Spotlight Series: Meet Holly Baker-Kreiswirth and Bill Wolski, the Dynamic Duo Who Call Little Fish Theatre Their “Home Away from Home”


Anyone who has attended a production at Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro has most likely met Holly Baker-Kreiswirth and Bill Wolski, the dynamic duo who call Little Fish Theatre their “Home Away from Home.” As well as appearing onstage together, the married couple also work behind-the-scenes with Holly managing the theatre's Press Relations and directing shows while Bill often takes on the roles of Director and Producer when not acting onstage.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Bill Wolski (Bill): I'm a veteran of over a hundred plays and a whole host of other projects and performances. I cut my teeth on the small theatre circuit in greater Cleveland, Ohio, where I grew up. I'm primarily known for my work at Little Fish Theatre, which has been my artistic home since 2007, and for being the husband of the equally talented and prolific Holly Baker-Kreiswirth.

Holly Baker-Kreiswirth (Holly): I started out in television before I worked in theater; the very first paid job I had was in the acting category on Junior Star Search which led to various roles in shows such as Chicago HopeGia (HBO), and Private Practice. I studied theater in college, but took a 10-year break to work on a career in TV production, and then had my kid.  In my early 30s, I started with Palos Verdes Players as a sound tech, then worked my way up to directing, producing, and finally acting again.  When PVP sadly went down, Bill and I appeared onstage in The Tender Trap at Long Beach Playhouse (when we started dating!) and subsequently found our artistic home at Little Fish Theatre, where we produce Pick of the Vine and act in or direct roughly 1/3 of the productions every year.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(Bill): I was working on a show called Becky's New Car, written by Steven Dietz, and directed by my wife. It was scheduled to open on April 9th. I was playing Becky's steadfast, not-as-dumb-as-he-looks husband, Joe.

(Holly): We were both deeply into rehearsals for Becky's New Car. I pre-block the shows I direct before rehearsals even begin; we had ten rehearsals under our belt with our lead actress, Amanda Karr, already off book.  Costumes/props were bought, lights/sound were being designed... everything was in motion.  Our stumble-through was the last rehearsal we had, and the show was already in great shape.

(SB): How was the shutdown communicated with the cast and production team?

(Bill and Holly): First, the sports teams postponed their seasons. Then, it was gatherings over 250 people. Then, gatherings over 50 people. Being a very intimate theater, there was still a possibility that LFT could limit ticket sales and hold performances, but the conclusion was reached that we didn't want to put our fan base and company members at risk. Emails went out to those involved that everything was going to be put on hold.

(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(Bill): Becky's New Car will open at a later date, once we've been given the all-clear.

(Holly): We're thrilled that the work we've already put into the show will be seen by an audience someday.  I believe the message will resonate with them.

(SB): I have seen the show before and was really looking forward to seeing the production at Little Fish. So I am happy to hear that eventually that will happen. What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(Bill and Holly): We are involved at LFT all the time in a volunteer capacity. The shutdown has affected our entire season. Shows and special events that have not yet been cast or started production may be canceled entirely to give the shows that were already in progress a chance to be performed.

(SB): I know Bill is an avid hiker, but how are the two of you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(Bill and Holly): Little Fish Theatre and its company members are doing a lot to bring theatre to a virtual audience. We're promoting and reaching out to our subscribers with videos and newsletters, and writing and sharing original content through our social media platforms. Specifically, we have a 5-part original web series called "Little Fish" that features hilarious portrayals of our artists.  We've produced multiple virtual readings of everything from comedic short plays to screenplays to a play about the shootings at Kent State 50 years ago this month.  And coming up next month we have a reading of a M*A*S*H* script donated to us by one of the writers, Ken Levine!  All of our readings are free -- we're so happy to be able to provide the arts to everyone in this format.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Bill and Holly): Please, be safe. Follow the rules and the health guidelines and limit the risk posed to yourself and your loved ones. In Shakespeare's time, theaters were closed due to the plague, and 400 years later, theatre is still alive and well. As long as there are stories to tell, there will be people to tell them. We'll all be together again soon enough. From our theater to yours, here's a big hug from Little Fish. We love you!

Here's how to stay in touch with Little Fish Theatre:


All production photos credit: Miguel Elliot


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Bill Brochtrup Who Rose to Fame on NYPD Blue, L.A. Stages, and is now the Artistic Director of the Antaeus Theatre Company


This Spotlight focuses on Bill Brochtrup who rose to TV stardom as PAA John Irvin on the ABC television drama NYPD Blue and continues to dazzle audiences as an actor, most recently in the Ovation Award-wining Daniel's Husband at the Fountain Theatre, and planning programming for the Antaeus Theatre Company in Glendale as its Artistic Director. And when he can, Bill enjoys traveling around the world and hiking in some of the most beautiful places on Earth.


Fountain Theatre Company's "Daniel's Husband" with Bill Brochtrup and Tim Cummings. Photo by Ed Krieger

Shari Barrett (SB):  What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Bill Brochtrup (Bill): I started working in Los Angles theatre as soon as I got to town in the mid-1980s and that led directly to my work in film and television. But I’ve always returned to the Theatre, first as an actor and more recently as Artistic Director of the Antaeus Theatre Company. I’ve seen LA theatre grow and deepen and thrive, and I’ve been very lucky to experience what a close knit and warm community this is.

(SB):  What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(Bill): Antaeus had just opened a new production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, which is an extremely pertinent and timely play. Word of mouth was going very well and we had a number of sold out performances coming up, so it was a blow to everyone involved to have to shut it down.

(SB):  How did you communicate the shutdown with your cast and production team?

Opening Night of Antaeus Theatre Company's Native Son at CTG'S BLOCK PARTY with Bill Brochtrup, Ana Rose O'Halloran and Kitty Swink

(Bill): Early on I met with Co-Artistic Director Kitty Swink and our Executive Director Ana Rose O’Halloran to talk about our options — and it was pretty clear that for the safety of our actors, staff, and audiences we needed to close the show.  We spoke first to the play's directors, Armin Shimerman and Elizabeth Swain, and then I wrote a difficult email to the cast and production team.  Everyone understood because it was becoming increasingly clear what the world would be up against.  With sickness, death, and true hardship on the horizon for many people, closing a play is a small thing — but it was sad news nevertheless.

(SB):  Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(Bill): At this point it’s hard to say what we’ll do in the future because we just can’t be certain of any kind of timeline.  I will say that the set is still standing and the costumes are still in the dressing room, so it remains a possibility — I’d love for more people to be able to see our wonderful actors.

(SB):  What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(Bill): We had just finished casting our next production, William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life which was meant to begin rehearsal this month. We’re still determining how we’re going to proceed. And we were in the midst of finalizing Antaeus’ next season, which will be our 30th and some of those plans are now in flux. We will obviously be following all guidelines from the county and state about when we can reopen and get things going again.

(SB):  How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(Bill): Antaeus has numerous programs and many of those have been able to move online fairly seamlessly — a number of our Academy classes are meeting that way as is the Antaeus Playwrights Lab. We have weekly Zoom check-ins with our Company members, another with our staff, and we have also already enjoyed a really fun virtual Happy Hour with some donors and supporters.

(SB):  You mentioned what a close knit and warm community our L.A. Theatre world is. What thoughts would you like to share with them while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Bill): We believe that live theatre is about artists and audiences coming together in person to create a community, so we’re really looking forward to the time when we can gather together in real life. Antaeus isn’t going anywhere and we’ll be back with a vengeance as soon as we’re able.

(SB): I totally agree. Nothing can compare to being part of an assembly of people experiencing the magic of live theatre together. It’s so symbiotic, making each performance unique and special in its own right. Any other thoughts to share?

(Bill): On a personal note, I’m so proud to be a part of the LA Theatre scene in all of its vibrancy and diversity. I believe we’ll come through this stronger and more unified than ever.

(SB): Amen!


Featured headshot by Rory Lewis


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Actor and Writer Barry Brisco


This Spotlight focuses on Barry Brisco, an actor who has traveled the world touring with shows and had just started working on his first TV series when the shutdown forced the production to close down. The delay has also put a damper on his plans to produce a play he wrote for this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival.


Shari Barrett (SB):  What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Barry Brisco in Switzerland

Barry Brisco (Barry): I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts Management and lived in New York City for 15 years doing theater. Most recently, I was on tour in Switzerland with “Oh La La Circus” and was a Las Vegas performer with Rich Binning in the two-man hit show Puppetry of the Penis which we took to Australia and Tasmania, playing in over 50 cities across the country.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

 

(Barry): I had just booked my first leading role in a TV series. We were shooting the episodes and were about two and a half episodes in when the production just committed suicide; literally dropping dead right in front of me.

Barry Brisco on set

(SB): How was the shutdown communicated with the cast and production team?

(Barry): Due to circumstances, everything was done so abruptly, literally done via email with a “to be continued” type of notice. We all expressed our remorse to each other and our gratitude for all the hard work that everybody was putting in. And then nothing…

(SB): Are plans in place to resume production at a future date?

(Barry): As of yet, nothing has been completely canceled. But nobody knows. And so many people were involved, and none of us know what’s going to happen next.

 

(SB): I don’t think anyone does right now. Speaking of the future, what productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(Barry): Everything. I have plans to produce a play that I wrote for this year's Hollywood Fringe Festival. called Love is a Battlefield. But now the Fringe Festival isn't happening until October, if it can, and now the money is part of my emergency fund. So, I have no idea if I'm going to be able to produce it now, nor do I have no idea if my cast is going to be available. Or if the funding is still going to be there when the Fringe finally does take place. I have no idea of anything. I don't even know if we're going to be able to come out of the house, let alone have rehearsal and produce a play.

(SB): It’s so difficult on all of us, this new and so uncertain reality. But being creative is always a certainty for those involved with theatre. So how are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(Barry): I am taking full advantage of watching every single Broadway musical that I can possibly watch thanks to a link I found on Facebook that said you can watch Hamilton and other Broadway musicals free of charge. And Hamilton came up first so of course I watched it. And then I watched Wicked and then Heathers. I tried to share the same link with everyone, but it seems to only work for me. So - wake me when it's over.

It’s amazing how much information is available online, so much so that no artist or actor should ever even have time to be bored during this quarantine. In fact, there's so much stuff on the internet I don't even have time to look at it all. So, go back to the basics if you don't think you have anything to do and revisit the artist way.

Barry Brisco in Circus

As a writer and an actor, I've always self-isolated and quarantined to do work, and I have a great dog companion who means the world to me. So lucky enough, it's really no big deal for me to stay home alone right now. Right before we were all sent to our rooms to think about what we've done to the planet Earth, I had a meeting and scored a wonderful manager. And I have an audition - in Drag. So, I get to play RuPaul's Drag Race for the next couple of days while I'm learning my audition lines and pulling together my look.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Barry): Learn your craft. Ask questions. Join groups. Do not cut yourself off because you are an artist who definitely needs its audience. Clean your house. Throw away all of that crap that needs to be thrown away. Get your paperwork and your files and every single thing that you can possibly think of in order. Including you. Pull it together so you don't return with excuses. You will return ready to kill your next role. Get yourself ready for anything. I learned that in the book Ready for Anything. Such a good read.

In closing, I offer a quote from Effie White. "And I am telling you I'm not going, even though the rough times are showing. There's just no way, there's no way. I'm staying and you're going to love me."

This too shall pass, family.... let's stay in touch:

Imdb/barrybrisco

Instagram/barrybrisco

Twitter/barrybrisconews

Youtube/barrybrisco


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Riding Along with MARTIN LANDAU on Life's Great Adventure

Last Sunday evening, I was privileged to attend the 3 hour tribute to Master Actor-Teacher Marty Landau at the Writer's Guild Theatre.  Life's unpredictability being what it is, though, this piece is appearing a few days later than originally planned.  The reason?  Well, there are two.

One is something that happened after I'd left the event, which I'll go into later.

The second is the nightmare we've all been living through, the massacre in Las Vegas.  It's a soul-crushing tragedy.  We don't even have fundamentalism or terrorism to blame this time.  The violence was arbitrary, the shooter had no higher purpose, it appears, than destroying the happiness of strangers.  "He was just a guy," his younger brother said.  But clearly he wasn't.  And he didn't just snap - he planned this meticulously, including setting up a sniper's nest.  How does a 64 year old retired accountant with no history of violence do that?

I spent some time as an investigative reporter, and this doesn't scan.  I've also spent a lot of time as a screenwriter, and this scenario is not believable.  There has to be something else, something crucial that hasn't come out yet.  Maybe it will by the time this is published, or hopefully sometime soon.  Right now this feels like an X-Files episode come to life, with some paranormal force in charge. I've alternated between being heartbroken by the human tragedies and being mystified by this enigmatic shooter.  I mean, I'm intrigued by conspiracy stories and have written a few myself.  But I see no indication of a conspiracy here.  Did he have cancer?  Did he lose all his money gambling?  Some kind of death sentence hanging over him that made him want to take as many people with him as possible?

I don't like stories that don't make any sense.  Life may not be art, but it does have its reasons, whether love or hate, money or payback.  So far none of these seem to apply, and I won't be able to let it go until something does.

Landau in Hitchcock's masterpiece, "North by Northwest."

So, let's go from that scene of Hate - straight out of the "Hell" panel of a Heironymous Bosch triptych - to the lovefest that was the tribute to the great Martin Landau, organized by Landau's older daughter, Susie, and directed by Daniel Henning of the Blank Theatre.  Susie kicked off the proceedings by telling the overflowing crowd of family, friends, colleagues and admirers, "When Martin Landau was born, his father Morris hired a brass band in Flatbush to celebrate the occasion."  And then here we were to continue the celebration, a few months after Landau's passing at age 89.

The MC of this "occasion" was Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz, who proved to be funnier and faster with the off-the-cuff lines than I expected.  After informing us that the only two actors to be accepted for the 1955 class at the Actors Studio were Martin Landau and Steve McQueen - the two also starred together in the 1966 film Nevada Smith - Mankiewicz added: "Lest we think of Martin Landau as some kind of saint who never made mistakes, just remember that this was also the man who said no to the role of Spock on the original Star Trek, while saying yes to the role of J.J. Pierson in The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island. "

Diane Ladd and Frances Fisher and the handsome young Mr Landau

Susie Landau quoted her mother Barbara Bain to describe her father: If you burrow deep into Marty Landau's DNA, you will find the word "ACTOR."

This set the tone for the evening, which was a celebration of the craft of acting and the life of the actor.  Two of the more unlikely (but still very touching) tributes were delivered by celebrity actors who were not close friends with Landau.

In fact, Hal Holbrook admitted that, in his 92 years, not only had he never worked with Marty Landau, he couldn't recall ever meeting him.   But he felt compelled to attend because "Martin Landau represented what is really good about our people.  Whatever he was in, there was always something genuine and true about it."  (Holbrook, who has been performing his one man show about Mark Twain since 1954, now seems - with his halo of white hair - to have completely merged with his character. I am hoping to see his "Mark Twain at 100" in the near future.)

Jon Voigt - not just Angelina Jolie's dad but an A-List actor again thanks to Ray Donovan - also never worked with Landau and freely admitted that he didn't know why he was there.  "I had to come as a show of respect," he said. "I just admired the way he carried himself, and the way his personal generosity carried over to his roles.  He made me want to be a better person and a better actor.  I feel that again tonight,  being here in this room.  When I leave here tonight, I want to be a better person because of Marty."

Landau with his wife and TV co-star Barbara Bain

Landau's 65 years as an actor had many highlights.  In the early '50s, there was his close friendship with the mercurial James Dean and his acceptance by The Actors Studio.  In the late '50s, there was the beginning of his acting career on stage, screen and TV.  This section concluded with his supporting role in Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece North by Northwest.  But this did not lead to his being offered more great movie roles.  His next role in a major movie was in the disaster Cleopatra with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.  Instead it resulted in a slew of guest-starring roles on TV shows, culminating with his starring role as Rollin Hand, "The Man of a Thousand Faces," on the original Mission Impossible.   This ran on Sunday evenings from 1966-69,  171 episodes, and it cemented Landau's status as a pop culture icon.  It's also where he met his wife, Barbara Bain, with whom he would have two daughters.  (Ben Mankiewicz reminded the audience that, while Marty and Barbara were both nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys, Barbara won each time while Marty lost each time; "that third time must have been a bloodbath when they got home," Mankiewicz joked.)

In the mid-70s, Marty and Barbara starred together again on the TV series Space 1999 (insert your "he coulda been Spock" joke here), but it only ran for two seasons.  Marty went back to guest-starring on TV series and appearing in highly forgettable TV movies.  In fact, his career went downhill along with his reputation and his marriage to Barbara Bain (they officidally divorced in 1993).  Somehow - and I don't know how myself - he turned everything around, starting with his mesmerizing turn as a financier in the Jeff Bridges movie Tucker: A Man and His Dream in 1988.  This was followed by his indelible performances in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors and Tim Burton's Ed Wood.  Landau was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for each film, and he won for playing Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood.  (A former reporter for Deadline confided to the Writer's Guild audience that one of the other four nominees that night made no attempt to hide his bitterness at being "beaten" by Landau for the award.  "Anyone but Martin Landau," this actor had reportedly complained.  The reporter refused to tell us which of the four it was:  Paul Scofield, Chazz Palminteri, Samuel L. Jackson or Gary Sinise.  I feel certain I know which one it was.  Do you?)

Woody Allen directing Landau in "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989)

Landau went on to give terrific performances in Rounders (1999), and in the Jim Carrey movie The Majestic.  But his final Act would take place in small indie films Lovely, Still (2008) and Remember (2015), but especially on TV shows like Without A Trace (where he played Anthony Lapaglia's father, a military man dealing with dementia) and Entourage, where he gave an unforgettable comic turn as Bob Ryan, a washed-up film producer who suddenly finds himself back in the mainstream.  He even had his own catchphrase: "Does that sound like something you might be interested in?"  Mostly, though, for his last 25 years, Marty invested a huge amount of himself and his spirit in the Actors Studio West, where he was co-artistic director with his lifelong friend Mark Rydell and worked long hours to pass along his wealth of knowledge to new generations of actors and writers.

Marty and a younger, less-Twisted Hipster - only one of so many who feels a debt of gratitude for having had such a great teacher (Photo: Eric Wade)

My favorite story of the evening - and there were so many great ones! - was told first by a film director (I believe his name is Mark Sobel) and then embellished upon by the actress Gina Gershon, regarding an exploitation flick titled Sweet Revenge (I believe) which did its filming in the Philippines during a revolution.  Gina, then a young actor just getting into the entertainment business, had read the script and found it to be "crap," but she was drawn to the chance to work with Martin Landau.  Before accepting, she called Landau and asked if he was really attached.  "Yes, I'm going to do it," Landau said.  "But it's a terrible script," Gershon said.  "Nothing makes any sense."  Landau replied: "But it's a free trip to the Philippines!  It's a chance to have a great adventure!"  "Yeah?" Gershon replied, still not convinced.  "So what if it's a failure?" Landau told her.  "I've learned a lot more from failures than I ever did from successes."

In the end, Gershon accepted, and soon she was in the Philippine rainforest with Marty Landau and the other actors.  Very early on it was clear that they were horribly unprepared for the very real violence surrounding them.  One day they were on the way to a waterfall location when they were ambushed by 50 former government guards with machine guns, who had been tossed out of power in the People's Revolution.  The cast and crew were in serious danger of losing their lives.  But Marty Landau remembered seeing TV antennas coming out of the houses they had passed.  He asked the director to let him handle it.  Then Marty stepped forward and spoke directly to the group leader, who in turn addressed Marty harshly and belligerently, waving his gun in the air.  Suddenly this changed.  "Mission Impossible?" the leader stuttered. "You are...him?"  Marty nodded, and the tide turned.  The ousted guards became the film crew's protectors, insisting on going with them to the waterfall and then providing food and drink for the cast and crew.

What a great story, huh?  What a great Marty Landau story (he had millions).  What an adventure. . . .

And oh yes - I said I would tell you what happened right after the tribute, an event which has eaten up my last few days.

So yeah, I had parked my car on Wilshire Blvd, two blocks west of Doheny, and when I got back from celebrating Marty, this is how I found my car - a complete wreck.  There were several police cars surrounding it, as well as the car in front of mine, which was also totaled.

A policeman handed me a small sheet of notepad paper with a lot of information written on it in blue ink.  He pointed to a young man nearby.  "He had a sneezing fit and lost control of his car."

"What?"  I said.  This was a lot to take in.  The Sneezer was very apologetic.

As it happened, the other wrecked car belonged to Jamie Marsh, an actor I knew from the Actors Studio West, who had also been at the Writer's Guild event.

"Dude, this is a great thing," Jamie whispered to me.

"Yeah?" I said, not seeing his point.

"The insurance is going to give us enough money to buy new cars.  It's like Marty made it happen."

"Yeah?" I said again, starting to see his point.

"Marty Landau wants us to have new cars!" he repeated.

Huh, I thought.  Another Marty adventure?


"US CELEBRATING US" - The New Garry Marshall Theatre and Lots More Showbiz Biz

This has always been a piece about Garry Marshall's Falcon Theatre in Burbank becoming - with the passing of Mr Marshall - the Garry Marshall Theatre.  And I will get back to the important changes going on there, but Garry Marshall was also very much a creature of show business - stage, film and especially TV - so let's take a dip in those waters before circling back to the legacy of the one and only Mr Garry M.

It's almost 35 years since Neil Postman's book Amusing Ourselves To Death was published.  The book couldn't be more topical, as we are awash in "dystopian societies" as soures of entertainment, and that was Postman's Topic A.  It was 1984 at the time, and everyone had George Orwell (author of 1984) on their minds - fear of Big Brother and the onset of the totalitarian state.  But Postman posited that the dystopian model we were heading towards wasn't the one in Orwell's novel but rather the one to be found in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.  In Huxley's dystopia, the population all becomes addicted to a pleasure-inducing drug called soma, whch causes them to exchange their interest in rational thought and public discourse for an obsession with televised entertainment.

Sound familiar?  Certainly thoughts of both Huxley's and Postman's books were stirred up by THE 69th PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS, which host Stephen Colbert described as "us celebrating us."  This is something that Hollywood is justly famous for, which, again, Colbert deftly characterized as "clapping our hands while patting ourselves on the back."  I've already read some accounts panning Stephen Colbert as a host, but I don't agree - those opening musical numbers are intentionally silly, and his sophisticated sense of humor was surely an upgrade on James Corden, who bores me to tears, or whoever else hosted it last year.  No, the sad part was seeing someone as witty and intelligent as Colbert having to be dumbed down so he could play to the lowest common denominator, which probably still wasn't dumb enough for the advertisers... though I could almost hear them sighing out loud that at least he wasn't Jewish or black.  And yes, it was good to see some well-produced shows rewarded, and to have more women and African-American winners than in recent memory.  White American men, especially of the hetero variety, were definitely the big losers, though British hetero men (John Oliver and that guy who wrote Black Mirror) did very nicely, thank you very much.  Of course Latinos and Asian-Americans of all kinds were largely left out, which oddly seems to arouse little attention or concern.  My guess is, though, if you follow the money trail, it would still lead largely to white men.  For those who think there's been a major power shift going on, get real.  That's the very meaning of "soma," which provides a pleasant fantasy-high while the old sleight of hand is taking place.

Now I was going to use this as a transition point into talking about two of the more amusing series on TV right now,  EPISODES (Showtime) and GET SHORTY (Epix), both of which find the source of their humor in the deeply anxiety-ridden and often-perilous world of show business.   Both take place deep inside the Hollywood bubble, where the power plays for fame and fortune are going on.  Anyway, I recommend both shows highly and am happy to say that Episodes has come back stronger than ever from its premature death (yes, it was cancelled in 2016) and is, for my money, the funniest show on TV.  But I'll have to save that discussion for another day, as the spirit of Garry Marshall has begun barking at me in that inimitable Brooklyn accent, telling me that it's time to circle back already, if I know what's good for me.

So yes, back to my own Topic A: what has been The Falcon Theatre in Burbank for the last 20 years has now become The Garry Marshall Theatre.  This may seem odd at first, since Garry Marshall was known mostly for commercial film blockbusters like Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries, and for TV shows like The Odd Couple and Happy Days (and its various spinoffs).  But the Falcon was a passion project for Garry, who participated in every aspect of its creation, then ran it with his daughter Katherine Marshall LaGambina in a very hands-on way.  I saw many shows there over the years, and Garry was often in the lobby, especially for the first 10-15 years, greeting the audience as if welcoming them into his home.  Sometimes - especially on  matinee days - Garry could be found napping on a chair in the lobby.  When roused, he would smile and go right into a conversation, as if he'd just been conversing with you a moment before.

The 130 seat Equity house will now become the non-profit Garry Marshall Theatre under the leadership of co-artistic directors Joseph Leo Bwarie and Dimitri Toscas.

As Joe Bwarie explained to me, the theatre will now be developing a subscriber base, like the Geffen and the Center Theatre Group.  For the first season, the plan is to present four plays, all by Pulitzer-Prize winners and all with some connection to Garry Marshall.

First up is MASTER CLASS by Terrence McNally, directed by Mr Toscas and starring Carolyn Hennesy as the great opera diva Maria Callas.  That begins performances this week (Sept. 20) and will run until Oct. 22.  You can click here for further information and tickets.

This will be followed by A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the West Coast premiere of THE OCCUPANT by Edward Albee (about the sculptor Louise Nevelson), and LAUGHTER ON THE 23rd FLOOR by Neil Simon.

Here's hoping they can do Garry proud and bring his distinctive touch to the work - which means being something more than just "us celebrating us." But I'll let co-Artistic Director Dimitri Toscas speak for himself on this point.  Take it away, Dimitri.

DIMITRI TOSCAS:

Garry believed that gathering people together to share a live storytelling experience was one of the most important ways we process our lives together. He loved live television. He loved live theatre. And to honor that lifetime dedication, our mission is to continue to bring people together for the unparalleled experience of participating in the live arts. We will continue to strive to connect people through diverse storytelling and innovative performances, and echo and expand upon the philosophy that the live arts spark ideas, elicit conversations and pledge the promise of possibility. Our hope is that we can open the theatre up to be a community stomping ground for exploration and education as we celebrate and cultivate artists and audiences alike, and we're working toward programming, classes, and other opportunities that can support these big, abstract ideas. That's a tall order, we know…but we want to prove we are up for the challenge.

We are also excited to carry on Garry's tradition of looking for new works and developing new pieces to produce in the future. To do that, we will be hosting a New Play Festival in the Spring. This will give us a chance to review new works that will be submitted by both new and established playwrights. After the preliminary review process, we will present the selected new plays in a series of readings that the audience will be able to give us feedback on. Hopefully we will find new works to develop into full productions in future seasons here at the Garry Marshall Theatre and beyond.

2017 marks the 20th Anniversary of Garry Marshall's Falcon Theatre in Burbank, where there has been a subscription season for the past 15 years. For the past twenty years, the theatre was a for-profit company that was subsidized by Garry himself, but now, to keep the theatre thriving and growing into the future, we are in the process of transitioning to a nonprofit company, putting the new theatre more in line with the industry standard for successful regional houses across the country. Now, as a new nonprofit theatre, we are reaching out more to the community, sharing our story with a wider audience, because we can only survive with the continued support of our subscribers and the Toluca Lake, Burbank, and Los Angeles community at large. For the first time, we have a Board of Directors, Joe and I have been named Artistic Directors to maintain and develop the artistic vision of the theatre's growth and expansion, and Sherry Greczmiel has been named the Executive Director. Together, we are developing the programming, productions and procedures that will hopefully grow the theatre into the next twenty years.

An important way we are reaching out into the community is by including other successful theatre companies in our programming. Personally, I don't think I've ever looked at other artists, directors or companies as “competition” when it comes to theatre. Art is collaboration. Not competition. And to be true to that, we are opening our doors and welcoming successful companies and artists to collaborate with us every season here at the new Garry Marshall Theatre. This year, we are welcoming Rogue Artists Ensemble to our stage in the Summer of 2018 with their multi-media production of WOOD BOY DOG FISH, a macabre retelling of the Pinocchio story. It's a dark, arousing curiosity written by the remarkable up-and-coming playwright Chelsea Sutton, with original music by Adrien Prévost, directed by Sean T. Cawelti. Besides this Hot Summer Show, we will also host other companies throughout the season, with special events and concerts — all in an effort to reach out into the community and welcome more people to make ART with us for our Inaugural Season.

 

 


SALMA HAYEK! ED ASNER! JOHN STAMOS! JAMES BROLIN! THE TAO OF CLOUT, Hollyshorts 3

You see it right there as you walk through the Chinese Theatre's Photo Gallery,  past Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh and Jack Nicholson and right across from glam Marilyn and Jane Russell, with their big money smiles.

Yes, it's the super-heroes of late 20th Century cinema, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, still reigning supreme in the early 21st Century.  (Well, at least Lucas is, and Spielberg has achieved legendary status.)  But seeing them here in their youth, they look very human, even ordinary.  They in fact look very much like many of the filmmakers whose work fills the slots in the Hollyshorts Festival, and whose dream it is to be the next Spielberg or Lucas.  That is, to make quality movies with their individual stamp on them that also do great box office.

Yes, that is the dream, but right now they'd be happy with an agent and a deal memo, or maybe just some positive feedback - anything to give some hope and feed the dream.  It's a very crowded field out there, much more so than in the days when Spielberg and Lucas were achieving their indie cred.  And while the need for "content" has never been greater, there are so many talented artists willing to do anything to get their shot, that it's harder than ever to make an impression, much less to employ their "individual stamp."

Ironically, since both men started out with independent-spirited movies like The Sugarland Express (Spielberg) and THX1138 (Lucas),  it is the blockbuster mentality engendered by their monster hits like Jaws, Indiana Jones and Star Wars that hold the movie industry transfixed and make it more difficult for individual sensibilities to be appreciated - at least until those sensibilities equate with dollars signs, as with Christopher Nolan and Tim Burton.

There was a short dystopian film in the Hollyshorts festival, REAL ARTISTS by Cameo Wood, that had a terrifying twist on this blockbuster obsession.

Based on a short story by renowned sci-fi author Ken Liu and taking place in the near future, it centers around aspiring animator Sophia Baker (Tiffany Hines, pictured here) who dreams of being able to work for Semaphore Animation Studios, famous for turning out one hugely successful film after another.  Her obsession is such that - like many fans today - she does her own "fan edit" of Semaphore's latest release.  To her amazement, this results in her being contacted by Semaphore and getting an interview with a top-level executive, played by Tamlyn Tomita, who offers Sophia a job there.  A dream come true, right?  But then the young animator discovers the "formula" behind the studio's success, and she has to make a decision.  What, after all, is her individual creativity worth?

Of course, most filmmakers don't have such stark decisions to make.  And they know that the best way to get their film noticed is to entice a well-known actor or two to take part.  Here is a round-up of several films in the festival that use actors with name recognition, with varying degrees of success.

FILM SHORTS

(Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

INGENUE-ISH, Written by John Stamos and Caitlin McHugh, Directed by Stamos - If you were to imagine a 10 minute movie by the "Full-House" actor John Stamos about the trials and tribulations of a 30-something actress, you would probably come pretty close to describing this film.    Pretty girl-actress? Check.  (Caitlin McHugh, co-writer and John Stamos's real-life girlfriend.)   Bad life-decisions? Check.  (She wakes up in the bed of a stranger.) Actor crisis? Check.  (She has a big audition, and she hasn't begun looking over the script.)  The piece is tongue-in-cheek and full of charming moments, and the ending has just the right kind of arch humor about the entertainment industry.  But in-between there are too many gross/grotesque incidents involving dog poop, as well as an improbable fight between Caitlin McHugh and another actress who is competing with her for the role in question.  On the whole, it's enjoyable, but it tries too hard to be funny and there just isn't much to it.

 

HOT WINTER: A FILM BY DICK PIERRE by Jack Henry Robbins - Jack Henry Robbins is the son of Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins (who executive-produced this short film).  The film is about a climate scientist and all-around genius who talks and acts like a porn star.  Stylistically, it certainly shows the influence of his father's political sense of humor in such films as 2015's The Brink, as well as various satirical shorts at Funny or Die.  This film was awarded BEST COMEDY at Hollyshorts, and I do remember laughing a lot while watching.  But after it was over - it melted away faster than an Arctic iceberg.  When something is really funny, it stays with me quite a while.

SUPER SEX by Matthew Modine and GETTING ED LAID by Deborah Pearl - It's one thing to have one film in a festival about trying to help get "Lou Grant" actor Ed Asner laid; it's something else when there are two, and they were created completely independently of each other.  Super Sex by actor Matthew Modine is about and adult brother and sister (Kevin Nealon and Elizabeth Perkins),who are trying to come up with a unique birthday gift for their dad.  Their pursuit of said gift leads them to Ruby Modine (Matthew's daughter), who does not play a choir girl, and that leads to the father played by Ed Asner.  In Getting Ed Laid, Ed Asner plays a retired 85 year old professor who is in Tokyo and orders a sexual companion, then suddenly worries about the effect that Viagra may have on his heart.  The escort shows up in the person of Jean Smart - quirky and sexy, but very aware that she is a woman of certain age (over 50) - and the two of them have a memorably amusing encounter.  Both films are funny and both have their flaws.  Modine's film is all set-up, with only a quick silly joke as a payoff.  Deborah Pearl's film has some unnecessary complications to its setup and overdoes it a bit with the payoff, but it has two great characters, terrific dialogue, and a bewitching sense of humor, where the perils and problems of aging are concerned.

MODERN HOUSES by Matthew Dixon - Calling all Lily Taylor fans - and I know you're out there!  You will definitely want to catch Lily in the role of a cutting-edge architect about to unveil the model for her most ambitious design for a high-profile critic.  But something just isn't right with it... She keeps making small changes, but will it be enough?  Perfectionism feeds on itself in this painful drama, which feels like a parable from the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Not always easy to watch, but essential viewing for fans of Lily Taylor and the pursuit of perfection.

THE SON, THE FATHER by Lukas Hassel - I wasn't familiar before this with the work of Lukas Hassel, who has guest-starred on several TV series and starred in the horror film The Black Room.  But judging from his work on this film, where he is a quadruple-threat - writing, directing, producing and playing the father of the main character - he is a talent to be reckoned with.  Hassel sums up his film this way: "The events on a young boy's birthday has consequences far into the future for himself and his family."  Well, yes, but it's Hassel's sense of the grotesque that really makes this film stand out, along with the horrifying character of the boy's mother.  There aren't many American movies that dare to depict a mother in such an irredeemable way, not to mention the pain we see her inflict.  And then there is a transitional cut, very bold and memorable, in which Hassel's father character changes drastically before our eyes.  This is a terrifying little film, and Lukas Hassel shows himself unafraid to take chances.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY, written by Casey Cannon and Angeliki Giannakopoulos, directed by Phedon Pappamichael - This powerful 15 minute film features James Brolin in a wonderfully-understated performance as a widower and retired accountant who suddenly starts tying up all the loose ends of his life and totalling up his accounts.  What's going on?  What is he planning to do?  Frances Fisher turns up in a brilliant cameo as a woman  Brolin meets in a bar, but the film plays its card as close to its metaphorical chest as Brolin does until the final revelation, which I found genuinely shocking and completely credible.  This film has been another festival darling, and it's not hard to see why.  A memorable performance by Brolin in a different kind of role.

11th HOUR by Jim Sheridan - This is an 11 minute film about 9/11, and it may be the best evocation of that dark day that I've seen.  It takes place in a Hell's Kitchen bar run by Salma Hayek's character and her Irish husband, a police bar where cops are used to coming after their shifts.  Now they've assembled here, but the atmosphere is tense, the need to lash out at someone is pervasive, as the losses they have suffered is too much to bear.  Guns are drawn from holsters, violence is in the air, as an older policeman counsels patience.  Then someone unexpected shows up, someone who cuts through all the tension and takes the focus away from revenge.  It's based on a true story, but what makes it stand out and then linger in the memory is the way that Jim Sheridan has framed the narrative, and the enormous shifts in tone that occur organically within such a tight timeline.   I was so glad to be able to see this on a large screen, where the larger-than-life events of that day needed that kind of scope for the tragic undertow to be conveyed.  I wish more people had that opportunity.

MY NEPHEW EMMETT by Kevin Wilson, Jr. - Just as Jim Sheridan was able to bring alive the events of 9/11 by looking at them from a different perspective, so Kevin Wilson is able to conjure up the events surrounding the killing of Emmett Till by making them personal.  This doesn't feel like history, this doesn't feel like "significant events" that happened almost 65 years ago.  Rather, Kevin Wilson takes us with him into the dust of that Mississippi summer, and the attempts of Emmett's preacher-uncle and aunt to protect him from the whites who don't understand Emmett's big city ways.  And just as Jim Sheridan was able to make Salma Hayek an integral part of his ensemble, so Wilson is able to ease Jasmine Guy into his mix as Emmett's aunt without distracting from the central drama.  But it is L.B. Williams as Emmett's uncle who really makes a claim on our attention, as he battles against forces of hate and malevolence that simply will not be reasoned with.  Kevin Wilson won the BEST DIRECTOR prize at Hollyshorts, and again it was well-deserved.  There is something so visceral about this short piercing film that you come away feeling the parched dust in your throat and a heaviness in your heart for our cycle of violence.

TV SERIES

COMPANION, written by Matt Ferrucci and Nick Mouyiaris, produced by Ferrucci, Mouyiaris and Alain Uy - In addition to the film shorts, there were also several "proof of concept" episodes or fragments presented for TV series.  But this was the only one that seemed to me to have both their concept and their execution together, and the only one that I could see finding a place at a studio and in our hearts.  In the half-hour comedy series, Michael Marc Friedman would play Nick Foster, a "sober companion" who looks after wealthy clients with a history of abusing drugs, alcohol, whatever.  As the Companion team so eloquently puts it: "Basically he's a babysitter - except the babies are rich assholes who shoot dope and drink their millions away."

So far they've only shot the pilot episode, which was screened at the festival.  This has Nick trying to keep disgraced NBA superstar Jay "J Train" Tyrell (Ray Stoney) on the straight and narrow as he attempts to rehabilitate his badly-damaged image and get back into the league.  Not easy when Tyrell has five children with six baby mamas (it's complicated) and now apparently has a 6th child on the way with his wild new girlfriend.  The episode had a great flow and was consistently fun and suprising.  What made it work so well for me was the chemistry between the actors Friedman and Stoney.  Also, it wasn't written so that Tyrell was simply the fuck-up and Foster his keeper.  No, Foster needed something from Tyrell too, and this gave the show a nice balance, and a sense of unpredictability too.

It wasn't certainly the first show I've seen in a while about heterosexual men which explored the bonds of friendship and insecurity in an interesting way.  It feels contemporary, fluid and even sexy.  I can certainly see guys tuning in who watch sports on TV and spend hours listening to the anchors on ESPN.  It has that male vibe, but with a quick wit and a cool eye for all the lies that men tell each other, along with the lies we tell ourselves.

The plan is for Nick to have several different clients, so this would be an anthology series, but with some clients recurring (breakdowns do happen) and others being run into again by chance.  I have no idea how that aspect of it will work, but I'd take this series any day over Ballers.  What I've seen so far has the kind of magic coming off it that I associate with TV success.  We'll see how far they'll be able to take that.  Here's hoping they'll be given a decent shot.

 

 

 


MARTIN LANDAU - ACTOR'S ACTOR, PEERLESS TEACHER, LAST OF HIS KIND

Martin Landau passed from this earth on Saturday at age 89.

Martin Landau outside at the Plaza Hotel; circa 1970; New York. (Photo by Art Zelin/Getty Images)

To those over 55 who watched TV growing up, he was well-known from the Mission Impossible TV series.  To more recent TV viewers, he will be remembered from his "last of his breed" producer character on Entourage.

To film afficionados, he was well-known as James Mason's right-hand man in Hitchcock's North By Northwest, as Woody Allen's murdering eye-doctor in Crimes and Misdemeanors and for his Oscar-winning role as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood.

To most people, his death came as no surprise and was just a minor event in a busy week, hardly noticed.

But to those who had the privilege of working with him at the Actors Studio West, it is a tragedy of unspeakable proportions.

Yes, that's right, a tragedy.  And my heart goes out to them.

TV and movie actor Martin Landau discussing his role in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors. October 09, 1989. (Photo by Michael Schwartz/New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)

I had the pleasure of watching Marty moderate many a scene-work session on Friday mornings at 11 AM between 2002-9, and he was simply a genius at working with actors, breaking down the beats of a scene and finding the truth of behavior and character.  I had the privilege of watching Stella Adler and Sandy Meisner conduct their classes, and with both, it was a spiritual experience.  But the only other teacher I've ever observed who LOVED acting as much as Marty did was the Open Theatre's Joseph Chaikin before his stroke in 1984. But even Joe didn't LOVE actors as much as Marty did.  He was not interested in being a director or writer; he was completely an actor and completely professional.  He loved the talent, the impulse to act, and his comments were always very specific and to the point.  They were always interesting, because they always came out of his fascination with expressing the truth of behavior.

Martin Landau attends the wrap party for the feature film "Mysteria" on August 16, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)

I never observed Marty Landau do anything trivial, superfluous or vindictive.  While certainly not a saint - he was a chain-smoker from the old school, he enjoyed life and enjoyed attention - there was something almost other-worldly about his sense of calm, the combination of detachment and engagement that was uniquely his own.  He was a great storyteller - a great one, with an endless number of stories - but he was also an excellent listener.  He was everything that the actors he was working with wanted to be.

But there was and always will be only one Marty Landau.

Best friend of James Dean in the early-mid '50s, he kept doing what he loved to do on through the years, and there never seemed to be any reason for that to stop.  If anyone was going to live forever, it would be Marty.

But he didn't, alas.

Martin Landau poses for a portrait at the 'Remember' Film Screening at the Museum of Tolerance on February 11, 2016. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images)

Sending along my condolences to Barbara Bain, to Marty's two daughters, Susan and Juliet, and to the large extended family of those whose lives he has deeply affected.

You will be remembered, Marty, for as long as there are actors roaming the earth.


THIS JAM-PACKED CRAZY WEEK, PART I: THINGS TO FIND TIME FOR (Non-Fringe)

Sometimes there's just too much happening.  Too much to write about in a week in this surprising city, which appears to be so predictable and obvious – 80 degrees and sunny, ho hum – but has so many places that few people seem to see. Are the places hidden? No. But people drive by every day, completely oblivious. Which is great, because now the Twisted Hipster gets to tell you about them.

So you, sitting in front of your 48” flat screen, diligently plowing through your Netflix queue while keeping an eye out for anything of interest on those premium channels – I'll start with you.

So here's my only HIPSTER LAMENT of the week – for that vaunted reboot of TWIN PEAKS by David Lynch and Mark Frost (Showtime).

Jake Wardle, James Marshall and David Lynch behind the scenes of Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

There are many fascinating scenes and brilliant, troubling visuals in the first five episodes – but oh that silly narrative!  I don't require linear storytelling by any means – and I appreciate a good anti-narrative – but there's just no attempt to create genuine human beings or explore the darker recesses of human behavior.  Many of us were delighted by Season 1 of the series in 1991, with its sense of an infernal corruption lurking beneath the Normal Rockwell exteriors of small-town American life. But Season 2 descended into self-parody and melodrama, becoming quite a bore.  The 25 year hiatus has done nothing to help Lynch rediscover his movie-making mojo.  For example: Detective Dale Cooper has mysteriously returned to earth with no sense of self whatever.  He's just a blank slate.  As such, he walks into a Las Vegas Casino and hits 30 jackpots in a row, winning $425,000 – all of which means nothing to him.  Which is fine – nothing means anything to him now.  But such a feat would draw enormous amounts of publicity in any world that I'm aware of, and yet it doesn't create even a ripple here.  Even when he helps a sad old lady win two jackpots of her own - something she would certainly tell everyone about.  So what world are we in anyway?   Not one that will have any interest, I fear, for other than diehard fans of Lynch's self-indulgently nostalgiac convolutions.

Carrie Coon in the series finale of THE LEFTOVERS

On the other hand, a big HIPSTER TIP for the series finale of THE LEFTOVERS (HBO), "The Book of Nora."  Even if you've never watched a single episode before, even if you've never liked a single episode before, you still have to check this one out.  First, there's the magnificent acting work of Justin Theroux, Christopher Eccleston and, most of all, Carrie Coon, whose brilliance is almost beyond belief, given the very difficult journey she has been asked to take.  But it is precisely that journey, and the wondrous narrative gamble that it involves, which makes this one of the great final episodes of any series.  Kudos to series creators and final episode writers Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta.  You have dreamed up such a rich and strange version of the world in your series, and you have saved your best for last.

Oh, and BEST GROOVE OF THE WEEK: “Dirty Old Town” from David Byrne's Rei Momo. 

Yes it's from 1989 (the real one, not the Taylor Swift version), but it never gets old.  Then again, “The Call of the Wild” and “Loco de Amor” are pretty great cuts too.  Hell, just put on this CD in your car on the grayest of days, and the entire sky will light up in Technicolor.  But watch out – your feet are gonna be dancin' all over those pedals!

Moving on to matters of THEATER – which is exploding right now in Los Angeles, exploding with talent and purpose and fearlessness.  Here are two shows closing very soon which I urge you to see.  They are without doubt two of the best shows I've seen this year and I wish I had time to see them again before they close.

NEXT TO NORMAL by Bryan Yorkey and Tom Kitt at East-West Players has been extended until June 18 – see it.  If you've never this power-punch of a musical before, see it.  If you've seen it on Broadway or at the Ahmanson or anywhere else, then see it again.  Because Deedee Magno Hall and Iso Briones, as the most troubled and troubling mother-daughter relationship in any musical this side of Carrie, are that good.  So is the rest of the cast.  Director Nancy Keystone has done beautiful work with the actors and has broken down the beats gloriously.  This is not suitable for children, but it's perfect for any adult who has lived and loved and suffered in the modern world.  And there are some lovely rock ballads.

THE GARY PLAYS by Murray Mednick and directed by Guy Zimmerman are 6 related plays presented in 3 separate installments by the Open Fist Company at the Atwater Village Theatre, and it has been extended one week, to June 10.  So you have one more chance to see each installment: Part I is on Thursday at 8, Part II is on Friday at 8 and Part III is on Saturday at 2 pm.  The plays are a real anomaly in the American cannon – epic in length and scope, yet intimate in feeling.  Director Zimmerman describes them this way: “The series is uniquely the product of the LA theatre community – it could not have been created anywhere else.  And Gary, an unemployed actor struggling with grief and self-recrimination after his only son's murder, is an iconic LA character.”  There's so much more to it – and Jeff Lebeau's depiction of Gary in the first 3 plays is so remarkable, so memorable, he simply crawls into the character's skin.  For my money, Part II is the best evening of theater I can remember seeing in Los Angeles, it just buzzes with emotional intensity.  My only criticism is that it's almost too much to take in, like eating three rich meals in one sitting.  I almost fainted from all the artistic calories, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything.  Hope you don't either.  And kudos to Martha Demson and the Open Fist Company of actors for bringing it all to such vivid life.

Favorite line, spoken by Rod Menzies as Daddyo: “I'm an old hipster, and I know what's what.”  Yeah.