Interview With Multi-Talented Marc Antonio Pritchett About Directing Mousetrap at Theatre Palisades

Director Marc Antonio Pritchett is currently rehearsing his cast for the next main stage production Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at Theatre Palisades. I sat down with this classically trained actor, singer, and stunt combatant to learn more about his take on this classic crime script and uncover a few details about this multi-talented entertainment industry professional.

The Mousetrap is truly a classic of the whodunnit genre. What is your take going to be?

How are you directing this production for Theatre Palisades?

It’s amazing to break into this material and really see how detailed Agatha Christie was - which she had to be, as the queen of crime! She put all of these little details, all of these “Easter eggs” into places that will pay off later in scenes. In rehearsal, it’s a challenge. But the payoff is worth it. We just have to cross all of our t’s and dot our i’s, and manage to act in there as well, to pull off this amazing show that’s been done more than any other show ever.

There will be some fun discoveries and connections for those who watch and listen very closely. We are definitely honoring the original script, and we are making it as digestible for a modern audience as possible.

Why did you choose to direct Agatha Christie?

I’ve always been into the genre! As a kid, I was into Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys, and Sherlock Holmes. I loved to try to figure out what was going on before the ending. So this is a really unique opportunity to help shape that experience for other people.

What inspires you as a director?

Probably the most impactful experiences have been working with the classics - working with Shakespeare in particular, where, in addition to the normal things you have to work with in a play, you have this heightened language that you have to make seem commonplace. You have to get the actors to emote through the language, and to get them to be able to communicate in a way that modern people can hear.

I also have a background in Opera, which is very helpful, because in many cases with that genre, the audience is just looking at supertitles and may have no idea what’s going on! So you really have to make sure the performers are communicating physically and emotively for the audience to be able to follow the story all the way through.

We know directing is only one of your many skills and talents. What are some of the others?

I’m a session singer. Recently, I sang on the new Lion King movie soundtrack, which was an amazing experience! I also do fight work, sword work in particular. I’m a fight coordinator and I run a stage combat school.

So it’s a weird, eclectic mix but it all comes together when I'm directing or acting.

I went to the University of Georgia where I was a double major in Music and Drama, and I also studied Martial Arts and Fencing. A counselor there directed me to go into entertainment where all of these skills could come together. No one cares if a concert pianist can throw a side-kick, but an actor who can play piano and throw a kick is more valuable. And this is true with directors as well. So I changed my music focus to film composition, and fighting into stage combat.

What shows are on your future wish list? Besides all of Shakespeare, of course...

Hamlet was one of my first professional gigs, which I did 170 times! I’d like to do something like David Ives (All in the Timing) again, an evening of one-acts. I love hilarious one-acts like that, so either specifically David Ives, or someone who is similar. Also, some of the parodies to the classics are fun, like Fortinbras. I’ve always wanted to direct that. So maybe have a run of Hamlet on a double bill with Fortinbras.


The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie, is performing at Theatre Palisades from August 30 through October 6, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm.

You can purchase tickets via phone at 310-454-1970 or via http://www.theatrepalisades.com/ Tickets are $20-22.

Address: Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Cyn. Rd., Pacific Palisades.

For cast and crew interviews, join their facebook page at facebook.com/theatrepalisades.

The Mousetrap is produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – August 12 - 18, 2019

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

THE LONESOME WEST, BY MARTIN MCDONAGH

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VALERIE PERRI AND JACK & BENNY LIPSON: ALL IN THE FAMILY

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SYLUS 2020!

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EVITA

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IMPRO THEATRE'S SHAKESPEARE UNSCRIPTED AT NORTH COAST REP

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THE ADVENTURES OF PETER RABBIT

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HANDJOB

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FERTILE: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE EXPECTATION OF PROCREATION

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DIRTY TRICKS W/ THE NEW BAD BOYS OF MAGIC

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ATHENA

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LAST SWALLOWS

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Female Fusion Spotlight on Arianne MacBean

Arianne MacBean is a writer, educator and Artistic Director of The Big Show Co., a LA-based interdisciplinary performance group. Although when asked how she would describe herself she leads with choreographer, her biography on her company page does not list that among her many titles. In contrast, her Instagram profile defines her as “Choreographer, Writer, Educator, Girl Gang Boss.” She dances and performs with her company, but specifically says that she is no longer a dancer. This enigmatic question of self categorization set off a conversation full of layered responses and complex ideas related to identity, process and creation. Her journey to become the artistic force that she is today was and continues to be long, winding and constantly evolving.

Like most creatives in Los Angeles, MacBean wears many hats, has numerous titles and shoulders many responsibilities. In addition to being the director and force behind the Big Show Co., she was the Director of the Dance Program at Oakwood Secondary School for eighteen years, and is now adjunct faculty at Cal State University Long Beach, Pasadena City College, and Glendale Community College. Her classes include graduate seminars in Dance Management, graduate level Modern Technique and Composition, Beginning and Intermediate Hip Hop, Modern Technique and Dance History. She is a regular facilitator of professional development workshops for LAUSD teachers on how to promote diversity in the classroom through movement. Through the Big Show Company, she leads Memory Writing Workshops at Casa Treatment Center in Pasadena, for women in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, and she has spent many years working with U.S. military veterans leading free Memory Writing & Movement Workshops. She is a published author. Her academic dance works include Dancing into Diversity – a curriculum for self-discovery, empathy and creative leadership, which was published in the 2014 special teacher edition of The Journal of Dance Education and Scripting the Body, an essay and curriculum which was published in 2001 and which continues to guide her work today. She also wrote a charming children’s book, Backyard Fairies. In 2012, she was awarded the year-long CHIME Mentorship Grant, produced by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in San Francisco, which is a mentorship program for professional choreographers. Other recent awards include the 2018-19 Cultural Trailblazer Award and 2016-17 Artist-in-Residence Grant from the City of Los Angeles' Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as the 2016-17 & 2017-18 California Arts Council Veterans Initiative in the Arts Grant.

The Big Show Co. was founded in 1998 and has five core members. In addition to MacBean, the company includes Angelina Attwell, Genevieve Carson, Brad Culver, and Max Eugene.

left to right: Max Eugene, Arianne MacBean, Genevieve Carson, Brad Culver, and Angelina Attwell. Photo: Dyanne Cano

Both men began as actors and have become movers. The women are all technical dancers, but as they have worked together for over a decade, those lines have become blurred. What you see in The Big Show Co.’s work is the result of literal years of breaking down then rebuilding creativity.

“When that core group came together, we started to develop this creative process. It was unlike anything we had ever done before and we started making work that was unlike anything we had ever seen before and we called it dance theatre. We generated the text and the movement simultaneously and we started to refine and then I started to think about the creative problem solving…..to codify it, to think of it not just as creating material for performance but as a way of processing information that feels to me a little bit more authentic to life.”

“I grew up, even in grad school with this idea of the integrity of the art. There was a lot of judgement…that these ideas need to be completed. I still feel all of those things and bring all of that but I wanted process to reflect what I wanted to show up on the stage which was much more dynamic and not tied up or wrapped up in a string, which is much more reflective of the way I live; I have ideas, they come, they melt away, I’m laughing, then I’m crying because I am so sad at what I’m laughing at and then I’m pissed and I love this person then I hate them all in the same minute. We called it the creative problem solving method.” She jokes that naming the process was mostly for grant writing purposes.

Once they had solidified and codified this method, they looked out, away from the core group of dancers/performers and sought to apply it to more diverse communities. At the suggestion of a friend’s husband, himself a veteran, she started working with groups of veterans in free workshops and began to develop the idea of memory making as a performative act. A result of that undertaking was The Collective Memory Project, a show that was developed and performed at The Ford Theatres in June of 2018. Creating the show was a three year long process.

The Collective Memory Project at The Ford Theatres, June 2018 Photo: Timothy Norris

Joining the core company members for the Collective Memory Project in June were Heraclio Aguilar, Edem Atsu-Swanzy, Armen Babasoloukisn, and Priscilla Songsanand. It is impossible to write about all of the elements of this incredible performance so I have linked to two reviews, The Berkeley Daily Telegraph and Broadway World. I would also urge you to check out the Work in Progress video: The Collective Memory Project, and both the Collective Memory Project Promotional Video and The Collective Memory Project Reel. I saw both the developmental workshop and the performance. It was astounding and glorious and emotional. As MacBean says so eloquently, “Every veteran wears their service differently.” The journeys taken throughout the evening were both immense and minute and all of it was intensely moving.

When asked about her work as an activist, the issue of self identity was once again raised. “I don’t really see myself as an activist. The work that I do is creative work and I think it is activism, but it is a collaborative community process and its this really intuitive listening and pushing and guiding and listening and pushing and guiding. And re-visioning with the material that comes in front of me, we start with text and start mining human experience. Then you have to guide these non-performers into thinking performatively and thinking about storytelling, but there is the goal of art, but that separates from the trauma of it...”

That stated, there are multiple avenues that Arianne pursues with the creative memory writing process; Memory Writing Workshops, Memory Movement Workshops and Creative problem solving. For example, in addition to veterans, she works with women in recovery from addiction. These workshops are mainly writing, though as with everything that Arianne is associated with, movement finds a way in. In contrast to the work that led to the Collective Memory Project, the workshops are not performative. They are about personal growth and the journey that each individual takes.

All of this creativity, whether focused on a performative or personal goal is intense and can be triggering for both the participants and MacBean. The related issues of balance and care came up in our conversation in numerous ways: in regards to being a mom and teacher, as a guide and therapeutic leader, and in her family life. MacBean has a husband and two tween daughters. She is close to her parents, who live in Berkeley, where she grew up. Her mom has stage four breast cancer and was just diagnosed with Dementia and Alzheimers. There is a lot to juggle and she is open about having her own therapist to help deal with it all. Even with the stress, MacBean expresses gratitude and excitement for her complicated family and life, and for how she has grown artistically with and as a result of it. Once she had kids, she found that she had to start integrating more of the sides of herself, moving on from the heady space of academia into a softer, more accepting place. Her motherhood and teaching is intertwined with her creative output. “It’s all part of the process...with my family, we have always danced." She found that there was a stripping down of self restriction and self judgement both in her own work and in the work she of others she watched. She had to let go of the pretentiousness of it all, the academic certainty of right and wrong when it came to art and open up to much more fun. “I had to start to watch musical theater, and LOVE it!” She shares a family tradition; the Backyard Big Show. Friends and family who love to dance but may not be dancers themselves come together to create once a year. Everyone brings a dish to share and a dance for the show. The Backyard Big Show echos the work she does with her company. It is an organic process of working with communities and creating art while not taking yourself seriously. There really is a lot of play, both in the family celebration and in the creation of ultimately serious but still entertaining and joyous dance theatre.

From The Big Show Co Instagram

MacBean and The Big Show Co. will be in residence at the Ford Theatres in the Fall 2019 with a new project entitled, She/Her: Memory Trace - dance theatre exploring femininity and the military veteran experience. The project was inspired partially from a memory that was explored in the first show; attending San Francisco Ballet performances at the Opera House with her mom. She was already thinking about the influences of mothers, women and feminine energy on memory when one of the veterans contacted her about writing about his mom. This desire was partially inspired by the journey that MacBean is going through with her own. “I started to think about the military and men and this really male dominated space and how do they feel about the women in their lives, and how the women in their lives have affected how they think of themselves as men in relation to the military. Then I thought about the very few women who did come to our writing workshops and how they had extremely different experiences than the men, which then made me wonder about my own relationship with ‘femaleness’. I have always been more of a masculine woman. I have never been much of a girly girl. Nathan Clum, The Dramaturg and Co-Facilitator for all Collective Memory Project Writing Workshops, is gay and he is always thinking about his femaleness and we are in this new culture with gender fluidity being so much more accepted than before. The show will jump from this perspective to further explore the idea of durable memory and seek to discover at a deeper level why and how “memory and identity is a creative act.”

The Big Show Co. is still seeking veterans to work on this new project.

Paid Workshops and Performance!
Male & Female Veterans Wanted!
Must be available on the following dates/times:

- Workshops: Sundays, September 8, 15, 22, 29, October 6, 13, 27; 10am - 1pm at the Ford’s Community Room
- Project Launch Showing on the Terrace at the Ford Theatre, Saturday, November 2, 10-4pm. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
- Wrap-Up Workshop: Sunday, November 17; 10-1pm

Project Launch Showing at the Ford Theatres:
Saturday, November 2, 2019
10am-4pm

If you are interested, please send a resume via their website contact form at TheBigShowCo.com/contact.

There is so much more to Arianne MacBean than is possible to share in this article; her love for Hip Hop, her passion for teaching, the joy that talking about her children brings to her face. I would encourage you to check out her irreverent Instagram account, her amazing performances, and maybe take part in one of the workshops. The possibilities that are opened up by her work and collaborations are infinite.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – August 5 - 11, 2019

Theatrical shows and Cabaret NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

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

MACBETH

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THE VANDAL

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NIKI HARIS: SISTERS IN SOUL

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LOST MOON RADIO SUMMER BLOCK PARTY

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ANDY WARHOL'S TOMATO

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THE SPANISH PRAYER BOOK

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TO GILLIAN ON HER 37TH BIRTHDAY

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PAUL ROBESON THEATRE FESTIVAL

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NOW MORE THAN EVER: AN AFTERNOON OF HUMOR

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A THOUSAND CLOWNS

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The Second Annual 'She L.A. Summer Theater Festival' Opens at the 'Zephyr'

The 2nd Annual "She L.A. Summer Theater Festival" at the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood opens Tuesday, July 30, 2019, with five original full-length works by women-identifying writers.

Produced by She NYC Arts, She L.A. "was borne out of the desire of artists in the LA area to bring the She NYC Summer Theater Festival to the west coast", which "supports the creation and production of meaningful, powerful, and commercially viable works by women writers, composers, directors, and actors." As a non-profit,  SheNYC Arts, Inc. receives a generous grant from The Puffin Foundation, which, along with donations from theatre patrons,  enables them to provide a free program for high-school girls interested in producing and writing for the theatre through their CreateHer program.

Rehearsal of "She's Not There" for the 2nd Annual She LA Summer Theater Festival 2019, at the Zephyr Theatre, Hollywood. Photo courtesy of She L.A./ SheNYC.

Here is an overview of the fives shows featured in this year's festival:

"To Each His Own" by Nakisa Aschtiani - A few months after 9/11, Sharzahd Jensen, a caregiver, arrives for her newest assignment: as a live-in aid to an elderly, blind Iranian man. New to the town, she befriends a kind lawyer. A few days in, Sharzahd notices harassing letters and graffiti targeted towards her new patient, but who is the real victim and who can she trust?

Aschtiani returns to the Festival as a part of SheLA, where her previous play, "Children of Camelot," was a part of SheNYC in 2017. In addition to playwriting, Aschtiani has been an active member of the theatre world for over twenty years as an actor and producer. Her third play, "Bismillah," is also playing this summer in the Fresh Fruit Festival in NYC.

The show, scheduled on Sunday, August 4th at 12 p.m., is an enhanced performance for blind and visually impaired patrons.

Rehearsal of "Charlie Boyd" for the 2nd Annual She LA Summer Theater Festival 2019, at the Zephyr Theatre, Hollywood. Photo courtesy of She L.A./ SheNYC.

Multi-award winning playwright Ali MacLean’s "She's Not There" focuses on how a third-party threatens the relationship of a contented couple. That third-party: a shadowy form that seeps into the walls to attempt to kill one of them. "The play anthropomorphizes depression and explores how it can devastate a person and the lives of those around them."

MacLean’s work has been performed and workshopped at the HBO Workspace, Comedy Central Stage, A Noise Within, Antaeus Theatre, and The Ensemble Studio Theatre. "She’s Not There" has been performed in the Screencraft Stage Play Competition, The Garry Marshall Theatre New Works, The Dennis and Victoria Ross Foundation Project, and won the John Gassner Playwriting Award.

The show scheduled on Friday, August 2nd, will have a talkback with the creative team and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services following the 8:30 p.m. performance.

"Do Us Part" by Karen Lukesh is a comedy about a bitter couple who accidentally reunite in their home the day before their divorce is finalized. "A quagmire of egos, misplaced feelings, and stubborn pride" follow, but the future of their relationship is anyone's guess.

Rehearsal of "Between the Colored Lines & Other Black Girl Tales" for the 2nd Annual She LA Summer Theater Festival 2019, at the Zephyr Theatre, Hollywood. Photo courtesy of She L.A./ SheNYC.

Playwright and director Lukesh's "Do Us Part" won the Special Marquee Award in the 2017 American Movie Awards stage play division, and her feature scripts, TV pilots, shorts, and stage plays have garnered numerous writing awards in contests such as Gimme Credit, BlueCat, Page International, Final Draft Big Break, and the Nicholls Fellowship. A seasoned playwright and screenwriter, she provides script consultation on her site KarenLukesh.com.

"Charlie Boyd" by Allie Wittner is a comedy about a college student home from Winter break, whose friend, Charlie Boyd, "re-enters her life abruptly after a shared secret compelled him to disappear. Set amidst a Hanukkah rivalry, this madcap romance brings you love, betrayal, drugs, crossword puzzles, mysterious visitors, and many, many menorahs."

Originally from Salem, Massachusetts, Wittner makes her playwriting debut with "Charlie Boyd."  Formerly a member of the sketch comedy troupe Chocolate Cake City in Boston, Wittner's previous performance credits include "The Donkey Show" at the American Repertory Theatre and "We Are Pussy Riot."

"Between the Colored Lines & Other Black Girl Tales" is a poetic stage play by Tiffani Dean that features a married couple at a turning point, where a wager determines who holds the proverbial remote control during Monday Night football. This innovative stage play with dance, music, and poetry chronicles the next few weeks of their relationship, as the dramas that play out on TV shed light into the real-life relationship that has been happening on their couch all along.

Dean, from Philadelphia, is an author, playwright, poet, executive director, executive producer, co-founder of Family Poetry Collective, co-founder The Collective Mic, LLC, The Collective Mic Productions, The Collective Mic School Of The Arts, and The Collective Mic Art Gallery & Arts Café.

The 2nd Annual "She L.A. Summer Theater Festival" at the Zephyr Theatre:

"To Each His Own" by Nakisa Aschtiani
Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 4, 2019, 12:00 p.m.*

*Sunday, August 4th at 12 p.m. is an enhanced performance for blind and visually impaired patrons.

"She’s Not There" by Ali MacLean
Friday, August 2, 2019, at 8:30 p.m.*

*Friday, August 2, 2019, will have a talkback with the creative team and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services following the 8:30 p.m. performance.

"Do Us Part" by Karen Lukesh
Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 5:00 p.m.

"Charlie Boyd" by Allie Wittner
Thursday, August 1, 2019, at 7:30, 2019, p.m.
Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 2:00 p.m.

"Between the Colored Lines and Other Black Girl Tales" by Tiffani Dean
Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 4, 2019, at 5:30 p.m.

The Zephyr Theatre is at 7456 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Tickets are $20 are available at  SheLAArts.org.

SheNYC Arts, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, made possible in part by a generous grant from The Puffin Foundation and from theatre patron donations.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – July 22 - 28, 2019

Theatrical shows, Film Festivals, Cabaret, and Music Programs  NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar, including Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore! Producers and Best of Broadwater Award recipients.

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

Treya's Last Dance

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Goosebumps the Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium

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TRUE WEST

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Harry Potter & The Forbidden RUSH

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A Midsummer Night's Dream Anniversary Show

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GOOD MOURNING

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BARRYMORE

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I'M NOT A COMEDIAN...I'M LENNY BRUCE

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But, I'm Almost Famous?

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SHAME OF THRONES: The Musical

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Dido and Aeneas and Gianni Schicchi

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Dance in Flight

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Songfest

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Futureproof

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Kristine W and Ada Vox In Concert

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Ragtime

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Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

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The Cherry Orchard

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Darlene Love

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Ruben Sings Luther

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Blake Pouliot, violin

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Naturally 7

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An Evening of Stories and Songs with Chris Hillman featuring Herb Pedersen

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Simply Three

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Versa Style Dance Company

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Leo Kottke

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Taimane: Elemental Tour

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Phil Norman Tentet

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Viva MOMIX

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The Rainbow Fish

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Take Me to the River Live! – Celebrating the Music of New Orleans

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Zlatomir Fung, cello

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Tommy Emmanuel with Special Guest Jim and Morning Nichols

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PODCAST: Interview of "Coin & Ghost's" Rob Adler and Zachary Reeve Davidson, 2nd Season and 'Bad Hamlet' at 'New American'

An interview with Artistic Director and C0-Producer, Zachary Reeve Davidson, and Director, Rob Adler, of Coin & Ghost, on their world premiere play, "Bad Hamlet: An Irreverent, Interactive, Inventive Bootleg," which opens today at New American Theatre in Hollywood and their second season, MYTH-REMEMBERED.

Davidson and Adler, discuss the interactive aspect of "Bad Hamlet," which is based on the legend of “the bad quarto," and explores the "intersection of Shakespeare, memory, modern technology and Los Angeles."

"Bad Hamlet" kicks off Coin & Ghost's MYTH-REMEMBERED, which includes Cecilia Fairchild's "Mama, Mama, Can't You See," directed by Davidson, a simultaneously "modern war story and a spirit dance on the outside edge of death," and "Breakfast in Moscow," directed by Alex Demers, which is based on Chekhov’s "Three Sisters" and reimagined as a rock-opera using music from the 1979 Supertramp album, "Breakfast in America."

In addition to Davidson, the "Bad Hamlet" ensemble includes Casey Dunn, Julián Juaquín, Akshaya Pattanayak, Chris Schultz, Hannah Trujillo, Lauren Vitz, Marguerite French, and Elisa Rosin.

"Bad Hamlet" is every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. from Thursday, July 25, 2019, through Saturday, August 24, 2019. Tickets are $25 for general admission. They will also offer a healthy mix of Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) tickets for certain shows, which includes the Preview on July 25, 2019, as well as every ticket during the second and third weekends, August 1 - 10, 2019. For tickets and more information visit Coin & Ghost.

The New American Theatre is located at 1312 N. Wilton Place, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Suggested age limit is 16-years or older due to adult themes and conversations. Mobile phone use will be encouraged for this production.


JOAN OF ART: Tarantino, Vice is Nice, and Art Share

I love Quentin Tarantino's films. I've seen every single one of the them more then twice and I know, having seen "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" at a press screening early this week, I will definitely be seeing it again.

This time Tarantino takes us on a trip back to 1969. The place is Hollywood, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) discover as they make their way around an industry that they hardly recognize anymore.

The ninth film from this writer/director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood's Golden Age. The film is touching, funny and knowing what winds up happening...horrifying.

"Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" opens in theatre July 26th. Also in the cast is Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry in his last role and the wonderful Margot Robbie who plays Sharon Tate capturing her childlike innocence and joy which adds to the audience's pain of knowing her fate.

Compared to all of Quentin's other films, this one is the least violent. It has plenty of humor and insight into a time long gone.

'Once Upon A Time in Hollywood' starts Friday and will be playing in theaters all around town, but get your tickets as soon as possible. I'm sure the film will be selling out quickly.

VICE IS NICE is the next thing on my list and it is not at all what it sounds like. This is an event put on by the Animal Rescue Alliance on Saturday, July 27th from 6:30pm to 11pm. You will have a blast at this event and at the same time make a big difference in the lives of animals are in need of a home.

Last year over 750 animal lovers attended VICE IS NICE and helped raise much needed funds for the Animal Rescue Alliance. This 10th annual event will be the best one ever. Music, dancing, drinks, food, raffle, casino games, tarot card reading and more.

The Animal Rescue Alliance rescues and finds loving homes for abandoned and abused companion and farmed animals. They offer sanctuary to those animals that have special needs and for which it is more difficult to find a good home. The animals come from a variety of backgrounds...from homeless strays and feral animals to rescues from kill shelters and hoarding situations.

Wherever and whenever they see an animal in distress, they help. This is one of my favorite organizations. All an animal wants is to be loved and in return they are forever grateful. I always say, an animal always knows when you save their life. Why not support an organization that does just that?

The Animal Rescue Alliance (TARA) is located at Rancho Providencia, a peaceful four acre ranch in Chatsworth. TARA is a haven for goats, horses, donkeys, parrots, geese, cats and dogs. Their address is 10945 Old Santa Susana Pass Road, Chatsworth, CA 91311.

For tickets and more information go to TheAnimalRescueAlliance.org. or call 818-256-0060.

THE FUTURE IS NOW is a free art show that starts on July 27th and runs through August 11th.

Art Share LA'S 'The Future Is Now" poses the question: What then, does our future look like? Will it be a warning? A call to Action? A celebration of ingenuity? Witness for yourself what the future for you, Los Angeles, and the world may hold. Intriguing? VERY.

Art Share LA is located downtown at 801 East 4th Place, Los Angeles. They are opened Wednesday-Sunday 1-6pm.

For more information call them at 213-687-4278 or email them not only about their upcoming shows, but submitting art work as well at... ArtShareLA.org.

While you are downtown you might want to head over to the REDCAT theatre to check out THE NEW ORIGINAL WORKS FESTIVAL 2019. At REDCAT you will find some of the world's most intriguing envelope-pushing avant-garde theatre, film, music and performance art.

This Annual New Original Works Festival launches nine new works by Los Angeles emerging and mid-career artists who are redefining the boundaries of contemporary performance to invent hybrid artistic disciplines, re-imagine traditions and confront urgent issues. All artistic teams receive free rehearsal space, tech support and artist fees.

The 16th Annual New Original Works Festival kicks off with a program of works by solo artist Sola Bamis; visual and performing artists, Zach Dorn and Danielle Dahl; choreographer Katherine Helen Fisher and Andrew Ondrejcak's THE MUSES renders a suite of lush and riotous dances that conjures a communal space in celebration of the divine feminine.

For more information and for future performances go to RedCat.org.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, make it a fun one people.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – July 3 - 21, 2019

Theatrical shows, Film Festivals, Cabaret, and Music Programs  NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar, including Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore! Producers and Best of Broadwater Award recipients.

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

MEN ON BOATS

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Towne Street Theatre's "Push the Culture" Nights of Sum Poetry!

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Tartuffe

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The One-Man Improvised Musical

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She LA Arts Summer Theater Festival

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Fefu and Her Friends

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West Side Story

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It Happened in L.A

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OTHERWISE ENGAGED

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LOOSE KNIT

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The Last PowerPoint

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Boeing Boeing

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Dope Queens

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Musical Theatre West presents "Disney's The Little Mermaid"

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Ryan Raftery's "The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Martha Stewart"

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Adam Pascal: So Far ..,

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Embrace Love Free

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Under Milk Wood

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Beasts from the Sea!

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Enerjoyce...Evolution of a Pisces Baby Boomer

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Camp Fangoria

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Early Birds

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THE SPANISH PRAYER BOOK

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Miss America's Ugly Daughter: Bess Myerson & Me

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The 'Brisk Festival' at The Broadwater is Underway

The Brisk Theatre Festival is underway at The Broadwater, featuring short plays, in English and in Spanish, up to 10 minutes in length and running through August 11, 2019, with eight programs consisting of six to seven plays each, several of which were created by Hollywood Fringe Festival veteran producers and other participants.

The festival opened on July 11, 2019, and two of the eight programs have been presented with six programs remaining, with several of the shows created by Hollywood Fringe Festival veteran producers and participants.

There were 350 plays submitted for consideration and of those selected for performance, 34 are in English and 20 are in Spanish. Most of the productions are produced by local theatre companies in Los Angeles, but there are also artists heralding from Mexico, Florida, and Australia in this first edition of the festival.

The best plays are to be chosen by a jury of professionals including casting directors, producers, directors, actors, writers, managers, and agents. Those chosen go on to compete in a finals weekend on Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11, 2019. The best play in English and the best play in Spanish are to receive an award of $500 each.

The festival was founded by Christian Rodrigo, a Spanish producer, director, and member of The Actors Gang. Rodrigo and Mexican producer and actor Ramon Valdez will be taking the Brisk Theatre Festival to Mexico, Barcelona, and Madrid later this year and in 2020, partnering with Full Emotion, a production company that has been producing films, television, and theater for more than 12-years.

Here is a list of the remaining performances:

From Salvador Casados' "Shakespeare Love" at the 2019 Brisk Festival, at The Broadwater, Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of The Brisk Festival.

The Orange Program, with shows in English. from July 18 - 21, 2018:

"Interventions," written by Greg Lam, and directed by Hollywood Fringe veteran Megan Frances who brought "Hott Line" (2016) to Fringe, tells of a couple on a hike who find that their "special plans" are interrupted by a succession of Time Travelers.

"Grown," written and directed by Soda Persi, features Corey Lynn Howe and Adam Briggs–all Fringe veterans and of Theatre Unleashed–who together bring to Brisk a piece about the nuances of love.

"People Will Talk," directed by Todd Felderstein, and written by Scott Mullen–who brought his play "Piñata" (2017) to Fringe–, is about a surprising connection between two people, challenged by life's obstacles, who meet one night on the ledge of a 12-story office building. A story of "life, the art of listening, and everyday miracles."

Additional shows are "Anything For My Mother," "Noir Man," and "Evidences of a Contemporary Love."

The Yellow Program, with shows in English, from July 18 - 21, 2018:

"Recess," written by Cara Emily Krantz, and directed by Roe Moore who co-produced "Buzz'd Out! LIVE" at last year's Hollywood Fringe, is a tale of two children on a playground who imagine what life would be like as adults, perhaps even together.

"Jill Takes A Leap," directed by Frida De Lackner and written by Mullen, also features multi-Fringe show veteran Asia Lynn Pitts from "Mouthy Bitch" (2016), "Blackballed: The Rise and Fall of Negro League Baseball," (2018) and this year's "Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive the Apocalypse," and is about a woman trying to figure out if she's living her best life.

Additional shows are "You me. Me you," "A Streetcar Derailed," "The Heart to Heart," and "Vote for Me."

The Green Program, with shows in English, from July 25 - 28, 2018:

"To The Roof," written by Cynthia Faith Arsenault, also directed by Frances, and is about elevator riders who become more than passing strangers.

"Captive Audience," written and directed by Raymond-Kym Suttle and hot off his Fringe show this year "Yes. No. Maybe" with actress Dee Dee Stevens, together along with actor Kevin Alain bring to Brisk a piece on how "being a stand-up comedian can bring out the worst in some people. So, be careful who you captivate."

"The Landing," written and directed by Fringe veteran Prakriti Maduro, who brought "Frida Kahlo: Viva La Vida" from Venezuela to the Hollywood Fringe in 2019, brings to Brisk her show "The Landing." brings a story about a woman who appears in the middle of an empty plane, midair, and the sudden arrival of her husband.

"RIP I.N.C.," written and directed by Harim Sanchez–a Sacred Fools member and a four-show Fringe veteran who brought his show "Pagliaccis" to the Hollywood Fringe in 2017--, "follows a world where grim reapers are just cubicle workers sent out to harvest souls, and it's not as 'grim' as one would make it out to be."

Additional shows are "The Gringos are Coming," "Creeper Sunrise," and "Dog Barks, Bodybuilder Slaps."

From Ken Levine's "The Hookup," a finalist at the 2019 Brisk Festival, at The Broadwater, Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of The Brisk Festival.

The Brown Program, with shows in Spanish, from July 25 - 28, 2018:

Shows are "Pastel de Naranja," "El Asunto del Chocolate,"  "La Razon," "Somos Super Fans," "La Gran Familia," and "Cuatro."

In the Pink Program, with shows in English, from August 1 - 4, 2019:

"Fandango,"  written by Karissa Montaner, and directed by Guy Picot who brought "Cookie and the Monster" (2015), "Disasteroid!" (2018), and "Earth to Karen" this year to Fringe tells of "two estranged sisters, forced to unite and discuss the fate of their deceased father's Tapas restaurant, become heels deep in one hell of a flamenco reckoning!"

Additional shows are "Performance Review," "Dead Man's Curve," "The Next Ivan Sharanski," "Spoiler," "Doctor's Orders," and "The Silent Woman."

In the Red Program, with shows in Spanish, from August 1 - 4, 2019:

"A Dos Tumbas de Ti," written by Nancho Novo and directed by Marcel Rasquin, also features Maduro, along with Karla Solarte, about two sisters wake up in their own funeral, having died on the same night but in different accidents. They discover the bizarre circumstances of their untimely death and unveil a secret that might take them straight to the grave for a second time."

Additional shows are "Sexoral," "After Life Vacation," "Crash ¿Quien Tiene La Culpa?" "La Taza que me Mira desde la Meza," and "Mrs. Fox' Zoo."


The Brisk International Theatre Festival is underway at The Broadwater, 1078 Lillian Way, Hollywood, 90038. Tickets for program blocks are $15 - $22. For showtimes visit their website.

Steven Sabel's Twist on the Trade: Too Many Hats...

So many of us in this industry wear a lot of hats. Most of us have multiple descriptors after our names in our email signatures, social media bios, and website home page descriptions. “Steven Sabel, producer, director, designer, actor, writer, podcaster, and publicist.” Sheesh! Pick one already!

The truth is, many of us wear many hats in order to keep our options open and appear more desirable to potential employers. We say, “I can do that too!” with each of our descriptors. We are all trying to make it in the industry, and many of us do not really care which of our many talents gets us in the door: actor, singer, dancer, writer, director, stage manager, whatever it takes. The other side of that is we have to make a living. Many of us wear multiple hats because that is the only way we can pay the bills – picking up whatever gigs we can to add to the proverbial piggy bank however we are able.

There is also a risk to this. If your focus is spread too thin, you cannot apply yourself and talents fully to succeeding at any one thing. You’re an actor. You want to make big block buster movies someday. But you’re also a comedian. You love improv, you take your improv classes, you work on your stand-up routine, because you want to be on a popular sitcom someday. You’re also a writer. You love sketch comedy, and you write your own comic material because you want to be on “Saturday Night Live” someday. You’re also a burlesque dancer. You take your pole dancing classes, perfect your music choices, rehearse your routines, and spend your late nights titillating people into humorous desire. You’re busy! You’re doing all you can to make it. You’re wearing every hat you can think of – including that restaurant server hat you have to wear 20 hours a week to add to that piggy bank.

Here are the hats you are not wearing: business manager, publicist, webmaster, social media marketer, and overall executive director of your potential career. If you aren’t spending that 20 hours per week on these facets of your success, the only thing you will succeed at is being a good hat rack for your many choices of head wear.

As a producing artistic director, I know this far too well. My fellow producers, producing artistic directors, executive directors, managing artistic directors, artistic managing producer directors, and the like, will raise their voices in a silent cheer here as I write this self-aggrandizing truth: Nobody wears more hats than we do. While you are studying your lines, we are studying the bottom line, serving as accountants to our respective theatre organizations. While you are at improv class, we are improvising with available materials to design a set that will work for the show. While you are writing your sketch comedy, we are writing press releases to send to media outlets. While you are rehearsing your next dance routine, we are dancing around questions of financial viability, potential liability, and actors’ reliability.

Man of Many Hats

In addition to being an artistic leader, the producer/director must also often times just be a boss. On our minds at any given time are not just the artistic aspects of the project we are working on, but the business semantics of every decision involved. Our brains are constantly crowded with issues of finances, venue constraints, insurance policies, website updates, social media content, publicity, ticket sales, missing props, washing costumes, developing patrons, juggling schedules, coordinating designers, and a plethora of other responsibilities, including selecting the next project to do it all, all over again.

The producer/director/actor is an absolute crazy person. If you still have your wits about you, adding the actor hat to the mix will definitely drive you over the edge of sanity. It is also a risk that wearing the actor hat on top of the multitudinous head wear of the producer/director will foster a deep seeded resentment toward those who only have to learn their lines, show up to rehearsal, and “play” their parts. Producer/director/actor types would welcome the luxury of delving into their creative process as only an actor, without the weighty heaviness of their positions of leadership. Most of us can’t even remember what it is like to be at a rehearsal with only one task ahead of us – act your part.

Producing/directing isn’t for everyone. I have tremendous respect for those who have tried it and walked away (in some cases run away…screaming), and never looked back at the prospect of ever doing it again. I secretly chuckle at those who say they want to try it – many of them with what business leaders call the “field of dreams” model in their minds, or what marketers refer to (ironically) as the “black box” of their consumerism – but I always encourage them to go forward with their plans. One more producer/director, no matter how short-lived, is one more person who understands how difficult it is to do the job, let alone to do it successfully.

Nonetheless, each and every artist must learn to wear some of these hats concurrently for the advancement of their own careers. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again: You have to do the work to get the work! If you find that you just cannot juggle your actor/comedian/writer/burlesque interests while also fulfilling the aspects of business manager and promoter for all four pursuits, then you have to pick and choose which hats you can successfully wear.

tam o'shanter

The truth of the matter is that most people just don’t have heads large enough to wear that many hats. A recent stint on stage in a production of “Henry IV,” served as a great reminder to me that even my head is a poor hat rack for too many chapeaus, and I suffered to find the level of concentration I needed to focus on the hat (crown) worn by my character. It was profoundly frustrating. Thankfully I had a director for the project who understood my plight, and did his best to take some of my hats off of my head so I could play my part.

Even still, you learn you can put the hats on. It is difficult to take them off when you want to. You can’t help but worry about how actors are handling their props, keeping actors from eating in costume, making sure ticket sales are up to par, facilitating house management, negotiating details with the venue, promoting the show, and a myriad of other producer duties that just don’t go away because you got the itch to get back on stage and want to be just an actor for a while. It’s tough.

So to all of those out there who are juggling their millinery, especially my fellow producer/director/actor friends: My hat’s off to you! To the rest: time to choose the correct tam o'shanter for your noggin…


JOAN OF ART: An Outdoor Concert, An Indoor Concert, A Musical Parody of a Hit TV Comedy and A Great Musical From Broadway

One thing that I love about the summer is an outdoor concert and this Saturday evening the always fabulous RICKIE LEE JONES will be performing live at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. Tickets are free and the concert starts at 7:00pm and runs till 8:30.

Now in its 19th year, the Marina del Rey Summer Concerts present exciting symphonic and pop concerts. Enjoy a serene sunset by the water while listening to great music. Bring some food along in case you get the munches.

For a full list of their concerts go to EventBrite.com/o/marina-del-rey-summer-concerts-19961789196. No tickets are required for these concerts.

Now if you’d rather be indoors, then head on out to the Forum in Inglewood to either Friday or Saturday night to see ADAM LAMBERT with QUEEN. I’ve seen this concert and it is fantastic. Adam has the same charisma that Freddie Mercury had and the dude can sing.

The Forum is located at 3900 West Manchester Blvd, Inglewood CA To purchase tickets and for more information. go to MSG.com.

If you’d like theatre of a different kind then I’m happy to report that one of my favorite musicals has returned to Los Angeles. The powerful, beautifully written musical MISS SAIGON starting this Thursday, July 18th will be playing at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles.

MISS SAIGON is based on Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly and similarly tells the tragic tale of a doomed romance involving an Asian woman abandoned by her American lover. The setting of the plot is relocated to 1970’s Saigon during the Vietnam War and Madam Butterfly’s story of marriage between an American lieutenant and a geisha i replaced by a romance between a United States Marine and a 17 year old South Vietnamese bargirl.

The music is absolutely haunting.

For tickets and information go to HollywoodPantages.com

Finally for some lighter fare then i recommend you head over to the Kirk Douglas Theatre to see FRIENDS! THE MUSICAL PARODY. This is the comedic musical that lovingly pokes fun at TV’S Friends, celebrating the adventures of your favorite group of 20 something friends as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life and love in 1990’s Manhattan.

The show has gotten rave review from all over the country.

To purchase tickets and for more information go to CenterTheatreGroup.org The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located in Culver City at 9820 Washington Blvd. This 317 Theatre is absolutely beautiful and a great place to experience theatre.

Whatever you choose to do this summer weekend, make it a great one.


Better Lemons Fringe 2019 Certified Audience LemonMeter Rated Shows

How does a show receive an Audience LemonMeter rated certificate? With 10 audience reviews!

A show receives a LemonMeter rating with 3 reviews but only gets certified after 10 reviews. Why? Because it takes a lot more reviews then just your friends or family to make a show Sweet. We want producers and production participants to encourage audience reviews, so they can get an honest feedback, which would help their show grow. And when a show receives 10+ audience reviews, we reward those productions with a certificate because they encouraged their audiences to get involved, regardless of the outcome of the LemonMeter rating.

So we celebrate these shows and we want to give them recognition and hopefully get more audiences into their seats.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THESE 2019 FRINGE PRODUCTIONS, THAT RECEIVED 10+ AUDIENCE REVIEWS:

TALES FROM THE POWDER ROOM (1st Place Audience Choice Award)
RAISED BY WOLVES (2nd Place Audience Choice Award)
IF WE RUN (2nd Place Audience Choice Award)
HOLLYWOODN'T (3rd Place Audience Choice Award)
THE BULLY PROBLEM
AMERICAN STRANGER THE MUSICAL
AN EXCUSE TO BEHAVE BADLY
FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation
THE NARCISSIST NEXT DOOR
BUNNY THE ELF LIVE!
MANDY PICKS A HUSBAND
CRACK WHORE, BULIMIC GIRL-NEXT-DOOR
A BIT MUCH
BIRTHDAY
YES. NO. MAYBE.
THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME
(IM)PERFEKT
TRANSFERENCE
LEAVING PRINCE CHARMING
BECOMING PEACE: A One Woman Dramedy about Power, Culture, Violence and Nonviolence
ASK A BLACK WOMAN
OCTOPI WALL STREET
MIL GRUS

To receive a certificate for Audience SWEET LemonMeter rated show, ask audience members to leave a review of your show. They have 30 days after the show closes to leave a review.