Born To Win

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CELEBRATION
Presents the First Show in its 2019 Season!
DREW DROEGE & MATTHEW WILKAS
starring in
The Los Angeles Premiere of
BORN TO WIN
Written by Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock
Choreography by Janet Roston
Directed by Michael Matthews

THE COMPETITION BEGINS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15
AT THE LEX THEATRE IN HOLLYWOOD!

Pinky Corningfield has always dreamed of her daughter winning the “Supreme Queen.” So when Marge, a newcomer to the child pageant circuit, shows up with her daughter and starts grabbing all the glory, Pinky will stop at nothing to get the crown.
ABOUT THE CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

The cast of BORN TO WIN will feature: Drew Droege as Bobby/Buddy, Matthew Wilkas as Bob/Gunner, Julanne Chidi Hill as Pinky, Daiva Duepree as Marge/Pinky’s Mother.

MICHAEL MATTHEWS (Director) Los Angeles: Cabaret (Celebration), The Seafarer (Laguna Playhouse), The Graduate (Laguna Playhouse), End of the Rainbow (McCoy-Rigby/La Mirada), 12 Angry Men (Laguna Playhouse), Failure; a Love Story (CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre), Billy and Ray (Laguna Playhouse), Dream Boy (LA Premiere), Bootycandy (LA Premiere; LADCC Nomination, Production), Failure; a Love Story (Ovation Award Best Director) (LA Premiere),Sons of the Prophet (LA Premiere), Psyche; a Modern Rock Opera (World Premiere), Rabbit Hole (McCoy- Rigby/La Mirada), Funny Girl (3D Theatricals, Ovation Nomination Best Director), Peter Pan; The Boy Who Hated Mothers (LA Weekly Nominations Best Director and Best Production, Play; LA Premiere), Very Still and Hard To See (LA Weekly Nominations Best Director and Best Production, Play; World Premiere), The Color Purple, The Musical (Ovation and LA Weekly Awards Best Director and Best Production, Musical), What’s Wrong With Angry?(Ovation Nominations Best Director and Best Production,Play), Take Me Out! (Ovation Nomination Best Director, NAACP Award Best Director),
The Women of Brewster Place, the Musical (Ovation Nomination Best Director, NAACP Award Best Director, Ovation Award Best Production, Musical; West Coast Premiere), Stupid Kids (LA Premiere), Beautiful Thing (Ovation Nominations, Best Director and Best Production,Play), The Bacchae (Ovation Nominations, Best Director and Best Production,Play), Broadway: Butley (Assistant Director). Chicago: What’s Wrong With Angry? (Jeff Nominations, Best Director and Best Production), In The Blood (Jeff Nominations, Best Director and Best Production), Porcelain (Jeff Nomination, Best Director), The Judas Kiss (Chicago Premiere), Being 11 (World Premiere), and…for colored girls who have considered suicide…. International: The Bacchae (Edinburgh Theatre Festival, 2010). Michael is the recipient of the 2015 LADCC Award for Career Achievement in Direction.
JANET ROSTON (Choreographer) created choreography for the hit productions of Cabaret and also The Boy From Oz (Celebration Theatre) receiving her second Ovation Award and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award (LADCC). She was also choreographer for The Color Purple (Celebration Theatre; Ovation Award, NAACP and LADCC Awards.); Once On this Island (International City Theater, NAACP Nom.); Avenue X (Odyssey Theater, Ovation Award Nom.); Runaway Home (Fountain Theater); Failure, A Love Story (Kirk Douglas Theatre/Couerage Theater, Ovation Nom.) which was included in Center Theatre Group’s “Block Party ’17.” Janet is also a Director Choreographer. Director/Choreographer/Co-Creator of Anaïs, A Dance Opera, which tells the story of famed diarist, Anaïs Nin, presented through her company Mixed eMotion Theatrix. Anaïs premiered at Greenway Court Theatre, performed at the Festival Off d’Avignon in France July ‘17 and just returned from performances in Paris and the International Theater Festival, Casablanca, Morocco. Other Director/Choreographer work includes Midsummer Night (Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Texas New Musical Festival); Striking 12 ( Laguna Playhouse); Tonya and Nancy, The Rock Opera (ART, Boston); CarnEvil (Sacred Fools Theater); shAme (King King Nightclub); So Now You Know (Highways, Wallis Annenberg) and The Wanting (Highways). Her contemporary choreography has been presented at London’s Royal Academy of Music and Cannes, France. Winner Palm Desert Choreography Festival. Two American Choreography Awards, member SDC.

MATTHEW WILKAS (Playwright/Bob & Gunner) co-wrote with Mark Setlock Pageant Play, a satire about the world of child beauty pageants. The play was produced in July 2008 at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. In 2012, he was in the stage production Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark replacing main actor Matt Caplan. Wilkas has appeared on stage in a number of acts including Silence! The Musical, The Last Sunday in June, Far and Wide, The Pride etc. He has appeared in the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Huntington Theatre Company, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and The Sundance Theatre Institute, under the direction of Michael Greif, Anna D. Shapiro, Will Frears, Carolyn Cantor, Mark Brokaw, Nicholas Martin, and Trip Cullman.
His television career started in 2003 with a role in the TV series “Hope and Faith” followed by brief appearances in “The New Twenty,” and “Ugly Betty.” In 2012, he had a lead role in the feature film Gayby which debuted at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. In 2012, Wilkas and Jenn Harris co-won the Award for “Best Acting Ensemble: Feature” during the Ashland Independent Film Festival for their roles in Gayby. The film won a number of other festival awards, named one of the top ten independent films of 2012 by IndieWire, and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. For his performance in the film, Wilkas was named one of Out magazine’s “Out100” and one of the Los Angeles Outfest Film Festival’s “Five in Focus”. In 2014, Wilkas appeared in “Undateable,” that aired on NBC where he was cast as the character Brett, Justin Kearney’s gay friend (pilot only). In 2017, he had a lead role in “New York Is Dead,” a series that he co-wrote and produced. Also, in 2017, he appeared in a lead role as X in “Boy Culture: The Series”, an episodic sequel to the original 2006 LGBT American drama film “Boy Culture.”

MARK SETLOCK (Playwright) is actor and playwright living in New York, NY. He attended the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. He won the 2000 Outer Critics Circle Award for best solo performance in a tie with Olympia Dukakis, and received a Drama Desk nomination for “Fully Committed”, which he helped create with playwright Becky Mode, and has performed in LA, Boston, Portland (Oregon), Bay Street Theatre, and London’s West End. He was featured in the 1994 workshop and the Original Broadway Company of “Rent”. He collaborated with Playwright Steve Murray on an adaptation of the screenplay “It’s A Wonderful Life,” called “This Wonderful Life” which premiered in Portland, Oregon in 2005, and has been produced regionally. With Matthew Wilkas, Setlock is a co-author of Pageant Play, a satire about the world of child beauty pageants, produced in July 2008 at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Recent roles in New York: The Last Sunday In June, Roulette , Tea and Sympathy”, The Safety Net, and Never Tell.Television: “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law and Order,” “All My Children.”, Film: “New Suit,” “Life In Flight,” “Gangster’s Crib.”
BORN TO WIN has assembled an award-winning design team; Scenic Design by Stephen Gifford (Cabaret, Carrie: The Musical downtown LA and La Mirada), Lighting Design by Matthew Brian Denman (Failure: A Love Story at the Kirk Douglas), Costume Design by Allison Dillard, Sound Design by Rebecca Kessin, Properties Design by Michael O’Hara (Failure: A Love Story), Fight Choreographer is Sondra Maye and Dialect Coaching by Tuffet Schmelzle. Estey DeMerchant is the Production Stage Manager.

BORN TO WIN is produced by Rebecca Eisenberg, Nathan Frizzell and Michael O’Hara.

SCHEDULE AND PRICING

BORN TO WIN will preview on Wednesday, February 13 and Thursday, February 14 at 8pm; will open on Friday, February 15 at 8pm, with tickets on sale through Sunday, March 31 at Celebration Theatre @ the Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave. in Los Angeles.

Performances are Friday & Saturday evenings at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm. (There will be no performance on Sunday, February 24.)

All tickets are $25.00 (House Seats); $30.00 (Middle Section); $35.00 (Reserved) and $75.00 (Limited Premium Onstage Seating). Gala Fundraiser performance on Saturday, June 2 with a limited number of tickets available at $150; $200 and $250 that include a cocktail reception with the cast.

For tickets, please call (323) 957-1884 or visit www.celebrationtheatre.com to purchase tickets online or to view a complete schedule or for further details.

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Reviews

"Michael Matthew, the director, gives the show a rousing interpretation filled with surprises including exceptional performances by all. The chase scene has funny moments but goes on long beyond its purpose."

sweet - Joe Straw - Joe Straw #9 - ...read full review


"Directed by Michael Matthews, the BORN TO WIN cast works hard at the laughs, both verbal and physical. Reminiscent of classic Charlie Chaplin, the principals are sometimes run ragged while they pursue winning and each other."

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon
"Outrageous gay-inflected humor is the trademark of this play, but the social implications ripple out in a wide circle. Parents don’t necessarily have to submit their four-year-old girls to the rigors of beauty and talent contests to be affected by the larger culture of princesses, flouncy dresses, royal manners and imperious behavior. That culture starts very early—think blue for boys, pink for girls—and sets into place the gender roles that will be expected of them. Disney films, and their like, reinforce gender stereotypes, although in recent years there has been a movement to offer images of girls and young women who are strong, capable and independent. The Barbie dolls, with their unrealistic body proportions, have long played a part in brainwashing girls to conform, and shaming them into eating disorders and other psychological problems. Authors such as Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott have always challenged social expectations for women, while of necessity acceding to the larger masculinist narrative which seemed beyond changing. (My own childhood role model was Nancy Drew and her famous mystery solving, which is a common touchpoint for those of my generation.) Born to Win is a winner indeed, with nary a dull moment in its 100 minutes of action. Trample over people, if you have to, to see it! If you want to read it that way, you could even start questioning whether America really needs more “winners” and “losers”—standard vocabulary for the guy who came in second in the last presidential popular vote. Maybe we need to come up with some other principles to live and govern by so that most of us get most of what we want out of life instead of always being in competition with one another. Sorry for the preaching, but I think that’s inherent in the play and, in any case, isn’t that what you want to hear from a People’s World critic?"

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Dan Berkowitz
"How much do you care about beauty pageants for 4-year-olds? Oh? Well, how about 8-year-olds (or thereabouts)? Still not a lot of enthusiasm? Go see Born to Win at Celebration Theatre, and you might change your mind."

sweet - Dan Berkowitz - The Los Angeles Post - ...read full review


Shari Barrett
"The four actors keep the action at a frenetic pace as the farcical chase scene to rescue Puddle and reunite Bob and Bobby takes them in and out of doors as well as the theater, with the men often changing costumes and characters at lightning speed. That long scene alone was the highlight of the show, generating the most laughs even if it did go on for a bit too long."

sweet-sour - Shari Barrett - ...read full review


Leo Buck
"Akin to what you’d get were “Honey Boo-Boo” to become a live stage-show (–only the absurd humor here is genuinely intended–) the truly hysterical script combines the best (and frequently most outlandish) subject matter from the likes of cult-cinema legend John Waters, ‘out and proud’ Dramatist Del Shores, and a few “Bad Mother” films like “Mommy Dearest”, “Throw Momma From The Train” and “Precious”, along with such vintage ‘Redneck’/’Hillbilly’ fare like “Hee-Haw”, “The Dukes Of Hazzard”, “Mamma’s Family” or “The Real McCoys” (–all rolled into one!)"

sweet - Leo Buck - Bucking Trends - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"A sly and scintillating look at the lengths parents will go to for second-hand glory, Born To Run’s Los Angeles Premiere is one mother-from-hell of a ride."

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


"Michael Matthew, the director, gives the show a rousing interpretation filled with surprises including exceptional performances by all. The chase scene has funny moments but goes on long beyond its purpose."

sweet - Joe Straw - Joe Straw #9 - ...read full review


"Directed by Michael Matthews, the BORN TO WIN cast works hard at the laughs, both verbal and physical. Reminiscent of classic Charlie Chaplin, the principals are sometimes run ragged while they pursue winning and each other."

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon
"Outrageous gay-inflected humor is the trademark of this play, but the social implications ripple out in a wide circle. Parents don’t necessarily have to submit their four-year-old girls to the rigors of beauty and talent contests to be affected by the larger culture of princesses, flouncy dresses, royal manners and imperious behavior. That culture starts very early—think blue for boys, pink for girls—and sets into place the gender roles that will be expected of them. Disney films, and their like, reinforce gender stereotypes, although in recent years there has been a movement to offer images of girls and young women who are strong, capable and independent. The Barbie dolls, with their unrealistic body proportions, have long played a part in brainwashing girls to conform, and shaming them into eating disorders and other psychological problems. Authors such as Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott have always challenged social expectations for women, while of necessity acceding to the larger masculinist narrative which seemed beyond changing. (My own childhood role model was Nancy Drew and her famous mystery solving, which is a common touchpoint for those of my generation.) Born to Win is a winner indeed, with nary a dull moment in its 100 minutes of action. Trample over people, if you have to, to see it! If you want to read it that way, you could even start questioning whether America really needs more “winners” and “losers”—standard vocabulary for the guy who came in second in the last presidential popular vote. Maybe we need to come up with some other principles to live and govern by so that most of us get most of what we want out of life instead of always being in competition with one another. Sorry for the preaching, but I think that’s inherent in the play and, in any case, isn’t that what you want to hear from a People’s World critic?"

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Dan Berkowitz
"How much do you care about beauty pageants for 4-year-olds? Oh? Well, how about 8-year-olds (or thereabouts)? Still not a lot of enthusiasm? Go see Born to Win at Celebration Theatre, and you might change your mind."

sweet - Dan Berkowitz - The Los Angeles Post - ...read full review


Shari Barrett
"The four actors keep the action at a frenetic pace as the farcical chase scene to rescue Puddle and reunite Bob and Bobby takes them in and out of doors as well as the theater, with the men often changing costumes and characters at lightning speed. That long scene alone was the highlight of the show, generating the most laughs even if it did go on for a bit too long."

sweet-sour - Shari Barrett - ...read full review


Leo Buck
"Akin to what you’d get were “Honey Boo-Boo” to become a live stage-show (–only the absurd humor here is genuinely intended–) the truly hysterical script combines the best (and frequently most outlandish) subject matter from the likes of cult-cinema legend John Waters, ‘out and proud’ Dramatist Del Shores, and a few “Bad Mother” films like “Mommy Dearest”, “Throw Momma From The Train” and “Precious”, along with such vintage ‘Redneck’/’Hillbilly’ fare like “Hee-Haw”, “The Dukes Of Hazzard”, “Mamma’s Family” or “The Real McCoys” (–all rolled into one!)"

sweet - Leo Buck - Bucking Trends - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"A sly and scintillating look at the lengths parents will go to for second-hand glory, Born To Run’s Los Angeles Premiere is one mother-from-hell of a ride."

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review