Hollywood Fringe Festival ˈ19—The 1st Recommendations

By Ernest Kearney  —  June is slowly but steadily approaching, and with June comes that Saturnalia of the Arts, The Hollywood Fringe to fill the venues of the Santa Monica Boulevard theatre ghetto running from east of Vine Ave to west of Highland, and other stages beyond. Thetvolution.com prides itself on being the reigning champ when it comes to reviewing the mass of stage artist, dancers, crooners, picaroons, minnesingers, histrionics and all the other shapes and forms of performers that the Fringe offers.

And with the upcoming 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival we intend to retain our title.

This year for a change, instead of doing one massive preview of the shows right before the Fringe’s opening, we will do a number of these previews highlighting shows that strike us as promising, building up enthusiasm as the Fringe comes upon us.

For these first ten “shout-outs” we’ll start off with some returning artists who we can heartedly recommend.

 

Cathy Schenkelberg

SQUEEZE MY CANS

Cathy Schenkelberg’s one woman show about her decade long involvement with Scientology was one of the hit shows at the 2016 Hollywood Fringe. Since then she has been travelling the international circuit and wowing audiences at both the Edinburgh and Vancouver Fringes.

Schenkelberg’s riveting, heart wrenching and ultimately redeeming tale of her descent into the Kafkaesque universe of L. Ron Hubbard’s “religion” and her eventual struggle to free herself and her daughter from the prison of its poisoned “philosophy” remains, in my opinion, one of the best shows ever to come out of the Hollywood Fringe. A must for fans of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, or anyone who wants to see a stellar performance and partake in a harrowing story of a woman battling her way free of the rabbit hole from hell.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019
Dates and Deets:
June 9-26, 2019

Venue: The Broadwater (Main Stage)
1076 Lillian Way

Tickets and Information:
www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4972
http://squeezemycans.com/

HIDE YOUR FIRES: BUTOH LADY MACBETH

Yokko earned TheTvolution’s 2018 Best Actress award for her gripping performance in Butoh Medea, which was one of the highlights of last year’s Fringe.

The Japanese Butoh school avoids easy definition. It arose as a reaction to the intrusion of Western Ballet and modern dance into that nation after World War II. Its emphasis on distress motion, resistance to approachable narrative structure and acceptance of grotesquerie were all done as a rejection of Western aesthetic. It’s in the new wave cinema of “J-horror” with films such as Audition and the Ringu series where American audiences have had their most exposure to Butoh concepts.

Hide Your Fires: Butoh Lade Macbeth

Hide Your Fires is the second production from Yokko and her company Ren Gyo Soh in their project Women Voices, presenting new perspectives on the stories of theatre’s best known women characters, with the subject this time being Shakespeare’s murderous Lady Macbeth.

Hide Your Fires premiered at the 2017 United Solo in NYC and where it took the award for Best Physical Theatre Show. This is one show that should not be missed.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019
Dates and Deets:
June 7-23, 2019

Venue: Lounge Theatre (Lounge 1)
6201 Santa Monica Boulevard

Tickets and Information:

https://www.rengyosoh.com/rengyosoh.html

https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4972

THE DUCHESS & THE STRIPPER

Ezra Buzzington is well entrenched in Fringe Valhalla. His Andy the Red Nosed Warhola was one of the high points of the 2017 Hollywood Fringe and took TheTvolution’s Essence of Fringe Award that year. Now he’s joined forces with Alli Miller, of the beloved Cherry Poppins, to present a meeting between the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson (Blaire Chandler), the woman over whom Edward VIII abdicated the throne of England and Blaze Starr (Miller) the notorious stripper who carried on a lengthy affair with the Governor of Louisiana Earl Long (brother of Huey).

Director, Ezra Buzzington

Buzzington directs David Bosley’s play which conjures up an encounter in 1961 between two of the most infamous women of their time.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019
Dates and Deets:
June 6-23, 2019

Venue: Lounge Theatre
6201 Santa Monica Boulevard

For Information and Tickets
https://theduchessandthestripper.com/
https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5693

PRETTY, WITTY NELL

 

Creator Ryan J-W Smith

Oh God help us, Ryan J-W Smith is back. In 2016 his raucous, mad-capped rendering of Shakespeare’s Scottish Play Macdeth! was one of the Fringe’s favorite. This time he’s taken on Nell Gwynne, the long time mistress of England’s King Charles II and the driving force behind allowing women to act on stage.

Whatever Ryan J-W Smith is planning for the Hollywood audiences with Pretty, Witty Nell, you can count on it being wildly subversive, devilishly funny and all in iambic verse.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019
Dates and Deets:
June 7-28, 2019

Venue: The Broadwater (Main Stage)
1076 Lillian Way

For Information and Tickets
http://www.rogueshakespeare.com/
https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/6078

A BIT MUCH

 

Stacy Dymalski, “A Bit Much”

 

Stacy Dymalski whose show The Other Side of the Razor Ribbon was a crowd pleaser at HFF 2018 returns with another one-woman show about finding perfection in the rumble of failed relations. A Bit Much is Guaranteed to deliver on laffs and insights.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019
Dates and Deets:
June 6-23, 2019

Venue: Lounge Theatre
6201 Santa Monica Boulevard

For Information and Tickets
http://thememoirmidwife.com/a-bit-much/

https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5898

GREENWOOD 1964


The role of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) tends to be forgotten today, but it was the organizing force behind the first sit-ins and a major force driving the early civil rights movement. Coming off a successful run at The Secret Rose Theater, Writer/Director Mohammed Ali Ojarigi’s play, Greenwood 1964,  relates the true story of how Harry Belafonte and a hesitant Sidney Poitier, facing racism and encounters with the Klan, travelled to Greenwood, Mississippi with a doctor’s bag containing $70,000 to fund SNCC and the Freedom Rider movement.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019
Dates and Deets:
June 6-28, 2019

Venue:
The Broadwater (Second Stage)
6320 Santa Monica Blvd.

For Information and Tickets
https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5938

 

 

DEAR JEFF: A MUSICAL COMEDY ABOUT SUICIDE & DOMESTIC ABUSE
It is amazing at times the courage that is demonstrated in some of the offerings at the Fringe. Case in point is Dear Jeff, a one-woman musical written and performed by Callie Ott chronicling an abusive relationship she was involved in and its sad outcome.

Produced by Conor Hanney, who is also bringing eight other shows to the Hollywood Fringe, including Ride Or Die: The Hip-Hop Musical  featuring actors with cognitive disabilities.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019
Dates and Deets:
June 6-30, 2019

Venue:
The Broadwater (Studio)
1078 Lillian Way

For Information and Tickets
http://facebook.com/GoodShowsFringe
https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5884#

SCARLETT FEVER

Creator John Wuchte

The story of David O. Selznick’s two-year search to cast the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind is part of Hollywood lore. Among those considered was Bette Davis, with Warner Brothers wrangling to include Errol Flynn for the role of Rhett Butler. Also auditioned were Lucille Ball (honestly), Carole Lombard and even Katharine Hepburn, whom Selznick reportedly dismissed with “I can’t image Rhett Butler chasing you for twelve years.”
Now John Wuchte and his Kick Boom Theatre is promising a re-telling of that tale in with Scarlett Fever; “10 moments incorporating stylized movement, dance, song, original text, several suitcases, and the great Scarlett dress. All accompanied by live percussion.” They’ve caught my attention.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019
Dates and Deets:
June 8-30, 2019

Venue: The Broadwater (Main Stage)
1076 Lillian Way

For Information and Tickets
https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/6017
http://tribalacting.com/

MR. YUNIOSHI

Jonathan Cho

Here is another show that tackles Hollywood history.

Writer-Performer J Elijah Cho challenges the racism of the entertainment industry in this fictionalized account of actor Mickey Rooney struggling to create his character of Mr. Yunioshi, the Japanese landlord of Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

In yellow face makeup with a prosthetic mouthpiece, Rooney’s performance has served as a lightning rod of criticism ever since, with blame for it piled on Director Blake Edwards. Cho’s take offers an interesting perspective to say the least.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019
Dates and Deets:
June 9 – 28, 2019

Venue: The Broadwater (Studio)
1078 Lillian Way

For Information and Tickets
https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5832

DYING FOR OUR VOICES

This multidisciplinary immersive piece addresses one of the most important issues of our day— the dangers journalists now face worldwide and the threats posed to a global free press— and will present fictionalized accounts from the lives of journalist, who have died trying to report the news in their home countries.

Dying for Our Voices (Hollywood Fringe 2019)

All proceeds from this show will go to the Committee to Protect Journalists – “an international non-profit organization dedicated to supplying resources and aid to journalists in the most dangerous parts of the world.”
In connection to this production there will be workshops and discussions in association with Youth for Human Rights , an international organization dedicated to human rights education.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019
Dates and Deets:
June 7 – 29, 2019

Venue: studio/stage (Main Space)
520 N. Western Ave

For Information and Tickets
https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5691

www.youthforhumanrights.org

 

Saturday, June 15th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Free workshop to learn about our human rights. Afterwards view materials, videos, interviews regarding Youth for Human Rights, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and The Last Column. “The book (www.thelastcolumn.com) features the 24 final works of journalists killed in the service of news gathering, including Daniel Pearl of The Wall Street Journal, Marie Colvin of The Sunday Times of London, and Jamal Khashoggi of The Washington Post.”

Saturday, June 22nd from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Free workshop to learn about our human rights.
This is a topic of immense importance to both the world community and our nation, and this is a show deserving of all our support.

(Please note that the Saturday, June 29th performance, of Dying for Our Voices, will have a 30-minute Q&A after the show.)

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Well there you have 10 shows to consider out of the hundreds of productions that will be part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019.

You can go to the HFF 2019 site at www.HollywoodFringe.org for more information on these and other shows. Tickets will go on sale May 1st and previews will run from June 6th to 11th with the official opening on June 12th. Then you’ll have upwards of 50 to 100 productions daily from which to choose, running until the 30th. A cornucopia of creative delights.

And be sure to check back here at TheTvolution.com for more recommendations.

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Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest’s stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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