Event Editor: Monique LeBleu

Monique A. LeBleu is a freelance writer, photojournalist, and podcaster. She is currently also a contributing weekly Columnist and Podcaster on Better Lemons, is Co-Editor on The Los Angeles Beat online magazine, and is Editor-in-Chief of ScopingLA.com, an online magazine on All-Things-L.A. She has a background in smaller theatre as an Assistant Director, Properties, and Technician, and as a Production Coordinator, Continuity, and Editor in Post-production Film. Her subject interests for coverage focuses on food, theater, music, film, art, and Greater Los Angeles' evolving cultural landscape.
Nov

Klingon Tamburlaine

Together, with loads of hand-to-hand combat drama and some unique puppetry, Klingon Tamburlaine is a brilliant marriage of a Christopher Marlowe classic and Star Trek lore in this unofficial adaptation of Marlowe’s “Tamburlaine the Great, Parts I and II.”

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Oct

Pit of Goblins

The scariest of things is not that which slinks behind walls, lurks in the dark, or hides deep within a dark and ominous pit. It is that which stands before us, in plain sight, and often without giving us the remotest clue of how truly frightened we should be. Hollywood Fringe veteran Mitchell Bisschop's newest multi-media infused show, "Pit of Goblins," tells the story of Wayne, a small-town serial killer who feeds his victims to a pit of goblins in the woods in order to avoid discovery. In this, Bisschop paints both a funny and realistically sad picture of a man who, encouraged by desperation and a comically twisted justification, commits acts of horror in order to prevent the destruction of his hopes, dreams, and aspirations within his community.

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Jul

The Same Room

“The Same Room” is about as intimately intense as it can get. Playwright and Actress Kelley Pierre's razor-sharp script points a laser beam on the effects of retained anger and resentment, and the gifts that forgiveness, understanding, and even self-acceptance, might bring. Together with Sam Sheeks, the two actresses play off each other seamlessly as their two characters in “The Same Room” take us through the kinds of wounded animal reactions that can spring from such pain and resentment, whether fueled by stubbornness and insecurities, or brought on by host of other obstacles that we place in front of ourselves and others when we refuse to accept or open ourselves to all variety of forgiveness. Neatly directed by Scott Golden, we acutely feel the claustrophobia, desperation, fear, and confusion of these characters which is intensified by the fight choreography of Nikki Muller, while the mystery slowly evolves. Golden intensifies these feelings by very smartly housing the show in the very smallest of theatre spaces, forcing an intimacy that manages to be both equally uncomfortable as well as comforting. The chemistry between his actors is acute as well, where body language and movement are keenly used in the small Broadwater space. This show simply might not work in a larger theatre. The end result might make you want to watch it again to see what briefest of hints you might have missed in this amazing exploration of what it truly means to be free. (NO EXTERNAL STORY URL)

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Jul

Lord of the Lies

James Kirkland's very funny and tightly written piece might not make you agree with his (once held?) Flat Earth theories, but you just might come to understand where some accepted truths can come into question when other lies are found close by. One could even say that if one had been involved in a sex cult that involved magic mushroom hallucinogens, becoming a flat-earther might not be a far climb. With mass information coming at us through our devices and from all sides—presidents shouting "Fake news!," Tsunami triggered nuclear meltdowns, magic bullet theories, and a daily deluge of other potential (and actual) conspiracies (“My Internet's down! I'm blocked out my emails! Am I hacked? Is it the Russians?” ) it's no wonder that were don't already believe that up is down, right is left, or right is wrong. A true strength in the piece is that, among everything, at the heart of Kirkland's pursuit of the truth is also a sincere search for real companionship. I'd see this show again because I feel like I'd catch a real nugget of wisdom I might have missed the first go around. Or perhaps to get the name of that mushroom again. (NO EXTERNAL STORY URL)

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Jul

Disrobed: Why So Clothes-minded?

Although the “meet the parents” trope may seem a bit worn, what is unique here is the twist on the reasons for trepidation by one member of the couple. Brought before you is something that might never make the average deal breaker list, but presents a true test of an unconditional love that might endure. Knowing this was an adaptation of a play from the 1930s has made me curious to the original, as Steven Vlasak's update contains just enough contemporary cultural nods to make it fresh, while still containing enough tasteful, but not tactless, nudity puns to keep it funny and from feeling dated.

For the clothing optional performance of “Disrobed: Why so clothes-minded?” the show quickly brought the open nudity comfort level up with picture projections of everyday naturists during the walk in at house open. From there, the performers quickly did the same. When characters were comfortable, so was the audience. But by the same token, when the characters are nervous, we empathize more and find ourselves waiting for the moment that they become comfortable in their “skin.” The quickness and ease in which this all takes place brings well our focus to the emotions of the characters. This a testament to the actors, where only some are actual naturists, and the work of Director Brian Knudson. (NO EXTERNAL STORY URL LINK)

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Jul

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

This is an astonishing show from start to finish! Jenelle Randall's Eartha Kitt is on target both in interview vocal inflection, tone, and quality, as well as in her song vocals. With a live band and singing top hits like "C'est Si Bon," " Let's Do It "and of course, "I Want To Be Evil," and more, Randall makes gentle use of the famous Cat Woman's famous trilling purr, while presenting Kitt's best and most tragic historical aspects of her life in interview-style story. I should note here that there are no extensions and no idea of when the show might return. However, this show was sold out every night and with good reason. If you find it, see it!

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Jul

My Name Is Mommy

April Wish's high “Clementine” is a hilarious take on Motherhood. Through her travels and travails, perils and escapades, and overall “Miss-adventures” with her daughter Clementine, Wish shares with equal and intense passion about her children through both the funny and the downright painful aspects of childbearing, child rearing, and childhood “projecting.” As she wades through a stage chock full of toys, costumes, and the stuff of childhood fantasies, along with the use of projections of some rather hysterical early videos, Wish presents a series of anecdotes that segue well between her own creative childhood, her desire and pursuit as an actress, the the effects of motherhood on her body, her marriage, and her career. In there as well is some very poignant history and reflections on her family's own heritage and those she had more to say to. Sounds like a lot? It is. About 75 minutes worth. But Wish does bring a lot of charm to fill it. (NO EXTERNAL URL LINK)

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Jul

No Child Left Behind

Funny and sharply written solo show “No Child Left Behind,” written and performed by Makha Mthembu, focuses on a South African girls' school teacher whose students are being taught during Apartheid in South Africa during the time of Nelson Mandela's recent release, new times of desegregation, and just prior to voting on the referendum in 1992.

The class opens with their national anthem, as any class in any country might do, which sets the tone for a complacent, but enthusiastic, political reverence by their instructor that is both chilling and familiar. Within her struggle to explain the coming referendum to her students, based on a “new” student's open question, is exhibited a series of veiled—and not so veiled—elements of long term, deep-seated racism, and general short-mindedness.

The rest is more nuanced. And depending on your perspective, your take on our teacher for the day's background and upbringing here may vary. This is part of Mthembu's brilliance. This short play, which is only 30 minutes, may afterward bring about many questions to ask yourself about the nature, construction, and dissemination of our own contemporary historical education, past and present, including its influence, its inconsistency, or its incompleteness...or all of the above. Where you were born in this country, what your race might be, and how old you are will definitely factor into your own assessment. This show has been extended to July 12, 2019, at 8 p.m. at Thymele Arts and is free. (NO EXTERNAL REVIEW)

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Jul

Batter Up: My Brain on Baseball

You don't have to love– or even like–baseball in order to love this show, but it helps. “Batter Up: My Brain on Baseball” is an astonishing display of memory retention like no other. Highly entertaining and charismatic self-defined “baseball savant” Brett Moore not only gives us some somewhat practical knowledge of Baseball Hall of Fame statistical information--for me, it's almost useless--but also presents some really great historical information as well. His extensive knowledge also includes that of the Negro Leagues—the nearly forgotten collective financial savior to Major League Baseball during (and post) wartime years—and he presents all of this in a way that the audience has control of how the information is tapped into (culled?) directly from his brain...Often live-timed to increase the drama, each series of “self-tests” brings harder and increasingly more interesting challenges.

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Jul

Cirque du Giselle

"Cirque du Giselle" is a very unique Fringe performance by Aeriform Arts' instructors and students that incorporates the tragic classic ballet “Giselle,” along with aerial, acrobatics, and cirque art that, combined with projection and lighting that spills onto the aerial silks and stage backdrops, results in a gorgeous and visceral moody mix of texture and drama. The dance performance came second in the overall performance, but the aerial performances, acrobatics, and stilt-walking often simply took my breath away. Many others audibly gasped all around us. Standouts were leads Tamysen Malles and Tavi Stutz, with Stutz being exceptional in both dance and aerial choreography. The first half, involving the pains of first love and rejection, is lighter to start, with gorgeous projections of old world Europe that cast playful light on the dancers and aerialists. The second act was darker, and deliciously spooky, with various “afterworld” creatures who'd coax and haunt, including a pair of stilt-walkers that, when tethered, appeared to both comfort and torment our protagonists. The culmination is a glorious and well-meshed cirque ballet that, should it come back, must not be missed! Pray it comes back. (NO LINK TO URL REVIEW; FORTHCOMING)

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Jun

Tattered Capes

"..[a] fresh, funny, and poignant new work...While celebrating their wedding anniversary, Kevin (Travis Joe Dixon) and Stephanie’s (Joanna Mercedes) date is spoiled by a supervillain attack, resulting in the unmasking of Kevin as a superhero. However, what he soon learns is that Stephanie has a secret too. What follows is an action-packed and introspective take on the nature of real honesty, mutual acceptance, growth, and choice in contemporary relationships...Interspersed are some well-choreographed action and shadow ballet by Fringe veterans Corey Lynn Howe, director, and Soda Persi, choreographer–together and respectively–that provide a nice juxtaposition between the loving relationship between Kevin and Stephanie and the harshness of their realities. Not just for fans of the superhero action genre, “Tattered Capes” takes a good, hard look at unconditional love and acceptance in modern marriage. Be sure to bring a date."

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Jun

The Bully Problem

So far, this is my favorite musical to come out of Hollywood Fringe this year. Remember how you felt the first time you performed in, or even saw, your first high school or college musical? Remember that giddy excitement that sent warm shivers down your spine, instilling a feeling that told you this is how it should always be? If for some reason you've since lost that passionate feeling about musical theatre, then
The Bully Problem will resurrect it. The show is chock full of tasty toe-tapping songs, dance numbers, and uplifting and inspiring "good feels." This is a tremendously talented ensemble cast of "nerds" and "bullys" who, together with a very handy "invention," teach and encourage how and when to take that stand. Bring all of your kids and your neighbors, their teachers, their administrators, and the whole of LAUSD. Bring them now.

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Jun

Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive The Apocalypse

Fan's of veteran Hollywood Fringe producer, director, and writer Matthew Robinson's passed shows might see this campy farce romp as a departure. Fans of dystopian apocalypse tropes will revel. Fun, in tune with celebrity culture, and occasionally quite silly, the show is a nice romp for the sci-fi nerd in all of us. As with the film "Idiocracy" (2006), the what-if's may sound ridiculous and absurd. But with where we are now in society, in current politics, and in the increasing rise of celebrity culture, you may be laughing a lot less at the absurdity but laughing because–if we don't–we might cry.

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Jun

Bunny the Elf LIVE!

Ever ready and festively dressed (try not to covet those shoes,) Bunny embarks to work for “one of the best humans ever!”– a dream come true. Endlessly sparkling and positive, she's loaded with anecdotes on the joys (and perils) of spreading holiday cheer, motivating in “Elf” meetings (“Elfin' Rocks!”), encouraging (and corraling) customers, and generally elfing around...In lieu of Bunny's failures, her untainted charm, innocence, honesty, sincere love of people and genuine desire to be of help, succeed. Highlights are drunk Bunny at the store's Holiday party and an ultimate reveal that tucked away for Bunny is a real “gift."

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Jun

BLACKBOXING

Actor and writer, Matt Ritchey, takes an insightful and loving dig into theatre and theatre-types, through his character “Travis,” in his show “Blackboxing” at the Dorie Theatre at the Complex, for the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019 throughout the month of June...A “one-man show, with a two-person cast,” Ritchey's “Blackboxing” hysterically goes to the mattresses with the odd and occasional solo show that tends to take the opportunity to use the stage as; a) a reason to regurgitate their life story; b) a form of personal therapy, or; c) a vehicle for their own masturbatory amusement—or all three.

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Jun

Lincoln 2020

Fast-paced satire "Lincoln 2020," written and produced by Holiday Kinard, and neatly directed by Colleen Labella, hits some very sharp political notes in their first-year effort at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, now playing at the Broadwater Second Stage. Mirroring the debacle that was the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, this pointed satire asks a pretty good “What if" on a number of contemporary political, social, racial and LGBT issues in the aftermath of 2016–a blame for which we must both sling and shoulder–and all the while managing to be pretty damn funny. (See link for more.)

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Nov

Blue Surge

Intimate relationships are tricky, especially when opposites attract. It's even trickier when lovers are on opposite sides of the law. “Blue Surge” addresses a few tricky relationships—an existing one, a blossoming one, and a would-be one (if it weren't for the existing one.)

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Nov

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

From a historical flashback to an inspector's introductions; from a lush facade of an Istanbul restaurant to the train's busy platform—all are seamless and lovely opening transitional scenes. But the single most spectacular moment in the opening of "Murder on the Orient Express" is the introduction of the play's true main character, the grand entrance of the Orient Express. Spectacularly crafted by Scenic designer Stephen Gifford and lit by multi-Ovation award-winning Lighting Designer Jared A. Sayeg, with Sergey Prokofiev's "Dance of the Knights" Epps guides the Orient Express into a grand entrance worthy of a diva.

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Jul

Vixen DeVille ReVealed

Although Vixen DeVille aka Cat LaCohie is sexy, warm, welcoming, energetic and embarrassingly gifted in a wide variety of talents, she is also self-deprecating, tough-as-nails, and incredibly funny. Winner of the 2018 Best International, Soaring Solo Artist and Encore Awards, as well as Nominated for Best of Cabaret & Variety, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, LaCohie's show "Vixen DeVille Revealed" is first and foremost definitely an adult show. But it's also immensely entertaining, comical, and even educational, with occasional moments of heartbreaking truth.

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Jul

Buzz'd Out! - Live!

For fans of trivia games, games shows, colorful game show hosts, and perhaps even “splooshing” enthusiasts, “Buzz'd Out! Live!” at the Studio/Stage in Hollywood is definitely for you!...Although a family show, this immersive show is geared towards adult participants who willingly—if not enthusiastically—set themselves up for getting splashed on, dumped out, puddinged and generally “creamed” with an assortment of food and non-food related items in a competition that pits fours contestants against each other in a battle of wits, gooey projectiles, and/or other physical challenges...Sharp, polished, and ready for their close-up, this team of ready-for-prime-time players promises to continue on beyond the Fringe, if not onto the television broadcast firmament. And if you didn't already have a food-related fetish before the show, you just might after.

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ADS
  • THE ART OF DINING at the Gloria Gifford Conservatory
  • The Double V
  • BEFORE with Pat Kinevane at the Odyssey Theatre
  • La Vie En Rose with Julia Migenes
  • Nick Rubando for Congress - Fundraiser at Three Clubs

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