Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – April 29 - May 5, 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.

How I Became A Superhero

“...An ensemble comedy about a couple that leaves the world of online activism and leaps into the business of vigilante justice! Running at the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival in June, this is a bright show for anyone who has ever dreamed about being amazing...a family friendly comedy that brings comic books to life, with comic book page sets, sound effects, and lights.”

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SugarFree: Foster Care Cognitive Dissonance

“SugarFree Foster Care combines the difficult journey of foster youth through my perspective as both a social worker and foster child...interspersed [with] poetry, personal narrative, humor, and real-life experiences for a theater experience that tugs at the heartstrings of our greatest human needs in the midst of the social welfare system's inadequacies.”

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Lend Me A Tenor

“Winner of 3 Tony Awards and 4 Drama Desk Awards LEND ME A TENOR combines a chain-reaction of mistaken identity, plot twists, double entendres and the constant slamming of many doors to create one of the funniest farces to grace the American stage in the last 30 years. A sensation on Broadway and in London's West End, LEND ME A TENOR pays homage to the madcap screwball comedies of the 1930's, guaranteed to leave audiences howling hysterically with laughter and walking out the door with a warm smile. ”

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GEORGE.

“Told through the creation of his first three films, ‘George' is the story of how a young man from Modesto, California became George Lucas. With each act following a different film, George will learn all of the skills that eventual led to the creation of ‘Star Wars.' ”

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Raised By Wolves

“You learn to survive quick when you're being dragged behind a team of sled dogs. A comedy about a girl and her dogsled team navigating the rocky terrain of growing up and her quest to become the alpha of her own pack. ”

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Widows Anonymous

“In the circle that is Widows Anonymous, five characters come together to share stories, secrets and the brutal humor that is being a widow in modern times. As they discover, there is no short cut, no alternate route, and the only way out is through. Welcome to the front lines.”

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Bat Knight!

“The dynamic duo have finally made it to the Hollywood Fringe Festival! Little do Batman and Robin know, the Joker's latest scheme will give them the ride of a lifetime. Race through the streets of Gotham with Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Superman, Alfred the Butler, and many more members of the Bat Family in this dark and hilarious interactive musical parody that puts you, the audience, in the middle of the action. Bring the whole family to battle The Joker, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, the Penguin, and the rest of the Dark Knight's rogues gallery, and celebrate the Batman universe in this side splitting night of Bat-Mania! ”

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Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive The Apocalypse

“A hack director and a snooty actress stumble 300 years into the future. America has been taken over by a fascist government, which believes that entertainment is the key to control. As the only remaining people on earth with any artistic talent the director and actress are forced to put on a play. But if they fail to entertain the masses they will be executed on live television. ”

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TOBINCON

“Actor and comedian Tobin Mitnick sheds light on three con men that are using their style-savvy to manipulate a generation of young Americans through the unregulated Wild West that is the Internet. In its world premiere, one-man comedy TOBINCON dives into the grotesque and hilarious world of online grifters—the Body Prophet, the Rhetorical Bad Boy, and the Compassionologist—with sketch and stand-up, in order to show us that the game may have changed, but the players are all still here. But Mitnick also answers a lingering question: When you spend so much time rubbing shoulders with these types, will it rub off on you? In other words, can you con yourself? Only TOBINCON has the answers!”

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CINDERELLA TOPSY TURVY – A Tender Gender Bender Romantic Musical Fairy Story for Pride 2019

“A Tender Gender Bender Romantic Musical Fairy Story. A delightful re-imagining of the classic Cinderella tale brings you upside-down casting – half original practices, half Gilbert and Sullivan, half just plain fun. Meet a handsome Prince, silly stepsisters, a befuddled king, and an out-of-the-box steampunk Fairygodmother. Added delights are the outrageously playful period costumes and the heart-warming romance that blooms with the assistance of a glass slipper, a feather duster, and a truly magical wand. A gentle prod at stereotypical gender roles, this light-hearted send-up is a hilarious twist on the classic tale.”

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La Traviata

“Giuseppe Verdi and Librettist Francesco Maria Piave's classic Italian opera based on the play La Dame aux Camélias adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas...Southern California native Christopher Job...makes his L.A. Opera debut. After a decade of work at the Metropolitan Opera, and making two appearances last season with the L.A. Phil.”

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The Same Room

“'A dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity…' Well, not quite. Thyma and Aspid find themselves trapped in a barren room with two locked doors, but where are they? What sets them free? And most importantly, what happens after this? 'The Same Room' explores human compassion in a new light and begs the question- What becomes of us when we refuse to heal?”

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Lincoln 2020

“Like a lot of people today, campaign manager Tess Baker is sick of politics. She's just about ready to throw in the when somebody wakes up a candidate she can work with – Abraham Lincoln. Will he be a good President in 2020 America? Will he even win? You decide! That's right, the play has two endings and your vote counts!”

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Bunny the Elf LIVE!

“A Musical Theatre Nerd, forced by her family to give up her dreams, gets a real job in the real world… as a toy store Christmas elf. An uplifting coming of age comedy about finding where one's talents, or lack thereof, fit in the world. Christi Pedigo's YouTube sensation Bunny the Elf will be sharing her elfing journey LIVE! On stage! With new material and a special update on what's next for Bunny.”

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FEELING LUCKY

“A comedy about men and women straddling the elusive line between true love and a broken heart who discover that in the game of love what you see is not always what you get.”

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Victress Burlesque Presents: ShipwRACKed

“Introducing Victress, the L.A.-based comedy burlesque troupe, flipping traditional burlesque on its head with a character-fueled strip show. The premise is simple: Comedic monologues lead into cheeky choreographed dance numbers that will make your heart go pitter-pat. Their newest show, “ShipwRACKed,” premieres in a 5-show limited run as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It's a naughty'cal adventure stacked with quips, ships, n' nips. Get ready for a burlesque show like you've never seen before.”

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And Now It's All This!

“A play about when John Lennon said the Beatles were bigger than Jesus and the fallout that ensued.”

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A Walk in the Woods at North Coast Repertory Theatre

“What really goes on behind the scenes of tense arms negotiations between powerful nations? Set in the midst of the Cold War, Lee Blessing's gripping play, A WALK IN THE WOODS, is especially relevant today. With talks seemingly at an impasse, the American and Soviet negotiators agree to meet informally while strolling through the peaceful forest. Their revealing and absorbing conversations, laced with warmth and humor, evolve through debate and discord, exploring unexpected and uncharted territory. Nominated for a Pulitzer and a Tony Award, Blessing's dramatic comedy was inspired by historic conversations between negotiators Paul H. Nitze and Yuli A Kvitsinsky who left the official 1982 Geneva sessions for an unofficial “walk in the woods.” For those yearning for a more enlightened world, this play is shrewdly observant and resonates with the ring of political truth ”

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Impro Theatre's Twilight Zone UnScripted at North Coast Rep

“From the darkest corners of reality, to the land of the unexplained – Impro Theatre's Twilight Zone Unscripted pays homage to Rod Serling's breakthrough sci-fi series “The Twilight Zone.” Enter the wondrous dimension of imagination, as completely improvised episodes are created with every performance.”

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You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

“Based on the beloved comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles Schulz, this revue of songs and vignettes tells the story of some typical days in the life of Charlie Brown. From running after the school bus to spying the cute little red-haired girl at lunch, Charlie Brown deals with the fun and frustrations of life with his friends Lucy, Linus, and Schroeder; his kid sister Sally; and his faithful companion, Snoopy. With charm, wit, and heart, “You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown” is fun for all ages.”

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Chico's Angels: Fly Chica Fly

“A live comedy production that parodies the 1976–1981 television series Charlie's Angels. Three of LA's favorite drag queens star in the title roles — Kay Sedia (Oscar Quintero), Chita Parol (Ray Garcia), and Frieda Laye (Danny Casillas). In this brand new episode written by Oscar Quintero and Kurt Koehler, young hopeful stewardesses are disappearing, and it's up to Chico's Angels to fly the “not-so-friendly skies.” Can the Angels solve the case? Fasten your seat belts, turbulence was never this spicy!”

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BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW

“Young newlywed Melody has never been to a funeral – until her husband dies in a plane crash. Expected to instantly assume proper widowhood, Melody is left to wonder, what's the right way to grieve? Fortunately, her mother-in-law is a professional. Widow, that is. Under her guidance, Melody must try her best to be a good little widow.An emotional comedy about loss and longing from Peabody Award-winning Writer/Producer of NBC's Hit “This Is Us.” Bekah Brunstetter will be participating in a talk-back following the performance on Saturday, June 1st. ”

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ROOTS

“Theatre of NOTE continues its 2019 season with ROOTS:...four wonderfully strange world premiere short plays, written by four accomplished Theatre of NOTE-grown playwrights, which together usher audiences through the complexity of the human condition. A dark comedy for dark times unfolds at a wedding…in either a sitcom or just a disturbed mind (Deadpan). A one-night stand takes a Kafkaesque turn. Is this stranger the one? Or just something very strange (The Smell of Something to Eat)? A story of people who probably definitely love each other, as they encounter tectonic distress (Big Ones). Escaping Soviet Russia, a young woman goes on to found modern conservative philosophy before becoming the subject of her own musical theater production (Rand!). Everyone has their own journey, but we all start at our ROOTS. ”

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Thank You For Loving Me

“August and Bobbie have been broken up for weeks. Bobbie comes back to the apartment she left to pick up the last of her things. Like a manic, time-jumping fever dream- they recreate all of their highs and lows of their relationship. Only, they have differing memories and perceptions of the events. 'Thank You For Loving Me' explores still loving someone yet knowing it is time to say goodbye.”

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Town Brawl

“Inspired by the outrageous stories found on Nextdoor.com, Town Brawl is your chance to witness petty and absurd neighborly drama being settled in a no holds barred town hall meeting. If you hate your neighbors you'll love our show.”

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Daniel's Husband

“Daniel and Mitchell are the perfect couple. What isn't so perfect is that Daniel desperately longs to be married, but Mitchell doesn't believe in it. When a life-altering event throws the couple into crisis, Mitchell must use the laws of his own heart to fight the rules of law. Michael McKeever's funny, passionate and poignant play takes an unflinching look at how we choose to tie the knot — or not.”

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Bronco Billy - The Musical

“The country's going crazy; partisan politics, civil rights threatened, technology exploding. That's right, it's 1979! Somewhere in America's heartland, with more heart than sense, Bronco Billy struggles to keep his traveling Wild West show alive. But when Billy and his ragtag troupe of misfits meet Antoinette, a Manhattan heiress on-the-run, the ride gets even wilder as she turns Billy's world upside down.”

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The Taming of the Shrew

“Directed by Alicia Patterson and Rose Fliegel, the production's focus will be less about the masculine versus feminine and more about the imposed imbalance of power...to directly confront these issues and start a discussion by engaging the audience with a comedic show which portrays how power politics affect the dynamics of a dysfunctional love story.”

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Horny-The Musical

“In Horny-The Musical, we meet Emily. Social-climbing as quickly as possible away from her embarrassingly bohemian mother into the arms of the most eligible bachelor and heir to the Smitt Family Wineries, Emily is the luckiest girl in the world…until she starts to grow horns right before the wedding. Her new social circles could never accept such a thing, so she must resolve the problem before her new fiance––not to mention her new mother-in-law––finds out. Knowing her mother's sexually free nature, she wonders if its genetic and braces herself for the answer to the question: Who is my father? This simple question unleashes an avalanche of satyrs and nymphs from a different world…party-crashing her high-society wedding rehearsal and upending her carefully-constructed plans with wild debauchery and mayhem. If that weren't enough, as prudish Emily's horns continue to grow, so do new…feelings. ”

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Batter Up: My Brain on Baseball

“Brett Moore is totally enamored with baseball, and has been for 25 years. In that time, he's memorized more about baseball than anyone with access to the Internet could possibly need to know. Come watch him perform his amazing feats of baseball memory that are unnecessary, stunning, and highly entertaining and wax poetic about his favorite obsession in a unique solo show that connects patrons and the performer through the love of our national pastime! ”

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Sex With Strangers

“In 'Sex With Strangers,' failed novelist Olivia meets Ethan, a celebrated (and much younger) writer made famous by his sexcapade tell-all blog, at a snowbound bed and breakfast, and their mutual attraction quickly gets hot and heavy. As a weekend tryst develops into a long-term romance, their personal and professional lives collide. Ethan seeks legitimacy, dismissing his bad boy reputation as nothing more than an invented character. Olivia has her doubts, but craves for the literary fame Ethan can offer her. Ambition, identity and trust are in play when online personas clash with real world expectations in this smart, steamy take on modern love.”

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Captivated: You

“A warehouse sits alone at the edge of Silverlake. The story within its walls has already caused the disappearance of a dozen women and a reporter hot on the trail. Now you have come to help the reporter's friend find the truth.
Inside there may be danger. Inside there may be horror. But in the end, there will be one question for you to answer: Who is the actual monster here? Captivated is a modern retelling of the classic horror story Frankenstein. They Played Productions brings you this psychological-horror immersive production where you, the audience, become a character in a story based on the classic tale Frankenstein. YOUR decisions will matter. YOUR choices will lead to one of 45 different endings. YOU will decide who survives…and who dies.”

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A Falling Star At Buzzard's Roost

“A FALLING STAR AT BUZZARD'S ROOST follows hard-touring retro-Rockabilly band, MAUREEN & THE MERCURY 5, performing at a kitschy, Alabama Drive-Inn Diner (off-season). When Maureen plugs in her vintage Elvis mic, she triggers otherworldly powers from the famous “moon rock”, sending the band, their manager and even the diner owner back to the first days of Rock & Roll! The reluctant time-travelers find love and learn life lessons as they struggle to get back to present day — set to the music of Rockabilly Jump Swing Band Maureen & the Mercury 5 (aka M&M5) and Alt-Country Outlaws The Flutterbies.”

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Now registered this week on the Better Lemons Calendar through July 1, 2018

New shows registered on the Better Lemons calendar. For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

Visit our Wakelet for more stories: https://wakelet.com/@BetterLemons


PODCAST: An interview with Ben Benjamins of "Buzz'd Out! Live!"

An interview with Ben Benjamins, show creator, animator, and host of "Buzz'd Out! Live!", an immersive one-hour game show at the Studio/Stage for the Hollywood Fringe Festival and at Pasadena Media, with extended shows this weekend at the Studio/Stage Friday, July 6, 2018, at 9 p.m. and Sunday, July 8, 2018, at 7 p.m.
Inspired by multiple game shows, "Buzz'd Out! Live!" premiered for the Hollywood Fringe Festival at Studio/Stage and nominated for Best Immersive.



Once There Was a Hobgoblin

The Hobgoblin Playhouse behind the gate. Photo by Evan Lorenzetti

"Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck."
Midsummer Nights Dream, Act 2, Sc 1

You can walk right by a time capsule without even realizing it, especially if you believe the cliche that Los Angeles has no history at all. Hidden behind a roll-up gate on a stretch of Hollywood Boulevard congested by tourists, there is a 102-year-old blackbox theater.

It looks nothing like the grand old movie palaces on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. There is no gothic facade or grand marque; the space is neighbored by tattoo parlors and shops selling chintzy bric a bric.

The space inside is still in remarkably good condition, however, and it is filled with theatrical props and tokens from several eras. It has housed countless productions through the years, including musicals like Little Shop of Horrors and Avenue Q, as well as more off-center shows like Fluffers: Give you Hard Comedy or All About Walken, which brought an army of Christopher Walken impersonators to the stage.

And sometime later this year or maybe next, it will be torn down.

But a spirit will take over the place for a little while before it goes to make room for a breezeway of all things. Mischievous by nature, this spirit, like Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, appears for only a moment, and meaning no harm to anyone, plays a few pranks before disappearing again. For 90 days the space will be called the Hobgoblin Playhouse, a pop-up theater if you will, and become a venue for the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Photo by Theresa Stroll

Jenn and Greg Crafts, a couple who call themselves Fringe Junkies and enjoy a solid reputation within the festival's community, created The Hobgoblin Playhouse after persistently and patiently pestering City of Los Angeles officials to give them the space. They both speak passionately about the project, frequently completing each others sentences and thoughts, evidence of a true partnership. They will be out by June 26, just a few days after the Festival ends.

"We've heard different things about when it will be gone," Jenn says. It certainly won't be the day after the Crafts leave the space, it possibly will still be around this time next year. But the city has made it clear – the space will definitely be demolished.

"There are pros and con to this," Jenn says. "It is very sad to lose a historical theater like that, and they are gutting it to make a walkway to parking garage, which is horrifying. But they are promising to put another blackbox theater near the space"--and if they do, the Crafts will make a strong pitch that they should be the ones running it.

"We're hoping our experience in helping and empowering other artists will make us a strong candidate for managing the property," Greg says.

Jenn was up late one night doing research when she thought of the name. "I was trying to think of a name that would go with that this space is a temporary venue, that it will disappear eventually," she says. She began looking for some mythical creature and serendipitously discovered that Hobgoblins are almost exactly the definition of what she was looking for: mischievous spirits that like creating chaos, but unlike poltergeists, are essentially good.

Jenn knew right away that she wanted the name – even if she approached Greg a little tentatively at first, like "hey, this might sound a little dorky, but what do you think of calling the space The Hobgoblin?"

Greg loved the idea, but being a huge Dungeons and Dragons geek, he thought of a Hobgoblin as an evil creature armed with a javelin that can only be defeated with the roll of an eight-sided die. He was even more convinced after Jennifer made him aware of the mythical history of Hobgoblins.

They may continue to use the name for other temporary venues they create, or perhaps if they manage the space again for Fringe Festival 2019. It depends on when the city finalizes plans with the developer and tears it all down.

The Hobgoblin's location, according to Escott O. Norton of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, actually did not begin as a theater. The Hobgoblin was built originally as a store in 1916 and it is unclear exactly when it was converted. Evidently it is also not considered a "historic theater"- the closest is right next door.

The neighboring space was opened by Mr. P. Tabor as Hollywood's first movie theater in late 1910 or early 1911, according to the Los Angeles Theatres blog. It was called the Idle Hour. You could have bought the space in 1912 for $800--a deal that an advertisement of that time warned "You will have to come on a run to get this." It is now home to a store called Stage Hollywood, whose sign advertises flirty dance-wear and fantasy costumes.

Perhaps most famously, the Hobgoblin once housed the Paul G. Gleason Theater, named for its founder and artistic director. Gleason performed in television, film and theatre, but was as much known for his teaching as his acting. The Hollywood Blvd. location was mainstay of the Los Angeles theatre scene starting in the late 90's. It was used as a venue for the inaugural year of the Fringe Festival in 2010.

After the Gleason folded in 2012, the space was vacant for about a year. The Cupcake Theater rebuilt the space, originally booking improv and comedy shows, but later they became known for musicals that made up with verve for what they lacked in budget. The Cupcake eventually outgrew the space as their reputation and fan base grew. They were the last to use it before leaving in 2016 for a new studio in North Hollywood.

When the Crafts first saw the space, the theater was still in remarkably good condition. It was pretty dusty and needed a good cleaning, but the Crafts were shocked by how workable the space still was. All the seats were still there. Costumes and set pieces had been left in the backstage area, which alone is probably larger than many theaters in Los Angeles.

There is a long wooden bar behind which are book shelves stocked with antique books from the 1930's – one title is Best Monologues from 1890 to 1900. There are boxes underneath the bar stacked as high as three feet with textbooks and scripts.

Photo by Theresa Stroll

The front lobby is dominated by a painting of a pair blue eyes on pure white skin surrounded by a shock of red hair – a piece that wouldn't have seemed out of place in A Clockwork Orange. Two pianos are still in the space--a standup in the lobby and a Grand onstage in the theater, and there's a follow spot in the lobby.

They didn't get access to the space until just a few weeks ago--barely enough time to get the space ready before its first show last Sunday night. The Crafts have experienced this last year when they took over the Studio/Stage on Western, a former photo studio with a huge cyc background.

"There was a window that had been boarded up for years, and we were going to unboard the window at 10:30 on a Friday night cause we're stupid" Jen jokes, "but then we pulled down the first board and behind that there was fabric and styrofoam and wood--" and, Greg says, "fluff and layers of black mold." Studio/Stage was in worse condition than the Hobgoblin when the Crafts took it over early last year – there were no risers and the lobby was a mess – but nonetheless they had it finished in time for the Fringe Festival in June.

When the Crafts took over the Studio/Stage space last year, Greg says, "There were a few nights when I slept there, because we were working really late, and since we maybe had rental coming in the early a.m., I said fuck it and wouldn't go home – I wouldn't want to do that at the Hobgoblin." Hollywood Boulevard can be a crazy place on the weekend, and he says there was something a little "ghosty" about the theater when they first moved in. Maybe a spirit or two is lurking in the space, but so far, they haven't revealed themselves.

After a year running that space, they feel "supremely confident" as Jenn puts it, that they can manage a second Fringe venue – in fact, their eventual goal is to operate at least five under 99-seat houses within five years. Difficulties arise, but the Crafts take the perspective that any problem can be overcome – if you hustle hard enough to solve it.

Photo by Evan Lorenzetti

The Hobgoblin is a simpler space than Studio/Stage, and lighter tech-wise, but still robust enough that people can get up on stage and tell their stories.

"There are definitely going to be some surprises at the Hobgoblin that we hadn't thought of, but we will figure it out. It's going to be fine." Jenn says. The Crafts, who jokingly suggest they might start a show called Theatre Rescue instead of Bar Rescue, have had no trouble booking the Hobgoblin. In the anything goes spirit of the Fringe, they've booked several productions with people they've never met who haven't seen the space in person.

Upcoming Fringe productions at the Hobgoblin include several solo shows, at least two Harry Potter parodies, and in what sounds like a work of pure genius, Cthulhu the Musicalbased on the work of H.P. Lovecraft and performed entirely with puppets. Another show, a "theatrical jazz-rock fusion" called Love Takes a Stand, boasts a three-piece band and backup singers – and will undoubtedly put that grand piano to use.

Photo by Evan Lorenzetti

It all goes along with the Fringe ethic, a non-curated event where anything goes and people are encouraged to put up that strange idea they've always thought about, be it an offbeat cabaret piece or a movie mashup musical just for the sheer sake of doing it. Experimentation is far more important than slick professionalism.

"What I like about Fringe is that you're not going to see a polished production of Henry V or Streetcar--" says Greg – and Jenn interjects, saying, "I don't want to see that at Fringe, If I saw someone doing Henry V at Fringe, I'd say what are you doing?--"But" Gregory continues, "I love watching people develop new stuff and have plays take their first steps at the Fringe before going on to bigger venues elsewhere."

Photo by Evan Lorenzetti

Maybe some established theatre groups are wary of the Fringe because it kills off so much of June, Greg theorizes, but you can either hate it or embrace it. The connections the Crafts have made at the Fringe are like a supportive family to them.

There are so many artists in Los Angeles possessed by the desire to create works, and that can happen almost anywhere, whether in an old photo studio on Western or an abandoned blackbox theatre on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hobgoblin Playhouse may appear again when we least expect it in a space as yet undiscovered. Or it may disappear and leave us to wonder if we'll ever see anything like it again.