Friday, July 26, 2013

Ernest Harden Stars In 'Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies' At The MET Theatre In Hollywood

            “Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies,” set to open Aug. 10 at the MET Theatre in Hollywood, is the true story of Kabin Thomas, a musician and, for eleven years, a Professor of Music at the University of Arkansas. The show begins with Thomas teaching a lesson about the struggles of Beethoven, the composer of mixed European and Moorish ancestry who coped with hearing loss in his later years and creating his Ninth Symphony while deaf.
              Thomas later runs into trouble with the university authorities subsequent to his teaching a lesson about Abel Meeropol and his song made famous by Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit,” about the lynching of Blacks in the Deep South. Thomas accompanies the lesson with a famous photograph of lynching victims. 

            Relieved of his teaching position, Thomas subsequently comes to Hollywood and is cast on a reality TV show. Becoming aware of his father’s early demise related to mental illness, Thomas must overcome his own personal inner demons if he is to survive and attain any lasting measure of happiness.

            Joni Ravenna is the playwright. A graduate of USC, her previous playwriting credits include “A Brush With Fate,” “For Pete’s Sake,” “The Green Grocer,””Jack of Hearts,” and “Sex, Love and the Premature Evacuation.” She has also extensively written for television, notably music documentaries and a travel series.

            T.J. Castronovo directs. He has directed many shows in L.A. (including “Brooklyn, U.S.A.,” “The Leopard,” “Campaign,” “Women in Shorts”) and off-Broadway. He is co-producer of the touring comedy “Viagra Falls.” Also an actor, he was a regular on the TV series “Taxi” as Tommy the bartender, subsequently appearing in many feature films and episodics. He produced the TV series “Tales From the Darkside,” for which he also directed selected episodes.

            Ernest Harden, Jr. portrays Professor Thomas. Harden was seen at the MET in “Savage World,” but is possibly best known for his extensive work in TV and film, including recurring characters on “The Jeffersons” and “Santa Barbara” and starring roles opposite Bette Davis in “White Mama” and opposite Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes in “White Men Can’t Jump.”

            "Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies" playing through Sept. 15, is written by Joni Ravenna, directed by T.J. Castronovo and stars Ernest Harden Jr.  

             The MET Theatre, downstairs in the Great Scott Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90029. This is one block east of Western Ave. and a few steps south of Santa Monica Blvd. There is parking ($6) at 5300 Santa Monica Blvd., one building past the 101 Freeway overpass on the east side of the street.

             The show runs Aug. 10-Sept. 15, 8 p.m. Sat, 3 p.m. Sun.; $15. Seniors, students, and members of performing arts unions $10; For information: (323) 960-5773 or

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