This Week: Theatre and Chill, John Belushi Returns, Audience Members Get Naked

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  • After seven short years, Hollywood Fringe Festival has managed to garner what venerable Edinburgh Fringe (founded in 1947) has not accomplished in 69 years: financial recognition from the government. In its second round of arts grants for fiscal year 2016, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is giving Hollywood Fringe an Art Works grant of $10,000 to support the growth of Fringe Scholarship programs. Festival Director Ben Hill commented, “This funding allows us to sustain that growth by supporting artists and programming that is diverse, inclusive, and relevant to the local community. We are truly honored to have been selected a recipient.”


  • Las Vegas-based Table 8 Productions is making its Hollywood Fringe Fest debut with writer/director Troy Heard’s Titus Andronicus, Jr., a darkly comedic sojourn within a troubled middle school teacher’s efforts to stage a student production of William Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedy. Plays June 5-28 at Sacred Fools Theater Second Stage.
  • Merely Players Shakespeare Co. is offering A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a 90-minute “raw and compelling take” on one of Shakespeare’s most classic plays, helmed by Michael Thomas-Visgar & Robbie Allen, featuring a 15-member ensemble. Plays June 5-25 at OMR Theatre.


  • When playwright/producer Johnna Adams introduced Love the Body Positive — addressing naturism and body acceptance — at Seattle Fringe Fest in 2003, it featured a nude cast and nude ushers. For Hollywood Fringe, the production also mandates a nude audience (critics included). The onstage ensemble includes Brian Knudsen, Cat Cela, Amy Arrow and Marty Ross. For the audience, the rules are: “Bring a clothing bag, a beach towel (for placing on the seat) and please shower before arriving. NO photography allowed.” Plays June 5, 12, 18 & 25 at The Undergound Theatre.
  • For his third sojourn at Hollywood Fringe, Jack Zullo is debuting Live From the Grave…It’s John Belushi (A Tribute), chronicling Belushi’s rise from indie college performer to international star. Features Crazzy Tomes and The Jackets blues band, as well as Keith Saltojanes, Eva Ceja, Carolyn Martone, Ryan Broems and Pantelis Kodogiannis. Plays June 5, 11, 16 and 25 at Three Clubs.
  • Actor/director Blake Lewis’s debut work, Adam and Eve, follows a clown’s efforts to put new meaning into the word of God, dissecting and reshaping the story of man’s origin. Performs June 4-26 at Theatre of NOTE.


  • Hollywood Fringe 2015 Best Musical nominees Robot Teammate & The Accidental Party return to the Fringe fray with the premiere of dystopian comedic tuner, Thug Tunnel, created by Chris Bramante, Miles Crosman, Molly Dworsky, Nikki Muller, Kat Primeau and Dave Reynolds, helmed by Dworsky. Plays June 9-20 at Sacred Fools Main Stage.
  • Harkening back to 1996 and the murder of a six-year-old pageant queen, JonBenet: The Musical, “tells the tale of what we think really happened,” created by Hannah Rowston and Austen Fletcher (book) and Reff Rivera (music), helmed by Fletcher. Plays June 18-26 in Asylum @ McCadden Theatre.


  • Asylum @ Studio C (Mainstage) is hosting two solo works, helmed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. Missy Hairston is introducing Awkwardly Fabulous, portraying 30 characters, chronicling her journey from Southern roots to New York and Hollywood. Plays June 4-26. Voice-over actress Carla Delaney’s Voices chronicles her comically cathartic experience of having the voices in her head take over her life. Performs June 5-25.
  • Writer/director/performer Benny Lee Harris Lumpkins Jr is debuting Code: 197 – DWB (Driving While Bl-ewish), chronicling his life as Black and Jewish young man growing up in the streets of Detroit, also home to the world’s first Jewish crime family, The Purple Gang. Plays June 4-24 in Asylum @ Studio C.


Director TINKS LOVELACE discusses Theatre and Chill?, featuring three Raegan Payne dark comedy shorts on “life, love, hate and human imbecility.” Plays June 2-24 at The OMR (Complex Theatre).

Peter Madison and Hayley Perkins in "Theatre and Chill?"
Peter Madison and Hayley Perkins in “Theatre and Chill?”

“The playwright Raegan Payne has an incredibly contemporary and wicked voice. The three one act plays run an hour in total. The show evokes an ultra cool social media-inspired ‘Netflix and Chill’ environment infused with a soundtrack of Amy Winehouse, Kid Cudi and others. It is really an old-school setting of coming together to just relax and watch shows, but the modern life realities of human frailties, love, hate, innocence and stupidity do invade the proceedings. We are so happy to being this show to the Fringe.”

Julio Martinez

Julio Martinez

Julio pens the weekly LA STAGE Insider column for @ This Stage Magazine, as well as the monthly LA STAGE History column. He is a recurring contributor to Written By (the monthly publication of the Writer’s Guild of America) and is the TeleVision columnist for Latin Heat Entertainment. On air, he hosts the weekly Arts in Review program for KPFK 90.7 FM. An active journalist for over 30 years, Julio’s articles and reviews have appeared in Los Angeles Times Magazine, Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, L.A. Weekly, Stage Raw, Backstage West, Westways Magazine, and Drama-Logue Magazine, among others.