Another imaginative set by local design wizard John Iacovelli finds us in the production offices of the El Centro Theatre (West of Paramount and north of Melrose) in Hollywood, California.The production moves at a frantic pace.
Zachary Grant Jenny O'Hara Ryan BrophyRehearsal photos by Jeff Lorch
Notwithstanding wading through the 'shits' and 'fucks' salted liberally throughout the text and a second act rant by Monica (ever wonderful Jenny O'Hara) with the C word spewing directly over the audience, I think that adult attendees will adjust and enjoy the production. It's a little far fetched with James's arrival at the El Centro and some silly phone answereing business that settles into the story of his success.
Jenny O'Hara fills the stage with genuine oddball vigor! (Jenny slapped me once for cause)... She brings her crusty Artistic Director, Monica, brilliantly to life. It's a romp.
Zacary Grant's character arc is a little tough to believe. Soon after his introduction to the El Centro for his community service job, James submits a play about Barbie and Ken on the skids at their ages of 28 that the El Centro chooses to mount to qualify for a grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. James goes on to become the Golden Boy playwright of the El Centro with the mention of my dear friend, LA Times' Theatre Critic, Sylvie Drake, credited with supportive reviews.
Odd moments emerge with a gay theme when James makes a bargain with long suffering Danny (Jack of all theatre trades Ryan Brophy) to do something for the gift of Danny's shorts? Really? The regular indulgence in pot and specialty chilled beer from the fridge fuels some of the mayhem.
James's success .. all of which Monica believes should be credited to her, leads us to the highs and lows of the creative process and an eventual climax that is not unexpected.
Tech credits on the wide, wide Matrix stage are great.
Monica : Jenny O'Hara
James : Zachary Grant
Danny: Ryan Brophy
by Justin Tanner A World Premiere
Directed by Lisa James
Opened: 8pm on Thursday, December 8, 2022
8pm Wednesdays – Saturdays, 3pm on Sundays
Added performance on Monday 12/19 at 8pm
No performances on 12/24, 25, 31 or 1/1
Closing: January 8, 2023
7657 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90462