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HFF 17 – see it or skip it (day 7)

Had a wonderful day yesterday.  After writing my reviews for Thursday’s shows, we lounged around our Airbnb most of the day.  Around 3 p.m. we both decided at the same time – “Let’s go to Margaritaville!”  So off we went to Universal City Walk and had dinner and drinks before heading out last night to hang with fringeships and see some shows.  We saw another three to bring our total to 28 shows.  Here are the reviews.


VENUE:  Studio/Stage

REVIEW:  I would not have gone to see this show except that they applied for our Larry Cornwall Award.  To put it nicely, it was a hot mess.  Of course they waited until it was over to tell us “we’re a work in progress.”  Boy was that an understatement.  The concept is there but the show lacks structure.  The best part of it was when the two performers, Adam Kerbel and Shih-wei Willie Wu played the Taiko drum.  Other than that, as my wife says, “it reminded her of two boys playing outside during recess.”

RECOMMENDATION:  Not ready for viewing – skip it.

TITLE OF SHOWBilly . . . from Como to Homo

VENUE:  The Sheperd Theatre at the Complex

REVIEW:  In what has to be one of the most physically demanding of solo shows, 70 year old Lynne Jassem tap dances her way into our hearts in this amazing and brilliant production, directed by the solo queen herself, Jessica Lynn Johnson.  Had Jassem not been persistent in inviting me to her show, we might have missed this true gem of HFF 17.  We were fortunate to share the experience with Johnson and several of her other students, Sofie Khan (Mexistani!) and Gabriella DeMarco (Lovesick), and the show proved to be the highlight of our night.  Jassem is a natural storyteller and weaves her life story in such a way that it is ripe for a sequel.

RECOMMENDATION:  You simply MUST SEE this show.  The tap dancing alone is worth the price of admission, but the story will cheer you up and encourage you.  Her final show is June 24 at 8 p.m.

TITLE OF SHOWConfessions of an Arab Woman

VENUE:  Dorie Theater at the Complex

REVIEW:  We would definitely have to say that female empowerment is one of the themes of HFF 17, and this show was one of the strongest statements of that theme.  Joumana Haddad is considered to be one of the most powerful Arab women in the world today, and this insight into her was breathtakingly beautiful.  An amazing cast featuring Cynthia Yelle, Madia El-Tawansy, Gamon Quinn, Sandy Rather, Tiffany Badie, and Brenda Salas portrayed Haddad at various key times in her life, each delivering stellar performances.  They were aided by the truly supporting cast of Evan Langle as the Ringmaster/Marquis de Sade, Gilbert Reynoso as the Father and Alexandra Olson as the Journalist.  The imagery and staging were first rate, and the piece left us thinking long after the final bow.  This was a true work of art.

RECOMMENDATION:  Unfortunately, this was a limited three-performance run, and we got to see the final performance.  If this show gets extended, we highly recommend you taking the time to See it.

We were going to see another show afterwards, but we both hit a wall and couldn’t stay awake another minute.  Time to refresh and prepare for the final big day of Fringe on Saturday, when we are scheduled to see six shows.

HFF 17 – see it or skip it (day 6)

The 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival is rapidly coming to a close.  We attended two shows today, with three shows scheduled for Friday, six (or seven) on Saturday and two on Sunday before the awards are given out.  It’s been a wonderful run this year and we’re so glad we had the chance to come down.  We’re looking forward to handing out our first award on Sunday.  Hope you’re all there for that!

TITLE OF SHOWTough Brown Leather

VENUE:  Lounge Theatre 2

REVIEW:  We love that so many people have been able to tell their personal stories through the magic of Fringe solo shows.  This vehicle has allowed people like Tonya Jones the freedom to reveal her experiences with sexual abuse and to showcase her triumph over that event.  Her story is inspiring and her journey to acceptance and victory is a work of art.  It is a sad testament to our society that so many people have to go through this in silence because the justice system treats these victims as criminals, instead of making the perpetrators pay for their crimes.  Thank you Tonya for reminding us of those who suffered silently.  Thank you for being the voice that can help them unlock their past and move on with their lives.  We need more inspirational people like you, Diana Varco and Kimleigh Smith to continue sounding the alarm and showing other victims that they can have a full life again after sexual abuse.

RECOMMENDATION:  We highly recommend this show and urge you to See it.  Her final performance is June 24 at 6 p.m.  Don’t miss it.

TITLE OF SHOWNosferatu, a Symphony in Terror

VENUE:  Studio/Stage

REVIEW:  In what has to be the most unique show we have ever seen at Fringe, Crown City Theatre Company brings us the stage version of the classic 1922 film, Nosferatu.  What makes it so unique is the complete lack of dialogue, other than what is projected on the back wall, and the amazing voice of the narrator.  The story is told through classical music, dance and the amazing dramatic movements of the cast, who all turned in stellar performances.  The cast included Michael J. Marchak as Thomas Hutter; Alina Bolshakova as Ellen Hutter, Michelle Holmes as Count Orlok, Amanda Walter as the Gypsy; Shayna Gabrielle as the Innkeeper’s Daughter; Renee Cohen as Sister Agatha, Rolando J. Vargas as Herr Doktor Schmidt; Kristian Steel as the evil Herr Knock and Matthew Campbell as the Postman.  Special kudos to Holmes, who braved three hours of makeup to create the diabolical Count Orlok.

Our only complaint was that the staging often prevented the audience from being able to read the written dialogue.

RECOMMENDATION:  You should definitely See this show.  Its uniqueness will give you a fuller Fringe experience.  Their final show is June 24 at 3:30 p.m.

HFF 17 – see it or skip it (day 5) part 2

After those three magnificent dramas, we were ready to cut loose with some comedy, mischief and mayhem.  That can only mean another production by the amazing troupe at Cherry Poppins Productions, held at Three Clubs, the best place for late night entertainment in Hollywood.

TITLE OF SHOWShakeslesque (To Thine own Cherry be True)

VENUE:  Three Clubs

REVIEW:  We fell in love with the ladies (and gents) of Cherry Poppins Productions last year, and couldn’t wait to get back this year for another delectable slice.  The addition of Michael Shaw Fisher this year has made for an absolutely appetizing and appealing show.  Kudos to Alli Miller and Sarah Haworth Hodges for creating this delicious morsel that is so much more than burlesque, with triple threats in abundance that add to the sheer beauty of the art that they create.

Hats off to the entire cast, which included Fisher, Miller and Hodges, as well as Tyler Olshansky, K.C. Lindley, Cory Robinson, Schoen Hodges, Amber Bracken, Kelly Stevenson, Taylor Baker, Reagan Osborne, Angie Hobin, Rebecca Reaney, Sabrina Moiseyev, Brin Hamblin, Sarah Wines, Kim Dalton and Megan Esber.  Every one turned in amazing performances.  We also love the ad libbing that goes on, especially from Miller, and the overall chemistry of this troupe – they are one of a kind.

RECOMMENDATION:  This one is a pure no-brainer.  If you love music, beautiful ladies, handsome lads, drag and burlesque, then you simply MUST SEE this show.  Your fringe experience is not complete without it 🙂  Their final show is June 23 at 11 p.m. and it is currently sold out, but you should make the effort to get on the wait list – it will be worth it.

HFF17 – see it or skip it (day 5) part 1

After two days of clearing out our storage unit, we hosted the LA Music Critic Awards winners showcase on the Second Stage at the world-famous Hotel Café on Tuesday night.  During that amazing night of indie music, we were treated to performances by Wendy Sweetlove, Elyse Haren, Jon Mullane, Janey Street, Jerad Finck, Lovers & Poets, Katie Costello, The Spider Accomplice and Papermoon Gypsys.   In addition, Janey Street was awarded the 2017 Icon Award.  Kudos to her team at Blue Élan Records, who showed up in force, led by label owner Kirk Pasich, label-mate Cindy Alexander and their publicist, Melissa Dragich-Cordero of MAD Ink PR.  Other notables in attendance included Alexis Keagan, Aleksey Zharinov of Sika, Kris Angelis, Alisha Zalkin and Dan Kalisher of Sleep Machine, Jennifer Lyneis of Ue3 Promotions and Patrick O’Hefferan of LA Musica Radio.  Thanks to everyone who attended.

Moving on to Wednesday, it was time to get fringing again, and we took in three plays which are reviewed below, and topped it off with the Cherry Poppins production of Shakeslesque, which we will review in part 2.

TITLE OF SHOWMagic 8 Ball (My Life with Asperger’s)

VENUE:  Sacred Fools Black Box

REVIEW:  We first learned about this show when he submitted for our Larry Cornwall Award, and we are so thankful he reached out.  This show has got to be one of the hidden gems of HFF 17.  Wonderfully directed by first time directorial team Penni and Crystal Wilson, the show was written and performed by George Steeves, who is also a singer-songwriter with songs available on iTunes.  Needless to say, this was one of the best shows we have seen at Fringe this year.  It is a very personal story of triumph over adversity that was also educational in understanding the struggles of people living on the autism spectrum.

RECOMMENDATION:  If you only have time for a few shows at Fringe, this is a MUST SEE!  We are proud to give Magic 8 Ball one of our highest recommendations.  He still has shows available on June 24 at 4:30 p.m. and June 25 at 2:30 p.m.

TITLE OF SHOW“Lovesick” The Misadventures of a Love-Crazed Maniac

VENUE:  Sacred Fools Black Box

REVIEW:  Lovesick is another show wonderfully directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, and amazingly written and performed by Gabriella DeMarco.  Told through a host of characters, including cats, the story was funny, uplifting and all too universal.    What made it all the more special was that DeMarco has had some personal losses while preparing for Fringe that would have driven most people into a deep state of inactivity and depression.  The fact that she was performing during this turmoil goes to the true professionalism she displayed in her acting, and in sharing her story with the Fringe.

RECOMMENDATION:  This was her final show, but hopefully Combined Artform will pick her up for an extension.  If they do, we highly recommend that you See her show.


VENUE:  Sacred Fools Black Box

REVIEW:  Our final drama and one-person show of the day turned out to be Diana Varco‘s amazing production of Shattered, which was also wonderfully directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.  Not since 2010, when Kimleigh Smith rocked the Fringe with her dramatic tale in T-O-T-A-L-L-Y, has such a powerful piece about sexual abuse and its aftermath rocked my Fringe world.   Told through 35 characters, which included many of the emotions that haunt most of us, this show made its mark and earned the distinction of being among our favorite shows of HFF 17.  It was funny, sad, heart-wrenching and hopeful, and left us with a true sense of purpose to becoming the person we were meant to be.  Kudos to Ms. Varco for a true Fringe work of art.

RECOMMENDATION:  We strongly advise you to See the final performance of this show on June 24 at 9:30 p.m.





HFF17 – see it or skip it (day 4) part 3

We closed out our day with a pair of musicals, and they totally made our night.  They more than made up for the lack of Fringe shows we would be attending on Monday and Tuesday.

TITLE OF SHOWTurbulence!

VENUE:  Sacred Fools Main Stage

REVIEW:  Not since Orgasmico has a theater company become synonymous with great musicals.  Last year Robot Teammate brought us Thug Tunnel, which was pretty fricking amazing.  This year they have left that one in the dust with their current production of Turbulence!  From the first moment they took the stage, Kat Primeau. Chris Bramante, Miles Crosman, Dave Reynolds and Molly Dworsky owned the stage as they took the audience on a wild space race around the galaxy.  The chemistry between the members of this ensemble was palpable and the force was strong in them.  Two members of their killer band, Sam Johnides and Branson NeJame, even did double duty as the evil Martians, on top of the killer licks emanating from back stage.  This is one of those Fringe shows you don’t mind seeing more than once.

RECOMMENDATION:  Unless you want to be kidded for missing out on the BEST (according to my wife) show at HFF17, then you simply MUST See this show.  Make sure to catch one (or more) of their remaining shows on June 21 at 8:30 p.m. and June 22 at 10 p.m.

TITLE OF SHOWBuffy Kills Edward: A Musical Romp

VENUE:  The Three Clubs

REVIEW:  From the moment Laura Wiley told me about her idea for a cross-over event between the worlds of Buffy and Twilight, I had been dying to see this show.  The hype is real, people, this one is a blast.  The venue was packed with both Buffy and Twilight nerds, and I was firmly in the Twilight end.  But I still enjoyed the cross-over world where Buffy was allowed to kill Edward, and the ensuing war where she kills still more of them.  The very talented cast totally captured the nuances of their characters, including Bella’s annoying lip biting.  Kudos to Sherry Berg as Buffy, Kim Dalton as Alice, Dawn and Jane (which she NAILED), Corinne Mestemacher as Bella, Cory Robinson as Xander, Jacob, and Emmet, Lauren Sperling as Willow and Rosalie, Casey Suddeth as Edward, Spike and Aro and Matthew Thomas as Giles, Angel and Dr. Cullen.  Of course, none of these amazing performances would have been possible had Wiley not written such a wonderful musical.  Hats off to you, Laura, as well.

RECOMMENDATION:  Definitely See it, especially if you are a fan of either Buffy or Twilight.  It is well worth the effort.  The final show on June 22 at 7:30 p.m. is sold out, but get on the waiting list and you just might win the lottery.

HFF17 – see it or skip it (day 4) part 2

Continuing on with Day 4 of our annual pilgrimage to the Hollywood Fringe Festival, part 2 will cover the two shows that took up our late afternoon.

TITLE OF SHOWSnatched . . . Stories from down there

VENUE:  Asylum @ Studio C

REVIEW:  I missed this show at last year’s Fringe.  Unfortunately, it was not worth the wait, and left us feeling quite a bit uncomfortable.  While we did enjoy the musical interludes in the story, over all it didn’t connect with us.  Loree Gold may be  a good storyteller, but after hearing her story, it didn’t leave us feeling challenged, or enlightened or even emphatic.  It simply left us feeling like we had sat through a painful vanity piece that was more for the benefit of the performer than the audience.

RECOMMENDATION:   This one is painful – Skip it.

TITLE OF SHOWConversations ‘Bout the Girls

VENUE:  Dorie Theatre at the Complex

REVIEW:  Everything that the previous show was not, this one was.  We loved that the story was set in a lingerie store, and told as if she was training a new employee on the different types of bras and the particular breasts they were made to fit.  Incorporating stories about various women that had breast cancer, and their choices for reconstruction or not struck a particular chord with us, as we have lost friends to this particularly hideous form of cancer, as well as have friends who have overcome it.  Sonia Jackson was a natural storyteller who has crafted a very personal while still universal piece about this disease.  It was wonderfully directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, the queen of Fringe solo shows.

RECOMMENDATION:  If you or a loved one have suffered from breast cancer, you owe it to yourself or to them to See it.  There is one remaining performance on June 24 at 1 p.m.  We definitely recommend that you catch this show.

HFF17 – see it or skip it (day 4) part 1

Sunday was our busiest Fringe day this year, with seven shows on our schedule, including a couple of shows we were dying to see, including Lyla, Turbulence and Buffy.

TITLE OF SHOWLights Camera Lyla! The Second Act

VENUE:  Sacred Fools Black Box Theatre

REVIEWJeffrey Wylie‘s Lyla has become a cultural icon at the Hollywood Fringe Festival,  By popular demand, Wylie has created a sequel that in many ways is even better than the first one.  In a true testament of life imitates art, Lyla signs with a major media outlet and moves to New York to start working on her own show.  However, she discovers that New York has even bigger bullies than Texas.  But have no fear, our heroine learns to stand up for herself and learns that all important lesson – life is easier to cope with if you just stay true to your self.  The show is funny and poignant while giving you even more reasons to love Lyla.

RECOMMENDATION:  You simply MUST See this show.  After a year without Lyla, it was so good to have her home again.  Don’t miss her final performance on June 22 at 5:30 p.m.

TITLE OF SHOW:  Loves Adventures

VENUE:  Dorie Theatre at the Complex

REVIEW:  After hanging with Esther Mira at Fringe Central, and talking about her show, we were looking forward to checking it out.  We were not prepared for how awesome it was.  We expected it to have an 80’s flavor, but we did not expect that the entire show would be done in Elizabethan English!  For a story written more than 400 years ago, it was wonderfully adapted by Mark Hein and Elissa Anne Polansky, who also directed this incredible work of art.  It was a true ensemble piece, with each actor contributing equally to make the show a success.  Hats off to Anagabriela Cordero, Tara Donovan, Chineze Enekwechi, Marian Gonzalez, John Hayden, Edward Hong, Faith Kearns, Marc Leclerc, Sylvia Loehndorf, Travis Moritz and Mira for a great collaborative effort.

RECOMMENDATION:  You should definitely See this show.  It is a hidden gem, but worthy of your attention.  Be sure to catch one of the three remaining shows on June 20 and 22 at 7 p.m. and on June 24 at 5 p.m.

TITLE OF SHOWUnder the Jello Mold

VENUE:  Ruby Theatre at the Complex

REVIEW:  What more can be said about a show that has already won Pick of the Fringe, and is consistently sold out – only that the hype is true – Jennie Fahn has captured the heart and soul of HFF 17 in a way no one has in several years.  This masterpiece was directed by Tom Cavanaugh and written and performed by Fahn.  Her characterizations are truly memorable and heart-pulling, while her message is crystal clear – love your family and spend as much time with them as you can, because all too soon they are gone.  Don’t be surprised to hear Fahn’s name called a few times at next Sunday’s Fringe Awards.  She deserves nothing less.

RECOMMENDATION:  Do whatever it takes to See this show.  It is one of the best productions at HFF 17.  Tickets are available for June 21 and 24 at 7 p.m., but are sold out for June 22.


HFF17 – see it or skip it (day 3) part 2

We continue on with reviews of our final two shows of the day.  Both shows were at the incredible Studio/Stage space.  We are so impressed with the work done there by Gregory Crafts and Jenn Scuderi Crafts.  They have crafted a wonderful performance venue that makes the Fringe even better.

TITLE OF SHOWBlamed:  An Established Fiction

VENUE:  Studio/Stage

REVIEW:  We were unprepared for the breathtaking beauty of this production, which was a true work of art.  The La Habra Theater Guild has brought serious culture to the Fringe, with an amazing collection of stories about women, dating from the beginning of man to the present.  The stories are told through spoken word, dance and visual arts presentations, and were like manna from heaven in their sheer beauty.  Not only was the ensemble amazing, but they were accompanied by a superb group of musicians, featuring Brian Johnson, Gina Romantini, Trey Everett and Wesley Chavez.  The show was wonderfully written by Callie Prendiville, with choreography by Annie Lavin and music by Wesley Chavez.  Our hats off to the incredible ensemble:  Alanna Bledman, Alissa Schoeman, Annie Lavin, Callie Prendiville, Camille Durgas, Emily Taylor, Erika Schindele, Justine Sombilon, Lillie Muir, Norma Mendoza, Renee Curtis, Rian Dixon and Zoya Martin.

RECOMMENDATION:  You should definitely See this show if you love culture and the arts, especially the sheer beauty of dance.  There are still three shows remaining on June 18 at 9 p.m., June 21 at 6 p.m. and June 22 at 6:30 p.m.

TITLE OF SHOWArt & Abolition

VENUE:  Studio/Stage

REVIEW:  Fringe shows have never strayed from being advocates for causes or a reflection of the social mores of the day, but Art & Abolition goes beyond simple advocacy to actually taking action.  First-time fringer Brittanie Richardson, with the help of the solo show master director Jessica Lynn Johnson, has created a masterpiece of storytelling that is a call to action to help stop the exploitation of child sex slaves in countries like Kenya and instead help heal these victims through the arts.  It is lovingly told and beautifully acted.  Even though the material is harsh, Richardson has a way to presenting it so that you leave encouraged instead of ashamed.  It was a stirring show and worthy of attention, and we accept the challenge to do our part to help these young girls in need.

RECOMMENDATION:  By all means, See it, but don’t treat it as entertainment.  It is truly a call to action.  The final performance is scheduled for June 18 at 4 p.m.

HFF17 – see it or skip it (day 3) part 1

We were supposed to see seven shows yesterday, but ended up missing the first and the last ones due to tiredness for the former and sickness for the latter.  It was a great day to run into old friends and catch up, especially Cynthia Holloway from the Goddess Freak Ensemble, a band I used to follow in Los Angeles and Theatre Unleashed company member Mandy Muenzer.  We also spent some time reconnecting with Lesley Asistio and getting to know our new friend Sofie Khan.  After a rough start it proved to be a great day of fringing.

TITLE OF SHOWDomino is Down

VENUE:  Lounge 1 Theatre

REVIEW:  Not the best show to start our day.  Although the venue was packed with friends and fans of writer/performer Mitchell Reiter, there was a noticeable lack of energy in the space, and that was before the show started.  The show had a good premise, but it did not pan out because the pacing was too slow.  The best part of the show were the interactions between Domino and the bartender, played by Blue Bloods‘ veteran Staci RodriguesTeresa Yates also turned in a brilliant performance as Domino’s cop friend Tommi.

RECOMMENDATION:  There are still two more performances of this show on June 21 and 23, both at 8 p.m.  Hopefully those performances will be tighter and have more energy.  Unfortunately, based on our experience, we think you should just Skip it.

TITLE OF SHOWThree can Keep a Secret

VENUE:  Studio/Stage

REVIEW:  This show was the polar opposite of the previous show, with enough energy to take care of Los Angeles for decades.  Wonderfully written by Gregory Crafts and skillfully directed by Jacob Smith, Three can Keep a Secret delivered like only a Theatre Unleased production can.  This company has consistently delivered amazing Fringe performances year after year, and this year was no different.  If we could only see their two productions, it would still be worth the 2,800 mile round trip from Montana.

The five member cast was perfectly suited for the “choose your own adventure” format, and the audience had a blast being involved in the direction the show took.  Each of the actors deserves kudos for their performance, and we are proud to recognize Graydon Schlicter as Moose, Jim Martyka as Sonny, Carey Mathews as Mason, Mandy Muenzer as Denise and Heather Lynn Smith as Heidi.

RECOMMENDATION:  If you don’t already have tickets to their final performance on June 24 at 6:30 p.m., we strongly encourage you to get on the waiting list and See this show.  You won’t be sorry.

TITLE OF SHOWMexistani!  Growing up Mexican & Pakistani in America

VENUE:  Studio/Stage

REVIEW:  Behold our recommendation for Top of the Fringe!  Sofie Khan delivers one of the best performances we have ever seen at the Fringe.  She is a fireball of energy as she commanded the stage, bringing to life each and every character that has shaped her journey.  The show was everything you want in a Fringe show – great story, amazing acting and memorable characters – with just the right amount of political commentary.  We laughed until our sides hurt, while also learning about some of the hazards of being gay in today’s volatile world.  We salute Khan for speaking out and for delivering such an impressive performance.  By the end of the show, we felt like we had been best friends since childhood.  We are so fortunate we got to see this amazing closing performance.  Please come back to Fringe next year Sofie!

RECOMMENDATION:  If this hadn’t been her final performance, we would have demanded that you go See her show.  Guess you’ll have to wait until next year.

HFF17 – see it or skip it (day 2) part 2

So, the first part of our day we attended three shows that were on the dramatic side.  We closed out the night with a pair of musicals at Studio/Stage, both of which were on our list of most anticipated shows.

TITLE OF SHOWThe Spidey Project

VENUE:  Studio/Stage

REVIEWTheatre Unleashed never fails to deliver outstanding performances, whether at Fringe or the rest of the year, and this show is one of their best.  It was flawlessly directed by the playwright and lyricist himself, Justin Moran, and retold the Spider-Man origin story in a delightful and unique way – through music.  The back story of the production is equally impressive, so grab me when I’m out and about and we’ll discuss.

With the current media attention on superheroes, especially those from Marvel, The Spidey Project is particularly timely for this year’s Fringe.  Every performer was outstanding, but several deserve special kudos, among them Travis Nilan, who played Peter Parker/Spider-Man, both in the original one night only performance in New York and again for this run in Los Angeles.  He was totally believable in his portrayal, and made the story come alive.  He was aided in this endeavor by an outstanding supporting cast, including Heather Lake as Betty Brant, Henry Kaiser as Kent Holbrook, Presley Roy as Gwen Stacy, Richard Abraham as Uncle Ben, Margaret Glaccum as Aunt May, Adam Slemon as J. Jonah Jameson and Christopher Jewell Valentin as Flash Thompson.   Kudos also to the amazing choreography of Lindsay Braverman and the tight musical production of musical director Jennifer Lin.  

RECOMMENDATION:  This one is a no-brainer, and deserves one of our highest See it ratings.  Unfortunately, the show is sold out for the remainder of Fringe, but you can sign up for the wait list and more than likely get to see one of the remaining performances on June 21 at 7 p.m. or June 24 at 7:45 p.m.

TITLE OF SHOWNothing Bad: A Werewolf Rock Musical

VENUE:  Studio/Stage

REVIEW:   With the absence of Orgasmico Theatre Company at this year’s Fringe, we were looking to this rock musical to help us get over that loss.  While the production did not ascend to quite that level, it was a worthy effort by first time company They Played Productions.  The show combined elements of Pleasantville, Teen Wolf and Wolfen to create a hybrid musical of the ideal small town with a dark secret.  Hats off to first time playwright and director Erik Blair, who has crafted a wonderful story about coming of age within a “too perfect” community.  He was wonderfully aided in his efforts by songwriter and musical director Dan Sugimoto, and producer Thea Rivera.

Lyndsey Wegner and Lexi Eiserman were perfect in their portrayals of Mayor White and her daughter, Lily White, respectively, both of whom had dark secrets they did not want to come to light.  Their voices were amazingly strong and they brought their respective characters to life in a goose-bump raising way.  They were aided in their performances by an amazing cast of supporting actors, including Jake Saenz as Christopher Cross, Tyler Angier as Luke Diamond, Renee Wylder as D’nise D’Arthur, Tyler Carlson as Dean Swenson, Mathew San Jose as Jake Stone and Danielle Philapil as the Beast.  Jessica Tucker and Rachel Berman were also great in their ensemble roles.

RECOMMENDATION:  Like The Spidey Project, this show is sold out for the duration of its Fringe run.  However, we recommend that you See it, and sign up for the wait list for your chance at the final performance on June 24 at 9:30 p.m.