Kirk Douglas Theatre

NATIVE SON Opens at the Douglas

--Broadway World  April 19, 2019

nativeson

Antaeus Theatre Company's production of "Native Son," which Center Theatre Group is remounting at the Kirk Douglas Theatre as part of the third annual Block Party: Celebrating Los Angeles Theatre, will open Saturday, April 20 at 8 p.m. Written by Nambi E. Kelley, based on the novel by Richard Wright and directed by Andi Chapman, "Native Son" is currently in previews and will close April 28.

The cast includes Noel Arthur, Gigi Bermingham, Jon Chaffin, Ellis Greer, Matthew Grondin, Mildred Marie Langford, Ned Mochel, Victoria Platt and Brandon Rachal.

The design team includes scenic design by Edward E. Haynes Jr., costume design by Wendell C. Carmichael, lighting design by Andrew Schmedake, sound design by Jeff Gardner, and projection design by Adam R. Macias. The production stage manager is Taylor Anne Cullen.

"Native Son" is set in 1930s Chicago, where a longing for social justice ignites a palpable rage within protagonist Bigger Thomas. "Native Son" is a gripping adaptation of the classic Richard Wright novel and focuses on the inner workings of Thomas' mind as events violently and irrevocably seal his fate.

Tickets for Block Party are available by calling (213) 628-2772, online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, at the Center Theatre Group Box Office at the Ahmanson Theatre or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre Box Office two hours prior to performance. Tickets for each individual production range from $27 - $77 (ticket prices are subject to change).

 

 

Rotterdam at Kirk Douglas Theatre

--Broadway World  April 1, 2019

rotterdam

 

Skylight Theatre Company's production of "Rotterdam," opened this weekend at Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Written by Jon Brittain and directed by Michael A. Shepperd, "Rotterdam" will close April 7.

The cast includes Ryan Brophy, Audrey Cain, Ashley Romans and Miranda Wynne.

The design team includes scenic and lighting design by Jeff McLaughlin, costume design by Naila Aladdin Sanders and sound design by Christopher Moscatiello. The production stage manager is Garrett Crouch.

"Rotterdam" begins in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on New Year's Eve when Alice finds the courage to come out to her parents. Alice's decision inspires her girlfriend Fiona to make an announcement of her own. Before Alice hits send on her email, Fiona reveals that she has always identified as a man and now wants to live as one, sending their relationship into a tailspin.

Review: The drama flies with the elbows in the 'Roller Derby Play' at the Kirk Douglas

--Los Angeles Times March 11, 2019

rollerderby

Center Theatre Group kicks off its third annual Block Party program, which remounts successful recent productions from three local theater companies, with Gina Femia’s lively and enjoyable sports dramedy “For the Love Of (Or, the Roller Derby Play).”

The inventively staged show premiered in L.A. last spring at Theatre of Note with mostly the same cast and key crew members. It won’t make you an expert on the ins and outs of all-female roller derby — that raucous, bruising contact sport with a long and checkered history — but it will certainly give you enough working insight to follow along.

Femia gets the basics out of the way from the jump as Lizzie Lightning (Tania Verafield), take-no-prisoners star “jammer” (designated scorer) of the amateur Brooklyn Scallywags, offers a snappy and admittedly cursory recount of the rules. The fun, chase and excitement of the sport are perhaps the chief takeaways — and certainly what drive the play.

We don’t really see the games in action — and that’s fine. The colorfully clad actors cleverly conjure up the “jams” (matchups) through stylized dance moves, creatively choreographed by director Rhonda Kohl. (The cast cavorts between scenes as well, backed by Gilly Moon’s dynamic sound design.)

We follow the course of a season through games that, along with bout-announcer intros, often transition us between the show’s movie-like string of dramatic interactions. Eli Smith’s flat-gray set, with a roller derby track at its center, transforms with the help of Rose Malone’s lighting and a collection of painted boxes that evoke various locations: a locker room, a tattoo parlor, a dance club, a car, different apartments — though it all looks a bit rudimentary on the Douglas’ large stage.

The main thrust of the non-derby scenes involves talented tyro teammate Joy Ride (cast newcomer Briana Price) as she finds herself torn between her growing passion for the sport and her waning feelings for longtime love Michelle (Elinor Gunn), a recently unemployed artist with a jealousy streak.

Meanwhile Lizzie, the ex-girlfriend of Scallywags coach Andrea the Vagiant (standout Alina Phelan), shamelessly flirts with Joy, who’s intrigued, if wary, around her surly and seductive new friend. Although this romantic triangle’s emotional quotient plays credibly enough, it skitters into light melodrama in ways that Femia’s generally hard-edged script largely avoids.

The other teammates are given just a few broad-stroked scenes to flesh out their personal lives, resulting in a somewhat lopsided feel to the show’s ensemble vibe. Still, we’re stirred or amused just enough to connect with these vitally different women.

They include the feisty, 40ish Anna-Stecia (Yolanda Snowball), who’s also a caring night nurse; Diaz de los Muertos (Crystal Diaz), a fierce competitor haunted by her brother’s untimely death; Squeaky Mouse (Liesel Hanson), an offbeat college student who finds her voice; Hot Flash (Lynn Odell), a brassy mom in her early 50s; and brainy, stressed-out law student Prosecute-Her (Jenny Soo).

The cast members commit to their brash-talking, invective-hurling, take-me-as-I-am parts, wearing their characters’ at times shaky self-possession and arm’s-length warmth with a lived-in authenticity. Even when Femia’s dialogue feels a tad warmed-over, the actors keep us invested.

There’s a more propulsive, full-length one-act at the heart of Femia’s two-hour, two-act play. But for now, you could do worse than to strap yourself in for this gritty, exuberant lap through the rough-riding world of roller derby and the eclectic women who play offense and defense, on and off the track.

‘For the Love Of (Or, the Roller Derby Play)’

Where: Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday; ends Sunday

Tickets: $25-$62 (subject to change)

Info: (213) 628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org

Running time: 2 hours (including one intermission)

Dixie’s Tupperware Party at Kirk Douglas Theatre Nov. 28-Dec. 30, so fresh & fabulous!

--Entertainment Today  November 23, 2018

tupperware2

“Dixie’s Tupperware Party” is an ultra-fabulous and funny theatrical experience. It recalls a time when the most fun a housewife could have was an evening gushing over the latest air-tight lids keeping things fresh in plastic containers, while sipping a glass of wine at a friend’s Tupperware party.

Well, brace yourselves gals, “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” is a refreshing trip back in time. The wild off-Broadway show stars the super-sassy Dixie Longate. And the hysterical experience is being presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, California, for a limited engagement November 28 to December 30.

“Tupperware parties were the first social network, a reason to come together and share some fun,” said Dixie, the fast-talking Southern belle in the red bouffant wig. “That’s what I do. I took the private parties out of the living room and on to the stage. It’s an interactive experience too, getting audience members to laugh and assist with product demos, games and giveaways. People give testimonials about their treasured Tupperware heirlooms. It’s very nostalgic about how plastic containers gave women empowerment with an option for income and independence thanks to the Tupperware party pioneer Brownie Wise. I knew this was for me when I learned I could make money and drink on the job. It’s awesome going out into the world, taking charge, and making the world a better place. That’s my hope every time I walk out on stage.”

Dixie noted, “This show isn’t just for the ladies. When guys come out they have just as much fun. Everyone has a good time. Bring a date, come with friends, it’s a show for everyone, cheeky but not vulgar. Just leave the little kids at home, they don’t have to know about food storage anyway.”

This Drama Desk Award nominated show is filled with outrageously funny stories and homespun wisdom. It is the sweetest treat for the upcoming holidays, because it is a hilarious experience that will lift your spirits and can be enjoyed by couples, groups of friends, and individuals who just want the laughter to flow and forget their worries. Dixie said, “The Party will leave your heart a little bigger and your food a little fresher.”

Produced by Down South LLC, directed by Patrick Richwood, and written by Kris Andersson, the production is part of the 11th season of “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” national tour that has so far logged over 1,300 performances worldwide. The show contains some risqué content, but would be enjoyable for ages 16 and up.

“Dixie’s Tupperware Party”  plays November 28 to December 30 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232. Three-hour FREE parking available at Culver City City Hall with validation. Enter on Duquesne Ave. For tickets go to www.dixiestupperwareparty.com, or phone 213-628-2772. For Group Sales email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 213-972-7231.

At the Kirk Douglas, ‘Quack’ doesn’t duck issues, but it raises too many

--Los Angeles Daily News  October 30, 2018

quack

When Neel Keller directs a play, the audience is sure to see two elements. One is memorable scenic design, with settings and scene changes we could only have imagined. The other element is atypical characters with something of import to say. In the case of “Quack,” they have a bit too much to say, and that puts a damper on an otherwise intelligent script.

In this handsome world premiere at Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theatre through Nov. 18, playwright Eliza Clark tackles misogyny, the medical profession, weight and body image, friendship, the workplace, the internet, marriage, money, status and probably more. Her play talks so much, for two hours, without intermission, without taking a breath, that she has made it difficult to fathom what it’s about at its core.

We remember the characters, though, helped in large part by a committed cast. The story centers on Dr. Irving Baer (Dan Bucatinsky), a physician who has become a major celebrity, dispensing medical advice via his popular television show. He says he’s guiding people toward health — or, it seems, toward whatever the majority of them want to hear.

His first concern about his audience seems to be weight control. But, his having commented on vaccinations, now those repercussions are slamming into him.

Wow, can Dr. Baer argue both sides of a medical debate, coming down right on the fence pole. He talks about healthcare to millions of viewers, never consulting with a single one of them, and yet when necessary he hides behind specializing in endocrinology.

He’s making money hand over fist (which, by the way, best describes his golf stance). And then a hit piece on him comes out, written by blogger River Thumbolt (Shoniqua Shandai), and she becomes an instant celebrity while his reputation is damaged, perhaps irreparably. But she’s seemingly untruthful, in her blogs and in her book about her weight-loss journey, though her tale of growing up obese rings genuine and personal.

Here, Clark gets in her digs about the internet era. “Can you imagine a life where everything you’ve ever said is being written down for people to pore over later, to meticulously comb through for mistakes?” the doc asks.

The doctor’s wife, Meredith (Jessalyn Gilsig), who runs a diet empire, is fuming. Her personality is tightly wound, but so are her finances, in this case around his. The doctor’s TV sidekick and self-appointed office assistant, Kelly (Jackie Chung), seems much more docile, rational, protective.

Both women try to tell Dr. Baer how to handle the onslaught of negative publicity. Instead, he turns to Brock Silver (Nicholas D’Agosto), a blogger with a rapidly increasing following of angry men who believe women are emasculating them, who through Brock have a forum where they can “express our immense and legitimate rage.”

Here, Clark drills down on the men who until recently have somewhat silently seethed at the “progress” of women. Baer’s perpetual insistence on how much he has “helped” women begins to feel self-soothing yet self-congratulatory.

Keller keeps the dialogue bubbling, mostly thanks to the lively, quirky Bucatinsky. But Keller also keeps the action literally moving along. Near the play’s end, a little mercifully, because we may have been wondering how it all gets done, and a little boastfully, because we get to see the magic between the last several scenes, the set, designed by Dane Laffrey, reveals its secret.

In the last scene, Baer and Silver have lunch in the seedy joint around the corner from the TV station. Are we meant to wonder how a man concerned with health can eat at a less-than-pristine establishment? How far has Baer fallen, now gazing hungrily at the meatball sub untouched by the man who has taken his place in the high-status/low-status game of life? Then fame beckons again.

So if this story looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, at least we’re left wondering whether it is a duck, leaving us debating the issues it raises. Or perhaps it’s showing us that occasionally, if provoked enough, each of us can act like a quack.

‘Quack’

Rating: ***

When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 18

Where: Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City

Length: 2 hours, no intermission

Suitability: Teens and adults, though probably not of interest to teens, with salty  language

Tickets: $25-$72

Information: 213-628-2772, www.CenterTheatreGroup.org

 

Review: 'School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play' is a refreshing take on youthful rivalries and machinations

--Los Angeles Times  Septenber 10, 2018

blackgirls2

 

The title of Jocelyn Bioh’s “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play,” is an accurate description of this entertaining comedy, which transplants a familiar American scenario to a new cultural context.

Set at a boarding school in central Ghana in 1986, the play, which opened Saturday at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, follows the youthful rivalries and machinations of a group of high school girls. (Fans of the “Mean Girls” movie with Lindsay Lohan or the musical version based on Tina Fey’s screenplay will appreciate how Bioh has made the underlying concept completely her own.) This clique is under the dominion of a fellow student named Paulina Sarpong (MaameYaa Boafo), whose edicts on dieting and fashion carry the weight of punitive law.

To Nana (Abena Mensah-Bonsu), a large-framed classmate trying to enjoy her porridge, Paulina is particularly blunt: “So…do you want to be fat-fat? Or fit and popular?” The other girls at the cafeteria table must gigglingly go along with whatever Paulina decrees or face the adolescent tyrant’s wrathful gaze.

Two developments shake up the normal order at the Aburi Girls Boarding School. A transfer from America, Ericka Boafo (Joanna A. Jones), has just arrived, and Headmistress Francis (the indispensable Myra Lucretia Taylor) has asked the students to help the newcomer find her way.

The even bigger news is that a recruiter for the Miss Ghana Pageant, Eloise Amponsah (a formidable Zenzi Williams), is planning a visit to the school. Paulina is sure that she will be selected, and her minions have no reason to doubt her. But Ericka, who carries herself with quiet confidence, is strikingly pretty. The daughter of a Ghanaian cocoa factory mogul and a white mother, she quickly wins over the other girls with talk of her lotions, makeup and Bobby Brown poster.

Paulina grows increasingly agitated when she learns that Ericka has signed up for the pageant. She blackmails Nana into stealing the new girl’s file to see what dirt she can find on the only student who poses a threat to her. A future beauty queen can’t leave anything to chance.

The situation is as tightly constructed as a network situation comedy. The plotting is formulaic, but the cultural setting introduces new wrinkles into the familiar setup.

Eloise, who regularly reminds everybody of her title (“I’m Miss Ghana 1966”), wants to find a girl who can appeal to a worldwide audience. She knows the reality of colorism, having been victimized by it herself, and she wants the next Miss Ghana to have a chance at the Global Universe Pageant. Eloise believes the country’s future depends on breaking through to a universal stage, and no one would dare argue with this imperious former contest winner, who sees opportunity in lighter-toned Ericka and a reflection of herself in determined and darker Paulina.

The play doesn’t say anything astonishingly new. Appearances turn out to be reliably misleading; truth, as we might suspect, lurks beneath the surface. But the experience of these young women is deliciously brought to life by a terrific ensemble.

The production, which originated off-Broadway at MCC Theater, where the play had its premiere last year, is under the pitch-perfect direction of Rebecca Taichman. It’s hard to imagine a better staging.

Every character, no matter how cursorily outlined, becomes fully individualized by the bearing and byplay of the actors (many of whom were in the original New York cast). The deadpan expressions and head-tilts of Latoya Edwards’ Ama, Paige Gilbert’s Gifty, Mirirai Sithole’s Mercy and Mensah-Bonsu’s Nana reveal everything you need to know about the shifting hierarchical dynamics at the school.

The simmering war between Boafo’s Paulina and Jones’ Ericka is handled in such a way as to lead us deeper into what the girls ultimately have in common. And the adults in the room, Taylor’s headmistress and Williams’ Eloise, expose just how sadly entrenched discriminatory attitudes are in the culture.

Bioh, an actor as well as a writer, provides room for the characters to grow. The situation may be confined to the cafeteria but brief glimpses into the inner worlds of the girls expand the territory.

The setting by scenic designer Arnulfo Maldonado is electrified by Jen Schriever’s lighting and Palmer Hefferan’s sound design. Bursts of R&B between scenes heighten the energy.

“School Girls” isn’t especially ambitious, but it is exceedingly well pulled off. You’d be hard pressed to find a more refreshing 75-minute comedy on television, never mind one with the added benefit of righting a wrong of under-representation.

‘School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play’

Where: Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City

When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays; ends September 30. Call for exceptions.

Tickets: $25 to $72 (subject to change)

Information: (213) 628-2772 or centertheatregroup.org

Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes (no intermission)

 

Review: Musical theater goes to the dogs in 'Mutt House,' and it's a lively romp

--Los Angeles Times  July 20, 2018

showdog2

If you could communicate with dogs, what would you ask them? Having pondered this problem more than I should probably admit, I think my first question would be: “Why do you roll on dead worms?” Followed closely by: “What’s your issue with mailmen?”

Then I would go on talk shows and write books and use my miraculous gift to usher in a new era of human-canine understanding.

Eddie Corbin (Ryan McCartan), the protagonist of the cute, callow, formulaic new musical “Mutt House,” now having its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, makes a different choice. Mocked since childhood for believing he can talk to animals, he has found a home of sorts at a city-funded dog shelter. During the day he cares for the inmates, consoling them, moderating their set-tos and tenderly putting them, when the time comes, to sleep. At night he bunks in the storage room.

Everybody besides the dogs thinks Eddie is crazy, including his tenderhearted boss, Gerry (Boise Holmes), who loves him like a son. But there are bigger problems on the horizon: Mayor Jenkins (Heather Olt) has decided to close the shelter. When her aide, a pretty senator’s daughter named Hannah Matthews (Claire Adams), stops by to collect some final paperwork, Eddie remembers her from school. He has never recovered from an unrequited crush on her.

Hannah has her own problems: her famous father’s ambitions for her, her unscrupulous boss and a fear of dogs left over from a childhood trauma.

It’s not hard to see how the pieces of this puzzle will come together — the final picture might as well be printed on the box lid. Still, watching them snap into place under Ryan Bergmann’s warm and lighthearted direction is entertaining and ultimately heartwarming.

Creator and book writer Tony Cookson leads with his good intentions, flirting at times with the preachy tone of puppet shows aimed at young children. Luckily he also has a playful sense of humor that, like a seasoned dog trainer, invites our trust, smooths any hackles raised by his more far-fetched plot twists and promises a lively romp.

The 18 original pop-rock songs, by a team including Cookson, John Daniel, Robb Curtis Brown and David O, vary pleasingly in style, and when they’re not laying on the animal-rights propaganda too thick, are funny and clever. Standouts include the torch song “When He Sniffs Me,” the cri de coeur “I’m Lying Here (Scratch Me)” and the lively, Latin-tinged “Beware of This Dog.” Accompanied by an onstage band led by music director Anthony Lucca, and set to Janet Roston’s snazzy choreography, the numbers get their narrative jobs done with cheerful efficiency, never outstaying their welcome.

Best of all, though, are the dogs! They’re played by six charming actors in Allison Dillard’s irresistible costumes and makeup, which evoke rather than mimic dogginess. Each is a different breed: Max (Max Wilcox), a dumpling shaped, belly-scratch-loving corgi; Digger (Ben Palacios), a charismatic golden Lab; Donna (Amanda Leigh Jerry), a mutt with a New York accent; a ritzy show poodle, Sophie (Valerie Larsen, who also plays an elderly bloodhound named Joanie); a chihuahua named Pepe (Gabriel Gonzalez); and a misunderstood pit bull named Bradley (Garrett Marshall), a kind of dog version of Judd Nelson’s character in “The Breakfast Club.”

Their different personalities are keenly and lovingly observed. “I’m going to run round the kennel until I can run around no more!” Pepe announces in a burst of happiness. It’s hard to watch this show without wishing that we could all be a bit more like dogs.

‘Mutt House’

Where: Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City

When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays; ends Aug. 5

Tickets: $39-$59.

Info: (213) 628-2772, MutthouseTheMusical.com

Running time: 2 hours

Lust, secrets, murder: Dive into the drag-rific world of 'Die, Mommie, Die!'

--Los Angeles Times  May 17, 2018

diemommie5

Before he established himself with the Tony-nominated play "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife," Charles Busch was the undisputed king of camp, best known for cheesy B-movie parodies starring himself as leading ladies on missions of salacious self-satisfaction and murder.

That's certainly the tenor of Busch's "Die, Mommie, Die!" — the final offering of Center Theatre Group's second annual Block Party, in which three shows from smaller houses are chosen to be remounted as full productions at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

All those who missed the 2017 "Mommie" at the Celebration Theatre will get another bite of the apple, complete with the hidden razors of Busch's wit. Backed by CTG's resources, the Douglas production is lavishly produced in every particular.

The original design team from the Celebration — scenic designer Pete Hickok, lighting designer Matthew Brian Denman and sound designer Rebecca Kessin — deliver superb results onstage, all reveling in upgraded budgets. Allison Dillard's sumptuously tacky costumes, so garish they will have you reaching for your sunglasses in a darkened theater, are particular standouts.

Director Ryan Bergmann is another holdover from the original production, as is his blissfully accomplished cast, spearheaded by Drew Droege in a flouncing, uproarious drag turn that brings down the house.

The action is set in 1967 Beverly Hills in the mansion of failed musical actress Angela Arden (Droege). Angela is unhappily married to film producer Sol (Pat Towne), whose cloying relationship with their daughter, Edith (Julanne Chidi Hill), is anything but wholesome.

Meanwhile, Angela is carrying on with protuberant tennis pro Tony Parker (Andrew Carter), who becomes the object of lust to both Edith and Angela's gay son, Lance (Tom DeTrinis). Angela's husband Sol is adored from afar by Bootsie (Gina Torrecilla), the family's long-time, long-simmering housekeeper. When Angela decides to poison Sol, a cascade of dark family secrets comes to light — improbably, histrionically and hilariously.

In Bergmann's comically shrewd staging, never let it be said that any of these actors is guilty of a subtle gesture. Masters of the double take and double entendre, they take us on a plunge into the playfully down-and-dirty.

Take a deep breath before immersion. And enjoy.

‘Die, Mommie, Die!’

Where: Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City

When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday; ends Sunday

Tickets: $25-$70

Information: (213) 628-2772 or centertheatregroup.org

Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Review: Block Party 2018 Ends with Campy Noir Classic DIE, MOMMIE, DIE! at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

--broadwayworld.com  May 14, 2018

diemommie2

 

Written by Charles Busch and directed by Ryan Bergmann, the Celebration Theatre's production of DIE, MOMMIE, DIE! is being remounted by Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre as the final selection of the second annual Block Party for which they received 53 submissions from intimate theatre companies in the greater Los Angeles area. Block Party 2018 also remounted Playwrights' Arena's production of "Bloodletting" and Critical Mass Performance Group's production of "Ameryka," with the three visiting companies each receiving the full support of Center Theatre Group and its staff in order to fund, stage and market each production.

For those not familiar with the unique style of Charles Busch, he is an American actor, screenwriter, playwright, and female impersonator known for his appearances on stage in his own camp style plays, as well as in film and television. He is the author of "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" which ran for nearly two years on Broadway and received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays "Psycho Beach Party" and "Die Mommie Die!" with the latter winning him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright.

His play DIE, MOMMIE, DIE! is a campy noir classic that follows the devious actions of fading Hollywood star Angela Arden, played to the hilt by Drew Droege in drag. Think of Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard" and throw in a bit of Joan Crawford's attitude and you get the idea of who Angela Arden is. And let me tell you, Droege is a wonder running across the stage in high heels, always dressed to feminine perfection by costumer Allison Dillard. But Angela is trapped in an unhappy marriage and plots to kill her husband, Hollywood producer Sol Sussman (Pat Towne) in order to be with her young, and very well-hung lover Tony Parker (Andrew Carter). His endowment is a running gag throughout the play, aimed at almost every other character at some point, a bit too suggestive and sexy for young audiences.

But when Angela's children, Daddy's Girl Edith (mini-skirt clad Julanne Chidi Hill) and joyously gay Lance (Tom Detrinis who flits and floats in feathers around the stage) learn of her plot, they join forces to seek their own revenge. And all the while, Angela's housekeeper Bootsie (Gina Torrecilla) goes about her business, often loudly promoting her conservative Republican political views, hatred of communism, thoughts about the Vietnam War, all the while secretly in love with Sol. Who winds up with whom is fabulously revealed as the many revenge plots collide, somehow resulting in Angela regaining her stardom.

Ryan Bregmann’s madcap direction keeps the action moving along quickly, with scenic design by Pete Hickok creating a two-story, classic Beverly Hills mansion in 1967 with a lovely garden. Lighting design by Matthew Brian Denman and sound design by Rebecca Kessin bring us a very loud and realistic storm, as well as several front-facing character poses highlighted in spotlights when important plot-giveaway lines are spoken, with enough song selections from the mid-60s to keep all baby boomers singing right along from "These Boots are Made for Walking" to "Downtown."

So throw caution (and reality) to the wind and be prepared to laugh at DIE, MOMMIE, DIE! continuing Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2 and 8pm, and Sunday at 1 and 6:30pm through May 20, 2018, performed with an intermission. Ticket Prices: $25 - $70 available online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, by calling Center Theatre Group Audience Services at 213.628.2772, in person at the Center Theatre Group Box Office at The Music Center, and at the Kirk Douglas Theatre two hours before curtain. Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd. in Culver City, CA 90232. Free three hour covered parking available at City Hall with validation (available in the Kirk Douglas Theatre lobby).

 

Shows Chat Boards Jobs Students Video Industry Insider Center Theatre Group Launches L.A. Writers' Workshop Festival, 6/23

--Broadway World  May 1, 2018

kdtheatre

Center Theatre Group has announced the launch of the inaugural L.A. Writers' Workshop Festival: New Plays Forged In L.A., to celebrate some of the freshest and most exciting voices in Modern American Theatre coming out of Los Angeles and Center Theatre Group's long-standing L.A. Writers' Workshop. To be held annually at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, the festival will feature readings of three new plays by three L.A. Writers' Workshop participants from throughout the program's thirteen year history. The inaugural festival will be on June 23 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with readings of "A Kind of Weather" by Sylvan Oswald, "New Life" by Dan O'Brien and "How To Raise A Freeman" by Zakiyyah Alexander.

"The talent-level of writers who live and work in L.A. is unmatched," said Center Theatre Group Literary Manager and Artistic Engagement Strategist Joy Meads. "For more than a decade, Center Theatre Group has nurtured many of these exceptional voices through our Writers' Workshop - offering them the space and community to research and write new plays. Now, through our L.A. Writers' Workshop Festival, we can continue to support the excellence of the playwrights who call Los Angeles home by sharing their compelling new works with the public."

The festival begins at 11 a.m. with a breakfast reception and there will be a closing reception at 7:30 p.m.