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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🍋


Better Lemons is going to Sacramento

April is Arts, Culture and Creativity Month!

Better Lemons is going to Sacramento to join activists from all over California in celebrating Arts, Culture, and Creativity Month (ACCM) by gathering on Tuesday, April 23, at the State Capital to engage our elected officials in advancing the arts across the state.

Arts and Creativity Activists will be addressing these topics with our representatives:

  • Support Governor Newsom’s permanent funding increase of $10 million for the arts in the 2019 budget
  • Position arts and culture as creative solutions to pressing societal issues
  • Ensure that all students have access to arts education
  • Position the arts as a positive economic influence in community revitalization
  • Support the Youth Poet Laureate legislation
  • Enhance legislation for California’s Cultural Districts Program
  • Fund the California Cultural and Historical Endowment’s Museum Grant Program

The campaign is led by Californians for the Arts and participants will be advocating for increased public funding for arts and arts education and working to ensure that arts, culture and creativity in California is valued, funded, and recognized for its social and economic impact on our lives, our communities, and our state.

The Senate legislation that designates April as Arts, Culture, and Creativity Month says it well:

WHEREAS, Arts are not only an impressive and important agent for economic development, but also impact societal issues that include health, corrections, housing, immigration, veterans, transportation and education; and

WHEREAS, It is imperative for all children and youth in the state to have access to arts education in their schools; and

WHEREAS, California is the fifth largest economy in the world, with a creative economy totaling $407.1 billion in 2017; and

WHEREAS, California employs a higher number of people in creative industries, such as architecture, entertainment, fashion, media, and publishing, than any other state in the nation, according to the 2018 Otis Report on the Creative Economy of California; and

WHEREAS, In a state as diverse as California, the arts serve to give voice to our many communities, spark individual creativity, foster empathy and understanding, spur civic engagement, and serve as a continual source of personal enrichment, inspiration, and growth; and

WHEREAS, State support for the arts, arts education, and cultural institutions is crucial in order to achieve equitable access to the arts throughout California; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, That the Legislature recognizes April 2019, as a significant time to recognize and celebrate the arts, culture, and creativity of all Californians; and be it further

Resolved, That the Legislature designates April 2019, and every April thereafter, as Arts, Culture, and Creativity Month

We’d love your participation and your support!

Join us in Sacramento on April 23. If you can join us, please let us know so we can work together!

Email us with a message that we can share with our representatives. “How can our state government do better in supporting you and our creative community and infrastructure?”

Email us with a personal story of how the arts changed your life and/or your community.

But most of all, keep doing the things that you do that have made Los Angeles the center of the creative universe!

For more information visit CaliforniansForTheArts.org


Audio Interview: The cast of “The Chekhov Comedies” at Brand Park in Glendale

​See Chekhov as you have never seen him before! Combine 5 short comedies, 25 characters, and 4 female actors, and you get 1 night of hilarity!*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “The Chekhov Comedies” at Brand Park, playing through Apr 27th. 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 Theatricality of Greek Myths

Myths in the Modern Theater

Mary Zimmerman, of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theater, is a true national treasure – if by no other measure than the MacArthur Genius Fellowship she was awarded for adapting “seemingly untheatrical source material from classic world literature into compelling theater.” (the MacArthur Foundation’s own words). “Arabian Nights,” “The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci,” “Metamorphoses,” and “Galileo Galilei,” “The Odyssey” – these and a slew of other works are testament to her “genius.”

What makes Zimmerman’s work so valuable is her joyous, endlessly engaging use of the full forces of theater. In the telling of sweeping epics, she transports the audience into ancient worlds filled with a resplendent reality of their own, made not just engaging but intellectually stimulating. Using puppets, music, dance, song, poetry, lavish costumes, clever staging, and surprisingly simple but intriguingly effect stage architecture, Zimmerman’s work is designed to be entertaining, thoughtful, and transformative.

On stage, A Noise Within (ANW), L.A.’s classical company, is now producing Zimmerman’s Argonautika complete with the sailors climbing the ship’s ropes to billow the sail and the Woman of Lemnos singing and dancing on silks (aerial acrobatics while suspended on Lycra drapes).

Argonautika is an adaptation of an ancient Greek legend – Jason and The Voyage of the Argonaut, by Apollonius Rhodius in the 3 rd Century BCE – with certain wrinkles from a Roman re-telling of the myth by Gaius Valerius Flaccus centuries later under the Emperor Vespasian (c. 90 AD). [The Romans were always laying claim the cultural glories of the much older, much more prestigious civilization they’d conquered – mostly to give their empire international legitimacy].

The epic begins when Jason, a brash one-sandaled youth of self-defined heroic stature, asserts his claim to the kingship of Iolcus (being a very early name for Macedonia, which would later spawn Alexander the Great). Raised in the mountains by a Centaur, Jason comes late to his inheritance when he learns that Pelias (a bastard half-brother of Jason’s naughty mama) is currently ruling the roost in Iolcus. But when faced with Jason and his buddies – heroes all, Pelias remembers the Oracle’s oracular warning that he would be felled by a one-sandaled kid. So Pelias acknowledges Jason’s claim, oh sure! BUT – in a move to get rid of Jason, Pelias lays on him one death-defying task to prove his worth (hoping that in this case Death won’t be defied) – find and bring the prized golden fleece to the current sitter-on-the-throne.

The intertwining entanglement of claims and counterclaims, descent from gods and demi-gods, and heroics versus bluster is masterfully handled in Zimmerman’s breezy dramaturgy. Jason’s voyage on the good ship Argo – with the heroic 8 plus the formidable, self-promoting Hercules, a legend unto his own vanity – is a seemingly impossible task made tragic, comic, and romantic by Zimmerman’s uniquely gifted approach to character, movement, and motivation.

Surely, for the nautical warriors manning the Argo, the distance alone was a challenge – the Argo was little more than a leaky skiff sailing the rough waters of the Ionian Sea in the Third Century BCE. But the obstacles were daunting to the point of death. – monsters, goddesses.

Perhaps most monstrous and yet tragic of all Jason’s obstacles was the formidable sorceress, Medea – the wife and mother of his two sons who he abandoned because, well, honey, you always knew the golden fleece was priority one for me! Yeah, it’s that kind of story.

And when it’s a good tale, well told, with an ear and eye toward the magic of total theater – it is surely a product of genius.


Audio Interview: The cast of “Faith Healer” at Odyssey Theatre

The play is “at once a Rashomon type mystery, a delving into talent versus sham and, ultimately, a uniquely metaphysical view of life.”*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Faith Healer” at Odyssey Theatre, playing through May 12th. 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.


*Ron Sossi


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – April 8 – 14, 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.

Son of a Bitch

“Lee Atwater changed the American political playbook. Through his wedge issue tactics, smear campaigning, and diabolical media strategy, he orchestrated George H.W. Bush’s 1988 Presidential campaign and became one of Washington’s elite power players. But, by age 40, Lee Atwater was dead, his spectacular career over in a flash, and his legacy just another story to spin. SON OF A BITCH chronicles Atwater’s transformation from a scrappy Southern strategist, to the “lying, character-assassinating, knife-fighting son of a bitch” he eventually became. Spanning the course of ten years, the play examines the legitimacy of Atwater’s “crimes”. Was he a “bad boy”, a victim of his time, or the product of American ambition?”

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Why did the chicken cross the road?

“‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ follows each of the words in that joke as a character. Throughout the play’s two acts, each word tries to figure out their meaning as individual words and within the joke, as they all attempt to reach the ‘real world’. The play is as ridiculous as the joke, but nonetheless, it is rooted in very serious themes. The words are a joke to the entire world, but that becomes the most meaningful part of who they are, and the most redemptive. After a sold-out run in London last year, ‘Why did the chicken cross the road’ is proud to have its American premiere at HFF!”

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VICTORIA GORDON – LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD FRINGE

“Cabaret, classic showtunes, and comedy–what more do you need? Absolutely nothing, so join Victoria Gordon and her three-piece band for an hour of beloved standards and hilarious vignettes.”

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Sorry About My Friend

“Sorry About My Friend is making its premiere run at HFF. Inspired by true events, the play follows the journey of college students, Alyssa and Rachel, through their tumultuous years as roommates at Texas Tech University in Lubbock from 2006-2010. This quirky odd couple, with perfectionist Rachel and wild child Alyssa, learns even fast friendship has its hiccups. A dramedy in eight vignettes, clocking in at an hour, Sorry About My Friend visits the fall and spring semesters of each year at school.
In the era of female empowerment, come celebrate the complicated beauty and power of female friendship. Obsessive Rachel plays by the rules while wisecracking Alyssa writes her own rulebook. Will the girls’ differences build a bond like Thelma and Louise or burn down a city like Joan and Bette? Please join us June 10th- 29th at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre – 5636 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038 – for a show that will make you thankful you’ve already graduated. ”

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A Year in Dragonfly

“WORLD PREMIERE OF A Year in Dragonfly, a one-woman show dictating the survival story of her journey after being brutally attacked by the man she loved. Told in all original spoken word and song, she narrates her navigation back from the darkest corners of fear, shame, and depression associated with domestic abuse.”

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Revoluciones

“A highly theatrical fever-dream that employs magical realism to tell the kaleidoscope journey of a strong and passionate woman facing an impossible tragedy. A desperate mother searches for her disappeared son amidst a totalitarian regime in an unnamed Latin American country. Produced by the Latino Theater Company in association with Mexico’s Foro Shakespeare, an independent non-profit space that generates and develops projects of direct social impact through the performing arts. Presented in Spanish with English supertitles.”

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One Slight Hitch

“It is Courtney’s wedding day, and her mom, Delia is making sure that everything is perfect. The groom is perfect, the dress is perfect, and the decorations (assuming they arrive) will be perfect. Then, like in any good farce, the doorbell rings. And all hell breaks loose. So much for perfect.”

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The Root Beer Bandits – a Rootin’ Tootin Wild West Musicale

“The marshallARTS Family Series presents The Root Beer Bandits –A Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West Musicale, at the Garry Marshall Theatre in a new, updated pull-out-all-the-stops version complete with live band, added songs, a revised book, and all-new costumes for its 15th anniversary…When Polly delivers a letter to Sheriff Bailey of Sarsaparilla City, they discover that Copper Penny is scheming to steal the city’s famous root beer supply. With Sally Sue Tucker, a trailblazing female entrepreneur named helping her, and Sheriff Bailey, Polly sets things right and makes it clear that everyone is capable of greatness, no matter what their circumstances may be. Hold onto yer hats, ‘cuz laughs are sure to be a-plenty in this high-paced vaudevillian show including a chase, a Ho’ Down, a sing-off at high noon, and although the show has a surprise ending, its no surprise that girl power saves the day!”

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FAMOUS

“Set in 1994, Famous takes audiences into a world ruled by sex, money, and power taken at any cost. Just nominated for his first Oscar, Jason Mast is throwing a celebratory party at his Hollywood Hills home that serves as the backdrop for an intricate plan to confront his past with the night unfolding at an adrenaline-rushed pace. Driven by a devastating need to expose the truth, Jason’s attempt to control the outcome of the evening ignites a chain of events that push the boundaries of real friendship and reveals the true cost of fame.”

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Side Man

“A staged reading of Side Man will be performed as a selection in Sierra Madre Playhouse’s ongoing Off the Page series of play readings.
The story: Set in 1953 and traveling to 1985, this lovely and poignant memory play unfolds through the eyes of Clifford, the only son of Gene, a jazz trumpet player, and Terry, an alcoholic mother. alternating between their New York City apartment and a smoke-filled music club, Clifford narrates the story of his broken family and the decline of jazz as popular entertainment. Clifford recalls the key moments in his life, such as the day when he, fresh out of college, picked up his first unemployment check and was congratulated by Gene and his bandmates. Gene’s music career on the big band circuit ultimately crumbles with the advent of Elvis and rock-n-roll. Terry begs him to get a nine-to-five job to support the family, but Gene refuses to enter the “straight world” of regular paychecks, mortgages, and security. For Gene, who knows jazz better than his own son, music is not just a job; it’s his life. their marriage slowly dissolves and young Clifford is witness to it all. as things worsen, Clifford assumes the role of parent and throws the hopeless Gene out of his mother’s apartment. When an adult Clifford visits Gene in a rundown jazz club after years of separation, he requests that the old man play his mother’s favorite song, the old standard ‘Why Was I Born?’”

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Miss Coco Peru: Have You Heard?

“The return of the legendary Miss Coco Peru in her latest solo show. Miss Coco loves to reminisce. In fact, she’s very good at it. In ‘Have You Heard?,’ Coco performs some of her favorite monologues and songs spanning her long career, as well as some new stuff too. Whether you’ve heard all or some of these stories or you’re a Coco virgin, come see why Lily Tomlin called Coco, “one of the last great storytellers,” and experience the trailblazing Queen who elevated drag whilst still wearing sensible heels.”

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Richard III: Hour of the Tyrant

“A radical edit of Shakespeare’s text, one that focuses on ‘What makes a nation submit to a tyrant?’ Yet fundamentally this remains a character piece, an exploration of the tragedy that is the life of one of the Bard’s greatest villains.”

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Transference

“In Transference, a woman awakens from hypnotherapy and remembers all of her past lives…and that her therapist has been the love of her life in every lifetime. This world premiere dark romantic comedy tells the story of a woman hoping to get it right at long last, or at least not get murdered this time. Expert psychology gives way to pithy metaphysical repartee gives way to death threats. It’s truly a love story that explores the most important question in any relationship: How long can you hold a grudge? ”

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Next to Normal

“Launching the season of family is the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, “Next to Normal” by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. The production open April 12, 2019 and is directed by Artistic Director Craig Tyrl. ‘Next to Normal’ tells the story of Diana Goodman and her family, struggling to find happiness and normality against a twenty-year backdrop of bi-polar disorder, depression, and grief. The musical examines mental illness and its powerful impact on the family unit. ”

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Anna in the Tropics

“Nilo Cruz’s poignant and poetic 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning play captures 1929 Florida at a time when cigars were still rolled by hand and lectors were employed to educate and entertain the immigrant workers. The arrival of a new lector is cause for celebration, but when he reads Anna Karenina to the cigar rollers, he unwittingly becomes a catalyst in the lives of his avid listeners, for whom Tolstoy, the tropics and the American dream prove a volatile combination.”

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DR. NYMPHO VS. THE SEX ZOMBIES

“Celebration, under the artistic direction of Michael A. Shepperd, Cherry Poppins and Orgasmico present a very special guest production, the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival award-winning burlesque rock musical (Best Musical, Best World Premiere & Bechdal Wallace Award), DR. NYMPHO VS. THE SEX ZOMBIES … Every family has issues. No issues run deeper than those of the brilliant pathologist and matriarch Dr. Nimfa Delacroix. She was a nymphomaniac in the past but now lives a “normal life” with her nuclear 21st-century family. All of her demons must be confronted however, when the outbreak of a deadly STD launches in Atlanta, turning its residents into zombies that promises the end of civilization. Can Nimfa unite her family? Can she overcome her past? Can she save the world? Find out in ‘DR. NYMPHO VS THE SEX ZOMBIES!’”

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The Rape of Lucrece

“One of history’s darkest crimes is one of Shakespeare’s darkest works. Parental Discretion Advised, Graphic Content The ancient Roman legend of Lucretia is said to have been the catalyst for the Empire to become a Republic. Shakespeare takes a glimpse into the depraved mind of Tarquin as he assaults his friend Collatine’s wife, Lucrece, who takes her own life out of shame. Listen in to our own radio adaptation of this violent, profound, and beautifully-written epic. ”

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Lock Your Heart, Elder P.

“What if your ‘person’ comes along right when you’ve been forbidden to find one? A Mormon tragedy in one act. Elder P. happily accepted the call to serve a Mormon mission in Sweden. He started out with the best of intentions: to serve the Lord faithfully, chastely, and exclusively for two years. He promised to lay aside all personal relationships for that entire time, subjecting himself instead to the constant scrutiny of a 24/7 working missionary companion. Then she showed up…”

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Back Bog Beast Bait

“A shack in a swamp. A woman hires two gunslingers to help her defend her home against a mysterious and ravenous beast intent on destroying the human race. Everyone feels the presence of the beast, but no one can prove it’s real. Maybe the only way to protect ourselves is to lay our bodies bare on the altar and call forth our worst fears, our biggest regrets, and the baddest evil we can dream up. This production of Back Bog Beast Bait comes to you from Scavengers, a collective of artists who value the gritty, sensory worlds Sam Shepard spent his life meticulously creating.”
Better Lemons readers receive $5 off with the discount code ANWLemon when you purchase your tickets.”

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Neighborhood Watch

“When the head of a Neighborhood Watch program gets fed up with the goings-on in her neighborhood, she takes things into her own hands. A comedy about what goes on in the neighborhood and who’s watching.”

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The Living Room

“A comedy about death, conceived in grief, birthed by Amrita Dhaliwal & Gemma Soldati. These Accountants of Death work tirelessly to record the death toll. Confined to The Living Room, the occupational hazards wear on these two clowns as they learn the meaning of life and death. An absurd and physical jaunt brimming with existential phone calls, impaired dancing and the love of a goldfish. Students of Dr. Brown, Spymonkey’s Aitor Basauri, Paolo Coletto and Teacher’s for Cirque du Soleil’s, John Gilkey’s Idiot Workshop in Los Angeles, Amrita Dhaliwal and Gemma Soldati have devised a clown show inspired by their loss of loved ones. Devised and developed at The Lyric Hyperion Theatre, this show rides the very fine line between comedy and tragedy. Employing physical and absurdist theatre techniques, this show leaves the audience laughing and crying and thrust out into the night to ponder it all.”

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Tapping My Way To The Nuthouse

“Santa Monica Playhouse Benefit Series and Jassem Inc present in collaboration with Jessica Lynne Johnson a preview or a premiere of Lynne Jassem’s (From Homo to Como) latest show Tapping My Way To The Nuthouse. A one performance only special event…A burgeoning neurotic evolves into a full-fledged tap dancing, mime, storytelling, multimedia, nutcase…Come watch the trip!   DOES INSANITY WIN? Take the travails of a burgeoning nutcase…throw in a little OCD, mix with a bissel paranoia…and you are up and down in the world of tap and mime and characters galore…a multi-media dance journey through the insanity of showbiz.”

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Spring Awakening

“Teens Take on the Multiple Tony Award-winning, Coming-of-Age Musical ‘SPRING AWAKENING’ at the Stella Adler Theatre. Directed by 14-year-old George Baron and Featuring a Young Adult Cast.”

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Houdini in “The Grim Game”

“Everyone is invited to step back into 1919 — one hundred years ago — and see this lost classic as it was meant to be seen, with live accompaniment by the doyen of silent film musicians, Michael Mortilla, and violinist Nicole Garcia. This exciting event will be introduced by Houdini expert John Cox (www.wildabouthoudini.com). Michael will talk about the importance of music in the silent era. The Grim Game is a silent drama that showcases Houdini’s astonishing, world-famous talents as an escapologist, stunt performer and aviator. The film presents a series of Houdini’s trademark stunts and escapes and builds to an airplane pursuit climaxed by a mid-air collision.”

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Oracles and Miracles

“Oracles and Miracles, by Norelle Scott, based on the best-selling novel Oracles and Miracles by Stevan Eldred-Grigg, follows the journey of two working-class sisters growing up in Christchurch, New Zealand. Born in 1929 they are children of the Depression. They grow to adulthood through the time of the Second World War, and become mothers in the Baby Boom of the early fifties. Nick-named Ginnie and Fag the sisters are driven by the hope of a better life, consumed with love stories, romantic ideals, and luxuries they can only dream of. Told with humor, passion, insight, and authenticity, ‘Oracles and Miracles’ celebrates the lives of courageous women..”

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Catastrophe!

“’Catastrophe!’ is a comic exploration of the modern world as seen through the eyes of the clown. Philadelphia theatre artist Hank Curry explores the pitfalls and pratfalls of modern life as he tries on several unique identities, each with their own troubles and travails. Run away and join the circus of modern society with this new play that reveals and celebrates the commonalities that make us human in ways that can be challenging but are ultimately joyful.”

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DOGS: The Musical

“A musical comedic ode to our favorite pets, and a loving parody of musicals, ‘DOGS’ is about a pack of stray pit bulls that get separated and adopted. Although they fight their new domestic lives, they learn to stop worrying and love humans. ‘DOGS’ follows a pack of pit bull mixes as they live proudly on the street… until they’re found by the pound and put into adoption. When the alpha of the pack reveals to his new owners that he and dogs everywhere can speak, humans realize they’re no longer on top of the food chain.

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Ripple

“The last century has undergone a sensational transformation inspired by our innate desire to provide a brighter future for the generations to come. But what happens when one generation’s hope for the future steals the hope of another’s?”

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HOLLYWOODN’T

“Lisa Verlo performs HOLLYWOODN’T a solo show and personal journey across Hollywood’s unsettling sexual landscape, directed by and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson. A musical memoir told with candor and insight into the life of an actress before women dared to speak up. With original songs co-written with Frank Simes, Musical Director for The Who, Lisa Verlo brings humor and a light heart to a heavy subject. Creative visuals and video projections add to the multimedia recounting of her experiences on the casting couches of LA. Hollywoodn’t was featured, on Wednesday, February 13, as part of SOLOFEST 2019 at the Whitefire Theatre, the largest solo theatre festival on the West Coast.”

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ASSMONKEY

“ASSMONKEY: In Conversation is a hilariously fast faced and upfront tale of anxiety, crutches and the characters you discover when you’re on road to recovery. The show takes a sideways look at mental health and ways in which we may hit the self destruct button. ASSMONKEY merges comedy genres through stand up, spoken work, silly songs and character work. Abetted by some “semi” scientific research, you’ll encounter some bizarre renditions of personalities from Sophia’s past, from doctors to yoga teachers. We’ll take you on an uplifting journey from addiction to self help and wellbeing. Expect silliness, wank jokes, bad costumes, flailing and maybe even a little tenderness.”

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meg jo beth amy & louisa

“From the team that brought you the 2017 Hollywood Fringe International Award Winner & Pick of the Fringe, ‘LADIES IN WAITING: THE JUDGEMENT OF HENRY VIII’ comes their next project…Not Your Marmee’s Little Women. Assigned with the super boring task of writing a morality tale for girls, Louisa May Alcott finds herself in a state of writer’s block. That is until she turns to figures and stories from her own life. Lines between fact and fiction begin to blur, as ‘Little Women’ is played out upon the stage. Louisa must confront her characters, family, and a demanding public. Life may be the best inspiration, but what if you are afraid to learn who you are? ”

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I Could Take a Nap, but Killing Myself would be more Productive

“School president, award-winning debater, perfect GPA, dreamy boyfriend. What doesn’t 18-year-old Sofia have? The strength to keep living. After taking her life, Sofia is stuck in limbo and relives her last memories in an effort to understand what went wrong. The stage becomes a life-sized version of her journal as she makes her way through the incidents preceding her death. We meet her family and friends in her journal; explored through home videos, original music, and theater. Step inside the mind of modern adolescence.”

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FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation

“Jenny has a plan. A plan to get pregnant. Everyone keeps telling her that time is running out, she just turned 35, after all. So, when those pesky urine tests keep coming back negative, Jenny decides to take action and fix the problem. That’s when she runs into real problems and real questions about fertility and motherhood. As Jenny faces the world of “mom options” – egg freezing, in-vitro, adoption, and more – the conversation about the expectation of procreation really begins. Taking into account a whirlwind of outside opinions from her mom, her friends, doctors, a beloved neighbor – and even God – Jenny must ultimately look within to discover what motherhood means to her, what it means to be Fertile.”

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🍋


‘Pasadena Playhouse’ Announces New Director of Development

Photo by Jackie Ortiz
NANCY GRIFFITH BAXTER

The Pasadena Playhouse has announced that Nancy Griffith Baxter is their new Director of Development, bringing with her more than 30 years of fundraising and wealth management experience.

Previously as Director of Gift Planning at LA Opera, legacy gift contribution revenue increased nine-fold during Baxter’s time at the organization. Prior to the LA Opera, she was also recruited by her alma mater, Colorado College, to serve as Director of Gift Planning, pulling the program out of dormancy and growing its Legacy Society significantly towards raising over $15 million during the 2015-2016 fiscal year in new future gifts.

With a master’s in Finance from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor’s in Political Science – International Relations at Colorado College, she’s also an award-winning one-time Senior V.P. and Senior Philanthropic Investment Manager at Wells Fargo where she oversaw the investment team that brought and influenced $18 billion in charitable assets. With it, Baxter is looking forward to working with her new team at Pasadena’s landmark and official State Theater of California.

“It’s an honor to work with a dynamic leadership team at an institution with the amazing history and impact that [the] Pasadena Playhouse has had on both the local and national entertainment industry, including theater, film, and television,” said Baxter in a statement. “I look forward to working with the community to ensure the longevity of this amazing theater for another 100 years.”

In addition to coaching and building wealth teams around the US to attract and expand philanthropic business opportunities and clients, recruiting and managing investment management, and developing investment strategies for endowments, deferred gift programs, and private foundations, “a lover of the arts” Baxter also brings with her extensive and continued volunteerism in the performing arts. She has served as a board member with the Colburn School, as well as with LA Opera, Shakespeare Festival/LA (now Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles), Young & Healthy, the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Institute, and Woman’s Educational Society of Colorado College.

In 1937, the Pasadena Playhouse was “officially recognized as the State Theater of California for its contribution and commitment to the dramatic arts”. Pasadena Playhouse recently hosted the LA Drama Critics Circle Awards where it recognized excellence in Los Angeles theatre and it continues its own tradition of excellence under Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman.

“I am thrilled to welcome Nancy to the leadership team as we continue to take the Playhouse in a new and exciting direction,” said Feldman. “I know her wealth of energy and experience will be invaluable to us in garnering support from the Pasadena community and beyond.”

Featured Photo by Freed14, used via Creative Commons permissions, Wikipedia. The Pasadena Playhouse – State Theatre of California.


Audio Interview: The cast of “The Country House” at Little Fish Theatre

The Country House is a clever and compelling love letter to theater, focusing on a multi-generational family of actors and a reunion that reveals long pent-up frustrations and unrequited love in an ultimately healing narrative.*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “The Country House” at Little Fish Theatre, playing through Apr 28th. 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


JOAN OF ART: An Old Fashion Musical, Puppets, Whales and Books (yes they still exist)

The 1952 MGM song and dance classic that immortalized Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds is considered by everyone one of cinema’s greatest. A true classic. Adapted for the stage in 1985 by the film’s legendary creators Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Singing in the Rain comes to The Soraya thanks to a lavish new production by McCoy Rigby Entertainment before it moves to the La Mirada Theatre.

This will be one antic-laden spectacle as Hollywood history is made when silent film transform into talkies.

The show is choreographed by Spencer Liff who has earned two Emmy Nominations for Outstanding Choreography for his work on the hit Fox TV show So You Think You Can Dance. As always McCoy Rigby entertainment casts their show with the top notch people many who have performed on Broadway. I’m seeing it Saturday night and can’t wait.

The show runs at the Soraya on April 12th at 8pm, Saturday April 13 at 3pm & 8pm and Sunday April 14th at 3pm. To purchase tickets or for more information go to TheSoraya.org or call 818-677-3000.

Now I for one love to read…Not on a Kindle and not on my iPad, but books. I love to read books so I was so happy to hear that this weekend The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books has returned. Since 1996, this event has become a world renowned experience gathering writers, poets, artists, filmmakers, musicians and emerging storytellers like no other. There will also be signing areas where various authors will sign for about an hour.

 

Today over 150,000 people attend, making it the largest festival of its kind in the United States. How cool is that?

The Festival of Books runs Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 10am-6pm and Sunday April 14th from 10am -5pm. On Friday at 7m there is a Book Prize Ceremony at Bovard Auditorium, USC Campus.

General Admission to the Festival and Newstory is free. There are certain additional special presentations and conversations which even though free, there is a service fee charged.

The event takes place on the University of Southern California campus located near the historic Exposition Park.

For more information visit Events.LATimes.com/FestivalOfBooks

I don’t know about how you all feel about puppets, but I just love them. I also love the musical Les Miz so I happy to report that LES MIZ and FRIENDS!: A PUPPET PARODY will be at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood every Friday and Saturday until May 11th.

A human production of the Broadway classic ‘Les Miserables’ is overturned by a bunch of foul mouth puppets who throw a revolution of their own. Both a loving tribute and a brutal deconstruction of the beloved musical, ‘Les Miz and Friends!’ will delight the show’s lovers and haters alike.

Full of irreverent humor, parody and original music, improvisation and no-holds-barred attacks on musical theatre this production is definitely not for kids.

The Hudson Theatre is located at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles. To purchase tickets go to LesMizAndFriends.com.

And now for something completly different. One of the most majestic creatures in the ocean is here in Calfornia and you have an excellent chance of seeing it. I’m talking about WHALES…

One of the most amazing sights in nature is that of majestic whales swimming and playing on the ocean’s surface leaping out of the water and slapping their mighty tales. On this 2.5 hour cruise of the shores of Newport Beach you may see giant blue whales during the summer and fall months or the annual grey whale migration that brings tens of thousands of grey whales along the coast during the winter and spring months. Huge pods of several species of dolphin are very common, as are the resident sea lions.

You might also get glimpses of killer whales, sharks and many other marine creatures. This is an event for anyone that loves these sea creatures. I know I do and can’t wait to go on Sunday.

For information go to NewportWhales.com. The cruises go on through September 30, 2019.

So most importantly whatever you choose to do this weekend, make it a fun one.


Audio Interview: The cast of “The Root Beer Bandits” at Garry Marshall Theatre

“The Root Beer Bandits has a cast full of comic archetypes from California’s past that illustrate the state’s history. And although they are fictional — each of them represents a different idea of the laws of the land and how to achieve the American dream.*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “The Root Beer Bandits” at Garry Marshall Theatre, playing through Apr 28th. 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.


*Joseph Leo Bwarie


Audio Interview: The cast of “Friends With Guns” at The Road on Magnolia

You think you know your friends, your neighbors, your spouse, but what happens when you suddenly find out they have a garage full of guns?*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Friends With Guns” at The Road on Magnolia, playing through May 5th. 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


Steven Sabel’s Twist on the Trade: Do The Show That You Know

This week I will open my 128th full-scale production as a producer/director. The group of artists working on this post-modern adaptation of Euripides’ “Trojan Women,” will become the 128th group of artists to hear me say – at every rehearsal and performance to come over the next three weeks – one of my most famous Sabelisms: “Do The Show That You Know!”

Having produced and/or directed 128 productions, I still hesitate to say I’ve seen it all. I’ve learned that’s the best way to ask for a situation you have yet to encounter. Nobody likes to face a situation they have not yet encountered. Familiarity is an essential part of success in our trade. Look how many directors and actors have chosen to work together time and again due to their familiarity with each other’s work. The history of famous director and actor teams goes back hundreds of years. Familiarity is the reason why theatre companies form and exist. It is an essential focus in the making of every major motion picture – especially today, when audience “familiarity” with certain brands leads to entire series of films featuring the same actors playing the same characters in sequel after sequel. It is the key to the success of any long-running sitcom, dramatic series, and even game shows, with audiences developing their familiarity with the hosts of the shows.

Humans crave consistency. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, film producers crave consistency too. Consistent talent, consistent performance, consistent work ethic, productivity, attitude, and most of all – consistent box office draw! The best and most sought after artists in every field of this trade – editors, sound engineers, lighting designers, special effects teams, make-up artists, costumers, actors, directors, you name it – are the people who are known for their consistency. They are the people who do the show that they know, consistently. They are a known commodity, and in this industry, where a known commodity can be worth gold, it is no wonder that a known commodity is always going to be considered for the job before taking a risk on an unknown.

Taking all of this into account, you would be surprised how many times I have watched an artist decide to stray away from familiarity and throw consistency to the wind while on stage in a performance. “Do The Show That You Know” is a pretty clear direction. It is straight forward. It contains only single syllable words. It even rhymes so conveniently. Yet there are actors – I’ve seen countless numbers through 128 shows – who just can’t seem to understand those six simple words. As I mentioned above, I hesitate to ever say I have seen it all, but I have seen a wide variety of actors do outlandish things in changing a performance after a show has opened.

Green Room Gary has been giving advice to his fellow actors throughout the production process, continues to do so in performance, and then also decides – since he obviously knows best – to make changes to his own performance as well. “When the director isn’t here, I’ll do it my own way,” says Gary.

Sam the Ham

Dorothy Drama and Sam the Ham have different motivations. When her best friend, Edna, and her Grandma Matilda are in the audience, Dorothy just can’t help but turn on that extra juice, and melodrama the bones right out of the text of the play! With sudden bursts of random emotion and much sawing of the air, Dorothy sets out to prove to her friends and relatives that she is indeed a serious actress. Sam has the same intent whenever his mother comes to the see the show, or even worse yet, when he has a potential love interest in the room. Then consistent performance be damned, because Sam is trying to impress a lady and win himself a date.

Isaac Ideas isn’t a bad fellow, but his “magnificent brainstorms” are a day late and a dollar short. Poor Isaac is just trying to be helpful when he arrives to the theater with new blocking in mind for an important scene. He isn’t trying to sabotage his fellow actors by presenting them with something they haven’t encountered before on stage, he’s just trying to make the show “better.” His pal, Brandon Brando, is just trying to keep things “real” when he decides to change a line or two to make them sound more “natural” and “true” to the character.

Last Night Norman is such a prankster. He just can’t help chatting with everyone back stage about anything and everything completely unrelated to the show at hand. He’s full of funny jokes and silly anecdotes, and thrives on being the class clown of the cast. On the last night of performances, Norman just can’t resist playing that little prank on his fellow actors, that he is oh so sure will help them forever remember closing night. He is always right. We never forget him…

These types of actors can be a terrible detriment to a performance. Changes of any kind to a performance should be made only with the knowledge of the stage manager, and only after thorough discussion with every actor involved in the scene. Anything less is disrespectful to all involved, and completely self-absorbed behavior. Whatever your great new idea is – if it wasn’t good enough for rehearsal, it isn’t good enough now.

On occasion there are unforeseen circumstances that call for required changes involving safety, or semantics, or sight lines, etc. There are occurrences on the stage, mid-performance, which sometime call for quick thinking, adjustment, and adaptation right on the spot. Props hate people, and they can often be the cause of these unforeseen moments. It’s live theater. Things happen. All the more reason you don’t want to be the person causing things to happen that are outside the realm of what was rehearsed and prepared for performances. If a prop sabotages a performance, we blame the theater spirits. If you sabotage a performance by making changes, we blame you.

Do The Show That You Know. Stick to the plan. Be consistent. It is what your fellow artists have become familiar with. It’s what they expect from you, and it’s a quality that will get you more work in the future.

Actors often ask me why I don’t make it a point to watch every performance of my productions. Part of that aspect of me is based in having other responsibilities to fulfill, and the nature of our trade which finds the director’s job complete after opening night. It is the stage manager’s show after that, and their job to maintain a consistent production. You think directors get upset when an actor changes things on stage? Hah! I fear any stage manager worth their salt on this issue, and you should too.

Secretly a key reason I often can’t bear to watch performances of my productions is because of actors like Green Room Gary, Dorothy Drama, Sam the Ham, Isaac Ideas, Brando Brando, Last Night Norman, and any variety of others who decide that they just can’t possibly show up to the theater on time, follow their preparation routine, warm up, get on stage, and do the show that they know. I don’t give director’s notes to actors once a show has opened. I shouldn’t have to. The show should be the same way I left it on opening night, if you will just Do The Show That You Know!


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – April 1 – 7, 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.

 

Invisible Tango

“Magic sensation Helder Guimarães returns to the Geffen with the world premiere of his one-man show, Invisible Tango. Directed by legendary film producer and director Frank Marshall (Jurassic World, Indiana Jones, Goonies, Back to the Future), Invisible Tango explores the nature of secrets and how far we are willing to go to discover them. In the midst of the information age and our culture of over-sharing, Guimarães challenges our interaction with the unknown and explores how we can embrace the magic of wonder and mystery. Guimarães last amazed and charmed Geffen audiences in the smash hit Nothing to Hide, the two-man magic show that extended four times before transferring to New York. ”

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SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN

“The Tap-Happiest Show Ever! GOOD MORNING TO YOU! LA MIRADA THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS & McCOY RIGBY ENTERTAINMENT (celebrating its 25th Silver Anniversary at the theatre) are thrilled to present SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, based on the greatest movie musical of all time with screenplay by Betty Comden & Adolph Green and songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. The fresh new production will be directed & choreographed by Spencer Liff (Emmy nominee for TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and Broadway’s Head Over Heels, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Falsettos), associate director is Cynthia Ferrer (original “Kathy Selden” in the first National Tour of Singin’ in the Rain) with musical direction by Keith Harrison.”

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EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED

“ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY (ETC) presents the fourth show of its 40th Anniversary Season, the Southern California premiere of the stunning and wildly popular novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED, adapted by Simon Block and directed by Jonathan Fox.
Jonathan, a young Jewish-American writer, travels to Ukraine to seek out the woman who may have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. He hires Alex, a young Ukrainian tour guide who takes him on a hilarious road trip in search of the woman’s village. Along the way, they confront haunting memories as Jonathan and Alex’s histories become entwined.”

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Moving On: The One-Acts 2019

“Moving On: The 2019 One Acts features a mix of established playwrights and exciting, emerging younger talent.”

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Boxing Lessons

“A ferociously dark and hilarious new comedy by award-winning playwright John Bunzel (63 Trillion, Death of a Buick). When a famous writer dies under mysterious circumstances, family and friends gather in his cabin on a remote island in the Puget Sound to box up his belongings. As they go through the clutter dad left behind, hidden family secrets come to light — and they come to realize just how much they both despise and love one another.”

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A Bad Year for Tomatoes

“Fed up with the pressures and demands of her acting career, the famous Myra Marlowe leases a house in the tiny Vermont hamlet of Beaver Haven, and settles down to write her autobiography. She is successful in turning aside the offers pressed on her by her long-time agent, but dealing with her nosy, omnipresent neighbors is a different matter. In an attempt to shoo them away, and gain some privacy, Myra invents a mad, homicidal sister – who is kept locked in an upstairs room, but who occasionally escapes long enough to scare off uninvited visitors. The ruse works well, at first, but complications result when the local handyman conceives an affection for “Sister Sadie’ (really Myra in a fright wig) and some of the more officious ladies decide it is their Christian duty to save the poor demented Sadie’s soul. In desperation, Myra announces that her imaginary sibling has suddenly gone off to Boston – which brings on the sheriff, and the suspicion of murder!”

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Twisted Broadway

“’Twisted Broadway’ promises to be an irreverent afternoon offering your favorite Broadway tunes turned upside down and inside out…Theatre LA Cares, LA’s newest producing company, is committed to empowerment, healing, and dignity, and robustly supports Time’s Up so that someday soon no one will ever have to say, “me, too” again. Time’s Up is a unified call for change from women in entertainment and for women everywhere. From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, Time’s Up envisions nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live.”

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The First Wives Fight Club

“A musical parody of the cult film classics “The First Wives Club” and “Fight Club” starring Raja, Brooke Lynn Hytes, Ginger Minj, Peaches Christ, and more. Written and directed by Varla Jean Merman & Peaches Christ.”

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Duet for One

“A famous concert violinist is stricken with a disease which necessitates her retirement from the stage and which threatens her marriage as well. The play is structured as a series of interviews between the violinist and her psychiatrist in which she tries to cope with her illness and its effect on her life. Featuring Mia Christou and Howard Leder. ”

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Brain Problems

“A world premiere comedy by Malcolm Barrett, directed by Bernardo Cubría. After being diagnosed with ‘brain problems,’ a cynical man copes with his life-threatening condition by retreating into his imagination.”

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The Fantasticks by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt

“The Fantasticks by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt
Produced through special arrangement with Music Theatre International
“Try To Remember” a time when this romantic charmer wasn’t enchanting audiences around the world. The Fantasticks is the longest-running musical in the world and with good reason: at the heart of its breathtaking poetry and subtle theatrical sophistication is a purity and simplicity that transcends cultural barriers. The result is a timeless fable of love that manages to be nostalgic and universal at the same time.”

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Dying for Our Voices

“Our journalists are in danger – being forsaken by their people and slaughtered for their pursuit of the truth. As a multidisciplinary piece performed in three different languages, Dying for Our Voices explores that pursuit’s high costs, its global impacts, and personal consequences. ”

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The End of SexThe End of Sex

“It’s Nancy’s birthday. Her daughter and son-in-law come to take the parents out to celebrate. But when new desires and old frustrations collide over dinner, all four slide into a tense standoff as Nancy questions her own collusion with the sexual agreements and power dynamics within her own marriage. Using cutting humor and venturing into tricky territory, The End of Sex (Or What’s Wrong With Mom) wrestles with how sexual behavior encourages and creates power arrangements – even in consensual relations.”

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Valley of the Dolls

“An all-star benefit reading of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, directed by Richard Hochberg. Susann’s infamous tale of cutthroat careerism, wild sex, and fierce female protagonists will be on hilarious display for two nights only. The cast features (in alphabetical order) Steve Bluestein, Wilson Cruz, Joely Fisher, Mo Gaffney, Robert Gant, Tom Lenk, Greg Louganis, Alec Mapa, Laraine Newman, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Gordon Thomson, Joan Van Ark, Bruce Vilanch, Marissa Jaret Winokur.
One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Alcott Center for Mental Health Services and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.”

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Wild Son: The Testimony of Christian Brando

“Set under the white-hot glare of Hollywood and Celebrity, “Wild Son: The Testimony of Christian Brando” tells the story of Marlon Brando’s troubled, headline-making son…in his own words. Written by Champ Clark and featuring John Mese as Christian, this 59-minute one-act–based on personal interviews conducted by Clark and populated by the likes of Jack Nicholson, Michael Jackson, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Anjelica Huston, Robert Blake and others–is, most importantly, the story of father and son.”

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Argonautika

“In this fresh retelling of the classic Greek myth, Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece has been reframed for our time. Join the fantastic voyage and encounter Hercules, Hera, sirens, centaurs, and more—familiar mythological figures imbued with unexpected character and depth. Discover humor, love, and the unimaginable as Tony Award® winner Mary Zimmerman reveals the humanity in the most monstrous of creatures in this unforgettable journey for the ages.”

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Noises Off

“One of ANW’s most beloved production is back: Your favorites are ready to rein in the chaos of this joyfully out-of-control British farce about the auspiciously titled play-within-a-play Nothing On. Step behind the curtain and meet the under-rehearsed and over-worked cast and crew with a penchant for drama more personal than professional. As the production progresses, the bumbling cast brings down the house—literally!
Better Lemons readers receive $5 off with the discount code ANWLemon when you purchase your tickets.”

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Let’s Write a Musical

“David Hamilton decides to write a romantic musical comedy with his wife to cheer himself up when he’s diagnosed with cancer. “Let’s Write a Musical “ is the musical they wrote together with the story of their cancer journey weaving through it. Based on a true story.”

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SkyPilot Runway – A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Divorce

“A Funny Thing …, written by Jeff Gould and directed by Margaret Starbuck, introduces three couples, all going through difficult divorces, as they anxiously and frustratingly wait in a room at a courthouse for an appointment with a mediator. Conversations begin, details of each of their troubled marriages are revealed and they eventually learn more about themselves and their relationships in just hours than they have in years of matrimony.”

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Maroo Village the Musical

“In the Korean language with English Subtitles. In the summer of 2014, Ezekiel Drama Ministry’s third project, the musical Maroo Village opened. The musical explores the definition of church and defines it as not a place, but the people themselves. Maroo Village was a success that broke records leading to multiple encore shows in the same year. The Ezekiel is now opening a remastered version that takes on the original 1hr 20 minutes of the musical Maroo Village to a full-length 2-hour musical…this creative Christian musical Maroo Village pertains to 20 actors [and]…There are 24 songs from various genres including Korean folk songs, opera, classic musical, retro rock, hip hop, and waltz.”

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WORKING 2020

“The Actors Gym, in association with the Whitefire Theatre, present WORKING 2020. Created and written by Academy Award winner Bobby Moresco (Crash, Million Dollar Baby), and members of the Actors Gym, produced by Bryan Rasmussen, Bobby Moresco, and Steven Christopher Parker. Working 2020 explores what work means to different people in different circumstances in the U.S. today, adding new characters, and this time focusing on the sadly relevant slide from middle to working class.”

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LET ME HEAR YOU WHISPER & THE STRANGEST KIND OF ROMANCE

“The Group Rep presents two unusual one-acts, Paul Zindel’s LET ME HEAR YOU WHISPER directed by Katelyn Ann Clark, and Tennessee Williams’ THE STRANGEST KIND OF ROMANCE directed by JC Gafford. LET ME HEAR YOU WHISPER concerns a cleaning lady working in a mysterious lab where experiments are being conducted on mammals. Drawn to one of the subjects, she is shocked when she learns the gentle creature’s fate is in danger. In THE STRANGEST KIND OF ROMANCE the proprietress of a boarding house tells a potential tenant that one of the former tenants left his cat behind. This highly unusual piece is peopled with fascinating, strongly-opinionated characters, and someone falls in love with … the cat.”

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Sand Moon

“What does it mean to love someone? What do we do when that person becomes unrecognizable? When a brother and sister start bringing their girlfriends on family vacations, a house built on secrets begins to shift. The push and pull of the ones we love gives us one of two options: resist or relent? WORLD PREMIERE.”

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Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz

“A vibrant, joyful family-friendly musical comedy that follows a grown-up Dorothy on the quest to return to OZ… Based on characters created by L. Frank Baum, the originator of the first fourteen Oz books … Follow the escapades of Dorothy and her companions along the windy road to that mystical place where dreams really do come true and nothing is as it seems…along the way, help Dorothy save her family farm, do battle with the vain but glorious Queen Coo-ee-oh, join forces with a vagabond princess who is revolting (although she doesn’t look it), meet a magical Patchwork Girl, a Rainbow Maiden and help to set free the King of the Rainbow, face such looming monsters as war, drought and mortgages, learn a great deal about the world around us, and even a little bit about ourselves.”

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Willy’s Lil Virgin Queen

“Winner of the 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore Producer’s Award. Willy’s Lil Virgin Queen illuminates one woman’s journey to discover strength and empowerment and triumph over tragedy as she finds her true power through the words of a playwright; William Shakespeare. This urgently-paced, hilarious and dark coming-of-age-story dives deeply into the many roles that a woman plays on her road from girlhood to womanhood, and it does not shy away from the darker aspects of finding one’s own purpose in a world that tells girls to shut-up and look pretty. As was true for the original Virgin Queen Elizabeth, in a man’s world it takes a woman to rule herself, and one woman in particular to learn that that within the words of the greatest playwright in history there is truth and within every woman there is a queen.”

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(mostly)musicals: KEEP THE CHANGE

“(mostly)musicals returns to Upstairs at Vitello’s with it’s 32nd edition on April 8th with a cabaret you’ll flip for! Join music director Gregory Nabours and a stellar cast of singers from LA and Broadway for an exciting evening featuring songs about changing your mind, changing the world, changing your clothes, and maybe just spare change!”

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Disrobed

“The producers of the HFF16 immersive hit, Love the Body Positive, are back with the full length comedy, “Disrobed: Why so clothes-minded?” The play has been adapted and updated by Steven Vlasak (HFF18’s Nights at The Algonquin Roundtable) from the British naturist classic, “Barely Proper” by Tom Cushing. It’s Meet The Parents with a twist! Skye is about to introduce her conservative boyfriend to her family. But she’s never told him that she and her family are all nudists! Will their relationship survive? Once again, this immersive theatre experience requires the audience to be in their birthday suits. Don’t forget to bring a clothes bag and a towel to sit on! All photography is prohibited and all cellphones must be turned off and stored in the clothes bag upon entering the venue”

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Peter and the Starcatcher

“Tony-winning Peter and the Starcatcher upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan comes to be The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (a.k.a. Peter Pan). A wildly theatrical adaptation of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s best-selling novels, including marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, Peter and the Starcatcher playfully explores the depths of greed and despair… and the bonds of friendship, duty and love. ”

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Scarlett Fever

“In 1936, producer David O’Selznick began a 2 year search to find an unknown to play Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. The story unfolds in 10 moments incorporating stylized movement, dance, song, original text, several suitcases, and the great Scarlett dress. All accompanied by live percussion.”

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Homeward LA 2019

“Homeward L.A. 2019 is a program consisting of eleven monologues based on stories of people who’ve experienced homelessness. Actors of Theatre 40 will perform the show, directed by one of Theatre 40’s regular directors, Jules Aaron. Proceeds benefit Midnight Mission.”

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Old Jews Telling Jokes

“’Old Jews Telling Jokes,’ which has been called a ‘pickle-barrel full of giggles,’ showcases five actors in a revue-type production that pays tribute to and reinvents classic jokes of the past and present. It celebrates the rich tradition of Jewish humor and ‘all the rabbis, complaining wives, fed-up husbands, patience-challenged physicians, gossiping ladies, and competitive men’ populating it. The humor is suggestive and even raunchy as the ‘Old Jews’ make fun of themselves as well as followers of every other religion … Warning: adult (bawdy) humor. Not for audiences under 21.”

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WHAT I DID FOR A JOB

“In What I Did for… a Job, J. Elaine humorously reveals her unique approach to auditioning and what it took to book 10 Broadway Shows. “I had to learn to break the “rules” in order to be noticed. Many of my audition pieces were practically cabaret acts so I put them in a show.” says Broadway veteran. J. Elaine was last seen playing ‘Alexi Darling” in RENT: LIVE . “I’ve also added some inside scoop about doing RENT: LIVE.”

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Crime and Punishment

“This award-winning adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s famous novel is a thrilling 90-minute psychological inquiry into the troubled mind of a murderer. Dive into the greatest crime story ever written, a tale of murder, motive and redemption that plumbs the depths of the human soul. Written for only three actors, Crime and Punishment stars Michael Trevino (CW’s Roswell, New Mexico; The Vampire Diaries) as Raskolnikov, with Lola Kelly (Circle X, Chance Theatre, SCR, REDCAT) and Brian Wallace (End of the Rainbow at La Mirada, Cash on Delivery at the El Portal) playing all the other characters. ‘Engrossing theater… will banish any bad memories you might have of trying to struggle through Dostoyevsky’s book’”

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Yes. No. Maybe.

“What would you do for a million dollars? What would you do for someone you love? Can we ever be certain that we’ll NEVER do something like have sex for money or career advancement? Thorne & his wife Fleur find themselves in a modern day twist of the Indecent Proposal scenario. Yes, people are being targeted by sexual predators, but what about the people who consciously use sex to get ahead? “Yes. No. Maybe.” examines the moral implications of the ways in which we all prostitute ourselves to advance our careers, improve our bank balances, stay in power, keep a roof over our heads, or get whatever it is we feel we ‘need’ to survive, be happy or feel validated … ‘Yes. No. Maybe.’ is a dramedy of manners for an adult audience unafraid to consider the possibility that their morals may not be as set in stone as they’d like to believe…Comedy, drama and a splash of contemporary dance merge to create a unique theatrical experience.”

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Cirque du Giselle

“Giselle is an ethereal, “Fringe Festival” contemporary take on the classic ballet. Giselle, a sickly peasant girl , falls in love with, and subsequently dies of a broken heart after discovering her love is actually betrothed to another. A dark and tragic love story of deceit, heartbreak, consequences, and redemption – where love eventually triumphs over vengeance from the grave and beyond. Brought to life on the stage in a swirl of aerial and cirque magic!”

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Octopi Wall Street

“Octopi Wall Street addresses the subject of climate change through a series of vignettes told from the perspective of both human and non-human entities (think drunk birds, drag queen barley, algae, and a glacier). The play is based on extensive research of mainstream media articles dealing with off-beat aspects of global warming and climate change. The opening monologue of the play recently won a nationally recognized award at the Region 8 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival as its 2019 Monologue Selection.”

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