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.


Dance to 'Dickens': Variety and Holiday Shows Around Greater L.A.


Rest your feet after all that shopping, get out of that L.A. holiday traffic for a few hours, and slip into a cozy theatre or concert venue during the Holidays!

Los Angeles theatre is alight with dozens of musicals, comedy, cabaret, magic, live radio plays, film and live mash-up productions, classic Dickens, music, dance, variety, and family-friendly shows themed to get you into the spirit of the season.

Here's is a healthy collection of shows available now and until you are just about ready to ring in the New Year.


It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play - Now through December 15, 2019

ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY (ETC) presents the second show of its 2019-20 Season, the can’t-miss, holiday event of the season, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY, adapted by Joe Landry, from the screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra & Jo Swerling and directed by ETC’s Director of Education and Outreach, Brian McDonald.

The New Vic in Santa Barbara

 

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Miracle on 34th Street Now through December 15, 2019

Actors Co-op Theatre Company is proud to present the Los Angeles premiere of a new adaptation of Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play, based on the 1947 Lux Radio Hour, adapted by Lance Arthur Smith, original songs and arrangements by Jon Lorenz, directed by Joseph Leo Bwarie.

"Miracle on 34th Street" brings a heartwarming and classic tale of faith, love, and the gift of miracles to the holiday season, featuring live Foley effects and a score of holiday carols this beautiful story is sure to ring in Christmas for all. OVATION RECOMMENDED PRODUCTION!!! At the Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre.

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A Christmas Carol - Now through December 15, 2019

A Christmas Carol: The One-Man Play - The Porters of Hellsgate Theatre Company presents Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: The One-Man Play, directed by frequent Porters collaborator Drina Durazo. "Charles Dickens was known for being a performer of his own works; his novels were written with such vivid theatricality that they were almost like plays," says Durazo. "We're aiming to recreate the experience of Dickens' public recitals with a A Christmas Carol, The One-Man Play, and it's been a great joy exploring this beloved classic by way of Krieger's dynamic performance."

Having most recently taken on the roles of Theseus in The Two Noble Kinsmen and director of Romeo and Juliet, Associate Artistic Director Gus Krieger portrays over thirty characters in this telling of Dickens' classic tale. Having assumed iconic roles for the company including Richard III, Shylock, Benedick, and King John, Krieger is thrilled to return to the boards of North Hollywood.

Presented at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center

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It's A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play - Now through December 23, 2019

A Los Angeles holiday tradition is back with some show veterans for just a few dates in a special engagement! It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play takes place at KAWL, a struggling 1940s radio station that good-hearted owner Michael Anderson is barely keeping alive. He calls on some old friends (with big personalities) and some less-than-professional station employees to offer up a live radio version of Frank Capra’s touching masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life in what might sadly be the station’s last live show. But it’s the holidays, a time when miracles can happen…

Theatre Unleashed at Studio/Stage.

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A Christmas Carole King -  Now through December 22, 2019

It’s the most “Beautiful” time of the year!

TROUBADOUR THEATER COMPANY continues its 25th SILVER ANNIVERSARY SEASON with "A CHRISTMAS CAROLE KING." Musical Direction by Derrick Finely, Directed and Adapted by Matt Walker, in a limited Engagement opening Friday, December 13, 2019, at The El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood!

For their 18th annual holiday offering, The Troubies have combined the soulful sounds of songstress Carole King with one of the most enduring stories of our time – Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” – and the result is SO FAR AWAY from what you'd expect!

 

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A Christmas Carol - Now through December 23, 2019

Charles Dickens' classic Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol, at A Noise Within, Directed by Geoff Elliott & Julia Rodriguez-Elliott.

ANW’s delightfully festive, musically merry holiday tradition returns! Families love the inspirational story of Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and Scrooge—the perfect burst of boundless good cheer for the season, and beyond!

“Only a die-hard humbug could remain unmoved by so charming a yuletide treat.” – Los Angeles Times

Tickets and more information.

 

 


A Christmas Carol - Now through December 24, 2019

A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory. This is the 40th year for the beloved Orange County holiday classic—and marks the final time that Hal Landon Jr. will portray everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge. Nineteenth-century London comes to life when your family joins the SCR family for the holidays. Recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this timeless Dickens classic and all your favorite characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come. No children under the age of 6, please.

 

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Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!) - Now through December 29, 2019

Instead of performing Charles Dickens' beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told -- plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung. A madcap romp through the holiday season! An outrageous holiday romp for the whole family (except those who still believe in Santa!) Written by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez. Music by Will Knapp. Directed by Gary Lamb. Musical director: Sean Paxton.

At the Sierra Madre Playhouse.

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A Christmas RUSH at the Movies - December 13 - 15, 2019

Yippie ki yay, theatre goers! We're settling the debate, once and for all. Yes, "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie. But when John McClane meets Ralphie from "A Christmas Story," let's just say more than just your eye might get shot out! What better way to end the year than by mashing up classic Christmas movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" with characters from some of your favorite "Not A Christmas Movie" movies like "Batman Returns?" Mix in a few iconic movie props, a team of talented writers, directors and actors and let the holiday drama and hi-jinks ensue! The way only our RUSH play festival can!  Great for the whole family!

Written by Tyler Bianchi, Evan Baughfman, Jeff Folschinsky, Holly Sidell, Samantha Grace, Adam Neubauer, Samantha & Lilia Marquis, Directed by Jonathan Fahn, Jennifer Novak Chun, Holly Witham, Corey Chappell,
Randy Marquis, Tom Jones & Stacy Ann Raposa. At the Actors Workout Studio.

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Eight Nights - December 13 - 16, 2019

Developed in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab, Eight Nights is the heartfelt, lyrical portrait of a German Jewish refugee haunted by her past...witnessed over the course of generations of the same family that inhabits a single apartment from 1949 to 2016. Set during the eight nights of Chanukah, and spanning eight decades of the protagonist’s life, Eight Nights weaves together heart-aching moments with life-affirming humor to call out the trauma experienced not only by concentration camp survivors, but by African American descendants of slavery, by interned Japanese Americans, and by current victims of war in Africa and the Middle East.

Written by Jennifer Maisel, at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center.

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Dysfunctional Family Christmas - December 13 - 16, 2019

Dysfunctional Family Christmas - Misunderstandings, Mistaken Identities, and Holiday Chaos create a fun-filled Christmas Morning at the Logan Home.

Before they sell the family home, Dean and Joanne Logan want one perfect final Christmas with their adult children. Although, once Grandpa is found dead, their plans go haywire as they attempt to hide the body from the family.

Defiance Theatre Company, at The Sherry Theatre.

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The Santaland Diaries - December 13 - 20, 2019

"A sardonic, merrily subversive tale—just the antidote to bright-eyed joy before too many shopping days have passed. Worth more than a photo album full of Santas!" NY Newsday. When it was first broadcast on National Public Radio, The SantaLand Diaries generated more requests for tapes than any story in This American Life’s history except the death of Red Barber. Timothy Olyphant brought the story to life on stage off-Broadway, and for the fourth year in a row Patrick Censoplano dons the candy-cane tights for a Santa Monica Playhouse holiday celebration in this outrageously funny one-man play from NPR’s well-loved humorist David Sedaris about the author’s experiences as an unemployed writer taking a job as an elf at Macy’s department store in New York City, taking a wry look at how the holiday season brings out the best – and the worst – in us all. Toast the Holidays! Your ticket includes a pre-show glass of champagne or non-alcoholic eggnog.

At the Santa Monica Playhouse.

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Sugar Plum Fairy - December 13 - 22, 2019

The story of Sugar Plum Fairy, based on Loh’s original tale on This American Life, follows a 12-year-old Sandra and her over-the-top dream of landing the lead in the inevitable dance school production of The Nutcracker. Loh and friends are pitted against the vicious hierarchy of desirable roles in this well-weathered ballet, while she desperately yearns to be recognized as a pre-teen queen in her own right. The play features Shannon Holt and Tony Abatemarco in a rotation of quirky characters from her misfit friends to a rigid Russian ballet instructor, as well as being co-conspirators in spreading some literal holiday cheer around the theater. Wittily set to a classical music score (a la Disney’s Fantasia’s hippopotamus ballerinas), Sugar Plum Fairy is knitted together with moments of audience participation, and attendees are encouraged to dress in their most festive outfits, prepare for sugary showers of candy, and get photos for the ‘gram with Yuletide-themed set designs that include reindeer, an animatronic Santa, and even, if you’re lucky, Frosty the Snowman.

At the East West Players.

Use code "Jingle10" at checkout for 10% off tickets valid Thursday evenings, Friday evenings, and Saturday matinees on all 3 seating sections. Cannot be combined with any other discounts.

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The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever! - December 13 - 22, 2019

Sixteen actors play nearly 30 characters in a holiday spectacular that will put you in a festive mood! A play-within-a-play, this fast-paced comedy follows a small, LGBTQ+ community theatre as it struggles to pull together its annual holiday pageant.

Written by Joe Marshall, directed by Bree Pavey. The cast will feature (in alphabetical order) Cassandra Carmona, Matt Caudel, Noah Copfer, Andrew Cottrell, Madylin Sweeten Durrie, Dan Ellis, Javier Flores, Barbera Ann Howard, Sean James, Corey Klemow, Katy Laughlin, Ignacio Navarro, Alejandro Baquero Sanchez, Scottie Smith, Luke Sookdeo, and Bart Tangredi.

At Loft Ensemble.

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The Christmas Present - December 13 -22, 2019

Colin can't bear the thought of another Christmas alone so he hires some company. Unfortunately, the girl who turns up is not the goddess he was hoping for.

Can this mismatched couple make it to Boxing Day without killing each other?

Back in LA for the fourth time, "The Christmas Present" is the heart-warming story of a hooker, a hotel room, and some holiday magic.

At The Broadwater.

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Plaid Tidings - December 13 - 28, 2019

Rubicon Theatre audiences are invited to “rejoice and be plaid” this holiday season as Ventura’s non-profit professional theatre company presents the hilarious and heartwarming musical comedy PLAID TIDINGS in Ventura’s Downtown Cultural District. The production is directed by the original creator STUART ROSS, and the cast for PLAID TIDINGS includes SEAN BELL, ADOLPHO BLAIRE, JOSHUA DAVID CAVANAUGH and ZACHARY EDWARDS, all making their Rubicon Theatre debuts.  The show includes holiday favorites such as “Cool Yule,” “Let it Snow,” and “Joy to the World”; a hysterically funny speed-date version of “The Ed Sullivan Show” featuring the Rockettes, the Chipmunks and The Vienna Boys Choir; and other memorable hits from the era, like “Sh-Boom,” “Fever” and “Hey There.”

The Los Angeles Times called PLAID TIDINGS “a many splendored thing.” Variety described the show as Musical utopia…the perfect show. And the Daily News called the show “heaven-sent holiday fare.”

Tickets and more information.


Santasia: A Holiday Comedy - December 13 - 28, 2019

“SANTASIA - A Holiday Comedy” created by Shaun and Brandon Loeser, directed by Shaun Loeser, is celebrating its 20th year. At the Whitefire Theatre, this Off-Broadway Hit and Critics’s Pick laugh out loud annual holiday romp, is the perfect blend of Yuletide snark and sentiment, and has been compared to "The Carol Burnett Show", "The Kids in the Hall", "In Living Color", "Saturday Night Live" and Vaudeville. This multi-media holiday special has it all including classic Rankin and Bass Claymation inspired movies, musical parodies, and heartfelt holiday moments.

At the Whitefire Theatre.

Tickets and more information.


Love Actually Live - December 13 - 29, 2019

The Wallis & For The Record’s biggest, record-breaking hit returns this holiday season! The multimedia concert celebration of one of the most beloved holiday films of all time is back by popular demand, now as a not-to-be-missed Los Angeles tradition. The team behind LA’s award-winning series For The Record transforms The Wallis’ Bram Goldsmith Theater into an immersive cinema, where the modern classic written by Richard Curtis is reborn as a revolutionary stage and screen event. To tell the story, the film and live action seamlessly intertwine throughout the London setting. Iconic scenes on screen share the stage with an all-star cast of singers and a 15-piece orchestra, as they reimagine the film’s hit soundtrack including “Christmas is All Around” and “Trouble With Love." Love Actually Live is a first-of-its-kind, theatrical cinema experience.

WARNING: This production features theatrical haze effects, adult content, and brief nudity. It is recommended for ages 13+.

At the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets and more information.


Holidays in the Valley - December 14, 2019

The San Fernando Valley Master Chorale is excited to bring back one of the most anticipated concerts of the season, our annual holiday sing-along concert! Joining us on stage this year will be the delightful San Fernando Valley Youth Chorus, under the direction of Sean Carney.

Led by Artistic Director Charlie Kim and accompanied by Bob Remstein, expect to hear your favorite holiday classics along with John Rutter's "Gloria" accompanied by a brass quartet. And lots of audience participation! Join us for a night filled with fun, music, and holiday cheer for the whole family. All ages are welcome.

Ugly Sweater Contest: Oh, and don't forget to bring your ugly sweater! This year SFVMC will give away free tickets for a future concert to the audience member who brings the ugliest holiday sweater.

Tickets and more information.


The Merry Little Christmas Show - TWO SHOWS on December 15, 2019

The Merry Little Christmas Show - BroadwayWorld Critics’ Pick and StageSceneLA Award-winner Scott Dreier, star of last season’s acclaimed hit "Doris and Me," returns to The Colony Theatre with his holiday concert. Featuring special guest Kurtis Simmons and music director Andy Langham. Dreier will take audiences back to the feel of cherished, classic, holiday TV specials hosted by Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and others — paying homage while also providing his modern take with pop and jazz interpretations of holiday treasures. The performance will include holiday classics including "Sleigh Ride," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "O Holy Night," "I’ve Got Your Love to Keep Me Warm," "Merry Christmas Darling," and many more. This show will transport you back to your living room sitting around the fireplace telling stories and sharing songs of the season.

At the Colony Theatre.

Tickets and more information


A Very Happy Goyisha Hannukah - December 15 and 17, 2019

 

How did a nice Evangelical Christian girl from Arizona wind up doing a one-woman comical cabaret show at Jewish Women’s Theatre (JWT) in Santa Monica? Audiences will laugh and maybe even sing along, as they learn the secrets of Anna Abbott’s dual life in her new solo show, "A Very Goyisha Hanukkah," playing two performances only at The Braid, JWT’s art and performance space.

Tickets and more information.


A Twisted Christmas Carol - December 15, 2019 - January 12, 2020

The Group Rep presents A Twisted Christmas Carol, a world premiere comedy written by Phil Olson, directed by Doug Engalla, produced by Alyson York, a Texas-style spoof of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Talk-backs are after Sunday shows 12/21 and 01/04.  Upstairs at the Group Rep on the second floor of the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood 91601. The Upstairs venue is not handicapped accessible.

Tickets and more information.


The Eight: Reindeer Monologues - Through December 14, 2019

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode, Directed by Jerry Pilato & Erica Livingstone
Santa's Reindeer Tells All! With each deer's confession, the truth behind the shocking allegations becomes clearer and clearer and seems to implicate everyone from the littlest elf to the tainted Saint himself. Don't miss this expose of North Pole Naughtiness.

Starring David Janisch as Dasher, Eric Trigg as Comet, Christine McCoy as Dancer, Andrew Walters as Hollywood (Prancer), Mclain Parker as Cupid, Melanie Mino as Blitzen, Michael Adler as Donner and Kellen Gold as Vixen.

At the Point Loma Playhouse.

Tickets and more information.


'Twas the Flight Before Christmas - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 14, 2019

A Workshop Production of a new TST Christmas comedy with music, written by Glen Philip and Alisa Murray, and Directed by Nancy Cheryll Davis, ast the Stella Adler Theatre.

Travelers get stranded on Christmas Eve at Angel Airlines where nothing is free, even a picture with Santa. Hilarious and fun, it's the perfect show for the holidays. One Night ONLY!

At the Stella Adler Theatre. Admission is Pay What You Will, which includes TST Christmas Party immediately following the show. Bring an unwrapped toy for the Children's Toy Drive.

Tickets and more information.


Leslie Jordan: Deck The Halls, Y'all! - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 16, 2019

Emmy Award-winner Leslie Jordan returns to Catalina Jazz Club with his hilarious holiday show "Deck Them Halls, Y’All" for one performance only. Best known for his stand-out roles in "Sordid Lives," "American Horror Story," "The Help," as the beloved Beverley Leslie on "Will & Grace" (for which he is currently shooting the final season), and most recently as Sid on the Fox series "The Cool Kids," Leslie Jordan has charmed fans for over four decades.

His hilarious holiday tales are not to be missed. Jordan’s special guest will be country-pop singer Brandon Stansell.

Tickets and more information.


DICKENS UNSCRIPTED - TWO NIGHTS ONLY, December 16 - 17, 2019

Los Angeles Times calls Impro Theatre “Amazing!” One of the funniest evenings as the troupe spins an entire play into comedy gold right before your eyes. Starting with an audience suggestion, the troupe creates completely improvised, full-length plays in the styles of the world’s greatest writers. Join us this holiday season for a hilarious comedy inspired by the works of Charles Dickens. Comic portrayals, cruel melodrama and heartbreaking tenderness explode onto the teeming streets of Victorian London. A fun and festive evening of comedy.

North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach.

Tickets and more information.

 


The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf - TWO NIGHTS ONLY, December 16 & 17, 2019

Laguna Playhouse brings back its holiday tradition! A Special, Stripped Down to the Abs, Musical Event! "The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf" at Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach!

With Special Guest Appearances by Broadway’s Nick Adams,  jackbenny and more! Ho, Ho, Ho, you don’t want to miss this show!

Broadway stars Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages, Sweeney Todd) and Nick Cearley (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, All Shook Up) return to the Laguna Playhouse for two nights of the most outrageous holiday show of the season. This undie-rock, comedy pop, award-winning duo perform stripped-down, mashed-up versions of holiday favorites and more. Expect to see ukulele, electric cello and an array of zany instruments.

Tickets and more information.


Bendelacreme and Jinkx Monsoon: All I Want for Christmas is Attention - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 19, 2019

BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon are back in an all-new two-queen holiday extravaganza at The Montalbán!

After last year’s wildly successful "To Jesus, Thanks for Everything," Jinkx and DeLa return to the stage this holiday season in a high-spirited scramble to maintain your interest! DeLa is all sugar and Jinkx is all spice — but how do these two very different gals deal with the stress of the holidays? A little song, a lot of eggnog, and theatres full of people looking at them. Yup ... all they want for Christmas is attention!

Tickets and more information.

 


Sam Harris: Unwrapped! - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 19, 2019

Returning to Hollywood by popular demand, platinum-selling recording artist and Tony Award-nominated actor Sam Harris brings his new holiday show to Catalina Jazz Club for one performance only. Led by his longtime musical director Todd Schroeder, Harris will perform Broadway, pop, and holiday fare.

 

Tickets and more information.


A Charlie Brown Christmas - December 19 - 22, 2019

The Theatre School @ North Coast Rep presents "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by Charles M. Schulz, based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson Stage Adaptation by Eric Schaeffer, and by Special Arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby Persson.

When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism he sees among everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant. Charlie Brown accepts, but this proves to be a frustrating endeavor. When an attempt to restore the proper holiday spirit with a forlorn little Christmas tree fails, he needs Linus’ help to discover the real meaning of Christmas.

Tickets and more information.


Theater 40 Holiday Show - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 21, 2019

Theatre Forty will present its Holiday Show at the Los Angeles Public Library, Westwood.

Professional actors will read seasonal poems, stories and essays from such authors as Ray Bradbury, F. Scott Fitzgerald, E.B. White and many others.

Our readers include Katherine Henryk, Daniel Leslie, Melanie MacQueen, LeeAnne Rowe, and Gloria Stroock. Christmas candy will be served.

Tickets and more information.

 


Nutcracker - December 21 (two shows), & 22, 2019

The Nutcracker from critically acclaimed Inland Pacific Ballet,celebrating 25 years. The Nutcracker comes to life with this magnificent ballet comprised of beautiful sets, dazzling costumes, and more than 80 dancers on stage. The Nutcracker tells the story of a young girl who receives a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve and sets out on a wondrous journey to the Land of the Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Toy soldiers, life-sized dancing dolls, and a fantastic dream with battling mice, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the delightful Sugar Plum Fairy stir the imagination. Meet the cast after the performance for photos and autographs. This is family entertainment at its best.

At the Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College.

Tickets and more information


GMCLA Holiday Spectacular - December 21 (two shows), & 22, 2019

Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles Presents Holiday Spectacular at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.

Experience the joy of the season as Jenny Wong, GMCLA’s interim Artistic Director and Associate Conductor of the LA Master Chorale, leads GMCLA in choral classics, timeless Christmas carols, a medley of hits from the beloved film Love Actually, Broadway bonanzas, and Mariah Carey’s anthem – it’s all you’ll want for Christmas. A Los Angeles tradition for the entire family, this concert will be truly Spectacular!

Tickets and more information.


Carols of the Belles - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 22, 2019

Curated by Performances à la Carte, Jazz ‘n Paz continues with its’ seasonal intimate jazz series showcasing some of Los Angeles’ finest jazz musicians. To ring in the holidays, the December concert, Carols of the Belles, features the vocals of the iconic Barbara Morrison, Jamie Perez, and Renee Myara,  at Pasadena’s Neighborhood UU Church. In a jazzy program of standards and holiday favorites, the musicians behind the angelic voices feature Michael Ragonese on piano, James Yoshizawa on drums, Danny Janklow on sax and flute, and Luca Alemmano on bass...A Holiday Champagne Party will follow the concert and may be added to any concert ticket purchase online for an additional $12. The party will feature appetizers, desserts, champagne and non-alcoholic punch along with music, dancing, comedic holiday improv antics and capped off with a Holiday Sing-A-Long.

Tickets and more information


60th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 24, 2019

L.A.’s largest holiday spectacular celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019 is at The Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Join this year’s co-hosts, internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán and actress Marissa Ramirez (Blue Bloods), for this free, three-hour holiday show featuring 25 music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures that make up L.A. Once again, PBS SoCal will host a live broadcast of the event that has been a Los Angeles holiday tradition since 1959, while KCET will air the program twice on Christmas Day.

Legendary Cuban jazz trumpet player Arturo Sandoval, accompanied by his world-renowned band, will kick off this year’s celebration with a medley of holiday songs. Returning favorites include Hālau Keali’i o Nālani & the Daniel Ho Trio, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, gospel choir Greater LA Cathedral Choir, Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy and folklorico troupe Pacifico Dance Company. Some of this year’s newcomers include Latin folk band Cuñao, the dancers and drummers of African Soul International and a cappella group Street Corner Renaissance.

All-female, two-time GRAMMY award-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea will team up with their “brother” band Mariachi Espectacular, and Jewish cultural revival band Mostly Kosher will share the stage with Urban Voices Project, a choir made up of men and women surviving homelessness on Skid Row. Those who can't make it to The Music Center on Dec. 24 can watch the live broadcast on PBS SoCal starting at 3 p.m., with the rebroadcast on KCET on Christmas Day from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., or online at pbssocal.org/holidaycelebration.

Tickets and more information.


 


Announcing the Hollywood Fringe Festival 'Sponsored,' 'Runway,' 'Encore! Producers,' and 'Best of Broadwater' Awards

The following are more winners of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, including the Sponsored Awards and Fringe Runway.

Now that the Hollywood Fringe Festival has technically come to a close, here are awards that provide additional opportunities through the Encore! Producers Awards and the Best of Broadwater Award which provide an avenue for shows to extend through July, August, and beyond, to see the shows you might have missed.

Sponsored Award Winners

2019 Unleashed Awards

The Mayor’s Debate Of Tranquillity Nebraska

The Unleashed Award is given to the ensemble production who unleashes their production with a strong focus on telling the story and the winner receives a certificate, a dog collar and tag engraved with the name of the show, the award and the year, award laurels for social media use, and shout outs on the Theatre Unleashed social media sites.

2cents Theatre Distinctive Voices Award

The Institute For The Opposite Of Longing

The 2Cents Distinctive Voices Award recognizes an artist/team of artists who prove themselves as a true auteur. The winning production will demonstrate unique perspective, fresh interpretation and defined approach, providing a one of a kind experience of unexpected storytelling. The winner will receive a coveted engraved 2Cents Piggy.

Aunt Lyla’s Fave Fringe Flyer

Matt: The Gathering

Aunt Lyla’s Fave Fringe Flyer recognizes superb flyer design and the winner(s) receive an award plague showcasing the winning flyer.

Fight the Power Award

Start Swimming

Fight The Power Award is granted for performance, writing, direction combined "to create a powerful piece that moves the needle in social justice, inclusiveness, normalization of reality, and forward-thinking art." Winners receive a custom ‘Fight the Power’ trophy.

No Room In The Green Room Award

Borracho: Spanish For Drunken Bum

MB Stage Productions No Room In The Green Room Award "goes to those who like to challenge themselves to have a full audience and an even fuller stage."  Winner(s) are awarded a trophy and recognition on MB Stage Productions, LLC’s website, social media and digital laurels.

O Face Award For Orgasmic Achievement In Theatre: “Most Orgasmic Performance”

Macy Idzakovich – Flower Society

The O Face Award For Orgasmic Achievement In Theatre: 'Most Orgasmic Performance' Award singles out one production "for forging a connection between artist, audience and the divine, bringing all three together in an explosive theatrical experience that transcends convention and can only be regarded as 'Orgasmic.'" A 7th Annual O Face Award statuette is presented to the winner.

Showorks Don’t Wait. Create! Award

The Duchess & The Stripper

The ShoWorks Don’t Wait. Create! Award is awarded to "writers and creators who develop their own opportunities by producing original content and pushing the creative envelope from 'page to stage.'” The winner receives this 3rd Annual award statuette.

Soaring Solo Artist Award

Dear Jeff by Callie Ott

The 3rd Annual Soaring Solo Artist Award is presented by Soaring Solo LLC, Jessica Lynn Johnson & the Whitefire Theatre recognizes and celebrates "excellence in solo theatre within the Hollywood Fringe Community." The winner receives an award plaque, along with a spot to perform their winning solo show at the Whitefire Theatre’s SOLOFEST 2020.

Standout Song Award

“Smellay Lahk A Turkay (She Was)” Blackboxing

Standout Song Award honors "the song at Fringe that we feel represents the 'number one hit' of the festival. The song that we remember as we leave their show and keep thinking about as the festival goes on." The award involves "a fully funded/produced music video of the original song that will be published online."

Steve Kent Award

Earth Stories: Our Climate And Our Future

Steve Kent Award, named after co-founder of the legendary Company Theatre, the late Steve Kent,  "is given a piece of theatre that uses their art for to create political or social change within an individual and their community." and a trophy is awarded to the winner.

The Diverse Diva Award

Squeeze My Cans by Cathy Schenkelberg

The Diverse Diva Award is presented by the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, co-sponsored by City National Bank, and is awarded to a solo female identified artist performing  "cabaret, poetry, dance, as a singer-songwriter, vocalist, musician [or]  storyteller" selecting one "engaging and unique female identified artist who exemplifies what it means to be a 'Diverse Diva.'" The winner receives a framed award certificate, a performance spot in the LAWTF Wine Down Wednesday event, and a week-long stay at the Writer’s Well International Literary Retreat in Sharpsburg Georgia (including lodging.)

The Golden Key

The Pod

The show with the highest score will receive The Golden Key, a symbol of the production’s ability to unlock a new world for guests.

The Encore Award

The Encore! Producers Award represents the best of the Hollywood Fringe selected by venue producers, based on artistic merit and commercial potential. The extensions immediately follow the HFF2019 and run through July in participating fringe venues. Shows selected receive extensions "giving them the opportunity for additional audience, press, awards and extensions. Shows receive "at least one performance," following the Hollywood Fringe Festival, in July. Typically extensions are one to two performances, but longer runs are possible and are negotiated between venue and show producer.

The Inkwell Theater Playwright’s Promise Award

Butcher Holler Here We Come” By Casey Wimpee

The Inkwell Theater Playwright’s Promise Award, presented by the Inkwell Theater Development LAB, recognizes a writer of a Fringe production. The criteria for this fifth annual award is based on the play itself, not necessarily the production. The playwright of the winning production is invited to "participate in a number of special events and reading opportunities throughout our 2019-20 season" and receive a “Golden Pen” statuette.

The Outdoor Voices Festival “conversation Creation” Award

Dear Jeff: A Musical Comedy About Suicide & Domestic Abuse

The Outdoor Voices Festival “conversation Creation” Award honors the show that "encompasses all of the qualifications that make up a brilliant piece of socially relevant theater." The winner of the award receives a statuette and is invited to perform in the "Outdoor Voices Festival, Winter 2019" where a limited number shows are selected each year.

The Paul Koslo Memorial/Met theatre Award

A Time Traveler’s Guide To The Present

Sponsored by MET Theatre (MET Foundation) The Paul Koslo Memorial/Met theatre Award, in honor of the late MET Theatre founding member Paul Koslo, is given to "outstanding theatre makers who reflect that same bold, creative, and inspirational spirit as was possessed by our beloved Mr. Koslo." The winner receives a statuette, plaque, or "the like" along with "20 Free Rehearsal Hours (a $500 value) at the MET Theatre on the Paul Koslo Stage in the Great Scott space."

TPP’s Trope Buster!

Blackboxing

Sponsored by They Played Productions, LLC., TPP’s Trope Buster! is awarded to shows that "break the mold," disrupt the medium, and take the "expected roles or stories or themes or tropes of theatre and spin them off the axis into unknown territory."  Winners will receive an award created by producer and artist Thea Rivera specifically for this year’s TPP Trope Buster as well as a digital file listing your winning award.

LAFPI's Most Wanted Award

LAFPI's Most Wanted Award is granted in "recognition of the gender parity efforts and achievements by LA Theaters and Fringe Venues, focusing on female-identifying playwrights" and receive a certificate.

The LAFPI Most Wanted Awards:

Actors Company
Assistance League Theatre
Hudson Theatres
Lounge Theatres
Asylum @ McCadden Theatre
Asylum @ Studio C
The Hobgoblin Playhouse at The Arena Stage, Theatre of Arts
The New American Theatre
The New Collective

Fringe Runway Winners: 

1st Place- ANGELBIRD
2nd Place- THE HUMAN[OID] EXPERIENCE
3rd Place- Start Swimming
Honorable Mention – Mil Grus

Audience Winners:

1st Place – Squeeze My Cabaret
2nd Place – HAMILKONG

Best of Broadwater Award

The Best of Broadwater Award is awarded to a select few Hollywood Fringe productions that have performed at The Broadwater based on "their high level of artistry and excellence." Winners receive a statuette and certificate for their production during the Hollywood Fringe Festival Closing Night Ceremony and are offered an extension at one of The Broadwater’s four stages on Best of Broadwater Weekend July 5th-7th.

SCARLETT FEVER
LEAR / LOMAN – THE BEST OF INK @FRINGE
COME BACK!
THE LAST CROISSANT
GRAIL PROJECT
POCKETS
JOURNEY
LINCOLN 2020
SUPPORTIVE WHITE PARENTS
EARTH STORIES: OUR CLIMATE AND OUR FUTURE
RIDE OR DIE: THE HIP-HOP MUSICAL
JORDAN MAVERICK HISTORY TEACHER
TEMPLE TANTRUM
NORMALER THAN EVERYONE
45 MILLIGRAMS
EARTH TO KAREN
THE FLOWER SOCIETY
SON OF A BITCH
ORANGUTAN
FOUR CLOWNS PRESENTS: SHAKEDOWN AT THE DUSTY SPUR!
COME ON DOWN
MR. YUNIOSHI
THE SAME ROOM
GHOST TOWN
RED, WHITE, BLACK & BLUE
DEAR JEFF: A MUSICAL COMEDY ABOUT SUICIDE & DOMESTIC ABUSE
THE DEATH OF SAM MOBEAN
MEET ME IN MIZZERY
ALIVE-ISH
IF TRUTH BE TOLD

Encore Extensions:

The Actors Company
#CANCELLED
BIRTHDAY
HAPPY HOUR
HUMAN FOUNTAINS
MANDY PICKS A HUSBAND
ORACLES AND MIRACLES
PUBLIC DOMAIN: THE MUSICAL
REWIND – A NEW 80’S POP MUSICAL
THE LONDON ROSE
[TITLE OF SHOW]

New American Theater
THE SCORPION AND THE FROG: A TIME-KILLER
LOOSE UNDERWEAR

Hudson Theater
COMEDY HOE
THE RIDE
GOLDFISH
EVA PERON BY COPI EN ESPAÑOL
AN YET ANOTHER EVENING WITH THE SISTAHS- UNSUNG SHEROES
LOVE, MADNESS, AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN
IT TAKES TWO: MUSICAL IMPROV WITH PEARCY & BYRNES
SWIPED

The New Collective
YOU TOO
YOU, AGAIN

The Complex Hollywood
2 FOR 1
ACID WASH LOVE
BLACKBOXING
CAVE GIRL THE MUSICAL
THE COLOR COLLECTIVE
CRACK WHORE, BULIMIC, GIRL-NEXT-DOOR
DEATH AND THE FOOL
FIVE
IF IT GOES THERE
KLINGON TAMBURLAINE
MY TRANS WIFE
THE NARCISSIST NEXT DOOR
OLIVIA WILDE DOES NOT SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE
PIT OF GOBLINS
POCKETMON! A PARODY MUSICAL
PRINCESS MAGIC’S TRASH TIME REVUE
PRODIGY
SEXUALMISADVENTURESOFASTRAIGHTWHITEMALE: APRIVILEGESTORY
SHIVA FOR ANNE FRANK
TALES FROM THE POWDER ROOM
THE MAYOR’S DEBATE OF TRANQUILITY, NEBRASKA
THIS WAY YONDER
VERY GOOD ACTOR: AN ACTING SEMINAR
WHAT I NEVER TOLD YOU
WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?
YES. NO. MAYBE.

Lounge Theatre
AN EXCUSE TO BEHAVE BADLY
CHRISSY METH – A DANCE WITH THE DEVIL AND THE JOURNEY BACK
CORINA, FROM LAP DANCE TO SUNDANCE
HIDE YOUR FIRES: BUTOH LADY MACBETH
HOLLYWOODN’T
(IM)PERFEKT
TO RICHARD!
A BIT MUCH
CLEMENTINE
FERTILE.
IF WE RUN
LEAVING PRINCE CHARMING

Studio/Stage
BAT KNIGHT!
BATTER UP! MY BRAIN ON BASEBALL
CRABBE AND GOYLE ARE DEAD
DISROBED
LIFE PLAN, OR LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE IN A COLLAPSING WORLD
THE JOURNEY OF THE LITTLE PRINCE
PHO GIRL
TATTERED CAPES
SILENT JOY, A NEW PLAY
SUGARFREE: FOSTER CARE COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

The Hobgoblin Playhouse at the Arena Stage
EARTH & FIRE WALKING (TIERRA Y FUEGO QUE CAMINA)
SHE KILLS MONSTERS
RADICALS
TABLETOP (THE MUSICAL)
THE BULLY PROBLEM

McCadden Theater
GUNFIGHT AT THE NOT-SO-OK SALOON
LET’S WRITE A MUSICAL
MIL GRUS
MONKEY MIND
NO MORE TOYS
SIREN CALL
STRAIGHT WHITE MEN TRYING TO WOKE
Thymele Arts
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND.

Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
BUNNY THE ELF LIVE!
GEORGE.
GREENWOOD 1964
OUT OF THE BLUE
RAISED BY WOLVES
SORRY ABOUT MY FRIEND
SWIPE RIGHT: THE MUSICAL
THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME
THE HUMAN[OID] EXPERIENCE
TOBINCON

Studio C
AMERICAN STRANGER
ASK A BLACK WOMAN
DANDY DARKLY’S ALL ABOARD!
DEAR JEFF: A MUSICAL COMEDY ABOUT SUICIDE & DOMESTIC ABUSE
DOUBLE FEATURE: THE ORIGINAL ENGLISH & MURDERFUCK
I AM NOT A MAN
JAMBA JUICE: THE MUSICAL
MORAL FIXATION (ORIGINALLY TITLED BOYS
WILL BE BOYS)
MR. YUNIOSHI
ONE HUMP HEART
PAPER TRAILS
SPEAK I WILL: A FRACTURED SHAKESPEARE
SUPPORTIVE WHITE PARENTS
TEMPLE TANTRUM
THE LAST POWERPOINT
THE MASHER
THE ONE-MAN IMPROVISED MUSICAL
SEVEN
ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS


PODCAST: An Interview with Director Jessica Lynn Johnson of 'Soaring Solo'

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu - Director Jessica Lynn Johnson of Soaring Solo, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival Prom Night 2016, Hollywood, California.

UPDATED: 8-25-18

I interviewed Director Jessica Lynn Johnson, teacher of Soaring Solo, a how-to series of workshops and individual instruction on creating solo theatrical projects and bringing them to fruition. Jessica is often a one-woman cheering squad for her students, creating unique costumes out of their promotional bar cards and items for Fringe Festival parties.

I first met Johnson at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2016, dressed head to toe in a costume crafted entirely from her students' and other producers' show cards. This creative endeavor she makes special each year for the annually anticipated social event, "Prom Night."

After seeing some of her students' shows at the festival and at the Whitefire Annual Solofest, I caught her in action at a recent Saturday morning workshop with LAFPI: The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative at Whitefire Theatre, on Saturday, July 21, 2018.

I later spoke with Johnson, here, where we talked on the mechanics of her process for creating solo artist theatrical projects, her use of inspiring and provocative word prompts with exploring through two-minute on-the-spot writing, the free workshops she teaches at the Whitefire Theatre, and various festivals and creative outlets that feature solo shows such as Solofest, the Hollywood Fringe Festival, the North Hollywood Fringe Festival, and work with The Los Angeles Women's Playwrights Initiative.

The atmosphere in her home studio is designed to be conducive to creativity, both for herself and for her students, and she talked further on how the process that she teaches can go far beyond that of creating a solo show, but lead a deeper path into self-discovery.

Jessica Lynn Johnson will co-host Hot Off The Press, a Night of Excerpt Readings, post-show Q & A, and music, with L.A. Women's Theatre Festival, September 16, 2018, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at The Whitefire Theatre.

Jessica Lynn Johnson: Website, Facebook and YouTube.

For more podcasts like these visit Better Lemons on Soundcloud.