Spotlight Series: Meet Actor and Writer Barry Brisco


This Spotlight focuses on Barry Brisco, an actor who has traveled the world touring with shows and had just started working on his first TV series when the shutdown forced the production to close down. The delay has also put a damper on his plans to produce a play he wrote for this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival.


Shari Barrett (SB):  What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Barry Brisco in Switzerland

Barry Brisco (Barry): I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts Management and lived in New York City for 15 years doing theater. Most recently, I was on tour in Switzerland with “Oh La La Circus” and was a Las Vegas performer with Rich Binning in the two-man hit show Puppetry of the Penis which we took to Australia and Tasmania, playing in over 50 cities across the country.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

 

(Barry): I had just booked my first leading role in a TV series. We were shooting the episodes and were about two and a half episodes in when the production just committed suicide; literally dropping dead right in front of me.

Barry Brisco on set

(SB): How was the shutdown communicated with the cast and production team?

(Barry): Due to circumstances, everything was done so abruptly, literally done via email with a “to be continued” type of notice. We all expressed our remorse to each other and our gratitude for all the hard work that everybody was putting in. And then nothing…

(SB): Are plans in place to resume production at a future date?

(Barry): As of yet, nothing has been completely canceled. But nobody knows. And so many people were involved, and none of us know what’s going to happen next.

 

(SB): I don’t think anyone does right now. Speaking of the future, what productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(Barry): Everything. I have plans to produce a play that I wrote for this year's Hollywood Fringe Festival. called Love is a Battlefield. But now the Fringe Festival isn't happening until October, if it can, and now the money is part of my emergency fund. So, I have no idea if I'm going to be able to produce it now, nor do I have no idea if my cast is going to be available. Or if the funding is still going to be there when the Fringe finally does take place. I have no idea of anything. I don't even know if we're going to be able to come out of the house, let alone have rehearsal and produce a play.

(SB): It’s so difficult on all of us, this new and so uncertain reality. But being creative is always a certainty for those involved with theatre. So how are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(Barry): I am taking full advantage of watching every single Broadway musical that I can possibly watch thanks to a link I found on Facebook that said you can watch Hamilton and other Broadway musicals free of charge. And Hamilton came up first so of course I watched it. And then I watched Wicked and then Heathers. I tried to share the same link with everyone, but it seems to only work for me. So - wake me when it's over.

It’s amazing how much information is available online, so much so that no artist or actor should ever even have time to be bored during this quarantine. In fact, there's so much stuff on the internet I don't even have time to look at it all. So, go back to the basics if you don't think you have anything to do and revisit the artist way.

Barry Brisco in Circus

As a writer and an actor, I've always self-isolated and quarantined to do work, and I have a great dog companion who means the world to me. So lucky enough, it's really no big deal for me to stay home alone right now. Right before we were all sent to our rooms to think about what we've done to the planet Earth, I had a meeting and scored a wonderful manager. And I have an audition - in Drag. So, I get to play RuPaul's Drag Race for the next couple of days while I'm learning my audition lines and pulling together my look.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Barry): Learn your craft. Ask questions. Join groups. Do not cut yourself off because you are an artist who definitely needs its audience. Clean your house. Throw away all of that crap that needs to be thrown away. Get your paperwork and your files and every single thing that you can possibly think of in order. Including you. Pull it together so you don't return with excuses. You will return ready to kill your next role. Get yourself ready for anything. I learned that in the book Ready for Anything. Such a good read.

In closing, I offer a quote from Effie White. "And I am telling you I'm not going, even though the rough times are showing. There's just no way, there's no way. I'm staying and you're going to love me."

This too shall pass, family.... let's stay in touch:

Imdb/barrybrisco

Instagram/barrybrisco

Twitter/barrybrisconews

Youtube/barrybrisco


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Writer / Producer / Actor Mykell Barlow From the L.A. Premiere of “Dessa Rose”


This Spotlight shines on writer/producer and actor Mykell Barlow, who I first saw onstage in the Los Angeles premiere of "Dessa Rose" at the Chromolume Theatre. His next big production is his wedding planned for 6/13/2020, which he hopes can go on as planned.


Shari Barrett (SB):  What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Mykell Barlow (Mykell): I have been obsessed with the theatre since I was 9 when my aunt wrote a Christmas play and we performed it in my Grandmother's living room. When I got to high school, I threw myself into performing with drama club, marching band, choir... you name it and I was doing it. Even my English presentations always had lots of dramatic flair.

In my first semi-professional theatre production, I played a tap dancing thug in 42nd Street.” I eventually scored one of my dream leading roles as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This led to a series of events that brought me to Los Angeles where I threw myself into the Hollywood Fringe Festival scene. I did a few shows including We are One by Christian Jaeger.

"Dessa Rose" cast (Front l-r Abby Carlson, Mykell Barlow, and Shaunte Massard. Back l-r Kymberly Stewart, Bradley Turner, Ambrey Benson, and Ken Purnell)

Since I've been in LA, I have been lucky enough to play a lead role in the Los Angeles premiere of Dessa Rose at the Chromolume Theatre and understudy in Dream Girls at the Cupcake Theatre.

(SB): I am sharing my Broadway World review of Dessa Rose which is the first time I saw Mykell onstage! The outstanding ensemble cast made this musical a favorite of mine in 2018.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

Mykell Barlow as Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

(Mykell): I was helping a friend get their first Hollywood Fringe Festival show up and running.  I have also been involved in helping another friend develop a stage musical to pitch to investors. Thankfully we were able to do a few showcases for them before the shutdown came. The biggest production I have been gearing up for is my wedding to my fiancé Justin Patten which is scheduled for June 13th in Downtown LA.

(SB): Congratulations! No doubt it will also be a very dramatic event for the two of you and those lucky enough to attend, which I hope can happen as planned. With the Hollywood Fringe Festival postponed until October 2020, are plans in place to present that production at that time?

Mykell Barlow and fiancé Justin Patten

(Mykell): Since the Fringe Festival has been postponed until October, I am not sure if the show will continue with everyone involved possibly having other commitments in place at that time. We just have to wait and see. In regards to my wedding, Justin and I are hopeful that we won't need to push our wedding date, especially since there are a lot of moving parts with a production like this. So of course, we are keeping an eye on things and will make adjustments accordingly. My hope is that it will go ahead as planned and it will be a great celebration for everyone itching to get out and party after an extended time stuck inside.

(SB):  Have any other future productions on your schedule been affected by the shutdown?

(Mykell): I recently joined Actors Equity and have been excited to audition for some Equity shows. Now they have all be postponed, so I guess I will continue honing my audition skills during this time while I'm stuck at home.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

Mykell Barlow as Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

(Mykell): I have been digging through my video archives and posting clips from past shows on my twitter and instagram which has been a fun trip down memory lane and a great way to reconnect with old cast mates. I have also been writing online articles for AfterBuzz TV to help maintain a constant flow of entertainment content.

To all my fellow members of the L.A. Theatre Community: I know this time of uncertainty can be unnerving but don't stop creating. Never stop creating. Write, sing, dance, put on a costume and perform a one man show - and record it for the world to see. During moments like this, we need the light that only the Arts can provide. And for all our sakes, please stay inside!


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Barbara Keegan, an Emmy Award-winning Actress


This Spotlight  focuses on Barbara “Bobbie” Keegan, an Emmy Award-winning actress who always says “yes” to the Santa Monica Playhouse and Theatre 68 who always travels with her adopted son, good luck charm and alter- ego, “Smitty the Magical Flying Purple Turtle.” I first met both of them during the second Hollywood Fringe Festival when Keegan took Best in Fringe honors headlining in the world premiere of Jon Courie's Jennifer Aniston Stole My Life, which Courie wrote specifically with her in mind.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Bobbie Keegan (BK): I made my Chicago stage debut at age 3, in a duet with my comedy godfather, first mentor and jester spirit-guide for all time - Danny Kaye. I also have the distinction of being the only performer ever to receive a special Emmy Award for my work in a local television commercial. But it all kicked into high gear when I was enjoying a stint as a tourist development authority ambassador (masquerading as beauty queen Miss Miami Beach) at the same time CBS and Universal Studios were in Miami scouting locations and talent and discovered me.

Soon I relocated to the West Coast to strengthen my commitment to both stage and screen, with scores of appearances and participation on the governing bodies of organizations such as First Stage, Theatre 40, and The American National Theatre and Academy.  The move also made me a presence in major motion pictures from Caddyshack, to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, from Disneyland (Saving Mr. Banks, Tomorrowland) to outer space (J.J. Abrams' Star Trek), as well as a slew of award-winning indie and festival projects. I also hosted my own TV series, The Handy Ma'am on PBS, and appeared as "Nell's Mom" on NCIS: Los Angeles (in which I was introduced in a Christmas episode, wearing antlers on my head), in addition to a wealth of classic episodic TV roles.

Los Angeles theater audiences have seen me in ten roles in the Pasadena Playhouse's award-winning Joined at the Head, five roles in the five yea- run of Bill W and Dr. Bob at Theatre 68, as well as original musicals from The Fantastics to the country-western Tanglin' Hearts to the politically-themed Campaign to the borscht-belt Mamaleh! and the occasional beloved classic such as the blarney-speaking Nurse in Romeo and Juliet for Merry War Theatre Group.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(BK) I was appearing in the comedy Mistakes Were Made...coulda-woulda-shoulda at The Santa Monica Playhouse, which was written by Jerry Mayer and directed by Chris DeCarlo.

(SB): How was the shutdown communicated to you?

(BK): As the coronavirus reports grew more serious, we suspected that we very well might be suspending performances at some point.  This was especially ironic for me, having only joined the cast in this extension of the show on Saturday, March 7.  So, I had my "opening" performance that night and we played our matinee on the following day, Sunday, March 8.  When we left the theatre that evening, we were already wondering if we would be playing the next weekend.  During the week, the reports grew more and more grim, and by “lucky” Friday the 13th, the Co-artistic Directors of Santa Monica Playhouse, Evelyn Rudie and Chris DeCarlo, emailed all of us to confirm that we were indeed suspending performances.  The irony is that this may turn out to be the shortest run of my life!

Mistakes Were Made First Night!

(SB): I know Mistakes Were Made has been running for a while as I reviewed it before you joined the cast. Do you know if plans are in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(BK): Of course, this is a situation we've never experienced before, and so all plans are of necessity both hopeful and flexible. Evelyn tells me that there is every hope and expectation that we will re-open as soon as it is feasible to do so, and we're hoping to return this summer.

(SB): What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(BK):  I have kept my options open since there was already the possibility of further extensions of that show beyond our announced closing of April 26. And since everything is now up in the air, I want to be available for whatever dates we are able to bring Mistakes Were Made back on stage.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(BK): I try to post as many fun/funny/uplifting things as I possibly can.  My personal preference is to always try to only spread good news. A lovely recent festival competition-entry film I appeared in called Title 9 by Amy Campione, can be viewed at this link.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(BK): Oh, I love that you mentioned the Ghostlight!  That's actually something I posted just the other day on my Facebook page. Here's what I want to say: We WILL be back. My personal assignment-to-myself has been to use this time, however strange, as positively and healthily and lovingly as I possibly can.  I'm a do-it-yourselfer but also a lifetime member of the procrastinators club (well as soon as I get around to joining), so I've been trying to do at least one thing around the house per day. Fix something. Clean something.  Take care of the plants inside and out. Straighten a corner that's gotten out of hand, which seem to multiply daily.

It’s important to remember we're all creative artists, so let's create! Maybe you'll re-discover papier-mâché, or watercolors, or maybe you'll use that great idea you have and finally write that play!  But don't forget to take care of yourself, too. Stay healthy, both physically and mentally/spiritually. Move. Exercise as much as you can. Eat. Hydrate. (I'm mostly reminding myself about that, I regularly get "busy" with something and forget to eat or drink 'til I just about fall over, my friends will testify to this)

Most importantly, if you're by yourself (or not), REACH OUT and call people you love (yes, they will be home), write to them, text them, (but don't text me, I'm bad at it). BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE. We WILL get through this. And always remember, it’s all about the love! And I’d like to end by sending out lots of love and best wishes to everyone from my adopted “son,” good luck charm and alter-ego, “Smitty The Magical Flying Purple Turtle,” who is always at the theatre with me and has an even bigger web following than I do!


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Connect Thru Creativity - a Daily Art Therapy Exercise

Join solo artist Diana Varco (IG @dianavarco) as she leads a daily art therapy exercise to draw your feelings into the language of weather!

In this 10-15 min experience, you’ll create a snap-shot sketch of your current inner world and also have the freedom to use art to articulate anxiety, frustration, joy, etc - really any emotion under the sun. This exercise you can do with loved ones and children to open up dialogue on your own unique and collective experiences during this unprecedented time. Mental health experts agree that being able to label our emotions, helps support managing mental health.

No need to stick to just weather. Anything goes in your 'Weather Report' - so draw away!

Join Diana daily LIVE at 11am PST on IG @dianavarco to draw your emotions into art.
Here’s Diana's 'weather' for today, April 15th:

Like weather - daily emotions are different and, at times, also somewhat the same. They can change minute by minute or stay for much longer than we'd prefer.

For Diana, the past week of this daily art exercise has seen a journey of frustration and acceptance - as well as the reliance on (and gratitude for) creativity.

Track your journey by joining Diana daily and writing down the description of your picture afterwards - at the end of stay at home orders, we will have a story of our experience!

Catch up on the past week of Connecting Thru Creativity using the links below:

April 8th:

April 9th:

April 10th:

April 11th:

April 12th:

April 13th:

April 14th:


This art therapy exercise was first taught to Diana at the The Actors Fund - a vital support network for individuals in entertainment. Though Diana is not affiliated with Actors Fund, she remains an ardent supporter of their work. If you’d like to learn more or donate please visit: ActorsFund.org

Mental health matters and you do too! If you need immediate mental health support, contact Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741 (US/Canada) or 85258 (UK) - visit CrisisTextLine.org to learn more.


Diana Varco is an LA based actress, comedian, and storyteller.

Diana is the writer/performer of Shattered - a dark comedy solo show that explores dating, dysfunction, and sexual devastation, as well as the complex path of trauma recovery. Fresh off a 25 show run of Shattered at Edinburgh Fringe, Diana is excited to share her use of the arts to support conversations on mental health! Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, Shattered premiered at the 2017 Whitefire Theatre SoloFest and went on to the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Outdoor Voices Festival, United Solo off-Broadway, and LA Women’s Theatre Festival.

Learn more about Diana at DianaVarco.com.
Learn more about Jessica Lynn Johnson and her free solo show class: JessicaLynnJohnson.com.



'Hollywood Fringe Festival' Postpones Until October 2020


2 minute read

The 2020 Hollywood Fringe Festival (Fringe) scheduled for June 2020 has been postponed until October 2020 for the safety of the community and to help halt the spread of the coronavirus through social distancing.

The annual festival, whose venue partners span throughout Hollywood and Theatre Row, has tentatively set the new dates for October 1 through October 25, 2020. Final confirmation of all dates will be made by August 1, 2020, based on pending updates by federal, state and local health officials in the coming weeks.

“With the directive to cancel or postpone in-person events and meetings, we are working to provide safe solutions to keep our community active and engaged. We know how necessary the arts are in times like these,” The Hollywood Fringe Festival said in a statement.

The festival is offering reimbursements of paid registration fees where needed at this time, which are refundable up until September 1, 2020, and officials suggest that all current Fringe participating productions contact their individual venues for rescheduling arrangements or cancellations.

For those who can and wish to, the Fringe is also asking for the donation of registration fees to help them maintain operations and that these, and any gifts, to the festival are tax-deductible.

Plans are in development for a program to support shows with the "Fringe marketing/technology infrastructure" and there is a call for anyone who wishes to participate in the development process, and volunteers can sign up here to join their ongoing efforts. A survey has been posted as well to help inform the festival producers going forward.

The Fringe is currently developing plans to provide its ongoing networking and promotional opportunity events as virtually as possible through Virtual “Office Hours” Networking, a virtual Cabaret, Twitter chats, online workshops, and other activities.

Complimentary registration will soon be available on their website for any free online meet-up, workshop or project that relates to the festival and any collaborative related efforts.


Rosie Glen-Lambert Pens Intriguing Work for the Attic Collective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there anything you wish to add?

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

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

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

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

(Photo credit: Rachel Rambaldi)


Best Theatre of the Year - Looking Back At L.A.’s 2019

I give to you my personal list of the best theatre Los Angeles offered in 2019, with a few swipes at the less of the best….

First off, the production of August Wilson’s Jitney at the Mark Taper Forum. Wilson’s works share a distinction with those of Shakespeare, in that when the plays of either are fortunate enough to be housed in a production of true artistry one finds theatre nirvana, which is what director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and cast provided L.A. audiences with.

The cast —Steven Antony JonesFrancois BattisteAmari CheatomNija OkoroRay Anthony ThomasHarvy BlanksKeith Randolph SmithBrian D. Coats, and Anthony Chisholm returning to the role which earned him a Drama Desk Award and Obie in 2000’s off-Broadway production— performed as keys on a perfectly tuned piano, with  Santiago-Hudson assuring not one false note was sounded.

Contributing to this perfect harmony were David Gallo’s set, Jane Cox’s deft light design and Toni-Leslie James’ superlatively unobtrusive costumes.


In six short years the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts has won L.A.’s appreciation for the work produced and Artistic Director Paul Crewes its respect for his guidance.

This year that appreciation and respect were given further validation: The Old Man and the Old Moon by the PigPen Theatre Company, was an intoxicating entwining of old world folklore, Arabian night tales and the poetic arts of a Celtic seanchaís resulting in an evening of wondrous magic which is the essence of theatre.


Some twenty-five years ago at the old Tiffany Theatre on Sunset Boulevard, the marvelous Hershey Felder presented his first solo show based on the life of a great composer.  Having previously brought Chopin and Beethoven to the Wallis, this year Felder returned again— and again was…well, marvelous.

Hershey Felder: A Paris Love Story, are the reminiscences of his first youthful journey to Paris which are placed as a palimpsest in homage to his favorite composer Achille-Claude Debussy.  Directed by Trevor Hay it was perhaps the most enchanting show of the season.


We have the Wallis to thank for Renée Taylor’s one-woman show, My Life on a Diet Best known to movie lovers as Eva Braun in Mel Brooks’ The Producers (1968) and to TV viewers as Fran Drescher’s mother on the CBS sitcom The Nanny, Taylor, with her late husband Joseph Bologna, co-wrote the Oscar nominated Lovers and Other Strangers as well as two additional screenplays and 21 more plays.

It was a privilege and a joy to be in the company of the 86 year old Taylor who is a juggernaut of talent as well as a living history of both Broadway and Hollywood, and, personally, I wanted her show to go on longer than its 90 minutes.

Like a week longer.  Maybe two.


The Wallis also deserves thanks for bringing back talented David Mynne, whose one-man presentation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations was one of last year’s high-water mark.

A Christmas Carol, this year’s Dickens offering, was less satisfying but Mynne’s performance was nevertheless amazing to watch.


The Fountain Theatre, which I regard as one of the jewels in the crown of the L.A. theatre community offered little this year that drew my interest and what did, I’m afraid, I was less than thrilled by.

Idris Goodwin’s play Hype Man, though not without merit, I found weak and I thought the cast, Clarissa ThibeauxChad Addison and Matthew Hancock and director Deena Selenow, brought more to the play than the play brought to the stage.

Of course, there was no performance of the Forever Flamenco series that I was not enraptured by.  These monthly Juergas of dancers and singers, overseen by Deborah Culver at the Fountain since 1990, I have often heralded as one of the best kept secrets in L.A. and one of its hottest tickets.


The Long Beach International City Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Price was a show one should regret if missed.

David Nevell as a man who sees in the wreckage of his father’s life the failure of his own, and Elyse Mirto as the wife who sees her husband’s true worth but is unable to make him believe it, were each outstanding.

In the most Biblical referenced of Miller’s plays, Bo Foxworth’s layered performance as the prodigal son allowed the audience to see that the chains forged by his choices were as heavy as those of his brother.

As the secondhand furniture dealer Mister Solomon, which is the heartbeat of the play, Tony Abatemarco fluctuated adroitly between the Old Testament’s wise Solomon and Faust’s wheeling-dealing Mephistopheles.

I find director John Henry Davis to be rather hit or miss, but with The Price he undeniably knocked one out of the stadium.

DoubleDouble playwright Guy Zimmerman and director Juli Crockett, by a fusion of the 1944 noir classic Double Indemnity with Shakespeare’s Scottish play, successfully brought another artistic chimera to the stage.

Zimmerman and Crockett juggled snippets of dialogue and hints of shared motifs, transforming a trio of Barbara Stanwyck doppelgangers  (Henita TeloJenny Greer and Isabella Boose) into a Greek Chorus to warn  Saughn Buchholz as Walter-Walter of the fate awaiting his Oedipus MacMurray.

From concept to execution, this production had the luster that craft and intelligence brings; sharing in the credit for this are scenic designer Melissa Ficociello and Michael Feldman’s ballads.


Bill Irwin’s On Beckett was perhaps more lecture than show, but what a subject to lecture on and what a lecturer to hear.  Having been a fan of Bill Irwin since his Old Hats and Fool Moon days, what I found so extraordinary in his discourse/performance/dissertation/sermon on the works of the great Irish playwright on the stage at Kirk Douglas Theatre, was Irwin’s ability to delve into those “linguistic non-spaces” Beckett supplies, and weave relevance into those silences found there.


Playwright Lauren Gunderson is the current “flavor of the month” from the New York theatre scene.  I find most of her works “vanilla” at best.  But there are a couple of her plays which, while not on the level of “Chocolate Therapy,” come close to “Chunky Monkey” status.

Ada and the Engine is one.  It tells the story of the rakish Lord Byron’s daughter, Ada, and her contribution to the development of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, precursor to the modern computer.  In their staging, Theatre Unleashed emphasized the play’s strengths while cloaking its weaknesses, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging production.

As the two dominant men in Ada’s life —William King-Noel, later Lord Lovelace and the driven Charles Babbage— Gregory Crafts and Alex Knox gave faultless performances.  But it was Jessie Sherman in the titular role that captured the audience and herded them on the pathway from the joys of dreams to the price paid for them.

Director Heidi Powers enriched the production by her employment of Denise Barrett’s costumes and use of Kevin Hilton’s animation which shattered the black box’s confines by expanding the vista of ideas.

Less successful, but certainly more frenzied was the Theatre Unleashed production of Never Ever Land by playwright Rider Strong, centering on the allegations against Michael Jackson’s involvement with underaged boys.  Director Michael A. Shepperd applied cunning and skill but was only moderately successful in masking the play’s faults.  On the other hand, Josh Randall as the “abused” lad’s manipulating father and Leif Gantvoort as the unctuous news commentator after a story turned in exceptional performances.


As a former puppeteer, I admit I was a sucker for Les Miz And Friends! A Puppet Parody and my hearty guffaws filled the Hudson Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Nathan Makaryk and Geneviève Flati co-directed their “re-envisioning” of Les Misérables, the much beloved musical based on Victor Hugo’s much renowned classic.  The crushing poverty, sexual exploitation, brutal police and civil bloodshed are still there, they just added a ton of puppets and screwed with the songs.

Performer-puppeteers Kelly RogersKevin GarciaGabrielle JacksonJaycob HunterHailey Tweter and Carter Michael kept the laughter coming, as did Christopher Robert Smith as Javert.

The production was packed with silly puns and dopey jokes, but what came as a total surprise, at least to me, was the quality of the cast’s musical chops.  Some credit for this must go to “musical accompaniment, Orchestrator and Arranger” David Norris.  Here’s hoping Makaryk and Flati set their satirical sights on another classic of the musical theatre.


I did manage to see Rogue Machine’s Disposable Necessities in their new space in Santa Monica.  Playwright Neil McGowan has conceived a clever work akin to an old “slam-door” comedy where an actor would rush out as one character to re-enter as another seconds later.  But, McGowan does away with the “doors” by setting his work in a protean near future when bodies are changed with wardrobe like ease.  The device supplies the show with laughs, but also with difficulties.  Claire Blackwelder isn’t up to the demands of conveying the persona of an elderly chauvinistic lecher dwelling in young lady with a body worthy of Vargas’ watercolors.  Nor does Jefferson Reid have the acting apparatus to conjure the reality of a spoiled white boy deposited into the body a black urban teen; the rest of the cast, Billy FlynnDarrett Sanders and the always superb Ann Noble, having the benefit of experience turn in stellar performances.

We look forward to what Rogue Machine and Artistic Director John Perrin Flynn have in store for us in 2020.


The Judas Kiss by British playwright David Hare travels the oft-treaded ground of Oscar Wilde’s disgrace following the infamous trial for libel he foolishly instigated against the father of his young lover Boise.

Director Michael Michetti’s production at The Boston Court was lushly mounted with sets by designer Se Hyun OhDianne K. Graebner’s costumes, and lighting design by David Hernandez, but all the lushness could not conceal the piece’s anemia of dramatic tension.
Some atonement was found in the performances of Darius De La Cruz as Robbie Rose, Wilde’s most stouthearted friend and that of Colin Bates as the self-centered Boise.
But it was the sincerity and depth of humanity which Rob Nagle brought to the role of Wilde that served as the most memorable feature of a rather forgettable show.


The Hollywood Fringe Festival held every June along the strip of Santa Monica Blvd running from Highland Avenue to Vine Street should be a seasonal Mecca for the creative souls of this city and those with any reverence towards the arts.  HFF 2019 boasted a total of 405 individual productions and sold over 67,000 tickets.

Here were the standouts for me:
Mil Grus, featured the absurdly inspired clowning of Helene UdyGrayson MorrisJeremy SappJenson Lavellee and Isaac Kessler under Dean Evans’ direction and took TVO’s “Best of the Fringe.”   The show, along with its five misshapen blobs of bizarre silliness, just opened in New York.

Theatre Unleashed made their presence felt at the Fringe with Tattered Capes by Gregory Crafts, an intelligent and clever account of the marital woes that befall two caped crusaders.  With outstanding performances from Chris ClabaughTravis Joe Dixon and Joanna MercedesCrafts’ play celebrated the superheroes of our childhood while reverberating with deeper questions regarding the secret identities we use in concealing our true selves from those we love.

Designer Denise Barrett provided the super costumes and Corey Lynn Howe’s direction was more powerful than a locomotive.

With Son of A Bitch, Director Billy Ray Brewton fashioned an American Morality play about, to quote my fellow critic David Narine, “Lee Atwater’s  – Republican-Strategist-Liar-Driven-Liar-Brilliant-Liar- Son of a Bitch – rise to power.”

Featuring solid performances by Dennis Gersten as George H.W. Bush, Luke Forbes as “W” and David McElwee as Atwater, playwright, Lucy Gillespie’s work was a much-needed history lesson.

Another political offering at the Fringe was The Mayor’s Debate of Tranquility, Nebraskaa silly and sinister parable on the American electorate.

A local news broadcaster, Emily Dorsett, hosts a mayoral debate in the American heartland.  The candidates include the gay uber-liberal lesbian (Kate Hellen) a Tea-Partier (Lucie Beeby) and the slimy incumbent (Jim Hanna who also penned the script).

The debate goes from glad-handing to backstabbing with gleeful alacrity and the laughs roar out.  But beneath the chortles, Hanna and his cast slip a grim warning; that in this nation today, the “amber waves of grain” are closer to Rod Sterling’s “cornfield.”

Butcher Holler Here We Come written by Casey Wimpee was perhaps the Festival’s most successful immersive piece.  The audience is confined in a room dark as pitch, sharing in the fate of five miners trapped beneath the earth.  Under the astute direction of Leah Bonvissuto, the voices of the unseen miners, Michael MasonIsaac ByrneAdam BelvoMorrison Keddie and Adam Willson, spin about the audience, webbing them in desperation.

Spencer Green’s twisted take on the anthropomorphic beast fables of Aesop, The Scorpion and the Frog, was riotously engaging.  Showcasing the talents of Matthew LeavittChristine Sage and Alex Parker it was hands down one of the Fringe’s most thoroughly enjoyable offerings.

Public Domain the Musicalwhile not perfect, had highpoints that would make your nose bleed. Sam Pasternack (who wrote the book, composed the music, supplied the lyrics and directed) gathered some first-rate performers for this musical ragging of the Disney Corporation’s propensity to squeeze profits from any character in the public domain.  Pasternack uses those public domain icons that Disney overlooked: Oedipus (Max Mahle), The Monkey Paw (Max Ash), Rosie the Riveter (Codi Coates) and…er, Potato Mussolini (Ben Cassil).  Let it be known, costume designer Ember Everett, rose to the occasion.  One of my favorite numbers was Oedipus’ song, “The Way to Become a Hero (is to be at the right place at the right time.)  Were there flaws in the production?  Of course, but it also had a Potato Mussolini!

Solo shows are the stock in trade for any Fringe and HFF 2019 had some extraordinary ones, with the TVO’s “Best Solo Show (Female) going to Raised By Wolves, a cautionary tale about life among alpha-males and evil step-mothers, written and performed by Marla Black.

TVO’s “Best Solo Show (Male) went to Monica Bauer’s Made For Each Other, an astonishingly tender tale staring John Fico as a man who learns that even those in their flabby fifties are deserving of love.

Cathy Schenkelberg arrived at the Fringe with a double whammy for Scientology; first there was Squeeze My Cans, her harrowing one-woman show about the 20 plus years she spent in the cult of L. Ron Hubbard.

Then there was that show’s musical clone Squeeze My Cabaret, in which Schenkelberg related the same tale but showed that she has a pair of pipes on her that could knock the smug superciliousness off Tom Cruise’s puss at twenty yards.

In HFF 2018 Yokko brought her New York based company Ren Gyo Soh with a Japanese Butoh re-fitting of Euripides, Butoh Medea.  This year Yokko turned her efforts on Shakespeare with Hide Your Fires: Butoh Lady Macbeth adapted by Sean Michael Welch and directed by Brian Rhinehart.  Both shows were equally entrancing.

Two excellent productions which deserved greater exposure were Clark Wade-A Jazzy Tragedy, written and performed by Esquizito, AKA EP Perez which drew on memories of New Orleans’ Golden Age;

 And

Stephen Lang’s Beyond Glory based on the recollections of Medal of Honor winners for which Steve Scott took TVO’s “Best Actor” award.

From Ireland came Drought, poetess-songsmith-performer Kate Radford’s haunting indictment of the toxicity of sexual abuse, which TVO acknowledged as the “Best International Show.”

Her true-life tale of a model being afflicted with alopecia was shared by Jannica Olin in (IM)Perfekt. Olin managed to inspire her audiences and at the same time convulse them with laughter.

With Black Boxing, playwright Matt Ritchey held a funhouse mirror to the very concept of solo shows.  Directed by Matthew Martin this raucously funny gem chronicled every pitfall solo shows face.  Fittingly, this send-up of a one-man show featured performances by Ritchey and Jim Niedzialkowski.

Finally, I’ll close with one of the most satisfying shows in HFF 2019, Temple Tantrum, written and performed by Nicole Steinwedell. Raised in a right-wing Christian cult, Steinwedell broke free and plunged into a world diametrically different – Hollywood.  Steinwedell told her tale with the slashes of vibrancy one expects on a Jackson Pollack canvas.

Steinwedell’s dynamism, like the dissonance of a “perfect storm,” may have dissipated into an ineffable silence, but for director Kimleigh Smith who ably applied orchestration to the tempest, assuring awareness of the work’s import and clarity, for which she took TVO’s “Best Director” honors.

Of course the Fringe had disappointments: Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive the Apocalypse, Princess Magic’s Trash Time Revue, and Lincoln 2020.  But these were in a minority.

And the larger L.A. theatre scene had its pratfalls too:

Between Riverside and Crazy, (It won a Pulitzer Prize for drama, just like Enter Madame and Men in White!), Scraps (whose playwright the program told us “never learned to properly write a play.” I buy that.) and The Play That Goes Wrong (which I’m sure would have been much funnier if I hadn’t seen it.)

But these were in a minority as well.

The demands of theatre are arduous, and despite good intentions, dedicated labor and inspired concept, we often fail or falter through our own faults or fate’s callous insensitivity.  This is when we should recall the words of Robert Ingersoll:

“…when men and women belong to a profession
that can count Shakespeare in its number,
they should feel nothing but pride.” ¹

And so I say to all my good friends, to all the stagehands, house managers, dancers, marketing directors, composers, ushers, wardrobe supervisors, directors, set designers, choreographers, carpenters, light board operators, set dressers, producers, sound designers, singers, dramaturges, dialogue coaches, box office agents, fight choreographers, company managers, janitors, make-up artists, musicians, spotlight operators, set builders, technical directors, videographers, dressers, prop masters, parking attendants, playwrights, actors, stage managers, wig makers, publicists, scene painters, critics and most importantly to all who make up our theater, let us join together in 2020 and do what we do best – make magic!

From all of us at theTVolution.com we hope 2020 brings you good fortune, good health and of course, great theatre.


L.A. Actor, Producer 'Nick Rubando' is Running to Flip the 5th in Ohio for Congressional Seat, Brings Hollywood Fundraiser to 'Three Clubs'


Actor and producer Nick Rubando, whose co-productions of Maddy's Musical and more have been a part of the L.A.'s ever-growing smaller theatre scene—including during the Hollywood Fringe Festival in Hollywood's Media District each June—made the choice to leave his career in entertainment in Los Angeles in order to flip a congressional seat in his home state of Ohio's 5th Congressional District currently held by Republican incumbent Bob Latta.

As Democrat, Rubando, is running against two other candidates in the March primaries. Since announcing his candidacy, he has spent the last 27 weeks of his campaign gaining supporters and volunteers along the way in a grassroots effort to affect change in Ohio's 5th district, an area that has been subject to gerrymandering and resulting legal battles. Rubando, who majored in Journalism with a minor in Marketing at Indiana University, brings a platform that includes national issues such as removing big money and corporate super PAC's from politics and continued national healthcare, to more local issues such as factory farm toxic run-off and algae bloom that is destroying Lake Erie and family farms and the trade wars and tariffs that are damaging Ohio's farming community and economy.

Rubando, who, along with David Ruben and their company R&R Incorporated, produced musical reviews and shows such as "Legends of the Hidden Three Clubs," "Musicals & Mimosas," and "Inspecting Carol" at the Three Clubs in Hollywood. He returns to Los Angeles during the November holidays to both visit family and friends and to hold a fundraiser at the Three Clubs to support his campaign back in Ohio. The fundraiser, "Nick's Hollywood Return Fundraiser," on Saturday, November 30, 2019, will bring together donated entertainment by his family of performers and supporters, whose productions have also been featured at the Three Clubs, to show their support for Rubando.

Via telephone, Rubando spoke clearly and passionately on what prompted his decision to run, his grassroots efforts in his campaign, the people he has met on the campaign trail, working with his team of volunteers, and his vision for Ohio's 5th District as their Congressional Representative.


So let's begin with what was your political background or inspiration that made you consider running for a congressional seat.

"I actually worked for the Katie Hill for Congress campaign in 2018. And there has been some stuff with Katie [in the news] recently, but when I joined up on her campaign she was a young, first-time candidate who moved back to her home town to really take on an unresponsive incumbent. I thought it was really important to be on her campaign. You know, after Donald Trump got elected, we would watch the news, and it was just bad news after bad news—and it felt demoralizing. It felt like there was nothing that I could do, or really any of us could do, to make it change. And then when I learned about Katie's campaign, I was really excited about her message and I wanted to help bring about that kind of change.

Photo courtesy of Nick Rubando for Congress.

This was in the Semi Valley area, just north of Los Angeles. So, I started with the campaign before the Democratic primaries. I would drive up there—sometimes an hour's drive—and knock on doors. And that started to motivate other people to knock on doors with me, and I started teaching other people about best practices. And it felt amazing, because every time something bad in the news would happen, it'd be like, 'It's fine! Because on Saturday I'm going to go knock on doors for Katie Hill and I am going to make a difference!'

Katie ended up winning the Democratic primary and then she ended up flipping that district. It used to be a Republican-held seat, and then she flipped it and it became a Democrat-held seat and it was amazing! It was amazing to see the hard work that we had all put into that race come into fruition and really be something great and be a positive change for that area.

So [later] I started doing some research into my home town after that race. I was inspired by how Katie moved back into her home town and I started looking into my home town—I grew up in Toledo, Ohio. So, I did a little research online and the first thing that came up was toxic algae bloom that had ruined Lake Erie—Lake Erie, this beautiful, pristine, fresh body of water that I used to go swimming in and go tubing in and go fishing in. And now they have these toxic algae blooms that occur every Summer there, which, for a couple of years was so bad that residents couldn't even drink the water that was coming out of the faucet. When I was in L.A., as well as in the theatre programs that I was running and performing in, I was also working for a tech start-up. And they were really big in the American food industry.

And from researching and being a part of this tech startup I was learning a lot about CAFO [confined animal feeding operations] or factory farms—these large-scale warehouses where they keep animals shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder and pump full of antibiotics—and I learned that the wastewater from these facilities gets dumped into rivers. This wastewater then spreads onto fields and then it runs into rivers and it goes into Lake Erie, and that's what causing these toxic algae blooms.

I was so disgusted by it that I wanted to move back to my home town to make a difference there. Ohio is such an important battleground state, and with the 2020 elections coming up, I thought where better to go than to my home town to really create some positive change. When I got there I wanted to work on a Congressional campaign because that is what I had been doing in the past. So I was asking people, 'Who's running against Bob Latta?' He is the Republican incumbent. And people were saying [at the time,] 'You know, I don't think anyone's doing it. No one really has stepped up.'

The district's kind of hard. It's pretty gerrymandered. This guy raises a lot of money, he gets almost 75% of his donations from corporate PACs, and I couldn't let that stand. I have never been someone who asks why something happened. I always ask 'Why not?' So, I thought, 'I'm just going to run myself! I'm going to step up and run this race!' And so far the response has been fantastic. I do a lot of work with the Young Democrats of Wood and Lucas County, the two largest counties in the districts, and the work with the Advocates for Clean Lake Erie—all these groups have been super supportive during our campaign. I've also gotten really close with the Ohio Farmer's Union who doesn't like these factory farms either, because every time one of these farms opens up it usually closes down about ten family farms. It's a crisis that is going on in the American food industry here in Northwest Ohio and we're trying to change that.”

You mentioned about gerrymandering in Ohio, has any of that been undone?

“[Federal courts] have ruled that the districts are gerrymandered—that they are unconstitutionally drawn. But because they will be redrawn at the 2020 census, the courts have decided to wait until the 2020 census is completed to redraw the lines. So, the lines will not be redrawn for this race, but the next congressional race...there'll be all brand new lines!

Ohio, if you look at the voting breakdown, is a 50/50 State where there are just as many people who vote for Democrats as do Republicans. But we have to look at our Congressional Representatives. We have four Democrats, and I believe seven Republicans, so you can see where it really should be a split, but it is not the case there.”

Photo courtesy of Nick Rubando for Congress.

Regarding the tech start-up you mentioned, where is it, and what is it that they are trying to do? How were they influential to you?

“I worked for a company called Thrive Market. They are based in Marina Del Rey. They are a fantastic organization. Their mission is to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. So what they do is they sell organic groceries online and provide organic foods to your door. It's similar to like a Whole Foods Market, but cheaper. It's a membership model, like a Costco, where you pay something like $55.95 for the whole year, but you get premium discounted groceries, but they deliver them all throughout the United States. You look at places in Northwest Ohio, or some of the rural suburbs that I'm representing, these places are like “food deserts”—you have to drive far to get to a grocery store, and then if you want organic food or really higher quality goods, you can't always find them at regular markets. But this company would deliver them right to your door.

So with regard to the algae bloom issue in Ohio, let's talk more about what you learned was happening there.

"When I lived in California, I was not aware that Lake Erie was having this algae bloom problem even though I was aware of factory farms. But once I started doing some research on my hometown, I noticed these algae blooms were occurring a lot. Literally just a couple years ago people in the whole northwest Ohio area couldn't drink the water, they couldn't take showers, because the water was so toxic and I learned that the reason for that was the waste run-offs caused by these huge, large-scale factory farms.

The problem is that you have the Trump administration rolling back screening protection laws in the EPA which makes it even easier for these companies to dump their waste. So the problem is just compounding upon itself.”

What was the catalyst that propelled you to run for Congress and what kind of background brought you to consider it?

“In college—I was at Indiana University—and on the 2008 Obama campaign, I registered student voters. That was the first time that I got politically active—engaging students and ensuring that we could get a big a turn out in the state of Indiana. When we were working on that campaign, we flipped the state of Indiana from red to blue for the first time in 50 years. That Barack Obama win in 2008 was historic!

Photo courtesy of Nick Rubando for Congress.

At the time that I worked on the Obama campaign, my parents divorced and my mom was kicked off of my father's health insurance while she was struggling with some health concerns.  It was a struggle to see her try to get an insurance card with a pre-existing condition.

I worked so hard for Obama, and then he passed the Affordable Care Act, and at that point in time—for the first time—my mom was able to afford an individualized insurance plan. And that changed her life. She was able to start her own small business because of that. So I saw how the work that we did, on just a small scale, was able to enable a presidential win...Government, in general, really can affect people's lives in a positive direction. And that's why it is so important to get politically engaged—and to vote—and to figure out what is important to you and to get behind it because it affects the lives of millions of Americans.”

What has the campaign trail been like and how many townships and counties have you visited?

"Our district has 14 counties, and we have visited them all. We have gone to Democratic meetings, meetings of concerned citizens, met with farmers, etc. We have gone into coffee shops and talked to people because we really want to know what is happening on the ground level. We've gotten to every single county, multiple times, and we're approaching as many people as possible. You know, our current representative never holds any Town Halls. He's absent, and people can never get in touch with him, so we are trying to paint a very stark contrast. I'm doing my best to meet with people so they can get to know me and learn to trust again. So they are like, 'Hey this guy's available when [Latta] is just sitting in Washington not doing anything for our community. We have been getting out into the community. We've put a lot of miles on the car!"

With your grassroots efforts, and not accepting corporate donations, I assume that the campaign is self-funded. What has your campaign crew been like?

"I didn't have any money to begin with, but we've gotten so much support and buy-in from the community. We have over 600 individual donors and we've raised close to $70,000. I have a campaign manager who is someone who ran in local elections here. Our campaign headquarters is directly across from Bowling Green University, so we have been getting a lot of [help] from the college students. We have about ten college student volunteers who come into the campaign office almost every day and who are intent about making a change.

We are picking up [supporters] everywhere we go, which is a great thing about visiting these counties. We meet with people and talk to them, and they want to join the team. We have now different captains everywhere we go."

“At the end of the day I really have to understand what all of my constituents are going through so I can best advocate for them.” – Nick Rubando

With your background as a working actor and producer in the entertainment industry, and working in L.A. Theatre, how has that experience translated? What have you learned from it and how do you feel it will make you a better representative of the people?

"I think one of the biggest things I have learned in the entertainment industry, especially in theatre, is empathy. When you are taking on a role, you really have to put yourself into someone else's shoes. And think about what life is like in their situation, how they view things, [and] what kind of problems they have. That empathy that I have been able to learn has served me so well [toward] being a representative. I go out into these communities and I'm speaking to these farmers. And I might not have the best understanding of what a farmer goes through every day, but through my work in the entertainment industry, I can put myself in that individual's shoes. At the end of the day, I really have to understand what all of my constituents are going through so I can best advocate for them. And I feel so lucky that I have been able to gain that kind of empathy through the work that I have done in the entertainment industry."

What would you say or feel is your responsibility personally for making change in Ohio, for the U.S., and to the world?

“I think everyone has a responsibility as American citizens. People have fought and died for their right to vote, and their right to make a change in this country and for their voices to be heard. So I think the most American thing that you can do is become an engaged citizen and attempt to make change. This was an opportunity that was presented to me. People wanted me to get involved in this and I didn't have anything else going on.

When you are running for [a political] office it's tough if you have a family, or you have small children that you have to take care of. I'm lucky I don't have that, so I have this big opportunity to step up and fulfill my duty as an American citizen. And I think that everyone who lives in this beautiful country shouldn't take it for granted. If we've learned one thing from the Donald Trump era is that we cannot take our democracy for granted. Too many times we think that everything is going to be fine and that other people will take care of us, but in reality we are all responsible. We are all responsible for this beautiful thing called America. So we all need to step up and get involved wherever we can."

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu ~ Nick Rubando as Le Phantom, Master of Ceremonies, in "Legends of the Hidden Three Clubs" for Hollywood Fringe, at Three Clubs, Thursday, June 10, 2017.

Let's talk about the local fundraising event at Three Clubs coming up. How did that come about and what can people expect from that?

“I have friends and family in the Los Angeles area, and they have been extremely supportive of this race. And they asked, 'What is one thing that we can do to help you out?' As I mentioned, we have a grassroots campaign and we're going up against an incumbent Republican who is taking 75% of his donations from corporate PACs. The worst of it all is that it's the exact same corporate PACs that he is making the laws about in Washington. He sits on the Energy and Commerce committees...oil and gas companies and the pharmaceutical companies, and those are the same corporations that he gets money from. And the pharmaceutical companies are the worst because our state is number two in opioid-related deaths and our [current] Representative gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from opioid manufacturers each year to get elected. And that is terrible!

It's so important that we're able to get support from individuals so we can have snacks and water and materials for our volunteers when they come into the [campaign] office. We need donations so we can print educational materials about our campaign that we hand out to our constituents when we knock on doors, so we can purchase online ads, send out mailers, etc. I'm a first-time candidate, so it's essential that I get name recognition and that my campaign message gets heard.

The fundraising event on November 30th at Three Clubs in Hollywood will raise money towards democracy and at the same time will have great entertainment. The crew from Cherry Poppins will be dancing, singing, and performing and 'MAD😜LIB! The Musical' show will also be there. It's amazing that these individuals that I have worked with for so long really believe in what we are doing and are helping out. They want to see a change and they're using their art to help inspire and create that change. That is phenomenal to see."

Is the Three Clubs donating the evening, in terms of the space, and anything else?

“The space is completely free. We are not paying for it. There will be food included in the ticket price, which is coming from my family, and my friends are helping serve. People have to pay for alcohol, but the Three Clubs is giving us the entire space and the entire night for free. They are such an amazing venue. I have done so many great shows there and they have been a huge supporter of my work! And I believe that a ticket to this kind of show is worth $35, while at the same time supporting democracy and getting some good food. It's going to be a really awesome event and evening!

This fundraiser is extremely important and we want everyone to come out to this event and meet with like-minded people so we can also make some changes in Los Angeles.”

Regardless of the outcome, do you have any plans, either way, win or lose? What is the first thing you would or will do once you'd win and any other plans down the road?

“Well, if we win, we'd be in Congress. And the first thing I would like to do is pass a law to get big money out of politics. And another thing I'd want to do is to ensure that Members of Congress won't be allowed to accept donations from companies that they actively legislating on. So if you are making laws that are about the energy and gas sectors, you are not allowed to accept money from big oil companies. You would think that would be a no-brainer, but that is not the case right now. These would be my first pieces of legislation that I would want to push through."

But the advantages of Super PACs go both ways, or all ways, politically, so anyone can benefit from them, right? Is that something you choose not to accept then?

“We're not accepting any corporate PAC money. But I should mention that our campaign was recently endorsed by an organization called Brand New Congress. They have a documentary on Netflix called “Knock Down The House.” They were very influential in the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, so we are extremely excited about that."


Nick's Hollywood Return Fundraiser is Saturday, November 30, 2019, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Three Clubs located at 1123 Vine St, 90038, in Hollywood. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased here. Donations can also be made here.



 


The Better Lemons 2019 Fringe Audience and Critics Choice Awards

As of this post, the critics and the audiences have spoken, resulting in almost 99 Hollywood Fringe productions receiving a SWEET #LemonMeter rating and 19 Fringe productions receiving #DoubleSWEET ratings (both critics and audience members agreeing on a sweet production).

It takes three reviews from critics or three reviews from the audience to generate a #LemonMeter rating.

The Better Lemons Fringe Audience and Critics Choice Awards, as well as the DoubleSweet Awards are based on the number of reviews submitted before the time of publication.

The shows with the most reviews receive the Audience and the Critics Choice Awards. The Awards are based on the number of reviews, regardless of the #LemonMeter rating of Sweet, Sweet and Sour, or Sour.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THESE WINNERS who have registered their shows on Better Lemons and encouraged audiences and critics to voice their opinion about their show, regardless of the outcome!

Audience Choice Awards:

1st Place
TALES FROM THE POWDER ROOM

2nd Place
RAISED BY WOLVES
IF WE RUN

3rd Place
HOLLYWOODN'T

Critics Choice Awards:

1st Place
BOXING LESSONS
THE BULLY PROBLEM

2nd Place
POCKETS
SCARLETT FEVER
FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation
THE SAME ROOM

3rd Place
(IM)PERFEKT
TRANSFERENCE
MIL GRUS
TATTERED CAPES
OLIVIA WILDE DOES NOT SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE
WIGFIELD
SON OF A BITCH
THE SCORPION AND THE FROG: A TIME-KILLER

The DoubleSweet Awards are based on the SWEET #LemonMeter rating by both Critics AND Audience members as of Friday noon, June 5th.

DoubleSweet Awards:

(in order of most audience reviews)

RAISED BY WOLVES
IF WE RUN
HOLLYWOODN'T
THE BULLY PROBLEM
FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation
THE NARCISSIST NEXT DOOR
BUNNY THE ELF LIVE!
A BIT MUCH
CRACK WHORE, BULIMIC, GIRL-NEXT-DOOR
(IM)PERFEKT
TRANSFERENCE
MIL GRUS
START SWIMMING
SUPPORTIVE WHITE PARENTS
SAVING CAIN
BATTER UP: MY BRAIN ON BASEBALL
CIRQUE DU GISELLE
THE LAST CROISSANT
PIT OF GOBLINS
OLIVIA WILDE DOES NOT SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE
TATTERED CAPES
45 MILLIGRAMS
HOW I BECAME A SUPERHERO


The Winners at the 10th Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival Awards 2019

The 10th Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival Awards Ceremony was presented Sunday, June 30, 2019, at the Montalbán Theatre. Here are all of the winners of the Community Awards.

Top Of The Fringe

The Last Croissant

International

Hide Your Fires: Butoh Lady Macbeth

Fringe First (World Premiere)

Pockets

Cabaret & Variety

Blackboxing

Comedy

Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive The Apocalypse

Dance & Physical Theatre

Tattered Capes

Ensemble Theatre

The Last Croissant

Immersive Theatre

Vote For Murder!

Musicals And Operas

Pockets

Solo Performance

Mr. Yunioshi


The 10th Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival Awards 2019 Have Been Announced, Awards Ceremony Tonight!

The 10th Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival Awards Ceremony is tonight, Sunday, June 30, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the Montalbán Theatre!

Here are all the nominees for the community and sponsored awards.

Fringe Freaks (community-voted awards) Nominees

Top Of The Fringe
Klingon Tamburlaine
Mr. Yunioshi
Pockets
The Bully Problem
The Last Croissant

International
Hide Your Fires: Butoh Lady Macbeth
Pretty, Witty Nell
Start Swimming
What Am I Even Doing?
What I Never Told You

Fringe First (World Premiere)
45 Milligrams
Blackboxing
Pockets
Son of A Bitch
The Bully Problem

Cabaret & Variety
Batter Up! My Brain On Baseball
Blackboxing
Pick Of The Fringe – Cabaret Show
Squeeze My Cabaret
The Color Collective

Comedy
Come Back!
Crabbe And Goyle Are Dead
Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive The Apocalypse
The Mayor’s Debate Of Tranquillity Nebraska
Stuff I Think Is Funny And Good

Dance & Physical Theatre
Cirque Du Giselle
Four Clowns Presents: Shakedown At The Dusty Spur!
Mil Grus
Scarlett Fever
Tattered Capes

Ensemble Theatre
Grail Project
Saving Cain
Son of A Bitch
The Last Croissant
The Death of Sam Mobean

Immersive Theatre
Disrobed
Life Plan, Or Living Your Best Life In A Collapsing World
Matt: The Gathering
The Pod
Vote For Murder!

Musicals And Operas
Earth To Karen
Pockets
Public Domain: The Musical
Supportive White Parents
The Bully Problem

Solo Performance
Fertile
Meet Me In Mizzery
Mr. Yunioshi
Pit Of Goblins
Temple Tantrum

Sponsored Awards Nominees

2019 Unleashed Awards
Scarlet Fever
Meg Jo, Beth Amy & Louisa
Haddon Park
Sorry About My Friend
The Mayor’s Debate Of Tranquillity Nebraska

2cents Theatre Distinctive Voices Award
The Death Of Sam Mobean
Dear Jeff
Butcher Holler Here We Come
The Institute For The Opposite Of Longing
Scarlett Fever

Aunt Lyla’s Fave Fringe Flyer
Winner announced tonight! Honorable Mentions:

No More Toys
The Mayors Debate Of Tranquility, Nebraska
Cave Girl: The Musical
If We Run
Start Swimming

Fight The Power Award
Greenwood 1964
Start Swimming
No Child Left Behind
Falling On Deaf Eyes
The Bully Problem

No Room In The Green Room Award
Silent Joy
Borracho: Spanish For Drunken Bum
Tattered Capes
The Bully Problem
The Circle Table

O Face Award For Orgasmic Achievement In Theatre: “Most Orgasmic Performance”
Blaire Chandler – The Duchess & The Stripper
Yokko – Hide Your Fires: Butoh Lady Macbeth
Jim Hanna –The Mayor’s Debate Of Tranquillity Nebraska
Elisabeth Hower –Four Clowns Presents: Shakedown At The Dusty Spur!
Macy Idzakovich – Flower Society

Showorks Don’t Wait. Create! Award
Oracles & Miracles
Supportive White Parents
The Duchess & The Stripper
Earth To Karen
The Bully Problem

Soaring Solo Artist Award
Squeeze My Cans by Cathy Schenkelberg
Dear Jeff by Callie Ott
Mr. Yunioshi by Jonathan Cho
Mandy Picks A Husband by Amanda Broomell
The One-Man Improvised Musical by Conor Hanney

Standout Song Award
“Smellay Lahk A Turkay” Blackboxing
“Wanted” Pockets
“Love Triangles” Pocketmon
“The Futures Lit” One Hump Heart
“Slapfoc” The Bully Problem

Steve Kent Award
Earth Stories: Our Climate And Our Future
In Conclusion
Ghost Town
Mr Yunioshi
The Last Croissant

The Diverse Diva Award
Squeeze My Cans by Cathy Schenkelberg
(IM)PERFEKT by Jannica Olin
Chrissy Meth by Crystal Bush
Loose Underwear by Dagmar Stansova
Corina: From Lapdance to Sundance by Corina Calderon

The Golden Key
The Pod
Tales By Candlelight
Best Night Ever
Internal
Vote For Murder!

The Inkwell Theater Playwright’s Promise Award
The Institute For The Opposite Of Longing” By Lindsay Beamish and Vanessa Peters
Butcher Holler Here We Come” By Casey Wimpee
To Richard!” By Jessica Durdock Moreno
The Circle Table” By Eric Moore

The Outdoor Voices Festival “conversation Creation” Award
Cave Girl: The Musical
Blackboxing
Silent Joy
Crack Whore, Bulimic, Girl Next Door
TBD Fifth Nominee

The Paul Koslo Memorial/Met theatre Award
A Time Traveler’s Guide To The Present
Mr. Yunioshi
The Grail Project
Scarlet Fever
Pho Girl

TPP’s Trope Buster!
Batter Up! My Brain On Baseball
Blackboxing
Butcher Holler Here We Come
Mr. Yunioshi
Sins
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Montalbán Theatre is at 1615 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028. The Hollywood Fringe Festival Closing Night Party after the awards ceremony at St. Felix, 1602 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028.


JUST A TASTE: Shows at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Opening This Week! - First Edition


The Hollywood Fringe Festival is celebrating its 10th year this year and opens today, Thursday, June 13, 2019.

Annually, for the month of June, this unique "open and uncensored" non-profit theatre festival occupies Hollywood's Theatre Row, and many more adjacent venues and spaces in the Hollywood and Media District areas. Per the non-profit's site, this "open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community" can be found in parks, community centers, churches, clubs, restaurants" housing a wide variety of productions created by new individual producers, seasoned production companies, member-fueled theatre companies and residencies, and a variety of other independent self-producers–both locally and from all over the world.

This year, there are nearly 400 participating shows, most of which are also registered on the Better Lemons Calender. Here are a few shows, opening this week and next, that talked with Better Lemons about their shows.


Vivi Thai, producer and actress of "She Kills Monsters," spoke with Monique LeBleu of Better Lemons at The BLACK bar and lounge at the Hollywood Fringe Festival Office Hours mixer on May 22, 2019.

"She Kills Monsters" opens on Friday, June 14, 2019, at 11:00 p.m., at the Arena Theatre - Hobgoblin Playhouse at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

For more information on other dates and times for "SHE KILLS MONSTERS" visit:

She Kills Monsters


Chris Bunyi & Matt Robinson of "Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive the Apocalypse" spoke with Monique LeBleu of Better Lemons at The BLACK bar and lounge at the Hollywood Fringe Festival Office Hours mixer on May 22, 2019.

"Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive the Apocalypse" which opens Saturday, June 15, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. at the Ruby Stage at the Complex, is a featured play at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Saturday's show is currently sold out. For more information on other dates and times for "OLIVIA WILDE DOES NOT SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE" visit:

Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive The Apocalypse


Christi Pedigo of "Bunny The Elf LIVE!" spoke with Monique LeBleu of Better Lemons at The BLACK bar and lounge at the Hollywood Fringe Festival Office Hours mixer on May 22, 2019.

"Bunny The Elf LIVE!" opens Thursday, June 20, 2019, at 8:30 p.m., at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

For more information on other dates and times for "BUNNY THE ELF, LIVE!" visit:

Bunny the Elf LIVE!


Jannica Olin spoke about her solo show "(IM)PERFEKT" with Monique LeBleu of Better Lemons at The BLACK bar and lounge at the Hollywood Fringe Festival Office Hours mixer on May 22, 2019.

"(IM)PERFEKT" opens Saturday, June 22, 2019, at 12:00 p.m., at the Lounge Theatre at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

For more information on (IM)PERFEKT:

(IM)PERFEKT


All shows are available for patron and critic reviews where shows registered on Better Lemons can qualify for the LemonMeter! 🍋

More full videos on participating Hollywood Fringe Festival shows soon on the Better Lemons YouTube channel and at Better-Lemons.com!

Better Lemons
Twitter/Instagram: @betterlemons

Monique A. LeBleu
Twitter/Instagram: @moniquelebleu


Voices from the Fringe: Kat Primeau of Improv Troupe Robot Teammate

After taking 2018 off, the award-winning improv musical comedy troupe Robot Teammate is making a welcome return to this year’s Fringe with Pockets, a brand-new production.

Kat Primeau, Robot Teammate member and producer, co-writer, choreographer and co-star of Pockets, was happy to speak with Better Lemons about the troupe’s Fringe comeback and the new show.

Better Lemons: Tell us a bit about the genesis of Pockets.
Kat Primeau: Robot Teammate completed our "T-Trilogy" of musicals (Timeheart, Thug Tunnel and Turbulence!) with an off-Broadway run at SoHo Playhouse in 2017. After that, we had been joking about doing a "P-Trilogy," with Perm, a parody in the realm of Hair, when Dave [Reynolds] pitched a story about "Pockets, a young female thief." We thought it could be a perfect vehicle for Molly [Dworsky] to star in, and our story grew from there. We actually wrote songs and a script for the first version of Pockets that got completely thrown out, but we love the story now and hope it will be our funniest, most touching tale yet!

BL: What about the music? Was it a collaborative effort?
KP: Everything about a Robot Teammate musical is collaborative, and each song has a different origin story. Our musical director and teammate, Branson NeJame, has crafted a beautiful theme for the kingdom of Crumpeton and shaped every improvised and demo'd idea with loving attention. Some songs were lyric-driven, whereas others were inspired by a melody. Others are hammered out through many rounds and rewrites and deliberate arrangement. It's quite different than what we are used to as musical improvisers, so we always relish the songwriting process.

BL: Since it’s a period piece, what style — or styles — is the music? And how were the sets and costuming created?
KP: Aside from a bardic tone, the music is modern. Branson has been inspired by ELO to create a fusion of pop, rock, disco and classical music, with a little tango and reggae thrown in. Our production elements are limited to due to the nature of 15-minute Fringe load-ins, and our costumes are a mishmash of borrowed period pieces and modern basics. The book and lyrics go a long way in filling out our world, so we are able to leave room for the imagination.

BL: Who’s playing whom?
KP: Pockets stars Molly Dworsky as Bellamina Crumbledunk, the precocious thirteen-year-old daughter of The Duchess of Crumpeton, Winifred Dolores Crumbledunk, played by me. When Bellamina rebels against her mother, she enters society's underbelly and befriends the mischievous crook, Veegan (Chris Bramante). Dave Reynolds rounds out our main cast as Town Crier — Rob Crier, The Clutch to the Duch — Barkly St. Piggins, and the revolutionary Jim Val Jim. We also have an ensemble cast of friends joining us again this year.

BL: What can audiences expect when they attend the show? What makes Pockets a good fit for the Hollywood Fringe?
KP: We are lucky to have an incredible live band led by Branson NeJame on keys, Harrison Lee on cello, trombone, and guitar, Chris Sousa on bass, and Sam Kirsch on drums, so expect the music to be completely original and totally rockin'! The British-ish world we've built together is charming and wacky and fast-paced, so audiences may experience deep belly laughs and perhaps even a bit of "The Feelz."

We have a dynamic female protagonist and a fresh take on the mother-daughter story, so we hope to present a thoroughly modern piece of musical theater that delights and truly does us justice as writers and content creators. We have poured our hearts and lives into this musical, and we believe there's something for everyone — woman or man, young or old — to fall in love with.

Molly Dworsky, Kat Primeau, Dave Reynolds, Branson NeJame and Chris Bramante are Robot Teammate in POCKETS - photo by Dave Newberg

BL: It’s been a couple of years since Turbulence!. What has Robot Teammate been up to?
KP: Robot Teammate spent 2017 working on Turbulence!, taking home awards for Best Musical, Best World Premiere, A Little New Music’s Outstanding Songwriting and Better Lemon’s Critics' Choice at Hollywood Fringe before traveling to NYC to do an Off-Broadway run at the historic SoHo Playhouse. It was an exhilarating and exhausting endeavor, and finding a way to follow up our success hasn't been easy. We've kept up our improvised musical performances at venues like Westside Comedy and Impro Studio Theatre, and recorded some podcast material we may or may not release.

Personally, I lost my dad to a bewildering form of early-onset dementia known as Frontotemporal Degeneration, wrote a children's book for my niece, and recorded an album with my band, Sumeau. We've had all manner of life experiences pop up since then, and two of our teammates left our collective to focus on their solo projects, so we really just took the time to regroup and refine the kind of stories we want to spend time scripting and bringing into the world. Each musical is an intensive, collaborative labor of love, so we didn't want to rush things.

BL: What keeps you coming back to the Fringe?
KP: Fringe is an incredible breeding ground for creativity, and the energy around new works is unparalleled in LA. Since 2015, we've devoted our Junes to this community, and the payoff has been incredible. We love the artists we meet, the connections we make, the fun we have, the shows we see, and the feedback we receive. It is such a stark contrast from any improv festival we've been a part of, and there's truly nothing like the deadline of Opening Night to really light a fire under our butts and make an idea come to fruition.

BL: What other shows are you interested in seeing at the Fringe?
KP: I am so stoked to see Four Clowns returning to HFF with a new show, Shakedown at the Dusty Spur!! There are several new shows promising badass women from medieval times, so we will definitely be checking those out. The Duchess & The Stripper, 45 Milligrams, Earth To Karen, Hamiltunes, and Tabletop Musical are all on my must-see list this year.


Pockets plays June 15-29 at The Broadwater, 1076 Lillian Way. Ticketing
information and specific dates and showtimes can be obtained on the Fringe site.