www.better-lemons.com /May 31-June 23
Be our guest! Step into the enchanted world of Broadway’s modern classic, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, an international sensation that continues to amaze and delight with its captivating story of soaring romance, bright humor and thrilling adventure.
taken from the website
Often regarded as among the finest plays of the 20th century, Streetcar is considered by many to be Williams' greatest work. The story famously recounts how the faded and promiscuous Blanche is pushed over the edge by Stanley, her sexy and brutal brother-in-law.*
Enjoy this interview with the cast of “A Streetcar Named Desire” at Odyssey Theatre, playing through July 7th. 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.
The Hollywood Fringe Festival is celebrating its 10th year this year and opens today, Thursday, June 13, 2019.
Annually, for the month of June, this unique "open and uncensored" non-profit theatre festival occupies Hollywood's Theatre Row, and many more adjacent venues and spaces in the Hollywood and Media District areas. Per the non-profit's site, this "open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community" can be found in parks, community centers, churches, clubs, restaurants" housing a wide variety of productions created by new individual producers, seasoned production companies, member-fueled theatre companies and residencies, and a variety of other independent self-producers–both locally and from all over the world.
This year, there are nearly 400 participating shows, most of which are also registered on the Better Lemons Calender. Here are a few shows, opening this week and next, that talked with Better Lemons about their shows.
Vivi Thai, producer and actress of "She Kills Monsters," spoke with Monique LeBleu of Better Lemons at The BLACK bar and lounge at the Hollywood Fringe Festival Office Hours mixer on May 22, 2019.
Chris Bunyi & Matt Robinson of "Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive the Apocalypse" spoke with Monique LeBleu of Better Lemons at The BLACK bar and lounge at the Hollywood Fringe Festival Office Hours mixer on May 22, 2019.
This weekend, June 14th, 15th, 16th Luminario Ballet presents: "Choose Your Identity", modern dance legend Bella Lewitzky's TURF, 'LedZAerial and the world choreography award nominated 'Lift Ticket.' by Luminario artistic director Judith FLEX Helle.
I've seen them many times and they are absolutely fantastic. This is ballet like you've never seen it. Their aerial work alone will blow you away.
Special guest stars: Dreya Weber (PINK) will perform and Tawny Ellis and her band will play with Luminario Ballet dancers dancing.
The show will take place at the ultra cool Cafe Club Fais Do-Do located at 5253 West Adams Blvd, in LA. This is a club that offers a gumbo of eclectic music and diverse people coming together to build a stronger community by offering exposure to new cultures, sounds and philosophies.
Another great event happening this weekend is the opening of the Hollywood Bowl on June 15h with the great John Legend performing. He'll be accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and a sky full of fireworks. Now it doesn't get more romantic than that.
John is an incomparable talent, a charming presence on stage who brings great depth of emotion to his work as a pianist and songwriter. He'll kick off their season with style and a performance you won't forget.
To purchase tickets go to HollywoodBowl.com. or call (323) 850-2000. John goes on at 8pm.
Married couple Karen and Gabe live an idyllic life in Connecticut. They regularly have their best friends Beth and Tom over for double-date dinner party But of course dinner is not just about food. At least not in Margulies' play.
As the evening goes on Beth tearfully reveals that she is getting a divorce from Tom who has been unfaithful and from there it only get better and better. I've seen this play twice and it's one not to be missed.
'Dinner With Friends' opens at the Beverly Hills Playhouse 254 South Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills CA 90211. To purchase tickets or for more information go to CrimsonSquare.org. The play runs Fridays and Saturdays 8m and Sunday at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, until June 30th.
If art is what you desire starting Friday June 14th at 7pm the Pop Up Arts & Music Festival will be at the Fred Kavli Theatre for the Performing Arts at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
As the name suggest, the festival will feature pop up public performances and activities at a variety of locations throughout Thousand Oaks.
The primary goal of the festival is to provide residents and visitors with an opportunity to actively participate in and enjoy the arts in unexpected and distinctive locations throughout the community.
The festival will feature seven free events over three weekends, June 14 and 15, June 21, 22, 23 and June 28 and 29. In partnership with local arts organizations, the festival will include local and regional artistic talent, in addition to nationally recognized performing artists.
www.better-lemons.com /May 25-July 7
Often regarded as among the finest plays of the 20th century, Streetcar is considered by many to be Williams' greatest work. The story famously recounts how the faded and promiscuous Blanche is pushed over the edge by Stanley, her sexy and brutal brother-in-law.
taken from the website
Ross spoke with Better Lemons about the new piece and what he’s been involved with since we saw him last.
Better Lemons: What have you been up to since the 2017 Fringe? Ross John Gosla: Wow, hard to believe it's been two years. Been keeping busy. I did a short run of Desert Warrior in January 2018, followed by a couple of one act plays. I was brought on staff full-time at the Complex Hollywood, where Monica Martin and team have been working at full speed to improve and renovate since she took over ownership last year.
I filmed an episode of the web series The Wasteland, in which I played a captured insurgent in a dystopian future. I shot a big commercial at the beginning of this year directed by an Academy Award-winner (NDA). Most recently, I provided the narration for the documentary Masculinity that Inspires Change that dropped on Amazon Prime this past May.
BL: Tell us a bit about the new piece. What was the inspiration? RJG: The piece follows a privileged straight white male named "Ross" as he goes on an adventure through the Man Make Machine in order to become a real man in 2019. When the Weinstein scandal broke, I found myself quickly saying, "But I'm not like that," as I’m sure many men did. And we men tended to vocalize that sentiment loudly.
But as the narrative evolved, a resounding female voice said: "Shut up and let this play out." And as it did, the moment of epiphany came. I asked myself if there were any areas of sexual violation that I have committed, any lines crossed, any boundaries not respected. And in that introspection, I found a myriad of unchecked behavior — behavior that in a different set of life circumstances could very well lead to a Weinstein-esque persona.
From there, I applied the same formula I used with Desert Warrior. I took that behavior I revealed and a couple other seemingly unrelated events (my Taekwondo years, and a couple of key conversations with my Dad), put them into the brain mixer, and here we are!
BL: Your director, Steph Martinez, is a Fringe first-timer. What’s her background? RJG: She is a blessing from Heaven. We met at the theater program at Arizona State in 2007. A similar training style — the program primarily utilizes Viewpoints as a tool to train actors and devise new work. We reconnected here in LA and are part of the same acting studio, Studio 24/7. A brilliant actress and artist, she has masterfully shaped the piece and kept me truthful in the work with insightful notes and questions. Most importantly, she has brought a perspective that is crucial to any conversation dealing with improving gender relations.
BL: What message do you hope to deliver with this piece? RJG: Understanding and healing. I believe there are certain unifying male experiences that all men share. I'd like to think that if the show causes one other man to honestly examine his "gray areas," and he comes to recognize those times when he may not have actually had consent. Or he was false with his intentions, and learns from those mistakes and can foster a higher ideal in the future, that would be a powerful message indeed.
BL: How does it feel to be back at the Fringe as a performer? RJG: I love the Fringe, it's my absolute favorite time of the year. You meet so many like-minded artists and make so many new friends. The electricity in the air is palpable — this year especially. All the participants seem extra pumped!
BL: What words of advice would you give to Fringe neophytes? RJG:Dive in headfirst, have fun, hydrate, rest when needed; rinse and repeat.
Sexual Misadventures of a Straight White Male: A Privilege Story plays June 14-
29 at the Complex Hollywood’s Flight Theatre, 6472 Santa Monica Blvd. Specific dates and showtimes, as well as ticketing information, can be found on the Fringe site.
Making his Fringe debut this year is Thomas Wortham, the writer, producer and director of An American Video Store, set in one of the titular establishments that barely exist anymore.
In the midst of beginning a new job and preparing his show for the Fringe, Mr. Wortham still found the time to talk to Better Lemons.
Better Lemons: What was the inspiration behind this piece? Personal experience? Thomas Wortham: I don't know how it works now, but in the ‘90s kids would just hang out at various retail locations, whether it be the mall, an arcade or — in my case — a video store. I got hooked at a young age by my mom's VHS collection and it just never stopped. There was a Blockbuster up the street from my house that I practically grew up in. I also worked at a Hollywood Video Store in college, which was an awesome and terrible experience all at the same time. I always wanted to write some form of this story and the mistake I always made was trying to make the plot about the actual downfall of the video store business. Something in the vein of Empire Records, where it was all about saving the store.
I finally felt I had unlocked the idea when I realized the story had to be about the characters and allow the business aspects to simply act as a foundation for what was happening.
BL: Any parallels with Clerks - which, of course, would be a perfect connection? TW: It is so funny you ask this. OF COURSE Clerks and Kevin Smith are a massive influence on myself and the play. In fact, just two nights ago I attended his Fatman Beyond podcast taping in Hollywood. They do a Q&A at the end and I was able to get up and ask a question wearing a shirt that had my play's logo on it.
Kevin is so generous with folks promoting their stuff, and with his connection to video stores, he immediately asked me about my shirt and insisted I plug all aspects of my play before and after me asking my question. It was incredible. He also had some nice things to say about the Fringe, which was cool.
But in terms of the mechanics of the play, it was crucial that the script had scenes that allowed the characters to wax intellectual about movies. Very similar to how Dante and Randal talk about Star Wars in Clerks, or how Brodie and T.S. talk about Superman in Mallrats. And you know just how shitty jobs really have an impact on how our lives play out, when we are young can, whether we recognize it or not in the moment.
BL: What does (or did) the video store symbolize in American culture? TW: I think that more than anything the video store era just represented a communal experience that sadly is the biggest thing missing when you select something through a streaming service. I'm sure the algorithms that Netflix uses are very sophisticated, but the way an organic conversation with customers and clerks could lead you down such interesting and unexpected paths was something I think is impossible to replicate.
BL: Briefly, what’s the show about? How will it resonate with audiences? TW: Taking place over three pivotal moments in the history of the American video store, our intimate story of clerks and customers examines the rise and fall of a cultural phenomenon that defined a generation. The show is an hour long - with the goal being a funny, emotional and nostalgic trip down memory lane for anyone who has ever enjoyed the experience of going to a video store to pick out a movie.
BL: Can you tell us a bit about the cast? TW: My girlfriend Aidan Rees is our lead and is also a producer. She is an incredibly talented actoress who is a regular at Second City. I'm always blown away by her ability to be such a versatile performer. Going from improv to sketch to everything scripted can be challenging for anyone to execute. We found our second lead, Jeff Coppage, through a self-tape. He has the uncanny ability to add flavor to dialogue that wasn't intended as a joke, and all of a sudden I'm laughing my ass off. So damn unique and funny.
Kristin Morris is a close friend of mine and an extremely accomplished actor. I saw her in West Side Story at Musical Theatre West in Long Beach and I always knew I would love to write a part that would be brought to life by her amazing talents. Antoine Dillard, Misao McGregor and Angelique Maurnaé were all actors that Aidan had worked with before. While I was not familiar with their work, they have all knocked it out of the park and made their characters jump off the page in a way I never could have imagined.
BL: Is this your first Fringe experience? Or have you attended in previous years, either as an audience member or talent? TW:First time Fringer in every capacity. I am so excited and thankful to be exposed to this brand new weird world.
BL: What other shows intrigue you at #hff19? TW:Lots of shows that are also at Stephanie Feury look great. I have had the chance to meet the creators of George. and Treason so I look forward to seeing those. The ladies who are putting on 2 for 1 seem to be cooking up something unique. An Excuse to Behave Badly sounds like a really smart and fun concept. I am intrigued by the ambitious premise of She Kills Monsters. I am sure there are plenty more I would love to see but honestly those are some of the folks who I have met at office hours that caught my eye.
I look forward to a Fringe year when I can be just an attendee and have more time to learn about other shows instead of focusing so much on ours.
BL: Finally, have you made the trek to the last remaining Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon? TW:I have not. I would love to. Fortunately, there are a handful of video stores still operating in the LA area that I have gone to recently to help inspire the show. In particular, Cinefile Video in Santa Monica made me feel at home, so if any of this conversation makes you miss the experience, go check ‘em out and show them some love!
An American Video Store plays June 9-29 at the Stephanie Feury Studio
Theatre, 5636 Melrose Avenue. Specific dates, show times and ticketing
information can be found on the Fringe site.
LA award-winner Sigrid Gilmer entwines issues of identity with pop culture icons to tell a truly unique mother-daughter story. Sterling Milburn’s mother is dying and Sterling is falling apart. She attempts to keep it together by rewriting the past with the help of two titans of the American theater and the world’s greatest heavy metal band — but Sterling’s mother refuses to follow the script. A love letter to those who shape our lives, hold us together and break our hearts*
Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Mama Metal” at Atwater Village Theatre, playing through June 23rd. 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.
The group won the Billboard Music Award for Hot 100 Single of the Year for 'Hold On' and in addition was nominated for four Grammy Awards and two American Music Awards.
Other hits include 'Release Me,' 'You're in Love,' 'Impulsive' and The Dream is Still Alive.' Most recently the trio appeared in the hit comedy movie BRIDESMAIDS and also released the album DEDICATED, featuring cover versions of songs by The Beach Boys and The Mamas and Papas.
What makes this show even more exciting is the opening act Eileen Carey. She celebrates her recent hit single, 'Anything That Reminds Me of You,' which this February swept the #1 spot in the New Music Weekly charts, including Country, AC/Hot AC and the Top 40 charts. Eileen is an amazing singer, songwriter. She has all of her bases covered and now her new single 'Meet Me Halfway', is climbing up the music charts.
The Rose is located at 245 East Green Street, Pasadena CA. To purchase tickets and for more information go to WhereMusicMeetsTheSoul.com or call 1-888-645-5006.
Now if pop music isn't your thing, this Friday, June 7th Ron Howard's new documentary entitled PAVAROTTI is opening in select theatres.
Luciano Pavarotti was an Italian operatic tenor who also crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming one of the most commercially successful tenors of all time. He made numerous recordings of complete operas and individual arias, gaining worldwide fame for the quality of his tone and eventually established himself as one of the finest tenors of the 20th century.
To hear him sing the aria NESSUN DORMA, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written, is alone worth the price of admission.
Adding to the great music happening this weekend is the PLAYBOY JAZZ FESTIVAL at the Hollywood Bowl on June 8th and 9th. This year the performers are as great as ever.
This is such a beautiful outdoor venue to experience music. For more information and to purchase tickets go to HollywoodBowl.com. The Bowl is located at 2301 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood.
Lastly but definitely one of the most important events happening this weekend is the LA PRIDE FESTIVAL on June 8th and 9th.
It will be at the West Hollywood Park put on by Christopher Street West Association, a 501 non-profit who organized the world's first permitted parade advocating for gay rights on June 28, 1970 as a response to and in commemoration of the Stonewall Rebellion on Christopher Street in New York City, the year prior.
Since then they have built a rich history as an active voice for the LGBTQ+ community across the Great Los Angeles metropolitan area and today they continue to produce the LA PRIDE PARADE AND FESTIVAL every June in the City of West Hollywood.
www.better-lemons.com /May 23-June 23
LA award-winner Sigrid Gilmer entwines issues of identity with pop culture icons to tell a truly unique mother-daughter story. Sterling Milburn’s mother is dying and Sterling is falling apart. She attempts to keep it together by rewriting the past with the help of two titans of the American theater and the world’s greatest heavy metal band — but Sterling’s mother refuses to follow the script. A love letter to those who shape our lives, hold us together and break our hearts
taken from the website
“The show is about living your passion. About being part of a family even if you have to create your own. With some unexpected turns through love, villainy, show business, and lots of humor, Chip, John, and Michele have beautifully honored the book and enlightened the characters with their magical musical influences,” says Author Dennis Hackin. “All this, during a time when everyone could use a new upbeat musical.”
Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Bronco Billy - The Musical” at Skylight Theatre, playing through June 30th. 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.
Baritone opera star Christopher Job is returning to Los Angeles to perform in LA Opera's new 1920s-set, multi-cultural production of La traviata. A native of Anaheim Hills and graduate of Cal State Fullerton, this production constitutes Mr. Job's LA Opera debut. On the eve of his Angeleno opening, I had to find out - opera, East Coast vs. West; what's the difference?
Find out what he says and more in my conversation with Christopher Job.
Roger Q. Mason (RQM): First of all congratulations on your LA Opera debut. How does it feel to be performing opera in Los Angeles?
Christopher Job (CJ): Thank you very much. It feels amazing. I was just talking with a couple of my best friends who happen to be in the chorus at L.A. Opera (we've known each other since our days at Cal State Fullerton) and I said "All those years ago, could you even imagine that we'd be sitting here today? All three of us at L.A. Opera. On that stage together." It's quite thrilling to have this opportunity in our home town. It's certainly a homecoming for me, and it's quite surreal.
(RQM): Tell us about your role in La traviata.
(CJ): I play the role of Doctor Grenvil. He's a dear friend of our protagonist, Violetta, as well as her physician. So he's aware of her illness; and amidst the parties, the decadence and the debauchery in their world, he is continually looking out for her well-being. Aside from the two lovers at the center of the drama, this is largely an ensemble piece. However Doctor Grenvil appears in the final act, in one of the more intimate and emotional scenes of the opera. As an actor, it's nice to get to play a range of emotions in your scene work.
(RQM): You're worked as an opera performer on both coasts. What's the difference between making opera on the East Coast vs. in the West?
(CJ): Opera started in Europe, so naturally the first major opera company in the United States would form on the East Coast; so there's a lot of history over there. Making opera is largely the same to the performers, no matter where you are in this world. We are mostly transplanted colleagues, and we know how to collaborate in numerous situations and places. Now to further answer this question, I would start out by saying that I'm a Californian. I was born and raised here. And after many years of living in New York City and witnessing audience reactions, both when seeing opera myself and surrounding my own performances, I feel that the culture and people of every locale very much play into their varied reactions. We Californians are as we've been described; a very chill group of people. New York is as described; busy and hectic. Both coasts are very knowledgeable and appreciative; but sitting in the audience for El Gato Montes last week, I could feel the Californian flavor to the audience. It's very good to be home again.
(RQM): What has been your favorite role so far? What's your dream role?
(CJ): I'd have to say Leporello in Don Giovanni or Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro. Mozart and his characters are a lot of fun to play. However I have had a taste of "the devil," playing Mephistopheles in Gounod's Faust, and I have to say that I'd like to explore more of these "darker" roles in the future: Mefistofele by Boito, The Damnation of Faust by Berlioz, Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress by Stravinsky, and the four villians of The Tales of Hoffman, have long tempted me.
(RQM): After La traviata, what's next for you?
(CJ): I am contracted for the entire 2019/20 season at The Metropolitan Opera, so I will be taking as much vacation time as possible this summer (mostly in Italy), surrounding two great performance opportunities. This July I will be in Tosca in Vail, Colorado with Yannick Nézet-Séguin (head of music at the Met) and his Philadelphia Orchestra, and then in early August I will go to London to record Handel's Messiah at Abbey Road Studios with the Royal Philharmonic. It's a pretty exciting summer for me.
www.better-lemons.com /May 10 - Jun 30
“The show is about living your passion. About being part of a family even if you have to create your own. With some unexpected turns through love, villainy, show business, and lots of humor, Chip, John, and Michele have beautifully honored the book and enlightened the characters with their magical musical influences,” says Author Dennis Hackin. “All this, during a time when everyone could use a new upbeat musical.