Thursday, May 23, 2013

'Humor Abuse' Set To Open At Mark Taper

Replaces Previously Announced Production of “What the Butler Saw”

              “Humor Abuse,” the hilarious and heartfelt story of growing up in a circus, created by Lorenzo Pisoni and Erica Schmidt, directed by Schmidt and featuring a tour de force performance by Pisoni, will be presented at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum, September 17 through November 3, 2013.  The opening is set for September 21.
            “Humor Abuse” replaces the previously announced production of “What the Butler Saw,” which is being postponed to another season at the Taper.
            “It’s unfortunate that we had scheduling conflicts that will delay our production of ‘What the Butler Saw’ until a later season,” said CTG Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, “but it is highly fortunate that we were able to secure ‘Humor Abuse’ as a replacement in our schedule. Lorenzo Pisoni is one of the most charming, entertaining and unique artists I have had the pleasure of seeing, and I am sure that Los Angeles audiences will feel the same as I do after seeing his performance.”
            Pisoni took to the stage at age two as the youngest clown in the Pickle Family Circus, the much beloved one-ring circus founded by his parents in San Francisco.  He signed his first contract as a performing partner at age six, all under the eye of his exacting father, who taught him that comedy is a deadly serious business.
            In “Humor Abuse” through reminiscences and a whirlwind of juggling, pratfalls, double-takes, dodging sandbags and flinging himself in and out of a trunk, Pisoni delivers a tender homage to his perfectionist father, to the art and the discipline of comedy, and to the magic of the circus.
Charles Isherwood of The New York Times said, “Physically, Mr. Pisoni’s performance is breathtaking.” Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle called the show “… 90 minutes of nonstop hilarity … a probing, affecting look at a child’s relationship with a father who was mentor, clown partner and boss.”
           “Humor Abuse” was originally presented in the spring of 2009 at the Manhattan Theatre Club.  Pisoni won the 2009 Obie Award for Performance, and the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards.
         After 20 years as a juggler, acrobat, and clown in circuses like The Pickle Family Circus and Cirque du Soleil, Lorenzo Pisoni ran away from the circus to New York City where he began working as an actor.  He has appeared on Broadway in “Equus” (with Richard Griffiths and Danielle Radcliffe) and in “Henry IV” (with Kevin Kline and Ethan Hawke), and off-Broadway, most recently, in “Golden Age” (with Lee Pace, Bebe Neuwirth and F. Murray Abraham). On film he has been seen in “The Adjustment Bureau,” “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son,” and the indie films “South of Pico” and “Company Retreat.” On TV he recurred as DA Andrew Willis on “All My Children,” and has guest-starred on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “The Good Wife.”
           Erica Schmidt’s credits include “Invasion!” (The Play Company; Obie Award), “Humor Abuse” (Manhattan Theatre Club, Seattle Repertory Theatre; Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Obie Awards), “Rent” (Tokyo),  “Carnival” (Paper Mill Playhouse), “People Be Heard(Playwrights Horizons), “Trust” (The Play Company; Joe A. Callaway Award nomination), “As You Like It” (The Public Theater NYSF, chashama and The New York International Fringe Festival 2000 winner for Best Direction), “Debbie Does Dallas,” which she adapted and directed (off-Broadway’s Jane Street Theatre), “Spanish Girl” (Second Stage Theatre Uptown) and “Imaginary Invalid” (Bard Summerscape). Schmidt is a 2001 recipient of the Princess Grace Award.
           Tickets for “Humor Abuse” will go on sale June 2, and can be purchased by calling (213) 628-2772, visiting online at, or in person at the Center Theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre. Tickets range from $20 - $70 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Mark Taper Forum is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.
           Mark Taper Forum subscribers will be mailed new tickets for the “Humor Abuse” performances. 

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