No doom n’ gloom this time…

I caught two charmingly-enjoyable productions… without driving any farther than NoHo…

“A Big Gay North Hollywood Wedding”

(L to R): Sterling Price as Brent, a reception party guest and Ben Rovner as Joshua in “A Big Gay North Hollywood Wedding.”

(L to R): Sterling Price as Brent, a reception party guest and Ben Rovner as Joshua in “A Big Gay North Hollywood Wedding.”

What better wedding gift could I give to the “blushing” grooms… than a “glowing” review? This riotously high energy, interactive wedding ceremony and following reception party… where we are the guests… is a ton of fun! Beyond the scripted dialogue, every scheduled performance is different than the last… depending on the audience’s spontaneous conversations with the neurotic wedding party members. The quick witted cast, always “in character” of course, is fired up and ready for whatever playful dialogue we zoom their way! The creative vision of Paul Storiale, Gary Lamb and William A. Reilly, and written cleverly by Reilly and Ben Rovner (with input from tons of friends)… we are part of a fabulously flamboyant gay wedding. As in many large wedding scenarios, a certain amount of resentments, jealousies, character flaws and “secrets” surface. Two gorgeous young men, Sterling Price as Brent and Ben Rovner as Joshua, are infectiously loveable… with a complex variety of nutty friends and family to deal with, on this, their special day. In fact, under the kooky and creative direction of William Reilly, this entire huge cast gives focused and hilarious depictions! The nuptuals actually take place in the lovely “St. Matthews Church.” After the zany, emotion-packed wedding ceremony, we are ushered into their theatre next door from the church for a wild n’ whacky reception party… where quirky loved ones show their true colors. We, the guests, have spontaneous chats with the wedding party “whackos.” We laugh, dance, “rock out” to some spirited song performances and enjoy a complimentary champagne “toast” and wedding cake. Outrageously entertaining! Too many in this large cast to comment on all but I particularly enjoyed the work of Irwin Moskowitz as Uncle Morty, Cameron Denny as Kyle (the jilted lover of Josh) and Ben Pauley as “L” (a beautiful singer). For effectively creating the festive mood, kudos to: Caitlin Erin O’Hare (costumes), Dean Cameron (set design) and Tracy Mulholland (choreography). With all of their underlying personal issues, joys and tears… everybody loves a wedding! For a roaring good time… I highly recommend that you attend this one! This inventive Crown City Theatre production plays out inside the church and into their adjoining theatre (11031 Camarillo St. in NoHo). For an “E ticket ride”… call (818) 745-8527. Running indefinitely.

“Mom’s the Word” (The Good, the Bad and the Yucky…)

 (L to R, Back Row): Kimleigh Smith and Gina Torrecilla. (L to R, Front Row): Becky Thyre, Susan Giosa and Cathy Schenkelberg.

(L to R, Back Row): Kimleigh Smith and Gina Torrecilla. (L to R, Front Row): Becky Thyre, Susan Giosa and Cathy Schenkelberg.

A fun-filled and gritty inside look at the challenging and artful task of being a mother… with all of its joys, rewards, obstacles, trials n’ tribulations. This is a very sweet, entertaining and “spot on” production! Played out on a bare-boned set (basically five stools and five women), this is a less explicit case of “The Vagina Monologues” meets motherhood! Written by six playwrights (all mothers) from their firsthand experiences at parenting, it has been a hit in Canada, London, Chicago, Minneapolis and Houston. This is its Los Angeles debut… funny, touching and undeniably relatable to anyone who’s ever been a mother (or had one), this is an intimate look at “mothering” without losing one’s self in the process. (I was quite surprised to see so many men in the audience laughing their tails off…) Directed with whimsical passion by Jerry London, five colorfully-energetic women share vivid stories of the joys and complications of “life after baby.” Writers: Linda A. Carson, Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard and Deborah Williams gave these women great material to work with! In one humorous and thought-provoking vignette after another… the subjects of pregnancy, childbirth, sex, self-worth and personal identity are looked at from every angle. You will likely recognize yourself as a “mom” more than once! London (director) also delightfully created, on-screen, overheard projections of precious “kidlets” corresponding with the stories. Priceless! The cast, all terrific and highly expressive actresses, tell their stories and spill their guts… with much humor, spunk and heartfelt emotion! They are: Susan Giosa (Linda), Cathy Schenkelberg (Deborah), Kimleigh Smith (Robin), Gina Terrecilla (Jill) and Becky Thyre (Alison). I suggest that you gather up a group of your favorite maternal “gal pals” and catch this one for a rowdy and reflective girls night out! There are more than a few whacky surprises in this revealing production! You’ll have a great time! I took my friend Kim along, who has a year-old set of twins… and she’s still talking about the show! Running through November 8th (Thursdays through Sundays) at the El Portal Theatre (5629 Lankershim Blvd. in NoHo). For seats, call (818) 508-4200

That’s my story for this week, and I’m stickin’ to it! See you next time…


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