SCENE IN LA

 

BY

 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

June 2015

June is busting out all over – and so is our local theatre scene, with all of the excellent shows that are participating in the Hollywood Fringe Festival this month, including:

OPENING

 

“The Claw” Young Hugo Bridge wants to clone his father, who was to all appearances torn apart by a monster-size bird creature in a remote jungle. He seeks assistance in achieving his goals with the aid of Dr. Felicity Merriweather, a beautiful and brilliant young student of medicine, with whom Hugo has fallen in love. Hugo, however, is penniless. Christian Dearfield, his filthy-rich cousin, attempts to seduce Felicity with his wealth. You can do an awful lot of research with a gazillion dollars. Meanwhile, the tissue samples of the frozen remains of Hugo’s father and the monstrous bird (the claw of the title) have been stolen from a closet in Christian’s mansion, bringing everyone’s plans to a crashing halt. Woodbine, a detective, is soon on the case. Who done it? Will Hugo be able to bring his father back to life? Will the Platinum Bird live again? Will Hugo’s love for Felicity ultimately prevail, or will she fall into Christian’s sleazy clutches? Written by Chris DiGiovanni, and directed by Linda Rand, it runs June 4 through June 21 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.

 

“Tinanmen Annie” In June, 1989, Ann Starbuck was an American student on a year’s sojourn in China. Pro-democracy demonstrations broke out in Beijing Tiananmen Square and, working as a production assistant for CNN, she suddenly found herself swept up in the middle of historic events. She was there. Assisting camera crews; escorting a dissident to a news interview; making forbidden friendships. She was there. But it isn’t just the story of harrowing conflict and the massacre that followed. It’s the story of a young American woman who fell in love with China, and of the friendships she made there that would impact her life forever. Written by Ann Starbuck, and directed by Richard Embardo, it runs June 4 through June 22 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-455-4585 or visit www.Plays411.com/TiananmenAnnie.

 

“Cult Model” From the creator of the international off-Broadway hit and recent LA Times Critics’ Choice “Confessions of a Mormon Boy” comes Steven Fales’ new solo comedy CULT MODEL exploring our society’s harrowing cult susceptibility and his own obsessive cult disorder. You’ll be surprised by what he considers a cult! With hilarious parables and parodies, Fales takes on each of the many cults he’s let run his life as he takes each layer of clothing off. Written and directed by Steven Fales, it runs June 5 through June 27 at the Elephant at Theatre Asylum in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org.

 

“Green Day’s American Idiot: The Musical” tells the story of three lifelong friends who are forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. Featuring the music of Green Day and the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong including “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Holiday” and the blockbuster title track, “American Idiot.” Written by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, with music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, and directed by Marco Gomez, it runs June 5 through July 12 at the MET Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-802-9181 or visit www.domatheatre.com.

 

“The Mermaid Wars” In August, 2001, the United States was hit with a surprise attack by mermaids. For nearly 14 years, we’ve been fighting The Mermaid Wars, badly. In this converging collection of scenes and monologues, our enemies have never been so deadly or so lovely. Written by Adam Hahn, and directed by Nicholas Leland, it runs June 5 through June 28 at the Studio/Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.SkyPilotTheatre.com.

 

“Murder Blood Bear Story” Blue is hunting. She’s been tracking a bear through the wilds, hoping for an up-close encounter. Suddenly, she hears a rustle in the bushes, the crack of a low-lying branch. Could she have found what she’s been searching for? She reaches for her bait: a handful of perfect plump blueberries and a pocketful of stories. Blue has traipsed far pocketing these precious stories that have led her to this razor-sharp moment. Her journey weaves the thoughts and voices of individuals she falls in love with on her way to discovering her own happiness. Will she find happiness in the surly old woman, the angelic young man, the musician, or the painter? Does her happiness lie in the bear she’s hoping to meet? Written by Katelyn Schiller, and directed by Payden Ackerman, it runs June 5 through June 25 at the Theatre Asylum in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hff15.org/2122.

 

“Standupera” is the story of a woman who sings, who makes mistakes, and lets you laugh at them… er… WITH her…A multi-media experience, multi-genre, one-woman show, incorporating Stand-Up, Story, and Song. Rated R for Swearing, Sex, and Opera. Written by Erin Carere, and directed by Nell Teare, it runs June 5 through June 27 at the Other Space Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hff15.org/2212.

 

“How I Lost My Virginity at 29 & Other Embarrassing Tales” How I Lost My Virginity at 29 & other Embarrassing Tales, stand-up comedian and Queens, NY native Brian Schiller’s funny and poignant coming of age story about his social and sexual development, is both bold and razor sharp. Schiller's unique stand-up comedy one-man show and candid tale explores how a survivor of sexual abuse can overcome trauma and social anxiety and begin to discover real love and a happy, healthy life. In this journey of self-discovery, Schiller presents a stunning portrait layered with humor, depth, and surprise. Written by Brian Schiller, it runs June 6 through June 20 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7770 or visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1716.

 

“Inside the Mind of Me” is a about a young man named "Me" who attempts to commit suicide and tragically falls into a coma. The entire show takes place inside his head while he's unconscious. Me's guardian angel tries to help him wake up while his demons will stop at nothing to keep him in the dark. Bedside conversations from his friends and loved ones seep into his mind and alter his reality there, affecting his struggle. With Death in constant pursuit and horrible memories he can't shake, the only chance Me seems to have at life…is hope. Written and directed by Wade Wilson, it runs June 6 through June 27 at the Theatre Asylum in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hff15.org/2097.

 

“On Tidy Endings” Whose loss is it anyway? That’s the bone of contention between a gay man and a straight woman who meet to straighten up loose ends following the death of the man they both loved. Set in 1987, Harvey Fierstein’s one-act, part of his Safe Sex trilogy, is a short, sometimes fiercely funny, and finally poignant study of how the universal situation of losing a loved one took on unique new qualities in the context of AIDS. Written by Harvey Firestein, and directed by Sara Wagner, it runs June 6 through June 27 at the Complex’s East Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/2451?tab=tickets.

 

“Sleeping Around” interweaves the stories of nine very different people searching for intimacy and all connected by sex, relationships, and the sometimes hysterical, sometimes crushing emotional baggage of both. Written by Cesar Abella, and directed by Wendy Gough Soroka, it runs June 6 through June 25 at the Theatre Asylum in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hff15.org/2444.

 

“Snack” her two-year-old daughter is repeatedly throwing herself on the kitchen floor screaming SNACK! Her four-year-old son refuses to get dressed. Megan Dolan is having a hard day. She seeks solace in her Vitamix, tracing her smoothie addiction back to the comfort foods of her youth. Lorna Doones, blueberry donuts, and Helen Grace chocolates got her through the pivotal year when her mom joined a cult, her dad joined the dating pool, and her world fell apart. In this hilarious take on domestic life, divorce, and blended families, Dolan poses the question – How do you parent your children and yourself at the same time? Written by Megan Dolan, and directed by Christopher Game, it runs June 6 through June 27 at the Theatre Asylum in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.hff15.org/2049.

 

“As You Like It” Director Ellen Geer moves the tale of two sets of brothers — one alienated by ambition, the other estranged by envy — to the divided South of the post-Civil War era, adding traditional American folk music and dance from the period. Rosalind is forced to flee camp when her uncle Frederick, usurper of his brother’s position as a general in the Union army, threatens to have her killed. Accompanied by her cousin Celia, Rosalind disguises herself as a man for safety's sake. The disguise comes in handy when she tests the devotion of her noble admirer, Orlando, on the run from his hostile older brother. Meanwhile, the rebel camp is alive with music — banjo, guitar, ukulele, mandolin and more. With Rosalind's wit leading the way, the forces of true love, justice, and song eventually triumph. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs June 7 through September 26 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.

 

 

“The Best of Albuquerque Fringe 2025” As the 2nd annual Albuquerque Fringe comes to a close, the festival celebrates another prosperous year by recognizing the best and the brightest the whimsical festival has offered—including mincing Southern harpies, Belgian clowns, lost Elizabethan dramas and an intrepid holiday goose. Come see who takes top honors and who gets snubbed at The Best of Albuquerque Fringe 2025! Written by Jacob Smith and Jim Blanchette, and directed by Corey Lynne Howe, it runs June 7 through June 28 at the Elephant Space in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/2189.

 

“The Load-In” A rock band loads in its equipment into a venue before the audience is admitted. What can possibly go wrong? A lot, actually. One musician, reeling from a broken heart, has drunk himself into a stupor. Another instrumentalist has smashed his hand. A keyboardist has lost her pre-sets. Another performer suffers from a food allergy. One band member is just….missing. You get the idea. Showtime is minutes away. Can The Wax Robots possibly get their act together quickly enough to show their audience a rockin’ good time? Written and directed by David Svengalis, with music by Nicole Marcus, it runs June 7 through June 27 at the Three Clubs Cocktail Lounge in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-455-4585 or visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/2490.

 

“Unemployed. Finally.” is the story of a woman who tried on 30 jobs in 30 years before finally doing what everyone said she couldn’t. Dowling is an actress and writer who has impersonated someone who wanted a “real job” since she was 14. She has finally surrendered to her passion for writing and performing, but now she has dirt to dish about the odd jobs and oddballs she’s encountered along her journey. Written by Heather Dowling, and directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, it runs June 7 through June 25 at the Theatre Asylum’s Elephant Studio in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hff15.org/2128.

 

“Waterfall” is an epic love story, set in Bangkok and Tokyo between the turbulent years of 1933 and 1939, as a monarchy falls in Thailand and Japan is on the brink of war. A young Thai student falls in love with the American wife of a Thai diplomat, and the story of their forbidden love parallels history as the new democracy of Siam moves into the vortex of the increasingly anti-American Japan. With a gloriously romantic score, WATERFALL is a modern love story of timeless scale. Written by Richard Maltby Jr., with music by David Shire, and directed by Dan Knechtges, it runs June 7 through June 28 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

 

“Shakespeare(ish)” Shakespeare gets remixed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival! Shakespeare(ish) is twisted love poetry on the edge of madness and merriment – a sword fight with masked kings, prophesying puppets, and singing clowns. In this hyper-fun, hyper-family-friendly performance, Rogue Artists Ensemble digs down to the heart of the Bard, sharing the joys, the sorrows, and the non-stop action of the greatest playwright of all time. The Rogues bring their whirligig of ferocious creativity to remix Shakespeare’s iconic scenes and make the Bard roll over in, and out of, his grave. Written and directed by Sean T. Cawelti, it runs June 8 through June 28 at the Theatre Asylum in Hollywood. For tickets call 213-596-9468 or visit www.rogueartists.org/shakespeareish.

 

 

“Cinderella” this is the All-Male, Late-Night production for Pride Month. A gentle prod at stereotypical gender roles, this light-hearted send-up is a hilarious, delightful twist on the classic tale. Seen by more than a quarter of a million audience members on three continents, this CINDERELLA is no frilly Miss. She neither pines nor whines and she's no slouch with a slightly risqué put-down either, particularly within the context of Rudie and DeCarlo's trademark Gilbert & Sullivan-style comic lyrics. Proud of who she is, she'll wait forever if need be to find the one person who will love her for who she is. Ditto Prince Asgood who would give anything to be loved for himself, not the icon society claims he must be. Watch the heart-warming relationship that blooms with the assistance of a glass slipper, a feather duster, and a truly magical wand. CINDERELLA comes with a glass of champagne (or sparkling apple juice!) to toast finding your true love just by being who you are. Written and directed by Chris DeCarlo & Evelyn Rudie, with music by Evelyn Rudie, it runs June 11 through July 25 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/cinderella2015.html.

 

“The Trouble We Come From” In this romantic comedy Charlie (Michael Weston) finds himself at a crossroads in his life with the news that his girlfriend is expecting. Charlie confides in his best friend, Vince, that he has recently crossed paths with other women in his life, including previous girlfriends, and in this tangled web of relationships, is unsure about commitment. Written by Scott Caan, and directed by Matt August, it runs June 12 through July 12 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.com.

 

“To Kill A Mockingbird” is a compelling and timeless story about the loss of innocence. In a small Southern town during the depression, the idyllic childhood of eight-year old Scout and her brother Jem is changed forever when their lawyer-father defends a poor black man accused of raping a white woman. Through the drama of the trial and its aftermath, the children experience the harsh realities of prejudice that surround them. Written by Christopher Sergel, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs June 13 through September 27 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.

 

“Hollywood and Broadway” Hollywood meets Broadway in this hilarious world premiere comedy. Set in 1951 at the famous but now defunct Hotel Astor in New York City, legendary stars Tallulah Bankhead and Gloria Swanson are set to receive the prestigious Page One Award for Entertainment. Both actresses are introduced by Ms. Aileen Pringle but with the help of a snooping butler and a very eager Hotel Reception Clerk, mayhem and lunacy prevail as both actresses compete to be the Diva of the evening. Written and directed by Octavio Carlin, it runs June 14 through June 23 at the Hudson Theatres (Hudson Guild) in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hff15.org/2391.

 

 

“Without Annette” A class in improvisational comedy is the setting for this show. There’s a seasoned actor who conducts the class, and students ranging from the professional actor with the busy Hollywood career to an actress working in commercials, the spouse of a famous star, actors with various aspirations hoping to acquire and polish their skills, to “civilians” doing it to express their creativity or work on their people skills. They’re a well-mixed bunch. The title refers both to a consistently absent student and to the style of comedy (without a net, get it?) There’s plenty of laughter in store, and while the show is primarily scripted, it flows in and out of improvisation, so no two performances will be identical. Written by Hope Juber and Jeff Doucette, with music by Laurence Juber, and directed by Charlie Mount, it runs June 14 through August 30 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.

 

“Motown the Musical” is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more. Featuring more than 40 classic hits such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, it tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry, and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives, and made us all move to the same beat. Written by Berry Gordy, with music by Ethan Popp, and directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, it runs June 16 through June 28 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.scfta.org.

 

 

“The Heir Apparent” Meet young Eraste. He has it all: good looks, a beautiful fiancée, and a huge inheritance from an ancient uncle. There’s just one little problem: the uncle won’t die and has bequeathed his entire fortune to a distant relative. Oh, and did we mention the uncle also intends to marry Eraste’s fiancée? What’s a fine 18th-century fellow to do? What else but enlist the aid of his resourceful servant, Crispin, who could “out-Figaro” Figaro. Written by David Ives, and directed by Matt Walker, it runs June 19 through July 12 at the International City Theatre in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

 

“Recorded in Hollywood” The fascinating true story of black businessman, record label owner, and music producer John Dolphin. In 1948, a decade before Motown, he opened his world-famous Dolphin’s of Hollywood record shop in South Los Angeles, but his contributions to music and the formative years of rock ’n’ roll have often been overlooked. Based on the book “Recorded In Hollywood: The John Dolphin Story,” this new musical features 16 original songs to match the musical era of the 1950s, as well as hit cover songs associated with the story. Written by Matt Donnelly and Jamelle Dolphin, with music by Andy Cooper, and directed by Denise Dowse, it runs June 19 through July 26 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4443 or visit www.RecordedInHollywood.com.

 

“Picnic” a fully partner-cast production of William Inge’s sensual, passionate, and delightfully funny American classic about the tenuous line between restraint and desire. It’s a balmy Labor Day in the American Heartland, and a group of women are preparing for a picnic... but they'll have to lay a lot on the line before they can lay out the checkered cloths. When a handsome young drifter named Hal arrives, his combination of uncouth manners and titillating charm sends the women reeling, especially the beautiful Madge. When Hal is forced out of town, Madge must decide whether their fleeting encounter is worth changing the course of her life. Written by William Inge, and directed by Cameron Watson, it runs June 25 through August 16 at the Antaeus Theatre Company in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.

 

“Off the King’s Road” After his wife passes away, retired American businessman Matt Browne takes a week’s respite in his favorite city, London. After checking into a small hotel, his stay unexpectedly turns into a voyage of self-discovery. Written by Neil Koenigsberg, and directed by Amy Madigan, it runs June 27 through August 2 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7712 or visit www.plays411.com/kingsroad.

           

CONTINUING

 

“An L.A. Journey – The Story of Lorenzo Alfredo” chronicles the journey of Lorenzo, an 11-year-old K’iche Mayan homeless orphan, from Guatemala City to Los Angeles. With the help of Olivia, a tortilla maker escaping an abusive relationship, the lively duo braves many dangers in a 13-month epic trek while attempting to cross two borders. Will their optimism and strong work ethic be enough to forge a better destiny? Written by Emmanuel Deleage and Lorenzo Alfredo, and directed by Emmanuel Deleage, it runs through June 7 at the CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.

 

“Spring Awakening” follows the lives of a group of teenagers as they navigate their journey from adolescence to adulthood in a fusion of morality, sexuality and rock & roll. Written by Steven Slater, with music by Duncan Sheik and Steven Slater, and directed by Michael Arden, it runs through June 7 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.thewallis.org.

 

 

“Paloma” Ibrahim and Paloma fall in love while students at NYU. Ibrahim is a Muslim. Paloma is Catholic and Latina. He is chaste. She is not. They bond while studying an ancient Islamic text about love. He arranges to take Paloma with him on a romantic trip to Spain, where they can travel through al Andalus, the portions of Spain where Islamic rule and culture prevailed for centuries in medieval times. It is there, far from home, that the two will plan to consummate their mutual attraction. But calamity strikes. Ibrahim is alleged to have kidnaped Paloma, and his father is angered by his attachment to an infidel woman. Ibrahim finds himself a defendant in a New York court, with none to defend him but his best college buddy, Jared, a Jewish lawyer who takes up Ibrahim’s case. Written by Anne Garcia-Romero, and directed by Alan Freeman, it runs through June 21 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“This Is A Man’s World” is a semi-autobiographical coming of age story told through writer/performer Sal Lopez’s considerable theatrical talents. Music and memory swirl as Lopez relives the lessons that shaped his life- the scent of a piroul tree in Mexico, the thrill of young love, the effects of the Watts Riots and the birth of his son. A candid and intimate performance, this show explores how we define manhood and celebrates a masculinity rooted in strength of character. Written by Sal Lopez, and directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, it runs through June 21 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“The Comedy of Errors” centers on two pairs of twins: one pair of masters named Antipholus, and one pair of servants named Dromio. Separated by shipwreck in infancy, when all emerge as adults in the same town, it makes for multiple instances of mistaken identity. Confusion reigns among the various amores of the two Antipholus brothers and also among the tradesmen and townspeople they encounter. Hilarity ensues, but Shakespeare ups the stakes by placing the father of the Antipholus brothers in imminent peril of his life. It is a comedy, however, so look for things to turn out all right in the end. It is a world of conjurers, quick action, brilliant repartee and love. Did we also mention that there are belly dancers? Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Gloria Gifford, it runs through June 28 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 310-366-5505 or visit www.tix.com.

 

 

“The King and I” This magnificent show will warm your heart and lift your spirits as a young widow named Anna is brought to Bangkok to tutor the King of Siam’s children. As the two grow closer together, they slowly begin to understand each other’s traditions and values. One of Broadway’s greatest musicals, The King and I is the perfect show to enjoy with family and friends! Written by Oscar Hammerstein II, with music by Richard Rodgers, and directed by Tim Dietlein, it runs through July 3 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

 

“The Homecoming” Set in 1960’s North London, Teddy returns home to introduce his wife of six years to the family: his father Max, a retired butcher; his Uncle Sam, a chauffeur; his younger brother Lenny, who appears to be a pimp; and his youngest brother Joey, a boxer who works in demolition. But things don’t go exactly as planned. Written by Harold Pinter, and directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, it runs through July 26 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.PacificResidentTheatre.com.

           

 

With all of this great theatre to see, why are you still sitting there reading? Make yourself happy and go see a show!

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