Thursday, May 31, 2012

Musical Focus on the Fringe - Part Two

Part Two of our Hollywood Fringe Festival series features two musicals that fit right in with the Festival’s celebration of the arts, even though they are not brand new shows.

June 1 – 24, 2012

The first is theTRIBE’s production of HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, which runs for four weeks at El Centro Theatre. What is exciting about this show is that it will feature a scene never before performed as a part of the show.

Director Christopher Chase explains, “There is a moment in Act II that allows for creativity. During part of a character's drug-induced vision, the script provides a set of vague stage directions set to music. Because they are vague, we can take some license with them as long as we adhere to the rules stipulated in our rights agreement. I wouldn't really say the scene itself is new, but what it will convey to the audience, and how deeply it will affect them, is something no other production of HAIR has done before."

"It's definitely a fresh take," adds Tiffany Oliver, who plays heroine Sheila in the show. "The 'flash forward' [as it's being called] really rounds out the characters' motivations while staying completely true to what HAIR stands for."

"People are going to wonder why this wasn't done before," continues Chase. "It's a moment no longer than 50 seconds that will have people seeing the entirety of each character.  It's one thing to see a character in the moment and have hopes of how they turn out, but it's another to see a character's life in its entirety, and allow it to affect you to the point where you call in to question your own choices."

Chase also says that the musical fits right in with the atmosphere of the Fringe, thanks in part to its subjects of free love, drug use, nudity, and this new scene. "People will be shocked by HAIR. We've pushed the boundaries right to where they need to be to excite the audience."

High-energy songs like “Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Good Morning, Starshine” and “Easy To Be Hard” continue to stir theater audiences as they join a “tribe” of politically-active New York City friends searching for answers in turbulent 1967. Though the long-haired bohemian companions may look different in style from today’s youth, they face the same essential struggle to define themselves and society.

And choreographer Leanna Dindall adds, "The dances are more African [instead of traditionally Indian-inspired], so it's fun to watch and you want to join in!" Click Here for tickets  El Centro Theatre, 804 North El Centro Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90038

June 7 – 23, 2012

The second featured show is The Last Five Years, a contemporary musical drama produced by Nate Aylworth and Oscar Productions. The story ingeniously chronicles the life of a five year relationship, from first kiss to divorce… or from divorce to first kiss, depending on your point-of-view.

Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown (Parade, Songs For A New World, 13), it is an intensely personal look at the relationship between a writer and an actress told from both points of view. The story explores a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hyatt, a struggling actress.

Aylworth will star as Jamie and Aly French will play Cathy. Aylworth is a New Mexico native / NYC transient / LA transplant and has performed all over the U.S. from the Fox Theatre to Carousel Dinner Theatre. French is an L.A. based performer who currently can be seen as Shady Sadie Sinclair in the 1930’s New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and Cabaret show, Vaud & the Villains. She is also a vocalist in the traditional jazz ensemble, The Overstreets.

Aylworth says he chose to produce the show because of its personal nature. “I do have a connection to the show but my story probably isn't any different from what draws most people to this particular show. I think everyone out there who has ever been in love, is currently in love, or even just wants to be can relate, intensely, and personally to this story. Most of us have had some form of the excitement of Jamie's first date, or Cathy's broken heart. This show creates, and draws intense emotional responses, and that's the kind of theatre I want for my audiences. Also, I chose this show because it lends itself to a format like the Fringe incredibly well. It requires little more than two actors, and a piano, but the outcome is as powerful as a full scale Broadway production.”

Peter Berube directs and music direction is by Lauren Fraley. Oscar Productions’ The Last Five Years is a project of the Pasadena Arts Council EMERGE Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Tickets are $15.00 and performances take place at The Complex Theatre, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA. Click Here for tickets and more information.

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When the founders of the Hollywood Fringe Festival began over 5 years ago, they had no idea this artistic movement would generate so much excitement in the global arts community. In their first year alone they attracted over 170 artistic groups, and that number grew to 200 in the second year. This year, the Festival has set its sights even higher by launching new programs for standup comedy, music, students, internships, and environmental sustainability. If you'd like to 
to help sponsor the Hollywood Fringe Festival Click Here to see what you can do. Make sure to check out the video on that page for more details. See you at the Fringe!

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