Last year I was so impressed by the renegade indie productions at the Hollywood Fringe Fest, that I've embarked on a mission; to take in a slew of shows throughout June and report as I go. I will Binge. On. Fringe. I want to support the arts in L.A., and show people (yea you New Yawk!) that there's a performing arts world outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. No offense, Dorothy Chandler. Although she has a pavilion named after her, so she can handle my
jealously over her fortune professional opinion.
My first play was like a shot of espresso. No, adrenaline. No! A bolt of lightning! Yes.
The play is called Title of Show and it's running at The Elephant Theatre throughout June. It's a musical within a musical - a cheery hit of Glee, if you take away the saccharine high school melodrama and throw in more of the biting wit of Sue Sylvester. After all, Title of Show doesn't focus on a bunch of high school kids. These are adults in New York City with all the complexities so familiar to struggling Angelenos. Cynical, yet hopeful. Ambitious, yet self-defeating.
I dragged into the theatre on Friday night after a long week. When I was younger, Friday night meant tequila shots and riding the bull at Saddle Ranch (don't judge me. Actually, go ahead). These days, I feel lucky to not fall asleep before the credits roll on my Netflix movie. Imagine my surprise when I left the theatre feeling electrified.
Aside from the uptempo pace, great writing and the distractingly beautiful bone structure of the show's pianist Jim Blackett, there were little things that gave me joy. When actor Travis Dixon ranted about the barrage of musicals being created after Hollywood films, he didn't just rattle off a list. Oh no, he had physical movements for each offending production. For Legally Blonde, he flipped his hair. For Big, he shimmied from the ground up. But his movements kept up with the fast pace of his speech, like watching him in fast forward. The audience interrupted the scene just to applaud him.
|Director Corey Lynn Howe|
Talented director Corey Lynn Howe was careful to keep each of the characters flawed but lovable. Especially actress Julia Plosnieks, who played Susan. She was raunchy, over-the-top and like all the characters, completely owned it. This small cast had chemistry, energy and weren't at all playing it safe on opening night. They were in it to win it, and the audience gave them a standing ovation. I was infused with so much energy, I practically flew out of my seat with a "Bravo!"