I caught a wildly original and highly entertaining production on the weekend

Naughty, bawdy and screamingly funny… it pokes fun at both politics and homosexuality… in the olden days. Funny, how little things have changed!

The Emancipation of Alabaster McGill – A World Premiere

The cast of “The Emancipation of Alabaster McGill”, from l, Jude Evans, Nathaniel Stanton, Matt Valle, James Sharpe, Arden Haywood, Frank Ensenberger and Brett Fleisher.

Still laughing after seeing this whacky and riotously raunchy play, Producer Bob Rusch has been telling me about this project for over a year. It is as hysterical as he promised! Loaded with outrageous political and sexual innuendos, the razor sharp double entendres attack your psyche like cerebral bullets! The press notes state in part, “A Civil War border town is gripped by controversy when the dreaded ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ (setting free the slaves) threatens to redefine freedom as they know it. The city’s sea captain, the deacon of the local church brothel and the friendly neighborhood Klansmen are united by their hatred of that liberal pantywaist, Abe Lincoln.” Beyond that “wee peek”… I don’t want to spoil your fun! A varied assortment of queerly quirky men sit on a porch sipping “sweet tea” and “swappin’ splinters” (whittling twigs), as they verbally debate with hilarious verve! Ingeniously written by the successful contemporary playwright, Jeff Goode, and playfully directed with precise timing by Eric Curtis Johnson… the whole controversial and kooky journey is a laugh riot! Kudos to Gideon Potter for his eye appealing set design! A cast of seven excellent male actors bring their nutty characters to life… each one funnier than the last! James Sharpe plays the Captain, hosting the others on his porch, with classy comedic charm; Jude Evans is a scream as the overly authoritative Deputy Sheriff; Frank Ensenberger is annoyingly funny (as written) as the nerdy local grocer; Matt Valle and Brett Fleisher are lovably looney as two hayseed teen boys discovering their sexuality; and Arden Haywood is elegantly effective as the newly emancipated slave in the title role of “Alabaster McGill.” Saving my favorite stellar performance for last… Nathaniel Stanton is marvelously manic as the disheveled and “offbeat” Deacon Chickory… with his own zany “take” on life. Flawless! This is a “titillating” team effort, driven by the skill of its entire cast, and “should” garner attention come “theatre awards” season. My guest Marla and I had a blast, and talked about the show all the way home! Not for the easily offended… but all others will laugh uncontrollably! BONUS TIP: I just learned that this play was given a “GO” in the L.A. Weekly. Not an easy feat… Congrats! Running through June 14 at T.U. Studios located at 10943 Camarillo St. in North Hollywood. For seats, call (800) 838-3006 or go to www.skypilottheatre.com.

Mark Your Calendar – Plays I’ll Review Soon

Sex and Education — Opening June 3 at the Victory Theatre in Burbank

This savvy comedy with a “message” looks at the scholastic “free ride” given to high school sports stars. A retiring school teacher (the “brilliant” Maria Gobetti) and an underachieving basketball phenom… verbally spar… his college scholarship in danger. Co-starring Kanan Guntzelman and Jessica McKee… what transpires is a lesson for both the teacher and the student… in life, sex, sports and grammar. I expect this one to be wonderful! For early booking, call (818) 841-5421.

Moose on the Loose — Opening June 3 at Studio City’s Theatre West

A comedy about a large and loving Italian family now migrated to Canada. Their lives are turned upside down when a moose saunters into their neighborhood. This unexpected dilemma causes the Tappinos to look at their own lives, as they discover that the moose is not the only one confused and displaced. Sounds like zany fun! For early booking, call (323) 851-7977.

On a personal note:

Folks… if gasoline prices are compromising your summer plans… I have a small solution. Dig through your closets, and pack up any vintage clothing and accessories left over from the 1930s through 1960s (both ladies and gents) and give me a call at my shop, “Hubba Hubba!” If reasonably priced and in good condition… I’ll be happy to look at them! You can catch me there after one o’clock, Tuesdays thru Saturdays. Give me a call at (818) 845-0636.

That’s my story for this week. Back soon!


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