(HOLLYWOOD PRESS CORPS) — Los Angeles, CA — Friday, October 7th, 2021 —QueerWise, the lauded LGBTQ spoken word performance collective, with the support of the City of West Hollywood, presents the World premiere docudrama The Ache For Home, screening online on Sunday, October 17, at 5:00pm. An assortment of voices illuminating the homeless crisis in West Hollywood grew out of a five-week spoken word workshop with those who have experienced homelessness for themselves. Under the artistic direction of artist-activist Michael Kearns, and with direction by Keida Mascaro, these citizens-turned-writers share inspirational stories from their time on the streets, ranging from narratives of soaring self-acceptance to confessions of truth-telling defeats. The show’s title is a reference to a quote by Maya Angelou, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” For more information, please visit QueerWise’s site and FaceBook page. After the premiere, the video presentation will also be available on the QW YouTube channel.
The Ache For Home will feature the writing and storytelling from a number of individuals — Kayden, Larry, Lisa, Luckie, Tiger, and more— many of whom have a connection to West Hollywood. These mentees worked with six mentors to bring their stories to light. The storytellers are a diverse group ranging in age from 20 to 63 years-old who have dealt with the uncertainty of living on the streets and the specific challenges they faced day-to-day. That commonality is the one thing that they all share, while their stories are different, their humanity is universal and all encompassing.
This distinct group of narrators includes a young cis male with a passion for music and art, who finds joy “when I can put a smile on someone’s face and give back.” One of the mentees is a retired mixed race bisexual government worker who is a voracious reader and literacy advocate. Two trans males share their experiences of living on the street. And a former resident playwright, in Canada and the UK, and recipient of numerous grants and awards was homeless for 44 days and nights in the city.
The mentee’s autobiographical stories emerge with the guidance of each of their mentors: Lucia Chappelle, the Social Justice Minister at Founders Metropolitan Community Church and Associate Producer of the LGBTQ syndicated radio program “This Way Out”; Jim Pentecost, who taught Drama at Santee Education Complex, produced Disney’s “Pocahontas,” and has worked on the Broadway productions of La Cage Aux Folles, Crimes of the Heart, and Gypsy; Rabbi Robin Podolsky who serves on the Board of Governors for the Sandra Caplan Community Bet Din, writes at TribeHerald and The Jewish Journal, and advises the Jewish Student Union at Occidental College; Andy Rollyson, a writer and entrepreneur; Corey Roskin, who has worked for the City of West Hollywood in social services for over 25 years and has also been programming, producing, participating in, and serving on planning committees for literary events for 20 years; and David Trudell, who has performed his solo shows, all directed by Michael Kearns, at venues around Los Angeles including The Skylight Theatre, Highways Performance Space, and Malibu Playhouse. The Ache For Home has been made possible with the generous support of the City of West Hollywood.
(HOLLYWOOD PRESS CORPS) — Boyle Heights, CA — On Friday, April 19th, the CASA 0101 Theater, TNH Productions, El Centro Del Pueblo and Riboli Family of San Antonio Winery In Association with Behind The Mask Inc. had the opening night for SISTER ACT, the Musical. Directed by Rigo Tejeda, this Tony Award nominated show is based on the 1992 Touchstone Pictures hit film of the same name. Rigo told me that they stick to the script and don’t miss one word. Sister Act features music written by eight-time Academy Award winning composer, Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater. The Hollywood Press Corps had our top events photographer, Marie Gregorio-Oviedo at opening night.
This production is so much fun. The cast really seems to enjoy themeselves portraying these zanny charaters and singing their hearts out to Jesus. The jokes are funny, the cast members can sing, they can dance and its a great way to spend an evening. Director Rigo Tejeda said, “Our spirited production of SISTER ACT, the Musical, will bring joy and laughter to all who come to see the show. Our divine cast will raise the roof nightly and keep toes tapping as audiences witness nightclub singer, Deloris Van Cartier’s adventurous antics in her newfound home, a nunnery.”
Josefina López said, “This production also celebrates women, power, and sisterhood with a predominantly female cast and females in production positions as Musical Director, Choreographer, Costumer Designer and Set and Projections Designer.”
SISTER ACT, the Musical, tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a disco nightclub diva, who witnesses a murder committed by her mobster boyfriend, Curtis Jackson, after which Deloris is placed in a witness protective program in a convent under the custody of the local police department. Comedy ensues as Deloris dons a nun’s habit to go undercover as “Sister Mary Clarence,” while attempting to acclimate herself into her new lifestyle in a convent. The production is a lot of fun and the actors all do a fine job of singing, telling this crazy story and creating a wonderful performance.
There were so many sponsors that help put this production together. CASA 0101 Theater’s sponsors include: The California Endowment, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, The Herb Alpert Foundation, The City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and The Parsons Foundation. This production of SISTER ACT, the Musical, is sponsored, in part by the Riboli Family of San Antonio Winery; Los Angeles Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Second District; Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, 1st District; California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, District 24; Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar, 14th District; CASA Fina Restaurant & Cantina; and MASA of Echo Park Bakery & Café.
Under the direction of Rigo Tejeda, Jacquelin Lorraine Schofield (of Sherman Oaks) leads the cast of 20 as (Deloris Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence). The cast also includes: Beverly Crain (of Los Angeles) as Mother Superior; Samantha M. Lawrence (of Glendale) as Sister Mary Robert; Omar Mata (of El Monte) as Monsignor O’Hara; Marco Infante (of Studio City) as Curtis Jackson; Caleb Green (of Santa Ana) as Eddie Souther; Matthew Noah (of Lincoln Heights) as TJ; Jason Biyo (of Los Angeles) as Joey; Gil Garcia (of Los Angeles) as Pablo; Dorrie Braun (of Pacific Palisades) as Sister Mary Lazarus; Brianna Bonilla (of Los Angeles) as Sister Mary Patrick; Sarah Garcia (of Los Angeles) as Sister Mary Martin-of-Tours;
Megan Frances (of Leimert Park) as Sister Mary Theresa; Chrissi Erickson (of Leimert Park) as Tina/Nun/Homeless/Fantasy Dancer); Laura Altenor (of Los Angeles) as Michelle/Nun/Homeless/Fantasy Dancer/Deloris Van Cartier Understudy);
Michael Gallardo (of Los Angeles) as Ernie/Drag Queen/Ensemble/Homeless/Cab Driver/Fantasy Dancer/Altar Boy); Alejandro Lechuga (of Los Angeles) as Cop/Reporter/Ensemble/Homeless/Fantasy Dancer/Altar Boy); Shanelle Garcia (of Los Angeles) as Nun/Hooker; Daniela Santi (of Los Angeles) as Nun/Hooker/Homeless/Bar Waitress/Fantasy Dancer/Michelle Understudy); and Leilah Telon (of South Central) as Nun/Bar Patron/Homeless/Fantasy Dancer). Sebastian Gonzalez (of Boyle Heights) serves as Rehearsal Stand In, but is not in the show.
The production team for SISTER ACT, the Musical includes:Josefina López (of Silverlake) Founding Artistic Director, CASA 0101 Theater; Rigo Tejeda (of Whittier) Director of the Musical and Founding Artistic Director, TNH Productions; Abel Alvarado (of Silverlake) Producing Artistic Director, TNH Productions; Emmanuel Deleage (of Silverlake) Show Producer and Executive Director, CASA 0101 Theater; Edward Padilla (of Boyle Heights) Show Producer, Casting Director and Board President, CASA 0101 Theater; Conrado TerrazasCross (of Echo Park) Show Executive Producer and Chief Financial Officer for TNH Productions;
Felipe Agredano (of Boyle Heights) Show Producer and Government Relations Director for TNH Productions; El Centro Del Pueblo, Show Producer; Gabrielle Maldonado (of Lakewood) Music Director; Tania Possick (of Los Angeles) Choreographer; Effy Yang (of Los Angeles) Set and Projections Designer; Kevin Vasquez (of Los Angeles) Lighting Designer; Joshua Cardenas (of Los Angeles) Sound Designer;
Marielena Covarrubias (of Whittier) Costumer Designer; Sujey Gonzalez (of Los Angeles) Wardrobe Supervisor; Angel Estrada (of Los Angeles) Prop Master; Jerry A. Blackburn (of Winnetka) Production Stage Manager; Genesis Miramontes (of Los Angeles) Production Assistant to Production Stage Manager; Andrew Ortega (of Los Angeles) Stage Manager; JP (John Paul) Torres (of Los Angeles) Assistant Stage Manager; Hiram Lopez (of Whittier) Sound Mixer; Dazhane Semus (of Los Angeles) Stagehand; Vincent A. Sanchez (of Commerce) CASA 0101 Technical Director and Facilities Manager; Mark Kraus (of Boyle Heights) CASA 0101 Theater Development Director and Anaith Indjeian (of Los Angeles) Pre-Production Photographer and CASA 0101 Theater Administrator.
Sister Act has a five-week run from April 19th – May 19th 2019. The performance schedule is Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.and 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 4:00 p.m. There will be no performance on Saturday, May 18th at 2:00 p.m. For tickets, call the Box Office at 818.263.7684 or buy online at www.casa0101.org. This musical is a lot of fun. Please come out to Boyle Heights to support local theater and have a few laughs.
(HOLLYWOOD PRESS CORPS) — Thousand Oaks, CA — Sunday, September 23, 2018 — The Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, led by Founding Artistic Director Natasha Middleton, presented the full-length ballet, “CARMEN,” set to the music on Georges Bizet’s opera of the same name. This performance kicks off the 17th anniversary for Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre.
The performance on Sunday at the Janet and Ray Scherr Forum Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza was sold out. So many people who love dance came to experience a full length ballet. The lifts and poses of the dance troupe were smooth and graceful. The men seemed to toss the ballerinas into the air with ease. The recorded sound track by Rodion Shehedrin sounded great with all of Bizet’s iconic melodies played and timed perfectly.
Elen Harutyunyan relished in the part as Carmen. She has the beautiful body of a professional ballerina and the ability to convey the story through dance. Her performance was vibrant as she tempted and seduced the many men in Carmen’s life. Her professional level of dance was obvious and Natasha Middleton’s choreography worked well with Elen’s dance style. Grigori Arakelyan played the love smitten Don Jose. Grigori did such a good job and was graceful in his moves. Preston Swovelin was the dashing Toreador Escamillo.
Costume designer, Ann Lindsey, did such a great job on all of the costumes. I really thought the Toreador’s costumes were just amazing. Damara Titmus played the ever faithful Micaela. Alexander Fost played the gypsy Remendado. There were, of course, many gypsies and they add a mysterious element to the production. Ricardo Jony did a great job as Zuniga, Lieutenant of the Dragoons. Again, this costume was just stunning. Part military uniform, part dance outfit. The epaulettes on Zuniga’s costume sparkled and were iconic from the back row.
Members of the Corps de Ballet included Alejandro Flores as Dancaire, a gypsy smuggler, Marianna Udovchenko as a lead gypsy, Patrick Fitzsimmons as a Gypsy Bandit, Shelby Freeman as a Gypsy and Cigar Factory worker, Megan Van Deren as a lead gypsy, Chloe Verkinder as a Gypsy Factory Worker and Bridie Connors as a Gypsy and Cigar Factory Worker.
I was really impressed with Rodion Shehdrin’s musical score. It sounded great on the sound system at the Scherr Forum Theatre. Georges Bizet’s sweeping musical score from his opera, Carmen, sounded well balanced and full of drama. I immediately recognized the melodies from the Habanera, the Seguidilla, and the Toreador Song.
Carmen is the story of a wild gypsy girl who lives in Seville, Spain. It is a “hooker with a heart of gold” story that’s been told over and over since Bizet created it in 1875. Carmen lives for sensuality and passion. She gets into a fight with a coworker while they are at work making cigars. Don Jose shows up to arrest her but is easily seduced by Carmen. Don Jose gets locked up for a month for letting her go. When he gets out of jail, he finds that Carmen has hooked up with Lieutenant Zuniga.
There’s an epic fight over Carmen. Don Jose leaves his childhood sweetheart, Micaela and joins up with Carmen’s gypsy gang which includes Frasquita and Mercedes. Carmen has a gypsy fortune teller giver her a reading. The news is bad. The fortune tellers predict Carmen’s demise. Carmen loses interest in Don Jose and hooks up with a Matador in Seville named Escamillo. Don Jose is hopelessly in love with Carmen and goes to Seville to confront Escamillo. The costumes were just stunning as the full ballet really made a full court press and pulled out all the stops. Natasha Middleton’s choreography was just amazing. They utilized the theatre space well. In the end, Carmen refuses to go back with Don Jose. Don Jose stabs Carmen to death with a dagger. He is then dumbfounded by what he did, but alas, Carmen has met her demise.
This was such a great night for regional dance theatre. It’s such a treat to watch the dancing, the costumes and the music. We look forward to covering more events from the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre.
The renowned Blank Theatre has announced the world premiere production of The Tragedy of JFK (as told by Wm. Shakespeare), conceived, adapted, and directed by Daniel Henning. Performances began on September 24th with the opening night set for Saturday, October 1 at 8pm.
The Tragedy of JFK (as told by Wm. Shakespeare) is the tale of the conspiracy to assassinate the 35th President of the United States and its aftermath. Using Shakespearian text, this groundbreaking theatrical event illuminates what might have happened surrounding one of the most shocking events in American history.
This show stars Ford Austin, Chad Brannon, Time Winters, Tony Abatemarco, Cris D’Annunzio, Casey McKinnon, Susan Denaker, Kellie McIver, Bruce Nehlsen, Jacob Sidnet, Jerry Della Salla, Johnny Walker, Jonathon Lamer, Brett Collier, Brian Brennan, Roslyn Cohn and John Knight.
Daniel Henning is a recognized expert on the JFK assassination. He has lectured at colleges and appeared for countless hours on talk radio at stations such as KABC, WABC, KFI, KPFK, WMAL, andothers.
The Blank Theatre is Hollywood’s resident theatre, consistently offering some of the most high quality and entertaining productions in the area. In its 26- year history, The Blank has won hundreds of awards including every major award in Los Angeles for Outstanding Production (LA Drama Critics Circle, Ovation, LA Weekly, NAACP, BroadwayWorld, and Back Stage Garlands).
The Blank has been at the forefront of providing high quality productions with a risk-taking sensibility and entertaining experiences. With programs such as its Living Room Series and its annual nationwide Young Playwrights Festival, The Blank Theatre is committed to developing excellence in artistic talent and providing the opportunity for artists to take bold risks. For more info, please visit www.TheBlank.com.
The Tragedy of JFK (as told by Wm. Shakespeare) will begin previews on Saturday, September 24 at 8pm and continue on Sunday, September 25 at 2pm, Monday, September 26 at 8pm, and Friday, September 30 at 8:30pm. Opening is set for Saturday, October 1 at 8pm. The regular performance schedule will be Friday at 8:30pm, Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm through November 6. Tickets are available now and may be purchased online at www.TheBlank.com or via phone at (323) 661-9827. The Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1⁄2 N. Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, 90027.
LOS ANGELES, CA, MAY 12, 2016 – What happens when a young Mexican arrives in America in pursuit of the American Dream of Life, Liberty, Happiness and a good man? Whatthehelldidshesay is excited to announce the presentation of Vanessa Lua’s journey ‘American Man Dream’ at the Hollywood Fringe Festival this June 2016.
The story follows a little girl who is growing up in Mexico whose only companion is her teddy bear, which is representative of the ideal man. He is a cuddly best friend who is always there to listen and love her unconditionally. As a grown woman, her story becomes bittersweet and she begins to think that true love is just a pipe dream. Throughout her journey, Vanessa eventually has to overcome language barriers, Catholic guilt, breakups, more Catholic guilt, bad sex, and even more Catholic guilt. She develops from her virginity in Mexico to chastity in the USA as she says ‘From red, white and “green” to red, white and “blue” and everything else in between her legs!’
The show, to be held throughout the month of June 2016, will be presented at the Studio C theatre located at 6448 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, is listed as a dark, irreverent comedy that is both provocative and full of sex.
The actress is known for her high profile red carpet celebrity interviews, made using her now iconic pink iPhone. These candid interviews were the beginnings of her production company ‘Whatthehelldidshesay’ Productions. She has since gone on to star in comedy and dramatic projects The Last Ship, Conversation with La Catrina, Anchor Baby, Fatal Encounters, Comedy House and Stuck in a Fairy Tale.
The open and uncensored Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual, open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community. Through its offerings, the festival exhibits diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view.