Category Archives: Theatre

“John is a father” Is a Second Chance Worth Taking

Reviewed by Marc Wheeler
gia on the move theatre reviews marc wheeler john is a father

Mark Costello and Sam Anderson star in the ROAD THEATRE COMPANY’s World Premiere of JOHN IS A FATHER, written by Julie Marie Myatt, directed by Dan Bonnell.
PHOTO CREDIT: Michele Young

Sometimes it’s the simplest stories that pack the biggest punch. Such is the case with John is a father, a delicate portrait of humanity brought to us by accomplished playwright Julie Marie Myatt under the careful direction of Dan Bonnell; The Road Theatre Company giving Myatt’s World Premiere the refined staging it deserves.

John is a father is a story of one man’s quest for redemption, or at least one man’s journey into vulnerability. John (Sam Anderson) has been invited out of state to meet Patricia (Hilary J. Schwartz), his daughter-in-law, and Reggie (Elliot Decker), his grandson, for the very first time. Six years ago his son died in Afghanistan leaving Patricia a widow and newborn Reggie with only stories of the heroic Marine. Decked out in a cowboy hat and jeans (Michele Young’s costumes suitable in their simplicity), John — Ramblin’ Man that he is — begins his Phoenix-bound journey. Hitting the trail from Los Angeles in cowboy boots seems a bit curious. Then again, there’s much about John that’s initially a mystery — and that’s for the best.

Bonnell’s premeditated pacing allows the piece to breathe, giving importance to the otherwise mundane and depth to its inhabitants. The packing of a suitcase, the distant staring into a TV set, it’s life’s quietudes that take us into John’s inner world. Anderson’s ocean blue eyes, wet with fear and regret, provide a window to the soul of a guilt-stricken man who somehow manages to move forward when so much inside him says revolt.

Before John begins his journey we’re introduced to a homeless veteran (Mark Costello) with whom he shares pleasantries and offers apples and bananas like a penance. These two war-torn men (one in actuality, the other in essence) are beautiful to watch, engaging one another the way two Midwestern farmers would tip their hats and weather-chat, bonding through the uncomplicated, earnest act of mutual acknowledgment.

Having said his good-byes after announcing his brief trip, John finds his way to the airport where he meets Kenneth (Carl J. Johnson) and Doug (John Gowans), a crowd-pleasing couple whose decades-long love is evident in every “sweetheart” and “honey” they utter, each man’s quirks and flaws understood and embraced. “I like your hat,” says the unabashed, soft-spoken Kenneth to our coffee-sipping cowboy. It’s winsome, seeing an unsuspecting spirit so boldly spark conversation with a red-blooded stranger. Before you know it, a moment becomes a scene and an unlikely kinship is solidified, gently and without fanfare, before their departures set us up for John’s anticipated arrival in Phoenix.

It’s here our traveler discovers the family he’s never known, and we discover the John we’ve never known, quite possibly revealing our own human nature to judge people differently based on the order in which we acquire pertinent information about them. By the time we get here, though, Myatt’s got us where she wants us.

Schwartz, as Patricia, takes what easily could be a sentimental meeting and tosses it out the window. She’s been through hell, and by the time John arrives she’s no tears left to shed: time’s ticking, practicality’s at hand. That’s not to say the audience has built up her same scar tissue. Schwarz’s commanding performance as a mother bent on defeating tragedy is as strong as her will. And darling Decker as her bright-eyed, curly-haired boy is absolution personified.

Tom Buderwitz’s set, Tom Ontiveros lighting and projections and David B. Marling’s sound design are a tapestry of functional beauty. Buderwitz has utilized a collage of white boxes to create a textured canvas for Ontiveros’s projections that illustrate the locales of John’s pilgrimage. The outer journey eventually unfolds, symbolizing home at the heart of it.

Myatt’s “trust fall” of a script is deceptively simple and sparse, packing silences and subtext with meaning that in lesser hands could surely come crashing down. Fortunately, The Road Theatre’s first rate team provide a solid net with which to catch even the smallest truths that beautifully line its pages.

John is a father proves the transformative power of theater. Spectacle has its place, and there’s certainly plenty of offerings. But sometimes all we need is an everyman story of redemption told through a pair of misty eyes staring through the fourth-wall mirror, aching to give up the fight.

Now playing through July 3, 2016

The Road on Lankershim
5108 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

General: $34.00
Students/Seniors: $17.50 or call 818-761-8838

No intermission.

Unbelief Plagues Treehouse Productions’ “Next Fall”

Reviewed by Marc Wheeler

gia on the move marc wheeler theatre reviewsGeoffrey Nauffts’ tragically beautiful gay love story Next Fall tells the tale of a most unlikely pair: Luke (Tom Berklund), a devout “born again” Christian and Adam (Jay Ayers), a wry, 15-years-his-senior atheist. Nominated for a Best Play Tony Award in 2010, Next Fall is a richly layered exploration of love, faith and sacrifice that has the potential to get us, one way or another, to believe.

Key word: potential.

In the hands of Treehouse Productions’ disastrous staging of Next Fall at MACHA Theatre, it’s not that we’re of little faith, it’s that we’re of little reason to believe in much outside a welcome ending to our tribulations.

Take the opening scene. We find ourselves in a hospital waiting room with Luke’s mother, father and two friends. Luke’s been in a terrible accident and is in a coma. When Adam, his boyfriend of five years, finally arrives after taking the quickest flight home he could get from an out-of-town high school reunion, he’s somewhere on the emotional scale between “I’ll take a number four combo” and “Why’s there nothing good on TV?”

Wait, what? I thought you said he rushed back home when he heard his boyfriend’s been in a horrible accident and is in a coma?

I did.

I don’t know what director Robin Long was thinking. I don’t know how Ayers was cast. But Naufft’s heartbreaking, provocative script is often not to be found in this mess of a production. Ayers is in over his head, often wandering the stage as if lost in the desert looking heavenward (for what — guidance?) He doesn’t seem to understand the material, often emphasizing what’s written on the page instead of the essential subtext we need to make sense of his dialogue. And emotions? Forget it. You won’t find many from him in this intended tear-jerker.

As for chemistry with his romantic co-star (whose faith he condescendingly mocks) — if only we could believe. If this odd coupling weren’t perplexing enough, he shatters all hope of its believability.

Berklund, on the other hand, makes for a handsome devil of a Christ-lover as Luke. Charm and sex appeal he has in spades. In that sense it’s understandable why Adam would — at least initially — fall for him. His performance is endearing, and yet, what’s missing is a clearer sense of Luke’s internal struggles, especially in the face of pointed questions asked of him on the logistics of his faith. It can’t be easy being a Rapture-believing, gay Christian actor in New York City who views his own homosexuality as sinful. How does he make it work? Where’s his fight — or even his justifications? On a lesser note, his praying before meals doesn’t require him moving his lips — we get it.

Supporting roles (Zachary Barton, Stephen Mac Howard and Rachel Miles) are for the most part adequate, despite flubbed lines from a couple of them. There’s one standout that deserves attention, however: John Shartzer as Luke’s friend Brandon. Shartzer is brooding and pensive, his inner demons on full display without overdoing it. A thoughtful, guarded and tormented soul, he gets through life gliding over, even steamrolling, the paradox that lives inside him.

Jim Fry’s chintzy set consists of simple walls and chairs, setting the stage (literally) for this mostly amateurish production. That being said, stagehands dressed in hospital scrubs is a nice effect, continually reminding us of the bleak reality that is our present moment in a play that jumps back and forth between seasons. Also, gorgeous original piano music from composers Yaron Spiwak and Matt Walker (also serving as producers) and Haim Mazar make for satisfying interludes.

Next Fall is a tall order. Nauffts’ script requires a director’s complete understanding of its complexities and ability to express its unlikely love story through a cast who not only make sense of the material but also make it work. Unfortunately, in the hands of Treehouse Productions audiences are left expressing the sentiments of Mark 9:24 which plead:

“I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Now playing a limited engagement through May 22, 2016

MACHA Theatre/Films
1107 N Kings Rd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Thursday, Friday and Saturday – 8 PM
Sunday – 7 PM

Running Time:
2 hours, with one 10-minute intermission

Tickets and info:

What’s a Girl to Do in “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”?

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move


gia on the move tracey paleo theatre reviews

Jenna Tovey and Susan Hardie in Theatre Palisade’s, “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”

What was immediately noticeable in the recent run of Mrs. Warren’s Profession at Theatre Palisades Pierson Playhouse was not so much the gender equity confab hardly downplayed in George Bernard Shaw’s 100-year-old play, but the freshness with which director Sabrina Ann Loyd illuminated a piece born in a time of heavy-handed, suffocating, Edwardian, sexual double-standards between men and women. In 1902, when Mrs. Warren’s Profession was first produced audiences had to have been electrified by the racy ideas of female equality and challenges to societal custom where lower class suppresion, gender bias and parental ownership were the social status quo.

Theatregoers today tend to pigeonhole the classics as ‘dated’, old museum pieces, not worthy of the kind of respect or real reflection they might have been accorded in their original productions. This version of Mrs. Warren’s Profession however, aided by a simple set design and straightforward stage direction, claimed a modernity that was thoroughly encouraging.

There were dull moments to be sure. Long cadences of dialog drawn out by the actors’ struggles for the accent work (not including Jenna Tovey/Vivie, whose command of the text was impeccable), occasional slow going repartee and age-old ideals about women expended by all the characters, of course. But listening to Shaw’s dialog, given perspective through Lloyd’s pointedly, even-paced guidance, exquisitely magnified the extraordinary peripherality of the men, who indeed have the upper hand in most things, and are generally either surprised by or occasionally find useful, the intelligence of women here – although far from reverentially. Contradictory to the times and the setup in this instance however, it is their female counterparts who claim utter dominance in the play.

The story centers on the relationship between Mrs. Kitty Warren, a former prostitute and current brothel owner and her daughter, Vivie, an intelligent and pragmatic young woman who has just graduated from university, and has come home to get acquainted with her mother for the first time in her life. Mrs. Warren, arrives with her business partner Sir George Crofts who is immediately attracted to Vivie and makes an offer of marriage. Vivie however is romantically involved with George Gardner, a spendthrift, social-climbing, pastor’s son who sees Vivie as his meal ticket. As the visit progresses the unsettling question of Vivie’s birth father continually arises making every relationship a bit dicey. The real conflict comes into play however when Mrs. Warren confesses what  she does for a living and the reason for her choice.  Now a Madame, she became a prostitute to support her daughter and give her the opportunities she never had.

That is where it gets ‘hot’. The two women, vastly different in breeding, bearing and lifestyle yet exactly alike in will, go head to head when Vivie laudes her mother as a champion but then criticizes her for not leaving the profession now that she is rich enough to no longer need it.

Each accuses the other of being ‘hard’ and they are both right. Neither can nor will bend and the consequence is that Vivie walks away from her mother and her wealth permanently, for an independent life – same as her mother – only in what she sees as a more respectable path.  The truth though, is that Vivie’s choice is no more elevated than Mrs. Warren’s. It’s quite possible that Vivie, in the long run will have chosen the more ardous life that her mother worked so hard to elevate her from.  Only time will tell. The dilemma between the two women is an interesting confluence and Vivie by no means solidly emerges a heroine, or Warren for that matter.

Overall, the production is a triumph for Lloyd, who has painstakingly put together a vibrant conversation about women’s issues through a 20th century classic.

Theatre Palisades presents George Bernard Shaw’s social commentary “MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION” directed by Sabrina Lloyd and produced by Martha Hunter and Sherman Wayne by special permission with Samuel French. The cast features (in alphabetical order) Brooks Darnell, Susan Hardie, Craig Jessen, Frank Krueger, Ken MacFarlane and Jenna Tovey.

No More Performances

Challenging Fear in an “Office Hour” at South Coast Repertory

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Raymond Lee and Sandra Oh in South Coast Repertory's 2016 world premiere of Office Hour by Julia Cho. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.

Raymond Lee and Sandra Oh in South Coast Repertory’s 2016 world premiere of Office Hour by Julia Cho. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.

“Is there a more primal emotion than fear?” asks writer John Glare in his introduction to Office Hour, a world premiere commissioned by South Coast Repertory from Korean-American writer Julia Cho (The Language Archive, The Architecture of Loss).

Office Hour is a psychologically riveting and hypothetical amalgamation of real events sparked by the mass school shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007 and further influenced by the more recent shootings at UC Santa Barbara. It is one of the most important discourses on the subject of “what if” theatre-goers will experience this year.

Experientially disturbing, embedded in every inch of this text is fear – rational and irrational, unsettling hopelessness and deep internal pain. It is a teacher versus student deadlock in a potentially un-savable situation. It is a struggle for control and identity recognition, a desire to be seen, to claim a humanity that has been stripped because of a person’s “difference”.

Dennis, a seemingly troubled, Asian student in a college screen-writing program composes frightening pornographic, sexual violence, which scares his fellow students and professors alike. All except one – Gina an adjunct professor, also Asian, who thinks he’s weird but not all that unusual. When her colleagues complain about his writing and borderline psychotic classroom behaviors they ask Gina, whose class Dennis is now attending, to “talk” to him hoping she might find a “way in” via their shared ethnicity. Dennis has not actually broken any official school policies and has managed to maintain his grades so the meeting itself already borders, “crossing the line.” But Gina finds a way to do it and it sets the stage for a series of explosive confrontations.

Throughout a single hour, Gina breaks through Dennis’ silence and faces off with him, his intentions, motivations and whether or not he is actually in control of his overwhelming anger, in control enough to either not hurt himself or hurt others. At times, tender at others fiercely combative the session becomes increasingly intense with each new discovery about Dennis’ childhood, his family, his sexual experiences, his outcast status and the depth of his despair.

Real time scenarios continuously shape shift with frighteningly violent, alternate outcomes that challenge perspective in the mere seconds they appear, before returning to the apparent conversation at hand. The possibilities of what could happen in these moments as opposed to what does, are so shocking that each time, we are oddly left in a middle space, a dilemma of conscience, perhaps more enlightened as to the “why” of Dennis but not the “what if”.

Dennis is Gina’s Matterhorn – a mountain of all mountains. There may never be a way to save him or for Dennis to save himself. Gina continues to hope.

Sandra Oh is brilliant in her utterly heartfelt, rational and determined performance; an embodiment of a concerned teacher culturally and personally empathetic to Dennis’ issues having lived them. In some ways, Dennis is a sort of reflection of herself.

Raymond Lee has taken Dennis to an eye-opening extreme of a young man in torment existing at a razor-thin edge.

Performances by Sola Bamis (Genevieve) and Cory Brill (David) round out this play “full spectrum”.

Office Hour is chilling yet profoundly moving and thought-provoking.  It focuses a highly sensitive lens on our personal paranoia, over what could happen in this age of aggressive terrorism and deranged violence and the ongoing debate as to what to do when faced with an uncomfortable person or situation. How do we judge, decide, act. And are we truly objective, or living merely in anxiety? Are we seeing the truth or are we irrationally creating what isn’t necessarily there?

Superb direction by Neel Keller is even more enhanced by a hair-raising lighting design by Elizabeth Harper, sound design by Peter Bayne and beautifully uncomplicated scenic design by Takeshi Kata and Se Oh who use every inch of the space to perfection.  Costume design by Alex Jaeger absolutely serves the genre.

Written by Julia Cho
Directed by Neel Keller

David (student) – Corey Brill
Genevieve – Sola Bamis
Gina – Sandra Oh
Dennis — Raymond Lee

This show is now closed.

Judy! Liza! Peter! Live From “The Boy From Oz”

Reviewed by Marc Wheeler

gia on the move theatre reviews marc wheeler

The life of Peter Allen takes center stage in The Boy From Oz, the Australian-turned-Broadway hit now getting an ambitious 51-seat West Coast premiere at Celebration Theatre under the direction of Michael A. Shepperd.

Who’s Peter Allen?

That’s what I asked when I first heard of this musical. (It’s also what I asked at intermission, but we’ll get to that). The Boy From Oz — book by Martin Sherman, original book by Nick Enright — seeks to answer that question in its sweeping journey from the 1940s-1990s. Briefly, Allen was an award-winning, Australian singer-songwriter who found international success performing in stage shows large and small, from his humble beginnings in pubs and cabarets, to Radio City and the Sydney Opera House. His songs were performed by Olivia Newton-John, Melissa Manchester, Frank Sinatra and others. And it was through a chance encounter with Judy Garland that he met and married her daughter Liza Minnelli before divorcing and coming out as gay.

Ohhh, THAT Peter Allen!

It’s no wonder Celebration — LA’s historic LGBT theater — gravitated toward this show. Their current home at The Lex, however, poses significant challenges in mounting a big Broadway musical. But as they demonstrated a few years back with their wildly successful, small-stage production of The Color Purple, they’re more than crafty at fitting large pieces in intimate spaces.

Which transitions me ever-so-winkingly to the production’s celebrated sexuality. Shepperd knows his audience, and eye candy — for any persuasion — is assured. The show’s intimacy is tender (especially its depictions of Allen’s later years romance), and blatant sexuality — albeit brief — is surprisingly edgy in an otherwise kid-friendly production. The Stonewall Riots are also dramatized (kudos to Eric Snodgrass’s smashing sound design) giving poignancy to sexual awakening.

Peter Allen’s played by fellow Australian Andrew Bongiorno, whose smile is as pleasant as the vocals emerging from it. And yet for all of Act One, even during Allen’s more vulnerable moments, I couldn’t see beyond his saccharine-sweet persona. I thought, Is this it? Is this Peter Allen? And if so, why did they make a musical about him?

Is Bongiorno missing something?
Am I?

I decided to go with Am I? and sat back in my seat. And as Act Two began I realized Shepperd knew exactly what he was doing all along. If Act One is Allen’s caterpillar, Act Two is his butterfly. And boy does he.

Self-love and acceptance do wonders for the soul, and Allen’s spirit flies high and proud, storm clouds be damned. And there are storm clouds. And there is an end — one tied beautifully to “long-ago” Allen, played with an indomitable spirit by Michayla Brown. Her casting is truly inspiring, proving that a young Asian girl can play the childhood version of a white Australian man — this being theater after all.

Kelly Lester is outstanding as Allen’s mother whose support and love rival her constant worries. Her heartbreaking anthem “Don’t Cry Out Loud” not only informs the story, it dares the audience, such power consumes her rendition.

Jessica Pennington is the spitting image of Liza Minnelli, thanks in large part to Michael Mullen’s (across-the-board) glorious costuming, Byron Batista’s hair and wig design and, alas, genetics. While vocally she’s not a dead-ringer, she’s within range. She shines brightest when Liza stands tallest, as in “She Loves to Hear the Music” where Liza claims her power and Pennington shows off hers.

And then there’s Bess Motta as Judy Garland. Make that, Bess Motta is Judy Garland. Her vibrato, gestures. Her throwing the mike cord over her shoulder just so. All of it: Judy. In serenades she takes the audience with her, transporting us back in time. Those who were there can relive their memories, and those who weren’t can swear they were. Power, insecurity and ferocity permeate this performance. Garland’s time in Oz is, like her life, too brief, but ohhh does Motta make the most of it, for all of us.

A strong, multi-racial ensemble rounds out the cast. And one couldn’t ask for a more perfect “descending staircase” in actors’ heights for staging aesthetics.

I was sure The Boy From Oz was a mix of songwriters, Allen making up about half the songs. But no: music and lyrics, they’re all his (including those co-written with Carole Bayer Sager, Burt Bacharach, etc). Notably, “Best That You Can Do,” “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady On Stage,” “I Honestly Love You,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud” and “I Go to Rio” are familiar hits that may inspire a few I didn’t know he wrote that! remarks. But mixed in with these bygone pop songs are some less successful “stage tunes.” None that bad, fortunately, they’re just not all dandies. That being said, a four-piece band under the musical direction of Bryan Blaskie gives this jukebox musical the sound it deserves.

Janet Roston’s choreography is fantastic. Whether bringing cutesy-silliness to the “Love Crazy” ensemble routine, Fosse-esque moves to a Liza number, or orgiastic simulations to “Continental American,” her range is broad and execution sharp.

Celebration Theatre’s The Boy From Oz is a strong example of what can happen under L.A.’s 99-Seat Plan. Not only is it an outside-the-box choice considering its venue size, it’s slick, polished and inventive (risk-taking being an encouraged component of the Plan.) Granted, I find its song selection mixed, and Act One — at least in this staging — had me feeling rather unsure, but by the end I was completely won over. This is, in large part, a wonderful production celebrating — as only Celebration can — the life of a man who learned not to keep it inside.

Now playing through June 19, 2016

Celebration Theatre @ The Lex Theatre
6760 Lexington Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays – 8:00 PM
Sundays – 2:00 PM

Running time:
2 hrs and 20 mins. One intermission.

$45 Reserved
$40 General Seating

Call 323-957-1884 or visit:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Death Cab for Cutie, Headline 2016 Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival

AnnouncementThe official lineup for the 46th Annual Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival at the Seattle Center over Labor Day weekend, Friday Sept. 2 through Sunday Sept. 4 includes  Headliners: Seattle natives and hip hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, alternative rock band Death Cab for Cutie, and critically acclaimed Norwegian producer KYGO, among others.

More than 140 additional artists will perform throughout the weekend on more than a dozen indoor and outdoor stages spread throughout the 74 acre festival grounds, including both Memorial Stadium and KeyArena.

To celebrate Seattle’s Festival, headliner Macklemore will throw out the first pitch at Safeco Field during “Bumbershoot Night” on April 29. Fans who purchase a ticket to the Bumbershoot section at Safeco Field will receive a Mariners Bumbershoot T-shirt.

TicketsTickets are available at a special discount using promo code “BUMBERSHOOT”

Event Pass Information and Lineup

Passes for Bumbershoot go on sale Friday, April 29 at 10 a.m. PT

3-Day Passes, starting at $180
Gold Passes, $400
Emerald VIP, $700

Bumbershoot 2016 (PRNewsFoto/Bumbershoot)Arts and Culture Programming Highlights

In addition to a diverse music lineup that includes 90 acts, from international headliners to emerging local artists, Bumbershoot programming includes comedy, film, dance, theatre, words and ideas, youth activities, and more.

Comedy: Ron Funches from NBC’s Undateable as Shelly will bring his comedic talents to Bumbershoot along with Comedians of Comedy alum Morgan Murphy, The Improvised Shakespeare Company, and Seattle native Nick Thune.

film-iconFilm: With something for every age and taste, the 1 Reel Film Festival — curated by the Seattle International Film Festival — will serve up a selection of the year’s best short films.

dance_iconDance: Returning in 2015 after a few year hiatus, Bumbershoot’s dance programming offers a strong lineup of talent in 2016 including MaximumVELOCITY, a showcase of top contemporary choreographers and dance groups and the Northwest’s premiere breaking and street dance competition, Reign Supreme, which drew huge crowds in 2015.

Theatre-Set-Theatre-masks-iconTheatre: Curated by Theatre Puget Sound, 2016 theatre performances will include Are You There God? It’s Me, Karen Carpenter, a musical that juxtaposes classic coming of age novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret with the music of the Carpenters and an unforgettable performance from Tattprov, which includes one member of the comedy group getting a tattoo based on a suggestion from the audience.

PoetryWords & Ideas: Words & Ideas guests include local poet, writer and filmmaker Sherman Alexi, podcast sensation Chris Allen, Seattle’s premiere political comic (according to Seattle Weekly), Brett Hamil, and the writers of Amazon series Transparent.

YOUNGERSHOOT: Returning for its 6th year the Seattle Children’s Museum presents YOUNGERSHOOT, a place for children ages 10 and younger and their guardians to enjoy the festival together with kid-focused entertainment, hands on activities, and performances.

0002_porkshankFood: Other stand out features this year include B-Eats, a new food program created in partnership with Dan Bugge of Matt’s in The Market and Radiator Whiskey to curate a diverse mix of gourmet style cuisine from local chefs.

Seattle-based nonprofit Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDResearch) is the official non-profit partner of Bumbershoot 2016. As part of the relationship, Bumbershoot will donate a portion of each pass sold and encourage fans to donate as well, helping spread global health awareness.

Full Lineup

Musical Performances

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis // Death Cab for Cutie // KYGO // Tame Impala // G-Eazy // Pretty Lights // Halsey // DJ Snake // Porter Robinson // Zeds Dead // Bryson Tiller // Michael Franti & Spearhead // Run The Jewels // Billy Idol // ZHU // Fetty Wap // Marshmello // Father John Misty // Explosions In The Sky // Third Eye Blind // Logic // Andrew Bird // Tyler, The Creator // Melanie Martinez // Reggie Watts // Margo Price // Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals // Chevy Metal // Flatbush ZOMBiES // Maren Morris // Kamasi Washington // Jai Wolf // JoJo // Cashmere Cat // The Front Bottoms // Black Joe Lewis // The Motet // TOKiMONSTA // The Blind Boys of Alabama // St. Lucia // Hippie Sabotage // TroyBoi // Gryffin // Bob Moses // Zella Day // Atlas Genius // Bishop Briggs // Jagwar Ma // Banners // Jimi Charles Moody // Barns Courtney //The Flavr Blue // Donna Missal // Hinds // Lewis Del Mar // Joywave // Naked Giants // Manatee Commune // Shaprece // White Denim // Escondido // Lemolo // Iska Dhaaf // Radiation City // Coast Modern // Erik Blood // Rabbit Wilde // Ryan Caraveo // Secret Weapons // Grave & The Pink Slips // Chastity Belt // Dude York // Desi Valentine // Fly Moon Royalty // Stag // Low Cut High Tops // So Pitted // Strangers You Know // Treasure Fingers // Maiah Manser // Super Square // Pony Time // Snuff Redux // Lisa Prank // DoNormaal // Tracksuit Wedding // COSMOS // Zach Van Lue


Ron Funches // The Improvised Shakespeare Company // Kate Berlant // Nick Thune // Goddamn Comedy Jam // Morgan Murphy // Dan Soder // Andy Haynes // Billy Wayne Davis // Adam Ray // Tiffany Haddish // Kevin Barnes // Whitmer Thomas // Jena Friedman // Dan St. Germain // Fahim Anwar // Ashley Barnhill // Moses Storm // Rachel Walls // Seattle’s Most Wonderful // Khadija Hassan // Barbara Holm // Wilfred Padua // Queerz: We’re Hilarious // Stand-up for Yourself with Amy Miller // Natalie Holt // Levi Manis // Improv: Carskee, Jesse + Josh=Josh, CSz Seattle Presents ComedySportz, FEELINGS, The Midnight Goats

Words & Ideas

Writers of Transparent // Seattle Review of Books featuring Sherman Alexie, Robert Lashley, and EJ Koh // Seattle Files with Chris Allen // Seattle Process with Brett Hamil // Why Storytelling? Why Professional Wrestling? Why Now? // Why Tech Industry? Why Homelessness? Why Now? // Why Memes? Why Internet Dating? Why Now? With Emmett Montgomery // Hugo House Presents The Oracle // Battle of The Word Poetry Slam


Reign Supreme Breakin’ Competition // MaximumVELOCITY

Theatre (Curated by the Theatre Puget Sound)

SWING // Tattprov // DUMP: A Garbage Burlesque // Are You There God? It’s Me Karen Carpenter // Can’t Talk Right Now // Mik Kuhlman “House 30”

Visual Arts

Brent Watanabe // Seattle Experimental Animation Team // Interstitial Theatre // Seattle Center Sculpture Walk // Fine Arts Poster by Ryan Molenkamp

Additional Programming

FILM curated by Seattle International Film Festival // YOUNGERSHOOT curated by Seattle Children’s Museum


B-Eats feat. Local chefs of Matt’s In The Market, Radiator Whiskey, Garcia, New Luck Toy, Bok Bok Korean Fried Chicken, and Pike Place Fish Guys

Kitchen Fires Heat Up “My Mañana Comes”

Reviewed by Marc Wheeler
gia on the move theatre reviews marc wheeler

Peter Pasco and Richard Azurdia
Photo by Ed Krieger

As a national dialogue on income inequality and immigration reform takes center stage in America, Elizabeth Irwin’s playful yet deeply potent My Mañana Comes is a timely immersion into the very real struggles the working class face as they attempt to keep their heads — and those of their families — above water.

Set in the kitchen of an upscale Manhattan restaurant, My Mañana Comes — directed by Armando Molina for The Fountain Theatre — follows the lives of four busboys whose behind-the-scenes hustle and bustle allow this fine establishment’s wealthy clientele to enjoy the “good life.”

gia on the move theatre reviews march wheeler

Pablo Castelblanco and Richard Azurdia
Photo by Ed Krieger

Jorge (Richard Azurdia) is a Mexican immigrant who works and saves (and saves and saves…) hoping to one day build a dream home for his family across the border. Pepe (Pablo Castelblanco) is also a Mexican immigrant, though unlike Jorge, is a fresh-faced youngster who’d rather not deprive himself of life’s simple pleasures. Whalid (Peter Pasco) is a Latino ladies man from Coney Island who talks a big game and speaks of “greener pastures,” but who’d rather stare into his phone when responsibility calls. And finally, Peter (Lawrence Stallings) is an African American New Yorker who eschews futuristic dreaming to live in the now, busting his ass to make life work for him and his family.

gia on the move theatre reviews march wheeler

Lawrence Stallings and Peter Pasco
Photo by Ed Krieger

My Mañana Comes is specifically written to be performed by actors of color, yet is targeted for audiences of all shades (a welcome treat to both acting and theatergoing communities). Furthermore, while it’s adequately accessible to English-only attendees, the show’s experience is heightened to those who comprenden even un poquito de Español.

Race and cultural explorations don’t end there, however. The politics inside this Upper East Side kitchen run deeper than the frequent boys-will-be-boys banter (“Ride my nuts, Brooklyn taco” being my personal favorite.) Stakes get raised and lines get drawn — eventually.

The play’s set-up is a long one. Endless “shop talk” and expository chit-chat make up the large initial chunk of this 80-minute piece. While the players are often charming and their unfolding’s quite engaging, significant conflict doesn’t arrive until late in the game when the restaurant’s management decides to cut the busboys’ shift pay, a decision that results in disbelief, panic and ultimatums.

Performances are largely solid. Azurdia’s Jorge is serious and pensive as he plans and saves for a better tomorrow. Castelblanco’s Pepe is endearing in his innocence, yet layered in hopeful desires. Pasco is winsome as the handsome Whalid, yet this dreamer’s head-in-the-clouds persona is likened with Pasco’s notable line-flubbing. Lawrence Stallings is dynamic in his portrayal of Peter, an often charismatic team player who takes pride in his work, and whose passion bleeds into radicalism when livelihoods and equity are threatened.

Scenic design by Michael Navarro in tandem with Dillon Nelson’s props and set dressing earn high marks for their superb recreation of a kitchen in an upscale eatery. Jennifer Edwards’ lighting is especially exceptional in the show’s stark, intimate moments as well as its more colorful, fanciful transitions — transitions that movement director Sylvia Blush maximizes by having cast members float as if in hopeful dream (or is that drown as if in deadly waters?) toward their fated tomorrows.

Stephen Sachs is producer. Simon Levy and Deborah Lawlor are co-producers. James Bennett is associate producer.

At its heart, My Mañana Comes is a testament to human dignity, giving visibility to the unsung heroes who are the lifeblood of the American economy. Despite its meandering beginning, it ultimately prevails in its affecting characters and provocative ending. As the rich get richer on the backs of the poor, and as defamation of minorities and immigrants amid threats of walls plague our daily headlines, My Mañana Comes shows what can happen when a match strikes desperation, thus begging the collective question, What will our tomorrow bring?

Now playing through June 26, 2016
Saturdays – 3 PM and 8 PM
Sundays – 3 PM
Mondays – 8 PM

The Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029 (Fountain and Normandie)

Tickets: $15 – $34.95
Premium: $34.95 (VIP center section, includes one free beverage)
Regular: $30 (Side Sections)
Seniors 65 or older: $27 (Side Sections)
Students: $20 (valid ID required)
Rush: $15 (at door, 15 minutes prior to curtain, subject to availability)
Monday nights: Pay-What-You-Can

323-663-1525 or

Parking (secure, on-site): $5.00