Award-winning Play “Nude/Naked” to Premiere in L.A.

NUDE/NAKED playwright, Paul Hoan Zeidler’s captivating and unique examination of the dangers––and new tools––of the mob mentality, has been honored at the Stanley Drama Awards, earned a semi-finalist spot at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and received high praise from The Royal High Court Theatre in London, which called it “mesmerizing.” Now Lightning Rod Theater will give NUDE/NAKED its world premiere, playing from January 18 to February 17 at the McCadden Place Theatre in Hollywood.
In NUDE/NAKED, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, Bennett Duquesne and his daughter Addy have had their controversial work collected by major art museums all over the world. When Addy’s trust funder boyfriend shoots one of Duquesne’s students in their living room, photos meant to be viewed on art gallery walls or in coffee table books become plastered all over the Internet. The Duquesnes struggle to hold onto their unique, intuitive relationship while the local District Attorney pressures them to reveal more about their personal lives, and the mainstream and social media launch brutal attacks.

“The way social media connects groups of scattered people is a positive thing, but occasionally those groups can accelerate into engines of conformity that try to run over anything that doesn’t fit their view,” Zeidler said. “With the mainstream media quick to hop onto any story gaining traction online, an incident in twoartists’ personal lives can blow up into a public catastrophe overnight. That’s what we’re exploring with this work.”

Zeidler is a stage veteran, having written, directed and produced a number of plays. His original work Time’s Scream and Hurry has two successful runs in L.A. before going to New York. He’s also been a regular contributor to the Hollywood Fringe both with his original shows like Acts of Possession, Glennie and Maple Break Up, and Woof-Woof, as well as producing pieces like Craftsman and This Side of Sweetwater. Zeidler, with Charles Pacello, is the co-founder, of Lightning Rod Theater, and also its artistic director. The company was formed with other artists during the collapse of the Elephant Theatre Company.

“When Charlie Pacello and I first started pulling together Lightning Rod out of the ruins of the Elephant, one of our goals was to put stories and relationships on stage that had never been seen before,” Zeidler said. “We think we accomplished the latter with NUDE/NAKED.”

Certainly helping is an all-star cast and crew, from co-producer and Sacred Fools leader David Mayes to a cast that includes Keith Carradine’s daughter Sorel Carradine, Broadway actor Bjorn Johnson, Jonathan Grey and more.

With NUDE/NAKED, Zeidler is most excited about getting audiences talking about his main characters’ personalities as artists and their creative relationship, as well as the powers of the mob mentality in the social media age in a production that holds a mirror up to society. “I’ve always been interested in artists who crossed the boundaries of their culture, and morality of their times,” he said. “The best create visions of possibility in an almost shamanistic way. I’ve also been fascinated by how intensely personal trauma can inspire the creative process. The private artist vs. the public culture is a great dynamic to work with.”

DATES AND TIMES:
January 18 – February 17
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 4 p.m.
*No show on February 3.

LOCATION:
McCadden Place Theatre
1157 N. McCadden Place
Los Angeles, CA 90038

TICKET PRICES:
General Admission: $25

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
(310) 204-4883
sewersocialistprods@gmaio.com
https://www.facebook.com/sewersocialistprods/

Building a Career In Hollywood Takes Time and a Commitment To Finding Your True Identity

As the fight for human rights marches on, it’s usually minorities that carry the burden of educating the majority. Regardless of where the disparity occurs, it takes a constant effort and spotlight aimed at what needs to be changed.

In Hollywood, artists continue to shoulder a good portion of this burden by creating works, taking on roles that portray characters that have been marginalized, and producing stories that are able to penetrate the hearts and minds of those with traditional or old-fashioned attitudes. Theatre artists are particularly adept at creating these stories.

Writer Neil Koenigsberg took up the challenge of creating a play that looks at discrimination against sexual orientation, and gender questioning individuals. “Volunteering at a New York LGBTQ center for homeless youth was a transformative experience for me,” says Neil Koenigsberg. “It became the inspiration for WINK. I wanted to tell a story about a non-binary kid, about the unexpected connections that happen in life and how it can forever inspire and change us.”

Taking place in Hollywood, the title role in “Wink” is played by non-binary actor Andrik Ochoa. The journey to finding their own identity has been a long and challenging one for Andrik, but well worth the work. Finding the perfect role in WINK feels synchronistic, not unlike the meeting of the two lead characters in Koenigsberg’s play.

HR: What drew you to this story and inspired you to audition for the role of “Wink?”

Andrik: At first, I was just curious about the audition and excited about getting back to acting after taking a break. As soon as I read this phrase in the play, “Nowadays youth describe their sexuality by not describing it,” I fell in love. I haven’t been able to find better words to describe my own life. Neil Koenigsberg’s play was a sign, “like poetry,” it became something very personal.

HR: Why do you think that it’s important this play is being done in Los Angeles now?

Andrik: Gender Identity censorship can be a horrifying prison. It is not easy to understand unless you’re going through (that hell). It takes emotional intelligence and sensitivity, and even then sometimes that magical connection of understanding someone else’s life can only be done through stories like “Wink.” Theatre, movies, and TV reach out and change the world, hearts and minds, faster than any political agenda or law. That’s why I think it’s a crucial time for this play to be done in Los Angeles. The conversation is topical and well integrated in a broadening consciousness for parity. I think we need that right now I believe if we all get to be our true selves we’ll be so content there will be no room for hate, frustration or anger.

HR: Would you share some of your personal journey that relates to similar experiences?

Andrik: Truth is I’m a “Wink.” I came here the first time as an exchange student. I met the first girl who ever treated me like a guy and I fell in love like an idiot, it helped me realize who I was. She was the first one I came out to. Once I put enough courage together I returned to LA to think things through next to her, away from my family. I started transitioning with the support of the LGBT center. Over the holidays was the first time that I saw my family in 3 years. Now my mom calls me “Mijito,” my (little) son.

HR: What pronouns do you prefer?

Andrik: I’m ok with any, even though he/his is my favorite. It is who I always dreamed of being and my social statement. They/them is not easy for everyone but I appreciate when people use it. I don’t mind and I even like being called She sometimes because, even while being a man I realized I was faking and trapped as much as I was when I was a woman. I understood that a huge part of who I truly am is actually feminine. So at some point I just said f*#! it, enough about having to explain myself, I’m going to be true to my heart every moment and stop worrying about boxes.

HR: Building a career in Hollywood is not easy. What have been the biggest challenges for you so far?

Andrik: Being who I am has been a double bladed sword. As an outsider, an immigrant and a gender rebel, of course is been harder to find a place in this industry.

But, at the same time, once you find that place it becomes yours, and it will take you far because it’s honest. If I weren’t who I am and hadn’t gone through the struggle that I faced, I would have nothing to say. Finding who I am was the biggest change! Before that, all my emotions were like far behind a wall. It made acting so much easier. I can’t believe how much that has changed. It’s like magic.

Wink continues this weekend at 8pm on Friday and Saturday, and at 3pm on Sunday. Zephyr Theatre is at 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046. Tickets $15 – $45.

Reservation and information at www.Plays411.com/Wink and 323-960-1055. Wheelchair access and ample street parking.

A Holiday Treat for Angelenos Tired of the Same Ole Holiday Treats

Los Angeles: December 12, 2018

Offbeat holiday entertainment is a good bet with names like NPR’s Sandra Tsing Loh, and director Bart DeLorenzo attached. Loh’s SUGAR PLUM FAIRY is running at the Skylight Theatre (the company won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award this year “Best Production” for ROTTERDAM). This production is an original holiday treat offering festive cheer while engaging audiences to participate (think G-rated “Rocky Horror” fun).

Appropriate for ages 8 to 80, and beyond, SUGAR PLUM FAIRY tells the story of a 12 year-old girl who dreams of dancing the lead in The Nutcracker. Audiences are encouraged to come decked out in ugly holiday sweaters, tutus, and Hanukah hats and be prepared to join in the 75 minutes of madcap merriment. Joining Sandra Tsing Loh are some award winners that you might recognize, Tony Abatemarco and Shannon Holt.

“Wildly successful. Ideal antidote for…’A Christmas Carol.’ Check out Sandra Tsing Loh’s rollicking ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ as a modern glimpse of the Christmas season, and if you sit close enough to the stage you might go home with one of the show’s props’ – Los Angeles Times

Sandra Tsing Loh is a writer and performer whose solo theatre shows include Aliens in America and Bad Sex With Bud Kemp (both off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre), Sugar Plum Fairy (Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre), I Worry (The Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville) and The Bitch Is Back (Broad Stage). Her bestselling New York Times Notable Book, Mother on Fire, was inspired by her hit solo show in 2005, during which time Variety named her one of America’s 50 most influential comedians. Her memoir, The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones, was selected as one of The New York Times’ 100 Most Notable Books; it was inspired by her Best American Essay in The Atlantic, for which she is a contributing editor. The play version of Madwoman premiered at South Coast Repertory in January 2016 and subsequently ran at the Pasadena Playhouse and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Loh has been a regular commentator on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and on Public Radio International’s “This American Life” and “Marketplace;” her daily radio minute, “The Loh Down on Science,” is heard locally on KPCC (89.3 FM) and is internationally syndicated.

Skylight Theatre Company is recognized as a “powerhouse of new play development” by Dramatist Magazine, many of Skylight’s World Premieres have gone on to be performed nationally and internationally; Church & State (Jason Odell Williams) opened Off Broadway in 2017 and has been performed in 24 states; Dontrell, Who Kissed The Sea by Nathan Alan Davis (a co-production with Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble) received the prestigious Steinberg American Theatre Critics Association Citation.

Sugar Plum Fairy runs at 8:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 3:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays through December 23, 2018. Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027. Tickets are $15 – $43, includes tickets for Children and Seniors. Tickets online at http://SkylightTix.org

 

Come From Away: Review

By Peter Foldy:

If you believe that people are basically decent in nature, COME FROM AWAY, the sensational Tony Award Winning musical, which opened at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, is solid proof. The story takes place in a little know place called Gander, Newfoundland. It’s in Canada and is the site of Gander International Airport, once an important refueling stop for transatlantic aircraft, and still a preferred emergency landing point for aircraft facing on-board medical or security issues.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, the townsfolk of Gander learn of the terrorist attacks taking place in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The attacks result in US airspace being closed, forcing 38 international aircrafts to land unexpectedly at the Gander Airport. The population of the small Newfoundland town goes from 9000 to 16,000 over night.

The Gander townspeople spring to action and prepare to house, feed, clothe and comfort the nearly 7,000 passengers (along with 19 animals in cargo).

The Company of the First North American Tour of “Come From Away.”

Once allowed off the planes and transferred to various emergency shelters in and around Gander, the passengers and crew learn the true reason why they were grounded. Frightened, they try desperately try to contact their families and pray for their loved ones, while the townsfolk work through the night to help them in any and every way possible. The travelers are initially taken aback by their hosts’ uncommon hospitality, but they slowly let their guards down and begin to bond with the quirky townspeople, as well as each other. Friendships and romances develop and the bonds that are made seem solid and long lasting.

The book, music and lyrics of this simple but brilliant production are by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. The composers incorporate Newfoundland’s Irish, English and Cornish musical traditions into a driving, foot-tapping score that grows on you and manages to penetrate your soul.

Stand out numbers include “Welcome to the Rock,” performed by the entire cast, Nick Duckart’s “Prayer,” and Danielle K. Thomas performing “I Am Here,” singing about the helplessness she feels as she wonders about the fate of her firefighter son in Manhattan.

The cast also includes; Cast: Kevin Carolan, Harter Clingman, Chamblee Ferguson, Becky Gulsvig, Julie Johnson, Christine Toy Johnson, James Earl Jones II, Megan Mcginnis, Andrew Samonsky, Emily Walton, Marika Aubrey, Jane Bunting, Michael Brian Dunn, Julie Garnyé, Adam Halpin and Aaron Michael Ray.

A simple but effective set design by Beowulf Boritt perfectly compliments this production. Less is more here, but what you feel is something you may always remember.

“Come From Away” is uplifting and energized. It’s a testament to the fact that people are inherently good and may imprint on you the need to trust and be kind to your neighbor.

The show continues through January 6, 2019, at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre.

Tickets for “Come From Away” are available by calling (213) 972-4400, online at
www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, or by visiting the Center Theatre Group Box Office located at the Ahmanson Theatre. Tickets range from $30 – $135 (ticket prices are subject tochange).

The Ahmanson Theatre is located at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in
Downtown Los Angeles, 90012.

Monica Piper Delivers The Goods in “Not That Jewish”

Review by: Peter Foldy

You don’t have to be Jewish to relate to Monica Piper’s hilarious, autobiographical one woman show, NOT THAT JEWISH, now playing at the Braid Performance Art Space in Santa Monica.

A respected stand-up comic and Emmy Award winning writer, Ms. Piper takes us on a poignant  journey that introduces us to colorful characters who could have stepped out of a Neil Simon play. There are cousins and uncles, neighbors and grandparent, not to mention Mickey Mantle, but more about him later.

Raised by loving parents in the Bronx, Monica’s father was a performer who gave up his career to support his family.

Though of the Jewish faith, Monica’s immediate clan are “not that Jewish.” They go to temple on high holidays and follow many of the traditions, but are not particularly religious. What they do have is the motivation to do the right thing. To be kind. To accept others. When as a child, she asks her mother if the family has a Jewish heart, mom replies, “yes, darling, we’re Democrats.”

As young Monica begins to develop her wicked sense of humor, her father, perhaps wanting to live vicariously, encourages his daughter to hone her comedy skills.

After a short lived career as a high school teacher, Monica takes her fathers advice and begins doing stand up at the Comedy Store in L.A. A long stint on the road solidifies her act and lands her a Showtime special, garnering a nomination for an American Comedy Award. Piper ends up being one of Showtime Network’s “Comedy All Stars,” and one of the top five female comedians in the country. This show is not about Piper’s accomplishments. It’s about winning and losing, and most of all it’s about laughing through it all.

Monica’s saga is both touching and heartbreaking. Getting back to that Mickey Mantle story, it concerns her childhood obsession with the great baseball star. She has his pictures on her wall and he is an inspiration to her, to the point that she marries not one but two tall light haired, blue-eyed non Jewish men. When  she finally encounters “the Mick” in person, years later in a New York bar, their interaction is both creepy and awkward–but like all of her anecdotes, it’s hilarious.

Never meet your heros, they say.

Ms. Piper’s comedy skills, both verbal and physical, are finely tuned and the laughs keep coming–even if some of them are through your tears.

Clocking in at a fast paced 85 minutes, Not That Jewish is an inspiring, finely crafted comedy performance that should not be missed.

Where:
THE BRAID
Performance & Arts Space
2912 Colorado Ave., #102
Santa Monica, CA  90404

When: 8pm Thursdays and Saturdays
2pm and 7:30pm all Sundays
Added performance at 8pm on Wednesday, December 12

Closes: December 16, 2018

How:
Reservations: at www.jewishwomenstheatre.org or (310) 315-1400

How much: $35 – $45

 

 

 

EST/LA Launches New Works in “Launchpad”

A two-week series featuring new plays, 7 full-length and 4 short plays, is currently being offered from one of Los Angeles’ most noted development companies, Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA.

Developing new voices in theatre, EST/LA draws from a wealth of talent, which includes NYFA, NEA, Guggenheim, Obie, Emmy and Writers Guild Award winners. The Launchpad series is a showcase of plays in long-term development from EST/LA’s Playwrights Unit, and New West playwrights.

Produced by Keith Szarabajka and Kevin Comartin, the featured playwrights include Don Cummings, Marla DuMont, Anne Flanagan, Tony Foster, Elin Hampton, Michael Kaplan, Ron Lagomarsino, Ken Levine, Gabriel Neustadt, Mary Portser, and Ashley Rose Wellman.

Rehearsing The Water Tribe by Don Cummings

Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA has a reputation for nurturing the development of new plays by theater professionals. This company is a gateway to other development programs. The Launchpad series is presented with minimal design in lighting and sound, each work is read and directed by professionals who are working in Los Angeles theatre.

New full-length plays include: Lineage, Hot Tragic Dead Thing, The Water Tribe, Tail of the Bell, Our Time, Waltzer and the Wonder Wild, and Jerome.

(Front) Kevin Comartin and Liz Ross (Co-Artistic Directors)
(Back row) Christopher Reiling (Producing Director), Keith Szarabajka (Co-Artistic Directors), and William Duffy (Executive Director)

New short plays include: Stella, The Last Hurrah, A Perfectly Understandable Misunderstanding, and Christmas Fate.

 Directors include Brad Bentz, Bob Burgos, Lauren Campedelli, Bill Charlton, Kevin Comartin, Christopher Curry, Ron Lagomarsino, Rod Menzies, Tony Pasqualini, Christopher James Raymond, Shaina Rosenthal.

Free parking lot ½ block from theatre on Casitas Avenue next to Momed’s Restaurant, or on the street.

LAUNCHPAD runs Thursdays – Sundays at 8pm through November 18, 2018. All shows are $15 advance at: https://dime.io/events/launchpad-2018 or $20 at the door. Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA is located in the Atwater Village Theatre Complex, 3269 Casitas Ave. LA, CA 90039. More information: www.estlosangeles.org/launchpad/ and 818-839-1197.

Map: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Atwater+Village+Theatre/@34.1163388,-118.2519866,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x884dd50594d326e

 

 

Photos by Peter Carrier

“Oppenheimer” Is Rogue Machine Solid

Review by Peter Foldy

OPPENHEIMER by Tom Morton-Smith is a sweeping and complex play that examines the moral issues and personalities surrounding the invention of the nuclear weapon that was used to devastate Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII.

Boasting a cast of 24, the production stars James Liebman as the multi-faceted J. Robert Oppenheimer, a man who is best remembered as the father of the atomic bomb.

When we first meet him, Oppenheimer and his youthful cohorts share a common hatred for fascism and lean toward communism as an acceptable political stance.

With the war raging and the German’s making strides in developing a powerful bomb, Oppenheimer is recruited by the military to lead the work on the Manhattan Project. Before long he distances himself from his communist past and dives into the task at hand. He struggles with the rigors of army life, is challanged by an alcoholic wife and tries to be supportive to his mentally unstable mistress. Causing further problems are Oppenheimer’s brother and sister-in-law who refuse to step back from their communist leanings.

Michael Redfield, Dan Via, Rachel Avery, James Liebman, Jennifer Pollono, and Mark Jacobson

The competative political climate at Los Alamos ultimately finds Oppenheimer under the U.S. Army’s, and perhaps the FBI’s, microscope–but the military need him as much as they are confounded by him. Oppenheimer and his young scientists, who come to be known as “Oppie’s boys” eventually manage to split the atom. They send the bombs, “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” to be dropped on Japan, and while they win the war for America, Oppenheimer and his team change the dynamics for the survival of mankind.

Realizing the full impact of his accomplishments, Oppenheimer feels like “he has dropped a loaded gun in a playground.” He understands that the bomb he has created could wipe humanity off the face of the earth.

Its a heavy burden to carry.

Mark Jacobson, Kenney Selvey, James Liebman, Brewster Parsons, and Zachary Grant

Liebman cleverly balances Oppenheimer’s social unease, his brilliant mind and his sexual appetite. He is supported by a talented, hard-working cast who all deliver impressive performances. There are no slouches on stage. Every actor has a moment to shine. Particularly impressive are Zachary Grant as Robert Wilson, Ron Bottitta as General Grove, Ryan Brophy as Oppenheimer’s brother, Frank, Miranda Wynne as Jackie Oppenheimer, Landon Tavernier as Peer de Silva and Kenney Selvey as Giovanni Rossi Lomanitz.

Special mention also needs to go to 14 year old Sophie Pollono, who in a brief but memorable turn delivers some powerful dialogue with the ease of a seasoned professional.

Ron Bottitta, Landon Tavernier, Brendan Farrell

John Perrin Flynn’s fluid direction keeps the lengthy piece moving at a good clip. I especially welcomed the staging of a wild, ritualistic dance number in the second act, based on the Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman’s bongo playing. It’s a climactic, tension busting moment that celebrates the success of the Manhattan Project, allowing the cast to cut loose while also giving the audience a moment of much needed levity.

Other cast members include Jason Chiumento, Mark Jacobson, Kirsten Kollander, Brewster Parsons, Scott Victor Nelson, Jen Pollono, Rachel Avery, Michael Redfield, Dan Via, Brendon Farrel, Brady Richards, Daniel Shawn Miller, Rick Garrison and Marwa Bernstein.

Scenic design by Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, sound by Christopher Moscatiello and lighting design by Matt Richter and Tom Brown are all solid, as are the 1940s costumes by Dianne K. Graebner. It’s clear that a lot of thought and hard work went into making Rogue Machine’s first production in their new space at the Electric Lodge in Venice a memorable one.

Oppenheimer is absorbing and powerful. It should not be misssed.

Oppenheimer runs at 8pm on Saturdays and Mondays, 3pm Sundays through December 30, 2018 (no performances on 11/12, 11/17, 11/26, 12/1, 12/2, 12/8, 12/9, 12/10, 12/24).

It runs in rep with Finks by Joe Gilford, son of parents who were blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Both plays look at America in the 30s, 40s and 50s. The characters are dreamers who became activists. These plays are not about politics but about the universal ideal that we could be better than we are.

Rogue Machine is located in the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue in Venice, CA 90291.

Tickets are $40.

Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com

 

Antaeus’ “Little Foxes” Are Irresistibly Cunning

Review by Lucy Houlihan

The Little Foxes at Antaeus Theatre is stunning in both its appearance and its execution, and powerfully kicks off the Glendale Theatre’s new season. From the set, to the acting, to the costumes, this production gives an updated and captivating take on Lillian Hellman’s Post-reconstructionist Southern drama.

Rob Nagle, Deborah Puette, Timothy Adam Venable, Mike McShane, Calvin Picou, Jocelyn Towne

The extraordinary set (designed by John Iacovelli) is covered in perfectly ostentatious details: from sculptures of lounging women to black marble columns. However, the thing that draws the eye most intensely is the bright blue, velvet cameo back sofa. It is this extravagance, this garishness that drives the story of the Hubbards in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes.

The sofa acts as a center for the action and the emotion of the room, Cameron Watson’s direction ensures the characters circle the grandiosity while scheming with and against each other. While the Hubbard siblings each grasp for the wealth they believe they deserve, they use the sofa to stoke their fires, a gorgeous reminder of a “by-any-means-necessary” itinerary.

Jocelyn Towne and Deborah Puette

Deborah Puette plays the brilliant and severe Regina Hubbard Giddens, who uses the sofa to trap her family where she wants them, a spider in a web full of seats. Her husband (John DeMita) and her brothers (Mike McShane and Rob Nagle) are at her whims, try as they might to stay ahead.

Jocelyn Towne’s remarkable performance as Regina’s sister-in-law and foil, Birdie,  is honest and captivating in its frenzied victimhood. Judy Louise Johnson shines in her kindness and poise as Regina’s black maid, whose presence in the script both solidifies the play in its 1900s setting and draws attention to the racial issues still present in America today. Kristin Couture is powerful as the the young daughter, who holds onto the hope of escaping and standing up to the locusts “who eat the earth and eat all the people on it.”

John DeMita and Judy Louise Johnson

The Little Foxes is written with the women at the forefront, and Puette, Towne, Louise Johnson, and Couture certainly stand their ground and provide a compelling, poignant view of feminism both then and now. The acting on all sides is superb, and Watson’s direction shows deep knowledge and reverence to Hellman’s characters and her story.

Anteaeus Theatre’s production is designed and performed to perfection, an enchanting two-and-a-half hours that should not be missed.

Where: Antaeus Theatre Company

Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center

110 E. Broadway

Glendale, CA 91205

When: opens Oct. 25 and runs through Dec. 10.

How much: $35

Photos by: Geoffrey Wade Photography

antaeus.org

First National Tour Of Tony Award Winning Musical, “Dear Evan Hansen” Begins L.A. Engagement October 17

Los Angeles: October 5, 2018

Performances of the Los Angeles engagement of the first national tour of Tony Award-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” begin Wednesday, October 17, at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre. The opening is set for Friday, October 19. The winner of six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, “Dear Evan Hansen” features a book by Tony Award-winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy®, Tony® and Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (“La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”) and direction by four-time Tony® Award nominee Michael Greif (“Rent,” “Next to Normal”).

Ben Levi Ross (center) and the company of the national tour of “Dear Evan Hansen.”

The cast for the musical’s first national tour features Ben Levi Ross in the title role. Stage and TV star Jessica Phillips will play Heidi Hansen. Tony Award nominee Christiane Noll will play Cynthia Murphy and Broadway veteran Aaron Lazar will play Larry Murphy. Marrick Smith and Maggie McKenna round out the Murphy family (as Connor and Zoe, respectively), while Jared Goldsmith as Jared Kleinman and Phoebe Koyabe as Alana Beck complete the on-stage company.

The cast also includes Stephen Christopher Anthony (as the Evan alternate) along with understudies Ciara Alyse Harris, John Hemphill, Noah Kieserman, Jane Pfitsch, Coleen Sexton and Maria Wirries.

“Dear Evan Hansen” features scenic design by David Korins, projection design by Peter Nigrini, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Nevin Steinberg and hair design by David Brian Brown.

Music supervision, orchestrations and additional arrangements are by Alex Lacamoire. Ben Cohn is the Associate Music Supervisor. Vocal arrangements and additional arrangements are by Justin Paul. Danny Mefford is the choreographer. U.S. Casting by Tara Rubin Casting/Lindsay Levine. Adrienne Campbell-Holt, Sash Bischoff and Adam Quinn are the Associate Directors. Judith Schoenfeld is the Production Supervisor.

A Poignant “Mexican Day” at the Rogue Machine

Review by: Peter Foldy

From 1902 to 1951, Bimini Baths was the premiere hot springs resort in Los Angeles. It served everyone from movie stars to maids. Admission was just 25 cents, but only if you were white. At the end of each month, before the filthy water was about to be drained,  the Bimini allowed people of color to use the facilities. They called it Mexican Day.

Playwright, Tom Jacobson has created a trilogy, (Plunge, Tar, and Mexican Day) based on true events.  Although some elements are fictionalized, three of the characters in the trilogy are real people strongly represented in the historical record. Jacobson used the actual writing of Hisaye Yamamoto, Bayard Rustin and Everett Maxell as inspiration for those characters, some of whom appear in more than just one production of  his trilogy.

Jully Lee and Donathan Walters in “Mexican Day”

Mexican Day takes place in 1948.  Civil rights activist, Bayard Rustin (Donathan Walters) has come to Los Angeles from New York to de-segregate the Bimini Baths. An openly gay man at a time when it was dangerous to be open about one’s sexuality, Rustin approaches a Japanese American newspaper reporter, Hisaye Yamamoto (Jully Lee) to help his cause. Yamamoto knows all about segregation, having spent part of World War II in an internment camp.

Zenobio (Jonathan Medina), the polite but hard-nosed Mexican gatekeeper at the Bimini, has little choice but to enforce the racist policies established by his employers. Despite their best efforts, Rustin and Yamamoto are repeatedly refused admission. They stage several sit-in protests, but the Zenobio can’t or won’t budge.

Jully Lee and Jonathan Medina

The pair soon recruit an art historian turned screenwriter, Everett Maxwell (Darrell Larson) to help them defy the ban. They don’t at first realize that Maxwell may not have been the most appropriate choice for this mission. He has been denied entry to the baths for decades due to his past misdeads which saw him spend time in prison. Both he and his soon to be revealed victim have left both men scarred for life.

At times the narrative drifts off course, especially when all four actors reappear in  other, less significant roles, the through-story of Mexican Day ultimately locks on to it’s intended message and brings us to a powerful and moving conclusion.

Donathan Walters and Darrell Larson

The actors here are all supurb. Donathan Walters leads the charge with his unstopable energy, driving the narrative. Jonathan Medina allows us to feel Zenobio’s conflict without over playing the character’s pain. Jully Lee is fresh and lively as Yamamoto, while Darrell Larson convincingly portrays a damaged soul with little hope of redemption.

Great performances, strong direction by Jeff Liu and an impressive set design by John Iacovelli make Mexican Day a play to see. It is not only poignant but also relevant to our current political and racial climate.

Where:
ROGUE MACHINE (in The Met Theatre)
1089 N Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029
(Street parking or lot at Medical Center east of the freeway, at 5300 Santa Monica Blvd. $6)

When:
Schedule: 8pm on Fridays and Sundays, 4pm on Saturdays
(no performance on Saturday, July 14th).

Extended through: July 22, 2018

How Much: $40

For reservations call 855-585-5185 or www.roguemachinetheatre.com

Closing: July 15, 2018