Sunday, March 27, 2022


For  dedicated fans and practitioners of Theatre with a capital "T" ...  Lucas Hnath (nayth) has a take on the practice of writing and performing works for the stage unlike any other playwright in recent memory.  The World Premiere of his "Dana H" at the Kirk Douglas a couple of years ago was so enticing and wonderful, that to call this guy a genius.. well..from what I've seen and read, he's right up there with Beckett.   My bias tends to lean toward plays and theatre companies who develop their own material and/or invite playwrights like Hnath to work with them to make the stage come alive with the unexpected.  

Cory Washington, Brittney Bertier,
Thomas Piper and Kevin Ashworth
Photo by Jenny Graham

Certainly, just the memorization of the title of this show is a challenge and when we think of the almost literal sainthood that has been bestowed on Uncle Walt, this imagined discussion, mostly between Walt Disney, (in a tour de force presentation, Kevin Ashworth)  and his brother, Roy  (a perfect foil with a bandage # on his head from where an Oscar grazed him, Thomas Piper) , is filled with healthy jerks and starts.  That Hnath employs marks of elipses  in his scripts to sustain the pace he desires is evident here.  

We are at a table read. The actors are actors playing characters with scripts aided by a few projections.  When Ron Miller (Cory Washington) and Diane Disney Miller (Brittney Bertier) take stage, we open into a sort of dance studio with floor to ceiling mirrors that expands the scope of this ego fest: all conducted by Walt. 

What the heck is really going on? Diane Disney Miller's husband, poor Ron Miller  gets some rough treatment as Walt rides roughshod over Ron's hope to become a true part of the Disney family.

Walt's perfect reading of the camera moves (Cut: on Walt, close on Walt, ON WALT) in the screenplay rambles in such a way as to peek inside the mind of a guy whose take on life is to Take Life and do with it as he pleases, even to the end of time.. as we know it. Or? Live forever!  The cryogenics deal is here, too.

Hnath's dissembling structure becomes a new languge that .. like learning Pig Latin .. begins to make sense.  

For those not familiar with the structure of a screenplay.. this table read  moves a pace and we see an imagined version of the personality whose name is familiar to very single person on the planet who has electricity and maybe some  folks who don't  The performances are all solid:  professional. A few props factor in to add slightly to a cartoony aspect of the show.  Walt's vodka bottles bear "XXX" brand. Swilling pills and vodka may have been what might have really happened.  The animators strike and a nature film about lemmings come sideways from real life, but mostly, this is Hnath's imagined take on the ego of one of the world's most revered filmmakers / entrepreneurs and scalliwags in modern history.

Peter Richards' direction is flawless. It's a terrific play.  Wonderful stuff..  

Another of Hnath's plays, "A Doll's House: Part 2" will go up at the ICT in Long Beach in a couple of weeks. I can't wait.  Meanwhile.. see this one.


Presented by Working Barn Productions

Directed by Peter Richards

Preview: March 25
Performances: March 26 – May 1:
Fridays at 8 p.m.: March 25 (preview), April 1, April 8, April 15, April 22, April 29
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: March 26 (Opening Night), April 2, April 9, April 16, April 23, April 30
Sundays at 2 p.m.: March 27, April 3, April 10, April 17, April 24, May 1

 Odyssey Theatre
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90025

On site : Five bucks

Street parking is a little dicey but available.

Tickets and information:



Sunday, March 20, 2022

Jonathan Livingston Seagull" A Solo Flight at the Atwater Village Complex


Andrew Thacher / photo credit Jill Carol

About fifty years ago when New Age was sort of New.. Richard Bach, a pilot who wrote books and a writer who flew airplanes came on the scene with a little allegory that echoed  the philosophy of a teacher by the name of Richard Alpert, whom you may remember as Ram Dass. The Ram Dass book "Be Here Now" is in it’s umpteenth printing and Bach’s "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" shows up on a Google search as having sold at least 40 million copies.  

My personal connection to Richard Bach prompted me to blatantly ask to review this current production of the one person show: "Jonathan Livingstonj Seagull: A Solo Flight".  

Andrew Thacher is the solo. His adaptation of Bach's book is the text with spectacular projections in the teeny tiny space that is adjacent to the Open Fist and Echo Theatres at the Atwater Village Theatre Complex. 

For those who may have never heard of Jonathan, it is one of those little books with big print and a story that... according to Richard Bach, came to him in two parts.  The first part, I remember him saying, was when he lived in Long Beach and was out for a walk. Behind him.. over his left shoulder. or was it his right?  He distinctly heard a voice say "Jonathan Livingston Seagull." Turning to find no one there.. the idea of an allegory of freedom came to him with the voice of a bird as the narrator.  He immediately wrote the first half.  I don't recall how long it took Bach to find the end of the piece.  It was a while..

Bach was a pilot. One of those guys who owned airplanes and knew about flying from a personal perspective.  The notion of freedom in flight was his beacon. "Stranger to the Ground (1963)" was his first book published when he was 27.  Then "Biplane" in 1966.. with some other work coming along, turning on flight and freedom.

The big winner was "JLS" which put Bach on the map. It's simple road to Freedom became a hit. 


Andrew Thacher is an actor / artist whose fourteen year journey has finally landed him in one of the little spaces in Atwater with some excellent tech to enhance what is essentially a dramatic reading of Richard Bach's bird story.  

There is a quality to the story that speaks for itself: the character who doesn't see the world the way the world seems to insist that he must see it and be in it and act in it and do what he's told.  Makes sense that a pilot who had ideas about life, maybe under the influence of the Sixties? would find a metaphor in a young seagull who wanted to really... Really.. fly.

What Thacher has done in his fourteen year love affair with this story is to internalize the message and on a flyer.. so to speak.. has mounted the show on a shoestring, though the tech credits and especially the video projections (and one really cool special effect) bring the audience into the heart of the message: Go beyond your limits. Find love. Respect those who condemn you and find a way to freedom. 

Speculation might lead someone to see the Christ  story here.. the Troublemaker who is condemned by society.  Or the Siddhartha story .. in a way.. a taste of Tao and Buddhist reincarnation? All shared with a genuine and present joy by Mr. Thacher in a way that I am sure Richard Bach  would find charming.

It's rare for me to rave or gush these days.  Getting back into an audience is such a friggin' pleasure.  Being able to share a show like this with a friend was special, but the really special part is that to be told this story in such a clear and personal way enhances it beyond the pleasure of finding the book again.  The original book had some cool photos of real live seagulls.  Personifying the characters like Sullivan and Fletcher and Chang (sp?) comes easily for Thacher.  The natural flow and a simple change of posture and voice is what all actors do to bring their characters to life.This guy is so subtle that each individual character bubbles up effortlessly.. There's just no pressure. The presence of the actor barely shifts. The story being told just happens.


I am loving writing this review.  My personal connetion to the author is part of it, a moment long ago that I recall with great pleasure.. but more than this, I want for audiences who may never have heard of Bach or Jonathan,  to come to Atwater and support this play.  

It's kind of like being in a public place and seeing a beautiful sunset or a cloud formation and turning to a complete stranger with the irresistible need to just say, "Would ya look at that!  Isn't that beautiful??" 

Andrew Thacher's work is superb.. and super.. and inching toward the sublime..but let's not get carried away.  

We live in the land of doubt these days with lots to  piss and moan about.  An hour.. a little more.. on a pleasant evening with a friend may not change your life, but the allegory that Thacher shares with us is certainly food for thought. 


Please see this show. The friends and friends of friends have showed up.. as they should. Now is the time for an audience beyond that circle to come to see what devotion to hard work and a genuine love for the subject matter can do.  



based on the book by Richard Bach

Performed by Andrew Thacher

Directed by Paul Millet

Atwater Village Theatre Complex

3269 Casitas

Los Angeles, California 90039

Thursday, Friday, Saturday 8PM

Sunday at 2PM

Closing March 27, 2002

Tickets and information:







Saturday, March 19, 2022

IN THE NEXT ROOM OR the vibrator play Open Fist

 Sarah Ruhl's flirtation with electricity, sex and the Victorian ethic comes to life and then some in the Open Fist's production of "In The Next Room or the vibrator play" at the Atwater Village Theatre Complex. 

 Spencer Cantrell, Jennifer Zorbalas
and Stephanie Crothers
Photo by Frank Ishman

I've been having a little trouble with this site recently, so if it looks a little wonky, please soldier on ..

There is something to be said for heading back in time with Sarah Ruhl to examine life in the United States over a hundred years ago.  The subtitle of the piece pretty much says it all.   

Dr. Givings (Spencer Cantrell) is a thoughtful medical doctor whose 'surgery' is located in 'the next room' in his Victorian home, shared with his lovely wife, Catherine (Dionna Veremis). Sadly, their new baby (Letitia) has become undernourished because Catherine is unable to produce adequate quantities of mother's milk.  An air of Victorian dignity permeates Jan Munroe's beautiful and authentic looking set as the magic of electricity is extolled by Catherine.  Light!

The comings and goings of the succession of characters proceeds to shed light on a prim and proper time that leads to personal discoveries never before experienced.: thanks to better living through electricity (sic)!

The Daldrys arrive: (Stephanie Crothers and Christopher Carver)Mylette Nora's costumes take us back to a time when getting into and out of any clothing was a chore!  Mrs. Daldry is experiencing sensitivity to light and her fingers that used to play the piano beautifully are no  longer working properly. Dr.Givings thinks he can cure her ills. Electricity! The vibrator looks like one my mother used to have! Mmmmm.

Into the Next Room we go with Annie ( All business Jennifer Zorbalas) who, as Dr. Givings' aide-de-camp, takes notes, She respectfully assists patients disrobe and makes them comfortable.  

Mrs. Daldry has a hat.

Whatever is ailing Mrs. Daldry is abandoned as the good doctor administers his sinister looking ray gun vibrator. Paroxysms of orgasmic wonderfulness explode with the treatment. Wheeee. 

Later we meet the artist  Leo Irving (Bryan Bertone). He is treated by Dr. Givings' cattle prod that goes where the sun don't shine.  Ow.

Elizabeth (lovely Monazia Smith) is hired to wet nurse Baby Lottie and winds up a model Madonna for Leo while nursing Lottie. It's Art.

How to save a marriage lies at the foundation of Ruhl's play and as resolutions slowly come around we find the good doctor and his awakening wife in the snow.

Lane Allison's direction is slowly paced probably for a reason, but stage waits were numerous.  

Tech credits are impressive.  Producer Martha Demson's hard work has paid off. 

IN THE NEXT ROOM     or   the vibrator play

by  Sarah Ruhl

Directed by Lane Allison

Open Fist Theatre 

Atwater Theatre Complex

3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039

March 18 – April 23:
Fridays at 8 p.m.: March 18 (Opening Night), March 25, April 1, April 8, April 15, April 22
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: March 19, March 26, April 2, April 9, April 16, April 23
Sundays at 6 p.m.: March 20, March 27, April 3, April 10, April 17


Saturday, March 12, 2022


PHOTO CREDIT:  Elizabeth Kimball
Natalie Llerena and Peter Pasco

The Play You Want By Bernardo Cubria is a theatre person’s play.  Home Town Opening Night Adrenalin was flowing well before the curtain went up at the Road Theatre on Magnolia.   

Cubria’s strong statement about life as a playwright bubbles with angst and energy as Bernado (Peter Pasco) sits awkwardly profile with his agent Chloe (Natalie Llarena). He needs a production. He writes about Mexican Clowns.. from the heart.  Bottom line is that Barnardo has got to get a show up or Chloe is quits. Marital angst blossoms when his wife, Vera (Chelsea Gonzalez.. doubling in other parts), confronts Bernado with the realities of fatherhood and family. In the face of what looms as success for Bernado.

Brian Graves’s bulky set lumbers here and there to create the various abstract venues where:  lo and behold!  a silly story Bernardo recalled about his abuela and tamales that he jotted down on his phone while sitting on the can whisks us away on a journey from obscurity to: 

First:  a reading at the Public Theatre! We meet the Yalies! Oskar Eustis (Stewart J. Zully) rushes the show into production. 

And then, Lin Manuel Miranda (Roland Ruiz) pops in to tell Bernie that he’s on his way to Broadway..   Cubria in real life has a resume of credits as long as tu brazo.  He’s written for TV! In the spirit of the Mexican Clown "The Play You Want" exposes truths wrapped in farce. 

It is all rolled up into : Applause.

The beauty of this piece is the amazing transformations that the cast of seven talented actors facilitates with grace.

Jonathan Nichols as Gilbert Cruz is bravado personified and later as Alfred Molina, is having way too much fun.  Cruz (a real life ‘working’ actor, whom I met recently on Facebook!)  appears in a Tequila Dream to Bernardo to discuss how this is the playwright’s opportunity to give "what for" for the Mexicans. Don’t fuck it up.

The protean skills of each of these actors has the audience in their collective palms.  A brilliant turn to create Pablo, the two year old son of Vera and Bearnado, is played with a puppet brought to life by  Roland Ruiz.. remember him as Lin? 

The success of "Nar Cocos", a loopy story of Bernardo's Abuela (Presciliana Esparolini) we experinece at the beginning of the show, is expanded and then with the input of stars Gloria Estafan (Esparolinia again), JLo (in a great blonde wig Natalie Llerena again) and aforementioned Nichols as Molina, the egos rock. The send up rocks. As director  Chay Yew (Christopher Larkin also Sam Gold!) gets his 'bitches in a row' stroking the hair of Mija (Natalie Llerena  who comes back as JLo) who is not so sure she likes it.  Beautiful moment!

Enter the umpteen Tony winning producer, Scott Rudin (Stewart J. Zully). We learn that this show, to really draw the audience,  must include a Baby in a Cage.  Compromise?  Si Señor..  

Lately, I've been taken to task for mentioning moments in a play in what is essentially a great review (which I intend this review to be!)  that I think could be improved.  The play has a moment where something happens in the dark that may have been a missed light cue, but screwed up the logic of what happened next.  Your assignment, and I hope you will take it,  is to to see this great piece of theatre and see if you can catch it.  Good luck. 

Just go.

Highly recommended.  I also love the Mexican Lottery Poster!

Parking under the theatre is available. 



By Bernado Cubria

Directed by Michael John Garcés

The Road Theatre on Magnolia

10747 Magnolia Blvd, 

North Hollywood, CA 91601 

Thursday, March 10 at 8pm; will open on Friday, March 11 at 8pm and run through Sunday, April 24, 2022.       

Performances :

 Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm through Sunday, April 3. 

Performances continue in repertory beginning Thursday, April 7 at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm & Sundays at 7:30pm through Sunday, April 24.  

There will be no performances March 26, 26 or 27.

Ticket prices are $39; Students and Seniors are $15.00; Previews are $15.00.  

Sunday Performances are Pay-What-You-Can.  Three Play Season Pass is $75.00.  

Special group rates available for parties of 8 or more.  For tickets, please call 818-761-8838 or visit to purchase tickets online or to view complete schedule. 


The Road Theatre


*Peter Pasco

Chelsea Gonzalez

Roland Ruiz 

Peter Pasco*  
Abuela/Gloria Estefan  
Presciliana Esparolini*  
Chelsea Gonzalez  
Natalie Llerena  
Sam Gold/ Chay Yew/ Variety Reporter  
Christopher Larkin*  
Gilbert Cruz/Alfred Molina  
Jonathan Nichols*  
Lin Manuel Miranda/Mijo/Pablo/John Leguizamo  
Roland Ruiz  
Oskar Eustis/Scott Rudin  
Stewart J. Zully*


Michael John Garcés  
Bernardo Cubría  
Carlyle King  
Danna Hyams  
Christina Carlisi  
Stage Manager  
Maurie Gonzalez  
Associate Producer  
Amayah Watson  
Dramaturg Under Construction  
Jessica Broutt  
Set Design  
Brian Graves  
Sound Design  
Marc Antonio Pritche





Monday, March 7, 2022


The absolute Joy of Return bubbles from our host, Jay McAdams as he greets the audience for the World Premiere of "Rapuzel Alone" currently at the 24th Street Theatre and soon to move to the Wallis. His welcome is genuine and palpable. 

This adaptation of the Rapunzel story that I always attributed to the Brothers Grimm, evidently goes well back in time with consequences and twists and turns that make the story even more fascinating.  There are no real witches or fairies or princes in this verson, but that's okay.

I won't discuss Persinette (1698) or La Chatte Blanche (1697), but loved researching these stories to inform the essence of what Mike Kenny has created for Jay and Debbie.  Suffice it to say that these fairy tales are fraught with all kinds of pitfalls and danger and magic that's fun to recall.


In his curtain / welcome back speech, Jay elicits applause and gratitude from the matinee audience. A full house. He talks about how the theatre has taken a hit, but the 24th Street Gang has kept the home fires burning and in the mix the idea to develop a story that would inform teen angst and make an interesting presentation about isolation, even before the dampanic struck, now comes to life.  

As we enter the lobby of this beautiful neighborhood space:  music of the forties is in the air. Pre-show we watch videos of the devastation of WWII. We focus on London.  The projection effects that this company employs on three huge scrims with a special super translating the dialogue of the play into Spanish work well. The text translations are because the theatre neighborhood is home to many Hispanic families. The 24th Street welcomes their neighbors with open arms.  The neighborhood was in evidence at this matinee.

The stage is basically an open space with an old radio, a table and chairs. Projections and sound effects help create openings and closings of doors and other sounds.  

Jay relates that in about 1942 there were six hundred thousand children evacuated from London because of the Blitz. Here on hangs the tale of Lettie, (Tara Alise Cox) whose parents are vital to the war effort. Naturally, they want their daughter out of harm's way. Thus, Lettie is taken to the railway station and with the other children shipped off to the countryside. She has a note pinned to her coat that announces to whomever finds her what her name is and what she likes to eat.  On arrival, as luck would have it, Lettie is the last to be collected.  And! as luck would have it, her 'benefactor' is a crusty old woman by the name of Miss Pearce (or Pierce, depending on where you look on the program) played smoothly by Marie Françoise Theodore.   Ms P. lives alone on a farm where chores start before dawn and the barnyard is under siege from Gertrude, the Goose (a wonderful puppet honked by Matt Curtin).  

Puppeteer Matt Curtin, Gertrude the Goose
and Tara Alise Cox
Photo by Cooper Bates

The beauty of a World Premiere is to see what sincere producers reach out for. Regardless of the time lapsed from 2019, the story of a girl estranged from her family and under the thumb of a less than sympathetic tutor has a place.  The coincidence of a world on the brink of war is just a sad one.

 The plot challenges Lettie to become an independent person, regardless of her lack of book learning (which made me wonder because if her age is discussed, I missed it) and with twists and turns we see her grow.  Where in the classic tale, Rapunzel is captive in a tower, our Lettie is only isolated to a safe harbor. As a chore, she is sent to the mail box to post letters to her parents as well as collect the mail. There she meets a cheeky lad, Conrad (William Leon), who dubs Lettie "Rapunzel" because he perceives her being held captive by the 'witch'.  

All tolled, the clever use of Gertrude to help Lettie overcome her fears and come to grips with being in charge of her life and her life decisions, works in this full length one act. 

Applause to the tech credits of Jeff Gardner, Sound and Matthew G. Hill, video with Keith Michell's set and puppet design. 

Co-directors Debbie Devine and Jesus Castaños-Chima may want to tighten the show's pace as the production moves forward. Perhaps some long pauses are for effect but keeping the production rolling seems like a good idea to me. 


by Mike Kenny

Rapunzel Alone opens on Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 6 at 3 p.m. at 24th Street Theatre, then moves to the Wallis Center for the Performing Arts on March 12 for eight performances on the following schedule: Saturday, March 12 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, March 13 at 2 p.m.; Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m.; Thursday, March 17 at 7 p.m.; Friday, March 18 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, March 19 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. 

Tickets to performances at 24th Street Theatre (except previews) are $24 for adults; $15 for students, seniors and teachers; $10 audiences under 18; and $2.40 for residents of the theater’s surrounding North University Park neighborhood. 

Tickets to all performances at The Wallis are $25.  

24th Street Theatre  

1117 West 24th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007 (at the intersection of 24th and Hoover). 

The Wallis is located at 9390 N Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210


For reservations and information about performances at both venues, go to