Audio Interview: Bill Brochtrup - John Irvin on the ABC television drama NYPD Blue and the cast of "Daniel's Husband" at Fountain Theatre

A bold commentary on love, commitment and family in our perilous new world.* Enjoy this interview with Bill Brochtrup - Dr. Joe Bowman in Major Crimes and the cast of “Daniel's Husband” at The Fountain Theatre, running until Jun 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. *taken from the website

Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – May 6 - 12, 2019

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

Too Blunt!

“Your typical Midwestern-African American-Gay-Cat Loving-Sagittarian-Coming-of-Age Story in Los Angeles. A Black gay boy from Missouri shares his long and liberating journey to weight loss, dating in the gay-app era, while unpacking the complex intersectionality of race and sexual orientation– and the twisted heartbreak and humor that ensues.”

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Clementine

“CLEMENTINE celebrates the exhilaration of motherhood, balancing poetic passages with humorous detours into the modern realities of raising small children...[moving] forward and backward through time, exploring the pressures and the promises of parenthood. Unapologetically feminist and powerfully tender, CLEMENTINE studies a matriarchal family's traditions, exploring the connection between generations through Wish's lens as both a mother and a daughter...In this dynamic and often hilarious piece, April Wish has crafted a love letter to her daughter, Clementine, as well as to the little girl she used to be herself.”

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The Institute for The Opposite of Longing

“Please enter the Opposite of Longing Chamber and state your primary symptom of longing. And where do you feel it in your body? And how much do you feel it on a scale of 1 to 10? And are you running out of time? The Institute for The Opposite of Longing can cure that thing deep in the pit of your body. But what happens when its owners and operators can't let go of the little boy they had to give back? And can't stop reenacting the day they packed his bags and watched him go. Or tucking him in at night or talking to his empty shoes or unpacking the bag of his things they keep hidden. What happens when these are the women who are responsible for curing that thing, that thing you feel deep in the pit of your body? Please enter the Opposite of Longing Chamber. We can help you. The process is simple.”

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The Institute for The Opposite of Longing

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Radicals

“'Radicals' is a Bollywood Musical about a love story struggling to survive in the war-torn valleys of Kashmir, aimed at tackling Islamophobia and the trauma of warfare on civilians.”

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Siren Call

“The siren call is driving me to my end, like a ship to wreck on rocks”. Two frustrated actors accidentally kidnap their favorite movie star… or is it really her? What is identity in a world where myths are stronger than we dare think? A dramedy about identity and oneness, frustrated actors, classism, depression, myths and a quote by Albert Camus.”

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LOVE, MADNESS, AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN

“'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?”

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Tattered Capes

“In 'Tattered Capes,' it's Kevin and Stephanie Connolly's fifth wedding anniversary, and Kevin has a night of celebration planned for them. Of course, this means he won't be going out on his regular patrol of Metro City as his alter-ego, M-Pulse, the self-appointed Eminence of Electromagnetism. But things should be fine without him for one night, right? Wrong. One would think that there could be no secrets left between a husband and wife after five years of matrimonial bliss, but when a powerful supervillain's attack interrupts Kevin and Stephanie's date, a hero's unmasking bears significant consequences for the Connollys…consequences that will resonate and redefine their relationship forever. ”

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Squeeze My Cans

“A true journey in to and out of Scientology. 'Moving, hilarious, heart-breaking and redemptive.' Lets you experience for yourself how Scientology devours money and lives.' -Chicago Reader 'Schenkelberg easily switches characters and time periods with dizzying energy, that is both exhilarating and electrifying.'- Edge Media 'At the top of the best performed, brilliantly written, elegantly directed one person shows I have ever seen.'- Buzz News”

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Skylight

“On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant, a successful and charismatic restaurateur whose wife has recently died. As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires. Can they find their way back to each other, or has the time for their tumultuous romance reached its end? ”

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Tigers Be Still

“'Tigers Be Still' — a ferociously funny play from New Girl writer Kim Rosenstock — centers around the infinitely-trying-to-be-optimistic Sherry Wickman, who has earned her art therapy degree and promptly moved back in with her family. Matters take a turn for the better once she gets hired as a substitute art teacher. Now if only her mother would stop hiding upstairs, her sister would stop watching Top Gun from the couch, her petulant patient would do one of his assignments, her boss would leave his gun at home, and someone would catch the tiger that escaped from the local zoo, everything would be just perfect.”

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CORINA, From Lap dance to Sundance

“Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to keep your dream alive. CORINA: FROM LAP DANCE TO SUNDANCE is a one-woman show about finding purpose and direction to a life long dream in the least likely of places. A story of family, tradition, and perseverance.”

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Legends, Movement and Memories

“The performers include: Florence LaRue, an original member of The 5th Dimension, the pop group that so often dominated the charts in the 60s and 70s with their hit songs, will perform some of the award-winning singing group's big hits. Freda Payne will perform an excerpt from her show Ella Fitzgerald, First Lady of Song, bringing to life the immortal Ella Fitzgerald and her revered career as an extraordinary jazz singer. Sheetal Gandhi in BAHU-Beti-Biwi (Daughter-inLaw, Daughter, Wife). A tour-de-force excerpt combining dance, stirring vocalization, and percussive text that glides between humorous portraiture and active resistance. Juli Kim shares two dance works. Five Drum Dance exemplifies Korean traditional music with a touch of Western influence. New Leaf, deeply rooted in Korean “Han,” symbolically unfolds the innocence of the new leaf when there is change in life.”

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Mama Metal

“This joyfully irreverent black comedy 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.”

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Dancing to the Edge of a Cliff: One Woman's Musical Mythological Journey toward Self-Acceptance

“Incorporating music, multimedia, humor, a touch of mythology, and embodying over twenty characters, Margaret whimsically puts her psyche on stage to explore her struggle with self-acceptance and her experience of two mental breakdowns. Margaret explores not only what outside influences molded her personality when she was growing up and as an adult, but also confronts two internal voices, representing the competing compulsions of artistry (Puella) and perfectionism (Miss Perfect). Realizing in the end that what she has been taught her whole life was right, doesn't work for her.”

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Ride or Die: The Hip-Hop Musical

“Elliott and Michael are best friends. They're of different temperaments. Elliott is boisterous and outgoing. Michael is more tentative and shy. One day, Elliott dies in an accident. He's allowed to come back to earth, where he can only be seen by Michael. Elliott is tasked with finding Michael a new best friend. Only then will Elliott earn his angel wings and be allowed to ascend into Heaven. Michael wants to be friends with Ciara. Will Elliott be able to help Michael connect with Ciara, or will he mess things up for them all? Will Michael and Ciara ultimately become friends? Will Elliott earn his angel wings? The cast is unique in the fact that most of the performers are differently-abled: John JT Tucker Jr. (Elliott), has Down syndrome. He is the star of the A&E tv series Born This Way. Domonique Brown (Michael) has autism and recurs on the Netfiix series Atypical. He's the nephew of Marvin Gaye. Spencer Harte (Ciara) has autism and also recurs on Atypical. The supporting players include Coby Bird who has autism and will be a regular on a Netflix series to be announced; and Caley Versfelt, who has Down syndrome.
The rest of the cast is neurotypical and includes Brendan McCay, Stanson Chung, Alexa Russo and Callie Ott.”

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Karaoke Saved My Life

“Scotty D, just a city boy from South Detroit, invites you on a Journey, showing you how karaoke saved his life, and how it can save yours, too. With stories, power ballads, big anthems, and cheesy pop, and a bit of bopping, we might even save the World. Don't stop believing!”

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Fight Song!

“Texas. 1964. Following a deadly car crash, four cheerleaders navigate through the afterlife. Both Lucifer and God herself pay a visit, and High School drama turns into madness in this strange nightmare of a story – a never-ending fight song.”

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Fight or Flight

“Isaac Easton, a recently retired boxer, and his former sports manager open a gym together to help advance the popularity of female boxing. When their first female boxer gets into trouble only three weeks from the fight, they scramble to find a new fighter to train. Enter Zoey Jones, a young and shy fighter who has never fought in the professional circuit. Easton and Jones take a crash course in trusting and learning from each other over three weeks in preparation for the fight, and the two often butt heads. Can Jones pull out a win and save Easton's reputation and gym? Through voice-overs and grueling workouts in preparation for the fight, this one-act play shows the audience how intimate a platonic relationship between a man and woman can be, the beauty of physical strength, and what happens when you are stuck in fight or flight mode.”

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Five Pieces of Paper: Stories My Hungarian Grandmother Refused to Tell Me and Other Family Tales

“Moti Buchboot, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, created this show in response to the 2017 Charlottesville riots. He reveals lessons learned from his Hungarian grandmother who began her life in a village in Hungary, survived the Holocaust, and eventually settled in a small town in Israel. Buchboot's tale unfolds through storytelling, Yiddish song, puppetry, and baking.”

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The Narcissist Next Door

“The power of positive thinking goes hilariously wrong when a new neighbor teaches two dispirited best friends an Ancient Peruvian Self Help Philosophy. Instead of their lives being transformed they end up held hostage by two inept kidnappers. 'Be careful who you wish for' has never been more appropriate.”

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POCKETS

“Set in the fictional British-ish kingdom of Crumpeton, POCKETS spins the tale of Bellamina Crumbledunk, a noble preteen, who becomes a pickpocket to win the attention of her overextended mother, the Duchess. Bellamina's misadventures take her into the underbelly of society, where she accidentally becomes the leader of a criminal uprising, but will she have the heart to sabotage her mother's well-laid plans for Crumpet Day? #CheckYourPockets for tickets to this fast-paced, funny, and touching period piece to find out!”

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Straight White Men Trying to Woke

“Five short comedies exploring the middle age white male struggle to fit in during these confusing times.
FANDOM – navigating politics
POLITE RACISM – analyzing ethnicity
SUICIDE PACT – tolerating millennials
BRITTLE TROMBONE – contemplating economics
FANTASY FOOTBALL – grasping identity”

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Girl From SchenectadyGirl From Schenectady

“Selected as an Honorable Mention for the Hollywood Fringe 2019 due to it's cultural theme, “Girl From Schenectady” is a story about a 38-year-old Nigerian Woman from Schenectady New York who is still a Virgin. Her story begins with her Journey to finding True Love. However, her plan is to find Mr. Right and to lose her Virginity before she turns 40. The story takes place at the Airport, while Ayo is waiting for her next flight to take off, she describes the metaphoric places she has traveled to Find True Love. She takes the Audience on a ride to her past and her Nigerian family traditions, Culture, and Values. She struggles to break free from her Nigerian Generational Cycle, Parental Divorce, Failed Marriages and to keep history from repeating itself. Ayo also takes the Audience on her dating journey starting with a Nigerian Man. She also dates a Mexican Man, an Italian Man and an African American Man. After several attempts to finding True Love and Losing her virginity before 40, she goes on a self-discovery, and Lands in the last place she ever thought she would find True Love.”

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Dames at Sea

“Ruby gets off the bus from Utah with “nothing but tap shoes in her suitcase and a prayer in her heart.” As fate would have it, she is immediately cast in the chorus of a Broadway show. When the theatre is forced to close, Ruby's songwriting sailor boyfriend persuades the Captain of his ship to allow the show to move on deck. Voila! Dames at sea! When the show's lead gets seasick, Ruby may have to go on for her. Will Ruby come back a star? Do you need to ask? Dames at Sea at once pays affectionate homage to and sends up the optimistic early Broadway musicals of the 30s and 40s. It's filled with songs, tap-dancing and romance from start to finish. It is suitable for general audiences.”

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Rory and the Devil

“During the height of The Troubles, in a rural pub on the border of Northern Ireland, Mary Friel, a barmaid, strives to maintain harmony amongst the men in her life. Ancestral legends and secrets are revisited and a cycle of violence is revealed: can they forgive injustice and cruelty from their past, or will the cycle continue? Enjoy a Guinness and whiskey as a group of actors take you to Neil Friel's pub–a safe place for a good story–until it isn't. In this bare-bones production of Rory and the Devil you can enjoy the best of what Irish storytelling has to offer.”

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Johnny '81

“It's 1981! The corpse of disco, the flames of punk, the plastic smell of new wave, and the balls of rock ‘n' roll, all converge and merge on a seemingly peaceful street in West Hollywood, CA, along with the stories of a 12-year-old boy raised by a pill-popping single mother and the many gay men in their life...Against a backdrop of music, 'JOHNNY '81' weaves together a collection of stories based on a 12-year-old boy's experience of living in West Hollywood during the early 1980s. These semi-autobiographical tales bring to life the humor and drama of how a group of gay men became strange and amazing surrogate fathers to a pre-teen boy and his younger brother...'JOHNNY '81' is like spending the day listening to an old record album, or like being at a concert, with stories that make us reflect on our lives and the world we live in, or tales that make you just want to get up out of your seat and dance!”

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Bronco Billy - The Musical

“'Voice from the Village'...is based upon one of Los Angeles greatest playwrights, Lynn Manning and his in real time visit to Skid Row Studios on Monday, August 26, 2013 for an interview on “The Qumran Report”, hosted by Melvin Ishmael Johnson to talk about his life growing up in Watts and turning a tragic situation into an art form.”

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If It Goes There

“It's Saturday night, and Erik and Connor are looking to get laid. When they try their luck on a hook-up app, the night takes a turn they never expected and their true desires are revealed.”

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A Time Traveler's Guide to the Present

“When 85% of the world is afflicted with a mysterious case of 'The Flake,' one man volunteers to travel through space and time to stop it. 'A Time Traveler's Guide to the Present' is a far-out, amped-up, one-man show about the hunt for human connection. ”

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The Scorpion and the Frog: a time-killer

“'The Scorpion and the Frog: a time-killer' is a comic interpretation of the oft-told story/fable/allegory/whatchamawhoositz about a frog who agrees to take a scorpion across a river. Will the two make it to the other side of said river? Will they learn anything? Will they grow as [an] intelligent species? Will these questions entice you to actually leave your homes and see this play?”

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Uprooted

“In 'Uprooted,' the creatures of Vanessa Boss' inner world take you on the flight of her life! A disturbance triggers violent weather, endangering matriarch Elda, the elder tree, the voice of Vanessa's wisdom. Elda leads Vanessa's inner fantasy creatures on a journey to remind Vanessa of her strength, but Vanessa's demons take control of the flight and her mind as she is moved, again and again, facing bullies, saying unexpected goodbyes to friends, and hoping for the day to come where she'll get to choose where home is. But is home a place or a feeling? Full of exciting adventure, triumph, and heartbreak, Vanessa frees herself from the restraints of her inner demons and proclaims her power to define her own fate. Uprooted is a young woman's resilient story of growing into the strong, rooted woman she is meant to be. ”

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ORANGUTAN

“Orangutan is a haunting and absurd one-woman show about the mother of a brutish (slightly orange) would-be dictator, and the tribalism that's tearing our country apart. Deutch's provocative dark comedy was inspired by Bill Maher's challenge to Donald Trump's outrageous Obama “Birther” claims. Maher offered to donate five million dollars to the charity of Donald Trump's choice if Trump produced a birth certificate that proved he was not half-ape. Trump's lawyer responded: 'Attached hereto is a copy of Mr. Trump's birth certificate, demonstrating that he is the son of Fred Trump, not an Orangutan.' Trump then sued Bill Maher for five million dollars…”

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ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS

“In this new play, Neil, a mediocre musician, and Kurt Cobain wannabe, moves to Los Angeles to “make it” as a rockstar. Through the constant ups and downs of LA living, Neil struggles between pursuing his passions or taking the practical path in life. Should he keep chasing his dreams or stop? This 60-minute three-person show explores idealism vs. cynicism, the practicality of pursuing art in a capitalist society, and millennials' struggle with mental health.”

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NAKED MAN RISING

“Aren't you tired of going to the theater and seeing the same old shit? Check out 'Naked Man Rising,' a crowd favorite from the Solo Creation Festival. We're talking sold out, folk. This tale of revenge rips through the stage like a Grindhouse film and features a balls-to-the-wall performance by Canadian Wildman and naturalist Kyle Durack. Not for your Grandma…unless, she's a badass. Winner of the Hollywood Fringe Scholarship for first-time Producers, Kyle is thrilled to bring 'Naked Man Rising' to the 2019 Fringe Festival. The writing is crisp and the play moves along at a deft pace. But the words are simply a vehicle for Kyle Durack's powerful interpretation. The Canadian actor was born with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, and in this piece, he sheds his disability along with his clothes to reveal the inner strength concealed by a “weakened” body. 'Naked Man Rising' mixes humor and action. Durack uses his physicality well as he tells the story.”

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HELL'S FINEST

“The cult of Abaddon has a problem. The Angel of the Abyss, the figure with which they worship, is demanding a new leader. But not just anybody will qualify. Only the darkest, most demented contestants stand a chance at obtaining total power. A sadist, a murderer, and a predator, all share one common goal: to become the leader of the finest cult, the Ascendants of Abaddon. There's only one problem. In order to obtain this position, they must go up against each other in a riveting competition to impress the cult's current leader: Adam. He's spectacularly charming and possesses the uncanny ability to influence all those who cross his path. With secrets spilled and matches met, the three contestants grow more and more daring with their desperate attempts to gain total power. However, no matter what happens, no matter who lies and who cheats, Adam always calls the final shots.”

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Not Here Right Now

“The hilariously touching tale of a tall man in tight spaces, finding clarity and avoiding a quarter-life crisis in Southeast Asia, all while wearing strappy velcro sandals except to the wedding of the century. Tired of the monotony of New York City corporate life, Royce, an ambitious 20-something, trades in his promising media research career for a one-way ticket to Southeast Asia. In this live one-man show, Royce brings you on an 8-country adventure toward self-discovery. During 'Not Here Right Now,' audiences are treated to true stories and experiences of Royce's inspiring journey from corporate citizen to world traveler. The original production of Not Here Right Now was successfully funded on Kickstarter thanks to the support of 165 people from around the world.”

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IF TRUTH BE TOLD

“A raucous evening of comic stories, told by a woman who has seen a few things. Actress and humorist Jennifer Brown examines how the truth can play out in a variety of ways. What exactly is “the truth”? And when you are asked to tell the truth, whose truth do you stand in?”

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Crack Whore, Bulimic, Girl-Next-Door

“A comedic romp through depression, eating disorders and self-loathing! Crack Whore, Bulimic, Girl-Next-Door is a one-act play chronicling one woman's journey through her depression and bulimarexia. It is a painfully funny look at body image, addiction, and the obsession with fitting into society's ideal of beauty and thinness. It is part poetry and prose, part sketch and part narrative with a few snappy dance numbers mixed in. Three actresses portray one woman in various stages of her eating disorder and crippling depression. They are joined by one male actor portraying various influences in her childhood development, teenage years and young adulthood. This autobiographical theatrical experience intimately exposes the perils of womanhood, the rawness of living through sexual trauma and culminates in discovering the inner strength to live comfortably in one's own skin ”

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Mil Grus

“Previous Fringe award winners team up for this year's Hollywood Fringe to create the First official Bouffon/Clown troupe “MIL GRUS” led by world-renowned physical theater artist Dean Evans of “Honeybuns” fame. Be prepared as this motley crew of miscreants crawl out of the gutter to make you question reality in the most exhilarating way. This timeless satire features improvised feats of physical and existential comedy that defy explanation and provoke unfettered, eery glee. Come see what's behind the curtain, starting June 9, 2019, at The Mccadden Place Theatre”

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Human Fountains

“As seen on America's Got Talent (quarter-finalists) and countless television shows around the world! Prepare for a fountain show like you've never seen before! The Human Fountain's hilarious choreographed water spitting routines will keep you laughing and thirsty for more. Always making a splash on stage, literally — the group has endless tricks up their sleeves (and in their mouths) giving you performances that are one-of-a-kind. Inspired by the world's most famous fountains, the comedy group adds a human touch to give you one of the most unique experiences you've ever seen. They couldn't be more excited to premiere their full-length show for Hollywood Fringe.”

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Les Mis-Cast

“Cast members from the National Tour of 'Les Misérables' (now at the Pantages Theatre through June 2) will perform in a very special cabaret concert to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and PAWS/LA. Patrons will support two great causes as they enjoy an intimate evening of cabaret-style performances. The evening will also feature a silent auction, allowing audience members to bid on items graciously donated by the Broadway community and local businesses.”

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Funeral Potatoes

“What would you do with only a month left to live? What would you look back on with nostalgia or regret? With laughter as the best medicine, Funeral Potatoes is a dark comedy about death and friendship, examining what makes it all worth it when you've spent your entire life planning for a future you won't have.”

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Food Bowl Events: Food and Film

Food and Film - Somebody Feed Phil: Dublin

“Somebody Feed Phil: Dublin' LA FOOD BOWL FEATURED EVENT. Join Phil Rosenthal, creator, writer and producer of the hit comedy “Everybody Loves Raymond” for a special screening of his Netflix hit 'Somebody Feed Phil: Dublin' and a conversation with Phil. This fantastic event will be teamed with none other than Nick Shipp (Upper West) who will be teaming the event with a specially curated Irish themed assortment of food! Specialty drinks provided...Screening with talk-back 75 mins. Nick Shipp Meal With Phil 75 minutes will be followed by a Q&A with Phil and Arena Cinelounge-Clamorhouse-LA Times-Phil Rosenthal event.”

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Food and Film - The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover

“NC-17 LA FOOD BOWL FEATURED EVENT MON. MAY 20 - The 1989 crime drama is arguably Peter Greenaway's most famous (or infamous) film, which first shocked audiences at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival and then on both sides of the Atlantic. A gang leader (Michael Gambon), accompanied by his wife (Helen Mirren) and his associates, entertains himself every night in a fancy restaurant that he has recently bought. Having tired of her sadistic, boorish husband, the wife finds herself a lover (Alan Howard) and makes love to him in the restaurant's coziest places with the silent permission of the cook (Richard Bohringer). Sergio Corbia of Ciabatta Bar and Fabiolus Cafe crafts a specialty menu that complements Greenaway's paradoxical comments on the relations between eating and sex, love and death.”

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More about the L.A. Times Food Bowl:

The 2nd Annual Trump Family Special

“the 2nd annual trump family special original musical comedy' parodies [the] First Family in “yuge” way. What if the First Family put on a live musical TV special – just like the Brady Bunch – starring Ice Princess Ivanka, her numbnut brothers, a still-not-caring Melania, and a host of ex's and deplorables.”

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Princess Magic's Trash Fire Time Revue

“A child's birthday party takes an unexpected turn when the scheduled magician doesn't show and the job is filled by a drunk and wayward vagrant. There are prizes. You should come. Use discount code BETTERLEMONS for 20% off their regular ticket price of $15”

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THE CHRISTIANS

“As their final show of Season 27, Actors Co-op Theatre Company is proud to present Lucas Hnath's The Christians, directed by Thomas James O'Leary, produced by Carly Lopez. When the pastor of a megachurch unilaterally decides to enlighten his congregation with his own personal revelation, he is faced with doubt and dissension among his flock. Hnath's Obie Award-winning play examines the schism in today's church and the role of faith in America. ”

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StoryTime

“The Group Rep presents StoryTime, a story salon produced by Patricia Willson, featuring fresh, live personal stories as entertainment – – an evening of joy, sadness, and a touch of comedy on Sunday, May 12 at 7:00 pm, at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood, CA, at the edge of the NoHo Arts District.
Authors performing their stories include Vince Cefalu 'Eyes of A Child,” Devon Curry 'Mach Two,' Jana DiMaggio 'Conventional Wisdom,' Rick Hall 'Mom's Home Cooking,' Tripp Mills 'A Rainbow God Box,' Madeline Morgan 'Salute to Storytellers,' Candace Nicholas-Lippman 'Don't Get It Twisted, I Love My Mama,' Lila Silvern 'This Sperm is For You,' Jonathan Leigh Solomon 'Hello in There,' Lan Tran 'Overpolite, Shanghai'ed and Homeless in Vietnam,' and Pat Willson 'Momma.' ”

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SHAME OF THRONES: The Musical

“The Whitefire Theatre Musical Mondays is proud to present...the musical spoof SHAME OF THRONES: The Musical returns to L.A. for more hilarious re-imagining of the show's backstabbing siblings, clever imps and dragon mamas, all set to an addictive rock score that'll stick in your head (unless the king orders it off, natch)...Watch your favorite daring and most despised characters sing and dance towards epic plot twists and the coveted Iron Throne.”

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AVENUE Q

“The Group Rep presents AVENUE Q...This fresh and unusual Tony-award winning musical is a coming-of-age parable, addressing and satirizing the anxieties associated with entering adulthood. Its characters lament that as children, they were assured by their parents, and by Sesame Street, that they were 'extraordinary' and 'could do anything'; but as adults, they have discovered, to their surprise, that in the real world their options are limited, and they are actually ordinary like everyone else. This quirky musical ranks 24th on the list of the longest running shows in Broadway history. Avenue Q is notable for the use of puppets, animated by unconcealed puppeteers. ”

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THE COLUMBINE PROJECT

“In remembrance of the 20th Anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, Loft Ensemble and the Whitefire Theatre are co-producing and reviving Paul Storiale's award-winning drama The Columbine Project directed by Bree Pavey. An atemporal retelling of the events leading up to, during and following the April 20, 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, the play challenges what we think we know about the victims, families, teachers and the shooters themselves. Praised by LA theatre critics, survivors and families of the victims. The Columbine Project was created from direct correspondence with people involved in and affected by the event”

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Let's Write a Musical

“Let's Write a Musical is an emotional rollercoaster ride of music, laughter, and tears. David Hamilton decides to write a musical after he is diagnosed with cancer. While the couple deals with the ups and downs of their cancer journey, so are the characters in the musical on a rollercoaster ride of mishaps and shenanigans.”

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Aristophanes' THE BIRDS

“When the world has gone to the birds, the cuckoo is king. Two shiftless con men scheme to exploit the power of the birds by encouraging them to build a fortress in the sky, from where they can lord over mankind and Gods alike. Aristophanes' classic comedy THE BIRDS is about corruption, weakness, and power; how easily people are exploited based on fear, ego and greed; and how even noble ideas may be corrupted if those who have power are irresponsible and/or selfish. (Sound like anything going on now? Hm? Too soon?) Or, as John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton said to an Anglican bishop, 'Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…'”

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Jordan Maverick, History Teacher

“Welcome to the school of hard Glocks. Jordan Maverick is one of the nation's most highly-trained teachers – an excellent marksman, a black belt in Jujitsu, and an engaging History teacher. But when he transfers to one of the most dangerous schools in the country, he'll face one of his biggest fears: co-teaching with the loose cannon Miss Pitts. Can they find a way to work together in time to solve the school's problems? This favorite from Season 13 of Serial Killers at Sacred Fools returns as a complete production at this years Hollywood Fringe.”

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Come Back!

“'Every day's a goddamn audition.' Based on the 'Serial Killers' 2018 Playoffs winner, 'COME BACK' is the hilarious yet touching story of Edie and Petey Stevenson, an overbearing stage mother and her hapless son, attempting to stage a 'comeback' performance. One of three shows Sacred Fools is proud to present as part of this year's Hollywood Fringe.”

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The Drag Queen of the Year Pageant Competition Award Contest Competition

“Who is the best Drag Queen in the whole wide world? Now's your chance to find out — at the first ever Drag Queen of the Year Pageant Competition Award Contest Competition. Millions of the best Drag performers from around the world applied, but only eight will compete, carefully chosen by a mysterious group of anonymous Drag Elders. ▪︎ The contestants are (in alphabetical order) Abhora (Miami, FL); Astrud Aurelia (Phoenix, AZ); Calypso Jeté (Los Angeles); Lyle (Los Angeles); Gigi Monroe (Juneau, AK); Kat Sass (Chicago, IL); Sabbyiana (Montebello, CA); and Aurora Sexton (Los Angeles). ▪︎ Judged upon the criteria of Presence, Energy, Nuance, Integrity, and Stunningness, this is a pageant for everyone — Drag Queens, Drag Kings, Trans Artists, Hyper Queens, Bio Queens, AFAB Queens — from first-timers to established pageant powerhouses. ▪︎ The celebrity guest host is Jackie Beat. The judges are (in alphabetical order) Nicole Byer, Jiggly Caliente, Landon Cider, Gia Gunn, Sharon Needles, Peppermint, and Willam.”

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5 Women Wearing the Same Dress

“During an ostentatious wedding reception at a Knoxville, Tennessee estate, five reluctant, identically clad bridesmaids hide out in an upstairs bedroom, each with her own reason to avoid the proceedings below. They are Frances, a painfully sweet but sheltered fundamentalist; Mindy, the cheerful, wise-cracking lesbian sister of the groom; Georgeanne, whose heartbreak over her own failed marriage triggers outrageous behavior; Meredith, the bride's younger sister whose precocious rebelliousness masks a dark secret; and Trisha, a jaded beauty whose die-hard cynicism about men is called into question when she meets Tripp, a charming bad-boy usher to whom there is more than meets the eye. As the afternoon wears on, these five very different women joyously discover a common bond in this wickedly funny, irreverent and touching celebration of the women's spirit.”

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Hide Your Fires: Butoh Lady Macbeth

“'Hide Your Fires: Butoh Lady Macbeth' brings the audience alongside the accursed spirit of Lady Macbeth to experience her nightmare of stifled ambition, unfulfilled desire, and ultimate loss. Telling the story solely through her perspective, this production fuses Japanese Butoh dance, movement, and various texts to take you inside the mind and body of one of Shakespeare's most famous villains.”

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Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – April 29 - May 5, 2019

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

How I Became A Superhero

“...An ensemble comedy about a couple that leaves the world of online activism and leaps into the business of vigilante justice! Running at the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival in June, this is a bright show for anyone who has ever dreamed about being amazing...a family friendly comedy that brings comic books to life, with comic book page sets, sound effects, and lights.”

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SugarFree: Foster Care Cognitive Dissonance

“SugarFree Foster Care combines the difficult journey of foster youth through my perspective as both a social worker and foster child...interspersed [with] poetry, personal narrative, humor, and real-life experiences for a theater experience that tugs at the heartstrings of our greatest human needs in the midst of the social welfare system's inadequacies.”

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Lend Me A Tenor

“Winner of 3 Tony Awards and 4 Drama Desk Awards LEND ME A TENOR combines a chain-reaction of mistaken identity, plot twists, double entendres and the constant slamming of many doors to create one of the funniest farces to grace the American stage in the last 30 years. A sensation on Broadway and in London's West End, LEND ME A TENOR pays homage to the madcap screwball comedies of the 1930's, guaranteed to leave audiences howling hysterically with laughter and walking out the door with a warm smile. ”

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GEORGE.

“Told through the creation of his first three films, ‘George' is the story of how a young man from Modesto, California became George Lucas. With each act following a different film, George will learn all of the skills that eventual led to the creation of ‘Star Wars.' ”

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Raised By Wolves

“You learn to survive quick when you're being dragged behind a team of sled dogs. A comedy about a girl and her dogsled team navigating the rocky terrain of growing up and her quest to become the alpha of her own pack. ”

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Widows Anonymous

“In the circle that is Widows Anonymous, five characters come together to share stories, secrets and the brutal humor that is being a widow in modern times. As they discover, there is no short cut, no alternate route, and the only way out is through. Welcome to the front lines.”

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Bat Knight!

“The dynamic duo have finally made it to the Hollywood Fringe Festival! Little do Batman and Robin know, the Joker's latest scheme will give them the ride of a lifetime. Race through the streets of Gotham with Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Superman, Alfred the Butler, and many more members of the Bat Family in this dark and hilarious interactive musical parody that puts you, the audience, in the middle of the action. Bring the whole family to battle The Joker, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, the Penguin, and the rest of the Dark Knight's rogues gallery, and celebrate the Batman universe in this side splitting night of Bat-Mania! ”

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Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive The Apocalypse

“A hack director and a snooty actress stumble 300 years into the future. America has been taken over by a fascist government, which believes that entertainment is the key to control. As the only remaining people on earth with any artistic talent the director and actress are forced to put on a play. But if they fail to entertain the masses they will be executed on live television. ”

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TOBINCON

“Actor and comedian Tobin Mitnick sheds light on three con men that are using their style-savvy to manipulate a generation of young Americans through the unregulated Wild West that is the Internet. In its world premiere, one-man comedy TOBINCON dives into the grotesque and hilarious world of online grifters—the Body Prophet, the Rhetorical Bad Boy, and the Compassionologist—with sketch and stand-up, in order to show us that the game may have changed, but the players are all still here. But Mitnick also answers a lingering question: When you spend so much time rubbing shoulders with these types, will it rub off on you? In other words, can you con yourself? Only TOBINCON has the answers!”

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CINDERELLA TOPSY TURVY – A Tender Gender Bender Romantic Musical Fairy Story for Pride 2019

“A Tender Gender Bender Romantic Musical Fairy Story. A delightful re-imagining of the classic Cinderella tale brings you upside-down casting – half original practices, half Gilbert and Sullivan, half just plain fun. Meet a handsome Prince, silly stepsisters, a befuddled king, and an out-of-the-box steampunk Fairygodmother. Added delights are the outrageously playful period costumes and the heart-warming romance that blooms with the assistance of a glass slipper, a feather duster, and a truly magical wand. A gentle prod at stereotypical gender roles, this light-hearted send-up is a hilarious twist on the classic tale.”

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La Traviata

“Giuseppe Verdi and Librettist Francesco Maria Piave's classic Italian opera based on the play La Dame aux Camélias adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas...Southern California native Christopher Job...makes his L.A. Opera debut. After a decade of work at the Metropolitan Opera, and making two appearances last season with the L.A. Phil.”

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The Same Room

“'A dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity…' Well, not quite. Thyma and Aspid find themselves trapped in a barren room with two locked doors, but where are they? What sets them free? And most importantly, what happens after this? 'The Same Room' explores human compassion in a new light and begs the question- What becomes of us when we refuse to heal?”

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Lincoln 2020

“Like a lot of people today, campaign manager Tess Baker is sick of politics. She's just about ready to throw in the when somebody wakes up a candidate she can work with – Abraham Lincoln. Will he be a good President in 2020 America? Will he even win? You decide! That's right, the play has two endings and your vote counts!”

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Bunny the Elf LIVE!

“A Musical Theatre Nerd, forced by her family to give up her dreams, gets a real job in the real world… as a toy store Christmas elf. An uplifting coming of age comedy about finding where one's talents, or lack thereof, fit in the world. Christi Pedigo's YouTube sensation Bunny the Elf will be sharing her elfing journey LIVE! On stage! With new material and a special update on what's next for Bunny.”

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FEELING LUCKY

“A comedy about men and women straddling the elusive line between true love and a broken heart who discover that in the game of love what you see is not always what you get.”

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Victress Burlesque Presents: ShipwRACKed

“Introducing Victress, the L.A.-based comedy burlesque troupe, flipping traditional burlesque on its head with a character-fueled strip show. The premise is simple: Comedic monologues lead into cheeky choreographed dance numbers that will make your heart go pitter-pat. Their newest show, “ShipwRACKed,” premieres in a 5-show limited run as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It's a naughty'cal adventure stacked with quips, ships, n' nips. Get ready for a burlesque show like you've never seen before.”

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And Now It's All This!

“A play about when John Lennon said the Beatles were bigger than Jesus and the fallout that ensued.”

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A Walk in the Woods at North Coast Repertory Theatre

“What really goes on behind the scenes of tense arms negotiations between powerful nations? Set in the midst of the Cold War, Lee Blessing's gripping play, A WALK IN THE WOODS, is especially relevant today. With talks seemingly at an impasse, the American and Soviet negotiators agree to meet informally while strolling through the peaceful forest. Their revealing and absorbing conversations, laced with warmth and humor, evolve through debate and discord, exploring unexpected and uncharted territory. Nominated for a Pulitzer and a Tony Award, Blessing's dramatic comedy was inspired by historic conversations between negotiators Paul H. Nitze and Yuli A Kvitsinsky who left the official 1982 Geneva sessions for an unofficial “walk in the woods.” For those yearning for a more enlightened world, this play is shrewdly observant and resonates with the ring of political truth ”

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Impro Theatre's Twilight Zone UnScripted at North Coast Rep

“From the darkest corners of reality, to the land of the unexplained – Impro Theatre's Twilight Zone Unscripted pays homage to Rod Serling's breakthrough sci-fi series “The Twilight Zone.” Enter the wondrous dimension of imagination, as completely improvised episodes are created with every performance.”

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You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

“Based on the beloved comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles Schulz, this revue of songs and vignettes tells the story of some typical days in the life of Charlie Brown. From running after the school bus to spying the cute little red-haired girl at lunch, Charlie Brown deals with the fun and frustrations of life with his friends Lucy, Linus, and Schroeder; his kid sister Sally; and his faithful companion, Snoopy. With charm, wit, and heart, “You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown” is fun for all ages.”

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Chico's Angels: Fly Chica Fly

“A live comedy production that parodies the 1976–1981 television series Charlie's Angels. Three of LA's favorite drag queens star in the title roles — Kay Sedia (Oscar Quintero), Chita Parol (Ray Garcia), and Frieda Laye (Danny Casillas). In this brand new episode written by Oscar Quintero and Kurt Koehler, young hopeful stewardesses are disappearing, and it's up to Chico's Angels to fly the “not-so-friendly skies.” Can the Angels solve the case? Fasten your seat belts, turbulence was never this spicy!”

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BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW

“Young newlywed Melody has never been to a funeral – until her husband dies in a plane crash. Expected to instantly assume proper widowhood, Melody is left to wonder, what's the right way to grieve? Fortunately, her mother-in-law is a professional. Widow, that is. Under her guidance, Melody must try her best to be a good little widow.An emotional comedy about loss and longing from Peabody Award-winning Writer/Producer of NBC's Hit “This Is Us.” Bekah Brunstetter will be participating in a talk-back following the performance on Saturday, June 1st. ”

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ROOTS

“Theatre of NOTE continues its 2019 season with ROOTS:...four wonderfully strange world premiere short plays, written by four accomplished Theatre of NOTE-grown playwrights, which together usher audiences through the complexity of the human condition. A dark comedy for dark times unfolds at a wedding…in either a sitcom or just a disturbed mind (Deadpan). A one-night stand takes a Kafkaesque turn. Is this stranger the one? Or just something very strange (The Smell of Something to Eat)? A story of people who probably definitely love each other, as they encounter tectonic distress (Big Ones). Escaping Soviet Russia, a young woman goes on to found modern conservative philosophy before becoming the subject of her own musical theater production (Rand!). Everyone has their own journey, but we all start at our ROOTS. ”

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Thank You For Loving Me

“August and Bobbie have been broken up for weeks. Bobbie comes back to the apartment she left to pick up the last of her things. Like a manic, time-jumping fever dream- they recreate all of their highs and lows of their relationship. Only, they have differing memories and perceptions of the events. 'Thank You For Loving Me' explores still loving someone yet knowing it is time to say goodbye.”

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Town Brawl

“Inspired by the outrageous stories found on Nextdoor.com, Town Brawl is your chance to witness petty and absurd neighborly drama being settled in a no holds barred town hall meeting. If you hate your neighbors you'll love our show.”

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Daniel's Husband

“Daniel and Mitchell are the perfect couple. What isn't so perfect is that Daniel desperately longs to be married, but Mitchell doesn't believe in it. When a life-altering event throws the couple into crisis, Mitchell must use the laws of his own heart to fight the rules of law. Michael McKeever's funny, passionate and poignant play takes an unflinching look at how we choose to tie the knot — or not.”

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Bronco Billy - The Musical

“The country's going crazy; partisan politics, civil rights threatened, technology exploding. That's right, it's 1979! Somewhere in America's heartland, with more heart than sense, Bronco Billy struggles to keep his traveling Wild West show alive. But when Billy and his ragtag troupe of misfits meet Antoinette, a Manhattan heiress on-the-run, the ride gets even wilder as she turns Billy's world upside down.”

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The Taming of the Shrew

“Directed by Alicia Patterson and Rose Fliegel, the production's focus will be less about the masculine versus feminine and more about the imposed imbalance of power...to directly confront these issues and start a discussion by engaging the audience with a comedic show which portrays how power politics affect the dynamics of a dysfunctional love story.”

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Horny-The Musical

“In Horny-The Musical, we meet Emily. Social-climbing as quickly as possible away from her embarrassingly bohemian mother into the arms of the most eligible bachelor and heir to the Smitt Family Wineries, Emily is the luckiest girl in the world…until she starts to grow horns right before the wedding. Her new social circles could never accept such a thing, so she must resolve the problem before her new fiance––not to mention her new mother-in-law––finds out. Knowing her mother's sexually free nature, she wonders if its genetic and braces herself for the answer to the question: Who is my father? This simple question unleashes an avalanche of satyrs and nymphs from a different world…party-crashing her high-society wedding rehearsal and upending her carefully-constructed plans with wild debauchery and mayhem. If that weren't enough, as prudish Emily's horns continue to grow, so do new…feelings. ”

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Batter Up: My Brain on Baseball

“Brett Moore is totally enamored with baseball, and has been for 25 years. In that time, he's memorized more about baseball than anyone with access to the Internet could possibly need to know. Come watch him perform his amazing feats of baseball memory that are unnecessary, stunning, and highly entertaining and wax poetic about his favorite obsession in a unique solo show that connects patrons and the performer through the love of our national pastime! ”

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Sex With Strangers

“In 'Sex With Strangers,' failed novelist Olivia meets Ethan, a celebrated (and much younger) writer made famous by his sexcapade tell-all blog, at a snowbound bed and breakfast, and their mutual attraction quickly gets hot and heavy. As a weekend tryst develops into a long-term romance, their personal and professional lives collide. Ethan seeks legitimacy, dismissing his bad boy reputation as nothing more than an invented character. Olivia has her doubts, but craves for the literary fame Ethan can offer her. Ambition, identity and trust are in play when online personas clash with real world expectations in this smart, steamy take on modern love.”

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Captivated: You

“A warehouse sits alone at the edge of Silverlake. The story within its walls has already caused the disappearance of a dozen women and a reporter hot on the trail. Now you have come to help the reporter's friend find the truth.
Inside there may be danger. Inside there may be horror. But in the end, there will be one question for you to answer: Who is the actual monster here? Captivated is a modern retelling of the classic horror story Frankenstein. They Played Productions brings you this psychological-horror immersive production where you, the audience, become a character in a story based on the classic tale Frankenstein. YOUR decisions will matter. YOUR choices will lead to one of 45 different endings. YOU will decide who survives…and who dies.”

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A Falling Star At Buzzard's Roost

“A FALLING STAR AT BUZZARD'S ROOST follows hard-touring retro-Rockabilly band, MAUREEN & THE MERCURY 5, performing at a kitschy, Alabama Drive-Inn Diner (off-season). When Maureen plugs in her vintage Elvis mic, she triggers otherworldly powers from the famous “moon rock”, sending the band, their manager and even the diner owner back to the first days of Rock & Roll! The reluctant time-travelers find love and learn life lessons as they struggle to get back to present day — set to the music of Rockabilly Jump Swing Band Maureen & the Mercury 5 (aka M&M5) and Alt-Country Outlaws The Flutterbies.”

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Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – April 15 - 21, 2019

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

A Tribute to Doug

“With the blessing of Jim Jinkins, the [original] creator of Doug, this classic 90's cartoon will be brought to life. The Funnie family has arrived at their new home in Bluffington. Doug and his best friend Porkchop meet the classic cast of characters we all know and love: Skeeter, his best human friend; Patti Mayonnaise, his secret crush; and Roger Klotz, the local bully. When Roger tricks Doug into thinking that catching an infamous local swamp creature will make him a town hero, Doug suits up and heads over to Stinson's pond to bag himself a neematoad!”

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Was Is Das?

“A Circus variety show set in the raucous days of Berlin 1924 that is dedicated to presenting lively and inventive performances ranging from the absurd to the sublime! On any given night you might see Burlesque, Puppetry, Clown, Mime, Dance troupes, Solo Character sketch, Musical numbers, and a variety of Acrobatic & Circus performers doing their thing. Your hosts Gretel Heinz & The Contessa do their best to keep the sense of the 20's alive and ROARING With Bobby Mitchell on the Keys.”

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The Last PowerPoint

“In “The Last PowerPoint”, ‘Prospective' Ben, CEO and Sole Proprietor of a new venture called disIncorporated, delivers a persuasive PowerPoint presentation concerning his latest product offering: Mail-Order Seed Potato Death Clock.”

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Too Old, Too Asian, Too Short

“Pamela was a typical obedient Filipino, destined to be a licensed registered nurse. But then life took a detour and opened up to the exciting world of entertainment as a production dancer/magician's assistant. Although she was told, ‘You're too old, too Asian, and too short' she is catapulted into a long and fulfilling career as a dancer on a cruise line for a decade. Pamela grew up with secrets and lies. A poor little rich girl in a 3rd world country. Her father took the Najera family and immigrated to America. Then a chance for a lifetime adventure comes barging through the door. Pamela, seemingly suddenly, is performing with well-renowned magicians traveling the world and making numerous appearances at the Magic Castle. Pamela then continues on as a cruise ship dancer/entertainer touring the waters from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean; through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Join Pamela, as she takes you through her journey of transformation despite the comical limitations she was born in to. ”

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Ask A Black Woman

“People of various backgrounds have been asking Shanara all kinds of questions on the streets of L.A., for the past 2 years, on her “Ask A Black Woman” YouTube series and podcast. With only an Android camera and a laminated sign, Shanara began this impromptu project at the dawn of a tense social climate stemming from the current presidential administration. This necessary dialogue revealed layers of unpacked truth for everyone involved. This solo show premier is a theatrical & poetic response with provocative accounts of living Black in America.”

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The Bully Problem

“THE BULLY PROBLEM is a family-friendly musical with a balance of comedy, humorously distinct characters, and a smidge of science fiction. It focuses on the subjects of bullying, intellectual virtuosity, and the importance of human connections. Fourteen-year-old tech whiz Kevin Dijkstra just wants to be left alone to build robots, but the bullies at Van Der Bort Junior High are making that tough. Things change when Kevin inherits an android that seems to needs his help as much as vice versa. Before long, Kevin is caught in the middle of a struggle between bullies and smart kids. The future of the school hangs in the balance!”

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"I Wanna Be Evil: The Story of Eartha Kitt"

“From croaker sack to Chinchilla, Orson Welles called Kitt “the most exciting woman in the world”. In 1968 she was blacklisted for making the 1st Lady cry. “I Wanna Be Evil” chronicles Eartha's kinship with James Dean, her affairs with Revlon and her volatile relationship with Hollywood.”

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Hell's Kitty

“Hell's Kitty is based on the comedy/horror internet series and Netflix movie about a Hollywood writer and his possessed pussycat. Nick, a Hollywood screenwriter, discovers his cat has become murderously possessed, and will stop at nothing to rid him of any women in his life. As his life unravels out of control, Nick must find a way to have his kitty exorcised of the demonic spirit haunting her and creating a body count!”

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Ghost Town

“'Ghost Town' is a solo performance piece which explores the various points of view surrounding the ‘Anglophone Crisis' which erupted in Cameroon in 2016 as a result of the citizens from the English speaking regions of the country demanding an end to the discrimination and marginalization perpetuated by the predominantly French speaking government...“Ghost Town” tells their stories through monologues and audio-visual materials.”

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My Thing of Love

“This dark comedy explores a marital triangle in which the wife tries to save the marriage, the husband seeks self-understanding and the mistress craves attention. Originally produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre and then Broadway to glowing reviews. Often hilarious, the play explores the serious issue of infidelity and its effect on a family.”

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Human Rights in Today's World

“This interactive workshop is a companion piece to Fringe project, Dying for our Voices. It is put on by Youth for Human Rights (YHR), a non-profit organization dedicated to human rights education...The workshop will emphasize freedom of expression but will cover the other human rights as well – because to greater or lesser degree, all of them are infringed in our community and more so in other parts of the world. You'll see award-winning videos and get materials which make these rights easy to understand.”

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BLACKBOXING

“Travis, a neophyte actor, thinks he's all ready for his one-man show. His Stage Manager Jim thinks otherwise.”

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Life Plan, or How to Live your Best Life in a Collapsing World!

“It's that rare time of year when the Life Plan presentation comes through the Los Angeles Habitable Zone! Tired of struggling in underground shelters and fleeing from mutated puss mutts? Life Plan is the answer! You can live out your dream life and you can experience true fulfillment, but only if you come to one of our five Life Plan Presentations this June. This is your last chance of 2068, so don't miss out! 'Life Plan' is immersive satirical sci-fi — you're live at a timeshare sales pitch from our dystopian future. Fulfillment is the offer. Salvation is the opportunity. Will you cash out? Will you buy in?”

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Made for Each Other

From the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to the Hollywood Fringe Festival. “Vincent and Jerry invite you to their wedding…if they go through with it! Gay marriage, with Alzheimer's twist.”

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Invincible Summer

“A devised, immersive, interactive, collaborative journey into the human soul. Prepare to find your true self again.”

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Samsara

“In “Samsara,” Katie and Craig are having a baby—via a surrogate—who lives in India. A month before the baby's due date, Craig reluctantly travels to the subcontinent where he meets Suraiya, their young, less-than-thrilled surrogate. As all three parents anxiously await the baby's birth, flights of fancy attack them from all sides. Of “Samsara,” the Chicago Tribune said, “Genuinely moving … with a laudable awareness of how we sometimes only get one shot at happiness of escape.” The cast will feature (in alphabetical order) Aarón Alonso, Joe Calarco, Nardeep Khurmi, Katie Pelensky, and Pooja Shah.”

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Rewind - A New 80s Musical

“REWIND is an original 80s pop musical about love, redemption and the magic of second chances.
A powerful music producer derails a young girl's promising singing career and she spends the next 50 years waiting tables. When our producer meets an untimely end he is barred from heaven. To gain entrance he must, with a little help from the Universe, rewind time and help her reclaim her true destiny.”

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And Then There Were None

“A classic whodunit from the Queen of Crime. Marooned at a lonely resort, each guest has a dark secret to hide and all fear dark shadows from their wicked past. Isolated and trapped, one by one they start to die. Time Magazine called it “one of the most ingenious thrillers in many a day.”  Directed by Michael Thomas-Visgar.”

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A'mour or Less

“A cabaret for three, featuring well-and-lesser known songs from the musical theatre canon-A'mour or Less tells the tales of romance and sex over 35…more complicated than ever…Free admission.”

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Ascend: When Myths Fall, Heroes Rise

“Gods of four mythologies call upon you, their demigod children, to save them from a rising threat. Go on quests to find the truth, prove yourself in a divine tournament and decide how this story ends. Only you can save the world in this interactive, immersive, multi-room experience.”

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Gunfight at the Not-So-OK Saloon

“A hilarious music comedy in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan set in the Old Wild West.”

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Rock Band Murder Mystery

“This interactive, immersive show focuses on a roarin' rock band and their entourage. All participants assume the pre-generated personas of the band, manager, roadie, groupies, and other members of the crew. You interact with each other against a deadly threat, and one of you might even be a murderer! Can the show go on??...NO ACTING/IMPROV EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! There are safety rules and basic mechanics in case you want to do something nasty like punch out your A&R rep. The Rock Band™ and Guitar Hero™ video game will represent the band's in-game music...Two guitars, drums, and microphone available.CONTENT WARNING: Elements of or references to drug use, alcohol, cigarette smoking, violence, sex, prostitution, gambling, the occult and the usual bad behavior associated with rock and roll (mostly simulated).”

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JULIUS WEEZER

“Have you ever wondered what really happened to Julius Caesar on the Ides of March? The Troubies have…and are warning you to “Beware the Ides of March in May!” The terrible tidings and twisted tale of corruption, betrayal, and the quest for absolute power –no, not Washington DC – it's Rome circa 44 B.C., with Shakespeare's story of Caesar mashed up with the funk-rock riffs of the resurgent and ubiquitous band, Weezer. This hard-driving, heart pounding, adrenaline rush of a show will feature the Troubies in all their classical glory – speaking the speech and strumming the power chords. Part circus, part improv comedy show, part rock concert – with a live band that complements and compels the Troubie cast as they wind their way through the dark and dangerous world of Julius Weezer! Enjoy the madness with the Troubies and you will be able to say: 'I came, I saw, I conquered…and I rocked out!' Age appropriate for eight and up, the show will feature special make-up effects that may disturb some younger guests – after all, Caesar was stabbed 33 times…but who's counting?”

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Invitation to Love...and Death

“World premiere! Welcome to the wild and wacky world of the hit reality show “Invitation to Love”—an unlikely cross between The Bachelor and American Idol in which male and female “Love Guests” participate in talent competitions to remain in the running to win a proposal from the bisexual “Love Host”. Suddenly, on the night of the singing competition, it starts being targeted by a serial killer…and one by one, contestants and crew find themselves dying for love…literally! Can love survive? Will ANYONE survive? And whodunit? Portions of Invitation to Love…and Death were staged as a serial entry in the 2016-17 season of Serial Killers at Sacred Fools, and it made the final 8 of the season finals.”

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Silver Bullet

“A film noir-inspired drama in which a woman must control the investigation into the death of her best friend's husband.”

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Start Swimming

“James Fritz's Start Swimming is a surrealistic play drenched in political upheaval that asks what power young people have to create change. In a room: there are five people with nothing to go on other than their instincts and their desire to live. Is it worth taking risks when a misstep can destroy all they've worked for? How do they fight the unseen powers, that manipulate their fear in an attempt to abuse control…all when the rules keep changing? Using Pavlovian consequences, Orwellian overtones, and theatre of cruelty style, this play questions authority, the definition of freedom, and explores the journey of resistance and revolution.”

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Tales From the Powder Room

“6 Vignettes about women in the workplace that happen to occur in the ladies room.”

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Coastal Disturbances

“Holly, who is escaping her troubled life in New York, has come to stay with her aunt, artist M.J. Adams whose home is on a private beach on the north shore of Massachusetts. She meets Leo, the beach lifeguard, who is getting over a failed romance. Just as their romance begins, Holly's estranged boyfriend arrives. This charming ensemble comedy follows four generations of vacationers on a Massachusetts beach.”

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Anna St. Hesia Dreams

“Anna is trapped in an anesthesia-related coma. Her only way out is to sink deeper into fantasy – a dark fairytale where people weave dreams into tourist destinations. When reality isn't worth it, is fantasy the next best thing?”

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(IM)PERFEKT

“What if that which you identify with suddenly disappeared? Who would you be then? (IM)PERFEKT is a solo show about identity, beauty, and labels. Sometimes you need to (literally) lose a part of yourself in order to discover who you truly are. What if you have been Perfect all along? How much precious time have you wasted living like you aren't?”

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White Privilege Lost: Comedic Cabaret on Screwing up a Life

“A mature nurse recounts through songs and humor how she went from a life of privilege to a life full of anxiety and depression. A journey of how a difficult childhood coupled with wrong choices and unfortunate events led to a life of hopelessness and lack.”

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If We Run

“Brian and Rachel were the perfect couple and seemed destined to live happily ever after. But that was a long time ago and life got in the way of those dreams. Tonight, they meet in their old romantic spot for one last night together. Is there still hope for them after all these years?”

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An Excuse To Behave Badly

“Stranded outside of a bar at 2AM on Halloween in Los Angeles, four young women, dressed in what's left of their Halloween costumes, deal with an existential crisis and some shenanigans while waiting for an elusive Uber…and Magic Mike…and Frankenstein's monster??”

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Livin' the Dream (a journalistic journey)

“Livin' the Dream is longtime music critic and theatre supporter Bob Leggett's personal story of diverging paths, celebrity encounters and finding a home in the arts. From his humble roots growing up in the south, it follows his adventures, military career, and music connections to show why he has become one of the most beloved of music bloggers and a die-hard patron of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.”

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The Duchess and the Stripper

“It's 1961 and the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson ... has returned to her hometown of Baltimore for reasons unknown. Tired of the A-list party she's attending, she decides to visit Baltimore's Adult entertainment district, The Block with the intention of meeting the leading burlesque performer of her time, Blaze Starr. Blaze is infamous in her own right, having had quite the torrid affair with the Governor of Louisiana. With seemingly little in common beyond home wrecking, at the end of this night, these ladies with the help of one another will choose a path forward as their stars begin their inevitable fade.”

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Silent Joy

“Adapted from an upcoming graphic novel, Silent Joy tells the story of a girl trapped by her own demons who decides to help a kind, mute boy named Joy whose mouth is sewn shut. Together they set out on an epic journey, facing otherworldly perils, to seek revenge on the person that inflicted this abuse on Joy. In the end, the girl must face her darkest memories to find redemption for her friend and discover the truth about herself. A modern narrative inspired by the classic quest story, Dante's 'Inferno,' 'Silent Joy' is an enthralling tale of friendship and forgiveness that at once deals with the messiness of humanity and contemplates the reasons for existence.”

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THE SECRET GARDEN

“Experience the magic. Unlock the mystery. Come fall in love with “The Secret Garden,” the third show in our spectacular 2018/2019 season. 3-D Theatricals brings the emotional, Tony Award®-winning musical adaptation of the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, to a whole new audience for a strictly limited engagement starting May 3rd. After the sudden death of her parents, ten-year-old Mary Lennox is sent to live with an uncle whom she's never met. Mourning the loss of his own true love, Uncle Archibald is distant and strange – leaving Mary to explore a lonely mansion shrouded in mystery and haunted by spirits and lost souls. Strong-willed and brave-hearted, Mary finds solace in a locked-up, hidden garden, and with it, discovers the true meaning of hope; proving that love and magic can bloom from the darkest of places. This heartwarming story of forgiveness and renewal is filled with beautiful music, magical illusions and a talented cast that makes this a must-see theatrical treat for families of all ages.”

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The Trouble Is, You Think You Have Time

“A one-man tour-de-force mixing humor and the passion we all share to live an epic life and to matter. Michael, in his physically unconscious — but mentally/spiritually hyper-conscious — moment of death, reaches out to his two sons to empower them to live big, purposeful lives. 'The Trouble Is…' weaves soliloquy with story-telling in a passionate fabric of life's highest highs and lowest lows, but always guided by and imbued with our shared human determination to live big, to matter and to make our mark with our lives.”

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A Small Group

“An aspiring young comedian wakes up in rehab and can't remember how he got there. He doesn't believe he belongs there; does he or doesn't he? Tormented by the ticking clock, the chugging water cooler, and the buzzing flies, sometimes life isn't a comedy bit.”

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Temple Tantrum

“Nicole Steinwedell takes us on a no-holds-barred, rock-your-world adventure through her life in and out of a cult as she discovers what it truly means to be free.”

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Hot Off the Press

“Hot Off the Press is a program of excerpted new solo writings presented by talented women playwrights in staged readings. The program includes:
'Real As It Can Be,' written and performed by Yvette Cason, [who] takes us on a personal and funny journey from childhood to adulthood. She discovers that life doesn't always turn out like we planned. 'Strong As Honey,' written and performed by Alma Collins. A woman recounts her generational relationship with her mother and grandmother and how being an ultimate caretaker for her mother both challenged and healed their role- reversal relationship. 'Self-ish!,' written and performed by Roxana Ortega. An ambitious Latina actor accepts the role of a lifetime when she decides to care for her mother with Alzheimer's and in doing so she must face her ultimate fear: Will loving her mother mean losing her own dreams?! Her journey takes her through the world of elder care, the opera, and even Africa.”

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The Mayor's Debate of Tranquility, Nebraska

“The forced civility at a small town Mayor's debate shows cracks as the shallow and petty candidates dig deep on property taxes, parking meters, and cupcake flavors, cracks that begin to reveal a secret horror that has paralyzed the town.”

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PILOTLIGHTS, NIGHT ONE - The Tragedies

“Five LA writers complete five teleplays in a single week. The work is refined. The venue is set. The drinks are cold and the band is warm. Now we want to show you how The Bears roar.
Enter worlds of renegade substitute teachers, space colony child prodigies, slaughterhouse debutantes, the murder woods of Vermont, and the Wild West of Hollywood Hotels.”

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Crabbe and Goyle are Dead

“An absurd comedy exploring the existential crises happening off-stage during a very famous, and equally tumultuous, seven-year span at everyone's favorite school of witchcraft and wizardry. Written by Kitty Keim.”

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?


It's National See-A-Show Day!: SIX Questions with jackbenny

jackbenny, the dynamic musical duo comprised of twin brothers Jack and Benny Lipson, is exactly what the music industry and the world need right now. They are young, grounded in tradition, bounding towards what's next in the world of sound, and always refreshing. On the eve of their upcoming show National See-A-Show Day!, debuting at the Luckman Intimate Theatre for one-night only this weekend, I had to buzz with these boys about music, their current work, and – of course – queerness in artistic expression. Here we go!

Roger Q. Mason (RQM): How did jackbenny begin?

Jack and Benny (JB): Growing up here in LA we started jamming together in our tweens singing songs by artists and composers we admire. Benny moved away to Miami for undergrad and as soon as he returned the two of us began playing bass and keyboard, respectively, in a handful of local bands. But soon we grew antsy to write and perform original material with more pointed lyrics and unbound to prescribed musical formulae. We retreated to Sedona, Arizona for a week in December 2016, and thus spawned jackbenny and our first batch of songs.

RQM: Let's talk about style. You two beautifully meld musical theatre, jazz, pop, rock and other influences to create a very unique live concert aesthetic. What was the inspiration behind your sound?

JB: We love all the musical styles you listed and more, and of course we invite them into jackbenny's sound! We decided to link our material not necessarily through a certain soundscape - although we do stamp our songs with surprising harmonic diversions and metrical twists - but rather through their savvy and sometimes provocative lyrics addressing contemporary social phenomena. In musical theater the same composer can churn out disparate scores from show to show as they craft in service to the characters and drama; we believe each of our lyrics earns that specificity…the music in a way writes itself!

RQM: Tell me EVERYTHING about It's National See-a-Show Day!!

Jack: Well we can't tell you everything, then you'd know exactly what to expect! It's National See-a-Show Day! is a culmination of all we've culled from our residency last year at the Lyric Hyperion Theatre, where we presented 10 unique 2-act shows of our material sprinkled with a range of guest performers coloring our material. At the Luckman, we'll maintain that 2-act form - this time with five guest artists contributing - but we're beefing the production value: our set designer roommate built a 60s/70s TV special-esque set for us to play on, we've expanded drummer-percussionist Theo Seidmon's arsenal of toys, and throughout the evening we've planned 92 light cues. Simply interacting together as twins on stage seems to invite uproarious laughter, but we want you to leave, as one audience member articulated, “simultaneously smarter and optimistic about the world.”

RQM: Okay, breaking with form – I'm going to ask 6 questions – not five. Jack, what's it like working with Benny?

Jack: Honestly I can't fathom working solo - who can fulfill both the artistic and especially the auxiliary managerial work singlehandedly?! In writing and executing our material, we expect utmost excellence of one another, and often this manifests in frank, brusque criticism...that shortly evolves into laughter. On the business end, Benny and I've started to carve our own territories: Benny oversees and edits video content for jackbenny's website, YouTube, and Facebook pages while I manage our Instagram and mailing list, as well as write all prose surrounding the project.

RQM: Benny, what's it like working with Jack?

Benny: Collaborating with a sibling is both comfortable and challenging; we never hold back how one another is thinking or feeling, good or bad. Since we know one another's capabilities, we push to those limits. I often keep Jack focused on the tasks at hand and monitor his musical ideas from reaching a level of absolute obscurity. Our personalities as composers and businessmen complement nicely.

RQM: Can you tell us anything about your new work Brainstorm?

JB: Brainstorm is a musical theater song cycle of our songs, many of which we'll perform on Saturday. The one-act zooms in on three twentysomethings navigating today's ever-confounding socio-political scene. In continuous sequences of song and movement, they share their newfangled ideas on queer identity, climate change, consensual conduct, bee extinction, healthcare, bureaucracy, and more. The millennials by the piece's close not only refute putative misconceptions of their caricatured generation, but come to empathize with one another on a mutual journey towards a more just and compassionate world. Actually major news regarding Brainstorm began brewing - pun intended - just last week, though we can't formally share just yet...but our audience at the Luckman will be first to hear!

RQM: And finally, let's talk about queerness music. What makes music or a musician or a style of music queer? And why should everyone care?

JB: To start, a couple of our lyrics directly explore queer identity, of course the aptly named “Queer” and its companion number, “Asking.” Other lyrics refer to queer relationships when much music offers either definitively straight characters or nebulously dodges sexual identity as not to expose the creators. But much of the content of our songs, as well as our shows' theatrical aesthetic, stems inevitably from conversations and interactions through our deep involvement in the LGBTQ cultures of LA and New York. Whereas other artists fear this “queer” label will pigeonhole their art towards a niche audience, conversely “queer” to us embraces a spectrum of individuals as variegated as the rainbow. We want those individuals to find themselves within the characters of our music, and hopefully glean from them truths they've - and even we've - yet to discover.

For more information about their show, go to LuckmanArts.org or call (323) 343-6600.

All photos © by Cliff Lipson


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

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

Trojan Women

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

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Cemetery of Tortured Souls

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

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

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

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CATS!

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

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THE MEATBALL CHRONICLES

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

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The Judas Kiss

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

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Native Voices at the Autry Presents Pure Native

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

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THE ELEPHANT MAN

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

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

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

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LA DRAMA CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS

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

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The Mother of Henry

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

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The Shape of Things

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

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The MisMatch Game

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

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Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival

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

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IN RESPONSE: Year of the Woman (Still)

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

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Church Basement Ladies

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

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The Sunshine Experience

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

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A Terrible Show for Terrible People

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

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HEISENBERG

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

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The Second Coming of Klaus Kinski

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

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Audio Interview: The cast of “Hir” at the Odyssey Theatre

Hilarious and terrifying, Hir is a dysfunctional family dramedy for a new era: a highly intelligent, heartfelt and deeply, darkly humorous portrayal of a family in crisis, in which domestic abuse, the trauma of war and the acceptance of gender neutrality are illustrated in a nearly absurd, emotionally gripping, intensely real dynamic.* Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Hir” at the Odyssey Theatre, playing through Mar 17th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here. *taken from the website

The Winners at the 29th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards

The 29th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards were presented on Monday, January 28, 2019, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles where 36 awards were bestowed on theater productions, producers, directors, artists, and technicians.

Sixteen different Southern California theatre companies won thirty-six awards, including the Center Theatre Group for "Soft Power", Rogue Artists Ensemble and East West Players for "Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin," the Bootleg Theatre for "Theater Movement Bazaar's Grail Project," the Geffen Playhouse for "Ironbound," "Sell/Buy/Date," and "Skeleton Crew," the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts for "South Pacific" and "Ain't Misbehavin'," the Celebration Theatre  for "Priscilla Queen of the Desert,"  and  The Echo Theater Company  for "Cry it Out." A Noise Within received the Best Season Award  for "A Raisin in the Sun," "A Tale of Two Cities," "Henry V," "Mrs. Warren's Profession," "Noises Off," "The Madwoman of Chaillot."

Members of The Kilroys, hosts of the 29th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, Monday, January 28, 2019. Photo by Monique A. LeBleu.

The Ovation Honors, which recognizes outstanding achievement in areas that are not among the standard list of nomination categories, were awarded to Adrien Prevost (Music Composition for a Play, Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin, Rogue Artists Ensemble co-produced with East West Players) and Brian White, Sean Cawelti, Greg Ballora, Morgan Reban, Jack Pullman, and Christine Papalexis (Puppet Design, Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin, Rogue Artists Ensemble co-produced with East West Players).

The Center Theatre Group presented the 2018 Richard E. Sherwood Award to writer, comedian, and performance artist Kristina Wong, which also includes $10,000 endowed by the Sherwood family for innovative and adventurous artists.

Wong, who took the unique opportunity of this night to announce her candidacy for Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council Subdistrict 5 Resident Representative, said in acceptance, “In this line of work there's a very fine line between being a madwoman and a visionary. It is so validating to be recognized as the latter by this vibrant LA Theatre community that has made me the performance artist slash political candidate that I am today."

The Kilroys came with their message to the theater community at large to encourage the hiring and support of more women, trans, and non-binary artists in theater in order to achieve gender balance. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Paula Vogel, offered words of encouragement to the theater community as well, aligning with The Kilroys message of the evening with "The sooner produced, the sooner prolific."

This year's show, held at the glorious landmark United Artists 1927 movie palace that is now the Theatre at Ace Hotel, was directed by Artistic Director of Coeurage Theatre Company Jer Adrianne Lelliott, also featured live performances including by women's choral group Vox Femina.

The Ovation Awards is annually produced by LA STAGE Alliance, "a non-profit organization dedicated to building awareness, appreciation, and support for the performing arts in Los Angeles" and companies DOMA Theatre CompanyUCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, F&D Scene Changes Ltd., USC School of Dramatic Arts, Bakers Man Productions, Venture Hill Entertainment LLC, Seven Waves Entertainment LLC, Requiem Media Productions LLC, Variety, and Ken Werther Publicity sponsored the event.

Here's the complete list of winners. For more information visit LAStageAlliance.com

The awards show was broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook, in case you missed the show or would like to relive it.

Featured top photo: Rachel Myers accepts her Ovation Award for Scenic Design (Large Theatre) for "Skeleton Crew" (Geffen Playhouse) at 29th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards, Theatre at Ace Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles, Monday, January 28, 2019. Photo by Monique A. LeBleu.


Winners! Killers! Producers!: 'Celebration' Announces Its 2019 Season, 'Celebrating' Reading Series' 'Skin Like Milk'

Last updated: 12/6/18 12:15 a.m.

Celebration, under Executive Director Michael C. Kricfalusi, has announced its 2019 season of shows under the artistic direction of Michael A. Shepperd, making this season Celebration's 37th and the fourth in its home at The Lex.

The 2019 Season will open with the Los Angeles premiere of "Born To Win," written by Matt Wilkas and Mark Setlock, and Directed by Michael Matthews, and tickets go on sale today, Wednesday, December 5, 2018.

Starring Drew Droege and Wilkas, "Born to Win," tells the story of "Pinky Corningfield, who's always dreamed of her daughter winning the 'Supreme Queen.'" When newcomers to the child pageant circuit, Marge, along with her participating daughter, show up "to grab the glory," Pinky will stop at nothing to get that crown.

"I'm very excited about the fact that we are doing “Born to Win” [which] came out of our Celebrating New Works," said Shepperd. "[Celebrating New Works is] our program that we do once a month where we take a new or 'newish' writer and a newish play and we give it a stage reading to see if it can be part of our season.”

"Born To Win" opens Friday, February 15, 2019, and plays until April, 2019.

Also premiering is "The Secretaries" written by The Five Lesbian Brothers and opens April 2019.

'The Secretaries' is going to be an all-female cast, helmed by a female director and all-female team," said Shepperd. "Lighting design, set design, props, costumes, sound design – everyone is going to identify as female.”

"A killer comedy, 'The Secretaries,' chronicles the initiation of Patty Johnson as she lands the job of her dreams at the Cooney Lumber Mill in Big Bone, Oregon. But those dreams turn into bloody nightmares when she discovers the truth her co-workers have been hiding from her!," according to the synopsis. Written 20 years ago, this play is "as fresh as if it was written today in its skewering of feminist archetypes of the ‘80s and ‘90s."

"I'LL tell you when we're getting in too deep!” - The Producers

Celebration's Los Angeles intimate theatre premiere of "The Producers" with book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, and original direction and choreography by Susan Stroman, and directed by Matthews, will open June 2019.

"It's the first time the Celebration Theatre has gotten its hands on 'The Producers' and creates something spectacular in an intimate theatre," said Shepperd.

Winner of 12 Tony Awards®, two theatrical producers pull together a team of theatre wannabes, ne'er-do-wells, and misfits, and dream up a get rich scheme involving overselling "interests" in a Broadway play they're sure is destined to be a flop. Hilarity ensues when the show "unexpectedly turns out to be a massive hit!"

"The Producers" is presented by special arrangement with Music Theatre International and with StudioCanal.

Celebration is located at The Lex, 6760 Lexington Ave., Los Angeles, 90038. Tickets go on sale here for the season tomorrow, Wednesday, December 5, 2019, and be sure to check their Calendar for updated information.

Also, coming up next week, as part of the Celebrating New Works reading series, Celebration will present "Skin Like Milk," written by Ryan Fogarty, produced by Nathan Frizzell, and directed by Ryan Bergmann, in a one night only performance, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at the West Hollywood City Chambers.

"Skin Like Milk." Illustration poster courtesy of Celebration, Celebrating New Works.

"Skin Like Milk" centers in "Berlin, 1941. In a makeshift basement gay bar, Heinrich and Otto have just strangled a Nazi officer ... after hiding the body, guests arrive attempting to forget the destruction from last night's air raids. ... Emile, Heinrich's former lover, and his new interest, ... Horst, show up to share a drink and a bit of music with their friends. As the night unravels, the alcohol disappears and air raids resume, the men realize that their dark bar is no longer a refuge from the hateful world above."

"Skin Like Milk," plays once only, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 7:30 p.m. at The West Hollywood City Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood.

For "Skin Like Milk" only, admission is free, with donations gratefully accepted. Contact Celebration via email for more info, or call 323-957-1884.

Celebration is a community of artists dedicated to entertain, inspire, and empower with innovative productions that celebrate the LGBTQ community.

To become a member, purchase a subscription, or get single tickets for "Born to Win" or any Season 2019 shows, visit Celebration, contact via email for more info, or call 323-957-1884.

Updated 12/6/18, 12:15 a.m.: Date change, "Born to Win" opens on Friday, February 15, 2019.

Updated 12/5/18, 10:00 a.m.: - Name correction for Michael A. Shepperd with spelling in attributions corrected.

 


Dixie Longate Always Hawking Tupperware Hilariously

Ever-so-smartly combining her expertise in Tupperware selling and her deep-seeded need to be on a stage, Dixie Longate will be bringing her DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY to the Kirk Douglas Theatre November 28 through December 30. I had the chance to chat with Dixie on her arduous path from parole to being an awarded Tupperware Lady.

Thank you for taking time out of your Tupperware selling for this interview with me, Dixie!

How long have you been a Tupperware Lady?

I started selling Tupperware 17 years years ago as part of the conditions of my parole.

What first motivated you to become a Tupperware Lady?

My parole officer told me I needed a job in order to get my kids back. I thought to myself, "Damn it!" The law! Argh. But she suggested that I start selling Tupperware. I did my first party after she lifted the restraining order and had so much fun drinking and showing people these creative food storage solutions that I thought, "I could do this forever." Then I went to my first "Jubilee," the annual Tupperware convention. I saw all of these amazing ladies being recognized onstage for their accomplishments and I knew I wanted to be on stage getting recognized too. 17 years later, I have been on that stage at the convention many times, and all of the warmth and good wishes I get from that celebration keep me going all year long.

How closely do you have to adhere to Tupperware's corporate rules in selling their product? Is there much more leeway now in 2018 than there was when you first started?

The thing that is pretty impressive about Tupperware is that they have this great business model that is a framework. They encourage you to drape whatever kind of fantastic, fun party over that frame work and go for it. Everyone at Tupperware corporate has been overwhelmingly kind and supportive throughout the years.

How close have you ever been to being awarded a pink Cadillac?

No! That's Mary Kay.

Oops! My bad!

I have gotten plenty of awards for all of my achievements at Tupperware, but the classic Pink Cadillac is definitely a signature of Mary Kay.

Describe the light bulb moment of you first coming up with the idea of turning a Tupperware party into a one-woman stage show?

I had been doing parties for years in people's living rooms. A director friend of mine from NYC saw me at a party and was having so much fun that he said to me, "You should put this on stage. There is a real show here." I thought he was just being neighborly so that he could make out with me behind the dumpster, but it turns out, he was being serious. We worked on it and took it to New York City. The response was so friendly that it became a little hit, and then went on tour. I have now been touring for just over 10 years. It's crazy, right!?

You've sold Tupperware all around the world. Do you do your show in different languages?

I have had to battle some funny accents in my day in order to understand what people are saying. But most of the time, I have understood enough from their body language that I can order a vodka in over eight languages, just by hand gestures. Most of the places I have traveled to, I can decipher what they are saying, but every so often, I have to bring one of them "wherever the heck do you mean when you say that" phrase translation book. The main thing is that "Food Storage" seems to be a universal language. Lucky for me.

How many languages do you speak?

Counting that thing that I can do with my leg without even having to touch it? One.

What's your record take for a show?

I think my biggest party was a little over $5,000 in sales. It was a giant group of friends who all had one goal, get creative food storage solutions for their homes. The Party Host got awarded more free Tupperware than any other host I have seen in my life! But the most important thing isn't how many bowls people buy, it's how much fun they have at the party. That's my goal. I want to make sure they are having a blast!

Do you find certain Tupperware pieces sell better in specific cities?

Of course. In places like New York where people have smaller apartments and don't have space to entertain, the fun party bowls and servings sets don't really do well there, but the modular storage stuff is amazing. In a city like L.A. where people love to get together with friends, the opposite is true. In Texas, they really love a place to stick their meat for marinading. In the heartland, we got something for your butter. Wherever you are, I have something for you.

How many pieces of Tupperware do you have in your own kitchen?

My kitchen is packed with all kinds of great crap from over the years that I have been selling. Some of it I use every day, and some of it is vintage stuff that I have picked up in my travels or have been given by friends who know that I love me some classic Tupperware.

What's your oldest Tupperware piece?

My meemaw gave me a bowl that she got as a wedding present back in the 50's. It has her name scribbled on the bottom in sharpie so that when she would take her ambrosia salad to the church social, she would make sure to get it back. Those people who bought Tupperware when it first came out were hawks about keeping their bowls on a short leash. They didn't ever want to part company with them. It's one of my favorite pieces.

What do you look for in picking an audience volunteer?

One of the things I love best about doing my show is that I get to have people up onstage helping to demonstrate with me and play along. It's a party after all. I don't want people just sitting on their hands staring at me and listening to me yammer on about containers for days. I want people to get up and have fun with me. I look for people who are excited to be part of the party.

What's the most memorable audience interaction you had during one of your shows?

I have been blessed to have so many fun moments over the years. I had a woman laugh so hard she coughed her dentures into her hand. We all thought she was having a stroke, but it turns out, she was just laughing so much that she was overcome with the giggles. I had a woman make tee-tee on her seat from laughing, and then she was brave enough to tell me about it. Bless her heart! I had a woman at a show in Nashville tell me that after her momma, a lifelong Tupperware lady, had passed away; they put her ashes in her favorite container and have them on the mantle. The list is long and ridiculous. Trust me.

What's your favorite Tupperware piece to demonstrate?

Each of the pieces I show have special meaning to me because of the stories that I share about them. It's like your children. How can you pick a favorite? I mean, most people honestly can, but then they say they can't in order to not hurt the feelings of the ones who didn't turn out as well. For example, I couldn't possibly tell you that I liked one of my children better than the others, except for my son who is my favorite, but I don't want the other two to know it because then they will frown and pout. I'm real busy, so I don't have time to try to make them feel better. OK, it's the wine opener. That's my favorite.

If I have bowls and lids that don't completely close to burp, can you help me replace them?

The lifetime warranty is one of the things people love the most about Tupperware. If anything ever goes bad with your Tupperware, I can replace it free of charge. When you buy it, you buy it for life. There aren't many things in life that have a warranty. If they did, things would be so much easier. For example, have you ever tried to take an empty jug of wine back to the store and say that it was defective and it didn't come filled up? They would never put more wine in it. Not one time. And I have tried it everywhere. It's just a crying shame. More things need to come with a warranty.

I've been to a few Tupperware parties myself. Bought some pieces and always left with some little cute swag. Can Kirk Douglas audiences expect a little swag giveaway when they attend your Tupperware party?

At the end of the party, I'll be out in the lobby helping people get their Tupperware and giving hugs and meeting people. While I don't have the ability to give every single person a little gift just for coming, you can rest assured that everyone can leave with a hug from me. And after all, isn't that what life is all about, a hug from a really, really pretty lady?

So, what cities are next on your Tupperware tour?

I am putting together my whole tour schedule for next year as we speak. I'll be in places like Fayetteville, Arkansas and Chandler, Arizona. I'm possibly going back to Des Moines, Iowa and Denver, Colorado. All the places that you associate with a good time. I'm also chatting with theaters in Philly and New York. Chances are within the next year, I'm coming to a city near your friends or family.

Do you, Dixie Longate, have any other future non-Tupperware projects you can share with us?

I always have ideas floating around in my head that I'm working on. I have another show that I do when I'm not doing DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY called NEVER WEAR A TUBE TOP WHILE RIDING A MECHANICAL BULL (AND 16 OTHER THINGS I LEARNED WHILE I WAS DRINKING LAST THURSDAY. I keep touring around with that and I'm hoping to bring it to L.A. sometime very soon. I have the beginnings of another show that I have started scribbling down on the back of bar napkins. I've actually done a bit of stand-up story-telling within the last year after being pressured by some of my friends. I swear you ain't heard the last of me after you have seen my show.

Thank you again Dixie! I look forward to attending your Tupperware party at the Kirk Douglas and adding to my Tupperware collection.

For ticket availability and show schedule through December 30, 2018; go to DixiesTupperwareParty.com


The Soul of Baby Eyes - A Conversation with Donald Jolly

Usually, I write an introduction to these interviews, contextualizing the artist, how I might have encountered them, and my reasons for sitting down with them to dig in and talk about their work. However, with this interview, playwright Donald Jolly and I laid it all out on the coffeehouse table. Donald, his work, his ideas about theatre, and the context/content of our conversation speak for itself. Donald's play Baby Eyes is receiving its world premiere at Playwrights' Arena. It runs through November 5. Go see it. GO. SEE. IT!
More information at playwrightsarena.org/theater/baby-eyes
Roger Q. Mason (RQM): Baby Eyes. Donald Jolly. Let's get into it. What's the play about?
Donald Jolly (DJ): It's a cautionary tale told by a gaggle of male harpies about lust and taboo and, as I like to say, one tragic boy's search for manhood.
RQM: You are gonna have to break this down. We got a chorus of boys?
DJ: Harpies.
RQM: What is a harpy, for those who did not get that deep into it with the Greek mythology?
DJ: The harpies were birdlike women who would tear unsuspecting men to shreds - sirens.
RQM: One of the protagonists is an older man, as I recall.
DJ: Right, older than this boy for sure.
RQM: So, are we talking about pederasty in this piece?
DJ: Well -
RQM: I know we can't spill all the tea, but just a little bit for the kids.
DJ: Yes, that is one way of looking at this relationship: Plato and Aristotle, Batman and Robin, Huck and Jim. Those man-boy relationships.
RQM: Uh oh, look at what you're serving to these kids!
DJ: Oh, and don't forget Zeus and Ganymede.
RQM: Is that particular myth the impetus for this piece?
DJ: Yes.
RQM: So tell me, how did this piece start? What happened? What happened to you, Donald?
(We both laugh to dizziness).
DJ: I started writing this play in grad school and it was around the time of when To Catch a Predator was on TV. Like millions of Americans, I kept watching this show. It was people enjoying watching folks get caught meeting up with whom they suspected were teenagers. I remember seeing a lot of the times there would be 18,20, 25 year old virgins going to meet up with a 14, 16 year old. They were on that show, so I am pretty sure they will remain virgins because they were on that show. So that was one thing. I was also very attached to these memories of…the first time I met up with a guy I was 17. I was drawn to older men. Nothing ever happened, but I was drawn to these older guys. These situations could have been less innocent than they were. I was reaching out for attention from these older guys. They never really went anywhere other than great places in my imaginations. I revisited these situations years later -
RQM: - with baby eyes! Oh lord, this is not a family show.
DJ: Nope, not a family show.
RQM: That's alright, honey. Oh my goodness. There are so many taboos now. Let me ask you this: what is the current day legacy of Greek pederasty?
DJ: I think our society would like to say that there is no real legacy from the Greeks and the Romans. We want to get rid of it, particularly in this Judeo-Christian moment. But, a lot of younger boys look up to older males now in ways that society at large wouldn't necessarily want to discuss. I remember being a little kid and being obsessed with superheroes because of their muscles. I would see guys on the street with big muscles and want to be around them because I liked their muscles.
RQM: There's something aspirational.
DJ: Yes, perhaps even mildly erotic. But, it's a completely different conversation if you're talking about whether teenagers know what's erotic or can identify what's erotic to them. But I do know that I experienced a sort of feeling when I was that age.
RQM: You can only live in your truth.
DJ: Right. Then, I came to find out that there were some friends of mine who shared similar stories. Some of the things they experienced as youngsters definitely blurred the lines between what was good/bad, legal/illegal, healthy/unhealthy...
(We both laugh knowing what possibilities fit between these slashes).
RQM: Did any of those stories inform the play?
DJ: Initially.
RQM: So you're out here outing all your friends.
DJ: Initially. But here's the deal: this play has undergone so many drafts.
RQM: Yes, talk to us about dramaturgy.
DJ: The play that I originally started writing is not what's being produced. Some of those questions I had…it was like opening Pandora's Box. It was a bit toomuch. I worked with Luis Alfaro in class with the play. At that time, I was challenged to write the scariest things that I could imagine.
RQM: One of them classic Luis exercises, yes!! Love it.
DJ: Right. Exactly. I was going to a scary place. I had all those scenes. And now none of them are in the play. Absolutely none of them. But, in doing that, I had to go through, I realized: this is the story that I told; this is the story that I could tell; this is the story that I need to tell. I had to work through all of those areas. I am much older now that when I originally started writing it. I have had so many more experiences since them.
RQM: Yes, she lived. She lived, honey!
DJ: She lived. And those things have come to inform the play. Also, I returned to the idea of manhood - what is masculinity, what are these rites of passages for manhood?
RQM: And see, this is why I said I needed to sit down with you. I need to give you a hand praise. What people don't know is that silently, but not so silently, you and your work have been a tremendous inspiration to me. I am going to say it right here, right now. I hold Donald Jolly and his body of work to be a type of parent text for the questions I ask in the theatre. You are, to me, a pioneering figure of black queer visibility and the exploration of the fragility of masculine identity. One of my most enduring LA theatre moments was watching your play bonded. It was an Easter Sunday. I will never forget it. And I feel that I was touched by the spirit that day and I have never been the same - in a beautiful way. It was a turning point for me. After seeing that show, my entire approach, reason and purpose for playwriting was finally validated. That piece gave me permission to start exploring the themes and framing mechanisms that I was afraid to before. So, let's take a slight detour and talk a bit about bonded.
DJ: bonded is a drama that is set in 1820 Virginia on a very dilapidated tobacco farm. It's dying, and there are four slaves. Two of the male slaves, Sonny and Asa fall in love. Asa is a city male servant, a body servant from New York, who is inherited by some white people in Virginia. He meets Sonny. All these old memories come back.
RQM: And as I recall, the black overseer got into it too. Everybody was gay on that farm.
DJ: Jack, the overseer, was the master's favorite. We don't see any of the white people that are discussed. They do not appear onstage. We hear about them and their lives. But we never see them. And Jack - they say he is older than Methuselah and he survived the Middle Passage. He had a wife many years prior. And Jack's master's farm is very unprofitable, and he has a gambling problems. So there were a lot of slaves to come and go from this farm because of debts. There is this sequence where Jack remembers his long, lost wife who
is never named. He has some “action” with Asa in this sequence. I looked at it more as an instance of reclaiming power.
RQM: Yes! Now let's talk about lineage. The world begot Donald Jolly, and Donald Jolly midwifed me (as a writer). After seeing bonded, I adopted this constellation of ideas - sex as an agent of power; power as expressed through sexuality; the magic and the “untold” of slavery. From there my piece Softer was born. It was a short play. I couldn't do two hours like you did, honey. I had to do ten minutes because it was too hot. In that piece, the couple was a body servant and his master, and it was all about their breakup on Emancipation Day. Now, from mentee to mentor, I have some exciting news: I have turned that play into a film. It's being submitted around now. And I'm trying to explore other long-form possibilities for it. So, I want to thank you. Because of you, I am finding my way. You are a forebearer to me. You got out here 10 years ago talking this stuff and it just set little queer playwrights like me on fire. Do you think the world was ready for you then?
DJ: I'm not the first person to think about sexuality as it related to the antebellum South or the bellum South and the postbellum South.
RQM: Right, because you and I are BOTH living under Mother Robert O'Hara's roof.
DJ: Yes, and at that time, I hadn't yet read Insurrection: Holding History. But my young head was filled with lots of ideas. And for me, sitting down to write this play, it was the first time I had ever seen anybody create this particular story in earnest.
RQM: And to fully articulate it as you did.
DJ: Not a satire, not a fantasy.
RQM: Not fetishizing or eroticizing.
DJ: And I say, I didn't write bonded. The characters came to me.
RQM: Alright, come on now, Mr. Avant Guard.
DJ: They talked to me.
RQM: Yes!
DJ: I was inspired a lot by narratives: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Harriet Jacobs' master taught her how to read and write so he could write elicit things to her and then she chose a white husband so the master would leave her alone. There was someone reclaiming their sexuality. And Frederick Douglass discussed the men on his plantation and Olaudah Equiano's writings - there are hints of queerness there as well. But these characters in bonded came to me because I was trying to communicate with my ancestors. I was thinking that I knew I was not the first one who felt this way. There's not a lot of LGBTQ history discussing people of color. We say these were human beings who were enslaved. That means they had all of the feelings and thoughts and all of the dimensions involved with being human. They are rarely given that. We only see them in one lens: being oppressed.
RQM: Do you think that respectability politics has something to do with how we
see our history?
DJ: If you read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, he is very careful to follow the tropes of the adventure story, the travelogue, and those sorts of things. He needed to come across as human in every sense of the word, but to also eliminate all of the stereotypes of African Americans of that period. He doesn't talk about romantic relationships. Black men were regarded as over-sexed. So he omits those details. Harriet Jacobs did it too. As a woman in the nineteenth century, she had to adhere to the cult of domesticity. She is writing
in those same tropes to appeal to her readers as a Christian woman.
RQM: What I'm noticing is that there is a de-sexualization.
DJ: Absolutely. It was very intentional. Fortunately, for me, I come in a time when that doesn't need to be done. That said, bonded was still controversial.
RQM: Spill the tea!
DJ: Well, some African Americans are tired of slave stories. They want to say that slavery is not their only history. I personally am fascinated with stories of my ancestors who were enslaved. We are talking about centuries of history. To assume that every possible story about these people has been told is absolutely ludicrous. I was also interested in stories of black people in relationship to other black people. I am curious about how my ancestors found ways to endure, to resist, to fall in love, to fight, to have friends, to have enemies with other black people.
RQM: One of the things I've always tried to understand is why bonded has not become part of the canon in the way I think it should be. I'm going out on a limb and speculate for you. I think this was an issue of regionalism. bonded was a play that opened in Los Angeles, the Far West. Now had you opened in New York City….
DJ: You read my mind. The truth of the matter is that I don't live in New York, and in the arts, sometimes it's about who you know and the right timing for things.
RQM: bonded was before its time.
DJ: I'm grateful for the publicity that it did get: an LA Times review, GLAAD Media Award nomination, some celebrities came.
RQM: Has it been published?
DJ: Not yet.
RQM: Have you considered a remount?
DJ: Absolutely. And I must say to my better known “siblings,” I went into Moonlight a bit begrudgingly, but I left feeling like it was a beautiful piece. To see the critical reception of that movie cannot be overstated particularly for artists of color who are telling unconventional stories or telling stories in unconventional ways.
RQM: Let's talk about form. The foundation of your plays is theoretical, cerebral. Clearly, you are coming from an interdisciplinary, liberal arts educational background. Then, you activate and motivate those ideas towards dramatic action. What are ways in which queer artists of color should continue to queer form as well as content?
DJ: That's a heavy question. In one sense, a significant number of us want to make it, be seen and be recognized -
RQM: You are going in, and I'm going to have to jump in here. You are talking about sacrifice. What do we have to do to make it? What do we have to put away, water down, omit? How do we need to sound or make people feel to get green lights from decision-makers for our projects?
DJ: I think of someone like Suzan-Lori Parks. Her early stuff is out there, and I love it. Venus, her play about the so-called Hottentot Venus was one of the best plays I've ever read. But she didn't get the Pulitzer until she did more conventional things like Topdog/Underdog that has a more linear plot. So, one of the questions is: are we doing things to get accepted or what? For a long time, there was this notion that, to be accepted, don't be too gay. Actually, I had someone tell me that bonded would be a great play if it didn't have all that homosexuality in it.
(I stare off out of disdain for Donald's myopic critic, then smile at Donald, respecting his resilience).
DJ: There's more. So if then, if I were to say, I'm going to do this artistic piece with a lot of silence and poetry and no white people, that's asking a lot of an audience - if it were a mainstream audience.
RQM: Who is telling mainstream audiences what they can and cannot handle? Are they telling themselves or are programmers programming the public?
DJ: I think it's a little bit of both. When bonded came out, I was really excited about it. Prop 8 was still being debated, but we had Obama. Then the Supreme Court struck down Prop 8, granting marriage equality throughout the nation, and I began thinking that maybe there was no longer a need for this kind of story. I am probably like a lot of people who were caught off-guard in the election of 2016 when “the deplorables” came out in full force, and reminded us that they were here and not going anywhere.
RQM: I remember a commentator after the election asserted that there is always backlash to radical change. But ultimately the changes made and the paradigm shifts achieved will outlast these cries against forward movement. It's kind of like a gout attack. Your joints become irritated when you accumulate acid crystals in your joins and you get a flare up as the crystals are flushed out. The space left behind by the crystals is inflamed by the change. We are experiencing a cultural gout attack right now. We need to drink our tart cherry juice - in this case, the juice is transformative playwriting. Change is happening, and it's causing inflammation, but the balm - I believe - is artists commenting on culture, keeping us honest, warning us when we stray from our principles, and ultimately bringing us back together again.
DJ: Absolutely, it is important for LGBTQ artists of colors to tell our stories in any way that makes sense for us. So, yes for the big commercial mainstream audiences but also, to paraphrase W.E.B. DuBois, we need theatre, ways to tell stories that are “for us, by us, near us.”
RQM: I love it! And on that note, let's get back to Baby Eyes.
DJ: You know, this is a very different play. bonded was a spiritual exercise; it is something that I hold dear to my heart and I do hope people get to experience that story again.
RQM: Producers, open up your pocket books. This man needs a remount of his play bonded.
DJ: Production, agent, manager, anything.
RQM: We will take what we can get in this world.
(Donald nods in agreement because we both know the struggle is real for the living queer playwright of color).
RQM: So how did you come back around to Baby Eyes?
DJ: That was a play that I wrote, worked through, and submitted to many contests. It was a quarter-finalist and finalist but nobody took it. After the last rejection, I said, “I don't want to tell this story anymore.” In the time between when I wrote the original draft and now, my father passed away quite unexpectedly to me. This was a play that I decided not to do anything with ever again because of the controversial subject matter and particularly because of all of the painful father-son issues. Then one day, I got a phone call from my mentor and friend Jon Lawrence Rivera. He asked about the latest draft. Jon actually worked with me on a staged reading of Baby Eyes as my culminating experience at USC's MFA in Dramatic Writing. Ten years later, he remembered that play. I sent him the script. He read it and called me back. He said, “Oh my god, I'm shaking. We're doing this.” It was fortuitous for me. It was not something I planned on.
RQM: Revisiting the piece 10 years later, how was the re-write process? So have you done a lot of re-writes?
DJ: Rapid. Challenging on every level - thematically and structurally. The set-up is that the piece is narrated by this gaggle of harpies. So the storytelling is very poetic in that sense. The play is almost linear, but then it is not. It harkens back to Greek storytelling. The main character Gio is 14 years old. He becomes enamored with this black guy in his 30s-40s in 1955 Baltimore. We are talking about taboo-ism with regard to sexuality, race, age, class - to me I'm talking about gender. I call the gaggle the “Gaggle of Sissies”. I am reclaiming the term as a self-identified sissy.
RQM: Okay honey, yes!
DJ: Yes, I'm a sissy, so I have a story for the sissies.
RQM: Yes, yes, for the legendary children.
DJ: Right!
RQM: So, writing a play like that, the casting must have been challenging.
DJ: Amazingly, many actors are quite prudish. People talk a great talk about diversity, inclusion, body positivity, and all the rest, but once you ask somebody to actually take the leap and do something - even if it is simulated or insinuated through monologue - they become very squeamish. I thought more of us had reached a point where we are willing to take risk, but there are a lot of actors out there who are not. They are okay if it is implied that the character is gay, but they will not show you a gay character. But, I will say this: the same people who say, “I am not willing to kiss another man on stage,” would do it if the pay check was high enough or if it was on T.V.
RQM: Your work and mine are similar in that they require actors from a smaller, more risk-taking, self-selecting group that are unapologetic and unafraid.
DJ: I treasure the experience of working with LGBTQ people of color and really be of the mindset that we are telling our own stories. I'm tired of straight people, cis-gender straight people getting awards for telling the stories or acting in roles of LGBTQ people when our lived experiences are still being devalued, marginalized, and oppressed on a daily basis. When we write our own stories and when we try to tell them on stage, on the screen, on the page, we are told to tone it down.
RQM: Amen!
DJ: You don't ask anybody's sexuality when they are auditioning for a role. We ask what people are comfortable with. But I am not about to start re-writing things to make a cishet actor comfortable -
RQM: Or audience member, or board of directors member, or producer -
DJ: Yes, yes -
RQM: You all have to take us as we are and invest in THAT. The public can handle it. Don't worry - you won't lose your investment. In fact, this is how you re-invest and build the audience of the future: by dreaming the culture forward, challenging people, and building new forms of storytelling while breaking down old cultural and aesthetic walls. Oh lord, look at me go. Let me get off my high horse. Baby Eyes. This show is getting it's world premiere. Every writer has a wish, a dramaturgical wish for that maiden voyage of a play. What are you hoping will come of this production of your play?
DJ: I want everyone from the cast to the crew behind the scenes to unite and tell this story with…, leading with the heart. The heart and the soul. Soul can mean so many things, and I want us to explore every meaning of that word - Soul.


In Memoriam: Henry Ong

In Memoriam: Henry Ong

Award-winning Los Angeles Playwright and 16-time recipient of Artist-in-Residence grants from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
October 3, 2018 Silver Lake, CA - Henry Ong, a fixture of the Los Angeles theatre community for more than 35 years, died Saturday, September 29th after a long battle with cancer. Ong was the quintessential Los Angeles playwright: a first-generation Asian-American, he was interested in the exploring the immigrant experience, and conducted writing/oral history workshops in many LA communities as diverse as the city itself.
Ong grew up in Singapore and later attended graduate school in the U.S., graduating with a master's degree in journalism. Post-graduation, he moved to Los Angeles, where he began to pursue his career as a playwright. He was a member of Interact Theatre Company and Company of Angels. In 2014 he was awarded the Lee Melville Award from Playwrights Arena for outstanding contribution to theatre in Los Angeles.
An internationally-produced playwright, Ong's works span an eclectic mix, from plays inspired by true events to biographical drama and adaptations of classic novels. Credits include: Madame Mao's Memories, Sweet Karma, Fabric, The Legend of the White Snake, and People Like Me, which won him a Drama-Logue Award for Excellence in Writing in 1998. A number of his plays have been produced nationally, including New York and San Diego (at the Old Globe Theatre); as well as internationally in London, Edinburgh and Singapore. Other works include: The Masseur, Ascent, and theatrical adaptations of the Anthony Trollope novels Rachel Ray, and Nina Balatka, all in various stages of development.
Ong was a 16-time recipient of Artist-in-Residence grants from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. He collaborated with Marlton School, Los Angeles' only day school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, on staging a series of Asian folktales for youth. In addition, he was one of the founding members of the non-profit Artists Against Oppression (AAO), whose primary mission is to create and support artistic endeavors that elevate the lives of oppressed or disenfranchised communities.
In 2017, Ong fulfilled a life-long dream to have his six-hour adaptation of the Chinese classic, Dream of the Red Chamber staged, co-directing the play at the Edward Vincent Jr Park in Inglewood. In June his play, The Blade of Jealousy, an adaptation of the Spanish Renaissance Playwright Tirso de Molina's La Celosa De Sí Misma, had its world premiere at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks.
As a champion of LA theatre, Ong was an avid theatre-goer, attending 150 performances annually. He served for many seasons as an active voter for The Ovation Awards, the Southern California award for excellence in theatre.
Dubbed “the shyest man in theatre” by theatre website Stage Raw, Henry famously avoided the spotlight and cameras unless he was on the other side of the lens. Everyone in the theatre was “a famous person” in his world. No audience member or performer escaped his attention. Ong felt, he said in a 2016 Stage Raw interview, that “everybody deserves to be seen, and wants to be seen.”
Henry is survived by his husband Matthew Black, mother Geok Lian Yan, and sisters Noi Giddings and Stella Ong.


Audio Interview: Kirsten Vangsness - Penelope Garcia on CBS's Criminal Minds stars in ‘Marian or The True Tale of Robin Hood' at Theatre of NOTE

A gender-bending, patriarchy-smashing, hilarious new take on the classic tale. Robin Hood is (and has always been) Maid Marian in disguise, and leads a motley group of Merry Men (few of whom are actually men) against the greedy Prince John. As the poor get poorer and the rich get richer, who will stand for the vulnerable if not Robin? What is the cost of revealing your true self in a time of trouble? Modern concerns and romantic entanglements clash on the battlefield and on the ramparts of Nottingham Castle. A play about selfishness and selflessness and love deferred and the fight. Always the fight. The fight must go on.*
Enjoy this interview about “Marian or The True Tale of Robin Hood” staring Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia in a recurring role on the TV series Criminal Minds) at Theatre of NOTE, running until Sep 22nd. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*Taken from the website