The Blank Theatre Takes One for the Team With “Nathan C. Jones: A Love Story?”

By Ernest Kearney — Well here we are, still in the great Covid plague of 2020, and this is my first theatre review sans theater. My venue was YouTube and the production was:

The Blank Theatre’s Premiere of


We open with an intro by Director Daniel Henning, Founder and Artistic Director of Hollywood’s acclaimed Blank Theatre Company; and his is such a passionate voice for Los Angeles theatre and his beard is of such grandeur that one is almost inclined to forgive him for having the most pedestrian and juvenile concepts as regards the Kennedy assassination… almost.

In this one-man musical, Nathan (Amir Levi) is imprisoned in his cramped apartment, wearing the appropriate barred PJ bottoms, with a dead gold fish named Norman and a TV set that spews a surfeit of Fox News coverage of that orange bemuted coprolite mound occupying the White House.

The tunes by Vanessa Claire Stewart and Brendan Milburn are inoffensive, tuneful and, at their best, sappily-silly as when the lovesick Nathan relates stalking his boy-crush through a library and celebrates all they have in common singing, “He likes reading and I like to watch; he likes old novels and I like reruns; he likes Fitzgerald and I like scotch!

Levi has personality a-plenty and manages to add some desperately needed lift to a score that is of a single level and that never delivers a payoff in any of its numbers, resulting in a very, very long 54-plus minutes.
Henning’s camera work…needs work. It is possible the idea of placing it in one spot and pretty much abandoning it for the first 18 minutes was an attempt at recreating the experience of an audience member in a live theater, but c’mon. Even in a real, actual theater our heads are constantly roaming, our eyes traveling, we don’t sit strapped in our seats, eyes pried open and pointed straight ahead like young Alex in A Clockwork Orange.

Henning’s lackadaisical cinema sensibilities hamstrings the overall production, and with the ambition of the book, Stewart bites off more than she is capable of chewing, but it is the twist ending, a lamer ending than that literary tower of “lameness” American Psycho, that disappoints most.
However, kudos still must go to Henning and crew for trying to keep the theatre community slugging away while adversity attempts to bury us once and for all.

Slug away folks, and good on you.

**Really Daniel, The Tragedy of JFK (as told by Wm Shakespeare), wonderful play, asinine history; you absolutely need to talk to someone who knows the facts and not the “pulp-mythos.”


The Blank Theatre
6500 Santa Monica Boulevard (at Wilcox)
Hollywood CA 90038

Starring Amir Levi
Book by Vanessa Claire Stewart
Based on an idea by Amir Levi
Lyrics by Brendan Milburn & Vanessa Claire Stewart
Music by Brendan Milburn
Directed by Daniel Henning

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. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

No comments


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.