SAMSON and THE BURNING BUSH – The Eleventh Plague Has Arrived with a Running Time of a 100 Minutes!

By Ernest Kearney — Why…? Why…? C’mon, why…? Really, why…? Why…? Why…?

Why, why, why, why….?

In reacting to Ralph Brunson’ s crucifixion of musical theatre (Samson and the Burning Bush currently playing the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood) I could fill about ten pages just restating the same question – why?

Why establish David and Goliath, Moses and Ramses, Samson and Delilah as wrestling tag teams at the opening of your musical and never return or refer to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) motif again?

Why did you transport and transfigure the ancient conflict between Jews and Philistines to a conflict between modern New Jersey and Philadelphia?

Why select your dramatis personae from Biblical personages then burden them with modern lives disconnected from those found in the scriptures?

Why do you drop, seemingly haphazardly, at a specific point in your narrative certain obscure aspects plucked from the Old Testament – Samson’s riddle, Moses’ stuttering – and then never utilize them again.

Why is “Jesus” a hillbilly?

Why are Goliath and David pals?

Why have both gay and transgender characters and cast members and never mention the prohibitions laws in Leviticus?

I could go on. Suffice it to say I did not like this hour and forty minute musical train wreck.

This production boasts a couple of solid songs, and there are some performers on stage who can certainly sing, among them Mark Lopez who, as Goliath, even gets in some nice moments.

Johnne Tyson is amusing too… for a moment.

Unfortunately, moments do not make a 100 minute show endurable, so sadly my advice is to avoid this one like a plague.

No medal awarded.


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Samson and the Burning Bush

Currently onstage during HFF’21


Hudson Theatres
6539 Santa Monica Boulevard


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For Show Updates and Additional Information Go To:

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.

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