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Hit the Wall

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The riots which broke out at the Stonewall Inn in late June of 1969 were not the first salvo in the Gay Rights movement. But, unlike previous civil disturbances and demonstrations, they did provide a catalyst that encouraged a number of disparate groups to coalesce into an increasingly more cohesive movement.

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First Date

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First Date is enjoying its Southern California premiere in an energetic production at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. The show, which features a book by Austin Weinsberg and music & lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, had its world premiere in Seattle in 2012. It opened on Broadway the following year.

 

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These Paper Bullets

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Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of enjoying this play?

At least subtitling this work “a modish ripoff” gives fair warning about playwright Rolin Jones’s script. It’s a rip-off, indeed, of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, in which the thirtysomething former flames Beatrice and Benedick forswear love, while the younger Hero and Claudio’s emotions catch fire before our eyes.

 

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Girlfriend

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While it won’t cramp the style of those Minions or radically affect the box office for Ant Man, my choice for the entertainment treat of the summer is Todd Almond and Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend now playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Almond’s smart and deceptively simple chamber musical uses the music from Sweet’s 1991 album of the same title to musicalize the summer of 1993 in a small Nebraska town.This summer will change the lives of two disparate young men, Will (Ryder Bach) and Mike (Curt Hansen).

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Singin' in the Rain

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In 1952, Singin' in the Rain made its debut as a film starring the inimitable Gene Kelly. In 1983, using the book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the lyrics of Arthur Freed and the music of Nacio Herb Brown, the screenplay was adapted into a stage musical. It was thirty years ago that Singin' in the Rain made its Broadway premier, earning a Tony Award for its leading man, Don Correia. And now the show is being given a homegrown production at Long Beach's acclaimed Musical Theatre West, through July 26.

 

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ICU

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The hospital staff in an ICU Unit must be fairly impervious to demanding and difficult families. After all, the patients are in extremis and their families are naturally frightened and under enormous pressure. It’s a situation in which even the most serene personality may explode. But I think it’s safe to say that no one at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital is prepared for an encounter with the Seigenfeld Family, the focal point of Fielding Edlow’s world premiere play, ICU.

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Homefree

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The Road Theatre Company is presenting the world premiere of Lisa Loomer’s new play, Homefree at their Magnolia Boulevard space. Inspired by her observation of and work with homeless youth in Southern Oregon, the play focuses on three teens who have escaped or been thrown out of their homes. Breezy (Gabriela Ortega) is pregnant, Franklin (Lockne O’Brien) is gay and JJ (Barret Lewis) is too loud and angry to conform to even the negligent home life he fled. They spend their days in the park panhandling or finding other ways to get enough money for a meal at McDonalds. But this is no bucolic idyll. Life on the streets is rough, unpredictable, and dangerous.

 

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No Homo

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No Homo was originally seen at the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival, where it won a number of awards, including “Best World Premiere.” It later traveled to the New York Fringe where it was, likewise, celebrated. It has returned to Los Angeles for a full production.

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The False Servant

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To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Evidence Room, the company has chosen to produce Marivaux’s The False Servant in a contemporary translation by Martin Crimp. Like all of Marivaux’s plays, the stylized, commedia influenced plot is an excuse to plumb the psychological undercurrents of society, particularly the emotions, or lack thereof, surrounding love.

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Adam and Eve and Steve

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In Chandler Warren and Wayne Moore’s amiable new musical Adam & Eve and Steve, Eden was a little more populated than we’ve been told. An enthusiastically competitive Beelzebub throws a wrench into God’s plans by making sure that Adam’s first encounter with another human is Steve, not the intended Eve. The two become fast friends, though Steve definitely wants more. The balance of the slight plot finds a determined Eve resolutely staking her claim as Adam dithers between potential mates and Beelzebub quarrels with God.

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Spotlight

Hollywood Fringe Awarded 10K from National Endowment for the Arts

Hollywood, CA -- The Hollywood Fringe Festival is proud to announce that it has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant of $10,000 to support the Fringe Scholarships program. This grant stems from more than $82 million approved by NEA Chairman Jane Chu to fund local arts projects and partnerships. The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.

“Hollywood Fringe began only seven years ago and has grown into a festival reaching tens of thousands of people,” says Festival Director Ben Hill. “This funding allows us to sustain that growth by supporting artists and programming that is diverse, inclusive, and relevant to the local community. We are truly honored to have been selected a recipient."

The Fringe Scholarships program strives to provide a platform for artists to exhibit the most diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view, by offering unique and underserved artists scholarships to participate in the 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Scholarships will be awarded to artists whose festival participation will increase festival attendance and participation by local Hollywood residents, increase arts participation of ethnically diverse and/or low-income artists, and enrich audience experience through the presentation of unique, underrepresented themes and/or narratives.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from Hollywood Fringe Festival offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

ABOUT HOLLYWOOD FRINGE

The Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual, open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community. Each June during the Hollywood Fringe, the arts infiltrates the Hollywood neighborhood: Fully equipped theaters, parks, clubs, churches, restaurants and other unexpected places host hundreds of productions by local, national, and international arts companies and independent performers. The 2016 festival runs June 9th - 26th and offers over 1,400 performances in over 30 venues.

Participation in the Hollywood Fringe is completely open and uncensored. This free-for-all approach underlines the festival’s mission to be a platform for artists without the barrier of a curative body. By opening the gates to anyone with a vision, the festival is able to exhibit the most diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view the world has to offer. Additionally, by creating an environment where artists must self-produce their work, the Fringe motivates its participants to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurialism in the arts. 

Want more information? Contact us at press@hollywoodfringe.org or by visiting the website at www.HollywoodFringe.org/press.

 
Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

ABOUT ELLEN RICHARD

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.