THE BEST OF SHOWS ON BETTER LEMONS IN 2019

Better Lemons had a fantastic year and we couldn't have done it without the fantastic critics, publicists, and audience members who share their love of Los Angeles theater, by posting on Better Lemons and sharing their favorite shows and their reviews on social media.

We are especially grateful for all the Registered Critics who took their time this past year to rate shows they have reviewed to be included in our LemonMeter.

There were 1200 productions registered on Better Lemons in 2019! Out of those registered shows, over 600 received at least one review from a Critic and 201 were reviewed by Audience members. Out of these shows, we selected the winners that were most favored by Critics and/or Audiences.

Here is a list with all the Better Lemons SWEET productions of 2019:

The Better Lemons DoubleSWEET #LemonMeter Choice Awards for 2019
are going to the following productions:

(33 shows out of 1200 productions received
a DoubleSWEET #LemonMeter rating
from audience and critics)

TALES FROM THE POWDER ROOM at the Whitefire Theatre
41 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

IF WE RUN at the Lounge Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

RAISED BY WOLVES at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TO DAD WITH LOVE: A TRIBUTE TO BUDDY EBSEN at Theatre West
30 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

FERTILE: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE EXPECTATION OF PROCREATION currently at the Whitefire Theatre
27 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
8 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

HOLLYWOODN'T at the Santa Monica Playhouse
20 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

THE BULLY PROBLEM at the Arena Theatre - Theatre of Arts
17 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
9 Critics reviews - 94% Sweet

THE NARCISSIST NEXT DOOR at the Complex Theatre
15 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

THE ELEPHANT MAN at the El Portal Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet
7 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

MONO/POLY at the Odyssey Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

MASTERS OF THE DARK REALM at the Actors Workout Studio
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

BUNNY THE ELF LIVE! currently at the Stages in Fullerton
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

CRACK WHORE, BULIMIC, GIRL-NEXT-DOOR at the Complex Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

A BIT MUCH at the Lounge Theatre
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

(IM)PERFEKT at the Santa Monica Playhouse
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

BLACKBOXING at the Complex Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

MIL GRUS at the McCadden Place Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TRANSFERENCE at The Broadwater
9 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
6 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

SCRAPS at the Matrix Theatre
8 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
15 Critics reviews - 87% Sweet

SUPPORTIVE WHITE PARENTS at The Broadwater
8 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

NEIL SIMON'S MUSICAL FOOLS by the Open Fist Theatre Company
7 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
13 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

ROMEO AND JULIET IN HELL at the Actors Workout Studio
7 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
8 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

FALLEN SAINTS: SALEM at the Actors Workout Studio
7 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
7 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

SAVING CAIN at the Hudson Theatres
6 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

THE LAST CROISSANT at The Broadwater
5 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
6 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TREYA'S LAST DANCE at the Hudson Theatres
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

OLIVIA WILDE DOES NOT SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE at the Complex Theatre
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
6 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

CLARISSANT at the Atwater Village Theatre
4 Audience reviews - 88% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

CIRQUE DU GISELLE at the Assistance League Theater
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

BATTER UP: MY BRAIN ON BASEBALL at studio/stage
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

JOAN AND WHAT DID THEY SAY - AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS at Theatre Unlimited (T.U. Studios)
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TREASON at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

45 MILLIGRAMS at The Broadwater
3 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

The Better Lemons Audience #LemonMeter Choice Awards for 2019
are going to the following productions:

(32 shows out of 1200 productions received
a minimum of 10 audience reviews
and have received a SWEET #LemonMeter rating by the Audience)

TALES FROM THE POWDER ROOM at the Whitefire Theatre
41 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

IF WE RUN at the Lounge Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

RAISED BY WOLVES at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

TO DAD WITH LOVE: A TRIBUTE TO BUDDY EBSEN at Theatre West
30 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

FERTILE: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE EXPECTATION OF PROCREATION currently at the Whitefire Theatre
27 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

AN EXCUSE TO BEHAVE BADLY at the Lounge Theatre
22 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

HOLLYWOODN'T at the Santa Monica Playhouse
20 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

THE BULLY PROBLEM at the Arena Theatre - Theatre of Arts
17 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

TELENOVELA at the Actors Workout Studio
16 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

AMERICAN STRANGER THE MUSICAL at Studio C
16 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

THE NARCISSIST NEXT DOOR at the Complex Theatre
15 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

MONO/POLY at the Odyssey Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

MASTERS OF THE DARK REALM at the Actors Workout Studio
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BUNNY THE ELF LIVE! currently at the Stages in Fullerton
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

CRACK WHORE, BULIMIC, GIRL-NEXT-DOOR Complex Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet

THE ELEPHANT MAN at the El Portal Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet

MANDY PICKS A HUSBAND at the Actors Company
13 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

A BIT MUCH at the Lounge Theatre
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

ASK A BLACK WOMAN at Studio C
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BIRTHDAY at the Actors Company
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

(IM)PERFEKT at the Santa Monica Playhouse
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

LEAVING PRINCE CHARMING at the Lounge Theatre
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

ENERJOYCE...EVOLUTION OF A PISCES BABY BOOMER at the Santa Monica Playhouse
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

YES. NO. MAYBE. at the Complex Theatre
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BECOMING PEACE: A ONE WOMAN DRAMEDY ABOUT POWER, CULTURE, VIOLENCE AND NONVIOLENCE at the Lounge Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

CAT SH!T CRAZY...FROM HOT MESS TO HOT MAMA IN FOUR SIMPLE CATS at the Whitefire Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

OCTOPI WALL STREET at the New American Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

EMBRACE LOVE FREE at the Santa Monica Playhouse
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BLACKBOXING at the Santa Monica Playhouse
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

MIL GRUS at the McCadden Place Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

The Better Lemons Critics #LemonMeter Choice Awards for 2019
are going to the following productions:

(92 shows out of 1200 productions received
a minimum of 10 critic reviews
and have received a SWEET #LemonMeter rating by the Critics)

DANIEL'S HUSBAND at The Fountain Theatre
26 Critics reviews - 96% Sweet

WITCH at the Geffen Playhouse
21 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

HANDJOB by the Echo Theater Company
21 Critics reviews - 79% Sweet

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG at the Ahmanson Theatre
21 Critics reviews - 76% Sweet

THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN by the Antaeus Theatre Company
20 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

SKINTIGHT at the Geffen Playhouse
19 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE by the Antaeus Theatre Company
19 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY at The Fountain Theatre
19 Critics reviews - 79% Sweet

LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS at the Ahmanson Theatre
18 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

MATTHEW BOURNE'S SWAN LAKE at the Ahmanson Theatre
18 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

1776 THE MUSICAL at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
18 Critics reviews - 94% Sweet

BRONCO BILLY - THE MUSICAL at the Skylight Theatre Company
18 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

AN INSPECTOR CALLS at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
18 Critics reviews - 81% Sweet

DEADLY at the Sacred Fools Theater Company
18 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

ON BECKETT at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

HELLO DOLLY at the Pantages Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

READY STEADY YETI GO at the Rogue Machine Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 82% Sweet

TOO MUCH SUN at the Odyssey Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 82% Sweet

SALVAGE at the Lounge Theatre
16 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

LOOT at the Odyssey Theatre
16 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

ANNE, A NEW PLAY at the Museum of Tolerance
16 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES at the Geffen Playhouse
16 Critics reviews - 84% Sweet

NICK DEAR'S FRANKENSTEIN at A Noise Within
16 Critics reviews - 78% Sweet

RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL at the Pasadena Playhouse
15 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

INDECENT at the Ahmanson Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
15 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

DANA H. at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

EIGHT NIGHTS by the Antaeus Theatre Company
15 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

FALSETTOS at the Ahmanson Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

A KID LIKE JAKE by the IAMA Theatre Company
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

LACKAWANNA BLUES at the Mark Taper Forum
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

HYPE MAN at The Fountain Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

SCRAPS at the Matrix Theatre
15 critics reviews - 87% Sweet

OTHELLO at A Noise Within
15 Critics reviews - 80% Sweet

PARADISE at the Matrix Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

LINDA VISTA at the Mark Taper Forum
15 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

AUGUST WILSON'S JITNEY at the Mark Taper Forum
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TO DAD WITH LOVE: A TRIBUTE TO BUDDY EBSEN at Theatre West
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

DIANA OF DOBSON'S by the Antaeus Theatre Company
14 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

MOBY DICK - REHEARSED at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum
14 Critics reviews - 89% Sweet

THE SOLID LIFE OF SUGAR WATER by Deaf West Theatre
14 Critics reviews - 89% Sweet

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at the Pasadena Playhouse
14 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

TWO TRAINS RUNNING AT MATRIX at the Matrix Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

IN CIRCLES at the Odyssey Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TWELFTH NIGHT at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
13 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

RAGTIME at the Chance Theater
13 Critics reviews - 96% Sweet

NEIL SIMON'S MUSICAL FOOLS by the Open Fist Theatre Company
13 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

WITNESS UGANDA at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
13 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

THE JOY WHEEL at the Ruskin Group Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

THE WOLVES by the Echo Theater Company
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

FAITH HEALER at the Odyssey Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

THE NICETIES at the Geffen Playhouse
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

ARGONAUTIKA at A Noise Within
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

THE PRODUCERS at the Celebration Theatre @ The Lex
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

FEFU AND HER FRIENDS at the Odyssey Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

LIGHTS OUT: NAT "KING" COLE at the Geffen Playhouse
13 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

GRUMPY OLD MEN: THE MUSICAL at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
13 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

HAPPY DAYS at the Mark Taper Forum
12 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

CANYON at theLos Angeles Theatre Center
12 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

THE VANDAL at the Chance Theater
12 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Ruskin Group Theatre
12 Critics reviews - 96% Sweet

NANCY F***ING REAGAN at the Secret Rose Theatre
12 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

AMERICA ADJACENT at theSkylight Theatre Company
12 Critics reviews - 83% Sweet

DEFENDERS at The Broadwater
12 Critics reviews - 79% Sweet

ANASTASIA at the Pantages Theatre
12 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

JULIUS WEEZER at the El Portal Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

ANDY WARHOL’S TOMATO at the Pacific Resident Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

BURIED CHILD at A Noise Within
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

HERSHEY FELDER: A PARIS LOVE STORY at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

ANNA IN THE TROPICS by the Open Fist Theatre Company
11 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

THE GLASS MENAGERIE at A Noise Within
11 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

AT THE TABLE at The Road Theatre Company
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

MISS LILLY GETS BONED at the Rogue Machine Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

SISTERS IN LAW at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

THE GREAT LEAP at the Pasadena Playhouse
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Odyssey Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 86% Sweet

M. BUTTERFLY at the South Coast Repertory
11 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER by The Group Rep/Lonny Chapman Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TREYA'S LAST DANCE at the Hudson Theatres
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

DAMES AT SEA by the Sierra Madre Playhouse
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

NEVER IS NOW at the Skylight Theatre Company
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

THE NEW ONE at the Ahmanson Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

FRIENDS WITH GUNS at The Road Theatre Company
10 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

ROALD DAHL'S MATILDA THE MUSICAL by 5 Star Theatricals
10 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

DISNEY'S FROZEN at the Pantages Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE by the 24th STreet Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

SPECIAL at the Theatre of Note
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

SWEENEY TODD - THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET at the South Coast Repertory
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

FIFTEEN MEN IN A SMOKE-FILLED ROOM at Theatre 40
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

LOOSE KNIT by The Group Rep/Lonny Chapman Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 80% Sweet


Stage Raw Announces its 2018 Theater Awards Nominees

The 2018 Stage Raw Theater Awards celebrate excellence on the Los Angeles stages in venues of 99-seats or under. This fourth annual edition includes productions that opened between January 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018.
Stage Raw is a community funded professional journalism website that was created in response to the decline of arts coverage in local mainstream and alternative media.
A catered nominees reception and Stage Raw fundraiser party is being held at the The Skylight Theatre in Los Feliz, on Tuesday, July 24, 7 – 10 p.m. Tickets are $100 (which includes complimentary admission to the Theater Awards ceremony), in support of Stage Raw. All nominees are invited as complimentary guests of Stage Raw.
(Nominees include everybody whose name appears on the list below; all actors and understudies named in the program for all ensemble categories; all actors, understudies, directors, playwrights, stage managers, choreographers, designers and producers in the categories of Best Revival, Best Musical and Best Production; and in the category of Production Design: all producers, directors, and designers.)
The evening will include live music and performances by Burglars of Hamm; Cheray O'Neal; Padua Playwrights; and Kristina Wong.
At the nominees reception, there will also be a silent auction of drawings created for this event by Alan Mandell, Ken Sawyer, French Stewart, Vanessa Stewart, Richard Fancy, Jon Mullich, Jon Lawrence Rivera, Stephen Sachs, Simon Levy, Gary Grossman, Kristina Wong, Michael A. Shepperd, Ken Werther, David Elzer, Jaime Robledo, Leo Marks, Nike Doukas, Tom Jacobson, Kirsten Vansgness, David Melville, Jessica Hanna, Steven Stanley, Philip Littell, Mark Seldis, Katharine Noone, Tony Abatemarco, Ann Closs-Farley, Herbert Siguenza, Jules Aaron, and more.
The Awards ceremony is slated for Monday night, August 20, at Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles, hosted by Coeurage Theatre Company, directed by Jer Adrianne Lelliott, and celebrating the theme of “community.” Tickets are $30.
Tickets for both events can be found at Eventbrite.com/e/stage-raw-theater-awards-tickets-46961390784#tickets, or visit StageRaw.com and press the “2018 Theater Awards” tab.
The 2018 Nominees are:
FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY
Guillermo Cienfuegos, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Bjørn Johnson, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Bjørn Johnson, Red Speedo, Road Theatre Company
Bjørn Johnson, Stupid Kid, Road Theatre Company
Edgar Landa, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Doug Oliphant, Br'er Cotton, Zephyr Theatre
Jones (Welsh) Talmadge, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN
Omolara Abode, Lyrics From Lockdown, The Actors' Gang
Nicholas Acciani, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
J. Walt Adamcyk and Hannah Beavers, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Benjamin Durham, This Land, Company of Angels
Corwin Evans, The Art Couple, Sacred Fools Theater Company
Hana Sooyeon Kim, Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Hana Sooyeon Kim, With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Yee Eun Nam, Br'er Cotton, Zephyr Theatre
Tom Ontiveros, The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
SOUND DESIGN
Joseph V. Calarco, The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
Jeff Gardner, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
Jeff Gardner, The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
Jeff Gardner, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Jeff Gardner, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Christopher Moscatiello, The Devil's Wife, The Skylight Theatre
Christopher Moscatiello, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
John Nobori, With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Robert A. Ramirez, Master Class, The Garry Marshall Theatre
John Zalewski, I Carry Your Heart, Bootleg Theatre
LIGHTING DESIGN
Brandon Baruch, The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
John E.D. Bass, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Elizabeth Harper, The House In Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Elizabeth Harper and Rose Malone, With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Matt Richter, I'm Not A Comedian... I'm Lenny Bruce, Theatre 68
Pablo Santiago-Brandwein, Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
Andrew Schmedake, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Andrew Schmedake, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Andrew Schmedake, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
COSTUME DESIGN
Wendell C. Carmichael, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Allison Dillard, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
Christine Cover Ferro, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Ashphord Jackoway, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Terri A. Lewis, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
Linda Muggeridge, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Michael Mullen, Fixed, Echo Theater Company
Lena Sands, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
ORIGINAL MUSIC
Jeff Gardner, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Kangaroo Rat (Tim Desrosiers and Anna Bell), Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Bernie Sirelson, Alysia Michelle James, and Elisa Rosin, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Surrija, The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
CHOREOGRAPHY
Joel Daavid, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Joyce Guy, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Carolyn Katz, Daedalus' Daughter, Bootleg Theater
Michael Marchak, Pacific Overtures, Chromolume Theatre
Jen Oundjian, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Roman Pantoja, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
Anne-Marie Talmadge, Alina Bolshakova, Leslie Charles Roy Jr., and the NMA Ensemble, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
MUSICAL DIRECTION
Jake Anthony, The View Upstairs, Celebration Theatre
Gina Belafonte, Lyrics From Lockdown, The Actors' Gang
Jennifer Lin, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
Dylan Price, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Lyndon Pugeda, Honky Tonk Laundry, Hudson Mainstage Theatre
Dimitri Toscas, Master Class, The Gary Marshall Theatre
SET DESIGN
Nicholas Acciani, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Joel Daavid, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Justin Huen, This Land, Company of Angels
John Iacovelli, Bled For The Household Truth, Rogue Machine Theatre
John Iacovelli, El Niño, Rogue Machine Theatre
John Iacovelli, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
David Mauer, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Jeff McLaughlin, Stupid Kid, Road Theatre Company
Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Victoria Tam, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
SOLO PERFORMANCE
Giovanni Adams, Love Is A Dirty Word, VS Theatre
Alex Alpharaoh, WET: A DACAmented Journey, Ensemble Studio Theatre L.A.
Bryonn Bain, Lyrics From Lockdown, The Actors' Gang
Keight Leighn, (A)partment 8, The ABC Project
Ronnie Marmo, I'm Not a Comedian, I'm Lenny Bruce, Theatre 68
Tina Preston, Don't You Ever Call My Anything But Mother, Open Fist Theatre Company
TWO PERSON PERFORMANCE
Martin Rayner & Martyn Stanbridge, Freud's Last Session, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Misty Cotton & Bets Malone, Honky Tonk Laundry, Hudson Mainstage Theatre
Tim Cummings & Brian Henderson, The House In Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Gary Patent & Dan Via, Plunge, Son of Semele Theater
James Eckhouse & Graham Sibley, Redline, IAMA Theatre Company
Alex Hernandez & Tonya Pinkins, Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE
Noel Arthur, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Ryan Brophy, Rotterdam, The Skylight Theatre
Eduardo Fernandez-Baumann, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Harry Groener, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
Rob Nagle, Stupid Kid, Road Theatre Company
Jeris Poindexter, Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
Gabriel Romero, The Madres, The Skylight Theatre
Montae Russell, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Desean Kevin Terry, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Adolphus Ward, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
MALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Josh Clark, The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
Drew Droege, Die, Mommie, Die!, Celebration Theatre
Alex Elliott-Funk, Supper, Theatre of NOTE
Alex Fernandez, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Leo Marks, The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
Roman Pantoja, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
Darrett Sanders, Supper, Theatre of NOTE
Joel Scher, Supper, Theatre of NOTE
LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE
Daniel Bess, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
Benjamin Burdick, Bled For The Household Truth, Rogue Machine Theatre
Joe Hart, Stupid Kid, Road Theatre Company
Bruce Ladd, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Ben Martin, Walking To Buchenwald, Open Fist Theatre
Esau Pritchett, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Graham Sibley, Redline, IAMA Theatre Company
Adam Silver, Exit Strategy, The Los Angeles LGBT Center's Davidson/Valentini Theatre
Desean Kevin Terry, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Dawn Didawick, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
Emily Goss, Forever Bound, Atwater Village Theatre
Ella Joyce, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Ciera Payton, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Maya Lynne Robinson, Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
Maya Lynne Robinson, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Michaela Slezak,Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers, The Skylight Theatre
Cheryl Umaña, This Land, Company of Angels
Karen Malina White, Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
Christine Woods, Cult of Love, IAMA Theatre Company
FEMALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Anna Lamadrid, Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Debra Jo Rupp, The Cake, Echo Theater Company
Paige Lindsey White, With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Corryn Cummins, Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers, The Skylight Theatre
Carolyn Hennesy, Master Class, The Garry Marshall Theatre
Margarita Lamas, The Madres, The Skylight Theatre
Nan McNamara,33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Jaimi Paige, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Ashley Romans, Rotterdam, The Skylight Theatre
Camille Spirlin, Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
Heidi Sulzman, Bugaboo and The Silent One, The Lounge Theatre
Miranda Wynne, Rotterdam, The Skylight Theatre
ADAPTATION
Nambi E. Kelley, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Jones (Welsh) Talmadge, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Mary Zimmerman, The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
PLAYWRITING
Giovanni Adams, Love Is A Dirty Word, VS. Theatre
Alex Alpharaoh, WET: A DACAmented Journey, Ensemble Studio Theatre L.A.
Bekah Brunstetter, The Cake, Echo Theater Company
Alessandro Camon, Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
Bernardo Cubría, The Giant Void In My Soul, Ammunition Theatre Company
Leslye Headland, Cult of Love, IAMA Theatre Company
Jeremy J. Kamps, Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
Dan O'Brien, The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Evangeline Ordaz, This Land, Company of Angels
Marja-Lewis Ryan, Bugaboo and the Silent One, The Lounge Theatre
PRODUCTION DESIGN
Caught, Think Tank Gallery
Daedalus' Daughter, Bootleg Theater
King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
This Land, Company of Angels
Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
COMEDY ENSEMBLE
Bad Jews, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
The Cake, Echo Theater Company
Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
El Niño, Rogue Machine Theatre
The Giant Void In My Soul, Ammunition Theatre Company
The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Supper, Theatre of NOTE
With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
ENSEMBLE
33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Exit Strategy, The Los Angeles LGBT Center's Davidson/Valentini Theatre
King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Pacific Overtures, Chromolume Theatre
Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
COMEDY DIRECTION
Lindsay Allbaugh, Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Jennifer Chambers, The Cake, Echo Theater Company
Guillermo Cienfuegos, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Lisa James, El Niño, Rogue Machine Theatre
Jessica Kubzansky, With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Dana Resnick, Bad Jews, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Felix Solís, The Giant Void In My Soul, Ammunition Theatre Company
DIRECTION
Andi Chapman, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Gregg T. Daniel, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, Caught, Think Tank Gallery
Carol Katz, Daedalus' Daughter, Bootleg Theater
Thomas James O'Leary, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Robert Mandel, Freud's Last Session, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Michael Michetti, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Jonathan Muñoz-Proulx, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Jaime Robledo, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Michael A. Shepperd,Rotterdam, The Skylight Theatre
Annie Tippe, Cult of Love, IAMA Theatre Company
MUSICAL OF THE YEAR
Dessa Rose, Chromolume Theatre
Pacific Overtures, Chromolume Theatre
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
REVIVAL OF THE YEAR
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR
Caught, Think Tank Gallery
The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Rotterdam, The Skylight Theatre
Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
This Land, Company of Angels
Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
QUEEN OF THE ANGELS
Dolores Chavez
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Norman Lloyd


MY KIKI WITH BONI B. ALVAREZ

Every month or so, playwright Boni B. Alvarez and I have a kiki (Queer dictionary moment: kiki = chit-chat, coffee, shoot theyou understand).  We meet up to talk shop, dream, scheme, and generally relish each other's company.  Fresh off the opening of Boni's new play Nicky, you know I was eager for this month's talk.  And I thought I'd invite your guys, our lovely Better Lemons readers, to the party.

Roger Q. Mason

Roger Q. Mason (RQM): I'll never forget how we met.  It was 2009.

Boni B. Alvarez (BBA): Yes, it was my play Ruby, Tragically Rotund.  My first production – with Playwrights' Arena at Los Angeles Theatre Center, directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera.

RQM: I remember seeing that play and being wowed by the theatricality of the piece, the originality of the writing and the singularity of perspective.  Until then, I had not yet seen a Filipino-American play on stage.

Boni B. Alvarez

BBA: The funny thing is I don't think of it as a Filipino-American play.  I mean, obviously, it is.  I am Filipino-American and there are a lot of Filipino and Filipino-American characters in it, but the inspiration actually came from reading a Maria Irene Fornes play.  I think it was Mud and then I just envisioned a fat girl in a pig pen and that brewed in my head for about a year.  I had always wanted to write a fat play, or a play of size.  And what came out was Ruby, Tragically Rotund.

RQM: Did you start that play while you were at the USC's MFA?

BBA: Yes, it was my thesis play and Jon Rivera saw the reading and committed to it pretty quickly.  We developed it and shopped it around.  I graduated in 2007 and the production was in 2009.

RQM: That's sort of a fairy tale ending to the MFA experience.  So many people bemoan the year after the MFA.  You are broken of old habits by the MFA and then you are re-broken by the rejections that come thereafter, especially in that first year out because you're new, people don't know your work yet, and you're trying to establish those relationships.  Some people thrive after that first year or so and others don't - they move on from the business.  How was it for you coming out of the MFA and having a production right away?

BBA: You have something to look forward to.  You know you're getting produced, but it also is a double-edged sword.  It was two and a half years after graduation.  The play wasn't reviewed as well as I thought it would be, yet audiences really loved it.  It was a pretty sold-out run with a couple of extensions.  It's kind of disappointing when you don't get that second production of a play when you hoped it would.

RQM: How's your new show Nicky going?

BBA: Really great!

RQM: What's it about?

BBA: It's an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's Ivanov.

RQM: Uh oh!  Folks better watch out.  Boni is taking on the canon.

BBA: It's what I deem as the problem play.  It was Chekhov's first play which he labeled a comedy.  Contemporary audiences would be like, “Where's the laughter supposed to be?”

RQM: It's Dantean comedy: a journey from a low play to a high place.

BBA: Right!  And I keep to the Russian origin.  The lead is Russian-American.  But the play is definitely inclusive of places and cultures of the world that we live in now.  That's usually my goal as a writer.  If the play isn't all Filipino, it usually will have a little bit of everyone in it.

RQM: You really inspire me.  My mom is Filipino, so I identify as Filipino American.  For many years, I didn't know what to say about that aspect of my identity in my work.  I just kept coming to your plays and seeing your vigilance in exploring it on the page.  You look at the Filipino experience in the US and globally.  The East always has one eye on the West.

BBA: The American dream is always at the forefront of my plays.  In some works, it's more obvious than others.  It's a testament to the career that I've chosen.  It's a dream - an elusive dream: to be a playwright who works enough to sustain an existence on playwriting alone.

RQM: So whenever we hang out, we often talk about The Business.  No, I'm not asking for your trade secrets in public, but really though, how do you keep working?

BBA: I get really excited by a story.  But, once that inspiration hits, it's not like you can just immediately sit down and write that story.  You have to let that inspiration live through you and bubble up - what the story is and who the characters will be.  Usually it'll be 6 months to a year in between that first strike of inspiration and the first word I commit to the page.  At that point, it's boiling to come out of me.  I get inspired by the people I work with: directors, actors, companies.  I know that times are tough.  With the whole 99-seat debacle that's happening in Los Angeles, it's probably wiser for a writer to sit at home and write two-handers and one man shows.  But all of a sudden, Nicky has 14 characters.  My next play has 9.  I've just written a three-act 11-character World War II epic play set in the Philippines.  I'm not shying away from the bigness, how grand or how large things need to be.  I meet more and more actors.  I want to work with people and have things for them to be in.  I think that is a big inspiration.

RQM: Process - let's discuss.  For me, my writerly coming of age journey has entailed announcing to myself and others that I'm not a “traditional” playwright.  A lot of my writing happens through improvisation and experimentation in the room.  The work is interdisciplinary too - there's music, there's movement, it's like opera but at a slimmer ticket price.  A friend has called what I do librettism.  I'm a librettist for performance experiences.  Knowing that about myself was a huge relief.  What about you?  What are your writing conditions like?

BBA: So after an idea boils up, I start writing.  I've been fortunate enough to be in a lot of writers groups with various theatres in Los Angeles so I have an avenue in which to write it in, a forum that has a structure to it with deadlines.  Usually, I've been working on three or four plays at the same time, juggling between the projects.  Now, I have to be more focused. There's usually a project I'm writing from scratch and then there's something I'm revising either for a production or a reading.

RQM: How do you compartmentalize the plays so they don't sound the same?

BBA: Sometimes they do sound the same.  But, you know what, audiences aren't watching them at the same time.  It's okay.  I mean everyone has a trademark.  I say that in jest, but also not.

RQM: What is Boni Alvarez's trademark?

BBA: Oh lord, I leave that up to the audiences, to the future.  Maybe my trademark is that I've been emerging.  It's been 10 years since I got out of the USC Dramatic Writing program and I feel like I am finally hitting a stride and that now most of my efforts are going towards storytelling and playwriting of some sort.

RQM: You are a career playwright.  We can say that.  We are going to say that.

BBA: Yes, okay.  It's important to own it.  I am a career playwright.

RQM: So 10 years…Is that about right?  That seems to be the timeframe.  I remember reading in the New York Times years ago when August: Osage County first came out that Tracy Letts was considered then an “emerging playwright.”  I found that quite laughable at the time, considering the man had been working for years.  But I guess emerging takes on many definitions and phases - even within the context of one person's career.  You can be emerging in some new aspect or developing some new skill set to add to your tool box, and in that sense, you're emerging.

BBA: I'm emerging on the national level, to bigger theatres - getting on their radar through literary departments or other artists.  It's an uphill climb being a playwright in LA.  We live in the shadow of “the industry” - television and film.  And it's hard to get the proper street cred as a playwright coming out of LA.

RQM: But yet you've stayed.  So what keeps you here?

BBA: I lived in New York.  I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area.  My agents told me to move to LA.  I never wanted to.  There's a NorCal/SoCal thing and an East Coast/West Coast thing and I even had stuff in storage in New York while I was in school at USC.

RQM: Damn.

BBA: I had every intention of moving back.  But I found a tremendous community here.  There's a humungous theatre scene here - so many talented practitioners of theatre.

RQM: How do plays that have developed here make it to the national scene?

BBA: You have to submit to everything.  It detracts from your writing time, but it is writing, it's part of the process.  They all ask for some kind of statement of purpose.  Those statements help as a check-in for what you are doing, what you are working on.  When you have to do a statement about your play, you have to think about why you are writing it.  You have to be selective, too.  I applied to this one thing year after year.  I was a finalist one year.  I didn't get it, but there was a private email from someone on the selection committee that said, “I'm a big fan of your work.  I know it can seem like you are sending your script out into this empty black hole.  You probably don't know if anyone is even reading it.  It is being read, it is being appreciated.  But it's not always recognized by the entire committee.”

RQM: Oh, the politics of readership.

BBA: There's politics in every committee.  And so many points of view.  If you are a director, you will judge a work from a director's point of view, what plays you'd like to take a stab at or if you're a producer, there are circumstances you have to take into account in selecting plays.  You can't escape the baggage of who you are or your position.  But you should also read it outside of that perspective as well.

RQM: And we can't be phased by any of that.  We have to write our truth.

BBA: Right!  You will write what you will write.  And, hopefully, your champion reader will find it.  I've been very lucky to have met a lot of generous people.

RQM: This is the people business.

BBA:  And it's not just about the work.  Are people going to want to work with you?  Kindness is so undervalued and underrated.  Just being nice - not pure as snow - but someone that people want to have in their presence and work with.  For Nicky, we had over 200 submissions.  We saw almost 100 people and I'm always amazed - wow they want to be part of my play.  They want to be part of something I created.

RQM: And let's be real, some of them are coming specifically because it's YOU, Boni.

BBA: Yes, I realize that and I'm humbled.  Some of my plays are mostly Filipino and I have fans who are not necessarily of the ethnicities of the characters I write for.

RQM: You know, according to Anthony Bourdain, we are in vogue.  If restaurant trends are harbingers of larger cultural movements, Filipino-Americas are the new thing.

BBA: And we need to get ready to step into our light - the Filipinos of the world.  Capitalize on the moment.

RQM: It is a really exciting moment to be a Filipino-American who tells stories.

BBA: I've got a question for you: as an Asian American playwright, do you feel a responsibility to include Filipinos or Filipino culture or African American culture in your work?

RQM: That comes back to my house and my home life.  In many ways, my mother came to America to re-imagine herself outside of her Filipino life.  Specifically, she came here to be a Western woman.  That always bothered me growing up.  She did not teach us any Tagalog growing up, amongst other things.  My mother had a very difficult home life in the Philippines and she conflated her specific domestic situation with the Philippines as a whole.  I had to come into my Filipino self on my own.  I'd look on the internet and bombard her with purposefully mispronounced versions of useful Tagalog phrases like “I'm hungry” or “Good morning.”  I made her correct me.  Then, during the holidays, I went to my cousins' houses and it was like a different country.  They served food from lace-doilied buffet tables; after the meal, the adults would sit around the television and give the kids space, and then the karaoke machine would come out.  My aunt's house was decorated with a mixture of Chinese statuary and Filipino Catholic icons.  I imagined that, were I born in a slightly different household, my world would be completed different.  The Filipino world fascinated me, and I wanted to absorb everything I could from it.

BBA: Now this is fascinating.

RQM: I remember going to the Philippines in my 20s and being awed by the resilience, the vibrance, and the pliability of the culture.  Here was a place that defined cultural fusion before the tastemakers started commenting on it.  During that same trip, I went to Antipologos and looked down on Manila Bay.  There was no middle class.  It was ritzy Makati City on one side and the shanties on the other.  That duality read like tortured poetry to me.

BBA: Well, the middle class of the Filipinos is not in the Philippines.  They're all working abroad.

RQM: And also, the telecom industry is creating an emerging middle class there in the Philippines as well.   That's another fascinating subculture.  You discussed this in your play Dallas Non-Stop: a workforce that is trained to perform a version of self on the phone that is familiar and comfortable to the West.  It's a kind of passing.  Cultural passing.  I am thousands of miles away but I know just what you need out of your hotel or your flight from Omaha to Detroit.

BBA: It's a type of global passing.  You have Filipinos infiltrating the States, the UK, Japan, Israel, Australia.  What's that show?  There was a Filipino caregiver who won X Factor Israel.

RQM: Get out!

BBA: No, I'm not kidding you.  Our people are all over.

RQM: Yes, we are!  But, we digress.  Back to your question, I've never really been able to speak to a monolithic identity, whether it's Filipino or Black American.  On both sides of the family, my world is quite strange and unique so my work centers on speaking to that uniqueness as best and clearly as I can.

BBA: Amen!

RQM: So, what have you got brewing next?

BBA: I have a reading of a new play, my WWII epic play Refuge for a Purple Heart as part of Echo Theater's Labfest in July.  I have a played called Fixed, inspired by Calderon de la Barca's work.

RQM: Is this the lady boy play?

BBA: Yes.

RQM: I am so excited right now!

BBA: It's about a family of lady boys who run a massage parlor in historic Filipinotown.  This is going up at the Echo Theater in September.

RQM: This is literally putting a smile on my face right now.  I am over here completely beaming.  There is a play. About a house of lady boys.  In September.  In LA.  Yasss!

BBA: The House of Malacanang.

RQM: Everybody needs to try and get into that house.  Will there be tea?

BBA: Tea is always served, it might just be too strong for you.

RQM: Oh honey, yes!  I just have a feeling.  I can smell a smash hit from 4 months away.

BBA: You're a mess!

RQM: I always try to be.

BBA: You succeed, trust.  So what's next with you?

RQM: My solo show The Duat is going up in July at Son of Semele Theatre.  It's inspired by the shootings at UCLA which took place in the 1960s between differing black student groups on campus.  This piece imagines a COINTELPRO informant's spiritual reckoning in the Egyptian afterlife.  I feel really good about this piece - a great team and the script rewrites are coming together.  Then I'm off to New York.  My show The White Dress, the gender queer coming of age play, will be performed at the Araca Project in November.  And then I'm filming a movie based upon my short play Softer, the gay slavery piece.

BBA: Look at you - so busy!

RQM: I'm doing what I Iove.

BBA: What is the picture of happiness in terms of your career?

RQM: What is it for you?  I'll answer, but you go first.

BBA: Enough success to keep me writing plays.  I'm at a point where I feel I need more productions.  I mean, what playwright doesn't?  But you can't just sit at home and write plays.  You learn so much - the experience of being in rehearsal.  Revising for production, really focused on the arrival of an audience.  Audiences, they're a key element of the work.

RQM: The happiness for me comes in stages and waves.  For the longest time, it was knowing what I was.  And now that I know I write performance work with a foundation in playwriting, that happiness is fulfilled: I know who I am and what to do.  But, as you know, happiness is addictive.  So now I've got to get to the next happiness.  Well, the next happiness is having a forum to do that work that's supported - my own theatre company, commissions, residencies.  That's part of the happiness.  The other aspect of the happiness is one that's always been there for me.  I remember my first workshop production (and I'm saying that so you readers know the play is still available for world premiere rights).  The play was Onion Creek, my Reconstruction-era Adam and Eve tale.  At auditions, I remember seeing people in the hall trying their hearts out to come in the room and bring the strongest rendition of those sides.  I saw firsthand that I was creating something larger than myself, something that people want to do.

BBA: It's a completely and utterly humbling experience.

RQM: Yes, and that's the happiness that sustains us.


Echo Theater Co launches 'Playwrights' Studio' with Boni B. Alvarez & Erik Patterson

Echo Theater Company launches
Playwrights' Studio' in May

LOS ANGELES (April 20, 2017) — The Echo Theater Company, anointed "Best Bet for Ballsy Original Plays" by the LA Weekly, introduces “Playwrights' Studio,” a training center for playwrights, directors and actors creating new work in Los Angeles. Two six-week writing classes taught by prominent Los Angeles-based playwrights launch the program in May.
Beginning May 14 and continuing through June 25, Boni B. Alvarez will lead a six-week playwriting workshop titled “You Already Know What to Write.” Sessions will incorporate writing exercises to unearth stories, characters and drama that already exist in a playwright's life. Participants will mine their lives and “what they already know” in the writing of new pages, with the goal of completing the first draft of a new play by workshop's end. Classes take place every Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (no class May 28). Alvarez's plays, including Bloodletting, Dallas Non-Stop, Ruby, Tragically Rotund, Dusty De Los Santos, Dolls of America, Marabella and The Special Education of Miss Lorna Cambonga, have been produced/developed at Playwrights' Arena, Center Theatre Group, Chalk Rep, Skylight Theatre Co, The Vagrancy, Second Generation (2g, NYC), InterAct Theatre (Philadelphia) and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He has been a semi-finalist for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and a finalist for both the PEN Center USA Literary Award and Clubbed Thumb's Biennial Commission. With a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA from American Repertory Theatre/MXAT Institute at Harvard University and an MFA from USC, Alvarez is an alumnus of the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, Skylight Theatre's Play Lab, CTG Writers' Workshop, Moving Arts' MADlab, and Humanitas/CTG Play LA Workshop. His play Nicky (Chekhov's Ivanov) will be produced by Coeurage Theatre Company. The Echo will produce the world premiere of Fixed (Calderon's The Physician of His Own Honor) this fall.
Beginning May 16 and continuing through June 20, Erik Patterson will teach a six week intensive called “Losing It: Writing Your First Play at the Echo,” geared to anyone who has always wanted to write a play — but some inner voice told them they couldn't do it. Patterson will help tell that voice to shut up! Class time will be divided between in-class writing exercises and reading/discussing each other's work. By the end of six weeks, participants will have the first draft of a play. Classes take place on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., and first time writers are encouraged to attend. Patterson recently won the Los Angeles Drama Critic's Circle Award for One of the Nice Ones, which had its world premiere at the Echo Theater Company in 2016. His plays have been nominated for Ovation, Stage Raw, LA Weekly and GLAAD Media awards. His writing for TV has been nominated for two Emmy Awards and has garnered both the Humanitas Prize and the Writer's Guild Award. Erik is a graduate of Occidental College and the British American Drama Academy.
Registration for each class is $300, with a $25  “Early Bird” discount before May 4. Payment plans are available: contact Jesse Cannady at jesse@echotheatercompany.com prior to purchasing.
All classes take place at Atwater Village Theater, located at 3269 Casitas Ave. in Los Angeles.
For registration and more information about the Echo Theater Company, visit www.echotheatercompany.com