Friday, May 19, 2017


Anyone with a show and a dream can perform at the Fringe and, with nearly 400 shows to choose from this year, here are a few that hold special appeal for me.

Hollywood Diary. A fictional encounter between gossip columnist Hedda Hopper and film star Mary Astor, where details from Mary’s diary reveal that dour George S. Kaufman was very sexy! Dog Sees God: Confessions Of A Teenage Blockhead. Tackles issues of LGBTQ intolerance and bullying through dark humor and favorite comic strip characters. Cast is comprised of actors aged 16-18. The Sacred Beasts. The booze-soaked real life friendship of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles is conjured in scenes spanning three decades. They drink, fight, hunt and smoke in a show of hyper-masculinity. 

Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl. Cherita Armstrong portrays enslaved Harriet Jacobs who spent seven years hiding out from her depraved master in her grandmother’s attic. Nights At The Algonquin Round Table. The 3 Clubs is transformed into New York’s Algonquin Hotel, where notorious wise-crackers Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and George S. Kaufman gather to one-up each another with caustic quips. 

The [ ] Box. Six short plays written by members of Alliance Of Los Angeles Playwrights, all incorporating a small wooden box. What’s inside the box? Is it alive… or is that only your imagination? Unspoken: Shakespeare's Personae In Peril. Shakespeare’s works are about to be privatized and characters from Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Merchant of Venice and Midsummer Night’s Dream, must fight for their relevance.

 Also listed in the June issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

LUCKY STIFF …in Hollywood

If you go to the theater for fun then this musical is your show. It’s madcap, silly and full of surprises. The staging and choreography are delightful and the laughs keep on coming. You see, there is a corpse from New Jersey who wants to go to Monte Carlo – to dance, to scuba dive, and to meet beautiful women! 

With a multi-million dollar offer he can’t refuse, a rather reclusive young man in England agrees to take him there. Well, all is not as it seems and, with hotel doors opening and closing, with others who want to grab the prize, with a young lady from Brooklyn who needs the money for a good cause, the suspense and the laughs build.

Young couple Brandon Parrish and Claire Adams are sweetly romantic, with highly energetic backup by Gina D’Acciaro, David Atkinson, Alastair James Murden and José Villarreal. Lively show-stealers Rory Patterson and Brian Habicht are matched by  living-dead Vito Viscuso. At the opening show, choreographer Julie Hall stepped in for a missing actor, while producer Catherine Gray nearly stole the show as brassy cabaret singer Dominique.

Created by Broadway team Lynn Ahrens (book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music) it’s a polished show and sure crowd pleaser. Directed at full gallop by Stephen Van Dorn, with musical direction by Taylor Stephenson.

At the David Schall Theatre on the campus of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, 1760 N. Gower St. Through June 18. Tickets: (323) 462-8460 or Free parking.

Photos by Michael Lamont.

Also reviewed in the June issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY