Harrison Held’s Scene Around Town …. Special Hollywood Fringe Report…. I had a great time watching 5 feisty fabulous Hollywood Fringe solo shows this year… I would have preferred to watch them live at the Broadwater Theatre – Black Box on Santa Monica Boulevard but with the current covid climate I thought watching them online this year would be best.
There was so much talent and creativity on the stage and I enjoyed watching Naturally Tan written and starring Tanya Thomas, I Heart Maroc written and starring Azo Safo, REDEEMher written and starring Tatum Langton, The Whistleblower written and starring Johnny Avila and I Have Too Many Feelings written and starring Bethany Vee. All these terrific solo shows were developed and directed by the talented Jessica Lynn Johnson www.soaringsolostudios.com
REDEEMher is a heart wrenching and often funny story of an attractive young Mormon lady who becomes an actress leaving her husband and life behind. Ms. Langton is an excellent story teller drawing the audience in with her sincerity, humor and hope for a better future against shocking adversity.
Naturally Tan is a dynamic terrific one woman show about an attractive mixed actress from Singapore and the great racial obstacles she must overcome to be her authentic self. Ms Thomas is a wonderful actress and story teller equally well versed at comedy and drama.
I Heart Maroc is a fun funny and fast movie solo show about a lovable charismatic young Armenian American woman who joins the peace corps and the obstacles she must overcome while serving. Ms. Safo’s show was entertaining, illuminating and was full of humor and soul.
The Whistleblower is an energetic enlightening and educational show about an earnest agricultural teacher standing up for his rights and the rights of his students. Mr. Avilla’s true tale of doing the right thing inspires and teaches.
I Have Too Many Feelings is a winning and inspiring solo show about a lesbian actress who fought tooth and nail to be her authentic self. Ms. Vee’s inspiring and entertaining show is very poignant and very funny.
After watching all 5 winning solo shows online I decided to venture in person to see the highly recommended ensemble play called The Dean’s Office. Strict covid regulations were in place. Everyone had to wear a mask and no one was allowed in the theatre without proof of vaccination or a recent negative covid test. I thoroughly enjoyed The Dean’s Office well written by talented Joyce Lee and well directed by Sherrie Lofton. This gritty, daring and very well acted play starred Nadege August, Darrell Phillip, Tory Devon Smith, Minerva Garcia, Yolanda Romersa and Helen Duffy. The Dean’s Office is a very timely shocking must see story about systemic racism in education told over the course of 3 decades which kept audiences glued to their seats and the talk back which followed was very interesting and poignant. Each member of the cast shined and was excellent.
Update… Naturally Tan won Pick of the Fringe and Best of Broadwater 2021, I Heart Maroc won Best of Broadwater 2021 and The Dean’s Office won Best of Broadwater 2021. Congratulations to all.
Great News… The award winning The Dean’s Office is having an encore performance Saturday September 18th at 4pm at FMCC in Hollywood. Founders Metropolitan Community Church is located at 4607 Prospect Avenue. The pay what you can performance will benefit LGBTQ FMCC. Masks must be worn and vaccination cards must be presented. There will be a talk back following the performance. I can’t wait to see it again!
Watching all these fine Fringe shows brought back happy memories from 2015 performing in Fringe in the play Down for the Count which was part of Dallas Bancroft’s Hollywood Shorts directed by John O’Donnell. I played Renfield, Dracula’s Assistant (what funnnn!) opposite Rico SImonini as Dracula and Joelle Arqueros as the Studio Executive. Legendary Ed Asner joined the cast of Hollywood Shorts – I didn’t perform opposite him – that would have been great but we were part of the same show! I saw him about a month before he passed when he starred opposite another legend, my friend Ruta Lee in the new comedy Another Gin Game which was a terrific staged reading fundraiser for Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. It was written by talented Gary Kaskel and was hilarious. A few weeks later Ed flew to the Spring Grove Caledonia Film Festival for another staged reading and starred opposite my lovely friend actress Diana Angelina who played his wife. Lucky Lady! She had a great time and was honored to work with him. They flew home together on the plane and were fast friends. I think this was his last role in front of an audience.. Ed always gave great performances and was a very nice guy and will be greatly missed. It was always great seeing him around town, in plays and at events…. Remember the good times… HH