Carla Delaney’s ‘Worth It!’ Worthy of a Better Production

By Ernest Kearney  —  Carla Delaney is a talent to luxuriate in; with a lovely voice, sharp comedic skills, and a persona that can fill a small auditorium. These praise worthy qualities are very evident in her one-woman-show Worth It!, presented as part of Santa Monica Playhouse’s 6th Annual BFF (Binge Fringe Festival) of Free Theatre.

Unfortunately, these fine attributes were smothered under the unwieldy vehicle meant to display them.

It’s not that Worth It!, penned by Delaney, was without merit. 

The story is one most of us can relate to: the journey required to recognize and trust the inner strengths we all possess, which we come to doubt or sequester either through others or through insecurities of our own devising.

Delaney’s journey is framed within the angst of a struggling singer fleeing from an audition gone wrong who is beset by all the tribulations and glitches that the Murphy’s Law factory assembly line can spew — car crisis, inadequate boy friend (aptly named “Beef”) and fiscal asphyxiation.

The final crushing, calamitous straw delivered by the callous uncaring universe comes when the singer’s ATM card is swallowed by a seemingly demonic automatic teller forcing our heroine to enter the sterile cavern of a strange bank.

It is here where Delaney’s character commences her journey to self discovery under the guidance of Shelia, a prim teller who oozes “customer satisfaction.”

And herein begin the problems, which, ironically enough, reflect the very sort of insecurity the show is designed to defy.

There is an over reliance of technical razzle-dazzle with video vignettes of Delaney performing as singing trios, some of which show off her musical chops very nicely and others which seem unnecessarily repetitious. 

Then there is the interplay between Delaney and “Shelia.”  From having seen her perform before, I know Delaney to be a professional voiceover artist and a very skilled one, so the lack of delineation between the “two” main characters on stage is puzzling.

Everything Delaney presents on stage could have bonded, sadly it just doesn’t. 

This effort needed guidance which it hasn’t received, and it needed a discriminating eye to recognize that ninety minutes only elongated what wasn’t enough to begin with.

That said, Delaney still manages to shine through.  One of the blessings of talent – is it can survive mishandling.


You can still carch Worth It!

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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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