Category Archives: Theatre

The Latino Theater Alliance: LA’s 1st Annual Playwrights’ Nest Fest

Nest Fest, Latino Theater Alliance, Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC) will present the Latino Theater Alliance/LA’s (LTA/LA) first annual Playwrights’ Nest Festival, February 6–8, 2015 showcasing eight (8) directed readings of plays developed under the auspices of LTA/LA’s Writers Circle.

The Playwrights’ Nest Festival features diverse emerging Latina/o voices based in Los Angeles. The theatrical styles of the new works range from multimedia solo-puppetry, to contemporary absurdist tragicomedy, to epic family drama. The festival marks the culmination of the Writers Circle’s inaugural cycle introducing new works, new voices, and new Latina/o perspectives into Los Angeles’ cultural ecosystem.

The Latino Theater Alliance/LA launched the Writers Circle, a new works development lab, in early 2014 to foster the writing of emerging Los Angeles-based Latina/o artists. Eight playwrights were selected to generate new plays: Augusto Amador, Diana Burbano, Estela Garcia, Gabe Rivas Gomez, Kyra Huete, Israel Lopez, Sal Lopez, and Zury Ruiz. Facilitated by dramaturge Christina Hjelm (M.F.A., University of New Mexico), the playwrights developed their scripts over the course of seven months. The playwrights were provided workshop opportunities for their new plays with a variety of guest artists including Luis Alfaro, Evelina Fernandez, Tiffany Ana Lopez, Rose Portillo, and Alice Tuan.

Participating festival directors include: Dan Guerrero (writer/producer/performer), Dr. Jorge Huerta, Chantal Rodriguez (LATC), Jose Luis Valenzuela (Latino Theater Company), and more.

Festival Schedule

Friday, February 6

7:00pm Remedios Varo: La Alquimista, by Estela Garcia. Enter the dreams and nightmares of surrealist painter Remedios Varo. Time and space seizes to exist, as we know it—moons are caged like birds, owls and cats act as people. The play is a whimsical drama that spans 30 years from Europe in World War II to 1960s Mexico.

8:30pm This is a Man’s World, by Sal Lopez. This Is A Man’s World is a semi-autobiographical coming of age story. A celebration and exploration of masculinity that journeys through the lessons that shaped Sal’s life, taught to him by role models from pop culture icons to his father.

Saturday, February 7

1:00pm It Runs From the Family, by Kyra Huete. One generation after a family is brought to the U.S. from a revolution, a young girl has big dreams, but is torn between self-hood and blood. Young love is but a luxury. Trauma travels from parent to child, dramatic and silly.

3:30pm Fabulous Monsters, by Diana Burbano. 1977. The punk rock scene is in full swing. Two Latinas meet at a band audition at an L.A. punk club. After thirty years, life has taken them in different directions, drugs and hard living have exacted a brutal toll. They re-unite on stage and discover that two old broads can rock as hard as they ever did.

7:00pm Carnivores, by Gabe Rivas Gomez. Carnivores follows a group of children in a Los Angeles County Court waiting room while their fates are being decided down the hall. Reality and imagination bleed together as the children play with toys and art supplies to work through trauma.

Sunday, February 8

1:00pm Karina Played Pachanga Music (the dallas slasher marathon), by Israel Lopez. Karina Played Pachanga Music explores the underground world of techno-rancheras, poverty, and party crews in West Dallas. Karina must escape a manhunt and save her missing brother from a dark party crew rival.

3:30pm The Book of Leonidas, by Augusto Amador. The Book of Leonidas follows Lenny, a Dominican-American street corner hustler in Queens whose mother derides him for not living up to his crime-lord father’s legacy. Lenny is challenged to chase a better fate, when he falls in love with a white girl from Chelsea. Is it possible to escape the crimes of the father?

7:00pm Bottle Blonde: A Latino Tragicomedy, by Zury Ruiz. Not all of the Malcriado family thinks they’ve something to gain from dying their hair blonde. Sure, it might help with business or school popularity, but make them viral-video stars? In the end they must decide if blonde is worth it.

Full Festival Access with suggested $10 at-door donation

Los Angeles Theatre Center
514 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

In addition to the metered street parking surrounding The LATC, secured parking is available in five private facilities just south and east of The LATC. Parking charges are on average about $6 – $10 per vehicle.

Questions? Go to thelatc.org or call (213) 489-0994.

 

 

Serrano The Musical at the Matrix Theatre

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Suzanne Petrela and Tim Martin Gleason of the World Premiere of "SERRANO THE MUSICAL," choreography by Peggy Hickey, directed by Joel Zwick and now playing at the Matrix Theatre in West Hollywood.

Suzanne Petrela and Tim Martin Gleason of the World Premiere of “SERRANO THE MUSICAL,” choreography by Peggy Hickey, directed by Joel Zwick and now playing at the Matrix Theatre in West Hollywood.

Cyrano de Bergerac meets the Sopranos.  “Who woulda thunk?”

Serrano The Musical made a spectacular world premiere at the Matrix Theatre last Friday evening presenting the heart of New York City’s Little Italy, complete with poetry, nymphomania, gangster rivalry, fabulous drag shows and a very quirky love affair.   Suffice it to say, this show is “colorful” in all of its poetic, musical, mobster mayhem.

This time around, Cyrano has been transformed into Serrano D’Angelo, a highly cultured, lover of the arts, enforcer for the Reyo crime family, in love with a judge’s daughter.  When Don Reyo is facing jail time, Serrano is ordered to take Reyo’s crude, light-headed but incredibly handsome, New Jersey nephew, Vinnie, under his wing and do more than smooth out Vinnie’s rough edges, in order to influence the judge by seducing Rosanna.

It’s an unusually epic story that could have gotten to the point just a little sooner.  As a three hour musical, that could have skipped a few drawn out and extra moments, Serrano just about tests the patience of short attention span theatre goers.

But … Peggy Hickey’s choreography is “built to last” and packs a punch as soon as actor Chad Borden (Nickie Reyo)  outrageously delivers a hilarious and sexy glitter and be gay drag extravaganza as well as when actress Valerie Perry does her Spumonte version of Mama Rose in the second act.

Serrano is loaded with vocal talent to spare.  Tim Martin Gleason (Serrano) sings and serenades heady operatic amore to a lovely Suzanne Petrela (Rosanna) who sings her tender crushes in unbelievable infatuation – to Vinnie.  And the entire cast really steps up the delivery of Robert Teppers music for a riotous affair.

The slapstick goes somewhat round in circles and there are plenty of “inside” gag references, but overall, Serrano is a zany audience pleasing show.

SERRANO THE MUSICAL

Book and Lyrics by Madeline Sunshine

Music by Robert Tepper

Musical Direction/Arrangements by Jeff Rizzo

Choreography by Peggy Hickey

Directed by Joel Zwick

Now playing through Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thursdays Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm;

Sundays at 3pm

TICKETS:  $34.99

For Tickets visit: http://www.serranothemusical.com

or call 323-960-7774

Starring: TIM MARTIN GLEASON (Serrano) 

Featuring:  Suzanne Petrela (Pasadena Playhouse Mask, Life Could Be A Dream) as Rosanna, Chad Doreck (Off-Broadway – Altar Boyz) as Vinnie and Barry Pearl, Chad Borden, Tom G. McMahon, Craig McEldowney, Valerie Perri, Peter Van Norden, Matthew Henerson, James Tabeek and Kristina Miller.

Hellcab at the Elephant Stages

By Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Dominic Rains and Danny Parker photo credit: James Pippi

Dominic Rains and Danny Parker photo credit: James Pippi

Hell in a Cab is definitely not Genii in a Bottle.  The freaks don’t just come out at night and nothing is off limits from religion, to racism, to sex, violence or kindness.  It’s Christmas Eve in the windy city but still an average day for an average city cab driver.

Currently extended at the Elephant Theatre is Hellcab by Will Kern.  This “one hell of a holiday ride” directed by Elephant’s artistic director, David Fofi was originally produced in 1992 by Famous Door Theatre and is one of the longest-running shows in Chicago theatre history.  The plays are taken straight from real life – 85% of them are true and they happened to the author.  How’s that for “authenticity”?!

Lead actor Danny Parker-Lopes, remarks in the program “Generations to come will have no idea what a Taxi is. They won’t know what it’s like to get in a smelly disgusting Cab and not worry about the repercussions of acting like a jack ass or making a mess or throwing up.”

But we actually get a pretty good idea of the driver’s side point of view from Lopes, who uncannily captures a vulnerable, tense, not always so bright but mostly good-hearted, ordinary guy, trying to make a living.  Driving a cab is not always pretty, can get you into trouble, is often life threatening dangerous, takes voyeurism to a heightened sexy level, punches you in the stomach with brutal realities and sometimes…once in a blue moon, can be awfully, surprisingly nice.

Most people don’t experience this kind of emotional roller coaster in half a lifetime, never mind one single night.

The cast of “characters” in this show is hilarious and highly entertaining.  Hellcab is a great show all around creatively performed by a well-rounded cast. Worth the ticket.

There are only 2 performances left!  Friday, January 23rd & Sunday, January 25th, both at 8:00pm

For tickets, go to:  www.plays411.com/hellcab 

Performances:  Friday, Saturday & Sunday at 8PM – General admission:  $20.00

The Elephant Theatre (Elephant Stage) is located at 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. 90038

Featuring: Danny Parker, Anita Curran, Charlotte Taschen, Cody Anderson, Dominic Rains, Eric Bunton, Erick Nathan, Ethan Rains, Etienne Eckert, Gary Werntz, Jason Konopsis, Jennifer Finch. Joe Tomasini, John Charles Meyer, Jolie Carina, Katherine Barcsay, Keena Ferguson, Kim Estes, Kimberly Alexander, Lawrence Dillard, LeShay Tomlinson Boyce, Marina Mouhibian, Meghan Cox, Rey Goyos, Scott Krinsky, Shannon McManus, Tara Norris, Terrance Flack and Tim Starks.

80 minutes

Silent Witnesses at the Odyssey Theatre

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Silent-Witnesses_1

A genuinely humanizing, beautiful and hopeful amalgamation of the conversations of four women, one of whom is the therapist of the other three, Silent Witnesses articulates the narrative memories of child survivors of the Holocaust.

Stephanie Satie takes this one woman show into a quiet place to amplify a potent recanting of the Holocaust through the eyes of innocents.  Morphing into each character with impeccable craft she brings to life four heartbreaking yet incredibly inspiring realities.  Not ghastly in any way, Silent Witnesses is smart and uncommonly warm.

Truly unique of any of Hitler’s victims are the youngest Jewish children who were growing up under the Nazi regime.   For so many years their experiences were pushed aside and unspoken because they were ONLY kids.  They were allotted zero importance at the expense of even their own people’s collective cultural wail. Yet these children were ripped from everything they knew and throughout the Nazi rule, absolutely silently bore witness to every atrocity.  They grew up in the shadows, confused, terrified, displaced, even rejected by their own so they would have a chance to survive.  Some of the fairer ones, the pretty ones, even hid in plain site of Hitler’s gestapo, blended into sympathetic Aryan families for protection.  But because they were babies or practically so, they were almost ignored and that was their “luck”.

Most didn’t even know that there were others — hundreds of thousands like them, or a story to tell.  But theirs is probably the most important because they are the boys and the girls who lived.  Yet, for decades they did not have voice — until now.

It’s a short run with only two more Sunday performances left.  And it’s an easy show to sit through.   My only only disappointment with Silent Witnesses is not having a resolution with the therapist’s character with her personal history and family.  I would have liked to have known if she ever did keep her promise to go back to Lvov, to come face to face with a shocking fact revealed about her father.  Otherwise, this is one production that wholeheartedly deserves a last look before it disappears once again.  Ms. Satie is a brilliant storyteller.

Silent Witnesses

Written and performed by Stephanie Satie Directed by Anita Khanzadian

Now playing or 2 more performances Sundays, January 25 & February 1 at 2:00 pm

The Odyssey Theatre 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90025

For tickets and information call: (310) 477-2055 ext. 2 or visit: www.refugeestheplay.com

Ticket prices General admission: $30 Seniors: $25 Students: $20

ZJU’s 50 Hour Drive-By Theatre Festival Is Back!

14th_50-HOUR-DRIVE-BY@ZJU_EmailPostcard-1

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Zombie Joe’s Underground is kicking off its 2015 season with its fabulous 14th Annual Festival.  Five all-new mini-plays have been written and will be directed and performed (and created to AMAZE) in a speedy 2 days in the much waited for spectacular event!

This event is so popular we didn’t get in last year.  Joe even had to turn the critics away it was so oversold!!!  So get in on these tickets fast!

(3) Performances over One Weekend Only:
SATURDAY, SUNDAY and MONDAY @ 8:30pm
JANUARY 24, 25 & 26, 2015.

Tickets_ZombieZJU Theatre Group
4850 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

For Reservations Call:
(818) 202 – 4120
Tickets: $15
Website: ZombieJoes.com

Advance Tickets On Sale for All
Performances:  ZombieJoes.Tix.com

 

Don’t Dress For Dinner at the Lonny Chapman Theatre

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Patrick Skelton, JenniferLaks and PatrickBurke in Don't Dress For Dinner Photo Credit DrinaDurazo

Patrick Skelton, JenniferLaks and PatrickBurke in Don’t Dress For Dinner Photo Credit DrinaDurazo

Culture is doing a lot better than just eking itself out in The Valley these days. There have been some real hidden gems on offer in the past year alone by some edgy, risk taking theatre companies old and new waiting to be discovered by anyone willing to step out of the downtown LA and East to West Los Angeles theatre scene for a mini adventure, into the “wilds” of North Hollywood.  It seems however, not everyone is getting the full memo.

As it happens The Group Rep, now in its 41st season has mounted a mainstage production of the breathtaking farce, “Don’t Dress For Dinner” at the Lonny Chapman Theatre.

Currently almost a hole-in-the-wall in location, the L.C. is quite inspiring once you step inside, impressively equipped with spacious seating, a perfectly raked stage, unobstructed views from every chair and interior design meant to last — which it obviously has. A nice surprise to be sure, one which I will admit set the tone for the evening.

I personally came looking for a very juicy burlesque. Alas, I will have to continue my search. If you are however, interested in enjoyable, straight-up, take-no-chances theatre, this is a piece for you.

The Group Rep’s, Don’t Dress For Dinner, although light-side entertaining and appreciated by older, front row audiences, isn’t always the most exciting production. If I were being incredibly hyper-critical, I’d say it directionally needed an overhaul. The performances were occasionally flat and a bit too often predictable. Some moments even felt like a really awesome scene study class which had me wishing this show would have risen above such mediocrity. Personally, I would have never allowed any of the faux accent work (British or French) it wasn’t masterfully funny, in fact, persistently annoying. And the stage, although excellently dressed, could have been a lot sexier to heighten the comedic genre.

But…and this is a big “but”, the actors do not lack. In fact, there is tremendous talent in this company, completely obvious from light’s up. It just wasn’t utilized to advantage or strength in this instance.

Don’t Dress For Dinner by Marc Camoletti (Boeing-Boeing) opened in Paris, was originally performed in 1987 in France, in French and then in London for six years, eventually making it to Broadway in 2012 to a fabulously successful run at the Roundabout Theatre in New York City where it garnered two Tony Awards and an Outer Critics Circle Award. It’s a wildly funny, already well tested show with a promise to delight. So although The Group Rep certainly put on its A- Game, this particular show needs a “step-up”. The characters don’t lack for any sort of over-the-top insanity, and most of the time neither did the cast. L’esprit de la comédie was all there but the delivery didn’t translate. The Group Rep has until January 25th to get it right. Fingers crossed.

Bernard’s plans for a romantic rendezvous with his mistress are complete with a gourmet caterer and an alibi courtesy of his friend, Robert. But when Bernard’s wife learns that Robert will be visiting for the weekend, she decides to stay in town for a surprise tryst of her own… setting the stage for a collision course of assumed identities and outrageous infidelities.

The cook is Suzette, the lover is Suzanne, the friend is bewildered, the wife is suspicious, the husband is losing his mind and everyone is guaranteed a good time at this hilarious romp through the French countryside.

Don't Dress For DinnerThe Lonny Chapman Theatre Presents The Group Rep in 

DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER

Written by Marc Camoletti; Adapted by Robin Hawdon
Directed by Drina Durazo
Produced by Bert Emmett and Dan Sykes for the Group Rep

Featuring (in alphabetical order):  Patrick Burke (Bernard), Stephanie Colet (Suzanne), Julie Davis (Jacqueline), Jennifer Laks (Suzette),  Patrick Skelton (Robert) and J. Christopher Sloan (George)

Now Playing thru January 25th
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00PM; Sunday Matinees at 2:00PM

Talk-back Sunday after the matinees on Jan. 11th

Lonny Chapman Theatre
10900 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Reservations and Tickets/Information:  www.thegrouprep.com or (818) 763-5990

Tickets:  $25; Senior/Student: $20; Group 10+: $15

Running Time:  120 minutes (including one intermission)

Parking:  Ample street parking on Burbank Blvd. and on Cleon Ave. south of the Burbank Blvd.    Please allow at least 15 minutes to park.

Swords, blood, butts and boobs: Rogue Machine Lays The Bard Bare!

Rogue Machine

Thoroughly risque, but no private parts (we weep) Rogue Machine Theatre Los Angeles is pulling out all the stops and apparently all of its clothes OFF in order to raise money for the company.  All of the proceeds in this “totally-better-than-a-Kickstarter” campaign will go towards new lighting and sound equipment for the non-profit theatre company.  The 2015 calendar is called The Bard Laid Bare by Rogue Machine Theatre, featuring notable deaths and battles from Shakespeare’s greatest plays, as portrayed by nude associates of Rogue Machine.

 Click this link to purchase the calendar now and get more info!

Rogue Machine.

“I’m not a huge fan of taking my clothes off for strangers. In fact, this is a first. I did this because Rogue Machine has shown me time and time again that diving off the edge without knowing what is on the other side is truly the most ambitious and rewarding way to tell stories.” -Justin Okin, Brutus in Julius Caesar

(Really dude? Cause, we’re just fine with that!)

Rogue Machine.

“I’ve been raising money for Rogue Machine since its inception. Pose for the nude calendar? With a body like this at 66, it takes very little encouragement to get me naked.” -Penny Orloff, The Witches in Macbeth

(The girls are always WAY MORE FIERCE! — LADY MACBETH – need we say more?)

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Rogue Machine

 “I agreed to do this calendar because what better way to make it in Hollywood than to show a little skin.” – Burt Grinstead, Hamlet in Hamlet.

(Burt’s got the right idea!  Can we get that in person too? lol OMG)

Keep up-to-date with them: http://www.roguemachinetheater.com

Twitter: @RogueMachineLA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RogueMachineTheatre?ref=ts 

Rogue Machine