Hollywood Fringe Fest ’19 Recommendations Round Three

By Ernest Kearney  —  Step by step, inch by inch –

The Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019 draws nearer.

Must say, I think this is going to be an exceptional year.   First, because there seems to be a larger percentage of veterans than in past years. I could be mistaken, but so it seems to me.  And second, the “newbies” strike me as a wonderfully talented bunch that raising the bar by both their presence and productions.

So let’s kick off this third listing of a mere score of shows that Fringe 2019 will be offering this June.

 

BLACKBOXING

Matt Ritchey is a high-ranking member of “The Gang Of Matts,” HFF’s version of Yale’s “Skulls and Bones” Club.  (The “Matts,” they’re everywhere!)  He is also one of the Hollywood Fringe’s touchstones and no matter the hat he dons (producer, director, etc.) he always carries it off with style and panache a-plenty.  This time ‘round he’s filling the roles of performer/writer, in a piece that turns the mirror on the standard of any Fringe – the ubiquitous one-man-show.

In Blackboxing Ritchey gives us a theatrical theomachy between performer and stage manager, one that in reality seldom arises, but when it does bodes doom and gloom.  ** writer's hand **

Travis (Ritchey) is a performer ready to bring his solo show before an audience.  All he’ll need to do is stand up to his stage manager, played by Jim Niedzialkowski, who in the press photos comes across like a Panzer tank plowing through the Ardennes Forest.  Directing this one-man show, with a two-person cast is another capable veteran, Matthew Martin (another Matt).

Venue:

The Complex Hollywood (The Dorie Theatre)

6476 Santa Monica Blvd

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/5704

LEAR / LOMAN

Love the concept: Willy Loman and Lear — one destroyed by his delusions, the other by his reality — sit around in Purgatory and try to figure out where it all went wrong.  Scott Leggett directs Leon Russom as Lear and as Loman, Bruno Oliver, so memorable in Richard Lucas’ gem from HFF2017, Bono and the Edge Waiting for Godomino’s.  The piece came out of the 2Cents Theatre’s Acting Out INK Fest and has Kristen Boulé as producer.  That alone assures audiences they won’t be disappointed by this one.

Venue:

The Broadwater (Main Stage)
1076 Lillian Way

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/6217

KLINGON TAMBURLAINE

Timur the Lame was one of history’s last great nomadic conquerors, and the subject of Christopher Marlowe’s first play Tamerlane (1587).

Klingons are the Star Trek canon’s militaristic alien conquerors of a vast interstellar empire, whose gobbledygook argot, according to Guinness World Records, and thanks to the never waning enthusiasm of Trekkie and Trekker alike, is the most popular fake language in the world.

So that was enough for School of Night to boldly take Marlowe’s play where no Elizabethan has gone before.

Producer/Fight Choreographer Jen Albert  and Director Christopher  Johnson have scored big in past Fringes with Seneca’s Hercules Insane and their off the hook live action Punch and Judy Show.  I expect they will deliver big time with this mix-mash of the Romulan Empire and the Federation becoming uneasy allies to stand against the wrath of Tamburlaine.

Matt Harding (number three!!) stars as Tamburlaine.  See it or “Hab SoSlI’ Quch!”  ** ♠ **

Venue:

The Complex Hollywood (Ruby Theatre )

6476 Santa Monica Blvd

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/6010

 

 

SON OF A BITCH

Lee Atwater, the SOB in question, changed the American political playbook.   Everyone should know his story.  It is one of the great morality plays on this nation’s history.  Lee Atwater was the great cancer on the America scene, the great cancer on the Republican Party, and in the end, fittingly he was the great cancer on himself.

He embodied the spirit of Karl Rove, George W. Bush and Donald Trump.  Last year Billy Ray Brewton wrote and directed A Beast/A Burden, an intelligent and insightful Bio-play on the artist Chris Burden.  This year he’ll direct from a script by Lucy Gillespie (author of HFF18’s Keeping Up With the Prozorovs).

Venue:

The Broadwater (Black Box)

6322 Santa Monica Blvd.

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/6043

 

 

 

ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS

Described as a “play with music,” playwright John Brahan and director Dan Schultz, the team behind Ain’t That America, one of last year’s top shows, offer this tale of a Kurt Cobain wannabe who comes to Los Angeles looking for fame and fortune and instead finds rush hour on the 405 and that rock stars all have feet of merde.

Shanlie Phillips shares the stage with Brahan and Schultz in this morality play of musical mediocrity in this mouse trap for dreams called L.A.

Venue:

Studio C (Studio C)

6448 Santa Monica Blvd.

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/5861

 

DISROBED

Director Brian Knudson is back with his crusade to make us all less inhibited about our bodies.

The complete title of this comedy is Disrobed: Why so Clothes-Minded??  Adapted and updated by Steven Vlasak (HFF18’s Nights at the Algonquin Roundtable) from Tom Cushing’s classic British naturist (read nudist) farce Barely Proper, this is your typical love story; boy meets girl, girl’s family is naked.  Not only is there nudity on stage, but it will be required for the audience as well.  (Did I mention this is immersive theatre?)

Bring a clothes’ bag and towel; leave timidity at door.

Venue:

studio/stage (Main Space)

520 N. Western Ave

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/6210

 

 

JAMBA JUICE: THE MUSICAL

“Boy meets girl. Strawberry meets smoothie” in this world premiere from the Fringe’s iconic tune master Spencer Frankeberger.  Co-written by Nick Wuthrich and Katie Dembesky, and composed by Mia Cotton.   This comic parody tells the story of two star-crossed lovers in a Jamba Juice trying to find happiness.  (Hopefully before the cease and desist letter arrives.)

Venue:

Studio C (Studio C)

6448 Santa Monica Blvd.

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/6255

 


 

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MEG JO BETH AMY & LOUISA

A deconstruction of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women from the folks who produced HFF17’s International Award Winner Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement of Henry VIII.    Alcott finds herself facing her characters and her life in this skewering of literature and reality, directed by Ariel Francoeur.

Venue:

The Broadwater (Black Box)

6322 Santa Monica Blvd.

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/5542

 

I WANNA BE EVIL: THE EARTHA KITT STORY

Eartha Kitt (1927 – 2008) was an American singer, actress, dancer, Batman’s sexiest Cat Woman, and a force of nature.  At the top of her career in 1968 she made her opinions known about the war in Viet Nam which lead to Ladybird crying and her ten-year exile from the United States.  Jenelle Randall promises a journey that “chronicles Eartha’s destitute childhood, her affair with [the] Revlon heir and her volatile relationship with Hollywood.”  Buckle your seatbelts.

Venue:

Studio C (Studio C)

6448 Santa Monica Blvd.

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/5829

 

MIL GRUS

I am a sucker for clowns —

Self-described as “Los Angeles’ premier bouffon troupe, Mil Grus, is a motley crew of miscreants who just crawled out of the gutter to make you question your own reality.”   Well, I always enjoy questioning my reality — whenever I can find it.

Directed by Dean Evans, the ensemble of Helene Udy, Grayson Morris, Jeremy Sapp, Jenson Lavellee and Isaac Kessler promises a tale of royalty and lepers, courts and fools.  (They had me at “bouffon.”)

Venue:

McCadden Theatre (McCadden Theatre)

1157 N. McCadden Place

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/5840

 

FOUR CLOWNS PRESENTS: SHAKEDOWN AT THE DUSTY SPUR!

The Four Clowns offers a grease-painted Western, “a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy shootin’ romp of a show that will have you cheering the heroes, booing the villains, and laughing your chaps off!”   (They had me at “The.”)

Joe Desoto directs this award-winning team of players.

Venue:

The Broadwater (Black Box)

6322 Santa Monica Blvd.

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/6173

 

BUTCHER HOLLER HERE WE COME!

Here’s a piece of immersive theatre that sounds promising.  Five coal miners are trapped following a cave-in, with the audience locked in the darkness of despair with them.  Woven into their fear and hope the playwright includes the “family histories, complicated friendships, crooked politics, childhood visions, audacious hopes, eerie dreams, criminal addictions, and fervent spirituality in this run-of-the-mill Appalachian community.”

Venue:

Thymele Arts (Shirley Dawn Dance Studio)

5481 Santa Monica Blvd

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/5921

 

 

RADICALS

Director Henry Graham Murray and Writer/Co-Director Rishi Jaiswal undertake an ambitious project with this tale of revenge spanning from Kashmir to the U.S. Special Forces, as two men confront one another with accusations of murdered family members.  A Hollywood Fringe Scholarship Winner for 2019.

Venue:

The Hobgoblin Playhouse at The Arena Stage, Theatre of Arts (The Hobgoblin Playhouse at The Arena Stage, Theatre of Arts )

1625 N Las Palmas Ave.

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/5626

SHI SHI – KEN : THE PATH OF SOUL TRANSCENDENCE

From Japan, Shi Shi Ken is written, choreographed and performed by Kaz Kobayashi; a specialist in sword combat.  An investigation of a samurai’s journey with sound designed by Keiji Kouzuma with Yuta Kanazashi on drums.

Venue:

Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre (SFS Theatre mainstage)

5636 Melrose Ave

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/5930

 

 

 

TREASON

Playwright Eric DePriester and co-director Lindsay Nyman set their dark comedy about “the danger and absurdity of American politics” on a Nevada ranch where Grant Wilson (Dave Crossland) has established his own nation and his own rules; and patriotism is just another form of neuroses.

Venue:

Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre (SFS Theatre mainstage)

5636 Melrose Ave

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/5804

 

GEORGE.

Using his first three films, THX1138, American Graffiti and Star Wars, Playwright Henry Parizek and Director Miriam Randolph intend to guide us through the path of how an awkward youth from Modesto, California came to become the most successful filmmaker in history.

Venue:

Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre (SFS Theatre mainstage)

5636 Melrose Ave

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/6013

 

EARTH & FIRE WALKING (TIERRA Y FUEGO QUE CAMINA)

From Argentina, dancers Tomas Galvan and Gimena Herrera return with their production that is “interlaced with the words of Argentine philosopher and artist Atahualpa Yupanqui, creating something well beyond your typical dance show.”

Venue:

The Hobgoblin Playhouse at The Arena Stage, Theatre of Arts (The Hobgoblin Playhouse at The Arena Stage, Theatre of Arts )

1625 N Las Palmas Ave.

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/5378


THE 2ND ANNUAL TRUMP FAMILY SPECIAL

America’s festering first family falls in the crosshairs of this musical comedy and I, for one, pray that their aim is dead-on.  Creators Victoria Watson and Danny Salles offer “comic relief for these frustrating times – with a fresh perspective and fun-loving spirit.”  Well, I hope not that fun loving.

Venue:

The Hobgoblin Playhouse at The Arena Stage, Theatre of Arts (The Hobgoblin Playhouse at The Arena Stage, Theatre of Arts )

1625 N Las Palmas Ave.

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/6261

 

ANG-GWAENG-I

Another international entry, this one from the Republic of Korea, a traditional folktale of a spirit who walks the earth once a year in search of shoes that fit him and the friendship that develops between him and a child.

Venue:

Actors Company (LET LIVE THEATER)

916 N. Formosa Ave

Tickets and Info:

http://hff19.org/6108


Well there you are, 19 more suggestions (one short of a score).  Again, there are plenty more (like three hundred plenty more) at the HFF website, check it out and make out your own list of recommendations.   There’s something for everyone, trust me


** writer's hand ** Get me over beer one night, and ask me to tell the tale of the deranged stage manager who went full blown Freddie Kruger on a production of Lovers and Other Strangers I was in.  There were no survivors.

 

** ♠ ** ”Or you mother has a smooth forehead.”  ‘Em’s fighting words in Klingonese.


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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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