Part 1 can be found here
My 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival experience has now come to an end, although I might try to go back and again check out the three remaining Fringe shows next month – Exorcistic: the Rock Musical Parody Experiment at the Sacred Fools Theatre and Frank and Ava and The Devil and Billy Markham at the Three Clubs.
On Friday night I saw my last “official” Best of Fringe Extensions show, The Real Housekeepers of Studio City. Circumstances kept me from my first two opportunities to see it, but I was bound and determined to check it out and see what all the buzz was about, which turned out to be a wise decision.
What if all TV characters were real and lived in a neighborhood in Studio City? What if you put out a Craigslist ad for a housekeeper in that neighborhood? Who would show up for the interview? Real Housekeepers asks and answers these questions, with an interesting adult spin. Would you believe Lurch and Rosie the Robot as a couple?
With an amazing book and lyrics by Heidi Powers and Tom Moore, music by Joe Greene (who doubles as Edna Garrett (housekeeper to the kids from Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes), and wonderfully directed by Ryan Bergmann, Real Housekeepers is a non-stop laugh factory that brings your television fantasies to life.
The show also features famous TV housekeepers Nell Harper (Gimme a Break), Tony Micelli (Who’s the Boss), Rosario Salazar (Will & Grace), Consuela (Family Guy), Florence Johnston (The Jeffersons) and Alice Nelson (The Brady Bunch), each of whom pulls off the transition from fantasy to reality with ease.
Although the entire cast was great, standout performances were given by Lani Shipman as Ashley, Ryan O’Connor as Scot, Gabby Sanalitro as Rosey/Consuela and understudy Whitney Powell Wellner (who is married to Jon Wellner, who plays Henry on CSI) as Zoila/Alice.
This was the perfect culmination to an incredible run of Fringe and Best of Fringe Extensions shows. I can hardly wait for next year.
Last but not least, on Saturday night I headed over to the Hudson Theatre for the extended run of Blindsided, which made its debut at the 2013 Hollywood Fringe.
A one-woman show directed by actor Elimu Nelson, Blindsided tells the story of Jeannette Rizzi, whose parents were a former nun and monk, and her encounters with some of life’s worst experiences – teen suicide, depression, physical abuse and self-acceptance.
While her triumph over these issues was apparent by the close of the show, her journey through the early part was difficult to ascertain at times. The energy level through the first part of the show, up until she made the decision to move on, was very low. At times the scenes just merged into one another with little or no transition, and her dialogue seemed like one long run-on sentence. This may have been a directorial decision, but that first part of the show did not have the clarity of the closing scene, where it became quite clear that Rizzi had overcome these distractions in her life and had, indeed, moved on.
This is a good play that needs some attention to make it a great play. It is thought-provoking and gives hope to the audience that they too can overcome whatever life throws at them. I am happy for Rizzi’s triumph and hope that through the play, other potential suicides might be saved from making that final step.