I only caught one production on the weekend

But it was so unusual, eye appealing, and multi-faceted … that I hope I can do it justice in my review….

Sleeping Ugly – A World Premiere

WHERE ARE WE? Judy (Jaimi Paige, l) and Stanley (Chuck Raucci, r) can’t find their honeymoon hotel and are led on a merry chase by Kabuki/Commedia Ensemble members, from l, Alison Blanchard, Scot Shamblin, and James Terry.

A hilariously touching, insanely unique theatrical “adult fairy tale” … this ambitiously creative offering is unlike any I’ve ever seen! More of a “performance art piece” with a storyline, than a proper play, this “cartoon-like” production is so clever, entertaining, and whacky … I loved every inventive moment! It was written by two time Oscar nominated screenwriter Arnold Schulman, a senior gent of 86 years young. Noted Director Chris DeCarlo riotously takes the audience on a surreal and wildly manic and visual journey … not soon to be forgotten. Combining Commedia-Circus style with mock Japanese Kabuki, physical theatrix, multi-media design, and “live” sound effects … this is an “imagination-work out” for the audience. Serena Dolinsky as the Commedia Movement Director, and the impeccably timed “live” sound effects, handled by Evelyn Rudie, were brilliantly audience involving! Focusing on two lonely young adults with “issues,” Judy jumps in the ocean in a suicide attempt, and Stanley jumps in to save her … yet she ends up saving him. Strangers, it turns out they are neighbors, living in the same building. Looney and loveable performances by Jaimi Paige and Chuck Raucci, in these two clever lead roles! She, a New York magazine editor, and he, a pediatric dentist, immediately “click,” as sparks between them fly … but “other worldly” circumstances make the potential romance “tricky.” It turns out that he is a werewolf, with no recollection of his actions … and she must somehow find a way to free him from his unthinkable plight. Sounds crazy I know, but this is the basic plot. As the zany story unfolds, the company of high energy actors in multiple roles, and wildly imaginative make-up, impressively play most of the props and set pieces themselves … aided by countless imaginative and colorful poster board cut-outs. A magical marathon of madness! (… You just have to see it to get it!) The remainder of this cleverly zany, enthusiastic cast includes: Serena Dolinsky, Alison Blanchard, Juliet Ladines, Scott Shamblin, Constance Strickland, and James Terry. In a production this creative … it takes a very special team to pull it off. All must be mentioned! Kooky costumes – Ashley Hayes; Set and Lighting – James Cooper; Sound – Linn Yamaha Hirschman; Multi-Media – The Attic Room; Graphic Design – Timothy Chadwick; Associate Producer – Peter Schulman; and Stage Manager/Set Creation – George J. Vennes III. An invaluable experience also for young acting students … I highly recommend that drama coaches in L.A. call and book seats to expose them to this artistic form of theatrical creativity (… at a group rate). To everyone else, I say … Release your imaginative “off beat side” and catch this unique and funfilled production! Running through June 17 at The Santa Monica Playhouse located at 1211 4th St. in Santa Monica. For tickets or group sales, call (310) 394-9779 ext. 1 or go online to www.santamonicaplayhouse.com.

A Brief Look at Upcoming Local Productions Moon Over Buffalo – Written by Ken Ludwig and Directed by Drina Durazo. Opening May 11 at The Lonny Chapman Theatre.

This show biz farce follows the dynamics of a financially struggling theatrical family, performing “hack versions of popular theater classics,” to pay the bills. When they learn that Frank Capra is coming to see their work … their enthusiasm is electric! Already booked for their opening night, I won’t be able to review this one … but our gifted critic, Mary Mallory, will be there! For early booking, call (818) 763-5990.

Bitchslap!

Written by Darrin Hagen and Directed by Odalys Nanin. Opening May 19 at Macha Theatre.

A comedy that chronicles the infamous 40 year dispute between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, with gossip columnist Hedda Hopper fueling the fire … I can’t wait for this one! Starring the incomparable C. Stephen Foster, who has been “wowing” audiences as Bette Davis for decades … this is sure to be a crowd pleasing winner! For early booking call (323) 960-7724.

That’s my story for this week. Back next time to tell you all about two opening night productions….


Tagged as: