Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – July 29 - August 4, 2019

Theatrical shows, Cabaret, Dance, and Music Programs  NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

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

Our Lady of 121st Street

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An Evening with Vickie Shaw

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Edgar Allan Poe

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The Spitfire Grill

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Derina Harvey Band

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Yi-Nuo Wang, piano

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Cirque FLIP Fabrique

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Burton Cumming

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Pablo Sáinz-Villegas’ AMERICANO Trio

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Rosanne Cash with John Leventhal

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We Shall Overcome – A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., featuring Damien Sneed

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Benjamin Baker, violin

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Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood: The Scared Scriptless Tourd Sherwood: The Scared Scriptless Tour

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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical)

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Joan Osborne/The Weepies

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Marc Cohn

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Lea Salonga

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Little Women

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ADIOS DOLORES

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Witch

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Skintight

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Fallen Saints: Salem

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American Standard

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Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes)

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Painting Churches

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LAb Works Play Festival

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SkyPilot Runway - Honeymoon Suite

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Nick Dear's Frankenstein

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Beast on the Moon

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Concrete Rose by LaDarrion Williams - Staged Reading

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Amadeus at North Coast Repertory Theatre

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Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – April 8 - 14, 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.

Son of a Bitch

“Lee Atwater changed the American political playbook. Through his wedge issue tactics, smear campaigning, and diabolical media strategy, he orchestrated George H.W. Bush's 1988 Presidential campaign and became one of Washington's elite power players. But, by age 40, Lee Atwater was dead, his spectacular career over in a flash, and his legacy just another story to spin. SON OF A BITCH chronicles Atwater's transformation from a scrappy Southern strategist, to the “lying, character-assassinating, knife-fighting son of a bitch” he eventually became. Spanning the course of ten years, the play examines the legitimacy of Atwater's “crimes”. Was he a “bad boy”, a victim of his time, or the product of American ambition?”

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Why did the chicken cross the road?

“‘Why did the chicken cross the road?' follows each of the words in that joke as a character. Throughout the play's two acts, each word tries to figure out their meaning as individual words and within the joke, as they all attempt to reach the ‘real world'. The play is as ridiculous as the joke, but nonetheless, it is rooted in very serious themes. The words are a joke to the entire world, but that becomes the most meaningful part of who they are, and the most redemptive. After a sold-out run in London last year, ‘Why did the chicken cross the road' is proud to have its American premiere at HFF!”

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VICTORIA GORDON - LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD FRINGE

“Cabaret, classic showtunes, and comedy–what more do you need? Absolutely nothing, so join Victoria Gordon and her three-piece band for an hour of beloved standards and hilarious vignettes.”

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Sorry About My Friend

“Sorry About My Friend is making its premiere run at HFF. Inspired by true events, the play follows the journey of college students, Alyssa and Rachel, through their tumultuous years as roommates at Texas Tech University in Lubbock from 2006-2010. This quirky odd couple, with perfectionist Rachel and wild child Alyssa, learns even fast friendship has its hiccups. A dramedy in eight vignettes, clocking in at an hour, Sorry About My Friend visits the fall and spring semesters of each year at school.
In the era of female empowerment, come celebrate the complicated beauty and power of female friendship. Obsessive Rachel plays by the rules while wisecracking Alyssa writes her own rulebook. Will the girls' differences build a bond like Thelma and Louise or burn down a city like Joan and Bette? Please join us June 10th- 29th at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre – 5636 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038 – for a show that will make you thankful you've already graduated. ”

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A Year in Dragonfly

“WORLD PREMIERE OF A Year in Dragonfly, a one-woman show dictating the survival story of her journey after being brutally attacked by the man she loved. Told in all original spoken word and song, she narrates her navigation back from the darkest corners of fear, shame, and depression associated with domestic abuse.”

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Revoluciones

“A highly theatrical fever-dream that employs magical realism to tell the kaleidoscope journey of a strong and passionate woman facing an impossible tragedy. A desperate mother searches for her disappeared son amidst a totalitarian regime in an unnamed Latin American country. Produced by the Latino Theater Company in association with Mexico's Foro Shakespeare, an independent non-profit space that generates and develops projects of direct social impact through the performing arts. Presented in Spanish with English supertitles.”

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One Slight Hitch

“It is Courtney's wedding day, and her mom, Delia is making sure that everything is perfect. The groom is perfect, the dress is perfect, and the decorations (assuming they arrive) will be perfect. Then, like in any good farce, the doorbell rings. And all hell breaks loose. So much for perfect.”

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The Root Beer Bandits - a Rootin' Tootin Wild West Musicale

“The marshallARTS Family Series presents The Root Beer Bandits –A Rootin' Tootin' Wild West Musicale, at the Garry Marshall Theatre in a new, updated pull-out-all-the-stops version complete with live band, added songs, a revised book, and all-new costumes for its 15th anniversary...When Polly delivers a letter to Sheriff Bailey of Sarsaparilla City, they discover that Copper Penny is scheming to steal the city's famous root beer supply. With Sally Sue Tucker, a trailblazing female entrepreneur named helping her, and Sheriff Bailey, Polly sets things right and makes it clear that everyone is capable of greatness, no matter what their circumstances may be. Hold onto yer hats, ‘cuz laughs are sure to be a-plenty in this high-paced vaudevillian show including a chase, a Ho' Down, a sing-off at high noon, and although the show has a surprise ending, its no surprise that girl power saves the day!”

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FAMOUS

“Set in 1994, Famous takes audiences into a world ruled by sex, money, and power taken at any cost. Just nominated for his first Oscar, Jason Mast is throwing a celebratory party at his Hollywood Hills home that serves as the backdrop for an intricate plan to confront his past with the night unfolding at an adrenaline-rushed pace. Driven by a devastating need to expose the truth, Jason's attempt to control the outcome of the evening ignites a chain of events that push the boundaries of real friendship and reveals the true cost of fame.”

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Side Man

“A staged reading of Side Man will be performed as a selection in Sierra Madre Playhouse's ongoing Off the Page series of play readings.
The story: Set in 1953 and traveling to 1985, this lovely and poignant memory play unfolds through the eyes of Clifford, the only son of Gene, a jazz trumpet player, and Terry, an alcoholic mother. alternating between their New York City apartment and a smoke-filled music club, Clifford narrates the story of his broken family and the decline of jazz as popular entertainment. Clifford recalls the key moments in his life, such as the day when he, fresh out of college, picked up his first unemployment check and was congratulated by Gene and his bandmates. Gene's music career on the big band circuit ultimately crumbles with the advent of Elvis and rock-n-roll. Terry begs him to get a nine-to-five job to support the family, but Gene refuses to enter the “straight world” of regular paychecks, mortgages, and security. For Gene, who knows jazz better than his own son, music is not just a job; it's his life. their marriage slowly dissolves and young Clifford is witness to it all. as things worsen, Clifford assumes the role of parent and throws the hopeless Gene out of his mother's apartment. When an adult Clifford visits Gene in a rundown jazz club after years of separation, he requests that the old man play his mother's favorite song, the old standard 'Why Was I Born?'”

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Miss Coco Peru: Have You Heard?

“The return of the legendary Miss Coco Peru in her latest solo show. Miss Coco loves to reminisce. In fact, she's very good at it. In 'Have You Heard?,' Coco performs some of her favorite monologues and songs spanning her long career, as well as some new stuff too. Whether you've heard all or some of these stories or you're a Coco virgin, come see why Lily Tomlin called Coco, “one of the last great storytellers,” and experience the trailblazing Queen who elevated drag whilst still wearing sensible heels.”

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Richard III: Hour of the Tyrant

“A radical edit of Shakespeare's text, one that focuses on 'What makes a nation submit to a tyrant?' Yet fundamentally this remains a character piece, an exploration of the tragedy that is the life of one of the Bard's greatest villains.”

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Transference

“In Transference, a woman awakens from hypnotherapy and remembers all of her past lives…and that her therapist has been the love of her life in every lifetime. This world premiere dark romantic comedy tells the story of a woman hoping to get it right at long last, or at least not get murdered this time. Expert psychology gives way to pithy metaphysical repartee gives way to death threats. It's truly a love story that explores the most important question in any relationship: How long can you hold a grudge? ”

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Next to Normal

“Launching the season of family is the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, “Next to Normal” by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. The production open April 12, 2019 and is directed by Artistic Director Craig Tyrl. 'Next to Normal' tells the story of Diana Goodman and her family, struggling to find happiness and normality against a twenty-year backdrop of bi-polar disorder, depression, and grief. The musical examines mental illness and its powerful impact on the family unit. ”

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Anna in the Tropics

“Nilo Cruz's poignant and poetic 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning play captures 1929 Florida at a time when cigars were still rolled by hand and lectors were employed to educate and entertain the immigrant workers. The arrival of a new lector is cause for celebration, but when he reads Anna Karenina to the cigar rollers, he unwittingly becomes a catalyst in the lives of his avid listeners, for whom Tolstoy, the tropics and the American dream prove a volatile combination.”

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DR. NYMPHO VS. THE SEX ZOMBIES

“Celebration, under the artistic direction of Michael A. Shepperd, Cherry Poppins and Orgasmico present a very special guest production, the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival award-winning burlesque rock musical (Best Musical, Best World Premiere & Bechdal Wallace Award), DR. NYMPHO VS. THE SEX ZOMBIES ... Every family has issues. No issues run deeper than those of the brilliant pathologist and matriarch Dr. Nimfa Delacroix. She was a nymphomaniac in the past but now lives a “normal life” with her nuclear 21st-century family. All of her demons must be confronted however, when the outbreak of a deadly STD launches in Atlanta, turning its residents into zombies that promises the end of civilization. Can Nimfa unite her family? Can she overcome her past? Can she save the world? Find out in 'DR. NYMPHO VS THE SEX ZOMBIES!'”

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The Rape of Lucrece

“One of history's darkest crimes is one of Shakespeare's darkest works. Parental Discretion Advised, Graphic Content The ancient Roman legend of Lucretia is said to have been the catalyst for the Empire to become a Republic. Shakespeare takes a glimpse into the depraved mind of Tarquin as he assaults his friend Collatine's wife, Lucrece, who takes her own life out of shame. Listen in to our own radio adaptation of this violent, profound, and beautifully-written epic. ”

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Lock Your Heart, Elder P.

“What if your 'person' comes along right when you've been forbidden to find one? A Mormon tragedy in one act. Elder P. happily accepted the call to serve a Mormon mission in Sweden. He started out with the best of intentions: to serve the Lord faithfully, chastely, and exclusively for two years. He promised to lay aside all personal relationships for that entire time, subjecting himself instead to the constant scrutiny of a 24/7 working missionary companion. Then she showed up…”

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Back Bog Beast Bait

“A shack in a swamp. A woman hires two gunslingers to help her defend her home against a mysterious and ravenous beast intent on destroying the human race. Everyone feels the presence of the beast, but no one can prove it's real. Maybe the only way to protect ourselves is to lay our bodies bare on the altar and call forth our worst fears, our biggest regrets, and the baddest evil we can dream up. This production of Back Bog Beast Bait comes to you from Scavengers, a collective of artists who value the gritty, sensory worlds Sam Shepard spent his life meticulously creating.”
Better Lemons readers receive $5 off with the discount code ANWLemon when you purchase your tickets.”

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Neighborhood Watch

“When the head of a Neighborhood Watch program gets fed up with the goings-on in her neighborhood, she takes things into her own hands. A comedy about what goes on in the neighborhood and who's watching.”

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The Living Room

“A comedy about death, conceived in grief, birthed by Amrita Dhaliwal & Gemma Soldati. These Accountants of Death work tirelessly to record the death toll. Confined to The Living Room, the occupational hazards wear on these two clowns as they learn the meaning of life and death. An absurd and physical jaunt brimming with existential phone calls, impaired dancing and the love of a goldfish. Students of Dr. Brown, Spymonkey's Aitor Basauri, Paolo Coletto and Teacher's for Cirque du Soleil's, John Gilkey's Idiot Workshop in Los Angeles, Amrita Dhaliwal and Gemma Soldati have devised a clown show inspired by their loss of loved ones. Devised and developed at The Lyric Hyperion Theatre, this show rides the very fine line between comedy and tragedy. Employing physical and absurdist theatre techniques, this show leaves the audience laughing and crying and thrust out into the night to ponder it all.”

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Tapping My Way To The Nuthouse

“Santa Monica Playhouse Benefit Series and Jassem Inc present in collaboration with Jessica Lynne Johnson a preview or a premiere of Lynne Jassem's (From Homo to Como) latest show Tapping My Way To The Nuthouse. A one performance only special event...A burgeoning neurotic evolves into a full-fledged tap dancing, mime, storytelling, multimedia, nutcase…Come watch the trip!   DOES INSANITY WIN? Take the travails of a burgeoning nutcase…throw in a little OCD, mix with a bissel paranoia…and you are up and down in the world of tap and mime and characters galore…a multi-media dance journey through the insanity of showbiz.”

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Spring Awakening

“Teens Take on the Multiple Tony Award-winning, Coming-of-Age Musical 'SPRING AWAKENING' at the Stella Adler Theatre. Directed by 14-year-old George Baron and Featuring a Young Adult Cast.”

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Houdini in "The Grim Game"

“Everyone is invited to step back into 1919 — one hundred years ago — and see this lost classic as it was meant to be seen, with live accompaniment by the doyen of silent film musicians, Michael Mortilla, and violinist Nicole Garcia. This exciting event will be introduced by Houdini expert John Cox (www.wildabouthoudini.com). Michael will talk about the importance of music in the silent era. The Grim Game is a silent drama that showcases Houdini's astonishing, world-famous talents as an escapologist, stunt performer and aviator. The film presents a series of Houdini's trademark stunts and escapes and builds to an airplane pursuit climaxed by a mid-air collision.”

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Oracles and Miracles

“Oracles and Miracles, by Norelle Scott, based on the best-selling novel Oracles and Miracles by Stevan Eldred-Grigg, follows the journey of two working-class sisters growing up in Christchurch, New Zealand. Born in 1929 they are children of the Depression. They grow to adulthood through the time of the Second World War, and become mothers in the Baby Boom of the early fifties. Nick-named Ginnie and Fag the sisters are driven by the hope of a better life, consumed with love stories, romantic ideals, and luxuries they can only dream of. Told with humor, passion, insight, and authenticity, ‘Oracles and Miracles' celebrates the lives of courageous women..”

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Catastrophe!

“'Catastrophe!' is a comic exploration of the modern world as seen through the eyes of the clown. Philadelphia theatre artist Hank Curry explores the pitfalls and pratfalls of modern life as he tries on several unique identities, each with their own troubles and travails. Run away and join the circus of modern society with this new play that reveals and celebrates the commonalities that make us human in ways that can be challenging but are ultimately joyful.”

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DOGS: The Musical

“A musical comedic ode to our favorite pets, and a loving parody of musicals, 'DOGS' is about a pack of stray pit bulls that get separated and adopted. Although they fight their new domestic lives, they learn to stop worrying and love humans. 'DOGS' follows a pack of pit bull mixes as they live proudly on the street… until they're found by the pound and put into adoption. When the alpha of the pack reveals to his new owners that he and dogs everywhere can speak, humans realize they're no longer on top of the food chain.

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Ripple

“The last century has undergone a sensational transformation inspired by our innate desire to provide a brighter future for the generations to come. But what happens when one generation's hope for the future steals the hope of another's?”

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HOLLYWOODN'T

“Lisa Verlo performs HOLLYWOODN'T a solo show and personal journey across Hollywood's unsettling sexual landscape, directed by and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson. A musical memoir told with candor and insight into the life of an actress before women dared to speak up. With original songs co-written with Frank Simes, Musical Director for The Who, Lisa Verlo brings humor and a light heart to a heavy subject. Creative visuals and video projections add to the multimedia recounting of her experiences on the casting couches of LA. Hollywoodn't was featured, on Wednesday, February 13, as part of SOLOFEST 2019 at the Whitefire Theatre, the largest solo theatre festival on the West Coast.”

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ASSMONKEY

“ASSMONKEY: In Conversation is a hilariously fast faced and upfront tale of anxiety, crutches and the characters you discover when you're on road to recovery. The show takes a sideways look at mental health and ways in which we may hit the self destruct button. ASSMONKEY merges comedy genres through stand up, spoken work, silly songs and character work. Abetted by some “semi” scientific research, you'll encounter some bizarre renditions of personalities from Sophia's past, from doctors to yoga teachers. We'll take you on an uplifting journey from addiction to self help and wellbeing. Expect silliness, wank jokes, bad costumes, flailing and maybe even a little tenderness.”

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meg jo beth amy & louisa

“From the team that brought you the 2017 Hollywood Fringe International Award Winner & Pick of the Fringe, 'LADIES IN WAITING: THE JUDGEMENT OF HENRY VIII' comes their next project…Not Your Marmee's Little Women. Assigned with the super boring task of writing a morality tale for girls, Louisa May Alcott finds herself in a state of writer's block. That is until she turns to figures and stories from her own life. Lines between fact and fiction begin to blur, as 'Little Women' is played out upon the stage. Louisa must confront her characters, family, and a demanding public. Life may be the best inspiration, but what if you are afraid to learn who you are? ”

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I Could Take a Nap, but Killing Myself would be more Productive

“School president, award-winning debater, perfect GPA, dreamy boyfriend. What doesn't 18-year-old Sofia have? The strength to keep living. After taking her life, Sofia is stuck in limbo and relives her last memories in an effort to understand what went wrong. The stage becomes a life-sized version of her journal as she makes her way through the incidents preceding her death. We meet her family and friends in her journal; explored through home videos, original music, and theater. Step inside the mind of modern adolescence.”

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FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation

“Jenny has a plan. A plan to get pregnant. Everyone keeps telling her that time is running out, she just turned 35, after all. So, when those pesky urine tests keep coming back negative, Jenny decides to take action and fix the problem. That's when she runs into real problems and real questions about fertility and motherhood. As Jenny faces the world of “mom options” – egg freezing, in-vitro, adoption, and more – the conversation about the expectation of procreation really begins. Taking into account a whirlwind of outside opinions from her mom, her friends, doctors, a beloved neighbor – and even God – Jenny must ultimately look within to discover what motherhood means to her, what it means to be Fertile.”

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Audio Interview: The cast of “The Root Beer Bandits” at Garry Marshall Theatre

“The Root Beer Bandits has a cast full of comic archetypes from California's past that illustrate the state's history. And although they are fictional -- each of them represents a different idea of the laws of the land and how to achieve the American dream.* Enjoy this interview with the cast of “The Root Beer Bandits” at Garry Marshall Theatre, playing through Apr 28th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here. *Joseph Leo Bwarie

REAL WOMAN Blanca Araceli HAS Voice & Moves

REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES will open the second season of the recently re-christened Garry Marshall Theatre on October 10, 2018. We had the chance to chat with the busy Blanca Araceli, one of the five in the all-female ensemble of REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Blanca.

What forces of nature brought your talents to REAL WOMEN?

I met Josefina López in 2010 when I went to see a show at CASA 0101, and started teaching dance in her theater. She invited me to audition for a couple of her plays. Later she mentioned that auditions were going to be at the Pasadena Playhouse for REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, and I got the part of Carmen. I immediately fell in love with the play.

What works of Josefina are you familiar with, either on stage or in film?

I had the opportunity to work on her play A CAT NAMED MERCY and REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES a couple of times, among others; and I took several of her workshops.

Would you describe your character that you play in REAL WOMEN?

Just as any Latina mother that comes from their country with the dream to find a better live for their families. She has strong values, tradition and, at the same time, feels she's the pillar of the family. Works hard to keep things going, and just like any other mother, tends to be a bit dramatic or manipulative when it's convenient. Extremely funny, open minded in many ways and loves chisme (gossip)!

Does this character remind you of anyone you know in your personal life?

My mom, my aunties, and many moms that I know, especially Latinas.

You've done over forty plays. You said you played Carmen before?

Yes, I played Carmen before at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2015. In 2016, we did a series of readings for schools, in which I played the same role.

What shows have you seen at the Garry Marshall Theatre (formerly the Falcon)?

This is my first time at this theater acting or as an audience.

You were the voice of Emcee in the Oscar-winning Coco. I know voice work sometimes is recorded without everyone involved in the particular scene. Did you record Emcee by yourself or with some of the performers you introduced?

I recorded the voice first. Then they showed me the final image of the character. I was told that it got the shape based on my voice. I recorded along with the directors and the producer.

How long after you did your recordings, did you actually get to experience the finished Coco on the big screen?

I recorded in January of 2017, and got invited to the premiere on November 8 at El Capitan Theater.

I couldn't believe I was crying watching a cartoon. What was your initial reaction to Coco?

I was so happy and honored to be able to share with the world our great tradition, folklore and culture. Mexico is the real winner in this movie.

You've been the director and choreographer for Tierra Blanca Dance Company since 1996. What changes have you noticed in the Los Angeles dance and theatre community in the twenty-something years since you started?

In 1996, there were few Mexican dance companies. I was not aware of all the great diversity that there was in L.A. But, now with all the media, a lot of different Mexican Folk companies were formed, and we get to know other cultures through their folk dance companies. People are more aware of the different cultures. This helps people to understand where other people come from and, therefore, more barriers are down once you get to see and understand a country with a dance.

You're the choreographer for the short Jalisco. When did you start learning your traditional folklorico dancing?

When I was 17 years old, at the Instituto Cultural Cabañas in Guadalajara. I belonged to the Ballet Folkorico de las Americas.

Did you want to be a dancer or an actor when you were growing up? Or both?

I wanted to be a lawyer, but I started dancing. Dancing took me to acting.

Any plans to revive your one-woman show that you played at the Bohemian Café?

Yes, actually I am writing and working on my first one-woman show in English. Hopefully in 2019, I will have it ready.

And what's next for you, Blanca Araceli?

In theater, I just finished doing the Short and Sweet festival on September 28, 29 and 30. Then comes Pastorela El Ermitaño in December 2018, and TOO MANY TAMALES also in December 2018. As choreographer, I am working with The Rogue Company in their current play. SEñOR PLUMMER'S FINAL FIESTA, still running with several shows with my dance company to celebrate dia de muertos (October and November). And, finally, I got booked in the role of Carmen for a production that will take place in Texas in the spring of 2019.

Thank you again for your time, Blanca!

For ticket availability and show schedule through November 18, 2018; log onto GarryMarshallTheatre.org


Garry Marshall Theatre Appoints New Managing Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Garry Marshall Theatre Appoints New Managing Director
September 12, 2018 – BURBANK, CAGarry Marshall Theatre's Board of Directors is proud to announce that Kurt J. Swanson has joined the new nonprofit's leadership team as Managing Director.
“We're thrilled to welcome Kurt to the Garry Marshall Theatre,” says Artistic Director, Dimitri Toscas. “His extensive knowledge of nonprofit development and theatre management is bolstered only by his first-hand understanding of the local community and what makes it tick. His leadership style is inspiring and he's quickly become a valued member of our team.”
Swanson is the theatre's first official Managing Director in its year-long history after relaunching as the nonprofit Garry Marshall Theatre in the summer of 2017.
The role of Managing Director was created after the departure of Executive Director Sherry Greczmiel at the end of the inaugural season. Swanson will lead the organization's charge in fundraising, infrastructure development, and brand-building while guiding the theatre in the best-practice business principles that pertain to nonprofit live performance.
“I feel very fortunate to have been able to capitalize on my long-time performing arts and theatre background with my business and fiscal skills that have been honed over several decades,” says Swanson. “This is my ‘home town theatre' since I've lived nearly two decades in the neighborhood and have always admired this performing space.”
Alongside the Artistic team of Dimitri Toscas and Joseph Leo Bwarie, Swanson will be a major player in the continuation of programming during the Garry Marshall Theatre 2018/2019 Season, which begins on October 12 with a new production of Real Women Have Curves by Josefina López.
With over 30 years of continuous nonprofit business management of performing arts, nonprofit, and social services organizations, Swanson has a long history of bold, dynamic leadership and collaboration. He has served numerous theatres and nonprofits across the country – including the The Broad Stage (Santa Monica) as General Manager, Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago) as Interim Business Manager, Arts Services Associates (Milwaukee) assigned as Business Manager for Theatre X, and Box Office Manager for Skylight Theatre in Milwaukee. He also served as Operations Director of CASA of Los Angeles and Executive Director of Animal Samaritans in the Coachella Valley.
Swanson's appointment culminates a three-month search process, which considered a significant candidate pool from Los Angeles and across the country. The search was conducted by the Garry Marshall Theatre Board of Directors.
About Kurt Swanson
Chicago native Kurt Swanson has been involved in theatre since his years as a musician for High School plays. His performance skill garnered statewide awards and earned him scholarships. He served in a variety of administrative positions with social service and arts organizations in Milwaukee and Chicago, including serving as a founding member of the “Second Tier” collaborative arts organization in Milwaukee, and as manager of Theatre X, an internationally touring ensemble theatre. In Chicago, he served as finance manager for Steppenwolf theatre during the time of its mainstage, experimental and Broadway productions, often interacting with major stars and virtually every sector of professional theatre production. He has served as senior staff to major nonprofits in the Coachella Valley and Los Angeles, and served on the board of Syzygy Theatre Group.
About Garry Marshall Theatre
Garry Marshall Theatre is a nonprofit organization providing innovative performances, educational opportunities, and storytelling activities for all ages, year-round. Located in the heart of Burbank and Toluca Lake's entertainment industry, the critically acclaimed and Ovation Award-winning 130-seat theatre was founded in 1997 as the Falcon Theatre by Hollywood legend Garry Marshall. Reestablished as the Garry Marshall Theatre in 2017, the theatre continues to cultivate new artists and experiences that spark ideas and build community.
MEDIA CONTACT:
Chelsea Sutton, Marketing & Publicity
Garry Marshall Theatre
[email protected]
o: 818.955.8004 | c: 951.757.5102


Jeff Campanella Getting Familiar With Garry Marshall, Maria Callas & Neil Simon

Jeff Campanella already has earned the distinction of being the only actor to be part of both the recently re-named Garry Marshall Theatre's inaugural season's first and second productions. Jeff goes from 'stage managing' Maria Callas in MASTER CLASS to being a vital contributor in Neil Simon's homage to his beginnings as part of a classic television comedy writing team in LAUGHTER ON THE 23rd FLOOR. Jeff took the time to give us a little insight to his involvement with MASTER CLASS and now LAUGHTER, which begins previews March 21, opening March 23.
Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Jeff!
LAUGHTER ON THE 23rd FLOOR is your second show at the Garry Marshall. Do you have a history with the Falcon Theatre? Or was MASTER CLASS your first Garry Marshall/Falcon project?
MASTER CLASS was my first audition and production at the Falcon/GMT, and could not have been a better experience. Our director, Dimitri Toscas, is truly one of the kindest people I know, and I'm so happy for him that the show got such wonderful reviews.
Did you ever have the opportunity to interact with the late, great Garry Marshall?
No, I wish. I'm a great admirer of his work. Laverne and Shirley is my favorite Garry creation. I love hearing stories about him. He will be remembered not just for his numerous films and TV shows, but now for his beautiful theatre.
I saw you as the "Julliard Stagehand" in MASTER CLASS with the incredible Carolyn Hennesy as Maria Callas. You were most fun in your various entrances and exits interacting with Diva Callas. How would you compare your Stagehand character with the writer you play in LAUGHTER? And, which writer are you playing in LAUGHTER?
I'm playing Ira Stone, a hypochondriac who always shows up late with some new ailment. The characters are similar in that they are the outcasts of their particular worlds. Both oddballs, but in very different styles.
In your research process of getting familiar with your LAUGHTER character, did you watch some of the classic comedians that these characters were originally based on?
My character is based on Mel Brooks, or at least the Mel Brooks off-camera that Neil Simon worked with. Spaceballs was my first favorite comedy. I already watched it a dozen times before I was seven years old. I knew nothing about The Saturday Night Review or Sid Caesar, which our 'The Max Prince Show' is an allusion to, but in terms of that time period, I'm a big Jackie Gleason fan. My family loves The Honeymooners.
Have you, by chance, ever seen other theatrical productions of LAUGHTER or the 2001 television version with Nathan Lane?
No, I haven't. It's tough when you watch other performances not to at least subconsciously copy them. So, if given the choice, I'd rather not watch a performance of the character I'm going to play. I've seen Nathan Lane on Broadway in WAITING FOR GODOT, and my favorite of his films is Birdcage.
Any other Neil Simon project you've love to be involved in?
I really like THE ODD COUPLE and THE SUNSHINE BOYS, and the good news is these roles will be waiting for me in fifty years!
You have worked with a number of divas (and, I mean 'diva' in the most positive sense!) - the aforementioned Mz. Hennesy, Susan Lucci (Devious Maids), Pauley Paurette (NCIS), Mary McDonnell (Major Crimes), Jeremy Irons (An Actor Prepares). What other 'diva' would be on your wish list to work with?
Ooh, probably Maya Rudolph. She's hilarious!
Tell us some fun incidents you experienced during MASTER CLASS? (practical jokes, gag opening night gifts, spilled pitchers of water, pratfalls)
I would always find new ways to scare Maegan McConnell around the theatre. Also, before each show I would pretend to be a real stagehand and give the 20-10-and-places call to the ladies' dressing room. I'd find a new way to screw it up each time. But my favorite gag was Joseph Bwarie, the artistic director, would follow me around backstage as if he was my assistant. The Stagehand's stagehand.
Being raised in Atlanta, Georgia, does your accent reappear easily when you're around other Georgia folks? Was it easy or difficult to 'lose' your Georgia inflections?
Well, my dad's side is from Brooklyn, so I'm definitely drawing from him more than my mom's side for this role. I've never really had a southern accent, unless I'm being really polite.
What is your affinity to F. Scott Fitzgerald? I believe you dogs' names are Zelda and Fitzgerald?
You're good! I think the third dog will have to be named Gatsby!
What 1950's topic of Neil Simon's writers' room would you think will resonate (and possibly seem too relevant to our present times) with the Garry Marshall Theatre audiences.
Carol's monologue about wanting to not just be seen as a child-bearing woman, but also to be taken seriously as a writer definitely resonates today. Also, the government's desire to silence those who disagree with the status quo has always been relevant in our country. But, all in all, this is a comedy, aimed more at making one laugh than think. So bring your laugh. Or your fake laugh. I'll take either one!
Thank you again for doing this, Jeff. I look forward to experiencing your comedy chops in LAUGHTER.
For ticket availability and show schedule through April 22, 2018, log onto GarryMarshallTheatre.org


Martha Hackett Sculpting A Character of Flaws & Strength

The Garry Marshall Theatre's next play (in their inaugural season under their new moniker honoring the late Garry Marshall), Edward Albee's OCCUPANT will begin January 31, 2018. Albee's hypothetical interview of modern sculptress Louise Nevelson will feature Martha Hackett in this integral role. Martha was gracious enough to spare us some chat time in the midst of her rehearsals.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Martha!
Have you inhabited any Edward Albee characters before Louise Nevelson?
In college and acting school, I performed in BALLAD OF THE SAD CAFE and SEASCAPE. I was a lizard-like sea creature in SEASCAPE - great costume.
I was most lucky to catch VIRGINIA WOOLF many years ago in London with Dame Diana Riggs and David Suchet. Have you had the pleasure of seeing someone perform Albee?
I think WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF is an American masterpiece, and I've tried to see whenever I can, especially with a strong cast. I saw Glenda Jackson as Martha, with John Lithgow - twice! Also Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin - both of those casts were amazing. You were very lucky to see Diana Rigg.
I've also seen THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA? and A DELICATE BALANCE - great plays.
Edward Albee writes his characters with glaring flaws, worts and all. What would you describe as Louise's flaws?
Louise Nevelson certainly had flaws, as she was a real human being, and a friend of Albee's in actual fact. But the play is not strictly biographical. I think Albee plays with Louise's tendency to spin a yarn, or outright lie - as a way of creating a narrative for herself. On top of that, she might not be voted the world's best mother, as she was detached and unhappy in that role. However, she did have bouts of depression, and of course, that's not a flaw! I think it's hard for me to judge her too harshly while I'm playing her - as I'm seeing things from her point of view! The main spine of it is that she was destined to be an artist - and what it takes to become an artist involves great sacrifice, and a strong sense of self - which she worked tirelessly to develop.
Looks like Albee was ahead of time, writing about gender disparity in the sculpting arts. How relevant is OCUPANT with the recent revelation that Michelle Williams got paid much less that Mark Wahlberg for the reshoots of All the Money in the World?

I'm not sure Albee was writing about gender disparity per se, but it was so glaringly obvious that it's certainly woven in there. And though I don't necessarily think Louise identified as “woman artist,” she couldn't help avoid that issue - and she let Albee know about it. The truth is, the intense bias against female modern artists makes Louise's achievements even greater. Not so ‘modern,' eh? Odds were definitely stacked - very, very high - against Louise.
In terms of OCCUPANT being relevant right now, with the discussion of pay equity in Hollywood - well, it's been relevant for just about forever. This is not a new issue….it's been this way for a long time. Although I think there was a time in Hollywood when some actresses were the highest paid performers…..Lillian Gish, perhaps? And during the 30's and 40's, I think (could be wrong) there were a few actresses leading the way because they were such important box office draws.
There are also some fascinating parallels in this play about the immigration conversation happening right now. How immigrants were treated, and how valuable they become…

How would you compare and contrast Louise with Seska, your character on Star Trek Voyager?
I don't think I'd compare Louise or Seska at all - don't get me wrong, I LOVE Seska - would play her again in a minute. But Louise was a real person, and I've been able to read about her life and study her art. Louise was about lifting the human condition - the mind/body response to art - and Seska, well, she was a warrior in the more classic sense! World domination!
Have you and the late Garry Marshall's paths crossed on a set or at his previously named Falcon Theatre?
I never had the pleasure of crossing paths with Mr. Marshall - sadly. Big fan though…
Any dream roles you'd like to tackle on stage?
Hmm, dream roles - there are so many! And I'm sure some haven't been written yet. Here are a few off the top of my head - Arkadina in THE SEAGULL, Martha in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, Lady M (again!), Gertrude in HAMLET, and anything in a Pinter play.

What would you like the Garry Marshall Theatre audience to leave with after experiencing OCCUPANT?
I hope the audience leaves with a better understanding of the deep sacrifices, grit, and most importantly, the sensitivity that is necessary in becoming an artist of any depth. There will always be some blood on the floor, mostly your own, but sometimes mixed with others'. Also, I hope that if they aren't familiar with her work already, that they another look at Louise Nevelson's incredible body of art. It's pretty darn breathtaking.
Thank you again, Martha. I look forward to seeing how you inhabit Louise Nevelson.
Enjoy the show!
For OCCUPANT ticket availability and schedule through March 4, 2018, log onto GarryMarshallTheatre.org


LA STAGE: A Royal Dilemma and Lots of (Crazy) Comedy Tonite!

Quote of the week: "Trump said that Latinos are rapists and criminals.  So when I meet him, I plan to rob him and fuck him." - George Lopez

I saw something last night at a performance of Something Rotten at the Ahmanson Theatre that I'd never seen before in my 21 years in Los Angeles.   In the middle of the First Act, after the killer musical number, "A Musical," the crowd went wild - wild - and clapped wildly for a full five minutes, then a man spontaneously stood up and gave the show a standing ovation!  A mid-Act Standing-O!  Unheard of!

Anyway, the point is that actors on LA stages are crushing it this holiday season!  Crushing it!  And it's not too late to get in on the fun.

Caitlyn Conin, Kendra Chell and Dylan Jones. Photo by Justin Szebe

Before I get to it, though, I want to wish Theatre Movement Bazaar a great week in Beijing, China!  A full  house at the Bootleg were fortunate enough to catch their parting performance of TRACK 3, their brilliant interpretation of Chekhov's Three Sisters.  Better, funnier, fuller, more precise than I recall from the time I saw it before.  Why not run it here again for a few weeks?  If the audience at the Bootleg was any indication, there is a lot more happiness to be had with this show about the search for happiness.

CLOSING THIS WEEKEND:  KING CHARLES III by Mike Bartlett, Directed by Michael Michetti

Jim Abele as King Charles III. Photo: Jenny Graham.

I have to start with this caveat, that whatever the opposite of a Royal Family watcher is, that's what I am.   I know who Kate is, but the name of her kids? Have no clue.  Prince Harry and the Markle sparkle?  No thanks, I'll pass. So I'm not the ideal audience for this "future history play" about what could happen after Queen Elizabeth dies and Prince Charles finally becomes king.  Now I do know who the Prince of Wales is, and he's always seemed to me like a comedic figure with his rubber face and big ears.  But not here.  As played with great earnestness and dignity by Jim Abele, Charles is a learned man, deeply versed in the ways of monarchy, who intends to make the most of the royal position that he has waited so long to assume.  I must admit that the First Act seemed overly long and self-serious to me, but most of that paid off in the Second Act, which succeeded in making King Charles III into a memorably tragic figure.  Given all the current hubbub about another Royal Wedding (yawn) and the fact that this 16-actor play needs to be done on a majestic level, you'd better rush down to the Pasadena Playhouse this weekend if you have any hopes of catching this play.  Michael Michetti directed with great assurance, and Abele and Laura Gardner (as wife Camilla Bowles) stand out.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim - Directed by Joseph Leo Bwarie 

Nicole Kaplan, Michael Thomas Grant and Paul C. Vogt

This musical, based on the plays of the Roman satiric playwright Plautus, premiered in 1962.  It has the distinction of being the first musical to feature both music and lyrics by musical theater god Stephen Sondheim, along with a book co-written by Larry Gelbart, a comedy genius.  With such an illustrious heritage, I suppose it's no surprise that this is a rollicking laugh machine, featuring three wonderful Sondheim songs that have been imitated in hundreds of lesser musicals: "Comedy Tonite," "Lovely" and "Everybody Ought To Have A Maid."  This production, directed by Joseph Leo Bwarie, co-artistic director of the Garry Marshall Theatre, is highly entertaining, using a nicely-spacious Roman Square set that is beautifully-lit by Francois-Pierre Couture.  The show was well ahead of its time in the tongue-in-cheek way it plays to the audience, and Paul C. Vogt leads an agile and talented cast in bringing this farcical concoction to vivid life.  (Joey McIntyre replaces Vogt until Dec. 10, when Vogt returns to the show.)

SPAMILTON: An American Parody, Created, Written and Directed by Gerald Alessandrini, at the Kirk Douglas

Zakiya Young, Wilkie Ferguson III, William Cooper Howell, John Deveraux and Dedrick A. Bonner

Like everything connected to the phenomenon of Hamilton, this parody is selling out the Kirk Douglas Theatre like no other production before it.  While Spamilton is funny and barbed, it does not re-invent the parody form the way that Hamilton has apparently done with the musical.  (That's right, I haven't been able to get a ticket either.)  As long as it sticks to spoofing Lin-Manuel Miranda, his show and its now-famous performers like Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr, this evening is on solid comedic ground.  When it strays into parodies of other current Broadway shows, the energy level definitely takes a dip.  But the performers are absolutely first-rate, especially John Deveraux and Zakiya Young (whether she's spoofing Renee Elise Goldsberry, Audra McDonald or J-Lo).  The choreography by Gerry McIntyre is straight-up brilliant, with some of the wittiest and most unexpected comedy movements I've seen.  I have to commend CTG also for the post-show Broadway karaoke in the theatre lobby, which is a wonderful idea, and really carried over the fun from the show.  It was inspiring to hear all the talented young performers belting out not only the score of Hamilton, but of many other Broadway shows.  But like I said, good luck getting tickets.

SOMETHING ROTTEN!, Conceived by Karey Kirkpatrick & Wayne Kirkpatrick, Book by Karey Kirkpatrick & John O'Farrell, Music and Lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick & Karey Kirkpatrick. Directed/Choreographed by Casey Nicholaw

Blake Hammond and Rob McClure

Hopefully it was clear in my opening paragraph to this article that I think Something Rotten! is anything but rotten. The truth is, I didn't see the Broadway production, and I'd heard so many mixed and unenthusiastic things about it that I set my expectations fairly low.  And, my word, I was simply blown away by the inventiveness and exhilirating lunacy of this musical!  Yes, it owes a large debt to Mel Brooks - not just The Producers, but also the musical number at the end of Blazing Saddles, where the characters from the movie all go spilling into each other on a Hollywood soundstage.  But this show has its own brand of historical and parodic zaniness, it does a masterful job of keeping a sense of real stakes while continuing to move the story and characters forward.  To my mind, every element of this production is brilliant, top-tier, and yet they all come together to form something that is greater than the sum of its wonderful parts.  This is so rarely achieved, and I am in awe of the many talents at work at such a high level here.  The cast is all strong, but Blake Hammond as the soothsayer and Scott Cote as a Puritan leader are simply off the charts in their musical comedy mojo.  This show is around for the entire month of December - you owe it to yourself not to miss this. It left me feeling positively giddy.

 

 


Paul C. Vogt Has Made A Lot of Funny Things Happen ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM

Paul C. Vogt will again mount the boards of the first Los Angeles theatre he connected with upon his arrival to L.A. in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, beginning November 15, 2017. Just this year, The Falcon Theatre was re-christened The Garry Marshall Theatre, in honor of its founder. Some of the shows Paul performed at The Falcon include: LAUREL AND HARDY, TWIN-PROV, HAPPY DAYS, THE LITTLE MERMAID, CINDERELLA! Paul waxed most poetically on his many happy days working with Garry Marshall and The Falcon.

Thank you Paul for taking the time for this interview.

This will be your first time performing at the recently renamed The Garry Marshall Theatre. What originally connected you with The Falcon and Garry Marshall?

I saw the theater when I first moved to town in '99, and knew I wanted to work there. It was close to where I was living and I loved the look and feel of it - very homey, comfortable and welcoming.

I auditioned for BEANSTALK! - one of the Family Series of shows they performed on the weekends. I had no idea Garry was involved, or that the director Kathleen Marshall was Garry's daughter. I got a call-back for the role of the Giant; but did not get cast. Shortly after that, I was asked to work with a group of friends from Orlando doing a show at The Falcon theater called LAS VEGAS HOSPITAL. A scripted/improvised comedy. I would fill in for a couple of actors when needed. This is when I met Garry and realized where I was. He saw me in that show and we hit it off. The actor that got the part of the Giant in BEANSTALK! had to suddenly leave the show due to a family emergency. Garry and Kathleen asked if I would help them out and accept the role of the Giant. I said, "Yes" on Wednesday, and was in the show on Saturday.

So, Garry was already very familiar with your comedic chops at his theatre when you were cast in his film The Princess Dairies 2: Royal Engagement in 2004.

When Garry asked me to do Princess Diaries 2, we had done a couple of family shows at the theater including the first try at HAPPY DAYS: "AAAY!" IT'S A MUSICAL  and I was on MADtv by that time - which I attribute to Garry.

What words of advice or encouragement has Garry Marshall given you?

If you try a joke a couple of times, and it doesn't get a response - stop doing it. It's not funny. Do something else.

Do you have a funny Garry Marshall memory to share?

In HAPPY DAYS: "AAAY!" IT'S A MUSICAL, I played Jimbo Malachi, one of the bad guys. During our number, there would be moments my character would toss in a little bit of improv. Often before a show, Garry would come up to me and ask me to put random words into my song. Like one night he had me incorporate YoYo Ma the cellist. I sang my song,went into my improv section and sang about YoYo Ma. The audience laughed a bit 'cause it was funny and odd. BUT in the back behind them all, you heard a loud belly laugh that belonged to Garry, who was delighted that, once again, I took on his challenge and ran with it!! We would both giggle like idiots after when we would see each other.

If MADtv were to write a breakdown description of Pseudolus, what character traits would it include?

Large, loud, bossy servant/slave, has passion to acquire his freedom and will do anything to achieve it... ANYTHING!

How would you compare Pseudolus to some of the other characters you've inhabited on the boards- HAIRSPRAY!'s Edna Turnblad, CHICAGO's Amos Hart, CHEERS LIVE ON STAGE's Norm Peterson?

Oddly enough, each one of these characters has an overwhelming passion that drives their actions:

Psedolous to be free,

Edna to love and take care of her family,

Amos to protect his wife,

Norm...beer.

Who have you seen perform Pseudolus previously?

It's been a long time since I've seen anyone do the show.

Would you name your favorite Stephen Sondheim song?

That's a hard one. Sooooo many. Ummmm? Anything from SWEENEY TODD, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, INTO THE WOODS. Also "I Feel Pretty" from WEST SIDE STORY - that song has been very good to me.

I caught your HAIRSPRAY! duet with Michael-Leon Wooley at the Broadway to the Rescue fundraiser. Your Edna to his Wilbur rocked the Montalban Theater audience.

Thanks! It was so fun to do it with him.

How old were you when you realized you were a funny (and talented) guy?

Still trying to figure that out.

I've seen you perform in various shows in Los Angeles, At least I thought I had. When I was looking at my old programs, I realized it was your twin brother Peter Allen Vogt that I saw in ROMEO & JULIET: LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD, and more recently DOGFIGHT. Was TWIN-PROV in 2008 the first time you two performed together? Or was it a reunion performance of your fraternal talents?

We have worked several times together on TV and a couple movie items. In Orlando for Disney back in '89, we did improv. We have been doing improv together and in groups for years. TWIN-PROV was our first TWIN IMPROV show with special guests.

Any plans to perform together again?

It always seems to happen.

You wrote your first children's book Billy Butler and the SnowDog last year. Any theatre projects you're penning to come in the near future?

Nothing yet. I have an idea for a one-person show chatting about my cancer situation, but it's still all in my head.

What is your dream role you'd love to take a stab at?

Hard to say... I would love to play Sweeney Todd. I love his passion and drive. I kinda understand him.

Thank you again, Paul! I look forward to see your sure-to-be hysterical Pseudolus!

Thanks! It's such a fun show to do, amazingly well-written.

For ticket availability to experience what funny things Paul makes happen ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM through December 31, 2017; log onto www.garrymarshalltheatre.org