Latino Theater LA: Mexico City’s Organización Secreta Teatro
Latino Theater Company presents Mexico City’s interdisciplinary, experimental ensemble Organización Secreta Teatro in 2 new performance works
LOS ANGELES — Latino Theater Company presents Mexico City’s interdisciplinary, experimental ensemble Organización Secreta Teatro in two new performance works. Each work, Pueblo Espíritu and Las Diosas Subterráneas, will receive five performances during a limited two-week engagement, May 3 through May 14, at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in downtown L.A.
Pueblo Espíritu (“Spirit Town”)explores a post-pandemic dystopian society in which humans renew their faith in the spiritual world as a means of survival. Attempting to escape restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic, five characters find themselves in a dense forest. Exhausted and thirsty, they are fearful and distrustful of one another. Their terror escalates when the last of their party to arrive is sick. Their only hope for survival is to re-connect with their mystical surroundings.
In Las Diosas Subterráneas (“Subterranean Goddesses”) the Greek myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, kidnapped by Hades, god of the underworld, is intertwined with the story of Luz García, a character based on real-life women kidnapped by human traffickers, to tell the story of mothers looking for their missing daughters who find strength in community.
Both pieces were created collectively by ensemble members Beatriz Cabrera, Alejandro Joan Carmarena, Brisei Guerrero, Stefanie Izquierdo, Ernesto Lecuona, Mercedes Olea and Jonathan Ramos from original ideas by Rocío Carrillo, who directs.
Pueblo Espíritu is performed without dialogue. Las Diosas Subterráneas features minimal dialogue by Stefanie Izquierdo, Ernesto Lecuona, Mercedes Olea and Rocío Carrillo and will feature English supertitles.
Pueblo Espíritu will receive five performances, on Wednesday, May 3 at 8 p.m. (opening night); Thursday, May 4 at 8 p.m.; Friday, May 5 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, May 6 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, May 7 at 4 p.m.
Las Diosas Subterráneas performs the following week, on Wednesday, May 10 at 8 p.m.; Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m.; Friday, May 12 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, May 13 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, May 14 at 4 p.m.
Tickets range from $22–$48, except opening night (May 3), which is $58 and includes both pre- and post-show receptions. The Los Angeles Theatre Center is located at 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013.
Parking is available for $5 with box office validation at Joe’s Parking structure, 530 S. Spring St. (immediately south of the theater).
PUEBLO ESPÍRITU trailer de la puesta en escena presentada en el Foro Polivalente 2022:
A queer Hollywood homage takes the stage for Pride month in ‘Back Porch’
If you are a fan of theatre, & you also happen to be a fan of classic movies, & you also happen to be queer, then Pride Month in LA holds a special treat for you
BURBANK, Calif. – If you are a fan of theatre, and you also happen to be a fan of classic movies, and you also happen to be queer, then Pride Month in LA holds a special treat for you.
From June 2 – July 9, Burbank’s Victory Theatre Center will be the venue for the world premiere of “Back Porch,” a new play by Eric Anderson that uses an imaginary scenario within a real-life slice of moviemaking history to tell a very queer story – one that pays delightful homage to a beloved Hollywood classic as well as the playwright behind the work that inspired it.
The setting is a small Kansas town and the year 1955, when a Hollywood movie crew descends upon the community to shoot scenes for the classic film, “Picnic.”
According to the synopsis:
Barney Opat (Karl Maschek) is the widowed father of two boys: 18-year-old Gary (Isaac W. Jay), who yearns to escape small-town Kansas life for a more glamorous existence, and energetic 13-year-old Del Wayne (Cody Lemmon). The family’s life is upended when a handsome stranger working as William Holden’s stunt double (Jordan Morgan) blows into town alongside the all-star cast. Other characters include the Opats’ bachelor boarder, singing teacher Myron Uhrig (Eric Zak), and their neighbor, Millard Goff (Jonathan Fishman).
Needless to say, sparks start flying (in more ways than one) almost immediately.
Playwright Anderson – who was himself born and bred in Kansas – says he remembers being 4 years old when portions of “Picnic” were filmed near his home.
“My family drove to the location one evening to take part in the ‘Neewollah’ scene on the river. I’ve been crazy about movies — and theater — ever since. With “Back Porch,” I wanted to pay tribute to a significant American playwright who was also significantly closeted. I hoped to write the kind of play that he himself might have written had he lived in another time and place.”
The play is directed by Kelie McIver, another Kansas native, who goes as far as to call it a “love letter to William Inge.” She also calls it “a terrific ensemble piece in which each character has an interesting and beautiful arc. I love them all and want to hang out with them.”
“Back Porch” is presented by Bluestem Productions. In addition to Anderson and McIver, the creative team includes set designer Kenny Klimak, lighting designer Carol Doehring, sound designer Cinthia Nava, costume designer Molly Martin, stunt/fight choreographer Brett Elliott and intimacy director Amanda Rose Villarreal. The stage manager is Margaret Magula. David Willis and Kelie McIver produce for Bluestem.
For information and to purchase tickets, call (818) 533-1611 or go to the production’s website.
Peppermint to shower LA in her brand of sweetness
Los Angeles, here is your chance to hear her & see her. ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ finalist hits the stage at Mark Taper Forum May 20- June 25
HOLLYWOOD – Two years ago, Peppermint gave us a clear picture about who she is, making a point to tell us in her song “A Girl Like Me.”
“She’s strong and doesn’t take it from nobody.”
As a finalist in the ninth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Peppermint came in fourth and was eliminated during the actual filming of the show. The production company had a change of heart though, and put her back in for the finale cutting her elimination from the broadcasted version.
She may have lost that competition, but she won something bigger: history. She was the first out trans person to compete on “Drag Race.” A year later, RuPaul came under fire for saying that only transgender queens who had not yet had surgery, as Peppermint had not at the time, could compete.
She was not amused. She tweeted an emoji with a big zipper across its mouth in response. The next day, RuPaul recanted and reversed his policy.
“A girl like me is not always seen as equal, and sometime not one at all… And when trouble comes she’s the first one to take the fall.”
Recently she was trolled on social media after the horrible shooting at a Christian school. A rightwing nut craved to find and trash a real transgender person expressing compassion for the nonbinary Nashville shooter. He did not find one so instead, he created a fake tweet and attributed it to Peppermint to construct a “trans people as unrepentant killers” narrative.
The fake tweet cautioned potential trans killers to wipe their social media clean before committing heinous acts, and thereby protect Peppermint and the community. The message was callous, and a fraud.
Peppermint locked down her Twitter account to “private” (no more Twitter post screenshots to doctor for you). She posted, “People are still photoshopping fake screenshots.” She then took over the narrative: “Attacking my character with words I NEVER tweeted. I’m heartbroken about the terrible shooting in TN. I believe access to guns is a major factor in gun related attacks. anti-trans comments misgendering me don’t deter me from uplifting people from marginalized communities.”
“A girl like me can light up any party.”
The Peppermint party is coming to us, Los Angeles. Peppermint is lighting up the stage at the Mark Taper Forum where she will star in “A Transparent Musical” from May 20 thru June 25. The musical is the comedic version of the Pfefferman family story, whose patriarch is finally allowing their true selves to emerge as Maura, the transgender matriarch she always knew she was. Based on the hit Amazon Prime original TV drama show “Transparent” by Joey Soloway, “A Transparent Musical” takes the Los Angeles Jewish family in a funny and musical direction making them “Universally relatable, imperfectly human, and startlingly familiar.”
Peppermint is originating the role of Davina. The part in the series was first created by Alexandra Billings. As Davina, Peppermint runs programming at the local Jewish Community Center and is the confidant of the lead character Maura. Ultimately Peppermint helps tell the story of family secrets that unearth a story of self-discovery, acceptance, and celebration.
“And girls like me are scared and angry, but we always find a way to smile…”
Not to be confined to live theatrical performances, Peppermint bursts onto the Netflix scene in the series, “Survival of the Thickest,” which centers on the character of Mavis Beaumont played by Michelle Buteau, who wrote the book on which the series is based.
Black, plus-sized and newly single, Mavis unexpectedly finds herself having to rebuild her life as a struggling stylist. Peppermint portrays a social media influencer and owner of the local drag restaurant. Funny, super sassy and caring, Peppermint’s character acts as the “adopted” drag mother of Mavis.
“A girl like me knows how to live her truth.”
If those projects aren’t enough, Peppermint lays her truth out for us in “SO-SIGH-ETY Effects,” her first stand-up comedy special available now on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube, Vimeo, and cable providers worldwide. In the special, she takes the audience through an all-inclusive New York journey looking at what it’s like to be a single Black transgender woman in today’s society. Peppermint promises laughter and tears as she recounts tales of love and heartbreak from the stage to the bathroom stall.
“The girl who strives for good but ends up so misunderstood.”
Peppermint is not just here for the spotlight and the business of show however. She is the ACLU’s first-ever Artist Ambassador for Trans Justice and has raised six-figure sums for prominent LGBT rights groups. She has partnered with MAC Cosmetics’ “M.A.C. AIDS Fund” and is involved in the HIV Vaccine trials network. She joined “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Sasha Velour for a college speaking tour that focused on the challenges faced by transgender and non-binary people in today’s political climate. She was nominated for a 2022 GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Online Journalism category for her contribution to the Discovery+ “Legendary” series (an award won by the Los Angeles Blade in 2023). Previous honors include; GLAAD Media Award nomination alongside Lady Gaga & Kehlani for Outstanding Music Artist (2021), “Best Songwriter” by World of Wonder’s Wowie Awards 2020, Conde Nast’s “Queeroes” award (2018), Variety’s prestigious “New Power of New York” list, and was named one of Out magazine’s “OUT100” portfolio of the most influential LGBTQ people of the year.
At the end of “A Girl Like Me,” Peppermint pleads:“I just need to be heard, to be seen, do you know what I mean? Would it hurt to try and see, if you could love a girl, love a girl like me, the girl who is fighting for her life?”
Los Angeles, here is your chance to hear her, see her, laugh with her, cry with her and love her, and let’s face it.
Peppermint is the exact flavor of sweet we need right now.
Rob Watson is the host of the popular Hollywood-based radio/podcast show RATED LGBT RADIO.
He is an established LGBTQ columnist and blogger having written for many top online publications including The Los Angeles Blade, The Washington Blade, Parents Magazine, the Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation, Gay Star News, the New Civil Rights Movement, and more.
He served as Executive Editor for The Good Man Project, has appeared on MSNBC and been quoted in Business Week and Forbes Magazine.
He is CEO of Watson Writes, a marketing communications agency, and can be reached at [email protected] .
New LA production finds the trans heart of iconic ‘Spider Woman’
There are still discount tickets available through LA Theatre Week. “Kiss of the Spider Woman” performs at A Noise Within
LOS ANGELES – Most of us are probably aware of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” either as an acclaimed 1993 stage musical by “Cabaret” and “Chicago” composers John Kander and Fred Ebb and queer playwright Terrence McNally, or as an acclaimed 1985 film starring Raul Julia and William Hurt – the latter of whom became the first actor to win an Oscar for playing a queer character (and also the first of 8 straight-identifying actors to win for playing queer, but that’s another story).
Many of us also know that before any of that, it was a 1976 novel by Argentinian author Manuel Puig, who wrote it while living as an exile in Greenwich Village after a military coup d’etat placed his native country under the rule of a brutal and repressive military dictatorship.
What most of us DON’T know, perhaps, is that before the mainstream success of the novel’s now-classic film and stage adaptations, there was another version of the story, adapted into a 1983 play by Puig himself and translated into English by Allan Baker for a 1985 London premiere starring Simon Callow and Mark Rylance.
It’s that adaptation of the work which is now onstage at LA’s A Noise Within theatre company, and its timing couldn’t be better – because while the book’s more famous adaptations, each a product of their time and limited by a lack of existing language in their efforts to fully explore its complex themes about sexuality and gender, might feel a little dated to many of us 2023, a fresh take from a more informed perspective is all that’s needed to do justice to the material and reveal the authentic queer voice that has been inside it all along.
For those who need a refresher, “Spider Woman” is an intimate, two-character drama set in a Buenos Aires prison cell, where Valentin – a macho political prisoner whose commitment to the Marxist cause takes precedence over everything else – is thrown together with Molina – a queer, movie loving dreamer who escapes the harsh reality of prison life by retelling the stories of his favorite film noir classics and drawing inspiration from their glamorous leading ladies. The two cellmates are mismatched, to say the least, but they somehow manage to form an unlikely relationship.
In his press notes for the new production, Michael Michetti sees the dynamic between these two diametrically opposed characters – who, stuck together in an oppressive environment, grow to understand, even to love each other – as a crux which “takes on new relevance in today’s polarized climate.” He also points to the surprising amount of humor and playfulness contained in the story, as well as the importance of language in driving it.
Language is particularly crucial for a version that tells the story without the help of the kind of elaborate conceptual conceits and visual storytelling aids available to a big-budget film or Broadway musical – and that means the burden of using it effectively falls on the two actors playing Valentin and Molina: Ed F. Martin and Adrián González, respectively.
The Blade spoke with both of them about the challenges they faced in tackling two roles already made famous in the public imagination by the novel’s high-profile previous iterations, and their answers underscore all the reasons why “Kiss of the Spider Woman” is still, perhaps more than ever, an essential touchstone for queer culture.
For Molina, it was all about finding the right understanding of Molina.
“Previous versions did not affect me, or at least I didn’t borrow from them. I saw the film way back when, and I was even in a production of the musical — playing the Warden of all things. But I just kind of came in as myself – and a little bit of my mother – and dove into the rehearsals with whatever Adrian and Michael brought to the table. And the deeper we went, the more I fell in love with Molina as a person.”
“I come into this as a Latino gay man,” he explains. “I thought of Molina as a gay man, but in reading the novel and breaking down the play, I came to recognize that Molina could be a transgender woman – it’s hard to say definitively, today being so different from 1975, but I think Molina thinks of herself as a woman, and she emulates the glamorous women of the 40s and 50s from the films she loves so much.”
As for González, he tells us he wasn’t familiar with either the musical or the film.
“I’ll admit that when I was auditioning for the role and doing some research, I watched a few scenes from the film. I didn’t find anything special to hold on to – I love Raul Julia, but we are different people, and honestly I think the story the film is telling is different from the story we are telling. For me, Valentin is a man who is passionate in his beliefs and would do anything to help change the world for the better. That was the thing that struck a chord with me.”
Elaborating, he explains, “Our approach for the characters – particularly Molina – is what makes our story special and very relevant today. We treat her as a trans woman, in a time and world where there was no language or acceptance of her – and she ends up finding it in an unlikely person like Valentín, which is what makes this story truly special.”
Martin agrees. “These two people are polar opposites in their views, but in an enclosed space they are forced to get to know each other, to hear a different point of view, to learn from each other and, finally, to find common ground or a connection. Looking at where we are today as a country – politically, socially, culturally – the play might teach us a thing or two about how to treat each other with respect as we go back and forth expressing ourselves and our opposing values, or philosophies, or whatever we call them. The thing that really makes it relevant is the need for listening.”
González concurs, chiming in, “We can’t seem to agree on issues that truly are basic human rights, and a willingness to have conversations and listen to each other is completely off the table, there’s just a lack of empathy for one another. And meanwhile, the rights of people within the LGBTQ+ community are being attacked.”
The story’s potential as a catalyst for change even extends to the actors themselves. As Martin tells us, “I have loved getting to know and figure out Molina, letting that character be who they are without labels regarding sexual orientation, or gender identity, or anything. There are many reactions Molina has in the story that I have myself in real life – for good and for bad – and, interestingly enough, it made me wonder about myself. As I said, I identify as a gay man – but thanks to this role, I am wondering now if I even need that label?”
González, summing up, expresses his hope that audiences find their hearts and their minds equally opened by experiencing “Spider Woman” with them.
“I believe that theatre, and stories like this one, help shape the world we live in. Whether we agree or not on certain issues, if we’re able to face each other with empathy and an open heart, we can help change the world together.”
“Kiss of the Spider Woman” performs at A Noise Within, 3352 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, from April 1 – 23.
Tickets and more information are available at the theatre’s website.
“Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” is a uniquely “LA” play
“Twilight” features a multi-racial ensemble, each of whom endeavors to deliver honest portrayals of a dizzying array of characters
LOS ANGELES – “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” is a uniquely “LA” play. That may seem an obvious assertion – after all, it’s right there in the title – but in this case it designates far more than just setting.
Originally conceived, written, and performed by Anna Deavere Smith in 1993, it’s a chronicle of the riots – or the uprising, as it is now known by many – that took place in Los Angeles following the acquittal of four LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King during his arrest; it was a prolonged eruption of civil unrest that was national news, but for the people of LA it was a deeply traumatic experience that left lingering scars. For that reason alone, a performance of Smith’s piece in Los Angeles feels a little more personal than it might if were taking place anywhere else.
When you factor in the additional significance that comes with the 30th anniversary of that seminal, culture-shaking disruption to our city’s sense of identity, it’s clear to see why the production now onstage at the Mark Taper Forum – the very venue where Smith originally mounted the work – might strike a particularly resonant chord for Angelenos.
Directed by Gregg T. Daniel, the new “Twilight” – adapted by Smith herself in the wake of the George Floyd murder to allow production as an ensemble piece rather than a solo performance – is keenly aware of its home field advantage, which it supplements with a production design featuring imagery of familiar local sites on projection screens which frame and visually dominate the stage. Along with the script’s frequent use of LA-centric street names, lingo, and cultural references, it’s enough to make the experience feel as much like a town hall meeting as it does an evening of theatre.
That’s built into the original material, of course. Created by Smith from transcriptions of approximately 300 interviews she personally conducted, it offers a daunting array of conflicting opinions and opposing perspectives from a wide, multi-ethnic swath of real-life individuals impacted – either directly or indirectly – by the riot, which gives its voice the unmistakable ring of authenticity and roots it inextricably in LA’s shared cultural experience. Three decades later, it also amplifies echoes that have been reverberating louder ever since America watched a Black man being murdered on television in the middle of a pandemic.
Since a videotape – one of the first to capture police brutality against a person of color (POC) and expose it to millions of pairs of American eyes via broadcast television – was the catalyst that sparked the Rodney King riots, too, it’s hard not to be struck by the obvious symmetry.
“The resonance just doesn’t go away, says Daniel, speaking to the Blade about why reviving Smith’s iconic piece feels so chillingly apt in 2023. “You think, doing a play that’s thirty years old, ‘is this a museum piece?’ – but unfortunately, this is a play that can never get old, as long as these atrocities keep happening.”
He went on to explain, “The last few years, thanks to cell phones and the internet, we’ve been exposed to so much violence by law enforcement against Black and brown bodies. There was George Floyd, of course, but also Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor – the names just keep on coming. Even as we were going into rehearsals, Tyre Nichols was murdered in Memphis.”
It goes without saying that many of today’s audiences are coming to Smith’s work with a renewed sense of – at the risk of inviting pejorative corruption of the word (and the concept) from conservative nay-sayers – “wokeness” and a firmly-held interpretation of the “right” and “wrong” attitudes toward the acknowledgment of systemic racial inequality; but as Daniel points out, one of the defining features of the original piece is its refusal to resort to easy judgments.
“She’s not trying to ‘indict’ one side or the other. She just presents LA as it is; these are verbatim accounts of a time we are still trying to come to grips with, they’re not monologues or things that were composed, they are individual expressions of a real experience. She’s not trying to take up sides, she’s just presenting the way things are. Your relationship with it as a community member, living in America – this is what we have, and we have to deal with it.”
That refusal to fall into an easy perspective is what raises “Twilight” above the level of pure emotional propaganda. It’s not difficult to frame the cultural upheaval over Rodney King or George Floyd in terms of literal Black-and-white simplicity, but to face the myriad underlying complexities that contributed to the way each of these incidents played out in the public consciousness requires a less dogmatic mindset than that.
Without implying the validity of such reactionary counter-points as “ALL lives matter” or other such “what-about-isms” that are often substituted for rational responses in the debate over anti-BIPOC police violence, the material’s measured dispensation of contradictory-yet-equally-authentic viewpoints from a multi-racial and often-diametrically-opposed sampling of LA voices makes a strong case for the argument that the use of excessive violent force against anyone, regardless of ethnic origin, is an issue that goes beyond race.
That’s a key point, as far as Daniel is concerned, when it comes to recognizing the scope of the discussion “Twilight” invites. Yes, it centers on systemic violence against POC, and the complicated racial infighting – particularly between the Korean American and Black communities, pitted against each other by circumstance and economic inequity in the communities they frequently co-habit – that so often obscures the deeper problems that underlie it from our view; but ultimately, in the wider scope, the stigma of “otherness” that infests our social and cultural systems and extends far beyond our untenably divided stance on racial equality and institutional reinvention presents a threat to the well-being of any community – whether defined by race, beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, or any of the other surface differences we use to separate ourselves from one another.
As Daniel puts it, “Bigotry and hatred and violence, once it’s perpetrated against African American bodies, can be perpetrated against any bodies. It’s not a big leap to say that violence perpetrated against Black and BIPOC communities is violence against all communities that they deem as not being ‘American’ – it’s not even a stone’s throw away for them to feel the same way about Asian Americans, or Pacific Islanders, or Jewish people, or LGBTQ+ people. I mean, they’re trying to outlaw drag shows! Really? They think THAT is the problem?”
In a pointed counterpoint to such sentiments, Daniel’s production of “Twilight” features a multi-racial five-person ensemble, each of whom endeavors to deliver honest portrayals of a dizzying array of characters ranging across the wide and diverse blend of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ideology, and status that makes up the personality of Los Angeles itself. All of them have transcendent moments, in which the play’s emphasis on humanity over tribalistic loyalty shines clearly in the forefront; even so, it can’t be denied that splitting the original’s one-person format into a concept that divides its dozens of roles among multiple players has the undoubtedly unintended effect of diffusing the material’s power; there’s something profound about a single voice giving expression to a multitude of individual experiences, and while the same feeling may be stirred when the number of voices expands, some audiences may find it is inevitably diminished in the process.
Still, the production at the Taper delivers a powerful punch, and it’s no surprise that its single most electrifying and devastating moment comes when the videotape of Rodney King being savagely beaten is played silently for a shocked and palpably moved audience. Perhaps more importantly, it offers a comprehensive crash course on the facts around one of America’s most significant cultural crises (and one of LA’s darkest moments) of the last half-century, and fills in the blanks for those too young to remember the real-life event. Most of all, though, it confronts us with an unpleasant truth, and leaves us less sure of where we stand than when we entered the theatre.
As Daniel frames it, “If we’re going to be a city that lives together, how do we relate to what’s on the stage? Our intention with ‘Twilight’ is not to point fingers, or to chide, but to say, as an LA community member, an Angeleno, what is your relationship to these events?”
That’s more than enough reason to see it – in fact, it’s enough to make it essential for any Angeleno coming to grips with their own relationship to the so-called City of Angels.
“Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” continues through April 9.
Discounted tickets are available through April 2 as part of LA Theatre Week.
Tickets and more information can be found at the Center Theatre Group website.
Echo Theater Company presents ‘That Perfect Place’
A beautiful imagining by writer/performer Brent Jennings of what his mentally challenged brother might have said, had he been able to speak
LOS ANGELES – The Echo Theater Company presents That Perfect Place, a beautiful imagining by writer/performer Brent Jennings of what his mentally challenged brother might have said, had he been able to speak.
”I grew up a long, long time ago. In the ‘60s to be exact,” says Jennings. “A time that now seems like some sort of aberration, or invasion of inspiring aliens because there’s never been another time like it. A time of real and substantive change, a time of hope, a time of endless possibilities, all of our voices mattered. Encased in that reality were families struggling with the domestic or familial challenges of their households. Families like the one I grew up in. The stories presented in That Perfect Place are a representation, a musing, a meditation on the lives of the family I grew up a part of, presented by its most challenged member. A member that may have been the most soulful, wisest and compassionate one of us all. Thank you for allowing me to explore this, my passion project, with you.”
Brent Jennings is a veteran stage, television and film actor based in Los Angeles with a career spanning almost 40 years. Most recently, he was seen on television in the lead role of Ernie Fontaine in the critically acclaimed television series Lodge 49, and he has appeared in the recurring role of Grandpa Willie in the hit CW drama All American for the past four seasons. Other credits include multiple episodes of All Rise; Snowfall and the new comedy How to Be A Bookie for HBO Max. Other recent credits include Insecure and Young Sheldon.
April 2 – April 23
• Sundays at 7:30 p.m.: April 2, April 9, April 16, April 23
Echo Theater Company
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
FREE in the Atwater Crossing (AXT) lot one block south of the theater
For more information visit:
STAGE RAW announces 2023 Theatre Awards Finalists
This year, Stage Raw is recognizing productions in venues of all sizes, rather than focusing entirely on venues of 99-seats or fewer
LOS ANGELES – The Stage Raw Theater Awards celebrate excellence on Los Angeles-area stages. This year’s Stage Raw “I’m Still Here” Theater Awards Party will recognize productions that opened in the calendar year 2022.
Stage Raw is a community funded professional journalism website that was launched in 2014, in response to the decline of arts coverage in local mainstream and alternative media.
The Awards party will be held Monday night, April 17, 2023 at the Sassafras Saloon, 1233 N. Vine Street in Hollywood. Tickets are $20 for everybody, if purchased in advance. $25 at the door. (Capacity is limited and tickets will no longer be available once that capacity is reached.) Admission includes complimentary food, music, dancing and a cash bar. All proceeds will be used to support the professional journalists of Stage Raw, and their ability to continue covering Los Angeles-area theater.
Tickets can be purchased here: (Link)
Be sure to use the discount promo code “StageRaw” to bypass the $2.50 ticketing fee. (This is a service of ticketing agency onstage411.com).
CHANGES FROM PRIOR STAGE RAW AWARDS CEREMONIES:
This year, Stage Raw is recognizing productions in venues of all sizes, rather than focusing entirely on venues of 99-seats or fewer.
Also, Stage Raw has changed its system of allocating recognition in response to the flaw in prior years of excluding excellent productions that were unable to attract a “quorum” of contributors. This year, each Stage Raw contributor has been allocated a number of votes, in proportion to the number of Stage Raw-reviewed shows they saw, and they have cast their votes to any person, production or in any category they choose.
Explains Founding Editor Steven Leigh Morris: “The hoped-for effect of this system is to diversify the number of companies receiving awards by honoring the generational, ethnic, gender and aesthetic diversity of our individual contributors, who will each be selecting award winners.”
And finally, the entire feel of the event will be more of a party than an awards show. The actual ceremony will be 30-45 minutes dedicated to announcements, and the presentation of the “Queen of the Angels” and “Lifetime Achievement” awards. All of the other awards recipients will be named during this ceremony and can retrieve their awards at a table.
THE 2023 STAGE RAW AWARD FINALISTS/RECIPIENTS:
Ahmed Best, Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies, Echo Theater Company
Dean Harada, Tea, Hero Theatre at Inner-City Arts
Lap Chi Chu, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,
Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum
Hsuan-Kuang Hsieh, The Great Jheri Curl Debate, East West Players
Nick Santiago, Green Day’s American Idiot, Chance Theatre
Ann Beyersdorfer, Afterglow, Midnight Theatricals at the Hudson Theatre
John Iacovelli, The Brothers Paranormal, East West Players
Cindy Lin, Untitled Baby Play, IAMA Theatre Company
Rachel Myers, Power of Sail, Geffen Playhouse
Aimee Carrero, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Geffen Playhouse
Alexandra Hellquist, On the Other Hand We’re Happy, Rogue Machine Theatre
Michael Matts, Angels in America: Perestroika, Foolish Production Company
Eileen T’Kaye, A Doll’s House, Part II, International City Theatre
Brent Grimes, Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies, Echo Theater Company
John Rubinstein, Eisenhower: This Piece of Ground, New Los Angeles Repertory Theatre Company, Theatre West and Hudson MainStage Theatre
Alex Alpharaoh, Wet: A DACAmented Journey, Greenway Court Theatre
Colin Campbell, Grief: A One-Man Shitshow, The Broadwater
Ben Moroski, Dog, The Broadwater
Jesús I. Valles (Un)documents, Latino Theater Company
Judy Carter, A Death-Defying Escape!, Hudson Guild Theatre
Hugo Armstrong, Uncle Vanya, Pasadena Playhouse
Kevin Ashworth, A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney, Theatre Planners at the Odyssey Theatre
Ramón de Ocampo, Hamlet, Antaeus Theatre Company
Jenny O’Hara, Little Theatre, Rogue Machine Theatre
Zachary Quinto, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Geffen Playhouse
Jennifer Shelton, A Doll’s House, Part II, International City Theatre
Michael A. Shepperd, Valley Song, International City Theatre
Kalean Ung, Macbeth, Independent Shakespeare Co.
Nancy Lantis, The Sandman, Eclipse Theatre LA and Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival
Ahmed Best, Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies, Echo Theater Company
Will Block and the ensemble of All is True or Henry VIII, The Porters of Hellsgate Theatre Company
Gregg T. Daniel and the ensemble of Radio Golf, A Noise Within
Can’t Pay? Don’t Pay!, The Actors’ Gang
Anna in The Tropics, A Noise Within
Blues for an Alabama Sky, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum
The Colored Museum, Loft Ensemble
Freestyle Love Supreme, Pasadena Playhouse,
If Nobody Does Remarkable Things, Pandora Productions at the Garage Theatre
The Inheritance, Geffen Playhouse
Masao and the Bronze Nightingale, CASA 0101 and the Japanese American National Museum
James Fowler, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Open Fist Theatre Company
Carla Ching, Revenge Porn, Ammunition Theatre Company
Bernardo Cubria, The Play You Want, Road Theatre Company
Kelly McBurnette-Andronicos, The House of Final Ruin, Ophelia’s Jump
Murray Mednick, Three Tables, Padua Playwrights at the Zephyr Theatre
PRODUCTION EXCELLENCE IN QUEER STORYTELLING
Interstate, East West Players
DISTINGUISHED MUSICAL REVIVAL
Oklahoma! Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Open Fist Theatre
The Penelopiad, City Garage
Roe, Fountain Theatre
Uncle Vanya, Pasadena Playhouse
The Road Theatre Company (The Play You Want, Beloved, Bright Half Life, According to the Chorus)
Maria Gobetti and Tom Ormeny (Victory Theatre Center)
Frédérique Michel and Charles Duncombe (City Garage)
QUEEN OF THE ANGELS
The SB116 Coalition (Teri Ball, Beatrice Casagran, Elina DeSantos, Emmanuel Deleage, Martha Demson, Christopher Maikish, Leo Marks, Marc Antonio Pritchett and Vanessa Stewart)
The 2023 Stage Raw “I’m Still Here” Theater Awards Party is supported through the generous sponsorship of the following companies and individuals: Antaeus Theatre Company, Crimson Square Theatre, Dina Morrone, DEMAND PR, The Geffen Playhouse, The Hudson Theatres, IAMA Theatre Company, Lucy Pollak Public Relations, Macha Theatre Company, Ophelia’s Jump, Road Theatre Company, Sandra Kuker Public Relations, Santa Monica Playhouse, Sierra Madre Playhouse, Theatre 40, Theatre of NOTE, and The Victory Theatre Center.
RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL at the Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks
Show opens Friday, March 24 & runs through Sunday, April 2, 2023 at the Kavli Theatre at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – 5-STAR THEATRICALS is proud to announce the first show of its 2023-2024 season, the Tony Award winning, RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL, book by Terrence McNally, music by Lynn Ahrens, lyrics by Steven Flaherty, conductor and musical direction by Tom Griffin, choreography by Michelle Elkin and directed by Jeffrey Polk.
RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL opens on Friday, March 24, 2023 and runs through Sunday, April 2, 2023 at the Kavli Theatre at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center (formerly the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza), 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.
Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, this musical tapestry depicts an African-American family, a Jewish immigrant family, and a wealthy white suburban family in turn-of-the-century America, who collide in pursuit of the American Dream.
Nominated for 13 Tony Awards® including “Best Musical,” and winning for “Best Original Score” and “Best Book of a Musical,” Ragtime is a powerful portrait of life during the turn-of-the-century, exploring America’s timeless contradictions of freedom and prejudice, wealth and poverty, hope and despair.
CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST
JEFFREY POLK (Director) Directed and Choreographed: The Color Purple, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Memphis (The Musical), Ain’t Misbehavin’. Choreographed: Dreamgirls, (TUTS, Houston with Sheldon Epps, Director), Kiss Me, Kate, (Pasadena Playhouse, Sheldon Epps, Director), Blues In The Night, (The Wallis, Beverly Hills, Sheldon Epps, Director). Guest Director with “The Young Americans” and “Heartglobal Outreach World Tours.” Mr. Polk has performed on Broadway, national tours, TV and film.
MICHELLE ELKIN (Choreography) Select credits include: “Sutton Foster Live” with Jonathan Groff (PBS), “Young Sheldon” resident choreographer (CBS), “Younger” (TV Land), “The Wonderful Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon), “Me And My Grandma” with Rhea Perlman, “Baby Daddy” (ABC Family), TNT pilot “Dawn” directed by Sam Raimi, Lifetime’s reality show “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” “Kristin” starring Kristin Chenoweth, and tap sequences in ABC Family’s “Bunheads.” Theater: Live musical numbers featuring Tony Award winner Sutton Foster with special guest Joshua Henry for the NSO at Kennedy Center, New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and the Houston Symphony. Theater: Something Rotten (Broadway World Nominee) Sister Act The Musical (Broadway World Nominee), Hunchback Of Notre Dame (Broadway World Nominee) Children Of Eden (Broadway World Nominee); Little Shop Of Horrors (Straz Center), The Goodbye Girl (MTG). Feature films: Wild Hogs, What Just Happened. Associate Choreographer credits include; “Dancing With The Stars,” Sister Act at Pasadena Playhouse, “Emmy Awards” with Jane Lynch, “Academy Awards” with Hugh Jackman and the Broadway show, Wonderland(Marquis Theater).
TOM GRIFFIN (Musical Director/Conductor)is a nationally recognized musical director and conductor for professional musical theater.
Tom was musical director for the Los Angeles productions of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, The Music Man, Annie, “13” The Musical, Bye Bye Birdie, Sweet Charity, West Side Story, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the national tour of My Fair Lady for Theatre Of The Stars, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s productions of A Christmas Carol, Peter Pan, 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee, Disney’s Mary Poppins, the East Coast Premiere & New York Workshop of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory and The Pioneer Theatre Company’s productions of Once, A Christmas Carol, Elf, The Musical, Peter & The Starcatcher, Oliver, Newsies and Once On This Island.
Tom has received awards for his musical direction of shows including the Broadway revival of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Los Angeles premiere), for which he received a Garland Award for Best Musical Direction, and Side Show (Los Angeles premiere), for which he received a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Best Musical Direction, as well as eight Theatre LA Ovation Award nominations.
Tom was the musical conductor of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast on two national tours and served again as musical director for the show’s run at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Tom’s other productions include Grease, The Mystery of Edmond Drood, the West Coast premiere of My Way, A Connecticut Yankee, Honk! The Musical, the West Coast & Los Angeles premieres of The Last Five Years, the West Coast premiere of The Spitfire Grill, 70 Girls 70, Baby, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jungle Book, Aladdin, Fatty, Oklahoma, The Wizard of Oz, Inside the Music and Club Indigo, for which he also won a DramaLogue award for Best Musical Direction.
The Cast of RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL will feature Marty Austin Lamar as “Coalhouse,” Brittany Anderson as “Sarah,” Misty Cotton as “Mother,” Michael Scott Harris as “Father,” Hank Jacobs as “Tateh,” Samantha Wynn-Greenstone as “Emma Goldman,” Ceron Jones as “Booker T,” Monica Ricketts as “Evelyn Nesbit,” Jeremy Ingraham as “Younger Brother,” Steven Perren as “Grandfather,” Jacob Hoff as “ Harry Houdini,” Josh Christoff as “JP Morgan,” Davis Hamilton as “Henry Ford,” Lila Dunham as “Little Girl,” Daxton Bethoney as “Little Boy (Edgar)” and Jordan Jackson as “Sarah’s Friend/Ensemble.”
The Ensemble will feature (in alphabetical order): Christopher D. Baker, Emily Cochrane, Domo D’DAnte, BK Dawson, Julia Feeley, Glen Hall, Tyler Marshall, Almand Martin, Jr., Donovan Mendelovitz, Kristen O’Connell, Will Riddle, Zara Saje, Leasa Shukiar, Kumari Small, Tania Pasano Storrs and Dekontee Tucrkile.
The Youth Ensemble will feature (In alphabetical order): Delilah Bank, Tanner Cox, Camryn Daniels, Madelyn Freidman, Harley Grey, Harrington Gwin, Madison North, Calulla Sawyer, Weston Walker-Pardee , Poppi Wilbur-McDaniels and Olivia Zenetzis.
The Design Team of RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL features: Lighting Design by Brandon Baruch; Costume Design by Shon LeBlanc; Sound Design by Jonathan Burke; Props Design by Alex Choate; Hair and Wig Design by Luis Ramirez. The Production Stage Manager is Erin Nicole Eggers.
ABOUT THE PRICING AND SCHEDULE
RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL opens on Friday, March 24 and runs through Sunday, April 2, 2023 at the Kavli Theatre at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center (formerly the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza), 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.
Performances are Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm; Sunday, March 24 at 2pm and Sunday, April 2 at 1pm; with an added performance on Thursday, March 30 at 7:30pm.
Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center Box Office located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks, or through www.5startheatricals.com, or by phone at (800) 745-3000.
For groups of 10 or more, please call Group Sales, 5-STAR THEATRICALS at (805) 497-8613 x 1.
Ticket prices range from $35 – $90. For ticket and theatre information, call (805) 449-ARTS (2787).
COVID PROTOCOLS for RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL at the KAVLI THEATRE
There will no longer be any COVID vaccination requirements for The Bank of America Performing Arts Center. In compliance with the Ventura County Public Health Order masks or face coverings are highly recommended for all persons, regardless of vaccination status.
The Road Theatre: Under Construction – New Play SLAMFEST 3
Located in the heart of the NoHo Arts district- the company has called the Historic Lankershim Arts Center home for the past 26 seasons
NORTH HOLLYWOOD – The Road Theatre Company and Taylor Gilbert, Founder/Artistic Director together with Sam Anderson, Artistic Director, remain committed to their meaningful mission to produce and develop New Work for the Stage creating plays from the bottom up! With Carlyle King, Jessica Broutt, the dream was hatched. They called it UNDER CONSTRUCTION – NEW PLAY SLAMFEST 3.
Eleven new playwrights will showcase their plays that were developed during the ten-month gestation process. UNDER CONSTRUCTION – NEW PLAY SLAMFEST 3 is something special and unique at the ROAD and its playwrights continue to garner success all over the country. Recently the company added Steppenwolf to the list!
Here is the lineup for the three weeks:
February 17 – 8pm: A True Tragedie by Jason Gray Platt, directed by Nancy Fassett.
In Elizabethan England, a struggling theatre company tries to make a name for itself by inventing a whole new genre of storytelling. Think Shakespeare in Love.
February 18 – 8pm: Gentlemen & Ladies by Alyssa Haddad-Chin, directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky. When a Men’s Rights Group gets off the internet and meets in person, a new member threatens to change things up!
February 19 – 2pm: STILL by Lia Romeo, directed by Michelle Bossy.
30 years ago, Helen and Mark broke up. Now he is running for Congress, and she has a secret that could derail his bid. A play about lost love and the ways people change… or don’t.
February 19 – 7:30pm: unconformity by Mak Shealy, directed by Kristina Cole Geddes.
Geology grad students, bound by a shared love of trying to decipher the secrets of ancient earth. At the center of it all, curiosity and fear battle it out as we search for a meaningful way to measure our time here.
February 24- 8pm: FEAST by Adam Hunter Howard, directed by Allan Wasserman.
FEAST is a play about generations-those we’ve honored, those we’ve lost, and those we never knew.”
February 25- 8pm: REUNION by Rafael Yglesias, directed by Sam Anderson.
After decades of hiding the truth from their loved ones, what will happen when they reveal their true selves? And when they finally face each other with their separate truths, will that heal or break them?
February 27- 8pm ELECTRIC, I by Shayne Eastin, directed by Adrian Alex Cruz.
What does it mean to project the “self”? A group of creatives, scientists, business persons and criminals explore this question in the early age of cinema-and the distant future.
March 3- 8pm: The Sporting Life by Marjorie Muller, directed by April Webster.
Dad’s new girlfriend is a serial killer and it’s honestly kinda iconic. 16-year-old Dot still hasn’t gotten her period. The Sporting Life is a ‘this girl is a woman now’ story brutally snapped open.
March 4- 8pm Alisha Firewind by Ryan Elliot Wilson, directed by Darryl Johnson.
The Parson family is coping, like everyone else who isn’t a fascist-pardon, a ‘Patriot’. Surveilled by neighbors-it’s tough all over. But maybe, just maybe Alisha Firewind, a therapeutic, taxidermy mule head helps them sing their struggles.
March 5- 2pm Memory of Winter by Tira Palmquist, directed by Beth Lopes.
It’s winter for now. And Billie Peterson is in Minnesota, again, for now. She is coming to terms with the fact that not even the coldest,deepest, largest lake in N. America is immune to the effects of climate change.
March 5- 7:30pm: Singularities or the Computers of Venus written by Laura Stribling.
What do we see when we look at the star? The past? The future? Our own limits? Set in 3 different time periods, the lives of women astronomers look at light, love and the infinite.
THE ROAD THEATRE COMPANY:
NoHo Senior Arts Colony
10747 W. Magnolia Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 91601
Located in the heart of the NoHo Arts district-the fastest growing arts district in LA County-the company has called the Historic Lankershim Arts Center home for the past 26 seasons. The Road Theatre Company is a multi award-winning theater that has been named one of the top ten intimate theater companies in Los Angeles . It is home to over 150 theater artists devoted to the creation of the highest level of work. This festival is produced by special arrangement with SAG-AFTRA.
FOLLOW THE ROAD FOR THE LATEST UPDATES:
Calling unseen LGBTQ playwrights, This could be your big break!
The 14th annual Summer Playwrights Festival will take place over ten exciting days from Friday, July 7- Sunday July 16th, 2023
HOLLYWOOD – In a world that seems increasingly governed by Tik Tok performances, and streaming media through our phones, the godmother/father of all media still rules supreme: live theater.
Psychologists have studied it and found that theater patrons flex their brains more, develop critical thinking, dig deeper into self-awareness and open up deeply felt empathy. A scientific project found that after a live theater production, the viewers “showed changes in their attitudes towards racial discrimination, income inequality, welfare, corporate regulations, wealth redistribution, and affirmative action. They also increased their charitable giving after the performance.”
While he never followed a YouTube influencer, the challenger to society’s mores, Oscar Wilde said, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
The Road Theatre Company , a multi award-winning theater named as one of the top ten intimate theatre companies, is the wellspring of Los Angeles’s creative theater. It represents everything theater should, and must be, to feed the imaginative and critically thinking mind and soul of America. Its mission is not to just to present theater, it is to create it. Located in the heart of the Noho Arts District, the company is an ensemble of 150+ theatre artists fiercely committed to the development of new plays. To further that mission, the company has launched Under Construction, a collaborative group of new and established playwrights dedicated to socially and politically relevant storytelling for the American stage.
Taylor Gilbert, the founder and artistic director told me, “The Road Theatre Company was started when a group of actors, including myself, were in a very bad play. We left the stage after its second performance. We cleared out the dressing room and said, ‘We can do better than this!’ We walked into Jerry’s Deli and started brainstorming. Two months later, with a group of fellow actors from all over, we opened in a very dreary but exciting warehouse district and have been true to our mission since: To produce politically and or socially relevant new work not previously seen in Los Angeles. Now 31 years later we are still striving to do just that.”
LGBTQ and ally authors and playwrights, here is your chance to be discovered!
Fourteen years ago, after over a decade and a half of success producing new plays, the Road Theater Company expanded the initiative to find new work by launching the Summer Playwrights Festival.
The festival is now one of the largest staged reading festivals in the nation.
The concept is simple. Playwrights submit their work blindly, their identity is essentially anonymous, and the hundreds of submissions are vetted by a group of designated readers. Those readers then elevate finalists to the artistic board who make the final decisions. The ten winners from that process are presented as the stage readings which comprise the festival. The 14th annual Summer Playwrights Festival will take place over ten exciting days from Friday, July 7- Sunday July 16th, 2023. Each reading is followed by a talk-back with the playwright and director.
Playwright submissions come from all over the country, and the festival is a great opportunity for LGBTQ writers to get their stories heard and presented. “We have playwrights who have done nothing, we have playwrights who have been produced on Broadway,” Taylor tells me. “You can be from any background of writing and if your play is good, we’re going to look at it. We’re going to read it.”
She continues, “We’re not looking for any specific thing, we’re just looking for a writer who trips our mind a little bit. We’re looking for something that’s exciting and new and young. It’s interesting for us to be able to look at a play that we can cast in any way we feel possible — opening up our casting and to do conscious casting that reflects a more diverse and more inclusive festival and company.”
“I think at this point in time, we’re probably looking at things for a cast of around four or five people. Such a cast gives the opportunity with the smaller budget that we have in order to be able to produce more shows during the year. That doesn’t mean that we can’t do a reading of a play that has a larger cast than that. And it doesn’t mean that we won’t produce it. “
Taylor gives some insight into what submissions would speak to her, “When I read something that I feel is honest and real and close to someone’s heart. That’s what draws me into a piece. And it doesn’t mean it has to be pedestrian, which it can be, or somewhat fantastical. We appreciate storylines that include LGBTQ+ stories. We did one last season. It was fantastic production, that piece. We love being able to produce whatever we feel is so beautifully written that it just needs to be seen.”
Past playwrights that have been accepted have included John Patrick Shanley, Steve Yockey, William Mastrosimone, Harrison David Rivers, Jami Brandli, Lisa B. Thompson, Franky D. Gonzalez, D.L. Coburn, Lisa Loomer, Sharr White, Marisa Wegrzyn, Craig Wright, Wendy Macleod, Lucy Thurber, Mo Gaffney, Keith Huff, Brett Neveu, Scooter Pietsch, Craig Pospisil, Julie Marie Myatt, and Martyna Majok.
Artists performing the readings have included Bryan Cranston, Laurie Metcalf, Jason Alexander, Zachary Quinto, Ann Cusack, Kathy Baker, Jennifer Tilly, Perry King, Rondi Reed, Tom Irwin, Nancy Travis, Gregory Harrison, Gale Harold, Robert Pine, Michael O’Neill, Harold Gould, Jon Polito, James Eckhouse, Lila Crawford, and Zoe Perry.
ONLINE SUBMISSION INFO:
To submit your play, use this link: https://roadtheatre.org/event/summer-playwrights-festival-14-submission-info/
– Each submission is read and evaluated by Road Company members with recommendations made to the Artistic Board and SPF Producers who then read and evaluate the recommended scripts and make the final choices for the plays that will be given staged readings at SPF14.
-Each play receives a minimum of two reading evaluations. The SPF14 staff regrets that we do not provide feedback on any submitted materials.
-This year, SPF will strive to further reduce bias from our evaluation process, while at the same time taking into consideration race, gender, and other factors in our choice of plays. We are asking the playwrights to remove all identifying information from their scripts.
-Plays of any length or genre are eligible.
-To be included in SPF 14, the work must remain unproduced on the west coast and unpublished through July 16, 2023.
-Early submissions are strongly encouraged.
-No agent is required.
-ONLY electronic copy applications are accepted. No hard copies, please.
PLAY FORMAT GUIDELINES (SPF14):
-All scripts must be in a PDF file format. No hard copy submissions will be accepted.
-Please remove ALL identifying information about the playwright from the script.
-The title of your file should be the title of the play only.
-Plays must be paginated and include a list of characters.
-Please include a synopsis of your play on the submission form.
SUBMISSION WINDOW (SPF14):
-We will accept submissions for SPF 14 between February 1st through 11:59 pm on March 15, 2023. We cannot accept any plays past this deadline, so please plan accordingly.
-Plays of all lengths (ten-minute, one-act, full-length) are eligible for submission during this time.
-Official SPF 14 selections will be announced by June 7, 2023.
SUBMISSION FEE (SPF14):
-$20 for scripts over 30 pages (full length) and $15 for scripts under 30 pages (short form).
-The fee can be submitted via this link: SPF Submisson Fee
Upon payment, you will receive two emails in your inbox. The first will be a receipt of payment and the second will include details with script submission instructions.
If the fee is a financial hardship, please email [email protected] to have it waived, no questions asked.
FOLLOW THE ROAD FOR THE LATEST UPDATES:
For all inquiries and further information, contact:
Rob Watson is the host of the popular Hollywood-based radio/podcast show RATED LGBT RADIO.
He is an established LGBTQ columnist and blogger having written for many top online publications including Parents Magazine, the Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation, Gay Star News, the New Civil Rights Movement, and more.
He served as Executive Editor for The Good Man Project, has appeared on MSNBC and been quoted in Business Week and Forbes Magazine.
He is CEO of Watson Writes, a marketing communications agency, and can be reached at [email protected] .
Jinkx & DeLa’s latest holiday show has laughs, heart, & guts
“Add supernatural elements plucked from A Christmas Carol, and you’ve got more than enough pop culture references to hang the plot on”
NEW YORK – Marking the fourth holiday-themed touring production from Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme, The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show could do no wrong with the LGBTQ+-heavy crowd, at the first of two sold-out December 2/3 gigs at NYC’s storied Town Hall.
That the show landed at a venue known for hosting progressive organizations and artists such as the ACLU and Bob Dylan was a fitting choice. Although they came to play, not fight, the headliners would cap their wonderfully silly and unabashedly sexual performance with a forceful rebuke of homophobic violence and call for corrective measures powered not by righteous anger, but by radical love.
But enough about the last ten minutes. You came to read about a show by two you know from RuPaul’s Drag Race who’ve used that platform as both springboard and calling card—and that is what you shall get.
Written by and starring Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme, The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show takes its rightful place in the ever-expanding canonical universe Big Banged into existence beginning with 2018’s To Jesus, Thanks for Everything and followed by All I Want for Christmas is Attention (2019), The Return of the Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show, LIVE! (2021), and The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special—a one-hour, made-for-TV program that first ran on HULU in 2020 and became an instant classic, with all the line-quoting, repeat viewing appeal of Rankin/Bass at their batshit crazy best. It’s highly recommended at least once a year (handily beating a Hallmark movie for Christmas in July celebrants).
Fans of past Jinkx/DeLa stage shows who crave more of the same while hungering for something new will go home from 2022’s installment feeling as if they’ve eaten the same slice of cake inexplicably cradled in the palm of their hand. In other words, this show takes up residence right along the border separating seen-it-before from ain’t-seen-nothin’-yet. Familiarity shows itself exactly as it should—in the bickering and bonding between two wildly contrasting personality types locked in an eternal struggle to convince the other one they’re going about things the all wrong.
As self-appointed Activities Director of whatever happens to be happening at any given moment, Connecticut-raised BenDeLaCreme is the embodiment of a starchy but well-meaning perfectionist undermined by the very methods she uses to achieve that elusive enlightened state. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Jinkx Monsoon—a booze-swilling, pleasure-seeking, chaos-embracing pagan with a moral code so focused it invites comparison to DeLa’s penchant for extremism.
That the duo stubbornly travel different roads but somehow end up at the same destination is a frequent narrative motif throughout their work, one that never fails to pay off. Both queens experience an occasional fleeting awareness of this irony, promptly tucking it away until the plot reaches its inevitable point of détente.
And as the rules of comedy fittingly dictate, they do need to be at war with each other, always on the brink of a nuclear option. In that manner, especially when there’s no common enemy to fight, the conflict-prone odd couple milks their classic mismatched comedy team dynamic for all it’s worth. Not that they need to. Sold separately, both can hold their own as artists. Jinkx won RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7 this year, and DeLa toured with the immensely satisfying matrimony farce Ready to be Committed.
But when offered as a two-for-one, as is the case with these annual Holiday Shows, the strange brew of charisma, chemistry, and unconventional choices supersizes the well-established personas of each performer while mapping some new terrain in a comedic landscape once surveyed by Burns and Allen, Burnette and Lawrence, Randall and Klugman, and Saunders and Lumley. (Don’t know some or any of these names? One can easily imagine a steely-eyed Jinkx, in her raspy Smoker’s Baritone, growling, “Oh, go look it up.”)
As for the premise: It’s 2022, and DeLa anticipates the impending celebration of Jesus’ birth by working herself into a royal tizzy, having sensed, Princess-and-the-Pea-like, that something isn’t quite right. Observing much “planetary pitchiness” and more eggshells than usual “in the global nog,” DeLa recruits a reluctant Jinkx to time travel with her into past decades, from the 1960s onward—until they will presumably save Christmas by fixing whatever mistake created “the ever-declining Hellscape we once called our world.” Add to that some supernatural elements plucked wholesale from A Christmas Carol, and you’ve got more than enough pop culture references to hang the plot on. (“More than enough” being the only substantial critic’s takeaway: The Dickens classic is such a meaty bone, it deserves its own exclusive piece of satire. The ghosts used as guides to past/present/future could have been substituted by any number of imaginative options, as the writers excel at justifying huge narrative shifts with flimsy, throw-away logic.)
Of course, the large-looming, increasingly convoluted time travel thread itself is a wonderfully constructed conceit, an excuse for the show to stuff its stocking with every imaginable goodie on a diehard fan’s wish list. We’re talking giant puppets, RuPaul’s Drag Race references, filthy jokes, gasp-inducing wardrobe reveals, cutting zingers, and an all-cast production number depicting the Christ Child’s conception and birth as if it happened in the 1980s—when Journey rocked the top of the charts and everyone went to the gym looking like they had just seen Flashdance at a movie theater right next to a store that only sold headbands and leggings.
For practically every decade visited, there’s an original or parody musical number benefitting immensely from the show’s expertly choreographed dance ensemble. These six players—Chloe Albin, Mr. Babygirl, Elby Brosch, Shane Donohue, Jim Kent, and Ruby Mimosa—are on stage more often than not, and bring an actorly approach to the task at hand, whether it involves playing a candy cane, a reindeer, or sweet baby Jesus—fresh from the womb and already one of rock’s most gifted lead guitarists. (Pay attention, Grindr bottoms: That’s the kind of range expected when your profile says “verse.”)
That our gals manage to bring the timeline back into acceptable alignment will come as no surprise. The real appeal of the show is seeing the onetime reality TV stars doing their own thing and doing it spectacularly, without manufactured drama and meanspirited betrayals. Fact is, there’s plenty of mud being tossed, but done for the purpose of humor alone, it never lands with much force let alone stains.
What does linger is the potentially jarring—but effectively done—tonal shift during the show’s final 10 minutes, serving as a shot of confidence that sends the largely LGBTQ+ crowd back into a world where the weapons-grade nastiness we’ve laughed at all night long won’t be hurled by a member of the tribe or an ally who’s in on the joke. After calling out the world they just spent two-plus hours fixing for its ever-present homophobia and potential for violence, Jinkx holds DeLa tight and sings Looking at the Lights, a contemplative number that swaddles the jam-packed, 1,500-seat venue in a blanket of radical love. Maybe enough to survive the holidays at an unhospitable family member’s home, or at your own place, all alone. “We don’t need to be okay,” sings Jinkx, to recovering perfectionist DeLa. “There’s no right way to be.”
Composed by Major Scales, Jinkx delivers Looking at the Lights in a hushed manner worlds apart from the assertive vocal stylings she’s been crushing all night. Lyricist BenDeLaCreme has called the 2021 song “the first I’ve ever written that’s just earnest and didn’t break itself with a joke… As someone who’s always struggled with the holidays, this is more than just a song about pandemic loneliness. It’s about friendship and community.”
That sense of kinship is the gift we all hope to get, all year long. As such, it’s one Jinkx and DeLa say they’ll be touring with at this time of year—every year—for as long as the fates allow. Until then, this empowering nugget from the Jinkx/DeLa-written anthem, Everyone is Traumatized by Christmas:
No matter where you come from, no matter who you are
There’s something ’bout this holiday that’s sure to leave a scar
An overbearing family, no family at all
Run over by a reindeer or just working at the mall
But, at least they’re not alone
At least you’re not alone
No, you’re not alone if you’ve been traumatized!
“The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show” has sold out its upcoming performances in cities including Austin, TX, San Diego, CA, and the December 18 show at LA’s Orpheum Theatre. Limited tickets remained for the Orpheum’s Dec. 19 show at the time of this article’s publication.
For tickets, click here. Super VIP and VIP Meet & Greet packages available. The tour continues through Dec. 30 with stops including Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, and Vancouver, BC. For those unable to see them live, highly recommended is 2020’s “The Jinx & DeLa Holiday Special.” Rent or purchase via Vimeo on Demand, iTunes, Google Play, VUDU, and Amazon Prime.
“The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show” is co-written and co-created by BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon, directed by BenDeLaCreme, and produced by BenDeLaCreme Presents, a company comprised of producers BenDeLaCreme, Kevin Heard, and Gus Lanza.
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