26 May Theater Reviews by Morna
BACK PORCH – Burbank
Remember William Holden and Kim Novak in “Picnic” (1955)? Well, this new comedy shines a light on the actual filming in Kansas. Author Eric Anderson, then four years old, says, “My family drove to the location one evening to take part in the “Neewollah” scene on the river. I’ve been crazy about movies – and theater – ever since!” Here is his homage to both moviemaking and the playwright whose original work inspired the Columbia film.
“Back Porch is a love letter to William Inge,” says director Kelie McIver, also from Kansas. “Each character has an interesting and beautiful arc. I love them all and want to hang out with them.” Stars Jonathan Fishman, Isaac W. Jay, Cody Lemmon, Karl Maschek, Jordan Morgan and Eric Zak. Produced by David Willis and McIver. Presented by Bluestem Productions.
At The Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W Victory Blvd. Burbank. Tickets:
(818) 533-1611 or onstage411.com/BackPorch
INTO THE BREECHES – Long Beach
It’s 1942, and the leading men of Long Beach’s Oberon Playhouse are off fighting overseas. “We Can Do It!” said Rosie the Riveter, and so say the women of Long Beach in this new comedy by George Brant. With “The Show Must Go On!” as their battle cry, these inexperienced performers attempt an all-female version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V. As they soldier their way through rehearsals, all long for word from their missing loved ones. Will this be a victory on the home front, or a target for rotten tomatoes? See what happens when they’re all in it together.
Directed by Brian Shnipper. Show stars Meghan Andrews, Emilie Doering, Brooke Olivia Gatto, Nicholas Hormann, Holly Jeanne, Stuart Lasker, Sydney A. Mason and Leslie Stevens. Produced by caryn desai. At International City Theatre in Long Beach Convention Center, 330 East Seaside Way, Long Beach.
Tickets (562) 436-4610 or www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.
BECAUSE IT’S SUNNY IN L.A. (Especially on Skid Row) – Hollywood
This musical play is about the severe nature of homelessness in L.A. and is designed to culturally inspire change and the way people think and feel about it. It follows 5 homeless characters living on Skid Row. Written and produced by Thaddeus Nagey, whose statement THE REASON WHY I WROTE AND PRODUCED THIS PLAY I here present.
“I first started writing this playbook in 2018, (not actually knowing I would write a full-length play) as a long poem describing the experience of what it was like to process & honor human remains (and the humanity that comes with it) in the Air Force during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I had just come out of homelessness & hospitalization in 2016 & went through bridge & section 8 housing, leading up to and during graduate theatre school. While attending, I learned that a staggering 53,000 enrolled CSU students were homeless. Subsequently, I got involved as an acting coach, stage manager, & writer, helping skid row artists in downtown L.A. as a volunteer and intern. I became attuned to the issues of homelessness through personal experience, academic studies, & hands on working with artists that were suffering from poverty and homelessness., I wrote this play because I wanted people to learn about the issues of homelessness in a compassionate way through theatre, a form of community engagement, where people drop their guards, listen, & open up their hearts & minds.”
Directed by Karesa McElheny with music composed by Tim Poulin and author Nagey. Musical Direction is by Garth Herberg while Ray Lewis adds his unique African and Skid Row Drums and Percussion. The professional cast includes Veve Melendrez, emelle, Alikhan Lochin, Iron Donato, Betzo Marroquin, Lorinda Hawkins Smith and Thaddeus Nagey. At The Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood.