Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sony Pictures' 'Hair Love' Currently in Theaters


Sony Pictures Animation’s HAIR LOVE is directed by Matthew Cherry (BlackKklansman) and Executive Produced by Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse). 

The six minutes short debuted in theaters August 13, playing in front of Angry Birds 2!  Hair Love is a heartfelt animated short film that centers around the relationship between an African-American father, his daughter Zuri, and the most daunting task a father could ever come across – doing his daughter’s hair. The picture book Hair Love was released by Kokila Books/Penguin Random House on May 14, 2019, and became a New York Times Bestseller.

TRAILER:


Written & Directed by Matthew A. Cherry

Co-Directed by: Bruce Smith (Proud Family) and Everett Downing
Produced by: Karen Rupert Toliver (EVP, Creative for Sony Pictures Animation), Stacey Newton, Monica A. Young, Matthew A. Cherry, David Steward II, and Carl Reed (the latter two of Lion Forge Animation)

Executive Producers: Peter Ramsey (Oscar winner for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Frank Abney (Pixar)

Co-Executive Producers: Jordan Peele, Andrew Hawkins, Harrison Barnes, Keri, and Yara Shahidi

Associate Producers: N’Dambi Gillespie, Gabrielle Union-Wade & Dwayne Wade Jr., Gabourey Sidibe, Stephanie Frederic, and Claude Kelly. 

Greenway Arts Alliance Announces 2019-20 Season


 
LOS ANGELES, CA (August 15, 2019) – Greenway Arts Alliance (Whitney Weston and Pierson Blaetz, Co-Founders and Co-Artistic Directors) announces its 2019-2020 Season, which includes the Los Angeles Premiere of The Chinese Lady, co-produced with Artists at Play; the Tony and Olivier Award-winning “Best Play”— The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the 4th Annual L.A. Get Down Festival, A Celebration of Hip Hop and Spoken Word. The season productions and festival will be presented at Greenway Court Theatre (544 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles).
 
“We are excited to be starting our season with the Los Angeles Premiere of The Chinese Lady and to work with our partners, Artists at Play. Greenway Arts Alliance is dedicated to presenting plays that represent Los Angeles' landscape and we believe it’s important to provide a platform for diverse stories to be told,” said Whitney Weston, Greenway Arts Alliance Co-Founder, and Co-Artistic Director. She added, “We also enjoy creating intimate experiences with Broadway and internationally acclaimed hits like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at our Greenway Court Theatre. We hope that fans of the novel or play will come and see this theatrical event directed by Kate Jopson.”
 
Pierson Blaetz, Greenway Arts Alliance Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director shared, “We’re also thrilled to be collaborating once again with Festival Director Shihan Van Clief. Every year, in celebration of National Poetry Month, Shihan curates an exciting range of poetic programming, national team competitions for cash prizes and engaging workshops taught by the industry’s leading spoken word performers. And, we are honored that the L.A. Get Down Festival continues to serve as an annual must-attend event by poets and poetry audiences around the country.”
 
Flex subscriptions for Greenway Arts Alliance’s 2019-2020 Season are available for $60.00, which includes The Chinese LadyThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and one event at the 4thAnnual L.A. Get Down Festival. For more information about the season, visit www.GreenwayCourtTheatre.org or call 323-673-0544.



The Chinese Lady
 
By Lloyd Suh
Directed by Rebecca Wear
 
September 5 – 29, 2019
Opening Night:  Saturday, September 7 at 8:00 pm
 
Inspired by the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant, The Chinese Lady is a dark, poetic, yet whimsical portrait of America through the eyes of a young Chinese woman. Afong Moy is 14 years old when she’s brought to the United States from Canton in 1834. Allegedly the first Chinese woman to set foot on U.S. soil, she has been bought and put on display for the American public as “The Chinese Lady.” For the next half a century, she performs for curious museum-goers, showing them how she eats, what she wears, and the highlight of the event: how she walks with bound feet. As the decades wear on, her celebrated sideshow comes to define and challenge her very sense of identity. The Chinese Lady blurs the line between the observed and the observer and gives us new eyes on the history of American entitlement and immigration. Featuring Amy She and Trieu Tran, with Hao Feng and Stephanie Wong.
 
Named a New York Times Critic’s Pick in November 2018, the Times said of The Chinese Lady, “Extraordinary play…piercing…heart-rending…” and “…gently comical drama…”
 
Lloyd Suh is the author of The Chinese LadyCharles Francis Chan Jr.'s Exotic Oriental Murder MysteryAmerican HwangapThe Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!Jesus in India, and others, produced with Ma-Yi, Magic Theatre, EST, NAATCO, PlayCo, Denver Center, Milwaukee Rep, ArtsEmerson, Children's Theatre Co, and more, including internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. He has received support from the NEA Arena Stage New Play Development Program, Mellon Foundation, NYFA, NYSCA, Jerome, TCG, Dramatists Guild, and residencies including NYS&F and Ojai. He is an alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and was a recipient of a 2016 Helen Merrill Award and the 2019 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. From 2005-2010 he served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and has served since 2011 as the Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark, and since 2015 as a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.
 
Director Rebecca Wear’s credits include Samsaraby Lauren Yee (Coeurage Theatre); If the Saintsby Eric Conner Marlin (Metro Baptist); Obedient Steel by Chloe Brown (HERE arts); and I Run with You by Anna/Kate (Women’s Center Stage). She associate directed the world premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage). Rebecca is a resident director with HERO Theatre, previous associate artist at The Orchard Project, and is pursuing a Ph.D. through a Chancellor’s Fellowship at University of California, Santa Barbara. She is also a 2019 National Directing Fellow (Eugene O'Neill/NNPN/Kennedy Center/SDC).
 
Single tickets for The Chinese Lady are available at GreenwaCourtTheatre.org/TheChineseLady.
  
Kate Jopson

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
 
A Play by Simon Stephens
Based on the novel by Mark Haddon
Directed by Kate Jopson
 
November 1 – December 8, 2019
Opening Night:  Saturday, November 2 at 8:00 pm
 
Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain: He is exceptional at mathematics but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched, and he distrusts strangers. Now it is seven minutes after midnight, and Christopher stands beside his neighbor’s dead dog, Wellington, who has been speared with a garden fork. Finding himself under suspicion, Christopher is determined to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington, and he carefully records each fact of the crime. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a thrilling journey that upturns his world.
 
Winner of the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. "This adaptation by the acclaimed playwright Simon Stephens is intensely, innately theatrical; it is also funny and extremely moving…resonates with quality." —Telegraph (London). "…just terrific…a profoundly moving play about adolescence, fractured families, mathematics, colors, and lights…dazzling." —Independent (London). "A beautiful, eloquent, dazzlingly inventive show about the wonders of life." —Evening Standard (London).
 
Simon Stephens has written many plays that have been translated into more than 30 languages and produced all over the world. He is a professor of playwriting at Manchester Metropolitan University, an associate playwright at the Royal Court Theatre, the artistic associate at the Lyric Hammersmith in London, and the Steep Associate Playwright at Steep Theatre in Chicago.
 
Kate Jopson specializes in experienced-based productions that utilize the unique history, architecture, or environment of a theatre or site. She recently directed her first short film Protect & Serve, and a web series called The Web Opera about cyberbullying and privacy violations. Recent Theatre credits: Hole in the Sky (Circle X Theatre); Mad Hatter Gin & Tea Party (Fever Up Productions) Candide (Santa Cruz Shakespeare); Fefu & Her Friends  (Circle X Theatre/J.U.S.T Toys Productions, LA); 1984 (Greenway Court Theatre, LA); An Accident (Griot Theatre, LA), Twelfth Night (Coeurage Theatre Co. LA); Second Skin (The West/The Flagship Ensemble); A Willow Grows Aslant (La Jolla Playhouse—Without Walls Fest.). She has assisted at the Seoul Arts Center, La Jolla Playhouse, ACT (SF), California Shakespeare Theatre, and The Magic Theatre among others. Former Artistic Director of Circle X Theatre. 

This production is also the final component of Greenway’s literacy program, GreenwayREADS, where 21  LAUSD English and Drama classes work with Greenway Institute for the Arts’ teaching artists, receive a copy of the book to keep and see a matinee performance of the play at the Greenway Court Theatre free of charge.
 
 
The 4th Annual L.A. Get Down Festival
A Celebration of Hip Hop and Spoken Word
 
Festival Director Shihan Van Clief
Produced in association with Da Poetry Lounge
 
Weekends in April 2019
 
The L.A. Get Down Festival is a celebration of hip hop and spoken word. Da Poetry Lounge Co-Fonder Shihan Van Clief serves as the Festival Director.
 
The Festival lineup and schedule will be announced at a later date.
 

 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Seth Rogen's Comedy, 'Good Boys' Is Very Naughty



By Darlene Donloe

It’s ironic that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s new comedy, Good Boys, about a trio of BFF 12-year-old boys is inappropriate for children.

The Good Boys swear, drink beer, steal drugs, play with sex dolls, disobey their parents and everything in between.

These Beanbag Boys as they call themselves, are some of the funniest kids to ever light up the screen. It also helps that each of them is about as adorable as they come. 

Director/co-writer Gene Stupnitsky’s has assembled three stars in the making. They all have great personalities, excellent delivery, and enormous chemistry.

Brady Noon, Jacob Tremblay, and Keith L. Williams 

There are three distinct individuals represented with the three friends. Max (Jacob Tremblay) is girl crazy. He’s infatuated with a girl at school. When he’s invited to a “kissing” party at a classmate’s house, he decides to practice so he’ll be good when it comes time to lock lips.  Enter his friends, Thor (Brady Noon), who quietly wants to sing and is a wannabe tough guy and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) who is a true tattletale, and truly can not keep a secret.  Lucas is also dealing with his parents’ impending divorce. Williams with his wit and timing easily steals this movie!  With all they have going on in their lives, when they are together, this threesome is awesome and unstoppable.

First up, Thor pulls out his parents’ sex doll for them to practice kissing, which results in side-splitting hilarity.

Next, they have to replace Max’s father’s drone they used without permission to spy on a teenage girl (Molly Gordon) and her female friend in hopes of catching them kissing.  But something goes awry when the drone he uses crashes in her backyard and she decides to hold it hostage.

Now the boys have to figure out a way to come up with enough money to replace the drone and put it back in its place before dad gets home.

In exchange for getting the drone back, the boys agree to go to a frat house to buy drugs for the girls. What ensues is a classic frat-house brawl that shows Max, in straight Rambo mode, being very adept at shooting college guys with a paint gun.

Midori Francis, Jacob Tremblay, and Molly Gordon

There are several hilarious scenes in the movie including one where Thor is trying to steal a bottle of beer by placing it in his pants. He’s trying to score a beer to prove to some kids at school that he is a badass instead of the punk he was the first time they dared him to drink a beer.

The cop in the scene is downright hilarious. All he wants to do is buy something and go home, but Lucas keeps confessing to everything the boys have done up to that point, including the boy’s attempts to steal beer and buy drugs. The scene is priceless!

Another funny moment in the movie is watching the boys try to run across a crowded freeway. It, too, is priceless!

While the movie has some lesson learned, thoughtful, sad and sentimental moments, the hilarious, magical, and comedic moments outweigh them in Good Boys!

Lil Rel Howery, Retta, Will Forte, and Midori Francis, all turn in funny as hell supporting performances.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Good Boys (Universal) gets an E (excellent).

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Deaf West Presents The Solid Life Of Sugar Water



Candid, uninhibited and visceral. A Deaf couple’s relationship is revealed through their lovemaking in a startlingly intimate portrait of a marriage — made even more intense by Deaf West Theatre’s signature performance style combining American Sign Language with spoken English. Deaf West Theatre presents the American premiere of The Solid Life of Sugar Water by Tony Award-winning playwright Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). Randee Trabitzdirects for a Sept. 12 opening at Inner-City Arts in downtown L.A., where performances will continue through Oct 13. Previews take place Sept. 5 through Sept. 8.

Sandra Mae Frank, who starred as Wendla in all three Deaf West productions of Spring Awakening — at Inner-City Arts, at the Wallis, and on Broadway — plays Alice, alongside Tad Cooley’s Phil. Natalie Camunas and Nick Apostolina voice their most private thoughts.

This play has been with me ever since I read it,” says Deaf West artistic director David J. Kurs. “It was written to be performed by two speaking actors, even though one of the characters is written as Deaf. But it will be even more powerful performed by two Deaf actors. This is that rare play that will be made better by the addition of sign language: the ‘bedroom speak’ will be intensely visual, a quality that will also bring greater clarity to critical events as they unfold. It’s an extraordinary look behind the curtain. The subject of intimacy in a Deaf couple is rarely addressed.

According to Trabitz, “This is the perfect company for this show. In the (literal) hands of these actors, the play becomes a visual dance that echoes the trajectory of the story.”

The Solid Life of Sugar Water premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival prior to an acclaimed run at England’s National Theatre. In her five-star review, UK Guardian/Observer theater critic Susannah Clapp called it “unflinching… I can’t remember when I last saw a play that was at once so forthright and so delicate.” 

Jack Thorne is an English screenwriter and playwright. He began his TV career writing on Shameless and Skins, before writing Cast-Offs in 2009. He has since created the shows Glue, The Last Panthers and Kiri. He has won five BAFTA awards, including Best Mini-Series for This is England ’88, Best Drama Series for The Fades, Best Single Drama for Don’t Take My Baby, Best Serial for This is England ’90 and Best Original Series for National Treasure starring Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, and Andrea Riseborough. Thorne’s feature film credits include The Scouting Book for Boys, War Book, A Long Way Down, and Wonder starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. Thorne is also a prolific playwright; his other plays include Hope and adaptations of Let The Right One In, Woyzeck and A Christmas Carol starring Rhys Ifans. He wrote the stage play for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child based on an original story by him J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany, which won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best New Play and the 2018 Tony Award for Best Play. The world premiere of Thorne’s newest play, Sunday, will open Atlantic Theater Company’s 2019-20 season in September.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1991, Deaf West Theatre engages artists and audiences in unparalleled theater experiences inspired by Deaf culture and the expressive power of sign language, weaving ASL with spoken English to create a seamless ballet of movement and voice. Committed to innovation, collaboration, and training, DWT is the artistic bridge between the deaf and hearing worlds. Past productions include Our Town, in a co-production with the Pasadena Playhouse; Edward Albee'sAt Home at the Zoo, in a co-production with the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts; Spring Awakening, which transferred from Inner-City Arts to the Wallis and then to Broadway (three Tony Award nominations including Best Revival);American Buffalo (Los Angeles Times “Critic’s Choice”); Cyrano, a co-production with the Fountain Theatre (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production); Big River (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and Backstage Garland awards for Best Musical in its L.A. premiere, Tony nomination and four Drama Desk Awards on Broadway); Pippin, produced at the Mark Taper Forum in a co-production with Center Theatre Group; Sleeping Beauty Wakes, also a co-production with CTG, presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre; Oliver! (Ovation Award for Best Musical); and A Streetcar Named Desire (Ovation Award for Best Play). In 2005, DWT was selected to receive the Highest Recognition Award by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for its “distinguished contributions to improve and enrich the culture lives of deaf and hard of hearing actors and theater patrons.”

The Deaf West creative team includes ASL Master Linda Bove, rehearsal interpreter Elli Streifer, scenic designer Sean Fanning, lighting designer Derrick McDaniel, sound designer Noelle Hoffman; projection designer Heather Fipps and costume designer Adriana Lambarri. The production stage manager is Julie Ouellette, the business manager is Deborah Reed, and David J. Kurs produces for Deaf West Theatre. 

The Solid Life of Sugar Water runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m.and Sundays at 3 p.m. from Sept. 12 through Oct. 13. Four preview performances take place Sept. 5 through Sept. 8 on the same schedule. There will be two ASL Nights: arrive one-half hour prior to the performance on Thursday, Sept. 19 or on Thursday, Sept. 26 for a 15-minute ASL workshop that teaches signs used in the play. Ticket prices range from $38.50 
to $75, with discounts available for preview performances and throughout the run for students with valid ID; check the website for detailsPerformances take place in the Rosenthal Theater at Inner-City Arts, located at 720 Kohler Street in downtown L.A. (just south of the Arts District). For reservations and information, call (818) 762-2998 (voice) or go towww.deafwest.org

The Solid Life of Sugar Water deals with adult themes and contains sexually graphic language — recommended for mature audiences only.

"Hadestown' Coming To The Ahmanson Theatre

L-R: Eva Noblezada, André De Shields and Reeve Carney in the Original Broadway Cast of “Hadestown.” The national tour of “Hadestown” will be part of Center Theatre Group’s 2020-2021 season at the Ahmanson Theatre.

          “Hadestown,” the winner of eight 2019 Tony Awards including Best New Musical announced today on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the show will launch a National Tour beginning in the Fall of 2020. In its first year, the tour will visit more than 30 cities coast to coast. One of those cities is Los Angeles, where “Hadestown” will be a part of Center Theatre Group’s 2020 – 2021 season at the Ahmanson Theatre. Other cities on the tour include (alphabetically) Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tempe and Washington, DC (with more cities to be announced shortly). The exact dates for the Ahmanson engagement will be announced at a later date.

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times’ Charles McNulty as, “Quite simply one of the most exquisite works of musical storytelling I’ve seen in my more than 25 years as a theater critic,” “Hadestown” is the most honored show of the 2018 – 2019 Broadway season. In addition to the show’s eight Tony Awards, it has been honored with four Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding New Broadway Musical and the Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical.

The acclaimed new musical by celebrated singer-songwriter and Tony Award winner Anaïs Mitchell and developed with innovative director and Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin. “Hadestown” marks the first time in over a decade that a woman has been the sole author of a musical: writing the music, lyrics, and book, and is the fourth time in Broadway history a woman has accomplished this creative feat.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

2019 Breaking Barriers Awards Gala Held

(l-r) Obba Babatunde, Beverly Johnson, Stormyweather Banks, Adai Lamar, Kellita Smith, and TJ Walker

Celebrities hit the red carpet for the 2019 Breaking Barriers Awards Gala at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 4 in Los Angeles hosted by actor/producer Obba Babatunde’. The awards gala was produced and presented by fashion designer Stormyweather Banks. Celebrity attendees included Ogom “OG” Chijindu (VH1’s Basketball Wives; Lingerie Football League), Tonya Banks (Reality TV Star “Little Women LA”), Aaron Frazier (HBO’s Ballers), Jordyn Curet (Disney Channel “Raven’s Home”) and many others.

This year’s event highlighted the achievements of those who have broken barriers in the fashion industry. Honorees included Academy Award Winning Costume Designer Ruth Carter, Supermodel Beverly Johnson, and Cross Colours Clothing Line Founders Carl Jones & TJ Walker. Beverly Johnson received the “Icon Award”, Carl Jones & TJ Walker received the “Influential Award” and Ruth Carter received the “Triumph Award”. Walker received Carter’s award on her behalf in her absence. Actress Kellita Smith was in attendance to present the “Icon Award” to Supermodel Beverly Johnson. 

Immediately following the awards gala, LA’s emerging fashion designers showcased their ready-to-wear pieces during the gala fashion show to a crowd of fashion goers and enthusiast, hosted by 102.3 KJLH Radio Personality Adai Lamar.” 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Singer Niki Haris Set To Play Catalina Jazz Club

Niki Haris
PHOTO BY NICK SPANO.
Jazz artist Niki Haris will take the stage at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood on Wednesday, September 25 at 8:30 p.m., Martinis Above Fourth in San Diego on Thursday, September 26 at 8:30 p.m., and at The Purple Room in Palm Springs on Saturday, September 28 at 8 p.m.

Bask in the majesty and ethereal nuance of Niki Haris in an intoxicating evening of jazz, blues, and inspiring melodies sure to soothe the soul. With a voice as smooth as velvet, Haris will serenade the audience with re-imagined arrangements of the classics while serving up her sassy insights and boisterous banter about life, love, motherhood, and her stellar career.
 
Daughter of Grammy Award-nominated jazz pianist Gene Harris, Niki Haris has toured the world’s biggest stages from Carnegie Hall to Wembley Stadium, Lincoln Center, Staples Center, and everywhere in between. Known for her jazz, gospel, pop, and deep house vocals, she has performed with jazz greats like Stanley Turrentine, Red Holloway, and Ray Charles, as well as pop superstars Sheryl Crow, Whitney Houston, and most famously as the big voice behind Madonna.
 
Admission at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood is $25–$35 (with VIP packages available at $60) and tickets may be purchased online at www.ticketweb.com or by phone at (866) 468-3399. Doors open at 7 p.m. for cocktail and dinner service (minimums apply) and showtime is 8:30 p.m. Admission at Martinis Above Fourth in San Diego is $30 and tickets may be purchased online at www.MA4SD.com or by phone at (619) 400-4500. Doors open at 6 p.m. for cocktail and dinner service (minimums apply) and showtime is 8 p.m. Admission at The Purple Room in Palm Springs is $35–$40 and tickets may be purchased online atwww.purpleroompalmsprings.com or by phone at (760) 322-4422. Doors open at 6 p.m. for cocktail and dinner service (minimums apply) and showtime is 8pm.

Catalina Jazz Club is located at 6725 W. Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Martinis Above Fourth is located at 3940 Fourth Avenue in San Diego. The Purple Room is located at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive (inside Club Trinidad Resort) in Palm Springs, 92264.