Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BULRUSHER …Los Angeles

Playwright Eisa Davis has woven a poem into this play about a young black girl who, as an infant, was found in the weeds along a river. Growing up in a small Northern California town in the 1950’s, cut off from mainstream civilization, she lives in a harsh world. However, the river has given her a magic ability to see into people’s lives through water. 

When a black girl her own age appears on the rain-swept roadway, life explodes open for the orphaned girl. Through this deep friendship she finally experiences tenderness and acceptance and discovers the truth of who she really is. Although she fights against giving up her powers, in the end she embraces life by joyously relinquishing them.

Under Nataki Garrett’s eloquent direction, Bianca Lemaire is luminous as a child rescued by a cold man who gives her shelter but no affection. Chauntae Pink is the friend whose loving presence opens up her clenched heart; Patrick Cragin is a yearning yet rebellious young man who dares not recognize what he really wants; Heidi James is an enigmatic brothel owner whose anger protects her from true feelings; Joshua Wolf Coleman is a man whose lusts are attempts to feel accepted where he has been cruelly rejected, and Warren Davis is a kind but silent man avoiding life because he is always reaching for the unattainable.

Co-produced by Skylight Theatre Company and The Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble. At the Skylight Theatre, 1816 ½ North Vermont, LA, through Sept 28. For tickets: (213) 761-7061 or Photos by Ed Krieger.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A FAMILY AFFAIR …West Hollywood


Every summer the Classical Theatre Lab and the City of West Hollywood present free outdoor shows and I was able to catch this very funny play on its final weekend at Kings Road Park. Expecting a dour Russian comedy, I was delighted to discover a totally wild and wacky adaptation of an old chestnut. 

Director Mel Green, the main updating suspect, has taken Aleksander Ostrovsky’s classic play and transformed it to a totally modern social comedy. Causing an uproar in Russia when published in 1850, the subject is just as pertinent today in our modern world of greed and financial trickery.

Outdoor theater demands that actors not only be seen but heard, and this excellent company win kudos on all counts. There is the rich conniving businessman (Joe Hulser) with an ambitious daughter wanting to marry up (Lonni Silverman); the scornful wife holding on to pretentions of society (Karen Tarleton); the surly housekeeper (Rachel Sorteberg); the saucy boy (Riley Dandy), and their unctuous peasant servant with a lust for the daughter and an eye to his future (Darryl Armbruster). 

Complicating matters, from outside comes their tippling looney lawyer (Donald Wayne), and the snobbish local yenta (Kaye Kittrell). However, as in some families, this affair turns out badly for some but is delightfully amusing for us.

Produced by Suzanne Hunt, Laura James and Alex Wells, with costumes by Natalie Shahinyan. Photos by Garth Pillsbury.
For info call 323-960-5691 or
For upcoming shows visit their website

Thursday, August 14, 2014

MEET & GREET Hollywood

  If you’re a television fan you will absolutely love this hilarious send-up of all that’s funny and sad and cruel about the TV biz. In fact, this Meet & Greet is clearly ready for prime time. 

Here are four female stars of stage and screen, all up for the same lead in a TV show. Greeting them is a mincing male receptionist, a cute guy, very Hollywood. With four Divas waiting to be interviewed, in no time at all egos clash, old rivalries surface, cat-fights erupt, and the familiar panic of Has-Been-ism shatters their facades. One wishes the authors had explored this inner world more deeply but, even if the denouement goes for the laugh instead of the soul, hey, it’s never boring!

  An Emmy award to each of the terrific performers: to Brendan Robinson as the bitchy and funny casting assistant; Carolyn Hennesy as the haughty and elegant Broadway star; Vicki Lewis as the neurotically raging ex-sitcom star; Teresa Ganzel as the zoftik blonde Queen of QVC, and Daniele Gaither as the quick-tempered African-American reality-show star. 
We never doubt that each of these gals were once stars of the first magnitude and deserved their celebrity.

Plaudits to director/co-writer/producer Stan Zimmerman and co-writer/producer Christian McLaughlin, whose clever lines, vivid characters and many TV credits prove they well know the territory. Also produced by Matthew Quinn of Combined Artform. At Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, through Sept 24. For tickets: 323-962-1632 or
Photographer: Maia Rosenfeld