The 2020 Hollywood Fringe Festival (Fringe) scheduled for June 2020 has been postponed until October 2020 for the safety of the community and to help halt the spread of the coronavirus through social distancing.
The annual festival, whose venue partners span throughout Hollywood and Theatre Row, has tentatively set the new dates for October 1 through October 25, 2020. Final confirmation of all dates will be made by August 1, 2020, based on pending updates by federal, state and local health officials in the coming weeks.
“With the directive to cancel or postpone in-person events and meetings, we are working to provide safe solutions to keep our community active and engaged. We know how necessary the arts are in times like these,” The Hollywood Fringe Festival said in a statement.
The festival is offering reimbursements of paid registration fees where needed at this time, which are refundable up until September 1, 2020, and officials suggest that all current Fringe participating productions contact their individual venues for rescheduling arrangements or cancellations.
For those who can and wish to, the Fringe is also asking for the donation of registration fees to help them maintain operations and that these, and any gifts, to the festival are tax-deductible.
Plans are in development for a program to support shows with the "Fringe marketing/technology infrastructure" and there is a call for anyone who wishes to participate in the development process, and volunteers can sign up here to join their ongoing efforts. A survey has been posted as well to help inform the festival producers going forward.
The Fringe is currently developing plans to provide its ongoing networking and promotional opportunity events as virtually as possible through Virtual “Office Hours” Networking, a virtual Cabaret, Twitter chats, online workshops, and other activities.
Complimentary registration will soon be available on their website for any free online meet-up, workshop or project that relates to the festival and any collaborative related efforts.
Better Lemons is currently in the process of updating our calendar with shows that have postponed, updated, or canceled due to coronavirus and concerns and actions towards the safety of theatre patrons.
The following is a list of venues and shows that we have updated and have been updating currently.
If you have a show that needs updating, please log in and update your show accordingly. If you are postponing, do not delete your event and feel free to email us via our contact form should you need assistance with updating.
Laguna Playhouse takes the health and safety of our patrons, volunteers and staff very seriously, and will be suspending all performances until further.
For the safety of artists and audiences, we have decided to CANCEL all remaining performances of Measure for Measure, Classic Sundays: The Roaring Girl, and to suspend all activities until the end of March.
If you've purchased tix to a performance of @HamiltonMusical between 3/12 - 3/31, you will receive a refund. Tickets purchased through any other source that is not @broadwayinhwood or @Pantages related should consult place of purchase for a refund.
We are immediately canceling all performances of The Book of Mormon, The Antipodes, and Block Party at the Ahmanson, Taper, and Douglas to help lessen the spread of COVID-19/novel coronavirus and help keep our community safe. More info: https://t.co/NOxx7YacYc
Geffen Playhouse is taking immediate, proactive steps to ensure the health and well-being of our patrons, staff and all Geffen visitors in response to COVID-19. Read more about our cancellations here: https://t.co/CNrDYK1jNh
CANCELLATION ANNOUNCEMENT: The California Department of Public Health issued a mandate that all public gatherings, including concerts and presentations at Walt Disney Concert Hall, should be canceled through March 31, 2020 to protect public health and slow the rate of
On Wednesday, we sent a message regarding our planning around the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it will have on Fringe. To allow time to methodically digest the challenges that now face us and to implement changes to keep us all healthy, we are updating our #HFF20 format. pic.twitter.com/sYijnXDmY1
The Attic Collective has devised a new intriguing play entitled "I Decided I'm Fine: A Roach Play" written by Rosie Glen-Lambert and Veronica Tjioe and directed by Rosie Glen-Lambert. Glen-Lambert (pictured above) talks to us in great detail about the Attic Collective and this fascinating new work.
Tell first and foremost about the mission of The Attic Collective.
R G-L: The Attic Collective is a community of diverse young artists whose unique approach to live performance strives to redefine theatre, both in who it is for and what it can be. Our work investigates the human experience with equal parts joy and profundity; by utilizing magical realism, clowning, movement, music, and an emphasis on design, our work tackles universal questions through a lens of wonder and discovery. We offer our audiences universes unbound by the rules of reality as a sanctuary of escape to, and not from, their own emotions. We create theatre for theatre-lovers, theatre-haters, theatre-skeptics, theatre-believers, theatre professionals, theatre novices, or, put more simply: we create theatre for everyone.
How doesthis revamped play I Decided I'm Fine: A Roach Play fit into the mission?
R G-L: This is a play which tackles very difficult subject matter, so it would be easy for it to be two hours of difficult-to-watch drama. But our company believes in exploring the complexity of human emotion from seemingly unlikely vantage points. There is clowning in this show. There is comedy in this show. There is a fifteen minute cockroach musical in this show. It is our belief that, rather than minimizing the weightiness of this play, these moments of levity bring our audience closer to the emotional stakes present. Laughing one minute and crying the next is our brand. It is how we take care of our audience, assuring them that emotional release and enjoyment are not mutually exclusive. This is a very “Attic Collective” show.
The show is about hoarding. I am a hoarder myself, so can definitely relate to how serious a problem this is. What inspired you to write a play about this issue?
R G-L: It’s fascinating to me who self-identifies as a “hoarder” and who doesn’t. As a person who has held on to every note I’ve received since childhood and who cannot bring myself to throw out a single VHS tape in my storage unit, I used to sort of casually self-identify, finding it to be a kind of humorous self-deprecation. But the question of who and what a hoarder is is unbelievably complex. As we have been developing and discussing this show over the past two years I’ve gotten to hear varying responses to this classification. I Decided I’m Fine: A Roach Play was created after our company was commissioned by another theatre company to create a new, devised work as part of their season. The space we would be creating it for was wonderful but intimate-just 35 seats and two entrances. As we were pondering the best way to make the intimate setting for this new piece purposeful, I was simultaneously in the process of making multiple trips to Detroit to help my family sort through my grandmother’s home in preparation for helping her move into a nursing facility. My grandmother, a tough, wonderful woman, had a home teeming with belongings: antiques, documents, receipts, unopened purchases, etc. We always knew she was a collector, but the scale to which she had accumulated only really became evident as we were helping to facilitate this move.
I started to wonder about where this tendency stemmed from. Was it her impoverished upbringing, being raised by Jewish immigrants during the Great Depression? Was it a symptom of her abusive marriage? Had she collected to this extent as a response to her failing memory? I thought about the reality shows we have all become so familiar with, the ones which encourage us to shudder and retch at people who’ve “let things get out of control.” I thought about the way these shows focus on the symptoms of each “hoarder’s” lifestyle, giving little or no attention to the source of the compulsion. I thought about the way these shows are meant for entertainment. I did research about Compulsive Hoarding Disorder, and the ways in which hoarding is most often a response to a trauma. I thought about the way wealthier people are often considered “collectors” rather than hoarders because of the space they have to store their objects. I thought about my own overflowing storage unit (filled with things I inherited from my grandmother) and wondered what my own children will say about me as they facilitate my move one day. The topic felt too rich not to investigate further, so I brought it to the Company and we began devising this play.
The play concerns a serious problem with a couple who are experiencing a serious loss. How does the magic and clowning play into this scenario? How, as director, do you meet the challenges of the switch in tone?
R G-L: Hoarding is an incredibly delicate issue that is frequently handled indelicately. For many people, their only familiarity with the topic comes from reality television which has stigmatized and sensationalized the behavior. In creating a new piece of theatre which aimed to address hoarding empathetically, it felt impossible not to grapple with this cultural touchstone directly. We watched several episodes of both A&E’s “Hoarders” And TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive” as research and were struck by the presentational quality of these shows. Each “Hoarder’s” life was compressed into an hour-long episode where the most shocking and disturbing details were highlighted for the viewers benefit. This steered us towards a framing device for our show which addresses the sensationalism of these reality shows somewhat directly: celebrity doctors/lifestyle coach type characters who “present” the core story of Ellen, a woman who is hoarding as a response to loss. These characters are inherently clowns, representing a removal from the sympathy the audience may feel for Ellen. Separately, there is another frame through which the audience can watch the performance which highlights through magic and abstraction the comfort (as well as the distress) that Ellen gains from her accumulation. How do these different framing devices work together? I think quite similarly to the way we approach this topic in real life. Hoarding is something you are asked to gawk and laugh at when you’re watching strangers on television. It is something you feel sad about when you watch it have a stronghold over someone you love. It is something that can at times feel magical, like an incredible archive of a person’s life. The tonal shifts ask the audience to grapple with the complexity of the behavior itself.
Why did you revamp the original version of the play? Did audience reaction suggest this?
R G-L: As a company, we have created a number of new plays through our distinctive devising process which have all been well-attended and well-received. But I Decided I’m Fine: A Roach Play, which was originally performed in August of 2018, had a unique effect on our audience. It elicited the most vulnerable post-show conversations, resulted in the most thoughtful next-day email messages, and we continued to hear about the way it stuck with our audiences long past its final performance. People who thought coming in to the performance they had no personal connection to the subject matter left empathizing with friends and family, and people for whom the topic was deeply personal entered the performance with trepidation and left feeling validated and hungry for deeper conversation. And, thrillingly, a number of patrons who do not typically go to the theatre (some for whom this was their first live theatrical performance!) left excited about seeing more. One patron approached me afterwards to tell me that he “didn’t realize this is what theatre could be.” It felt like it was too special to put back in the vault, so we’ve continued to work on it in the hopes of bringing it to a wider audience.
Attic Collective has received awards and has a fantastic reputation in the theatre community. Could you talk about this a little bit?
R G-L: We are very proud of the work we have created for the Los Angeles community. This past summer, our sold-out run of The Last Croissant, which we produced for the Hollywood Fringe Festival, won Best Ensemble Theatre, Best of the Broadwater, as well as Top of the Fringe, the top honor awarded. We were also nominated for the Larry Cornwall Award for Musical Excellence as well as the Steve Kent Award for Social and Political Change. Our previous Fringe project, Dead Dog’s Bone: A Birthday Play was awarded the 2015 Encore Producer’s Award and earned nominations for Best Direction of the festival as well as Best Performance. Our devised play, What Happened to Where I’ve Been, was chosen to be a part of Son of Semele’s Company Creation Festival in 2017 and enjoyed an extension after the close of the Festival. In addition to the award-winning work we do, we are also extremely proud to offer free theatre workshops that are open to the community. Every three months we gather to hone our skills, create and play. It is a wonderful opportunity for artists to practice their craft and deepen their sense of community. In this way we hope that in addition to making a name for ourselves by creating thoughtful and evocative theatre we are also adding to the Los Angeles theatrical landscape by providing a place for artists to connect with one another.
Is there anything you wish to add?
R G-L: I think this is a special, very difficult play. I hope it can be the beginning of a continued conversation about grief, mental health, stigma and compassion.
Content Warning: Please be advised that the following themes which may be triggering for some audience members are present in this performance: Alcoholism, Anxiety, Compulsive Hoarding Disorder, Death, Death of an infant, Hoarding, Mental Illness.
I Decided I'm Fine: A Roach Play runs Feb. 7 – Mar. 1. It plays Fridays, Saturdays @ 8pm, Sundays 6pm) at Studio/Stage 520 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90004
Fueled by the force that is the Hollywood Fringe Festival, creatives brought a banquet of quality smaller theatre and performance art to 2019 to Los Angeles, with many projects growing beyond its borders and seeking destinations in other mediums.
From local producers, east coast transplants, and across-the-pond ex-pats; from solo introspective, post-apocalyptic satire, and the cutting edge, to dance, aerial and burlesque–eight artists reflect on their personal accomplishments and challenges in 2019, as well as on the inspired work of their peers, and share their plans and hopes for more to come in 2020.
What have been some highlights in 2019 for you personally and your career?
L. Walker –“One of the professional highlights for me this past year was producing Aeriform Artists Media Cirque du Giselle. To be able to present a uniquely executed, extremely well-received performance piece in a festival where there are 400 plus shows was an amazing experience. One of Aeriform Arts main values is inclusivity and we've managed to grow our production arm while honoring those values. We are pleased to have worked with Women’s Health Magazine and Hearst Media coaching and coordinating aerial shoots for magazine covers with both Julianne Hough and Para-Olympian Amy Purdy, as well as work with Yvie Oddly, winner of 'Drag Race' Season 11 for RuPaul's World Of Wonder Productions. Personally, my most important accomplishment for the year was being able to create a better work-life balance, allowing me to truly enjoy what I do.”
Jonathan Tipton Meyers - Photo by Cooper Bates
J. T. Meyers – “Personal highlights from this year began with performing a selection from my solo show 'We Are Traffic: A Solo Rideshare Adventure' on KPCC's Unheard LA. Then turning that solo show into a half-hour television pilot alongside a one-hour dramedy, 'BLERD' about a young black engineer who lands his dream job at a private sector Space Company, then discovers a conspiracy that might destroy it. I also co-created alongside fellow storyteller Katya Duft, a live storytelling show about rideshare called 'Ride or Die' to bring together passengers and drivers. I've met some beautiful artists who inspire me and 5,000+ people in this city trying to get from one place to another and they've inspired me to bring their stories to the world.”
R. Moore – “2019 has been a true treat. Career-wise, I had the opportunity to direct many great theatrical productions including Los Angeles Brisk Festival's award-winning production of 'RECESS' written by Kara Emily Krantz and starring Kyle Secor and Hailey Winslow. I also got to direct my first musical for the Hollywood Fringe Festival [HFF], 'Jamba Juice: The Musical.' Other productions include 2Cents Theatre INKFest's 'East Stanton Station' and OC-Centric New Plays Festival 'Still Moving' written by Ben Susskind...On the theatre side, I worked as the associate director on many great television shows this year, including my fourth year on CW's Masters of Illusion and the Hollywood Christmas Parade. My favorite shows to work on were the CW variety show 'The Big Stage' and the upcoming Disney+/Jim Henson talk show Earth to Ned, where alien Ned comes to invade Earth but finds himself enamored by human culture [and] abducts various celebrities to understand how Earth and humans operate. For Henson fans, they will be delightfully impressed with this show. Personally, I completed two half marathons this year: New York and Las Vegas. I'm very much looking forward to doing many more in 2020. I had the pleasure of being a Producers Guild of America Mentor in their Power of Diversity Workshop.”
M. Ritchey – “2019 has been one of my favorite years. I’ve had some tragedy and some pitfalls to be sure, but overall, I love the trajectory of this past year. Personally, I started to trust my instincts more and be okay with people not “getting” me or my choices. I’ve been more open to possibility and did a lot of leaping into things that scared me, mostly to very positive results–many of them being in my career. I did a lot of acting this year: I wrote and performed a one-man show (with two people in it) called 'Blackboxing' at the [HFF 2019] where I tried to shove as much of 'me' onto the stage as I could - and it was overwhelmingly accepted. That led to me shooting a music video for the song 'Smellay Lahk A Turkay' with For Love of Parody Productions which was fantastic. (It was written for my aunt Julee back in 1995 who passed away a few weeks after the music video debuted, just after her birthday.) I did a 48-hour project with my company, M3, and stepped into two 'last-minute' shows in October and December, I made big strides with my writing partner on a screenplay, I saw and reviewed a ton of L.A. theater, made some great new friends, and was featured on a playing card and poster thanks to Matt Kamimura and 'Matt: The Gathering.' And I got to work with Sebastian Munoz and Force of Nature Productions directing my play 'Romeo and Juliet In Hell.' Amazing year.”
Jenelle Lynn Randall
J. L. Randall – “Well the past few years have been rough with no rep–my manager died...in the past month I’ve gotten a manager, booked a few voice-over gigs, and met the love of my life so 2019 turned out okay. But I have to say 'the' most important thing I accomplished was my Eartha Kitt show that I wrote, EP'd and starred in this past June at [HFF 2019], 'I Wanna Be Evil: The Eartha Kitt Story.' We opened with three sold-out houses, got rave reviews, and offers to bring the show to other theatres. That was very taxing–as it was my first fringe and I did everything except direct myself–but it was very rewarding. I also did a truncated version of my [HFF 2019] show for Feinstein’s At Vitello's in L.A. in September, where that show also has rave reviews on Broadway World.”
S. Vlasak – “This year started with a bang for me with my 'Nights at the Algonquin Round Table' receiving a run in January at the Carriage House Theatre in Lexington, Kentucky. Every show sold out, and I flew there to be part of the fun–joining in talkbacks after some shows. The director, Bob Singleton, and the entire cast all did a fantastic job with my Dorothy Parker-centered Roaring Twenties comedy. Of course, [also] 'Disrobed: Why So Clothes-Minded?' was the focus and highlight of 2019 for me. This unique 'naked cast and audience' theatrical experience, produced and directed by Brian Knudson, sold out its debut Fringe Festival run and extensions, won some awards, and has now settled into a once a month residency at Matt Quinn’s Studio C Theatre in Hollywood.”
C. LaCohie – “This year has been insane both personally and career-wise. I had premiered my solo show 'Vixen DeVille Revealed' in L.A. back in 2018, and at the beginning of 2019 I set my goal to take the show on the road. I toured the show to four cities in three different states and won three awards, including 'Best One Person Performance,' 'Best Solo Performance,' and 'Best Out Of Town Show.' On returning to L.A. I then entered into a deal to have the show taped as a one hour TV special, which we are working on releasing in [2020.] Finally, I had also set a goal to link the show to a charitable cause and 2019 saw the launch of my book 'Vixen's Unleashed' and later a calendar version of the book, proceeds of which go to support the Vixen's Unleashed Scholarship Program - information on both the book and scholarship are available.”
M. Robinson – “A highlight for my year personally has been learning to play golf. It's fun because every time you play is a chance to get better. With my career winning best comedy for 'Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive the Apocalypse' at [HFF 2019] was such a rewarding experience. I was so proud of the cast and crew and getting recognition like that was unbelievable.”
What were your top five favorite shows, productions, or performances this past year?
L. Walker – “My five favorite productions this year are a hodgepodge of mediums and styles - circus, music, dance, and film are huge parts of my world. In no particular order, my five favorites this year were: Bauhaus at The Palladium, 'Disrobed: Why So Clothes-Minded?' by Steven Vlasak, [documentary] 'Industrial Accident: The Story Of Wax Trax! Records' with concert by Ministry, 'O' Cirque du Soleil, and 'Tarantina.'
J. T. Meyers – “[My] top five favorite shows this year were relatively small in scale, but gigantic in spirit and heart: Kate Radford's glowing multi-media show 'Drought,' Makha Mthembu's powerful time bomb 'No Child Left Behind,' Mitchell Bishop's mind-bending adventurous, gloriously insane 'Pit of Goblins,' John Leguizamo's profound 'Latin History for Morons,' and 'August Wilson's Jitney'–which needs no additional kudos, it was just brilliant.”
R. Moore – “Based off creative approach, there are two [shows] that really come to mind. During the Brisk Festival, Gerald B. Fillmore's play 'Join the Club' was an insanely hilarious view of an immigrant finding their way to America. When it comes to drama, 'Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies' directed by Allison Bergman for the OC-Centric New Plays Festival was not only relevant to the cultural issues where we're seeing inequality but an insightful look at mental health issues. On the East Coast...'Slava's Snowshow' looks like an unassuming clown performance until you find yourself covered in fake snow while clowns climb through the audience. The show ends with ginormous balls for the audience to pass around, as well as more snow! Because of a personal connection, I have to share I enjoyed 'Say Something, Bunny!' The show deciphers wires recorded from the early 1950s of a family and discovers the voices in the recording has to not only New York roots, but has insights to the early days of musicals on Broadway. I say this is a personal connection because one of the characters in the recording was a Moore and a possible relation to my family lineage!...My list wouldn't be complete if I didn't include at least one dance performance. And for that, I have to say 'Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake.' Matthew Bourne's reimagining of the story is very timely and the talent performed is incredible. The production value is extraordinary and the use of lighting, graphics, and production design is great."
M. Ritchey – “I saw a terrific amount of theatre this year, either by personal choice or as a reviewer, and my obvious stand-outs list was 15 strong. But the five that broke convention and were the most intellectually, artistically, and visually stimulating for me were: 'Growing Gills to Drown In The Desert' at Loft Ensemble. A heady, funny, emotional, and existential look into who we are as individuals, a society, and the meanings of theater and life. 'The Magic Flute' at LA Opera. I’ve been wanting to see this show – Mozart’s classic directed as a live 1920’s film with projections and characters pulled from classic silent films – for years. A good friend got me an amazing seat and I was just as blown away as I had hoped to be. 'Butcher Holler Here We Come,' A Economy Production at [HFF 2019]. Not only was this story (based on real events of a coal mine collapsing and burying five men) incredibly well-written, directed, and acted, but it was done in complete darkness in a room at Thymele Arts with only the use of practical headlamps. The action took place all around the audience, making it completely immersive but with no burden on the audience to have to 'do' anything. It was frightening, exciting, engrossing, and other words ending in '-ing.' 'The Death of Sam Mobean,' Orgasmico Theatre Company at [HFF 2019.] Not only did Michael Shaw Fisher’s mind-bender of a play (reminiscent of 'Invitation to a Beheading' and more than one Kafka novel) move me in the brainpan and tickle my funny bone, but it featured Schoen Hodges in what I consider the best male performance at [HFF 2019]. 'Supportive White Parents' at Second City. Centered around an Asian girl who wishes on a shooting star for supportive white parents and 'magically' gets her wish. [The play] features brilliant cross-cultural stereotypes, sharp writing, fantastic music, a talented cast, and the mandatory 'lesson'–Joy Regullano’s show was my favorite new musical of 2019. Immediately following this list is 'Mr. Yunioshi,' my favorite one-man show, and 'Boeing Boeing,' the most sharply directed and acted piece I saw.” – Matt Ritchey
S. Vlasak – “I got to see a lot of live theatre in 2019, but It’s the shows that were somehow next level in structure and style that most stand out. ' Cirque du Giselle' an acrobatic show from Aeriform Arts, as part of [HFF 2019], was every bit as visual and breathtaking as something from Cirque du Soleil. Actually, I liked it better, with its world-class performers, a strong narrative, and fantastic costumes evoking visitors from the afterlife. My other 2019 highlights, all reviewed on Better Lemons, and all with distinctive and innovative staging, were Greg Crafts/Theatre Unleashed’s 'Tattered Capes,' LA Opera’s 'The Magic Flute,' Sacred Fool’s 'Waiting for Waiting for Godot,' and another love letter to actors, Matt Ritchey’s 'Blackboxing.'"
C. LaCohie – “In no particular order. Three of my favorite shows come from [HFF 2019.] 'Yes. No. Maybe.' by Raymond-Kym Suttle, which has some stunning acting talent and beautiful provocative writing. 'Cirque Du Giselle' an exquisitely skilled aerial ballet adaptation presented by circus school Aeriform Arts. 'Crack Whore, Bulimic, Girl-next-door' written by Marnie Olsen and directed by Jennifer Chun (which was, in fact, my second time seeing the show after seeing it at a different venue in 2018) was once again an outstanding roller coaster of a ride through heart-wrenching vulnerable storytelling, expertly peppered with genuine laugh-out-loud moments of light relief. Every cast member took this show to another level and I probably cried even more than the first time around. Honorable mention goes to 'Blue Man Group' which I saw at the Pantages - another second for me this year...I'm going to include 'Foodies and Boobies Burlesque Brunch' in my top five (an ongoing burlesque brunch show at El Cid.) I've been meaning to see this show for a while and then was cast to perform with them in November!!! I couldn't wait to get off the stage to watch the rest of the show. The performers they brought in were some of my favorite burlesquers in town, so prolific, entertaining and oozing charisma. The whole show was just put together so well, the whole cast having such a blast on stage, the audience just can't help but be swept away with the atmosphere. As a burlesque performer of 15 years, YES, I've seen a lot of burlesque. Done badly, you want to kill yourself. Done right, it's like you died and went to heaven. Producer Ginger Lee Belle is doing all kinds of other-worldly brilliance!”
Matthew Robinson - Photo by Matt Kamimura
M. Robinson – "I've seen so many amazing shows, so apologies in advance if you feel I overlooked your show. I will definitely wake up in the dead of night realizing I forgot an awesome production. These are listed in no particular order: 'Lights Out: Nat 'King' Cole,' 'We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884–1915 is a 2012,' 'When Colossus Falls' at Acting Out INKFest, 'Meet me in Mizery,' and 'Pockets.' There are so many I am thinking of but I've written this list 12 different ways.”
What is your favorite food and/or holiday tradition for the New Year?
L. Walker – “I've given up on 'resolutions.' As I’ve grown older and wiser I’ve realized that looking backward isn't the best way to live your life–I like to look forward. I like to start the New Year out at the beach surfing and setting my intentions for the year, the beach is one of the places I feel the calmest at.”
J. T. Meyers – “I have no New Year's traditions, but it's such a good idea that I will start one: A Hollywood Hike to humble myself under the big blue sky.”
R. Moore – “When it comes to New Year's traditions, there are two musts: watching 'New Years Eve Rockin' Party' (with that Ryan Seacrest guy) and an overflowing cup of Welch's sparkling cider. Watching the ball drop in NYC is something I always make sure I do. Goal making is a big part of what I do not just at New Year's but throughout the year. My approach has morphed over the years as I've gone from aspiring to now being in the thick of my career journey. I now look at goal setting as a course correction and aligning my energy with opportunities and networking to continue in the direction I've started. What is different at New Year's is I look at any unfinished business I may have on my plate, critically look at what did work and didn't work in the past year, and examine what will be best for the new year. I don't quite do dream boards, but I do post my goals around my bedroom as reminders. There's a lot that can pull your focus in Los Angeles, so it's key for me to say, 'Is this going to be helpful for me or is there something better for me to use my time?'"
M. Ritchey – "I had two holiday traditions at Christmas with my family, one of which has sadly gone away – the annual Snakespoon. (I won’t go into it, but if you’re interested, check it out here.) But through the year, members of my family keep an eye out online or in stores for entries into the Ugly Ornament Contest. It’s exactly what it sounds like: we buy the ugliest ornaments we find during the year and then present them on Christmas Day to one another. We vote as a family and one ornament reigns victorious. Check ‘em out.”
J. L. Randall – “I make sure I go back east, Maryland, to visit my mother for the holidays...on December 30, 2019, she turned 80, so I’m very excited for her party.”
S. Vlasak – “Holiday traditions? I come from a big family, and we do tend to round everyone up, so I do enjoy those Christmas cookies and Italian food! And it’s LA, so…Tamales! Family and friends are the best! As for New Year’s, I just dust off last year’s resolutions and determine to do them again. No, really.”
C. LaCohie – “Food! I go home to the UK every year for the holidays and I can't get enough of that black pudding! Nom Nom...Every new year I come up with a word for the new year, rather than resolutions. I stole this from Bonnie Gillespie–who I'm sure stole it from someone else–but it's something I encourage my students to do also. The way I use it is it's a word that you will filter all your decision making through for the rest of the year. In 2016 my word was 'go' as in 'go to things'–make a conscious effort to accept invitations. If I was tired at night. and not sure whether to attend, I would 'go.' 2017, the word was 'create,' which meant whenever I was given the opportunity to create something, I would. I would choose that option over making money, overspending time doing general upkeep–unlike the previous year, if it was a toss-up between going to some event and finishing up some costume–I would stay at home and create. 2018 was 'finish,' as in finish off unfinished projects, but also put a 'finish' a polish or embellish already completed things. I finished creating my solo show, I finished a lot of unfinished burlesque act ideas. I painted my grotty looking living room. Last year was 'risk.' If making a decision, the only reason against it was it was too risky– risky financially, risky that I might fail–well, I went and did it!! I really think this is why I've actually accomplished so much this year, I just kept taking the risks. I haven't figured out my word for 2020 but I will meditate on it on New Year's Day and put it first and foremost in my Freedom Mastery Calendar–another other of my New Year traditions. I go through the whole process of goal setting as set out in the front of the calendar. If you haven't heard of Freedom Mastery check it out."
M. Robinson – “For New Year's Eve, my family loves to make black-eyed peas usually in a stew.”
What can we expect in the New Year from you personally? What creative endeavors or projects are coming up?
L. Walker – “This year my company Aeriform Artists Media is in the design stage of a Social Circus production. These traveling performances will utilize circus as a medium for exploring, exchanging ideas, championing and bringing awareness to the societal experiences of various marginalized groups. Our goal this year is to find ways to expand creatively and grow organically.”
J. T. Meyers – “In this new year, you can expect a full production mounting of 'We Are Traffic,' hopefully, followed by a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe. In addition, I'll be pitching both TV pilots and finishing a screenplay, 'All My Friends,' about the 2003 blackout in NYC.”
R. Moore – "In the new year, I am partnering with playwright Kara Emily Krantz to bring her play 'inValidated' to the 2020 [HFF.] 'inValidated' is a two-time O'Neill semi-finalist and currently a 2020 National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist. I am also looking forward to see what the seeds I planted in 2019 may create, including shadowing fantastic directors on network shows. Who knows...there may also be a resurgence of the 2018 [HFF] favorite 'Buzz'd Out!' finally making it to a television near you! No matter what happens, I am looking forward to creative and 'awespiring' 2020!”
M. Ritchey – “I just began my Storycrafting service where I work with actors, writers, or anyone with a story to tell and help guide the process – theater, film, novel, short story, etc. Deadlines are always important so I have some people working toward [HFF] shows in June. Storycrafting: I’m working with a friend to create a Summer Theater Program, continuing to work with Director’s Lab West, and looking for a company to produce my sure-fire hit comedy 'Shpider.' Guaranteed hit. Seriously. Call me. Happy Holidays.”
J. L. Randall – "I am entering National Alliance for Musical Theatre in NYC, so I’m excited, and anticipating my Eartha show 'I Wanna Be Evil: The Eartha Kitt Story' being accepted into that festival. I'm also looking for a producing theatre that will help me develop my show further for the NY market. The plan is Off-Broadway, then Broadway. I’m ambitious and hopeful, but anything is possible.”
S. Vlasak – "For 2020–Yes, the Roaring Twenties are back! There are additional productions brewing around the country for 'Nights at the Algonquin Round Table.’ And although it’s too soon to make any announcements, the premise is also being developed as a TV series. 'Disrobed' may be found on the first Saturday of every month [starting March 2020] for those whose bucket list includes 'attending the theatre in my birthday suit.' And I’ve written a darkly humorous and (not very) naked look at the culture of celebrity, 'Beautiful Monsterz,' which I hope to present this June for the [HFF.] And, of course, I’m looking forward to attending and being transported by all the new works from L.A.'s innovative writers, actors and directors, and to logging in a few more hours hanging out with them at the Broadwater Plunge.”
C. LaCohie – “Other than getting the solo show turned into a TV show (which, as I pass it over to the producers is now out of my hands) I will be looking to take the show out of town again towards the end of the new year coupled with showcases of the scholarship winners. Plans for that are on hold the next couple of months as I'm planning my wedding taking place in May (Eeek!) In March, I'll be going out of my comfort zone with the Vixen DeVille Coaching as I'm exhibiting and speaking at this year's 'The Best You Expo,' the largest personal development gathering on the planet. I'm currently writing my 20-minute TEDTalk-style speech and all of the self-doubt is, of course, creeping in! Come check out the Best You Expo March 20 and 21, 2020 at LA Convention Center."
M. Robinson – “I am working on a new play, 'Glamour,' for the [HFF.] And have a few more plays in development–one about paramedics, and another about astronauts in deep space. I am hoping that I can continue to create interesting stories, and I am super excited for the projects my friends are working on. I feel 2020 is going to be a strong year for a ton of folks!”
Actor and producer Nick Rubando, whose co-productions of Maddy's Musical and more have been a part of the L.A.'s ever-growing smaller theatre scene—including during the Hollywood Fringe Festival in Hollywood's Media District each June—made the choice to leave his career in entertainment in Los Angeles in order to flip a congressional seat in his home state of Ohio's 5th Congressional District currently held by Republican incumbent Bob Latta.
As Democrat, Rubando, is running against two other candidates in the March primaries. Since announcing his candidacy, he has spent the last 27 weeks of his campaign gaining supporters and volunteers along the way in a grassroots effort to affect change in Ohio's 5th district, an area that has been subject to gerrymandering and resulting legal battles. Rubando, who majored in Journalism with a minor in Marketing at Indiana University, brings a platform that includes national issues such as removing big money and corporate super PAC's from politics and continued national healthcare, to more local issues such as factory farm toxic run-off and algae bloom that is destroying Lake Erie and family farms and the trade wars and tariffs that are damaging Ohio's farming community and economy.
Rubando, who, along with David Ruben and their company R&R Incorporated, produced musical reviews and shows such as "Legends of the Hidden Three Clubs," "Musicals & Mimosas," and "Inspecting Carol" at the Three Clubs in Hollywood. He returns to Los Angeles during the November holidays to both visit family and friends and to hold a fundraiser at the Three Clubs to support his campaign back in Ohio. The fundraiser, "Nick's Hollywood Return Fundraiser," on Saturday, November 30, 2019, will bring together donated entertainment by his family of performers and supporters, whose productions have also been featured at the Three Clubs, to show their support for Rubando.
Via telephone, Rubando spoke clearly and passionately on what prompted his decision to run, his grassroots efforts in his campaign, the people he has met on the campaign trail, working with his team of volunteers, and his vision for Ohio's 5th District as their Congressional Representative.
So let's begin with what was your political background or inspiration that made you consider running for a congressional seat.
"I actually worked for the Katie Hill for Congress campaign in 2018. And there has been some stuff with Katie [in the news] recently, but when I joined up on her campaign she was a young, first-time candidate who moved back to her home town to really take on an unresponsive incumbent. I thought it was really important to be on her campaign. You know, after Donald Trump got elected, we would watch the news, and it was just bad news after bad news—and it felt demoralizing. It felt like there was nothing that I could do, or really any of us could do, to make it change. And then when I learned about Katie's campaign, I was really excited about her message and I wanted to help bring about that kind of change.
Photo courtesy of Nick Rubando for Congress.
This was in the Semi Valley area, just north of Los Angeles. So, I started with the campaign before the Democratic primaries. I would drive up there—sometimes an hour's drive—and knock on doors. And that started to motivate other people to knock on doors with me, and I started teaching other people about best practices. And it felt amazing, because every time something bad in the news would happen, it'd be like, 'It's fine! Because on Saturday I'm going to go knock on doors for Katie Hill and I am going to make a difference!'
Katie ended up winning the Democratic primary and then she ended up flipping that district. It used to be a Republican-held seat, and then she flipped it and it became a Democrat-held seat and it was amazing! It was amazing to see the hard work that we had all put into that race come into fruition and really be something great and be a positive change for that area.
So [later] I started doing some research into my home town after that race. I was inspired by how Katie moved back into her home town and I started looking into my home town—I grew up in Toledo, Ohio. So, I did a little research online and the first thing that came up was toxic algae bloom that had ruined Lake Erie—Lake Erie, this beautiful, pristine, fresh body of water that I used to go swimming in and go tubing in and go fishing in. And now they have these toxic algae blooms that occur every Summer there, which, for a couple of years was so bad that residents couldn't even drink the water that was coming out of the faucet. When I was in L.A., as well as in the theatre programs that I was running and performing in, I was also working for a tech start-up. And they were really big in the American food industry.
And from researching and being a part of this tech startup I was learning a lot about CAFO [confined animal feeding operations] or factory farms—these large-scale warehouses where they keep animals shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder and pump full of antibiotics—and I learned that the wastewater from these facilities gets dumped into rivers. This wastewater then spreads onto fields and then it runs into rivers and it goes into Lake Erie, and that's what causing these toxic algae blooms.
I was so disgusted by it that I wanted to move back to my home town to make a difference there. Ohio is such an important battleground state, and with the 2020 elections coming up, I thought where better to go than to my home town to really create some positive change. When I got there I wanted to work on a Congressional campaign because that is what I had been doing in the past. So I was asking people, 'Who's running against Bob Latta?' He is the Republican incumbent. And people were saying [at the time,] 'You know, I don't think anyone's doing it. No one really has stepped up.'
The district's kind of hard. It's pretty gerrymandered. This guy raises a lot of money, he gets almost 75% of his donations from corporate PACs, and I couldn't let that stand. I have never been someone who asks why something happened. I always ask 'Why not?' So, I thought, 'I'm just going to run myself! I'm going to step up and run this race!' And so far the response has been fantastic. I do a lot of work with the Young Democrats of Wood and Lucas County, the two largest counties in the districts, and the work with the Advocates for Clean Lake Erie—all these groups have been super supportive during our campaign. I've also gotten really close with the Ohio Farmer's Union who doesn't like these factory farms either, because every time one of these farms opens up it usually closes down about ten family farms. It's a crisis that is going on in the American food industry here in Northwest Ohio and we're trying to change that.”
You mentioned about gerrymandering in Ohio, has any of that been undone?
“[Federal courts] have ruled that the districts are gerrymandered—that they are unconstitutionally drawn. But because they will be redrawn at the 2020 census, the courts have decided to wait until the 2020 census is completed to redraw the lines. So, the lines will not be redrawn for this race, but the next congressional race...there'll be all brand new lines!
Ohio, if you look at the voting breakdown, is a 50/50 State where there are just as many people who vote for Democrats as do Republicans. But we have to look at our Congressional Representatives. We have four Democrats, and I believe seven Republicans, so you can see where it really should be a split, but it is not the case there.”
Photo courtesy of Nick Rubando for Congress.
Regarding the tech start-up you mentioned, where is it, and what is it that they are trying to do? How were they influential to you?
“I worked for a company called Thrive Market. They are based in Marina Del Rey. They are a fantastic organization. Their mission is to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. So what they do is they sell organic groceries online and provide organic foods to your door. It's similar to like a Whole Foods Market, but cheaper. It's a membership model, like a Costco, where you pay something like $55.95 for the whole year, but you get premium discounted groceries, but they deliver them all throughout the United States. You look at places in Northwest Ohio, or some of the rural suburbs that I'm representing, these places are like “food deserts”—you have to drive far to get to a grocery store, and then if you want organic food or really higher quality goods, you can't always find them at regular markets. But this company would deliver them right to your door.
So with regard to the algae bloom issue in Ohio, let's talk more about what you learned was happening there.
"When I lived in California, I was not aware that Lake Erie was having this algae bloom problem even though I was aware of factory farms. But once I started doing some research on my hometown, I noticed these algae blooms were occurring a lot. Literally just a couple years ago people in the whole northwest Ohio area couldn't drink the water, they couldn't take showers, because the water was so toxic and I learned that the reason for that was the waste run-offs caused by these huge, large-scale factory farms.
The problem is that you have the Trump administration rolling back screening protection laws in the EPA which makes it even easier for these companies to dump their waste. So the problem is just compounding upon itself.”
What was the catalyst that propelled you to run for Congress and what kind of background brought you to consider it?
“In college—I was at Indiana University—and on the 2008 Obama campaign, I registered student voters. That was the first time that I got politically active—engaging students and ensuring that we could get a big a turn out in the state of Indiana. When we were working on that campaign, we flipped the state of Indiana from red to blue for the first time in 50 years. That Barack Obama win in 2008 was historic!
Photo courtesy of Nick Rubando for Congress.
At the time that I worked on the Obama campaign, my parents divorced and my mom was kicked off of my father's health insurance while she was struggling with some health concerns. It was a struggle to see her try to get an insurance card with a pre-existing condition.
I worked so hard for Obama, and then he passed the Affordable Care Act, and at that point in time—for the first time—my mom was able to afford an individualized insurance plan. And that changed her life. She was able to start her own small business because of that. So I saw how the work that we did, on just a small scale, was able to enable a presidential win...Government, in general, really can affect people's lives in a positive direction. And that's why it is so important to get politically engaged—and to vote—and to figure out what is important to you and to get behind it because it affects the lives of millions of Americans.”
What has the campaign trail been like and how many townships and counties have you visited?
"Our district has 14 counties, and we have visited them all. We have gone to Democratic meetings, meetings of concerned citizens, met with farmers, etc. We have gone into coffee shops and talked to people because we really want to know what is happening on the ground level. We've gotten to every single county, multiple times, and we're approaching as many people as possible. You know, our current representative never holds any Town Halls. He's absent, and people can never get in touch with him, so we are trying to paint a very stark contrast. I'm doing my best to meet with people so they can get to know me and learn to trust again. So they are like, 'Hey this guy's available when [Latta] is just sitting in Washington not doing anything for our community. We have been getting out into the community. We've put a lot of miles on the car!"
With your grassroots efforts, and not accepting corporate donations, I assume that the campaign is self-funded. What has your campaign crew been like?
"I didn't have any money to begin with, but we've gotten so much support and buy-in from the community. We have over 600 individual donors and we've raised close to $70,000. I have a campaign manager who is someone who ran in local elections here. Our campaign headquarters is directly across from Bowling Green University, so we have been getting a lot of [help] from the college students. We have about ten college student volunteers who come into the campaign office almost every day and who are intent about making a change.
We are picking up [supporters] everywhere we go, which is a great thing about visiting these counties. We meet with people and talk to them, and they want to join the team. We have now different captains everywhere we go."
“At the end of the day I really have to understand what all of my constituents are going through so I can best advocate for them.” – Nick Rubando
With your background as a working actor and producer in the entertainment industry, and working in L.A. Theatre, how has that experience translated? What have you learned from it and how do you feel it will make you a better representative of the people?
"I think one of the biggest things I have learned in the entertainment industry, especially in theatre, is empathy. When you are taking on a role, you really have to put yourself into someone else's shoes. And think about what life is like in their situation, how they view things, [and] what kind of problems they have. That empathy that I have been able to learn has served me so well [toward] being a representative. I go out into these communities and I'm speaking to these farmers. And I might not have the best understanding of what a farmer goes through every day, but through my work in the entertainment industry, I can put myself in that individual's shoes. At the end of the day, I really have to understand what all of my constituents are going through so I can best advocate for them. And I feel so lucky that I have been able to gain that kind of empathy through the work that I have done in the entertainment industry."
What would you say or feel is your responsibility personally for making change in Ohio, for the U.S., and to the world?
“I think everyone has a responsibility as American citizens. People have fought and died for their right to vote, and their right to make a change in this country and for their voices to be heard. So I think the most American thing that you can do is become an engaged citizen and attempt to make change. This was an opportunity that was presented to me. People wanted me to get involved in this and I didn't have anything else going on.
When you are running for [a political] office it's tough if you have a family, or you have small children that you have to take care of. I'm lucky I don't have that, so I have this big opportunity to step up and fulfill my duty as an American citizen. And I think that everyone who lives in this beautiful country shouldn't take it for granted. If we've learned one thing from the Donald Trump era is that we cannot take our democracy for granted. Too many times we think that everything is going to be fine and that other people will take care of us, but in reality we are all responsible. We are all responsible for this beautiful thing called America. So we all need to step up and get involved wherever we can."
Photo by Monique A. LeBleu ~ Nick Rubando as Le Phantom, Master of Ceremonies, in "Legends of the Hidden Three Clubs" for Hollywood Fringe, at Three Clubs, Thursday, June 10, 2017.
Let's talk about the local fundraising event at Three Clubs coming up. How did that come about and what can people expect from that?
“I have friends and family in the Los Angeles area, and they have been extremely supportive of this race. And they asked, 'What is one thing that we can do to help you out?' As I mentioned, we have a grassroots campaign and we're going up against an incumbent Republican who is taking 75% of his donations from corporate PACs. The worst of it all is that it's the exact same corporate PACs that he is making the laws about in Washington. He sits on the Energy and Commerce committees...oil and gas companies and the pharmaceutical companies, and those are the same corporations that he gets money from. And the pharmaceutical companies are the worst because our state is number two in opioid-related deaths and our [current] Representative gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from opioid manufacturers each year to get elected. And that is terrible!
It's so important that we're able to get support from individuals so we can have snacks and water and materials for our volunteers when they come into the [campaign] office. We need donations so we can print educational materials about our campaign that we hand out to our constituents when we knock on doors, so we can purchase online ads, send out mailers, etc. I'm a first-time candidate, so it's essential that I get name recognition and that my campaign message gets heard.
The fundraising event on November 30th at Three Clubs in Hollywood will raise money towards democracy and at the same time will have great entertainment. The crew from Cherry Poppins will be dancing, singing, and performing and 'MAD😜LIB! The Musical' show will also be there. It's amazing that these individuals that I have worked with for so long really believe in what we are doing and are helping out. They want to see a change and they're using their art to help inspire and create that change. That is phenomenal to see."
Is the Three Clubs donating the evening, in terms of the space, and anything else?
“The space is completely free. We are not paying for it. There will be food included in the ticket price, which is coming from my family, and my friends are helping serve. People have to pay for alcohol, but the Three Clubs is giving us the entire space and the entire night for free. They are such an amazing venue. I have done so many great shows there and they have been a huge supporter of my work! And I believe that a ticket to this kind of show is worth $35, while at the same time supporting democracy and getting some good food. It's going to be a really awesome event and evening!
This fundraiser is extremely important and we want everyone to come out to this event and meet with like-minded people so we can also make some changes in Los Angeles.”
Regardless of the outcome, do you have any plans, either way, win or lose? What is the first thing you would or will do once you'd win and any other plans down the road?
“Well, if we win, we'd be in Congress. And the first thing I would like to do is pass a law to get big money out of politics. And another thing I'd want to do is to ensure that Members of Congress won't be allowed to accept donations from companies that they actively legislating on. So if you are making laws that are about the energy and gas sectors, you are not allowed to accept money from big oil companies. You would think that would be a no-brainer, but that is not the case right now. These would be my first pieces of legislation that I would want to push through."
But the advantages of Super PACs go both ways, or all ways, politically, so anyone can benefit from them, right? Is that something you choose not to accept then?
“We're not accepting any corporate PAC money. But I should mention that our campaign was recently endorsed by an organization called Brand New Congress. They have a documentary on Netflix called “Knock Down The House.” They were very influential in the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, so we are extremely excited about that."
Nick's Hollywood Return Fundraiser is Saturday, November 30, 2019, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Three Clubs located at 1123 Vine St, 90038, in Hollywood. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased here. Donations can also be made here.
How does a show receive an Audience LemonMeter rated certificate? With 10 audience reviews!
A show receives a LemonMeter rating with 3 reviews but only gets certified after 10 reviews. Why? Because it takes a lot more reviews then just your friends or family to make a show Sweet. We want producers and production participants to encourage audience reviews, so they can get an honest feedback, which would help their show grow. And when a show receives 10+ audience reviews, we reward those productions with a certificate because they encouraged their audiences to get involved, regardless of the outcome of the LemonMeter rating.
So we celebrate these shows and we want to give them recognition and hopefully get more audiences into their seats.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THESE 2019 FRINGE PRODUCTIONS, THAT RECEIVED 10+ AUDIENCE REVIEWS:
As of this post, the critics and the audiences have spoken, resulting in almost 99 Hollywood Fringe productions receiving a SWEET #LemonMeter rating and 19 Fringe productions receiving #DoubleSWEET ratings (both critics and audience members agreeing on a sweet production).
It takes three reviews from critics or three reviews from the audience to generate a #LemonMeter rating.
The Better Lemons Fringe Audience and Critics Choice Awards, as well as the DoubleSweet Awards are based on the number of reviews submitted before the time of publication.
The shows with the most reviews receive the Audience and the Critics Choice Awards. The Awards are based on the number of reviews, regardless of the #LemonMeter rating of Sweet, Sweet and Sour, or Sour.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THESE WINNERS who have registered their shows on Better Lemons and encouraged audiences and critics to voice their opinion about their show, regardless of the outcome!
Theatrical shows registered on the Better Lemons calendar, including Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore! Producers and Best of Broadwater Award recipients. For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.
FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation
"WINNER Producers' Encore Award & NOMINEE Best Solo Performance 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival!
Jenny has a plan. A plan to get pregnant. Everyone says, time is running out - she just turned 35, after all. So, when those pesky urine tests keep coming back negative, Jenny decides to take action to fix the problem. That's when she runs into real problems - and real questions about fertility AND motherhood. As Jenny faces the world of “mom options” – egg freezing, in-vitro, adoption, and more – the conversation about the expectation heats up. Taking into account a whirlwind of outside opinions from her friends, her doctors, a beloved neighbor – and even God – Jenny must ultimately look within to discover what motherhood means to her, what it means to be Fertile."
"'Love, Madness and Somewhere in Between' is a no holds barred glimpse into a mystical journey filled with love, pain, insanity, and redemption. Scattered along the way is a sprinkling of ironic comic commentary that can only come from a true survivor. “Jimmy” is not so much a hero but more a human being traversing an abusive childhood, a descent into alcoholism and finally plunging into a world of fantastical personifications which dwell amidst humanity's darkest sins. Will closure, forgiveness, and healing come in the unlikely form of the “angel warriors” – patients on the pediatric cancer ward of Children's Hospital? Does Pure Love, in fact, transform and redeem, or are some lives beyond salvation? The show had its world premiere at Theatre West on January 27th, 2019. It ran 6 performances at Hollywood Fringe 2019 and won the Encore! Producers' Award. The show has been extended for three more performances."
"Lisa Verlo performs HOLLYWOODN'T a solo show and personal journey across Hollywood's unsettling sexual landscape, directed by and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson. A musical memoir told with candor and insight into the life of an actress before women dared to speak up. With original songs co-written with Frank Simes, Musical Director for The Who, Lisa Verlo brings humor and a light heart to a heavy subject. Creative visuals and video projections add to the multimedia recounting of her experiences on the casting couches of LA. Hollywoodn't was featured, on Wednesday, February 13, as part of SOLOFEST 2019 at the Whitefire Theatre, the largest solo theatre festival on the West Coast."
"While on a first date, Stacy's date innocently asks her if she wants red or white wine. This “trick” question immediately sets off a tsunami of Stacy's insecurities, fueled by a history of being shot down after speaking her mind. In the instant it takes to answer that “red or white?” question, Stacy takes us on a hilarious journey of her failed relationships with men, starting in the fifth grade, when she beat her first boyfriend at wall ball during recess. After that he broke up with her. So begins an unintentionally competitive pattern with men that whenever Stacy wins at life, she loses at love. With both sides of Stacy's psyche weighing in like a comical Greek chorus, Stacy tries to figure out what men really want in a women before she answers that all important first date question, 'Would you like red or white wine?'"
"Lisa Verlo performs HOLLYWOODN'T a solo show and personal journey across Hollywood's unsettling sexual landscape, directed by and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson. A musical memoir told with candor and insight into the life of an actress before women dared to speak up. With original songs co-written with Frank Simes, Musical Director for The Who, Lisa Verlo brings humor and a light heart to a heavy subject. Creative visuals and video projections add to the multimedia recounting of her experiences on the casting couches of LA. Hollywoodn't was featured, on Wednesday February 13, as part of SOLOFEST 2019 at the Whitefire Theatre, the largest solo theatre festival on the West Coast."
The following are more winners of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, including the Sponsored Awards and Fringe Runway.
Now that the Hollywood Fringe Festival has technically come to a close, here are awards that provide additional opportunities through the Encore! Producers Awards and the Best of Broadwater Award which provide an avenue for shows to extend through July, August, and beyond, to see the shows you might have missed.
The Unleashed Award is given to the ensemble production who unleashes their production with a strong focus on telling the story and the winner receives a certificate, a dog collar and tag engraved with the name of the show, the award and the year, award laurels for social media use, and shout outs on the Theatre Unleashed social media sites.
The 2Cents Distinctive Voices Award recognizes an artist/team of artists who prove themselves as a true auteur. The winning production will demonstrate unique perspective, fresh interpretation and defined approach, providing a one of a kind experience of unexpected storytelling. The winner will receive a coveted engraved 2Cents Piggy.
Aunt Lyla’s Fave Fringe Flyer
Matt: The Gathering
Aunt Lyla’s Fave Fringe Flyer recognizes superb flyer design and the winner(s) receive an award plague showcasing the winning flyer.
Fight The Power Award is granted for performance, writing, direction combined "to create a powerful piece that moves the needle in social justice, inclusiveness, normalization of reality, and forward-thinking art." Winners receive a custom ‘Fight the Power’ trophy.
No Room In The Green Room Award
Borracho: Spanish For Drunken Bum
MB Stage Productions No Room In The Green Room Award "goes to those who like to challenge themselves to have a full audience and an even fuller stage." Winner(s) are awarded a trophy and recognition on MB Stage Productions, LLC’s website, social media and digital laurels.
O Face Award For Orgasmic Achievement In Theatre: “Most Orgasmic Performance”
Macy Idzakovich – Flower Society
The O Face Award For Orgasmic Achievement In Theatre: 'Most Orgasmic Performance' Award singles out one production "for forging a connection between artist, audience and the divine, bringing all three together in an explosive theatrical experience that transcends convention and can only be regarded as 'Orgasmic.'" A 7th Annual O Face Award statuette is presented to the winner.
The ShoWorks Don’t Wait. Create! Award is awarded to "writers and creators who develop their own opportunities by producing original content and pushing the creative envelope from 'page to stage.'” The winner receives this 3rd Annual award statuette.
Soaring Solo Artist Award
Dear Jeff by Callie Ott
The 3rd Annual Soaring Solo Artist Award is presented by Soaring Solo LLC, Jessica Lynn Johnson & the Whitefire Theatre recognizes and celebrates "excellence in solo theatre within the Hollywood Fringe Community." The winner receives an award plaque, along with a spot to perform their winning solo show at the Whitefire Theatre’s SOLOFEST 2020.
Standout Song Award honors "the song at Fringe that we feel represents the 'number one hit' of the festival. The song that we remember as we leave their show and keep thinking about as the festival goes on." The award involves "a fully funded/produced music video of the original song that will be published online."
Steve Kent Award
Earth Stories: Our Climate And Our Future
Steve Kent Award, named after co-founder of the legendary Company Theatre, the late Steve Kent, "is given a piece of theatre that uses their art for to create political or social change within an individual and their community." and a trophy is awarded to the winner.
The Diverse Diva Award is presented by the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, co-sponsored by City National Bank, and is awarded to a solo female identified artist performing "cabaret, poetry, dance, as a singer-songwriter, vocalist, musician [or] storyteller" selecting one "engaging and unique female identified artist who exemplifies what it means to be a 'Diverse Diva.'" The winner receives a framed award certificate, a performance spot in the LAWTF Wine Down Wednesday event, and a week-long stay at the Writer’s Well International Literary Retreat in Sharpsburg Georgia (including lodging.)
The Golden Key
The show with the highest score will receive The Golden Key, a symbol of the production’s ability to unlock a new world for guests.
The Encore Award
The Encore! Producers Award represents the best of the Hollywood Fringe selected by venue producers, based on artistic merit and commercial potential. The extensions immediately follow the HFF2019 and run through July in participating fringe venues. Shows selected receive extensions "giving them the opportunity for additional audience, press, awards and extensions. Shows receive "at least one performance," following the Hollywood Fringe Festival, in July. Typically extensions are one to two performances, but longer runs are possible and are negotiated between venue and show producer.
The Inkwell Theater Playwright’s Promise Award, presented by the Inkwell Theater Development LAB, recognizes a writer of a Fringe production. The criteria for this fifth annual award is based on the play itself, not necessarily the production. The playwright of the winning production is invited to "participate in a number of special events and reading opportunities throughout our 2019-20 season" and receive a “Golden Pen” statuette.
The Outdoor Voices Festival “conversation Creation” Award
Dear Jeff: A Musical Comedy About Suicide & Domestic Abuse
The Outdoor Voices Festival “conversation Creation” Award honors the show that "encompasses all of the qualifications that make up a brilliant piece of socially relevant theater." The winner of the award receives a statuette and is invited to perform in the "Outdoor Voices Festival, Winter 2019" where a limited number shows are selected each year.
Sponsored by MET Theatre (MET Foundation) The Paul Koslo Memorial/Met theatre Award, in honor of the late MET Theatre founding member Paul Koslo, is given to "outstanding theatre makers who reflect that same bold, creative, and inspirational spirit as was possessed by our beloved Mr. Koslo." The winner receives a statuette, plaque, or "the like" along with "20 Free Rehearsal Hours (a $500 value) at the MET Theatre on the Paul Koslo Stage in the Great Scott space."
Sponsored by They Played Productions, LLC., TPP’s Trope Buster! is awarded to shows that "break the mold," disrupt the medium, and take the "expected roles or stories or themes or tropes of theatre and spin them off the axis into unknown territory." Winners will receive an award created by producer and artist Thea Rivera specifically for this year’s TPP Trope Buster as well as a digital file listing your winning award.
LAFPI's Most Wanted Award
LAFPI's Most Wanted Award is granted in "recognition of the gender parity efforts and achievements by LA Theaters and Fringe Venues, focusing on female-identifying playwrights" and receive a certificate.
The LAFPI Most Wanted Awards:
Assistance League Theatre
Asylum @ McCadden Theatre
Asylum @ Studio C
The Hobgoblin Playhouse at The Arena Stage, Theatre of Arts
The New American Theatre
The New Collective
The Best of Broadwater Award is awarded to a select few Hollywood Fringe productions that have performed at The Broadwater based on "their high level of artistry and excellence." Winners receive a statuette and certificate for their production during the Hollywood Fringe Festival Closing Night Ceremony and are offered an extension at one of The Broadwater’s four stages on Best of Broadwater Weekend July 5th-7th.
EVA PERON BY COPI EN ESPAÑOL
AN YET ANOTHER EVENING WITH THE SISTAHS- UNSUNG SHEROES
LOVE, MADNESS, AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN
IT TAKES TWO: MUSICAL IMPROV WITH PEARCY & BYRNES
The Complex Hollywood
2 FOR 1
ACID WASH LOVE
CAVE GIRL THE MUSICAL
THE COLOR COLLECTIVE
CRACK WHORE, BULIMIC, GIRL-NEXT-DOOR
DEATH AND THE FOOL
IF IT GOES THERE
MY TRANS WIFE
THE NARCISSIST NEXT DOOR
OLIVIA WILDE DOES NOT SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE
PIT OF GOBLINS
POCKETMON! A PARODY MUSICAL
PRINCESS MAGIC’S TRASH TIME REVUE
SHIVA FOR ANNE FRANK
TALES FROM THE POWDER ROOM
THE MAYOR’S DEBATE OF TRANQUILITY, NEBRASKA
THIS WAY YONDER
VERY GOOD ACTOR: AN ACTING SEMINAR
WHAT I NEVER TOLD YOU
WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?
YES. NO. MAYBE.
AN EXCUSE TO BEHAVE BADLY
CHRISSY METH – A DANCE WITH THE DEVIL AND THE JOURNEY BACK
CORINA, FROM LAP DANCE TO SUNDANCE
HIDE YOUR FIRES: BUTOH LADY MACBETH
A BIT MUCH
IF WE RUN
LEAVING PRINCE CHARMING
BATTER UP! MY BRAIN ON BASEBALL
CRABBE AND GOYLE ARE DEAD
LIFE PLAN, OR LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE IN A COLLAPSING WORLD
THE JOURNEY OF THE LITTLE PRINCE
SILENT JOY, A NEW PLAY
SUGARFREE: FOSTER CARE COGNITIVE DISSONANCE
The Hobgoblin Playhouse at the Arena Stage
EARTH & FIRE WALKING (TIERRA Y FUEGO QUE CAMINA)
SHE KILLS MONSTERS
TABLETOP (THE MUSICAL)
THE BULLY PROBLEM
GUNFIGHT AT THE NOT-SO-OK SALOON
LET’S WRITE A MUSICAL
NO MORE TOYS
STRAIGHT WHITE MEN TRYING TO WOKE
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND.
Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
BUNNY THE ELF LIVE!
OUT OF THE BLUE
RAISED BY WOLVES
SORRY ABOUT MY FRIEND
SWIPE RIGHT: THE MUSICAL
THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME
THE HUMAN[OID] EXPERIENCE
ASK A BLACK WOMAN
DANDY DARKLY’S ALL ABOARD!
DEAR JEFF: A MUSICAL COMEDY ABOUT SUICIDE & DOMESTIC ABUSE
DOUBLE FEATURE: THE ORIGINAL ENGLISH & MURDERFUCK
I AM NOT A MAN
JAMBA JUICE: THE MUSICAL
MORAL FIXATION (ORIGINALLY TITLED BOYS
WILL BE BOYS)
ONE HUMP HEART
SPEAK I WILL: A FRACTURED SHAKESPEARE
SUPPORTIVE WHITE PARENTS
THE LAST POWERPOINT
THE ONE-MAN IMPROVISED MUSICAL
ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS
Soaring Solo Artist Award Squeeze My Cans by Cathy Schenkelberg
Dear Jeff by Callie Ott
Mr. Yunioshi by Jonathan Cho Mandy Picks A Husband by Amanda Broomell
The One-Man Improvised Musical by Conor Hanney
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.
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.