“The Gun” – A Play Review

by Peter Foldy

An unhappily married couple and their lay-about friend engage in a power struggle over commitment and motivation in the world premier of “The Gun” by JUSTIN JOFFE now playing at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica.

“Steve” (JOSH DRENNEN) is a troubled actor unable to climb out of his soul crushing rut. His friend, “Mike” (JOHN COLELLA) seems to take pleasure in reminding Steve that his career is in the dumps, that his life is going nowhere. An in your face, cocky know it all; Mike’s life appears to be no picnic either. His marriage to his fragile wife, “Ellen” (AUSTIN HIGHSMITH GARCES) is shaky at best. Ellen is completely under his thumb and Mike doesn’t comprehend just how demoralizing his tone is when he talks to her. Mike is a nasty piece of work and Steven and Ellen have both just about had it with him.

After blowing a promising movie audition, Steve storms out of the casting director’s office feeling even more of a failure. Finding himself in an alley he discovers an abandoned hand gun in a garbage can. A homeless man, (HAMILTON MATTHEWS) tells Steve he saw someone dump it there and that it was probably used in a crime. Unfazed, Mike keeps the gun and suddenly feels empowered. Is this the catalyst he needs to step up to the plate? To rise to the occasion and realize his potential?

Returning to Mike’s apartment with the weapon in his waistband,  Steve confronts Ellen. He questions her and Mike’s relationship and tells her he sees the way her husband treats her. Knows how unhappy she must be.

Ellen opens up to Steve and when Mike returns from work he finds his friend and his wife in an embrace. Confused and feeling threatened, he confronts Steve. What starts out as a verbal challenge soon turns nasty and physical. Mike is revealed to be even more messed up then Steve. He eventually gets a hold of the gun and from here the play rapidly spirals toward its climactic conclusion.

Hindered by a monologue-heavy piece of writing the actors dig deep and manage to bring this conflicted story to life.

Josh Drennen commands the stage as the troubled “Steve.” John Colella is suitably overbearing and delivers a nuanced performance as Steve’s best friend. Austin Highsmith Garces is suitably empathetic as “Ellen,” her character’s turmoil as sad as it is relatable.

Using the unconventional stage at the Ruskin Theatre to her advantage, set designer, HILLARY BAUMAN, smoothly transitions the story between it’s various setting.  Composer, HANNAH FLOREK, helps create just the right mood with her fine score, while Director, DAVE FLOREK, keeps the the tension of The Gun wound tight, presenting a compelling psychodrama that is tough, to the point and ultimately well worth the price of admission.

When: 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, 2pm on Sundays through April 30, 2017
(No performances April 14-16, or on April 29th)

Where: Ruskin Group Theatre. 3000 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Tickets: $25 ($20 for students, seniors, and guild members) and can be purchased in advance by calling (310) 397-3244 or online at www.ruskingrouptheatre.com

Ample free parking available on site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rogue Machine Launches Season 10

Los Angeles, CA – (February 3, 2017)

Multi-award winning ROGUE MACHINE THEATRE (Best Production Award winner 2013, 2011 and 2010 – Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Ovation) is back for a new season in Los Angeles beginning March 4, 2017.

SEASON TEN main stage offerings will begin with the West Coast Premiere of Still Life directed by Michael Peretzian and opening at 8:30pm on March 4th. Broadway playwright and Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman; On Your Feet) examines the causal link between life and death, ethics and success, art and redemption. How do we endure loss and re-find the will to make something of our lives? Performance will be at 8:30pm Saturdays and Mondays, 3pm on Sundays through April 23rd. Tickets are $40 at and can be reserved at http://www.roguemachinetheatre.com. For more information call 855-585-5185.

Founding Artistic Director of Rogue Machine, John Perrin Flynn

Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs, directed by Gregg Daniels, will make its Los Angeles Premiere in late May. Hansberry considered this her most important play – This lost masterpiece had a celebrated revival by The National Theatre in 2016. A tale of exploding colonial tensions and lost fathers, Les Blancs reveals the impossible moral choices faced by individuals who must reconcile personal happiness with idealism. What happens when what we want and what we think is right is not what must be done?

Daytona by Oliver Cotton, directed by Elina DeSantos, opens late September r, an American Premiere. Witty and alternately haunting, Daytona is a love story about three people who find themselves in crisis when the long-buried past returns to disturb the fragile lives they have constructed to survive. How do we forgive ourselves, and others, while living with what we have done?

I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard by Halley Feiffer, opens in late spring. This West Coast Premiere is a dark, exhilaratingly toxic and very funny, new play. It pulls the audience into the middle of a deeply complicated relationship and sheds a disturbing new light on the eternal struggles of parents and children to find common ground in a world where success and greed are the cultures touch points. Is it a winner-take-all world?

Bled for the Household Truth by Ruth Fowler, directed by Cameron Watson, will open in the Fall. A World Premiere, Fowler is a radical writer who first came to media attention after writing several articles for The Village Voice as “Mimi.” She chronicled her life as a stripper in Manhattan while attempting to obtain a work visa. Bled is a study of modern alienation, about how difficult it has become for young Americans to trust in a broken cynical world that both forces and promotes “Me first.” Will compassion no longer redeem us?
Rogue Machine is located at The Met, 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at http://www.roguemachinetheatre.com

Ticketing information will be announced shortly, and will be available by visiting http://www.roguemachinetheatre.com

 

American Legion Presents “Everything In Between”

On Veteran’s Day, the American Legion Hollywood Post 43, Liberty Theater presented the world premiere of Everything In Between, in their Historic Cultural Monument Building at 2035 N. Highland Avenue.

The story deals with four generations of vets, brought together by chance, collaborateEIB_p013 to help a young man returning home from Afghanistan. “Lance Porter” is haunted by the experiences that followed him back, and changed life as knew it. When his search for solace leads him to another bar, the cynical patrons threaten to lead him further down the rabbit hole.

“I have always had a story in my head about different generations of Veterans, from all branches of the military, coming together to help one another heal. It’s about the human condition that we all share and the specific condition that veterans share, along with the hope that things are somehow going to get better,” explains REBECCA STAHL; Playwright/MD

The play’s director, JOHN DiFUSCO is the recipient of a New York Drama Desk Award as well as a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, LA Weekly, NAACP Theatre, Drama-Logue, Robby, and Valley Theatre League Award. He began his professional career at the Odyssey Theatre with credits such as Peer Gynt, The Kid, The Caucasion Chalk Circle, The Balcony, and Mother Courage.

John created and directed the landmark Vietnam play Tracers, which premiered at OTE. He directed the Tania Verafield and Jaimyon Parker2New York Premiere at The Public Theater, where it was published as one of “The Ten Best of 85/86.” He has toured extensively and internationally with Tracers, which continues to be produced around the world. Locally, he has directed numerous plays including Hair, White People, Avenue X, Joan and the Zulus, Just A Song at Twilight, Will Strip for Food, Ali, and Rounds. John received the USAF Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service in Vietnam.

The American Legion was formed in 1919 to give all veterans a place to congregate together in fellowship as well as memorial. The Hollywood post raised funds with the help of Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Ida Lupino Clark Gable, Rudolph Valentino, Clara Bow, Mary Pickford, and the Marx Brothers who attended their boxing matches along side blue-collar patrons. The building described as “military in character and a dignified solution to the problem of combining a memorial and a clubhouse,” by the Los Angeles Times was opened on July 4, 1929.

“We came back from Vietnam alone. The term PTSD was developed from our experience and this often created barriers between us and our fathers and uncles who had served in WWII. We were labeled drug addicts, losers, and crybabies. Rebecca Stahl captures today’s Vet World where these gaps are non-existent. This is what attracted me to the play. In spite of any personalJ. Kenneth Campbell, Jaimyon Parker, and Campbell De Silva emotional baggage, older Veterans seeing a need and taking action,” says director John DiFusco; Vietnam Veteran

Produced by the community veterans’ organization, Hollywood Post 43 of the American Legion, Liberty Theater. The cast, crew, and design team includes U.S. military veterans.

The ensemble includes; Jaimyon Parker, Karl Risinger, J, Kenneth Campbell, Rachel Boller, CampbellDe Silva, Caron Strong, Tania Verafield, Fred Hirz and Johnny D.

Everything In Between runs 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 3pm on Sundays through December 4, 2016 (no performance on November 25th).

Hollywood American Legion Post 43, Liberty Theater at 2035 N. Highland Avenue, Hollywood, CA. Tickets $25 (Military and veterans $10).

Free parking onsite. For information and reservations: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2709880

Lost Girls – A Powerful Film Proves Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

by Peter Foldy

On October 28th this year, 18 days ago, the FBI rescued 82 children from a ring of sex traffickers in Columbus, Ohio. Stories like this, while not uncommon in the news, seem to quickly slip from public consciousness. There is a pervading opinion that this is not something that happens in the United States. While we all agree that human trafficking is appalling, we do not see it as a problem13 year old kidnapped girl Beth (Tori Griffith)(1) in our suburbs. After all, it’s 2016.

Many think this is a problem in South Asia, Thailand or the Philippines, where sex tourism is a major industry. We may know that is a problem in certain disreputable massage parlors in Amsterdam or the bars in Belarus. JULIA VERDIN’S haunting film, LOST GIRLS, paints a bleak picture of underage sex slaves here in the United States and reminds us that human trafficking is also an American problem.

In Verdin’s film we meet a young girl, “Marisol,” who is lured from her home in a quiet California suburb and tricked into befriending her eventual captors. She is put in a cage, given drugs to numb her, and then sold to countless men, some old enough to be her father or grandfather.

How could this happen in a first world Trafficking recruiters Kara (Bar Paly) and Greg (Will Brandt)(1)country and a major city like LA? It’s mainly about the money. Human trafficking is a lucrative business. As Verdin states, “these criminals can sell a gram of coke, or heroin, or a gun once, they can sell a young girl thousands and thousands of times.”

According to statistics, sex trafficking is most prevalent in California, Texas and Florida. It has become “society’s most pervasive crisis” according to UNICEF. By 2020 they expect sex trafficking to overtake drugs and weapons in magnitude.

“Lost Girls” could not have come at a better time. “The recruiters are getting more aggressive, now sending people into schools and targeting malls and places whereKara (Bar Paly) having an insight of her past kids hang out” Verdin tells us. “I think people have this perception that it is a third world problem and it’s really not. London, New York and LA are three of the larger cities where this goes on. What’s changed in sex trafficking business is that they are not just going after kids who have run away from home. Kids are  also being targeted in their own homes or online.”

“When filming a story that deals with sexual abuse,” says Verdin, “it’s vital to balance voyeurism and subtlety. A filmmaker must avoid making prostitution titillating; she must avoid contributing to the already enormous feat of teen girls and girlish qualities in adult women. It’s the filmmaker’s duty to look the issue in the eyes. She must3544696(1) not gloss over the issue and try to make sexual abuse family-friendly.”

In “Lost Girls” Verdin balances the subject delicately and deftly, making scenes that would normally border on gratuitous, nuanced. She understands the need to open a serious conversation about this issue without exploiting it, a pitfall many films have teetered on the brink of.

Instead, Julia Verdin delivers a film that’s 23.50 minutes of tension, tossing every scene at us, unblinking and moving along right before we put our hands over our eyes.

We need more films like this to remind us of important issues such as this to spread awareness and prompt action

“Lost Girls” is currently playing the film festival circuit and can next be seen at The Culver City Film Festival Dec 3rd-9th.

“Other People’s Money” Presents Both Sides of the Moral Question – Director Oliver Muirhead Lets Audiences Decide on the Answer

InterACT Theatre Company will stage the award-winning, provocative comedy, OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY, at the Pico Playhouse, beginning October 21st.

Dealing with hostile takeovers and the inner workings of corporate America, the play was written by Jerry Sterner who got the idea for the story while working the night-shift for the New York Transit Authority where he managed to write seven plays during the nearly six years he spent working in the booth.

Director, Oliver Muirhead has taken on the controversy that comes with perennial conversations Oliver Muirhead CAPabout corporate takeovers. He is working with two casts to tell this compelling story. The questions are analogous to those presented during every financial crisis since Capitalism began, but Muirhead’s challenge is to stay true to the characters and to both sides of the story that Sterner set out to tell.

Unlike the terms of Blockbuster going at Hollywood Entertainment or Comcast buying Dreamworks Animation, when New England Wire and Cable is threatened by “Larry the Liquidator,” audiences can inspect the moral aspects of the deal so that they are able to take home both sides of the questions being raised. Written in the late 1980’s, this piece rings just as true today. Oliver Muirhead offers a directors perspective on juggling all of those elements.

HR: What was it about this script that sucked you into wanting to direct it? Are you still glad that you took on this job?

Oliver: It’s a great story and a fascinating message, but it was the lives of the characters that made me want to direct the play. The story involves the fate of a whole town and it presents the debate of whether or not it is right to try to hold back change. This electoral season forces us to see how the evolution of the American economy has createdHarner Minault Heins Adler winners and losers, and this play brilliantly asks how we feel about that.

Am I still glad I took on the job? That’s a cruel question for any director to answer one week before opening. But yes, and that’s because working with such talented actors is always a pleasure.

HR: Do you think that good directing comes from good instincts, or is it something that you can learn?

Oliver: Like most jobs, even good directing comes from good instincts…and then you realize how much you have to learn. I guess it’s like the term “practicing medicine,” you’d hope your doctor would have it down by now. But there’s always stuff to learn.

HR: What are your biggest challenges in directing this piece?

Oliver: Too many talented cast members: they get other gigs, they have teaching jobs, and some even have real lives! The scheduling of rehearsals in L.A.‘s intimate theatre scene has always been a huge challenge. AllRob Adler and Robyn Cohen credit goes to Daniel James Clark, our producer, for juggling the actor’s times and conflicts to keep it working in the most efficient way so that we can keep moving forward.

HR: How do you think audiences will relate to the story, and what will stay with them from the experience of having seen this play?

Oliver: It’s what’s happening in the economy right now. The play was written in the 1980’s but the message is even more topical today. The populist rebellions in the U.S and around the world are protests from the victims of progress. Can we stop progress? Should we try to mitigate the damage that comes with economic change? Capitalism is like fire: it warms us but it can badly burn us as well.

HR: Your film credits, like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and 2 Broke Girls show that you have a sense of humor. Do you think that humor is one of your strengths as a director?

Oliver: A sense of humor is essential in life, and not just in directing. Without a sense of humor I’d be strapped in a straitjacket or washing downPeterMcDonald JohnTowey AmandaCarlin the Prozac with a tumbler of Jack.

HR: What’s your biggest weakness as a director?

Oliver: Weakness? That’s a sly question. Well, following on from your last question I’d say sometimes I take things a bit too seriously. Lest we forget, it’s a play…we should be playing, and having fun so that we can better entertain people. A play is not a lesson or a lecture. You can go to school for that. Remember, theatre is cheaper and only takes a couple of hours. Another weakness of mine, “I’m a lousy mind reader.” That’s a quote from OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY. If only I could read minds…

HR: Anything else that you want readers to know about you, this play…or anything?

Oliver: Well, I hope that readers will come and see the play twice…it’s double cast. They will have a wonderfully different experience both times. Other than that, vote. This show is running at the perfect time to make us all think about the important choices we get to weigh in on. Men and women died for our right to vote. Exercise it. Exercise is good for all of us, right? Thank you, it’s been a pleasure.

Other People’s Money opens at 8pm on Friday, October 21st and runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm through November 20, 2016.

The Pico Playhouse is located at 10508 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064.

Tickets are $32 (Senior & Students $27).

For more information and reservations: 818-765-8732 or online http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2588643

The 10 Worst Movies of 2015

April 1, 2016

Rolling Stone magazine conducted a poll and among their readers and came up with the 10 Worst Movies of 2015.

We agree with all on the list with the exception of “13 Hours.”

See what you think.

Check out the rolling stone article HERE.

88th Academy Award Nominations Announced

Hollywood: January 15, 2016

The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced Thursday morning. Most of the nominations were predictable. There were some huge oversights. Not nominating “Straight Outta Compton” for Best Picture is a crime. 9395570_600x338“Room” is a TV movie that doesn’t belong in the best picture category. Johnny Depp should have been a best actor nominee for “Black Mass.” Same for Michael Keaton who was excellent in “Spotlight.”

Aaron Sorkin not getting a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination is ridiculous.

Here’s a full list of the nominees:

Performance by an actor in a leading role

• Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”

• Matt Damon in “The Martian”

• Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”

• Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”

• Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

• Christian Bale in “The Big Short”

• Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”

• Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”

• Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”

• Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”

Performance by an actress in a leading role

• Cate Blanchett in “Carol”

• Brie Larson in “Room”

• Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”

• Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”

• Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

• Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”

• Rooney Mara in “Carol”

• Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”

• Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”

• Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”

Best animated feature film of the year

• “Anomalisa,” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran

• “Boy and the World,” Alê Abreu

• “Inside Out,” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera

• “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” Mark Burton and Richard Starzak

• “When Marnie Was There,” Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Achievement in cinematography

• “Carol,” Ed Lachman

• “The Hateful Eight,” Robert Richardson

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” John Seale

• “The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki

• “Sicario,” Roger Deakins

Achievement in costume design

• “Carol,” Sandy Powell

• “Cinderella,” Sandy Powell

• “The Danish Girl,” Paco Delgado

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Jenny Beavan

• “The Revenant,” Jacqueline West

Achievement in directing

• “The Big Short,” Adam McKay

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” George Miller

• “The Revenant,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu

• “Room,” Lenny Abrahamson

• “Spotlight,” Tom McCarthy

Best documentary feature

• “Amy,” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees

• “Cartel Land,” Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin

• “The Look of Silence,” Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen

• “What Happened, Miss Simone?” Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes

• “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Best documentary short subject

• “Body Team 12,” David Darg and Bryn Mooser

• “Chau, beyond the Lines,” Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck

• “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah,” Adam Benzine

• “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

• “Last Day of Freedom,” Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Achievement in film editing

• “The Big Short,” Hank Corwin

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel

• “The Revenant,” Stephen Mirrione

• “Spotlight,” Tom McArdle

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Best foreign-language film of the year

• “Embrace of the Serpent,” Colombia

• “Mustang,” France

• “Son of Saul,” Hungary

• “Theeb,” Jordan

• “A War,” Denmark

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin

• “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared,” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr

• “The Revenant,” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

• “Bridge of Spies,” Thomas Newman

• “Carol,” Carter Burwell

• “The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone

• “Sicario,” Jóhann Jóhannsson

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” John Williams

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

• “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio

• “Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”

Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty

• “Simple Song #3” from “Youth”

Music and Lyric by David Lang

• “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”

Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga

• “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”

Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Best motion picture of the year

• “The Big Short,” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, producers

• “Bridge of Spies,” Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, producers

• “Brooklyn,” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, producers

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Doug Mitchell and George Miller, producers

• “The Martian,” Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, producers

• “The Revenant,” Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, producers

• “Room,” Ed Guiney, producer

• “Spotlight,” Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, producers

Achievement in production design

• “Bridge of Spies,” production design: Adam Stockhausen; set decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich

• “The Danish Girl,” production design: Eve Stewart; set decoration: Michael Standish

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” production design: Colin Gibson; set decoration: Lisa Thompson

• “The Martian,” production design: Arthur Max; set decoration: Celia Bobak

• “The Revenant,” production design: Jack Fisk; set decoration: Hamish Purdy

Best animated short film

• “Bear Story,” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala

• “Prologue,” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton

• “Sanjay’s Super Team,” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle

• “We Can’t Live without Cosmos,” Konstantin Bronzit

• “World of Tomorrow,” Don Hertzfeldt

Best live-action short film

• “Ave Maria,” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont

• “Day One,” Henry Hughes

• “Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut),” Patrick Vollrath

• “Shok,” Jamie Donoughue

• “Stutterer,” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Achievement in sound editing

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Mark Mangini and David White

• “The Martian,” Oliver Tarney

• “The Revenant,” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender

• “Sicario,” Alan Robert Murray

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Achievement in sound mixing

• “Bridge of Spies,” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo

• “The Martian,” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth

• “The Revenant,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Achievement in visual effects

• “Ex Machina,” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams

• “The Martian,” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner

• “The Revenant,” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Adapted screenplay

• “The Big Short,” screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay

• “Brooklyn,” screenplay by Nick Hornby

• “Carol,” screenplay by Phyllis Nagy

• “The Martian,” screenplay by Drew Goddard

• “Room,” screenplay by Emma Donoghue

Original screenplay

• “Bridge of Spies,” written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

• “Ex Machina,” written by Alex Garland

• “Inside Out,” screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley; original story by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen

• “Spotlight,” written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

• “Straight Outta Compton,” screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Another Suprise Filled Golden Globe Awards

Beverly Hills, CA: January 11, 2016

The 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards were awarded last night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Hosted by a hilarious Ricky Gervais, the evening was an f-bomb laced opening to awards season. Presenters included Helen Mirren, Kevin Hart and even gervais1Mel Gibson, who looked like hell and received a lambasting from Gervais.

Gervais was in top form providing most of the laughs last night.

Among the top winners at the awards were Kate Winslet as Best Supporting Actress for Steve Jobs, to Matt Damon who earned his second Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his role in the Ridley Scott-directed The Martian. “It’s been 18 years that I’ve doing this… I know how lucky I am,” Damon reflected.

The night belonged to The Revenant, which took home three awards including a Best Director nod for Alejandro González Iñárritu and a Best Actor prize for DiCaprio. ”I think people want to see this typeGettyImages-504392970 of cinema,” said DiCaprio of the rugged 19th Century Western, which has emerged as a favorite for next month’s Oscars.

Here’s a full list of last night’s winners:

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Maura Tierney, The Affair

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero

Best Actress in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Wolf Hall

Best Actress in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical

Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Best Actor in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical

Gael García Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle

Best Actor in a Television Series, Drama

Jon HammMad Men 

Best Actress in a Television Series, Drama

Taraji P. Henson, Empire

Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical

Mozart in the Jungle

Best Television Series, Drama

Mr. Robot

Best Animated Film

Inside Out

Best Original Score

The Hateful Eight

Best Original Song in Motion Picture

Writings On the Wall,” Spectre

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture

Steve Jobs

Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language

Son of Saul

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Matt Damon, The Martian

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence,  Joy

Best Director, Motion Picture

Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

The Martian

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

Brie Larson, Room

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, Drama

The Revenant

Marietta Melrose And The Road To Success

Hollywood, CA: December 23, 2015

Born in Bulgaria, MARIETTA MELROSE was certain from a young age that acting  was her first and foremost passion. After taking summer courses at top UK drama schools such as RADA and LAMDA, Marietta was accepted at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she trained for 3 years, graduating with a BA in Acting in 2015. She is a talented and a driven actress who not only auditions for rolesImage X but is also capable of creating her own work by producing various projects, everything from from Fringe Theater to a Web Series in which she has also taken a starring role. We caught up with Ms. Melrose during her recent visit to Hollywood and sat down for a chat.

Hollywood Revealed: When and how did you decide to be an actress?

Marietta Melrose: There wasn’t one particular moment when I consciously decided to be an actress. I’ve been involved with the arts since kindergarten. I was a very sociable, opened kid, generally in a good mood and ready to make people laugh. When I was about five or six, I was a bit of a show off, often taking the microphone from local bands and performers, and sometimes upstaging them. Everyone likes a kid with stage presence, and I was told I had some. I soon enrolled in a music school in Bulgaria where I learned discipline and hard work.

HR: Who and what were your first influences?

MM: One of the Top Bulgarian singers of all times- Lili Ivanova, was my first influence. Her stage presence, voice and emotional engagement when singing were a trigger for me to want me to pursue a life in the arts. When I was young Jackie Chan was quite popular in Bulgaria and he has always made me laugh. His comedy timing and the way he made acting seem easy also influenced me toward a a career in the entertainment industry.

Currently my influences are legendary actors such as Meryl Streep, Marion Cottillard and Cate Blanchett.

HR: How did you start your journey?

MM: I used to be in an Arts School where I did drama as an extracurricular activity. However, it was only once a week. I still remember it was every Wednesday, end of the day. The teacher was a famous Bulgarian Image 5actor- Vencislav Kissiov who had his own acting studio, that people could only attend with an invitation. I was invited and  had the luxury of rehearsing and performing in a real functioning theater. At the age of ten I had the honor of playing, Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet.” From that point forward I started being involved in numerous theater and TV shows.

HR: What other parts did you do back home?

MM: I enrolled in another acting studio lead by Petar Vurbanov and I feel that it was a turning point in my career. The studio was well known for preparing students to get into the National Academy for Stage and Film- Natfiz. I always had a feeling that I would study abroad. I have felt that my country is somehow too small and limited to satisfy my desires. I believe that actors needs to be in one of the big centers in order to be noticed- New York, LA or London. Going back to your question, the part that I am best known for is “Aglaya” in the stage adaptation of the novel written by Dostoevski “Idiot” which was later turned into TV series. The process was transformative and the team was incredible.

I have to say that I had the best time being taught by Petar  Vurbanov. I was one of his favorite students and that is all I needed in order to soar, someone who believed in me. I became determined to audition for top drama schools in London and also Juilliard.

HR: How did the auditions go?

MM: t was the most challenging and stressful year in my life but also the most rewarding. I was still in high school so I had to study for exams and at the same time fly to UK and NewImage 2 York a couple of times. The first audition I had was at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where I felt I very comfortable and connected with the atmosphere of the school. It was a whole day of audition with a group warm up and some improvisation exercises. I felt that this was the place for me to be.

The Tony award nominated director Wilson Milam auditioned me and seemed to really like me. He told me I will get a recall for the next round on the  same day. Officially I was meant to be notified in 3 weeks time. I had callbacks at Guildhall and Juilliard and got accepted at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

During my training I got the chance to work with wonderful professionals who are famous in the British theater. People such as John Wright, Catherine Alexander and Sinead Rushe. Drama School is great for teaching you discipline, collaboration and respect for the process. I cannot stand actors who act like divas and think it is all about them.

HR: You have performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival twice in a roll; can you tell us more about your experience?

MM: Yes, The Fringe Festival has been the best learning curve for me. I was used to the British way of the ritualistic pre-show preparation and warm ups. I confess, there was pressure in getting used to the quick get in and get no time to focus in the space we were performing in.

The first time I did the Festival was in 2014 with a newly written play called “We Were Kings”. The director, Jordan Image 5Blackwood, who now works with the amazing theater company DV8, was so easy to work with. He was always ready to explore, change and amend, always istening to the actors’ concerns. I was the only female in the team and I felt that the dynamic was very interesting. The work was focused and precise, we had ownership of the show and the actors had fun! We got 5-star reviews, a London transfer and also we got nominated for the NSDF Award. I was thrilled.

On the back of “We Were Kings” I got two other jobs, another project at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and also a devised play in London.

The artistic director of Red Belly Black Theater Company, Kate Goodfellow, an incredible actress, saw my performance in “We Were Kings” and invited me to be part of her new show which was meant to be “devised, physical and using vertical beds”. That is all I knew when I agreed to be on board. We were meeting up every week sharing poetry, moments from our past relationships and slowly finding our way through it. We were structuring the show for a year so it was a long process of physical circus type training, writing and devising. The directors Vicki Baron and Elizabeth Williams were passionate and patient.

Thanks to a couple of investors and theImage 3 producing skills of Kate we had the luxury of a publicist, Chloe Nelkin, who was looking after the production. Companies such as Theatre Re and Gecko came to see the show and we got some really good feedback. I got some agent interest and also a producer showed interest from America. I got a London agent thanks to the Fringe production and also connections all over the world.

A couple of months later after the Fringe Festival I went to LA and met with a few top producers who were interested in the way I write and improvise. They wanted to discuss ideas about how to get seen and noticed in Hollywood. I sent them I couple of pilot ideas and now I am in discussions about having my comedy TV series produced and when it sets up I will be playing one of the leads.

HR: How does the acting scene in LA compare to Bulgaria?

MM: There is no place for comparison. Hollywood is the center of the film industry. There is no Image 4other place, which is so opened to accepting and encouraging new talent. Of course Bulgaria is trying to find its way and attract more American productions thanks to out great locations and much cheaper prices. Even though there is not enough money in the arts, Bulgarian artists are making progress in creating their own work and having an impact on the world stage.

HR: What was the best day and the worst day in your acting career?

MM: Fortunately, I have been blessed and lucky to have had good days and in my work I am trying to hold on to them and the positive memories.

The best day I would say is when I got accepted at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and got to the final round at Juilliard. It was all on the same day and I was the happiest person in the world.

The worst day was when I received my very first end of year assessments at Drama school. I felt I had worked so hard and I was devastated that my final results was not good enough.

HR: You were in LA for 3 weeks, can you tell us about your success there?

MM: Thanks to some successful meetings I got recommended by a producer and introduced to a personal manager. It seems like my writing skills and creative ideas for collaborative projects will be my way into acting which is a very exciting possibility for me as an artist. Because of my TV series meetings, I signed with Stefan Jacobs, who is a manager and a producer as well. Stefan has worked with many A list stars including Luke Evans, Kevin Spacey, Vanessa Redgrave, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Ethan Hawke.

Two days after I got signed he sent me a script for a film called Image“The Wonder Girls”. The director and writer of the script is Anthony Meindl who is a top acting coach in Hollywood and is also a director. It turned out that Anthony was already familiar with my work as he had seen productions of mine in London at the Embassy Theatre.

After I read the script I knew that I would do anything to be involved with this production. I loved the story-line, I cried about 5 times while reading it. If good actors jump on board there are some Oscar winning parts here. I managed to convince Stefan that Bulgaria would be a great location to shoot the film so he invited me to be the local producer for the film and potentially have some time on screen too. We also made plans to produce my comedy TV show together. I couldn’t have hoped for a better way to end 2015. It is one thing to be established in Europe and a whole different game to break in to Hollywood. I am thrilled to see what 2016 has in store for me and I am sure it will be another busy year involving hard work and a wide spectrum of emotions. I am ready to meet the demands of Hollywood and develop my full potential.

HR: What do you think has helped you achieve everything you have so far?

MM: As an actress I am extremely hard working and I am always willing to put in the hours and devote my full attention and commitment. I believe to succeed in the industry nowadays also involves being able to put on the business hat as well. I feel it is extremely important. I try and use my acting skills in differentiating when I am Marietta the actress, Marietta the producer or Marietta the artist. Of course finding the balance is not an easy task. However I enjoy being on the production side of film making, finding investors, looking for locations and negotiating for discounts. I feel a much more empowered actress and when I am auditioning I am full of joy and confidence as I know they are only looking for solutions that hopefully I can provide.

HR: What advise do you have to other young actors who share a similar dream as you do?

MM: Don’t play it safe. Always be fearless. Most of the time it is down to luck and not talent. So don’t beat yourself up about all the things that are not under your control. Stay focused on what you can do and how you can improve. Your life is your art. Be positive and follow your instincts.

HR: Those are great words to live by. Thanks for talking with us.

MM: Thank you.

Check out Marietta’s website HERE

Portraits by:Laura Burke

Production Photos by: Mihaela Bodlovic.

 

 

John Lennon Show “Just Imagine” Returns to NoHo Arts District

October 22, 2015

“Just Imagine” the extraordinary rock ‘n’ roll celebration of the life & music of John Lennon returns to El Portal Theater in North Hollywood for three shows only, November, 7th at 3 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday, November 8 at 3 pm only.

ElPortal

Starring look-&-sing-alike artist Tim Piper w/ award nominated Musical Director Greg Piper on Bass, Jim Laspesa on Drums, Jerry Strull on Guitar & Las Vegas Rock N Roll Hall of Famer Morley Bartnof on Keyboards!

Piper – who’s made a career of characterizing Lennon onstage and on television – is a ringer for this preeminent Beatle, not only in appearance, but vocally as well. With numbers such as “Revolution,” “Help,” and “Twist & Shout,” Piper captures Lennon’s primal and rhythmic screams and screeches. In renditions of “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Beautiful Boy,” we get a glimpse of Lennon as the soul-touching composer and singer.

Piper has portrayed John Lennon in the CBS Production, “The Linda McCartney Story, ‘E! Channels’s; ‘John Lennon Story,’ ‘Beatles Wives,’ and most recently as the singing voice of John Lennon for the NBC Movie of the Week, “In His Life- The John Lennon Story”.

For anyone who is a fan of the Beatles and their music, “Just Imagine” is a must see.  The show is family friendly show and a psychedelic must see!

El Portal Main Stage Theater
5269 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Tickets On Sale Now: http://www.elportaltheatre.com/justimagine.html

OFFICIAL WEBSITE:
http://JustImagineTheShow.com