COVID-19 THEATER SERIES: Twelve Actors and a Laundromat - An Interview with Group Rep's Doug Haverty


Talented California-born Doug Haverty has done it all, from actor and playwright to lyricist and producer. Little did he know that his first play, a college comedy called Hello, This is the Bottom Drawer, would draw so much positive attention and lead to a writing job in New York. But it was not until In My Mind's Eye premiered at the Los Angeles Group Repertory Theatre in 1984 that his talent won him a most promising playwright award, as well as a Drama-Logue award for best playwriting in 1985. Musicals included Love Again, Roleplay/Inside Out, Flavia, and The Dream Maker, and The Ghost of Gershwin. Doug has acted in numerous Group Rep productions, most notably And Then There were None, Lend Me a Tenor, and The Cape and the Klan. In addition to his role at the Group Rep, Doug also co-moderates Theatre West’s Writer’s Workshop. A true multi-tasker, Doug took some time out of his busy schedule to interview in April 2020.


Kyle Bares, Jean Altadel, Emma-Jayne Appleyard, Daniel Lench, Suzy London, Andrew Bourgeois, and Gregory Guy Gorden in "The Ghost of Gershwin" - Photo by Sherry Netherland

When did your theater first begin its long career? Were you Involved from the beginning?

Doug Haverty: The Group Rep began life in May of 1973 when 12 actors converted a laundromat in Hollywood into a 37-seat theater. They convinced Lonny Chapman to come on board and be their Artistic Director. Shortly thereafter, they relocated to a charming theater on Magnolia Boulevard in North Hollywood. I saw plays at this space, which reminded me (personally) of the summer stock theater in Michigan where I met my wife. The building looked like a barn. It was red with white trim, and it was set back off Magnolia. There was a walkway lined with pine trees and benches. It was really bucolic. It had a front porch and the box office/concessions looked like the bar in a saloon.

I joined the theater in 1982 as a playwright. Lonny liked my play, In My Mind's Eye, and told me he’d like to help me develop it. My first meeting with the group was on a Monday night, and they were presenting a workshop of a new play they’d been rehearsing. It was memorized, directed, costumed; it even had working props. But it was played on the set of their current show. The work and dedication was astounding. Every role had been cast perfectly, it was beautifully directed, and I could not believe the level of commitment from these actors and this director. They had obviously been working on it for weeks without any guarantee of production — they just believed in the play. I knew, then and there, that this was the place for me. The play was The Lilac Tree, and it did become a production — in fact, it was the last production at that charming space. The City of North Hollywood had determined that they needed that land for a senior citizens tower (which is there now). One or two of the pine trees survived.

The City relocated Group Rep to its current space on Burbank Blvd.; and the first full-length production was my play, In My Mind's Eye. The production did very well, and this play went on to be produced in Berkeley and Whittier. It was eventually published by Samuel French, where it’s been done all over the country. The Group Rep just revived this play as part of their 2020 season; and it was, again, very well received by audiences and critics alike. I had many people tell me how moved they were by the play — even perfect strangers liked it.

Reenie Moore, Pat Lentz, Claudia Fenton, Bonnie Snyder, Jodi Carlisle, and Julie Bloomfield, the world premiere cast of "Roleplay/Inside Out"  - Photo by Dale Cooke

When did you become the artistic director?

DH:  Through the years, I have participated in various productions at Group Rep wearing various hats. I have acted in many shows, produced several shows, and done sound design and graphic design for many shows. As a playwright, I’ve had several premieres, including In My Mind's Eye, Next Window Please, Roleplay (A Musical written with Adryan Russ), Love Again (a musical written with Adryan Russ), The Ghost of Gershwin (a musical written with Wayland Pickard and Laura Manning), and A Carol Christmas (a musical written with Bruce Kimmel).

When previous co-artistic directors Larry Eisenberg and Chris Winfield announced their plans to retire, the search committee offered me the artistic directorship about a year ago. We began planning the 2020 season last June. I took over, officially, on January 1, 2020. Larry and Chris are both still very much involved with the theater — which is great for the company and me.

“The Group Repertory Theatre was one of the original 99-seat Equity waiver theaters in Los Angeles (allowing us to use Equity actors and not have to pay Equity wages). The 99-seat plan was dissolved by Equity a few years ago, and Equity named a dozen membership companies as AEA approved membership companies. This allows us to use Equity actors and non-Equity actors without any restrictions. AEA recognizes that we are a company run by actors, and therefore assumes we will treat actors justly and with respect.

Some of my works have started at Group Rep and gone on to have other lives. So, it’s fun to realize that things we’re developing in our little theatrical think-tank could actually “grow up” and expand after their debut in NoHo. I wrote a musical with Adryan Russ which started as a workshop. We were going to present it as a two-nighter to the public. After Lonny Chapman popped into a rehearsal for a look-see, he came up to me afterwards and said, in his usual theatrically startling way, “No. We’re not going to do this as a two-nighter. Let’s do a little more rehearsing and just open it.” And we did. It was supposed to run five weeks and it ran five months, which was fairly unheard of at that time. That little musical, now called Inside Out, eventually wound its way into Manhattan , had an Off-Off Broadway run at the Village Theatre Company, and eventually an Off Broadway run at the Cherry Lane Theatre. It’s been done around the world, was recently translated into Serbian, and had an 18-month run in Belgrade that was tremendously successful.

“We did a relatively new version of A Christmas Carol in 2009. It was adapted for the stage by Richard Hellesen and David De Berry. This extravaganza was directed by our then-artistic director, Ernest Figueroa. It was one of the most ambitious shows we’d done with a huge cast, glorious set design, tons of costumes, and beautiful, lush music. The author of the book combined text from the short story, as well as other essays Dickens wrote about Christmas. So, it was a Dickensian Christmas buffet. I played Bob Cratchit, and Chris Winfield was Scrooge. It was magic. Audiences loved it. It was so rewarding to be a part of that; and I genuinely felt affection for all the Cratchit kids, especially Tiny Tim.

It was that experience that inspired me to write my own musical version of the classic by Dickens. I wanted to make mine modern and set in the U.S. I converted all the major men’s roles into women’s roles. I enlisted Bruce Kimmel to direct and create the songs and score. In 2018, A Carol Christmas was born; and audiences absolutely loved it. We’re in the process of marketing it now to a national theater network and hope to have the GRT-streamed version available during this shelter-in-place.”

Stephanie Colet, Tricia Hershberger, Shelby Kocee, Gina Yates, and Bianca Gisselle in "Next Window Please" - Photo by Doug Engalla

When did you close the theater due to COVID-19? Were you in the middle of a run?

DH:  Our first production was scheduled to close on March 15, and we did run until the published conclusion. That last weekend, groups of 50 or more were being discouraged. We limited sales to 50 seats per show (which wasn’t difficult at that point) and encouraged seat selection using social distancing. Those last three shows were very good, and the audiences seemed very appreciative. My friend, talented director John Musker, remarked, “Well, this may be the last play I ever see…and if it is, then at least it was a good one.”

“Our next two plays, Neil Simon’s London Suite and Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, were both in rehearsals. Rehearsals continued for a few days, but then the order came through that groups larger than ten were discouraged. That’s when we collectively decided to postpone all activity in the theater building until the Mayor/Governor determine it’s safe to gather again.

Cast of "A Carol Christmas" - Photo by Karen Staitman

Over the past weeks, how has COVID-19 impacted your theater?

DH:  This has impacted us drastically. We are completely volunteer-run and member-funded. Our members pay dues and are, in essence, shareholders in our company. Somehow, over the past 46 years, we have managed to stay afloat with donations, dues, fundraisers, and box office. Some months are leaner than others. We had two shows almost ready to open and fundraisers planned. Everything has been put on hold. Plus a lot of our members utilize the theater space for work on various projects that they’ve devised. There is a lot of activity at that building, given two theaters and two additional rehearsal spaces.

Additionally, we are in a Triple Net Lease, which means we are responsible for the physical upkeep of the building (as well as property taxes and insurance). With the rains and a very old roof, we have to constantly keep watch for leaks. We were right in the middle of refurbishing the dressing rooms for the upstairs theater and putting in a new lighting system upstairs.

Are you doing anything right now to keep your live theater going? Streaming? Having virtual meetings? Planning for your next show when you reopen?

DH:  Just this week, we put a video of In My Mind's Eye; and it’s available for steaming. In the coming weeks, we will upload other original works and make them available for streaming. Once it’s safe to gather again, we will resume rehearsals and start to reschedule our fundraisers. We have had tele-conferences, and some people have been meeting via Zoom."

Bobby Slaski, Kait Haire, Lloyd Pedersen, and Peyton Kirkner in "In My Mind's Eye" - Photo by Doug Engalla

What do you think will be the impact of COVID-19 on live theater in general in Los Angeles? Do you foresee any permanent changes?

DH:  Will live theater in Los Angeles change as a result of COVID-19? I am an optimist, so I always hope for the best. I hope that, after people have been quarantined and sequestered for weeks or months on end, they will be hungry for live theater and crave participating in live art played out before their eyes. I hope that theater-going habits will survive this pandemic. I hope that people will once again look for activities outside the safety of their homes.

Our matinees have always been popular with audiences. We had already planned to introduce additional Saturday matinees with London Suite, and we will continue to schedule them in once we’re up and running again.

My fear is that many businesses, including many theaters, will not survive this pandemic and will shutdown. I just hope that we can hang on and continue doing what we love doing.

What do you need right now to keep going forward? What would you like from the theater public?

DH:  Naturally, the thing we most need is money just to keep paying the rent (and in our case also the property taxes and insurance). We realize that — at this point in time — money is not easily given. We desperately need a new roof. The rains have damaged our structure and exterior doors and carpets. We’d also like a large storage shed to hold costumes, props, and set pieces. So, since we are an official 501 (c) (3), we can accept donations in kind (things like materials, labor, etc.)”

What are some of your future plans?

DH:  Once we re-gather, we will complete the rehearsal process and open two plays in rep (upstairs and downstairs). We have a very ambitious season planned (in both spaces). We will re-strategize our fundraising campaigns and events. And we will continue to audition and bring in new members, as well as continue to develop new plays and musicals.

In 2008, we did Inspecting Carol, which is kind of Noises Off  meets A Christmas Carol. It was in the beginning of the financial downturn, and people were generally depressed. It was so wonderful to be able to offer the community an evening of belly laughs. There were times where the laughter was so intense that the huge laughs turned into coughs. Laughter can be healing. So, personally, I am looking forward to presenting Neil Simon’s London Suite. A lot of people are familiar with Plaza Suite and even California Suite, but not that many people are familiar with the third entry in his Suite of Suites. It will be like discovering a new Neil Simon. That play opens whenever we reopen - which is currently set for mid-May - pandemic permitting, of course.


This article first appeared in LA Splash Worldwide.



COVID-19 THEATER SERIES: Ronnie Marmo on the Move - A Coast-to-Coast Artist


Originally from the East Coast, actor / producer / director / writer / chief bottle washer Ronnie Marmo has managed to call both the East and West coast home during his life-long career. Perhaps best known for his stellar performance in I'm Not a Comedian... I'm Lenny Bruce, which he also penned – directed, by the way, by the talented Joe Mantegna - or his three year / 150 episode run on General Hospital just a few years ago, Ronnie traveled from Los Angeles to New York to Chicago to entertain audiences far and wide. With critically acclaimed performances in dozens of plays, including Bill W. and Dr. Bob and Tony ‘N Tina’s Wedding, Ronnie co-founded Theatre 68 Los Angeles 19 years ago. The New York Chapter opened nine years ago now, making Theatre 68 a bi-coastal home for many artists. Despite his perpetual-motion-machine style, Ronnie took time out to interview during the COVID-19 “holiday” from live theater.


Ronnie Marmo as Lenny Bruce - Photo by Doren Sorell

How is the COVID-19 ban on live theater affecting you and Theatre 68?

Ronnie Marmo:  We tried to keep the Lenny Bruce show open in Chicago as long as we could. We got as far as Sunday, March 15 before we ultimately postponed the show and went dark for the time being. For our last four performances, we deliberately sold only a quarter of the 180 seats in the theater to allow for social distancing; and we sanitized everything that people might touch. In 25 years, I’ve never missed a performance. Now we don’t have a choice, but this virus is scary and it’s important to respect the people who know more than us about COVID-19 safety.

The LA and NY Chapters of Theatre 68 are currently dark for productions; however, the community is sticking together with our Monday Night Actors Gym on both coasts. It's a hard time right now because many of us don’t know much about this virus. I’m concerned for theaters both small and large around the world because, generally speaking, theater is not a very lucrative business; and many of us survive month to month. After all, we don’t get into the theater business to get rich. We do it because we can’t help ourselves; we love it. It’s a sickness of sorts (laughing). My hope is that people will continue to support the arts. For example, if you currently have tickets for a show or event, it would be wonderful if people can move those tickets to a performance down the road as opposed to asking for a refund - but ONLY if they could afford to do so.

Ronnie Marmo as Lenny Bruce - Photo by Doren Sorell 2

Tell us about your plans for the future. Will you continue with I'm Not a Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce? Do you have any new shows planned?

RM:  First and foremost, we plan on bringing the Lenny Bruce show back to Chicago just as soon as it is safe to do so. Also, we plan on having a few pop-up performances here in Los Angeles. We have just signed with Columbia Artists Theatrical, and they are working on a national tour. We have already had an offer for early 2021 in Tampa, Florida; and many other venues have inquired. But I assume that, with the virus, things may be delayed a bit. We will see.

Let me tell you a bit more about Theatre 68 and our productions. We have great leadership on both Coasts, and we’ve been in constant meetings making plans and finding ways to keep the company inspired during this very tough time.

I plan to keep moving forward in hopes that all will be well soon enough / Combined on both coasts, we have 90 actors who take part in our NOW virtual Monday Night Actor’s Gym. I’m constantly trying to help keep everyone engaged. We’re working really hard with lots of writing assignments, monologue jams, anything we can do virtually to continue to grow as artists. We’re constantly producing on both coasts. Right now, we’re working on Stupid Fucking Bird by Aaron Posner. It’s a great play, a really cool play. It’s sort of a contemporary version of Anton Chekhov’s, Seagull. We plan to open in June in Los Angeles. We’re having virtual auditions next week, and we plan to move forward as if it will happen, even if maybe we have to postpone it. In NY, we are in the middle of developing seven original one-act plays written by NY company members. We’re going into virtual auditions for that as well in the coming weeks.

Monday night at Theatre 68's virtual gym - Photo by Ronnie Marmo

Any final thoughts on live theater's survival during a pandemic?

RM:  Our survival depends on how kind the landlords are to theater owners. I’m going to work my pants off to keep this thing going for all involved. I feel that enthusiasm is the key to life, and that certainly has been the case for me. People have asked me how I’ve found success in different areas of show business, and I simply tell them - I do my best to finish what I start.


This article first appeared in LA Splash Worldwide.



COVID-19 THEATER SERIES: The Show Must Go On - An Interview with Echo Theatre Company's Chris Fields


A Los Angeles-based director, teacher, and actor, Chris Fields is currently the artistic director of the award-winning Echo Theater Company, a theater which he co-founded in 1997. Since its beginnings, the Echo Theater Company has presented multiple award-winning productions. Chris has worked in film and television, including stints in Fight Club, Apollo 13, Jurassic Park, NYPD Blue, and ER. From 1996 to 2000, he was founder and artistic director of the Ojai Playwrights Conference. As a director, he won the LADCC for Firemen and the Stage Raw award for Gloria. In 2017, the Company founded the National Young Playwrights in Residence in order to encourage and mentor young writers across the country. Describing Echo Theater Company’s approach to play selection, KCRW noted:

“The Echo Theater Company is on a fierce journey…they’re choosing plays that are consistently challenging, and all have a deep conscious…a rare commodity…the body of work that Echo is building is substantial…if you wanted to pick one small theater to add to your cultural roster – Echo is a consistent favorite.”

Chris took time from his busy schedule to interview in March 2020.


Steven Stroble, Alana Dietze, and Devere Rogers in "Gloria" - Photo by Darrett Sanders

Tell us something about the founding of the echo theatre company. What was the impetus for it to begin? What kind of programs does Echo offer? 

Chris Fields:  A half dozen of us founded Echo in 1996. The group of us went to the Eugene O’Neil National Playwrights Conference every year in the summer. One of the things we learned in the workshops was that the only way to develop a play is by working with the writer. Process, not product, is the key. We were all actors and transplants to LA, so we thought we would start a company that emphasized having a relationship with the writer.

One outgrowth of that was that award-winner Bekah Brunstetter wrote The Cake in our Lab. We told her to take her time with the play. We were able to do that because we have a relationship with her. Another writer we have a relationship with is Kate Robin, a writer for Six Feet Under on TV. She wrote Anon, and we put 22 women on stage in that one. By developing and maintaining a close relationship with writers, we’re able to develop really powerful stories.

Megan Ketch and Jackie Chung in "Cry It Out" - Photo by Darrett Sanders

When did you close the theater due to COVID-19? Were you in the middle of a run? 

CF: We were planning to open Chiara Atik’s Poor Clare on March 14, and we had previews on March 11 and March 12. The play was very well received. Then the Mayor shut down all the theaters, so we never really had an opening night.

Over the past few weeks, how has COVID-19 impacted your theater?

CF: Poor Clare was a world premiere production, and we put all our money into the show. When it didn't open, it was scary. We took a financial hit and immediately launched a fundraising campaign. Our financial model was shaken up quite a bit. Like almost everyone else in theater, it’s been tough going.

Kari Lee Cartwright, Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, and Martica De Cardenas in "Poor Care" - Photo by Darrett Sanders

Are you doing anything right now to keep our live theater going? Streaming? Having virtual meetings? Planning for your next show when you reopen? Auditioning? Fundraising? What would you like from the Theater public?

CF: We will have on-line meetings of Echo National Young Playwrights in Residence. We pair a novice with a professional artist mentor. We’ve always done that on Skype because the writers are chosen from all over the country. We also have the Echo Young Playwrights, which is LA-based; that too will meet digitally.

We’ve moved everything to digital platforms. That includes our weekly meetings and the Young Playwrights. We’re rehearsing a play right now via Zoom. It’s called Forget Me Not When Far Away by Kira Obolensky. She’s from Minneapolis and wrote the play for the “10,000 Things” Project. She wrote for an inmate population in Minnesota, and her play has 39 women and one male character. Eleven of our Associate Company members are cast, and we even have men playing women. It’s fine by me so long as they don’t “camp” it up; and Kira agreed. I’m not sure when it will open, since everything is up in the air.

Jenny Soo and Teagan Rose in "Dry Land" - Photo by Darrett Sanders

We have a Playwriting Lab headed up by Darcy Fowler, a writer, and Stephanie Ward, a director. We discussed the current situation and decided we can’t just sit around. We’re putting content on our Facebook page. We’ve also already posted a radio play to our Facebook page. We introduced a “Lifetime Pass” in which people pay $500 and have a lifetime pass to everything that Echo does. People are responding well to that. Since we’re a non-profit, it’s tax deductible too. We want the theater public to remain connected and involved.

 

What are some of your future plans?

CF: We want to keep on going. We’re hoping to open Poor Clare in July. We have a season of three plays planned. I hope that everything works out. Right now, I know that this will end at some point; and then we’ll be ready to offer quality productions again. We just keep going with love for our work and our community.


This article first appeared in LA Splash Worldwide.



Rosie Glen-Lambert Pens Intriguing Work for the Attic Collective

The Attic Collective has devised a new intriguing play entitled "I Decided I'm Fine: A Roach Play" written by Rosie Glen-Lambert and Veronica Tjioe and directed by Rosie Glen-Lambert. Glen-Lambert (pictured above) talks to us in great detail about the Attic Collective and this fascinating new work.

Tell first and foremost about the mission of The Attic Collective.

R G-L: The Attic Collective is a community of diverse young artists whose unique approach to live performance strives to redefine theatre, both in who it is for and what it can be. Our work investigates the human experience with equal parts joy and profundity; by utilizing magical realism, clowning, movement, music, and an emphasis on design, our work tackles universal questions through a lens of wonder and discovery. We offer our audiences universes unbound by the rules of reality as a sanctuary of escape to, and not from, their own emotions. We create theatre for theatre-lovers, theatre-haters, theatre-skeptics, theatre-believers, theatre professionals, theatre novices, or, put more simply: we create theatre for everyone.

How does this revamped play I Decided I'm Fine: A Roach Play fit into the mission?

R G-L: This is a play which tackles very difficult subject matter, so it would be easy for it to be two hours of difficult-to-watch drama. But our company believes in exploring the complexity of human emotion from seemingly unlikely vantage points. There is clowning in this show. There is comedy in this show. There is a fifteen minute cockroach musical in this show. It is our belief that, rather than minimizing the weightiness of this play, these moments of levity bring our audience closer to the emotional stakes present. Laughing one minute and crying the next is our brand. It is how we take care of our audience, assuring them that emotional release and enjoyment are not mutually exclusive. This is a very “Attic Collective” show.

The show is about hoarding. I am a hoarder myself, so can definitely relate to how serious a problem this is. What inspired you to write a play about this issue?

R G-L: It’s fascinating to me who self-identifies as a “hoarder” and who doesn’t. As a person who has held on to every note I’ve received since childhood and who cannot bring myself to throw out a single VHS tape in my storage unit, I used to sort of casually self-identify, finding it to be a kind of humorous self-deprecation. But the question of who and what a hoarder is is unbelievably complex. As we have been developing and discussing this show over the past two years I’ve gotten to hear varying responses to this classification. I Decided I’m Fine: A Roach Play was created after our company was commissioned by another theatre company to create a new, devised work as part of their season. The space we would be creating it for was wonderful but intimate-just 35 seats and two entrances. As we were pondering the best way to make the intimate setting for this new piece purposeful, I was simultaneously in the process of making multiple trips to Detroit to help my family sort through my grandmother’s home in preparation for helping her move into a nursing facility. My grandmother, a tough, wonderful woman, had a home teeming with belongings: antiques, documents, receipts, unopened purchases, etc. We always knew she was a collector, but the scale to which she had accumulated only really became evident as we were helping to facilitate this move.

I started to wonder about where this tendency stemmed from. Was it her impoverished upbringing, being raised by Jewish immigrants during the Great Depression? Was it a symptom of her abusive marriage? Had she collected to this extent as a response to her failing memory? I thought about the reality shows we have all become so familiar with, the ones which encourage us to shudder and retch at people who’ve “let things get out of control.” I thought about the way these shows focus on the symptoms of each “hoarder’s” lifestyle, giving little or no attention to the source of the compulsion. I thought about the way these shows are meant for entertainment. I did research about Compulsive Hoarding Disorder, and the ways in which hoarding is most often a response to a trauma. I thought about the way wealthier people are often considered “collectors” rather than hoarders because of the space they have to store their objects. I thought about my own overflowing storage unit (filled with things I inherited from my grandmother) and wondered what my own children will say about me as they facilitate my move one day. The topic felt too rich not to investigate further, so I brought it to the Company and we began devising this play.

The play concerns a serious problem with a couple who are experiencing a serious loss. How does the magic and clowning play into this scenario? How, as director, do you meet the challenges of the switch in tone?

R G-L: Hoarding is an incredibly delicate issue that is frequently handled indelicately. For many people, their only familiarity with the topic comes from reality television which has stigmatized and sensationalized the behavior. In creating a new piece of theatre which aimed to address hoarding empathetically, it felt impossible not to grapple with this cultural touchstone directly. We watched several episodes of both A&E’s “Hoarders” And TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive” as research and were struck by the presentational quality of these shows. Each “Hoarder’s” life was compressed into an hour-long episode where the most shocking and disturbing details were highlighted for the viewers benefit. This steered us towards a framing device for our show which addresses the sensationalism of these reality shows somewhat directly: celebrity doctors/lifestyle coach type characters who “present” the core story of Ellen, a woman who is hoarding as a response to loss. These characters are inherently clowns, representing a removal from the sympathy the audience may feel for Ellen. Separately, there is another frame through which the audience can watch the performance which highlights through magic and abstraction the comfort (as well as the distress) that Ellen gains from her accumulation. How do these different framing devices work together? I think quite similarly to the way we approach this topic in real life. Hoarding is something you are asked to gawk and laugh at when you’re watching strangers on television. It is something you feel sad about when you watch it have a stronghold over someone you love. It is something that can at times feel magical, like an incredible archive of a person’s life. The tonal shifts ask the audience to grapple with the complexity of the behavior itself.

Why did you revamp the original version of the play? Did audience reaction suggest this?

R G-L: As a company, we have created a number of new plays through our distinctive devising process which have all been well-attended and well-received. But I Decided I’m Fine: A Roach Play, which was originally performed in August of 2018, had a unique effect on our audience. It elicited the most vulnerable post-show conversations, resulted in the most thoughtful next-day email messages, and we continued to hear about the way it stuck with our audiences long past its final performance. People who thought coming in to the performance they had no personal connection to the subject matter left empathizing with friends and family, and people for whom the topic was deeply personal entered the performance with trepidation and left feeling validated and hungry for deeper conversation. And, thrillingly, a number of patrons who do not typically go to the theatre (some for whom this was their first live theatrical performance!) left excited about seeing more. One patron approached me afterwards to tell me that he “didn’t realize this is what theatre could be.” It felt like it was too special to put back in the vault, so we’ve continued to work on it in the hopes of bringing it to a wider audience.

Attic Collective has received awards and has a fantastic reputation in the theatre community. Could you talk about this a little bit?

R G-L: We are very proud of the work we have created for the Los Angeles community. This past summer, our sold-out run of The Last Croissant, which we produced for the Hollywood Fringe Festival, won Best Ensemble Theatre, Best of the Broadwater, as well as Top of the Fringe, the top honor awarded. We were also nominated for the Larry Cornwall Award for Musical Excellence as well as the Steve Kent Award for Social and Political Change. Our previous Fringe project, Dead Dog’s Bone: A Birthday Play was awarded the 2015 Encore Producer’s Award and earned nominations for Best Direction of the festival as well as Best Performance. Our devised play, What Happened to Where I’ve Been, was chosen to be a part of Son of Semele’s Company Creation Festival in 2017 and enjoyed an extension after the close of the Festival. In addition to the award-winning work we do, we are also extremely proud to offer free theatre workshops that are open to the community. Every three months we gather to hone our skills, create and play. It is a wonderful opportunity for artists to practice their craft and deepen their sense of community. In this way we hope that in addition to making a name for ourselves by creating thoughtful and evocative theatre we are also adding to the Los Angeles theatrical landscape by providing a place for artists to connect with one another.

Is there anything you wish to add?

R G-L: I think this is a special, very difficult play. I hope it can be the beginning of a continued conversation about grief, mental health, stigma and compassion.

Content Warning: Please be advised that the following themes which may be triggering for some audience members are present in this performance: Alcoholism, Anxiety, Compulsive Hoarding Disorder, Death, Death of an infant, Hoarding, Mental Illness.

I Decided I'm Fine: A Roach Play runs Feb. 7 – Mar. 1. It plays Fridays, Saturdays @ 8pm, Sundays 6pm) at Studio/Stage 520 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90004

For tickets, visit: TheAtticCollectiveLA.com/i-decided-im-fine-a-roach-play

(Photo credit: Rachel Rambaldi)


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – October 21 -27, 2019

Theatrical shows, Musicals, Improv, Workshops, and MORE, now registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

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

Skypilot One Act Festival

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The Goodbye Girl

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Tuesday Night Comics

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Dickens UnScripted by Impro Theatre at North Coast Rep

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How to Produce a Hollywood Fringe Show taught by Matthew Quinn

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Celebrity Autobiography

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Champ and His Four Women

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Eight Nights

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#HASH(TAG) AMERICA

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ORWELL'S 1984

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Elijah

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Film Maudit 2.0 - Highways Performance Space & Gallery

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Mope - Film Maudit 2.0 Film Festival

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Lake Michigan Monster - Film Maudit 2.0 Film Festival

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DOLLHOUSE: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity from American Popular Culture - Film Maudit 2.0 Film Festival

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Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway - Film Maudit 2.0 Film Festival

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Flesh City - Film Maudit 2.0 Film Festival

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HAPPY FACE - Film Maudit 2.0 Film Festival

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Sushi Girl Screening with Cast & Crew - Film Maudit 2.0 Film Festival

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Macbeth

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Troy

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WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT LOVE

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THE BOOK THAT WON'T CLOSE (Confessions of A Love Addict)

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WAR OF THE WORLDS

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The Mystery of Edwin Drood

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O2

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The 7 Stages of Grieving

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THE BEST MAN

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"MEET THE PUBLICISTS" PANEL PODCAST

Better Lemons and Theatre West hosted “Meet the Publicists” featuring several of LA's premier publicists for a panel discussion of theatre publicity, marketing, and promotion.

The following publicists were on the panel:

Tim Choy (Davidson & Choy Publicity)
DAVIDSON & CHOY PUBLICITY (Press Representatives) resume includes the original Evita through The Book of Mormon and stints with American Ballet Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Clients include Actor's Gang, Broad Stage, El Capitan Theatre, Ford Theatres, Hollywood Bowl, Lythgoe Pantos, Pasadena Playhouse, Segerstrom Center, Shakespeare Center LA, The Soraya, and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Lucy Pollak (Lucy Pollak Public Relations)
Lucy Pollak has been providing publicity services to the Los Angeles arts community for the past 27 years for companies including 24th STreet Theatre, Antaeus Theatre Company, The Echo Theater Company, Fountain Theatre, International City Theatre, L.A. Theatre Works, Latino Theater Company at the LATC, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Padua Playwrights, Theatre Planners, Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum; numerous independent theater and dance productions; and large events and festivals such as the annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration at The Music Center.

From 1981 to 1990, she was production manager/staff producer at the Odyssey Theatre, where she co-produced over 100 productions with artistic director Ron Sossi.

She is the recipient of a Los Angeles Drama Critic's Circle Award (Master Class), an LA Weekly Award (Mary Barnes), four Drama-Logue Awards (Mary Barnes, Idioglossia, Accidental Death of An Anarchist, It's A Girl!), and a Women in Theatre Recognition Award. She has served on the boards of directors of the Los Angeles Theatre Alliance (now L.A. Stage Alliance), Women in Theatre and P.A.T.H. (Performing Arts Theatre for the Handicapped).

Philip Sokoloff
PHILIP SOKOLOFF has been a publicist for 24 years. He represents over 100 live attractions and several dozen feature films annually. His long-term clients include Theatre 40, Edgemar Center for the Arts, Sierra Madre Playhouse, Robey Theatre Company, Arena Cinelounge, Dean Productions and more.He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America. He has also produced for stage and television and has been an actor for 49 years.

Lynn Tejada (Green Galactic)
For 25 years, Green Galactic Founder Lynn Tejada has been the go-to publicist in Los Angeles for alternative art and culture producers, representing clients on a local, regional, national, and international scale. Since 1994, her promotions and client-base has included music of all sorts, theatre, art, film, dance, and more.

Tejada is also drawn to helping charities and nonprofit clients – she currently sits on the board of Linda Carmella Sibio's Bezerk Productions, Dance Camera West and on the advisory board of Lauren Segal's Give A Beat. She is also on the Honorary Board of Flea's Silverlake Conservatory of Music and sat on the board of humanitarian nonprofit NextAid for many years.


Sherwood Award-winning Kristina Wong Brings 'UndocuStories' Through LA Department of Cultural Affairs Grants

Actress, Comedian, and local Politician, Kristina Wong, will be presenting a “UndocuStories: Journeys of Justice and Freedom” workshop series at the Dream Resource Center in MacArthur Park, beginning September 3, 2019.

Sponsored by UCLA Dream Resource Center, Wong, and the UCLA Labor Center, the workshop is funded by an Artist-in-Residence grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

In the eighth year as recipient of this grant as Artist-in-Residence, Wong, who refers to her work as “mind-blowing social commentary with a little humor,” on a picture of her 2020 Census Form posted on her Facebook page, facilitated a similar workshop last year where DACA recipients, undocumented individuals, permanent residents, mixed-status families, and allies participated with a similar grant, which was increased this year from $8,000 to $12,000.

Participants in the "UndocuStories" workshops in 2018 in an exercise involving karaoke. (Photo courtesy of Kristina Wong/UCLA Dream Resource Center)

“Last year’s show was a combination of comedy sketches, poetry, movement work, first-person testimonials and a cover of Vanilla’s Ice Ice Baby called “ABOLISH Ice, Ice Baby,” she said. “This year's workshop will specifically center on experiences of undocumented immigrants.”

Wong, who is a newly elected Representative for Sub-District 5 Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council, recently received the Center Theatre Group’s Dorothy and Richard E. Sherwood Award for her work as a “Boundary-Pushing Artist,” which was presented to her at the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards ceremony at this year.

"UndocuStories: Journeys of Justice and Freedom" is a twelve-week theater workshop facilitated by Wong, that will feature guest artists Yosimar Reyes (2nd Verse: The Rebirth of Poetry) and Kat Evasco (Working in the Theater) who will teach skills in comedy writing, Theater of the Oppressed (TO), movement, and performance, where participants will engage on issues that “impact the undocumented immigrant community, transforming those stories into an original theater piece for the public,” said Wong on the LAFPI site.

According to the Mandala Center for Change, TO is a form of community-based education that “uses theater as a tool for social change" that was developed by Augusto Boal.  Theater of the Oppressed "is now used all over the world for social and political activism, conflict resolution, community building, therapy, and government legislation. It is also practiced on a grassroots level by community organizers, activists, teachers, social workers, cultural animators, and more."

Per Wong, as a public elected official in Koreatown in “a small, unpaid position, but very mighty,” a lot of her constituency and neighborhood is undocumented. In her first 100 days in office, and while still working as an actress, comedian, and writer, she wrote a community impact statement about supporting the abolishment of ICE (Integrations and Customs Enforcement), and that process may make it into a future show. Since then she has made it her goal to work and educate toward achieving social justice through her comedy, where she discusses social issues affecting people of color—especially women of color—, white privilege, and how to be an armchair social justice warrior (or a better one on foot). A great example of her approach is one of her earlier productions titled the “Wong Street Journal.”

“Last year, our allies were really great about stepping up to support the storytelling of our undocumented participants and de-centering themselves when necessary to keep the focus of storytelling on the experiences of undocumented participants,” said Wong in her blog.

Each week, for twelve weeks, with information provided by the Dream Resource Center, participants will explore a new topic that specifically affects the undocumented community, such as “Know your Rights” or healthcare options for undocumented communities and unaccompanied minors crossing the border, along with theater games, a mix of improv and sketch writing exercises, and performance work.

For some individuals who might be concerned about giving their identities with regard to the workshop and performances, they will establish community rules at the top of each meeting so that “everyone is on the same page about how to work together,” according to the LAFPI article, so participants may not be required to give full names if they are undocumented.

“Just let us know if you don’t want your name published on materials or if there are limits as to what you want to share with the group or publicly,” Wong wrote on the LAFPI site.

With regard to any fears about ICE roundups, Wong said, “they would have to have a warrant” [for an individual] and that there are staff members present who are “super trained on how to address ICE” if they were to show. But she feels confident that would not happen or be an issue.

“To those who are not undocumented, it seems scary, but the "Know Your Rights" training in the workshop prepares the undocumented as well as the allies so that we are all ready to put the knowledge to the task," Wong said. “But also they have to ring a doorbell to come in, so we'd at least be able to confront them at the door.”

The “UndocuStories: Journeys of Justice and Freedom” workshop is located at UCLA Downtown Labor Center at 675 S Park View St, Los Angeles, CA 90057, which will meet Tuesdays from September 3 - November 19, 2019, from 6 - 8 p.m., with the final performance on November 19th at 7 p.m. Participants do not need to be a UCLA student to attend, there are no age restrictions for the workshop, the workshop is free, and dinner will be provided at each session. For more information contact: [email protected].


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 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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Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – March 10 - 17, 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.

Tangerine Sunset

“Every paradise has a tragic, uh, comic, no, dark side (yes). This homegrown play will close the 22nd Season in the Broadwater Main Stage. In the vein of Absolutely Filthy, Watson, A Kind of Love Story and Beaverquest!, Sacred Fools brings you another show created in its late-night comedy cauldron, Serial Killers. TANGERINE SUNSET tells the story of several unlucky souls who find themselves the involuntary guests of a palatial estate on a mysterious private island. These celebrities, billionaires, madmen, and innocents desperately try to survive the night with their lives and sanity intact. Somewhere in the dark intersection of murder, mayhem, and laughter lies the Tangerine Sunset.”

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Faith Healer

“Brian Friel's mysterious, humorous and unforgettable work about the life and times of an itinerant Irish healer. Is Fantastic Francis Hardy a miracle worker — or a showman in search of a dollar?.At once a Rashomon type mystery, a delving into talent versus sham and, ultimately, a uniquely metaphysical view of life .March 23 – May 12: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with 3 additional weeknight performances on Wed., April 10; Thurs, April 18; and Wed., May 10, all at 8 p.m. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025; For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.”

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The Sound of Murder

“Charles Norbury is a wildly successful author of children's books. He hates children, and pretty much anyone else, too. He's petty, cruel, vindictive, and treats his unloved wife like a slave. He also refuses to have children with her. In short, he's the sort of fellow who would make the world a better place if only he would just die. Anne, the wife, has found some solace in the arms of her handsome lover, Peter. Charles won't grant her a divorce: It would damage him professionally with the parents of his juvenile fans. The one person who has real regard for Charles is his loyal secretary, Miss Forbes. She is infatuated with Peter.
Anne and Peter deduce that the only way they will ever be to be together forever is if they kill Charles. They come up with a scheme to effect his murder. But things just don't go according to plan…
The plot of The Sound of Murder has more twists and turns than the Arroyo Parkway. Surprise follows surprise, and you'll be kept guessing as to what exactly the heck is going on until the very end.”

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Clybourne Park

“Pulitzer Prize winning family drama inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. Act One, set in 1959, shows nervous white community leaders trying to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Act 2, set in 2009, the same house, the same neighborhood, shows the now-predominantly African-American neighborhood battling to hold its ground in the face of white gentrification. How the world turns!”

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Social Media Tips and Tricks for Creatives

“From Beefing it Up to Navigating Algorithms...This workshop is specifically for anyone who is promoting a theater production, venue, film, documentary or short, writing, or is looking to self-promote in general on social media. In this 1 hour presentation with a Q & A following, writer Monique LeBleu will share tools on how to beef up your social media presence—or start one—find your target audience, make the best use of online event calendars, create a timeline for promoting your project, and learn to use social media algorithms to your best advantage. You will learn how to: Determine the best times to post on social media to reach your audience Find Groups and public event postings Use open online calendaring forms Find where you can post press releases online for free Use hashtags, tagging, and other tools that aren't just exclusive to social media Attendees will receive handouts of information to take, along with a completed flowchart to help jump-start the process guiding you forward, and networking and idea sharing will be encouraged at Studio C thereafter.”

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Stuart Little

“Stuart Little is a mouse born into a human family in New York City. Though his stature is appropriately small for a mouse, he displays a wit and intelligence far beyond his years. He engages in a variety of adventures: Winning a sailboat race in Central Park; Befriending a beautiful bird and protecting her from a malicious cat; Attempting to court a diminutive human female from a wealthy society family; Being rescued from a garbage scow; Learning to drive a car; Working as a substitute teacher; Searching for a missing friend; Making his way (rather successfully) in the world.”

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LACKAWANNA BLUES

“A magical, musical, and deeply personal work written and performed by Tony Award® winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Lackawanna Blues is a reminiscence of his 1950s childhood in a small town on the banks of Lake Erie. Santiago-Hudson takes on more than 20 colorful characters—from would-be philosophers and petty hustlers to lost souls and abandoned lovers—in a brilliant celebration of the eccentric boardinghouse he grew up in. Santiago-Hudson returns to his roots in this tour de force performance with live blues music by composer Bill Sims Jr., performed by Grammy Award-winning blues guitarist, composer, and actor Chris Thomas King.”

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Nude Art LA's Spring 2019 Art and Fashion Show

“Nude Art LA is an event unlike anything you have ever seen. Exploring the artistic expression of the nude human form, the show combines a carefully curated collection of world-class, traditional fine art (photographs, paintings, sculptures, etc.) with interactive exhibits and jaw-dropping live performances that include body painting, burlesque, live figure sketching, nude yoga, pole dancing, and so much more. And, new for Spring, 2019: a “naked fashion show” with some of the most amazing and revealing examples of wearable art and fashion you have ever seen...The Fall 2018 show featured 65 artists and a dozen live performers, and admitted over 1,000 guests in just four hours!”

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Fuddy Meers

“Rubicon Theatre continues the company's 21st “Coming of Age” season with the hilarious and harrowing, politically incorrect comedy FUDDY MEERS by playwright DAVID-LINDSAY-ABAIRE. In this outrageously funny roller-coaster ride of a play, Claire, an amnesiac. wakes up each day having forgotten the details of her life. This morning, like all mornings, her seemingly devoted husband Richard greets her with a cup of coffee and a scrapbook of memories. But when he steps away, a limping, lisping man claiming to be Claire's brother pops out from under her bed and says he is there to save her. He takes her to her mother's home in the country, where Claire meets a naïve man with a foul-mouthed puppet, discovers her husband and son have kidnapped an aggressive lady cop, and comes face-to-face with her past.”

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Leaving Prince Charming

“Follow an unorthodox fairy godmother as she travels down the rabbit hole of intimate partner abuse, manipulation, and trauma bonding. This IS a love story, but not the kind you're expecting.
A one-woman serio-comedy told through multimedia and fifteen unique characters, “Leaving Prince Charming” is an unconventional fairytale of one damsel's journey to a different kind of Happily Ever After. Content Warning: Triggering sexual content and usage of prop gun. Not kid friendly.”

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SIMPATICO

“Sam Shepard puts his spin on noir, where he exposes the underbelly of the horse track world. When a couple of grifters, Vinnie and Carter, are caught by a prominent horse racing official, they conjure up a blackmail scheme that involves some scandalous photos and hush money. Now, twenty years later, the past catches up to them when Vinnie decides he's done with being hushed. Colorful characters and juicy dialogue make Shepard's obscure little comedy a wild ride to remember.”

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Small Little Safe World

“Small Little Safe World is the story of Dave, a middle-aged lonely man with no living family and only one friend. He works as a motel desk clerk and eats his meals in a diner. One day, Erin, a much younger woman, strikes up a conversation with him in the diner. They hit it off and enter a relationship, but Erin is looking for a very specific type of relationship, one that will walk the fragile line of reality and fantasy.”

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Producers of the Capezio A.C.E. Awards 'Break the Floor' Bring 'MOVES at The Montalbán' in a Three Day Festival of Dance

Break the Floor Productions, longtime producer of the Capezio A.C.E. Awards, in partnership with The Montalbán, brings MOVES at The Montalbán, a three-day festival celebrating emerging talent in dance, to Los Angeles, Friday, March 15 – Sunday, March 17, 2019.

The dance festival offers audiences the chance to see new talent in the world of choreography and dance. The inaugural festival's three-day engagement inside the historic theatre will host engaging, world-premiere live dance performances inside the historic theatre.

After each performance, audiences can gain access to an exclusive Rooftop After Party featuring talent from the show and more live dancing.

The festival will feature all styles of dance, with pre and post-show entertainment, during the entire weekend.

According to a statement, MOVES at The Montalbán will feature a line-up to include "winners of the coveted Capezio A.C.E Award for outstanding choreography"--awards presented each year to the top choreographers of the future." The festival with include performances by recent Capezio A.C.E Award winners Entity Contemporary Dance Company, co-directed by Marissa Osato and Will Johnston, tap company Rhythmatic, directed by Nick Young, and contemporary choreographer Lukas McFarlane. The festival will also feature veteran choreographers of various backgrounds providing attendees a body of work and teachings from a variety of disciplines.

Will Johnston by Mike Esperanza.

“We wanted to create a dance festival here, in Los Angeles, for years and we're thrilled that the recent winners of the Capezio A.C.E. Awards will be able to show off their talents to all of the dance fans in LA," said Nikole Vallins, a producer with Break the Floor Productions in a statement. "Presenting this festival at the iconic Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood just adds to the amazing opportunity for these outstanding choreographers and dancers.”Led by owner Gil Stroming, Break the Floor Production is a dance entertainment company with a reach of over 500,000 dancers annually. The company has produced tours of Travis Wall's Shaping Sound shows "Dance Reimagined" and "After the Curtain," and this summer Al Blackstone's "Freddie Falls in Love" will be performed for New York audiences at the Joyce Theater.

Founded by Nick Young, Rhythmatic recently appeared on the NBC hit competition show "World of Dance." Since then,  Young and his dancers have performed in Bermuda, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

Los Angeles-based Entity Contemporary Dance, founded in 2009 by choreographers Will Johnston, Marissa Osato, and Elm Pizarro, "interweaves modern, jazz, and hip-hop dance techniques" with a desire to "forge connections between the Southern California hip-hop and contemporary dance communities." The Company has produced two full-length works, "Braxon vs. Oregon" (2014/2015) and "PEEL" (2016/2017), which ran in Los Angeles, and toured San Francisco, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Locally, they hold open company class every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood.

25-year-old Creative/Choreographer Lukas McFarlane, from Canada, was crowned the UK and Ireland's best dance act, winning Sky1's hit TV show, "Got to Dance" in 2013 at just 19. Now assistant creative director to Brian Friedman on "The X Factor," he is also a choreographer on the show. He's choreographed for the BBC's "Strictly Come Dancing," ITV's "The Voice UK" and "Change Your Tune.," and has worked on "So You Think You Can Dance" in four countries, including here in the U.S.  and is a teacher and Creative Director of his London-based dance company UnTitled Dance Company.

Located just south of the world-famous Hollywood & Vine intersection, The Montalbán is Hollywood's classic theatre reborn for a new era of performing arts, and screened entertainment. In 1999, Emmy Award-winning actor Ricardo Montalbán and his Foundation bought the building in 1999, with a goal to provide "inspiration and employment for young Latinos as well as other underrepresented people throughout the community," in Hollywood. Since 1927, the classic Beaux Arts building was the first "legitimate live Broadway-style theater in Hollywood" and is one of the few remaining mid-sized and fully equipped proscenium theaters in Los Angeles, featuring orchestra, mezzanine, loge, and balcony seating. The rooftop space, with a bar, concession stand, and full kitchen, hosts contemporary and classic films screened throughout the year. Once owned by Howard Hughes, CBS Radio, A&P grocery chain heir Huntington Hartford, and the Greek Theater's James Doolittle, The Montalbán is now under the direction of Montalbán's son-in-law Gilbert Smith.

MOVES at The Montalbán is located at 1615 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90028. Tickets are $40/$65 nightly, and festival passes are available for $80/$120 (general admission/VIP packages), Friday, March 15 - Sunday, March 17, 2019. For more information or for tickets, please contact the box office at 323-461-6999 or visit MOVES at The Montalbán.

Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – January 14 - 27, 2019

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

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Now Registered This Week on the Better Lemons Calendar – November 25 through December 2, 2018

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

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