long buried mystery that's been waiting to resurface and they need you to help them solve the crime. This is an immersive experience that will take you on a journey into an unknown world of ghosts and spirits (hopefully friendly ones) that will leave everyone gasping for breath as messages, sights, and sounds emerge from the shadows.

I love to be scared so this sound like the perfect place for me to be this weekend. If you would like a seat at the Séance Table then drive or Uber over to the MAGICOPOLIS located at 1418 4th Street in Santa Monica, where the séance is taking place.

To buy tickets and for more information go to IHearWhispers.com.

Most importantly, whatever you choose to do this weekend, make it a fun one. I know I will.


Ovation Awards Playwrights Roundtable

On the brink of their big night, I checked in with four of this year’s Ovation Awards nominated playwrights: Malcolm Barrett for Brain Problems with Ammunition Theatre Company; Jami Brandli for Bliss (or Emily Post Is Dead) at Moving Arts; Jonathan Caren for Canyon at Latino Theatre Company in association with IAMA Theatre; and Nate Rufus Edelman for Desert Rats at Latino Theatre Company.

You've been nominated for an Ovation! Major congrats! How do you feel about this exciting moment?

MALCOLM BARRETT: It’s a pretty amazing feeling considering this is my first full-length play, made all the more meaningful by being recognized for a story as personal as this: the journey of a man trying to cope with death via his imagination, based on a buddy of mine, Thomas Mejia who suffered from multiple AVM's. I think it was both therapeutic and cathartic for both of us to go through this process.

JAMI BRANDLI: I feel very blessed, extremely grateful and, of course, honored.

JONATHAN CAREN: Before I even answer that question, I want to acknowledge the many world premieres of plays that are happening in Los Angeles these days. It’s exciting to know that LA is becoming a hub where plays can gestate. I look at Kemp Powers career, starting off at Rogue Machine, and then bringing his play One Night in Miami across the country and then even to the Donmar in London. I think every aspiring playwright in LA should take that in. I’m very happy to be a part of the larger movement here.

NATE RUFUS EDELMAN: Surprised. I caught the majority of the other plays nominated and they’re really good. It’s an honor to be nominated alongside them.

How did your LA production come about? If it was a regional or world premiere, how was that experience of seeing this work put up for the first time?

MALCOLM BARRETT: I first shared a couple of pages of it for my company’s writing workshop, it was my way of coping. After the reading those first couple pages aloud, Bernardo Cubria, who would later become the director, encouraged me to continue writing. It was a tremendous experience to have it up on its feet for the first time. I never actually got to see it as I was always in it and seeing the audience’s reactions as a performer is always surreal, but it was always enjoyable seeing my friends eyes light up from the stage. It wasn’t until we had our understudy performance that I realized that this play had legs, that it wasn’t relying on my particular performance to carry the writing, which can be a fear when trying to create work you’re featured in.

JAMI BRANDLI: Moving Arts' Artistic Director, Darin Anthony, first gave BLISS (or Emily Post is Dead!) a workshop in 2016 and committed to a future production. As luck would have it, two more theaters wanted to produce the play. So, in 2018, BLISS (or Emily Post is Dead!) received a rolling world premiere with Moxie Theater in San Diego, then Promethean Theatre in Chicago and finally with Moving Arts here in Los Angeles. I had a very unique experience in that I got to see three different productions, which ties in nicely with the next question…

JONATHAN CAREN: It was a world premiere. I workshopped the play with IAMA two years prior to this production. I first got to know IAMA when they did my play THE RECOMMENDATION in 2014. They were incredibly generous to me with space and time to develop it with their ensemble, and when the Latino Theater Company got involved, things took on a whole different energy. The collaboration brought disparate audiences together, which was the most exciting part of the experience.

NATE RUFUS EDELMAN: Desert Rats went through years of development from Los Angeles to London. The Latino Theater Company produced it at the right time with the right cast and crew. It has been my favorite experience in the theater.

Tell us a little about your role in the rehearsal process? What did you learn about the work through production?

MALCOLM BARRETT: My role in the rehearsal process was to listen. Serving as playwright and lead actor, you have to pick and choose when and where to wear which hat. We had over a year of rewrites and readings - that’s where I was the playwright. Once we got deep into rehearsal I had to let go of being a playwright so that I could allow the actors to do what they do, myself included. That was a lot me learning when to shut up and get out the way.

JAMI BRANDLI: Although the San Diego and Chicago productions of BLISS (or Emily Post is Dead!) were solid, I realized there were some areas of the play I wanted to revise and Moving Arts was more than game to work with me on my revision. So I took full advantage of the collaborative experience during rehearsals and the dramaturgical notes from Darin Anthony (the director), Chuma Gault (the assistant director) and Cece Tio (the head producer) were, quite simply, invaluable. The cast and creative crew were truly stellar, and their talent and vision helped me to bring my play to the next level. The play is now set for future productions, and I am forever grateful--especially since BLISS has another production this February at Defunkt Theatre in Portland, OR.

JONATHAN CAREN: I loved working with Whitney White. She challenged me to keep pushing each character’s perspective up against each other. Keep tightening the screws. All the actors brought personal antidotes and perspectives that I considered and sometimes even wove into the text. This was a long collaborative process and to me, feels like a tapestry of colliding worlds and viewpoints, that may never find common ground, but buttress up against each other in our sprawling city.

NATE RUFUS EDELMAN: I production manage the plays at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, which is operated by the Latino Theater Company. Desert Rats rehearsed and ran in tandem with my friend Oliver Mayer’s Member Only. It was a lot of work balancing dual roles, but I was able to be very present in the rehearsal room, share thoughts, and rewrite. I also teach and help run a Summer Youth Conservatory at the LATC with Angie Scott, the director of Desert Rats. We were able to hire alumni of that program to work on the play as the stage manager, assistant director, costume designer, and production assistant. It was particularly rewarding to give these bright young adults their first professional gigs. Rehearsals were like a very happy family making a play for ourselves. I’m extra happy people seemed to dig the production.

Though our reputation is growing, not everyone knows how vibrant the theatre-making scene in Los Angeles really is. Please share your perspective on making theatre in Los Angeles.

MALCOLM BARRETT: There’s clearly a lot of talent here as New York and Los Angeles are the a Mecca for young actors but it gets overshadowed by Broadway and by LA’s film and television scene. But as our theatre communities grow so has the city’s reputation for it’s work on the stage.

JAMI BRANDLI: I feel Los Angeles has entered into "a golden age" with theater, especially developing new plays. In addition to Moving Arts, I've had the great fortune to develop my plays with The Inkwell Theater, The Road Theatre Company, Chalk Rep, Antaeus Theatre Company, The Playwrights Union and HUMANITAS as a 2019 PLAY LA Winner. Every organization has their own exciting approach to new play development, which has helped me grow as a playwright and breathe more life into my plays. I've been *very* lucky in that two more of my plays have been produced here in LA because of this development: Through the Eye of a Needle with The Road Theatre Company and Sisters Three with The Inkwell Theater.

JONATHAN CAREN: The biggest problem with LA theater is that it used to be completely overshadowed by the film industry. Now, I think the problem has more to do with geography. There are great shows happening in Venice, but I don’t think I can get to an 8pm curtain on a weeknight from Echo Park. I’d love to see more co-pros and even transfers where a show doesn’t have to move to another city, but to another part of Los Angeles. We’re that damn big.

NATE RUFUS EDELMAN: I’m from Eagle Rock and, while I have spent years away from Los Angeles in Ireland and New York, Los Angeles and its theater community are my home. The diversity and talent of the theater scene in LA is immense. I am lucky to be friends with great artists, designers, and other playwrights who constantly inspire me.

What advice would you give to a young playwright living and creating in Los Angeles?

MALCOLM BARRETT: Write. See plays. Find your community, find people who are smarter than you, and work with them.

JAMI BRANDLI: Go see all types of LA theater! From 99 seat to CTG to The Hollywood Fringe Festival and everything in between. I can't stress this enough. Then, once you're familiar with LA's amazing theater community, introduce yourself to theaters that would be a good match for your work and inquire about development opportunity. If there isn't a development program, perhaps the theater has a writers group or they're looking for volunteers (volunteer if you have the chance!). The important thing is to show up and support first, and then inquire. There are so many new play development opportunities in LA, but you have to be proactive about it.

Goodness, aren't we all so lucky to be a part of this incredible theater community? I know I am, and I'll never take it for granted.

Thanks for much for the interview!

JONATHAN CAREN: I started out by volunteering at The Elephant and Black Dahlia theaters as an usher. I assisted Matt Shakman on a show back when he ran the Black Dahlia and now he runs The Geffen. I’ve worked with sound designer Jeff Gardner multiple times after first meeting him at The Elephant. Just show up because theaters depend on volunteers. They need you. If you want to put in the time and energy, someone will take you up on the task, but be pro-active. Find a way to show that you are dependable and follow through consistently. Don’t just help once. Do it for a year. Then you’ll know what it’s like to be a company member and soon enough you’ll become a part of the community.

NATE RUFUS EDELMAN: Have patience. Be authentic and humble. Explore and engage with the theater community. Write plays you love. Others will too.


Audio Interview: the cast of "Musket and the Rat" at Arena Stage Hollywood

Musket Cherry is a young woman who lives in a gritty, rugged, ungentrified neighborhood in Chicago. Her mom is a deadbeat alcoholic. Musket’s anchors are her beloved brother Weso, her best friend Gay Stevie, and her boyfriend Billy. Times are tough. Musket supports her family by selling heroin and comforts herself with lots of weed.*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Musket and the Rat” at Arena Stage Hollywood, running until Jan 18th. 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


Winners at the 30th Annual LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards

The 30th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards were presented on Monday, January 13, 2020, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

The fast-moving evening awarded in thirty-six categories—13 Southern California theatre companies won, with 33 individual artists receiving awards.

Of the total awards, the Geffen Playhouse received 17 total for their shows "Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol" with Dane Laffrey winning two (2)—Scenic Design and Costume Design - Large Theatre, and "Lights Out: Nat 'King' Cole." The Fountain Theatre received six (6) awards  for "Cost of Living" and "Hype Man: A Break Beat Play," the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts received four (4) total for their shows "Singin’ in the Rain" and "A Night with Janis Joplin, and Sophina Brown received three (3) for "August Wilson's Two Trains Running," as did the Pasadena Playhouse for "Ragtime."

The Skylight Theatre received two (2) awards for "Bronco Billy – The Musical," as did the Center Theatre Group for "Dana H." and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts for "Witness Uganda."

The Fountain Theatre received the Best Season Award for "Cost of Living," "Daniel’s Husband," and "Hype Man: A Break Beat Play."


Here are winners at the 30th Annual LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards in the order of their announcements:


PLAYWRITING FOR AN ORIGINAL PLAY

LUCAS HNATH
DANA H.
Center Theatre Group

FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

DANIEL J. WATTS
LIGHTS OUT: NAT “KING” COLE
Geffen Playhouse

FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

AMBER IMAN
WITNESS UGANDA
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

ADOLPHUS WARD
AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown

FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

XOCHITL ROMERO
COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre

SOUND DESIGN – Intimate Theatre

JEFF GARDNER
AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown

VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN – Intimate Theatre

VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN – Large Theatre

LUCY MACKINNON
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Geffen Playhouse

OVATIONS HONORS RECIPIENT

MUSIC COMPOSITION FOR A PLAY

ROMERO MOSLEY
HYPE MAN: A BREAK BEAT PLAY
Fountain Theatre

OVATIONS HONORS RECIPIENT

PUPPET DESIGN

DILLON NELSON & ERIN WALLEY
ARGONAUTIKA
A Noise Within

SCENIC DESIGN – Large Theatre

DANE LAFFREY
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Geffen Playhouse

SCENIC DESIGN – Intimate Theatre

JOEL DAAVID
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
Dance On Productions, LLC

THE SHERWOOD AWARD FOR

MAT DIAFOS SWEENEY

BOOK FOR AN ORIGINAL MUSICAL

DENNIS HACKIN
BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL
Skylight Theatre Company

LYRICS/COMPOSITION FOR AN ORIGINAL MUSICAL

MUSIC DIRECTION

BEST PRESENTED PRODUCTION

COSTUME DESIGN – Intimate Theatre

LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

CHOREOGRAPHY

FIGHT DIRECTION

JEN ALBERT
SUCKERPUNCH
Coeurage Theatre Company

DIRECTION OF A PLAY

DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

DAVID LEE
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY

LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY

ACTING ENSEMBLE OF A MUSICAL

ACTING ENSEMBLE OF A PLAY

COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre

BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY – Intimate Theatre

BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY – Large Theatre

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL – Intimate Theatre

LIZZIE, THE MUSICAL
Chance Theater

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL – Large Theatre

BEST SEASON

FOUNTAIN THEATRE
Cost of Living
Daniel’s Husband
Hype Man: a Break Beat Play

 


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – January 6 - 12, 2020


Theatrical, One-Person, Improv, and Comedy shows, Staged Readings, Live Jazz, Music, Dance, and Award Shows registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.


(IM)PERFEKT

Share on social media.

Selma with Live Score by Jason Moran

Share on social media.

The Stanley Clarke Band

Share on social media.

17 Border Crossings

Share on social media.

Gifted

Share on social media.

jackbenny: And on the 366th Day

Share on social media.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Share on social media.

John O’Hurley in A Man With Standards

Share on social media.

A Rockin' New Decade

Share on social media.

Three

Share on social media.

That's the End of Our Time: A Magical Tale from Group Therapy

Share on social media.

Unsung Sheroes

Share on social media.

MOVES at @ The Montalbán

Share on social media.

Dr. Venus Opal Reese - THE RAW TRUTH BOOK+ TOUR

Share on social media.

Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

Share on social media.

The Really Awesome Improv Show

Share on social media.

Opening Night: The Improvised Musical!®

Share on social media.

Supportive White Parents

Share on social media.

The Human Comedy

Share on social media.


JOAN OF ART: Lots of Laughs in Long Beach, Dance at The Odyssey, 90's Beer Festival and One GroundBreaking Play

Even though the holidays are over there are still plenty of fun things to do, starting with the LONG BEACH COMIC FESTIVAL held at the Long Beach Convention Center.

This is a celebration of comic books and pop culture that showcases the exceptional works of talented writers, artists, illustrators, and creators of all types of pop culture.

You will find exhibitors promoting various products as well as entertaining and educational programs, guest signings, and meet & greet sessions with celebrities.

The event starts Saturday, January 11th from 10am - 6pm and Sunday the12th from 11am - 5pm. For information about the festival and the expo go to LongBeachComicExpo.com.

The Long Beach Convention Center is located at 300 East Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach 90802.

Another kind of entertainment can be found at The Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles. DANCE AT THE ODYSSEY begins on January 10th and runs through February 9th.

You will find L.A.'s most exciting dance here including the world premiere by String Theory, Acts of Matter and Dance Aegis. Also performing will be JA Collective and Slauson Rec, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company and Victoria Marks.

On Friday genre bending String Theory will premiere their work Landscapes & Layers which explores the intersection of sound and movement through interactive sculptures, dance, sound design and music.

Layering sound against the backdrop of contemporary dance, the ensemble creates a highly visual and textural world with an echo of the old west. I've seen this company and absolutely love them.

Also performing this weekend is Rebecca Lemme/Acts of Matter with special guest DANCE AEGIS. Rebecca is a choreographer, performer, educator and visual artist. This is another dance troupe you do not want to miss.

For more information and to purchase tickets go to OdysseyTheatre.com. The Odyssey is located at 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd. in West LA 90025.

Now I'm sure there are many of you that want to keep partying even though the holidays are over and what better place to do that is at the 90's BEER FESTIVAL on Saturday starting at 6:30pm until 10:00pm.

So put on your best flannel and grunge shirt and make your way downtown to enjoy unlimited samples of beers, ciders and specialty cocktails like the Capri Sun Cocktail cooler and the Red Gusher martini.

You will also enjoy live music from the nineties boy who will be taking you on a musical journey of hits over the entire decade.

All drinks and food are included in the ticket price. The festival takes place at Civic Center Studios 207 South Broadway in LA. For more information and to purchase tickets go to FeverUp.com.

A great way to end the weekend is making your way over to the Mark Taper to see the 2019 Tony nominated Best Play and Pulitzer Prize finalist WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME by famed writer Heidi Schreck.

This boundary breaking play breathes new life into our Constitution and imagines how it will affect the next generation of Americans.

Fifteen year old Heidi earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful and achingly human new play, she resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives.

Schreck's timely and galvanizing play, directed by Oliver Butler became a sensation off Broadway last fall before transferring to Broadway where it received to Tony Award nominations among countless other accolades. This play is absolutely brilliant.

To purchase tickets go to CenterTheatreGroup.org. The Mark Taper is located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Downtown LA.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend people, make it a fun one and HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone.


Vote for your Favorite Critic of 2019

LA's Theatre Critics are an integral part of LA Theatre and now it's our turn to recognize them with the Better Lemons Critic Awards.

There are nine categories for the Better Lemons Critic Awards that you can vote for:

"I LOVE LA" Award - the critic who did the most to promote LA Theatre in 2019

"Up Late" Award - the most prolific critic in 2019

"Say What?" Award - the most provocative critic

"Enlightenment" Award - the critic who does the most to inform and educate

"Name Dropper" Award - the critic most likely to review the big shows in the big theatres with the big names and the big budgets

"Theatre Hound" Award - the critic most likely to review the hidden gems, off the beaten path, those with short runs and small budgets

"Silver Tongue" Award - the most persuasive critic, capable of enticing anyone into a theatre seat

"Director" Award - the critic who is most likely to write reviews that inform the artists

and the

"Fomenter of Revolution" Award - the critic most likely to stir a conversation about theater, politics, and social justice

Click here to vote!

If you'd like to know more about the critics, go to Better-Lemons.com/registered-critics.

Better Lemons has two groups of Critics: those who have registered with us and those who have not.

Those who are registered with us, we call Registered Critics. These Registered Critics post their own review excerpt to production pages that are registered on Better Lemons. They also give each production a Sweet, Sweet and Sour, or Sour LemonMeter rating. (We don't send out critics to review shows, so please contact the critics directly via their publication if you need a reviewer!)

Critics who have not registered with us, post their reviews online and those reviews get submitted to us by the publicists, directors, or producers of shows that are registered on our site.  The Better Lemons team also finds reviews, and then selects the pull-quote, determines the Sweet, Sweet and Sour, or Sour LemonMeter rating, and links to the original source of the review.

We appreciate and celebrate the work of all Critics, but are especially grateful for the Critics that have registered with us! Their review excerpts and LemonMeter ratings are published as soon as they submit it (their submission doesn't need to wait to be approved).

These Registered Critics ensure that the productions are getting a LemonMeter rating quickly and that their submission reflects their own opinion, not that of a publicist, producer, or a Better Lemons team member.

We appreciate these Registered Critics and we’d like to thank them, each and every one of them.

To celebrate these Critics, we are having our first Annual Top Critics Award, where our readers will be able to vote for their favorite Critic from our list of Registered Critics.

Please look at the profile pages of each Registered Critic, read their reviews if you are not familiar with them, and place your votes on the form below by 10pm on Wednesday, January 22nd.


Audio Interview: Orson Bean and the cast of "Bad Habits" at Ruskin Group Theatre

The Sisters of St. Cyril’s are on a mission to prevent the closing of their convent and school. Might there be an “Almighty’ intervention to save them, in the form of a miraculous young woman named Maria? Or might God just sit this one out, leaving the Sisters to rely on their annual Christmas pageant fundraiser, which will be featuring a particularly surprising number? High adventure comedy, second to nun!*

Enjoy this interview with Orson Bean and the cast of “Bad Habits” at the Ruskin Group Theatre, running until Jan 26th. 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


TICKETHOLDER AWARDS 2019 PART II

My 28th annual TicketHolder Awards are now posted on my TicketHoldersLA website in two parts. You can read part II below and part I here. Click here for photos.

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY 2019

TIM CUMMINGSDaniel’s Husband, Fountain Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Ron Bottita, Loot, Odyssey; Gilbert Glenn Brown, The Mountaintop, Marshall; Dempsey Bryk, punkplay, Circle X; Seamus Dever, The Abuelas, Antaeus; Zackary Stone Gearing, Hir, Odyssey; Zackary Stone Gearing, punkplay, Circle X; Nicholas Hormann, Loot, Odyssey; Tom Ormeny, The End of Sex, Victory; Michael Manuel, Frankenstein, ANW; Will Thomas McFadden, 1984, Actors’ Gang; Will Thomas McFadden, Violence: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer, Actors’ Gang; Rob Nagle, Apple Season, Moving Arts; Rob Nagle, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court; Bruno Oliver, Waiting for Waiting for Godot, Sacred Fools; Bob Turton, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Actors’ Gang

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY

DYLAN JONES4.48 Psychosis, Son of Semele Ensemble

RUNNERS-UP: Tessa Auberjonois, Eight Nights, Antaeus; Denise Blasor, The Abuelas, Antaeus; Tovah Feldshuh, Sisters in Law, Wallis; Liza Fernandez, Apple Season, Moving Arts; Lianne Harvey, An Inspector Calls, Wallis; Susan Priver, A Streetcar Named Desire, Odyssey; Carolyn Ratteray, The Mountaintop, Marshall; Samantha Sloyan, The Thanksgiving Play, Geffen; Maura Tierney, Witch, Geffen Playhouse; Diane Wiest, Happy Days, CTG/Taper

BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE (TIE)

HERSHEY FELDERMonsieur Chopin, San Diego Repertory Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Mike Birbiglia, The New One, CTG/Ahmanson; Helder Guimaraes, Invisible Tango, Geffen Playhouse; Bill Irwin, On Beckett, Douglas; Tova Katz, See You at the Funeral, Broadwater Mainstage; John Leguizamo, Latin History for Morons, CTG/Ahmanson; David Mynne, A Christmas Carol, Wallis; Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H., CTG/Douglas; Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Lackawanna Blues, CTG, Taper

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

RICHARD TOPOLIndecentCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Keith Allen, Deadly, Sacred Fools; Will Bozier, Swan Lake, CTG/Ahmanson; James Delisco Beeks, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pantages; Aaron LaVigne, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pantages; Ryan Melia, The Old Man and the Old Moon, Wallis; Andrew Monaghan, Swan Lake, CTG/Ahmanson; Liam Mower, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Andy Robinson, Julius Weezer, Troubadour

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

JACQUE LYNN COLTON, In Circles, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

RUNNERS-UP: Caroline Bowman, Frozen, Pantages; Betty Buckley, Hello, Dolly!, Pantages; Alex Hairston, Summer, Pantages; Caroline Innerbichler, Frozen, Pantages; Katrina Lyndon, Swan Lake, CTG/Ahmanson; Dan’yelle Williamson, Summer, Pantages

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY (TIE)

BOB TURTONViolence: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, FarmerThe Actors’ Gang

RUNNERS-UP: Ron Bottitta, Hir, Odyssey; Chad Coe, The End of Sex, Victory; Bill Brochtrup, Daniel’s Husband, Fountain; Rob Brownstein, Anne, a New Play, Museum of Tolerance; JD Cullum, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Anteaus; Seamus Dever, Cripple of Inishmaan, Anteaus; Arye Gross, Eight Nights, Antaeus; Stephen Guarino, Handjob, Echo; Joe Hernandez-Kolski, Waiting for Waiting for Godot, Sacred Fools; Justin Huen, Apple Season, Moving Arts; Carl J. Johnson, Driving Wilde, Theatre of NOTE; Brandon Rachal, Native Son, Antaeus/CTG at the Douglas; Tom Szymanski, Violence: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer, Actors’ Gang; Will Von Vogt, Witch, Geffen Playhouse; Josh Zuckerman, Eight Nights, Antaeus

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

MELISSA SULLIVANA Streetcar Named Desire, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

RUNNERS-UP: Anne Gee Byrd, Cripple of Inishmaan, Anteaus; Irene De Bari, The Abuelas, Antaeus; Mary-Pat Green, Cripple of Inishmaan, Anteaus; Alexandra Henrikson, The Thanksgiving Play, Geffen; Sadie Kuwano, punkplay, Circle X; Mara Klein, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court; Mildred Marie Langford, Native Son, Antaeus/CTG at the Douglas; Mary Gordon Murray, Anne, a New Play, Museum of Tolerance; Jenny O’Hara, Daniel’s Husband, Fountain; Zoe Yale, Eight Nights, Antaeus

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

HARRY GROENER, IndecentCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Rick Batalla, Julius Weezer, Troubadour; John Colella, The Producers, Celebration; Andrew Diego, The Producers, Celebration; Paris Fitzpatrick, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Ben Ferguson, The Old Man and the Old Moon, Wallis; F. Michael Haynie, Frozen, Pantages; Paul Louis Lessard, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pantages; P.T. Mahoney, In Circles, Odyssey; Steven Rattazzi, Indecent, CTG/Ahmanson; Morgan Rusler, Julius Weezer, Troubadour; Michael A. Shepperd, The Producers, Celebration; Alan Vincent, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Dan Weschler, The Old Man and the Old Moon, Wallis

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

ADINA VERSON, IndecentCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Madelaine Brennan, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Elizabeth A. Davis, Indecent, CTG/Ahmanson; Victoria Hoffman, Julius Weezer, Troubadour; Beth Kennedy, Julius Weezer, Troubadour; Katrina Lyndon, Swan Lake, CTG/Ahmanson; Mary Ann Welshans, The Producers, Celebration; Brittney S. Wheeler, Deadly, Sacred Fools

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST IN A PLAY (TIE)

Stephen Borrello, Joely Fisher, Andy Garcia, Rose McIver, Louis Mustillo, Danny Pino, Tony Plana, Richard Riehle, Bradley Snedeker; Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse

Hugo Armstrong, John Bobek, Austin Durant, Leo Marks, Ramiz Monsef, Helen Sadler, Alan Tudyk; Mysterious Circumstances, Geffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: John Apicella, Noel Arthur, Paul Baird, Gabriela Bonet, Claudia Elmore, Turner Frankosky, Troy Guthrie, Steve Hofvendahl, Connor Kelly-Eiding, Michael Khachanov, Alex Knox, Mehrnaz Mohammadi, Madalina Nastase, Liza Seneca, Janellen Steininger, George Villas; The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company

Victor Anthony, Joshua Bitton, Lesley Fera, Liza Fernandez, Matthew Hancock, Marisol Miranda, Montae Russell; Between Riverside and Crazy, Fountain Theatre

James A. Alfred, A. Russell Andrews, Francois Battiste, Harvy Blanks, Amari Cheatom, Anthony Chisholm, Brian D. Coats, Steven Anthony Jones, Patrese D. McClain; Nija Okoro, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas; Jitney, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

Crystal Diaz, Elinor Gunn, Liesel Hanson, Faith Imafidon, Cindy Lin, Nadia Marina, Lynn Odell, Alina Phelan, Briana Price, Nicole Gabriella Scipione, Yolanda Snowball, Jenny Soo, Nancy Stone, Tania Verafield; For The Love Of (or the Roller Derby Play), Theatre of NOTE / Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre

Ian Barford, Tim Hopper, Sally Murphy, Caroline Neff, Chantal Thuy, Cora Vander Broek, Troy West; Linda Vista, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

Ro Boddie, Max Casella, Micaela Diamond, Peter Jacobson, Jason Kravits, Nellie McKay, Saul Rubinek, Miriam Silverman, Joey Slotnick, Sam Vartholomeos, CJ Wilson, A Play is a Poem, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

Scott Cote, Peyton Crim, Brandon J. Ellis, Angela Grovey, Ned Noyes, Jamie Ann Romero, Evan Alexander Smith, Yaegel T. Welch; The Play That Goes Wrong, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

Sile Bermingham, Reed Michael Campbell, Brian Foyster; The Ruffian on the Stair, Los Angeles LGBT Center

Will Brittain, Eli Gelb, Harry Groener, Kimberly Jurgen, Idina Menzel, Jeff Skowron, Skintight, Geffen Playhouse

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST IN A MUSICAL

Nick Adams, Nick Blaemire, Audrey Cardwell, Eden Espinosa, Thatcher Jacobs, Bryonha Marie Parham, Max von Essen; FalsettosCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Rick Batalla, Chelle Denton, Beth Kennedy, Janelle Lillian, Luis “L.T.” Martinez, Mike Sulprizio, Cloie Wyatt Taylor, Matt Walker, Dave C Wright, A Christmas Carole King, Troubadour Theater Company

The ensemble of Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

Alex Falberg, Ben Ferguson, Curtis Gillen, Ryan Melia, Matt Nuernberger, Arya Shahi, Dan Weschler; The Old Man and the Old Moon, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

The ensemble of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

BEST CABARET / CONCERT PERFORMANCE

DEIDRIE HENRYLady Day at Emerson’s Bar & GrillGarry Marshall Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Michael Churven and George McGrath, Party of Two, Groundlings Theatre

NEW DISCOVERY 2019

RUNNERS-UP: Reed Michael Campbell, The Ruffian on the Stair, Los Angeles LGBT Center; Olivia Elsease Hardy, Summer, Pantages; Thatcher Jacobs, Falsettos, CTG/Ahmanson; Michael Rishawn, Handjob, Echo; Jarrod Takle, Circa: Humans, Wallis

BEST PLAYWRIGHT

Tracy LettsLinda Vista, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

RUNNERS-UP: Sir David Hare, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court; Larissa Fasthorse, The Thanksgiving Play, Geffen; Hershey Felder, A Paris Love Story, Wallis; Stephen Adly Guirgis, Between Riverside and Crazy, Fountain; Dave Hanson, Waiting for Waiting for Godot, Sacred Fools; Joshua Harmon, Skintight, Geffen; E.M. Lewis, Apple Season, Moving Arts; Taylor Mac, Hir, Odyssey; Jennifer Maisel, Eight Nights, Antaeus; Michael McKeever, Daniel’s Husband, Fountain; Vince Melocchi, Andy Warhol’s Tomato, PRT; Gregory S. Moss, punkplay, Circle X; Erik Patterson, Handjob, Echo; Vanessa Claire Stewart, Deadly, Sacred Fools; Paula Vogel, Indecent, CTG/Ahmanson; Gay Walch, The End of Sex, Victory; Stephanie Alison Walker, The Abuelas, Antaeus

BEST ADAPTATION OR TRANSLATION

Michael MitnickMysterious Circumstances, Geffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: Alistair Beaton, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus; Nick Blaemire, Anne, a New Play, Museum of Tolerance; Matthew Bourne, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Nick Dear, Frankenstein, ANW; Jeffrey Hatcher and Andy Garcia, Key Largo, Geffen; Lucas Hnath, Dana H., CTG/Douglas; Jon Laskin and Michael Aquilante, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Actors’ Gang; Jennifer Lee, Frozen, Pantages; Jonathan Shapiro, Sisters in Law, Wallis; Jen Silverman, Witch, Geffen Playhouse; Michael Gene Sullivan, 1984, Actors’ Gang; Matt Walker, A Christmas Carole King, Troubadour; Matt Walker, Julius Weezer, Troubadour; Jacqueline Wright, Driving Wilde, Theatre of NOTE

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Matt Shakman, Mysterious CircumstancesGeffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: Darin Anthony, Apple Season, Moving Arts; Daniel Aukin, Skintight, Geffen; Matt Bretz and Lisa Sanaye Dring, punkplay, Circle X; Dexter Bullard, Linda Vista, CTG/Taper; Emily Chase, Eight Nights, Antaeus; Guillermo Cienfuegos, Between Riverside and Crazy, Fountain; Gregg T. Daniel, The Mountaintop, Marshall; Michael John Garces, The Thanksgiving Play, Geffen; Maria Gobetti, The End of Sex, Victory; Doug Hughes, Key Largo, Geffen; Rhonda Kohl, For The Love Of (or the Roller Derby Play), Theatre of NOTE / Kirk Douglas; Simon Levy, Daniel’s Husband, Fountain; Marti Lyons, Witch, Geffen Playhouse; Matthew McCray, 4.48 Psychosis, Son of Semele; Will Thomas McFadden, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Actors’ Gang; Michael Michetti, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court; Michael Michetti, Frankenstein, ANW; Tim Robbins, 1984, Actors’ Gang; Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Jitney, CTG/Taper; Stephanie Shroyer, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus; Jacob Sidney, Waiting for Waiting for Godot, Sacred Fools; Bob Turton, Violence: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer, Actors’ Gang; Les Waters, Dana H., CTG/Douglas

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Rebecca Taichman, IndecentCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Matthew Bourne, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Matthew Bourne, Swan Lake, CTG/Ahmanson; Stuart Carden with members of the PigPen Theatre Co., The Old Man and the Old Moon, Wallis; Michael Grandage, Frozen, Pantages; Michael Matthews, The Producers, Celebration; Des McAnuff, Summer, Pantages; Jamie Robledo, Deadly, Sacred Fools; David Schweizer, In Circles, Odyssey; Timothy Sheader, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pantages; Matt Walker, A Christmas Carole King, Troubadour

BEST MUSICAL SCORE

Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva, IndecentCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Rob Falconer, The Play That Goes Wrong, CTG/Ahmanson; Ryan Thomas Johnson, Deadly, Sacred Fools; Robert Oriol, Frankenstein, ANW; Nellie McKay, A Play is a Poem, CTG/Taper; Members of the PigPen Theatre Co., The Old Man and the Old Moon, Wallis; Arturo Sandoval, Key Largo, Geffen; Stephanie Shroyer with the members of the cast, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION

Kenneth J. Grimes, In Circles, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

RUNNERS-UP: Derick Finley, A Christmas Carole King, Troubadour; Shawn Gough, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pantages; Ryan Thomas Johnson, Deadly, Sacred Fools; Amanda Morton, Summer, Pantages; Abdul Hamid Royal, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Marshall; Anthony Zediker, The Producers, Celebration

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Matthew Bourne, Swan LakeCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Rob Ashford, Frozen, Pantages; Matthew Bourne, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Kate Coleman, In Circles, Odyssey; David Dorfman, Indecent, CTG/Ahmanson; Nadine Ellis, Janet Roston, The Producers, Celebration; Drew McOnie, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pantages; Sergio Trujillo, Summer, Pantages; Matt Walker, and Suzanne Julie Narbonne, Julius Weezer, Troubadour

BEST SET DESIGN (TIE)

Brett J. Banakis, Mysterious Circumstances, Geffen Playhouse

John Lee BeattyKey Largo, Geffen Playhouse

RUNNERS UP: Andrew Boyce, Dana H., CTG/Douglas; Lez Brotherston, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Alex Calle, The Mountaintop, Marshall; Francois-Pierre Couture, Frankenstein, ANW; Joel Daavid, A Streetcar Named Desire, Odyssey; Alexander Dodge, Anastasia, Pantages; Hershey Felder, A Paris Love Story, Wallis; Lydia Fine with members of the PigPen Theatre Co., The Old Man and the Old Moon, Wallis; David Gallo, Jitney, CTG/Taper; Stephen Gifford, The Producers, Celebration; Lauren Helpern, Skintight, Geffen; Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong, CTG/Ahmanson; Christopher Oram, Frozen, Pantages; Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, Apple Season, Moving Arts; Sibyl Wickersheimer, punkplay, Circle X

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

E.B. Brooks, Mysterious CircumstancesGeffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: E. B. Brooks, The Producers, Celebration; Lez Brotherston, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Lez Brotherston, Swan Lake, CTG/Ahmanson; Angela Calin, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus; Wendell C. Carmichael, The Abuelas, Antaeus; Linda Cho, Anastasia, Pantages; Linda Cho, Key Largo, Geffen; Ann Closs-Farley, Driving Wilde, Theatre of NOTE; Ann Closs-Farley, In Circles, Odyssey; Ann Closs-Farley, punkplay, Circle X; Diane Graebner, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court; Alex Jaeger, Eight Nights, Antaeus; Diane Laffrey, Witch, Geffen Playhouse; Shon LeBlanc, A Streetcar Named Desire, Odyssey; Garry Lennon, Frankenstein, ANW; Linda Muggeridge, Deadly, Sacred Fools; Christopher Oram, Frozen, Pantages; Emily Rebholz, Indecent, CTG/Ahmanson; Roberto Surace, The Play That Goes Wrong, CTG/Ahmanson

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

Jared A. SayegFrankenstein, A Noise Within

RUNNERS-UP: Christopher Akerlind, Indecent, CTG/Ahmanson; Christopher Ash, A Paris Love Story, Wallis; Neil Austin, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Howard Binkley, Summer, Pantages; Martha Carter, Apple Season, Moving Arts; Paule Constable, Swan Lake, CTG/Ahmanson; Bart Cortright with members of the PigPen Theatre Co., The Old Man and the Old Moon, Wallis; Lee Curran, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pantages; Rick Fisher, An Inspector Calls, Wallis; Elizabeth Harper, Mysterious Circumstances, Geffen; David Hernandez, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court; Donald Holder, Anastasia, Pantages; Peter Kaczorowski, Key Largo, Geffen; Natasha Katz, Frozen, Pantages; Karyn D. Lawrence, Eight Nights, Antaeus; Rose Malone, For The Love Of (or the Roller Derby Play), Theatre of NOTE / Kirk Douglas; Tom Ontiveros, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Marshall; Andrew Schmedake, Native Son, Antaeus/CTG at the Douglas; Paul Toben, Dana H., CTG/Douglas

BEST SOUND DESIGN (TIE)

Warren DavisApple Season, Moving Arts

Alex HawthornKey Largo, Geffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: Eric Carstensen, A Paris Love Story, Wallis; Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H., CTG/Douglas; Mikhail Fiksel with members of the PigPen Theatre Co., The Old Man and the Old Moon, Wallis; Jeff Gardner, The Abuelas, Antaeus; Jeff Gardner, Eight Nights, Antaeus; Jeff Gardner, Native Son, Antaeus/CTG at the Douglas; Paul Groothuis, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Matt Hubbs, Indecent, CTG/Ahmanson; Peter Hylenski, Frozen, Pantages; Cricket S. Myers, The Producers, Celebration; Robert Oriol, Frankenstein, ANW; Gareth Owen, Summer, Pantages; Robert Arturo Ramirez, The Mountaintop, Marshall; Jonathan Snipes, Mysterious Circumstances, Geffen; Daniel S. Tator, A Christmas Carole King, Troubadour

BEST STUNT / FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY

Edgar Landapunkplay, Circle X Theatre Company

RUNNERS-UP: Ronnie Clark, Apple Season, Moving Arts; Dane Oliver, Hir, Odyssey; Steve Rankin, Witch, Geffen Playhouse; Steven Simon and Edgar Landa, Waiting for Waiting for Godot, Sacred Fools

BEST CGI / VIDEO DESIGN

Christopher AshA Paris Love StoryWallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

RUNNERS-UP: Adam R. Macias, The Arbuelas, Antaeus; Adam R. Macias, Native Son, Antaeus/CTG at the Douglas; Duncan McLean, Cinderella, CTG/Ahmanson; Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson, Mysterious Circumstances, Geffen; Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson, Key Largo, Geffen; Aaron Rhyne, Anastasia, Pantages

SPECIAL EVENTS and PERFORMANCES

Nellie McKay, performing her original music in the otherwise dastardly A Play is a Poem, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum 

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Michael Curry, Puppet Design, Frozen, Pantages Theatre
Ann Closs-Farley, Hair Design, punkplay, Circle X Theatre Company
Charles G. LaPointe, Wig and Hair Design, Summer, Pantages Theatre

BEST SCENE-STEALING DERRIERE OF 2019

Will BrittainSkintight, Geffen Playhouse


THE BEST OF SHOWS ON BETTER LEMONS IN 2019

Better Lemons had a fantastic year and we couldn't have done it without the fantastic critics, publicists, and audience members who share their love of Los Angeles theater, by posting on Better Lemons and sharing their favorite shows and their reviews on social media.

We are especially grateful for all the Registered Critics who took their time this past year to rate shows they have reviewed to be included in our LemonMeter.

There were 1200 productions registered on Better Lemons in 2019! Out of those registered shows, over 600 received at least one review from a Critic and 201 were reviewed by Audience members. Out of these shows, we selected the winners that were most favored by Critics and/or Audiences.

Here is a list with all the Better Lemons SWEET productions of 2019:

The Better Lemons DoubleSWEET #LemonMeter Choice Awards for 2019
are going to the following productions:

(33 shows out of 1200 productions received
a DoubleSWEET #LemonMeter rating
from audience and critics)

TALES FROM THE POWDER ROOM at the Whitefire Theatre
41 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

IF WE RUN at the Lounge Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

RAISED BY WOLVES at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TO DAD WITH LOVE: A TRIBUTE TO BUDDY EBSEN at Theatre West
30 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

FERTILE: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE EXPECTATION OF PROCREATION currently at the Whitefire Theatre
27 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
8 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

HOLLYWOODN'T at the Santa Monica Playhouse
20 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

THE BULLY PROBLEM at the Arena Theatre - Theatre of Arts
17 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
9 Critics reviews - 94% Sweet

THE NARCISSIST NEXT DOOR at the Complex Theatre
15 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

THE ELEPHANT MAN at the El Portal Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet
7 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

MONO/POLY at the Odyssey Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

MASTERS OF THE DARK REALM at the Actors Workout Studio
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

BUNNY THE ELF LIVE! currently at the Stages in Fullerton
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

CRACK WHORE, BULIMIC, GIRL-NEXT-DOOR at the Complex Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

A BIT MUCH at the Lounge Theatre
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

(IM)PERFEKT at the Santa Monica Playhouse
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

BLACKBOXING at the Complex Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

MIL GRUS at the McCadden Place Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TRANSFERENCE at The Broadwater
9 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
6 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

SCRAPS at the Matrix Theatre
8 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
15 Critics reviews - 87% Sweet

SUPPORTIVE WHITE PARENTS at The Broadwater
8 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

NEIL SIMON'S MUSICAL FOOLS by the Open Fist Theatre Company
7 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
13 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

ROMEO AND JULIET IN HELL at the Actors Workout Studio
7 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
8 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

FALLEN SAINTS: SALEM at the Actors Workout Studio
7 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
7 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

SAVING CAIN at the Hudson Theatres
6 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

THE LAST CROISSANT at The Broadwater
5 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
6 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TREYA'S LAST DANCE at the Hudson Theatres
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

OLIVIA WILDE DOES NOT SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE at the Complex Theatre
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
6 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

CLARISSANT at the Atwater Village Theatre
4 Audience reviews - 88% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

CIRQUE DU GISELLE at the Assistance League Theater
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

BATTER UP: MY BRAIN ON BASEBALL at studio/stage
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

JOAN AND WHAT DID THEY SAY - AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS at Theatre Unlimited (T.U. Studios)
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TREASON at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

45 MILLIGRAMS at The Broadwater
3 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

The Better Lemons Audience #LemonMeter Choice Awards for 2019
are going to the following productions:

(32 shows out of 1200 productions received
a minimum of 10 audience reviews
and have received a SWEET #LemonMeter rating by the Audience)

TALES FROM THE POWDER ROOM at the Whitefire Theatre
41 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

IF WE RUN at the Lounge Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

RAISED BY WOLVES at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

TO DAD WITH LOVE: A TRIBUTE TO BUDDY EBSEN at Theatre West
30 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

FERTILE: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE EXPECTATION OF PROCREATION currently at the Whitefire Theatre
27 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

AN EXCUSE TO BEHAVE BADLY at the Lounge Theatre
22 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

HOLLYWOODN'T at the Santa Monica Playhouse
20 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

THE BULLY PROBLEM at the Arena Theatre - Theatre of Arts
17 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

TELENOVELA at the Actors Workout Studio
16 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

AMERICAN STRANGER THE MUSICAL at Studio C
16 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

THE NARCISSIST NEXT DOOR at the Complex Theatre
15 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

THE ELEPHANT MAN at the El Portal Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet

MONO/POLY at the Odyssey Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

MASTERS OF THE DARK REALM at the Actors Workout Studio
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BUNNY THE ELF LIVE! currently at the Stages in Fullerton
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

CRACK WHORE, BULIMIC, GIRL-NEXT-DOOR Complex Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet

MANDY PICKS A HUSBAND at the Actors Company
13 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

A BIT MUCH at the Lounge Theatre
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

ASK A BLACK WOMAN at Studio C
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BIRTHDAY at the Actors Company
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

(IM)PERFEKT at the Santa Monica Playhouse
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

LEAVING PRINCE CHARMING at the Lounge Theatre
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

ENERJOYCE...EVOLUTION OF A PISCES BABY BOOMER at the Santa Monica Playhouse
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

YES. NO. MAYBE. at the Complex Theatre
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BECOMING PEACE: A ONE WOMAN DRAMEDY ABOUT POWER, CULTURE, VIOLENCE AND NONVIOLENCE at the Lounge Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

CAT SH!T CRAZY...FROM HOT MESS TO HOT MAMA IN FOUR SIMPLE CATS at the Whitefire Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

OCTOPI WALL STREET at the New American Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

EMBRACE LOVE FREE at the Santa Monica Playhouse
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BLACKBOXING at the Santa Monica Playhouse
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

MIL GRUS at the McCadden Place Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

The Better Lemons Critics #LemonMeter Choice Awards for 2019
are going to the following productions:

(92 shows out of 1200 productions received
a minimum of 10 critic reviews
and have received a SWEET #LemonMeter rating by the Critics)

DANIEL'S HUSBAND at The Fountain Theatre
26 Critics reviews - 96% Sweet

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG at the Ahmanson Theatre
21 Critics reviews - 76% Sweet

WITCH at the Geffen Playhouse
21 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

HANDJOB by the Echo Theater Company
21 Critics reviews - 79% Sweet

THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN by the Antaeus Theatre Company
20 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

TOO MUCH SUN at the Odyssey Theatre
19 Critics reviews - 84% Sweet

THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE by the Antaeus Theatre Company
19 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

SKINTIGHT at the Geffen Playhouse
19 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY at The Fountain Theatre
19 Critics reviews - 79% Sweet

1776 THE MUSICAL at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
18 Critics reviews - 94% Sweet

AN INSPECTOR CALLS at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
18 Critics reviews - 81% Sweet

BRONCO BILLY - THE MUSICAL at the Skylight Theatre Company
18 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

DEADLY at the Sacred Fools Theater Company
18 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS at the Ahmanson Theatre
18 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

MATTHEW BOURNE'S SWAN LAKE at the Ahmanson Theatre
18 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

HELLO DOLLY at the Pantages Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

READY STEADY YETI GO at the Rogue Machine Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 82% Sweet

ON BECKETT at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

ANNE, A NEW PLAY at the Museum of Tolerance
16 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

LOOT at the Odyssey Theatre
16 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES at the Geffen Playhouse
16 Critics reviews - 84% Sweet

NICK DEAR'S FRANKENSTEIN at A Noise Within
16 Critics reviews - 78% Sweet

SCRAPS at the Matrix Theatre
15 critics reviews - 87% Sweet

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
15 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

PARADISE at the Matrix Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

LINDA VISTA at the Mark Taper Forum
15 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

HYPE MAN at The Fountain Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

OTHELLO at A Noise Within
15 Critics reviews - 80% Sweet

RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL at the Pasadena Playhouse
15 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

LACKAWANNA BLUES at the Mark Taper Forum
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

DANA H. at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

FALSETTOS at the Ahmanson Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

INDECENT at the Ahmanson Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

A KID LIKE JAKE by the IAMA Theatre Company
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

EIGHT NIGHTS by the Antaeus Theatre Company
15 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

TO DAD WITH LOVE: A TRIBUTE TO BUDDY EBSEN at Theatre West
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

DIANA OF DOBSON'S by the Antaeus Theatre Company
14 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

MOBY DICK - REHEARSED at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum
14 Critics reviews - 89% Sweet

THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

THE SOLID LIFE OF SUGAR WATER by Deaf West Theatre
14 Critics reviews - 89% Sweet

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at the Pasadena Playhouse
14 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

AUGUST WILSON'S JITNEY at the Mark Taper Forum
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

SALVAGE at the Lounge Theatre
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

NEIL SIMON'S MUSICAL FOOLS by the Open Fist Theatre Company
13 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

TWO TRAINS RUNNING AT MATRIX at the Matrix Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

WITNESS UGANDA at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
13 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

THE JOY WHEEL at the Ruskin Group Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

LIGHTS OUT: NAT "KING" COLE at the Geffen Playhouse
13 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

THE WOLVES by the Echo Theater Company
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

FAITH HEALER at the Odyssey Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

THE NICETIES at the Geffen Playhouse
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

ARGONAUTIKA at A Noise Within
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

RAGTIME at the Chance Theater
13 Critics reviews - 96% Sweet

THE PRODUCERS at the Celebration Theatre @ The Lex
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

TWELFTH NIGHT at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
13 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

FEFU AND HER FRIENDS at the Odyssey Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

GRUMPY OLD MEN: THE MUSICAL at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
13 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

IN CIRCLES at the Odyssey Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

AMERICA ADJACENT at theSkylight Theatre Company
12 Critics reviews - 83% Sweet

CANYON at theLos Angeles Theatre Center
12 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

ANASTASIA at the Pantages Theatre
12 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

HAPPY DAYS at the Mark Taper Forum
12 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Ruskin Group Theatre
12 Critics reviews - 96% Sweet

NANCY F***ING REAGAN at the Secret Rose Theatre
12 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

THE VANDAL at the Chance Theater
12 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

DEFENDERS at The Broadwater
12 Critics reviews - 79% Sweet

ANNA IN THE TROPICS by the Open Fist Theatre Company
11 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

THE GLASS MENAGERIE at A Noise Within
11 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

AT THE TABLE at The Road Theatre Company
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

JULIUS WEEZER at the El Portal Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Odyssey Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 86% Sweet

M. BUTTERFLY at the South Coast Repertory
11 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

HERSHEY FELDER: A PARIS LOVE STORY at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

ANDY WARHOL’S TOMATO at the Pacific Resident Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

BURIED CHILD at A Noise Within
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

MISS LILLY GETS BONED at the Rogue Machine Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

SISTERS IN LAW at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

THE GREAT LEAP at the Pasadena Playhouse
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

TREYA'S LAST DANCE at the Hudson Theatres
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

SPECIAL at the Theatre of Note
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

SWEENEY TODD - THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET at the South Coast Repertory
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

FRIENDS WITH GUNS at The Road Theatre Company
10 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

ROALD DAHL'S MATILDA THE MUSICAL by 5 Star Theatricals
10 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE by the 24th STreet Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

DAMES AT SEA by the Sierra Madre Playhouse
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

LOOSE KNIT by The Group Rep/Lonny Chapman Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 80% Sweet

NEVER IS NOW at the Skylight Theatre Company
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

THE NEW ONE at the Ahmanson Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

FIFTEEN MEN IN A SMOKE-FILLED ROOM at Theatre 40
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

DISNEY'S FROZEN at the Pantages Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER by The Group Rep/Lonny Chapman Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet