Monday, March 27, 2017

LAWTF Co-Presents 'A Day Of Theatre' On April 23

            Thanks to the generous support of the City of West Hollywood through its Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival is co-presenting FREE workshops on Sunday, April 23, 2017.  Matinee and evening performances follow.

First up: Two free workshops at Kings Road Park, 1000 N. Kings Rd., West Hollywood, CA 90069. 11:00 a.m.- 1 p.m.:  Juliette Jeffers conducts a workshop called Release and Let Go. Have 
you ever wanted to tell your own story but didn't know where to start? Well, here is your 
opportunity to release your story and let go of the fear! In this introductory workshop,
 Juliette will guide you through writing and acting exercises to jumpstart you on your own solo 
show journey.

1:30- 3:30 p.m.: Terrie Silverman conducts a  workshop entitled State of the Heart and Country: A Workshop to Access Your Brave VoiceA writing and storytelling workshop to allow you to express your experience and perspective of the current state of the country. You will get to speak from the heart, tap into your brave voice and share the wisdom of who you are. You will generate powerful material in a safe, supportive spaceThis workshop is for writers, actors, solo-performers and anyone who’d like a place for creative expression and feel a sense of community and connection. No experience necessary - all levels welcome. 

Five BRAVA performance events take place at Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, CA 90069:

3 p.m.: Ai Yoshihara in My River Phoenix-  A woman searches for her own River Phoenix after his passing and finds him in the man she marries in America.

3:45 p.m.: Loree Gold in Snatched….Stories From Down Under- This travelogue woven with herstory and LGBT history is a sexually charged, soulful and sometimes devastating ride through issues of ageism, transgenderism, family dynamics, bad choices, grief, grace, love, loss and mostly lust- and all the trouble it gets you into.

4:30 p.m.: Missy Hairston in Awkwardly Fabulous- A little girl’s journey to womanhood and the people, places and situations that begin to uproot her confidence in herself and plant seeds of doubt about her body, love life, and life in general.

5:30 p.m.: Alina Cenal in Stories from a  Cuban Father- Alina’s strong presence of her father guides through a world of mambo, revolution, Fidel, hot dogs, Miami, the circus and Hollywood, as she is yanked from her native Cuba as a child to explore a new life that challenges her roots.

6:45 p.m.: Misty Monroe in Unapologetically Black- This woman moves through stages of “Nigrescence” having been raised in suburban Northern California and spending summers in South Central L.A. She deals with culture shock, the devastating effects of crack cocaine on her family and her ultimate self-acceptance.

8 p.m.: Eloise Laws- Award-winning Broadway vocalist set to sing. 

A reception follows.

It’s a day of performing arts events with talented women. Workshops are free. Performances are $25 a pair and $15 for one ticket. Please reserve your seats soon by contacting the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival at (818) 760-0408 or by going online at

For more info on WeHo Arts programming, please visit

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Julia Fordham's New CD Is 'The Language of Love'

The British singer-songwriter’s acoustic jazz album, due April 14, reimagines classic hits as standards.  

According to singer-songwriter Julia Fordham, Ella Fitzgerald set the standard when it comes to tackling standards so she had to turn to other source material for her forthcoming collection, “The Language of Love,” which will receive its U.S. and European release on April 14 from Red River Entertainment with distribution via BFD/Sony RED.

“As the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, has already covered every traditional jazz song to perfection, we tried to find a new angle and hopefully put a fresh twist on some of our favorite songs,” the British-born, Los Angeles-based artist said. 

Along with producer-arranger Grant Mitchell, Fordham culled a set list of modern pop, rock and R&B classics and revamped them as if they were pages from the Great American Songbook. The misty-voiced singer seductively emotes nine signature hits from the likes of Blondie, Eurythmics, Sting, The Beatles and Stevie Wonder in intimate acoustic jazz settings. She also reconfigured her own debut hit, “Happy Ever After,” and introduces a pair of new tunes - “Like You Used To Do” and “The Morning After (The Night With You)” - that she penned for the occasion with Mitchell.

Throughout “The Language of Love,” Fordham regally plies her deep-hued vocals on tracks that swing (“Call Me” and “Alone Again (Naturally)”), seduce through sultry bossa nova grooves (“Who’s That Girl” and “At Seventeen”), traverse a multicultural world music grid (“Happy Ever After”) and pitter-patter gracefully to a Latin jazz rhythm embellished by a sterling nylon guitar serenade by Ramon Stagnaro (“Fragile”). “I’m Not In Love” becomes a stunning torch song while a stark depiction of “Eleanor Rigby” strikes a hauntingly dramatic tone in a voice, piano and upright bass incarnation. “Sir Duke” bops to a groovy jazz beat highlighted by Wonder’s original “Songs in the Key of Life” tour trumpeter, Harry Kim. The lone tune taken from the Great America Songbook era is “Moon River,” a timeless, heart-tugging beauty written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer. As for the new originals, “Like You Used To Do” is a steamy affair heated by soulful backing vocals from Judith Owen and Sista Jean McClain. A taut rhythm section comprised of David Piltch (upright bass), Herman Matthews (drums) and Ramon Yslas (percussion) construct a subtle Latin vibe on “The Morning After (The Night With You).”          

Two bonus tracks, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “Moon River” orchestrated with strings, will be available exclusively with the digital purchase of the album. Videos for “Call Me,” “Who’s That Girl,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “At Seventeen” were created and will soon be made available for viewing. Fordham will support “The Language of Love” with concert dates in London on July 28 & 29 at The Strand at PizzaExpress Live, October 18 in Los Angeles at Catalina Jazz Club and October 27 & 28 in New York City at Joe’s Pub.    

Fordham said she selected “The Language of Love” as the album title because “it seemed to conjure up a romantic image and the seductive feeling of the album.” The words are the opening lyrics of “Who’s That Girl” and are mentioned in the bridge section of “Call Me.” 

Although she grew up writing and singing folk music in clubs since she was 14 in Portsmouth, England, Fordham discovered jazz shortly thereafter and has always incorporated nuances of jazz throughout her recording career that began with her eponymously-titled 1988 release. Her global hit “Love Moves” was featured in 1992’s “The Butcher’s Wife” starring Demi Moore. After relocating to Los Angeles two years later, three of Fordham’s albums were produced by four-time Grammy winner Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Madeleine Peyroux). Her 2005 live CD (“That’s Life”) and DVD (“That’s Live”) featured a stellar ensemble including Klein on bass and Academy Award-winning trumpeter/composer Mark Isham, and showcased Fordham dueting with multiple Grammy winner India.Aire. For additional information:

“The Language of Love” contains the following songs:

“Call Me”
“Who’s That Girl”
“Happy Ever After”
“I’m Not In Love”
“Alone Again (Naturally)”
“Like You Used To Do”
“Eleanor Rigby”
“The Morning After (The Night With You)”
“At Seventeen”
“Sir Duke”
“Moon River”

Bonus Tracks – Digital Only

“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”
“Moon River (with strings)”

A Conversation With LAWTF's Adilah Barnes

A Conversation With LAWTF’S Adilah Barnes

By Darlene Donloe

With only days before the start of the 24th annual Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival (LAWTF), Adilah Barnes, the co-founder of the event, was too busy to know just how busy she was.

She was dancing as fast as I could in an effort to make sure the festival, with the theme, Taking Flight!, took off without a hitch when it kicked off four days of festivities starting Thur., March 23, with a Champagne Gala & Awards Ceremony at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood. The solo performances all took place Fri.-Sun., Mar 24-26, at Electric Lodge in Venice.

An award-winning actress with a career that spans more than 40 years, Barnes, who turned 67 on March 25 and is best known for her role as Anne Marie on the sitcom Roseanne, co-founded the festival in 1993 with fellow actor Miriam Reed.  Since then the Oroville, CA native has watched the festival grow and gain momentum every year, making it the longest-running annual solo festival for women in Los Angeles.

I recently caught up with Barnes (AB) to talk about the festival.

DD: The theme for LAWTF this year is Taking Flight!  Why did you pick that as the theme?

AB: Every year we have an overall theme and a sub theme that fits whoever is performing on that bill. I think all these women, in their own way, are soaring and rising above and going to the next place in their lives. It's empowering.

DD:  What did you have planned for audiences this year?

AB: I wanted them to have a fresh lineup. Only three out of the 19 performers returned. This year we had a lot of new talent. Usually we have more than three returning. This year was about new faces and new voices.  You gotta keep it fresh. It’s good for growth.

DD: The theme of the opening night program was STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF. Talk about that theme.

AB: Every year on a Thursday night we have a champagne gala and awards ceremony. We honor women who have done extraordinary things in theater. We’ve all had to stand on some shoulders. This year we honored six women.  We honored Barbara Morrison (Eternity Award), Estelle Campbell (Rainbow Award), Leslie K. Johnson (Rainbow Award), Megan Cavallari (Integrity Award), Paulina Sahagun (Maverick Award) and Doris Roberts posthumously (Infinity Award).

DD: There are lots of women doing wonderful things in theater. How do you go about deciding whom to honor?

AB: Every year we open it up to nominations. People nominate women they think are deserving.  They say why a particular person should be considered. At the end, I make the call.

DD: Do you always honor five or six women?

AB: It depends how many nominations we get. This year we selected six out of 25 nominations.

DD: Who are the people who do the nominating?

AB: Anybody can nominate someone – the public, the board of directors, a publicist, anybody.  We send out information, including a newsletter, letting people know they can nominate someone.

DD: What is the criteria for deciding what talent is showcased each year?

AB:  We have a screening panel. The submission should be received between April 1 and August 1.  A group comes together. We meet at my home and go through all of the tapes. We look at all of the submissions and then give each one a rating from 0-5. It goes through several rounds like that until we settle on who should perform. 

DD: The Champagne Gala and Awards Ceremony on March 23, honored exceptional women who have made laudable contributions in theatre.  What makes them exceptional and what is a laudable contribution?

AB: What makes them exceptional is that they are doing something extra ordinary, above and beyond the mediocre. Doris (Roberts) lived to be 90. She had a career and she did it all with grace. You look at what each of these women have done and you realize they’ve done something extraordinary. 

DD: What is the state of women's theater in Los Angeles?

AB: I think it's a very exciting time. Solo work has become a huge genre in theater. It’s not only huge here, but across the world, especially in LA and New York. We’re the oldest solo festival in LA.  It’s booming because of the solo work being done by women who are telling their personal stories.

DD: Why is there a need to designate something as women’s theater? Why isn’t it just theater?

AB: I think it’s important because it tells us who is performing. In our case we’ve had men who have performed. One year we had A One Night Stand that featured all men. We need the designation because the playing field is not equal yet. It gives us our own place where we can do our own work. We’ve got a place that’s ours. 

DD:  Where would you like to see women’s theater go?

AB: I’d like to see it going in the direction it’s going. I’d like to see more women producers in theater. I’d like to see more writers, producers and actors. If we have that, the more empowered we become.
Adilah Barnes opening night

DD:  Has LAWTF progressed the way you expected? If yes, in what way?

AB: It has actually gone beyond the initial vision. We far exceeded what we envisioned.  We’ve now had over 500 artists that we have produced. We have served 3,000 youth in LAUSD through our education program. We work with low income artists and at risk youth. That wasn’t the vision in the beginning.

DD:  What was the vision in the beginning?

AB: In 1993 we were a group of women coming together to produce our own work. Now we have an educational arm. We’ve actualized that. Now we have an Empowerment Day in August where solo artists, male and female, can come together and listen to panels and participate in workshops.

DD: What constitutes women’s theater?

AB: I think it’s when something is founded, performed and run predominantly by women. It’s when those in positions of power tend to be women.

DD: Has the mission of LAWTF changed over the years to keep up with the times?

AB: It has grown. In the beginning we didn’t have awards. That's something new. We have branched out with our education arm. We have LA Women’s Radio – that’s new. There are a number of things that have evolved.

DD:  Have you accomplished what you set out to accomplish when you co-founded LAWTF?

AB: I’d like to see us have a bigger budget so we are able to hire someone as executive producer and I can focus on the board of directors. We need more money to hire a paid staff. It’s really needed. We need our own space that we can rent. It would be nice to have some classes.

DD: What is your annual budget?

AB: It’s very small. I don’t want to go into it. The budget in terms of dollars and cents is small, however the in-kind value is more than that. We are 24 years old and we are a volunteer organization. I don’t get a salary.

DD:  Do you have any upcoming events other than the theater festival?

AB: Yes, we do. We have a number of free events coming up, including the Empowerment Day in August. Everyone can go to our website for information (

DD:  What's the future of the organization? Where would you like to see it in 10, 15 or 20 years?

AB:  By that time someone else would be at the helm. It would be time to groom new leadership, partnering more, growing the board of directors, expanding education and expanding our outreach arm.

DD: Next year is your 25th anniversary.  Are you already planning a bigger and better festival?

AB: We are really just trying to make it through the 24th. We certainly hope next year will be big for us, though.

For information: (818) 760-0408 or

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Daytime Emmy Nominees Announced

Nominations were announced recently for the Daytime Emmys, set to be held 
Sunday, April 30, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. 
Following is a partial list of the Daytime Emmy nominees.
CBS Sunday Morning CBS
CBS This Morning CBS
Good Morning America ABC
Today Show NBC
The Bold and the Beautiful
Days of Our Lives
General Hospital
The Young and the Restless
Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, General Hospital)
Gina Tognoni (Phyllis, The Young and the Restless)
Heather Tom (Katie, The Bold and the Beautiful)
Jess Walton (Jill, The Young and the Restless)
Laura Wright (Carly, General Hospital)
Peter Bergman (Jack, The Young and the Restless)
Scott Clifton (Liam, The Bold and the Beautiful)
Billy Flynn (Chad, Days of Our Lives)
Vincent Irizarry (Deimos, Days of Our Lives)
Kristoff St. John (Neil, The Young and the Restless)
Stacy Haiduk (Patty, The Young and the Restless)
Finola Hughes (Anna, General Hospital)
Anna Maria Horsford (Vivian, The Bold and the Beautiful)
Kate Mansi (Abigail, Days of Our Lives)
Kelly Sullivan (Sage, The Young and the Restless)
John Aniston (Victor, Days of Our Lives)
Steve Burton (Dylan, The Young and the Restless)
Chad Duell (Michael, General Hospital)
Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Carlos/Joe, General Hospital)
James Reynolds (Abe, Days of Our Lives)
Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina, General Hospital)
Reign Edwards (Nicole, The Bold and the Beautiful)
Hunter King (Summer, The Young and the Restless)
Chloe Lanier (Nellie, General Hospital)
Alyvia Alyn Lind (Faith, The Young and the Restless)
Bryan Craig (Morgan, General Hospital)
Pierson Fodé (Thomas, The Bold and the Beautiful)
James Lastovic (Joey, Days of Our Lives)
Tequan Richmond (TJ, General Hospital)
Anthony Turpel (R.J., The Bold and the Beautiful)
Access Hollywood NBC
E! News E!
Entertainment Tonight CBS
Inside Edition SYNDICATED
The Chew ABC
Larry King Now Ora TV
The Kitchen Food Network
The Talk CBS
The View ABC
The Ellen DeGeneres Show SYNDICATED
Maury NBC
Live with Kelly SYNDICATED
Wayne Brady, Host Let’s Make a Deal CBS
Craig Ferguson, Host Celebrity Name Game SYNDICATED
Steve Harvey, Host Family Feud SYNDICATED
Pat Sajak, Host Wheel of Fortune SYNDICATED
Alex Trebek, Host Jeopardy! SYNDICATED
Lidia Bastianich, Host Lidia’s Kitchen PBS
Rick Bayless, Host Mexico One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless PBS
Guy Fieri, Host Guy’s Big Bite Food Network
Bobby Flay, Host Brunch @ Bobby’s Food Network
Ina Garten, Host Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics Food Network
Vivian Howard, Host A Chef’s Life PBS

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Legend's Original Song, 'In America,' Released

 “In America, In America,
I poured my sweat in America
This land is my land, it’s America
I broke my back for America
All the money I make, all these chances I take
Just paying my rent, in America
Won’t just stand around and watch it go down”
[Lyrical excerpt from “In America,” written by John Legend and Dave Tozer]

Los Angeles, March 22, 2017 -  Academy Award®,  Golden Globe® winner and ten-time Grammy Award® winning visionary John Legend has released “In America,” a new, original song featured in WGN America’s hit TV series “Underground,” produced by Sony Pictures Television.  Written by John Legend and Dave Tozer, and produced by Tozer, “In America” was heard exclusively in the March 8 season two premiere of the critically acclaimed Underground Railroad drama for which Legend also serves as an executive producer.  The song will be available for sale and stream, beginning today. Underground airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on WGN America.

Legend said, “In America was born around the same time I was working on my most recent album Darkness and Light.  It’s a song I was writing while thinking about the duality of America, where it's known to be this place of freedom, equality and where anyone can make it.  The song points out the tension between the promise of America, the ideals of America, and sometimes us not living up to those ideals in practice.  In America was perfect song for ‘Underground,’ a series I’m incredibly proud to be a part of, and one that does a beautiful job of portraying a challenging time in our nation’s history while reminding us that change is possible.” 

In addition to serving as executive producer, alongside his producing partners Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius at Get Lifted Film Co., Legend will also make a guest-starring appearance as renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the episode airing Wednesday, April 5.  “Underground” follows an unremitting struggle for freedom within a divided America on the brink of civil war. Set in the aftermath of the Macon 7’s daring attempt to stage the greatest escape in history, this group of American heroes continues on their harrowing journey to freedom, with legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman blazing the trail.  

The celebrated “Underground” cast includes: Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“Friday Night Lights,” The Great Debaters), Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta ComptonHidden Figures), Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”), Alano Miller (Loving, “Atlanta”), Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Amirah Vann (“Girls,” And So It Goes) and Marc Blucas (“Blue Bloods”). Additional guest stars this season include Aisha Hinds(“Under the Dome,” Star Trek Into Darkness) in the pioneering role of Harriet Tubman, along with Bokeem Woodbine (“Fargo”), Jasika Nicole (“Fringe,” “Scandal”), DeWanda Wise (“Shots Fired”), Michael Trotter (“Rosewood”), Jesse Luken (“Justified,” 42) and Sadie Stratton (“Code Black,” “Boy Meets World”).
The season two premiere of “Underground," trended worldwide and nationally on Twitter and was the #1 most social drama series across broadcast and cable on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. The series was recently honored with a number of recognitions including four NAACP Image Awards nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Amirah Vann) and Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series (Anthony Hemingway).  Additionally, the African American Film Critics Association named “Underground” as Best TV Show (Cable/New Media) and the second highest show overall for 2016, and honored Director Anthony Hemmingway with their 2017 Horizon Award.  Theseries also won several awards at the inaugural Cynopsis TV Awards including Best New Drama Series, Best Series Writing (Drama) and Best Showrunner.

“Underground” is created and written by Misha Green ("Sons of Anarchy," "Heroes") and Joe Pokaski ("Heroes," "Daredevil"), who serve as Executive Producers alongside Emmy Award® winning executive producer/director Anthony Hemingway (“The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story," “The Wire”); Academy Award-winning writer Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, I Am Legend) of Weed Road Pictures; Tory Tunnell (King Arthur, Holy Rollers) and Joby Harold (King Arthur, Edge of Tomorrow) of Safehouse Pictures; John LegendMike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted Film Co (Southside with You, La La Land).; and Mark Taylor (“MadTV”).  Season two of the gripping original drama was shot in Savannah, Georgia.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Michael Colyar Takes His "Momma" On The Road

Los Angeles, CA — Michael Colyar, comedian, syndicated radio talk show host, actor, motivational speaker and humanitarian presents Michael Colyar’s Momma, a dramatic one-man stage production opening the weekends of Friday, April 7- 9 and April 14-16 at the ACME Comedy Theater, 135 N. La Brea Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90036. 

Michael Colyar’s Momma, a 100 city nationwide tour presented by The Rayloc Group and a bunch of folks with money, kicks off in Los Angeles. The one-man stage production that chronicles the life of comedian Michael Colyar and highlights the importance of the love and support of his mother, as he travels through a life of highs and lows. From his days of making people laugh on Venice Beach to winning Star Search to numerous televisions shows and comedy gigs to his long term drug addiction to his successful spiritual recovery and all of the pain and laughter in between, Michael brings you a glimpse of his life and the awesome influence, his mother had on it. Michael’s life has taken him on a journey that he is now sharing with the world. This is not a comedy show, but a dramatic look at his life with laughter from his fans. For tickets: or group tickets contact Lisa Tucker at (818) 259.1025 ~

Link to Michael Colyar Sizzle Reel

About Michael Colyar
Known as ‘The King of Venice Beach’ from his humble beginnings, Michael went on to winning Star Search $100,000 Grand Prize Comedy Championship. His informative and highly entertaining brand of comedy opened the doors to hosting BET Live From LA to features in films including; House Party III, Norbit, The Last Laugh, The Princess & The Frog and “Martin” TV Show. His recent syndicated talk show on AURN’s “The Afternoon Rush” aired in 25 major markets that replaced the late Doug Banks Show, set the stage for his one-man show Michael Colyar’s Momma. For more information visit his website and social media: