Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hollywood Fringe Spotlight – Part 5: NATALIE PORTMAN and THE RUBY BESLER CABARET

June 7 (preview), 5, 16, 21, 2, 23, 28, 29

It’s been a year since the premiere of this sketch comedy musical, which ran for ten months, first in Orange County, and later in Los Angeles. It was such a hit with audiences that writer & director Brittany Garms decided her next goal was to take it to the Fringe. “After that successful run, Fringe seemed like the logical next step to get the show out to a wider audience,” she says. 

I asked how the show came about and she responded that, “it began as a joke, written for a very talented friend of mine, who also happened to look like Natalie Portman. It started with one song, and finally rewrite after rewrite, workshop after workshop, it eventually became what it is today, a sketch comedy musical.”  

“The Fringe Festival is the Sundance of musicals,” Garms adds. “It’s a chance for artists to put their work out there. This show is one of a kind, neither completely sketch comedy nor completely musical. It’s a satire that mocks movies, musicals, celebrity, but most of all, it mocks the format of musicals and shows itself.”

In it, Samuel L. Jackson takes the audience through the life and times of one of Hollywood’s favorite starlets, and what may or may not have happened along the way. From Harvard to Star Wars, and Saturday Night Live to Black Swan, you’ll join Natalie, Sam, Kristen Stewart, Jody Foster, and even some Sesame Street puppets as they explore the hilarity of musicals, movies, and celebrity. 

The show features book & lyrics by Brittany Garms, and music by Frankie Marrone & Tara Pitt. Garms directs a cast that includes Malik Aziz, Gwendolyn Bueker, Brittany Garms, Tara Pitt, Adarius Smith, and Garrett Stivers. Choreography is by Kristina Marquez. Performances are at The Lounge Theater, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Click Here for tickets and more information.

June 11, 14, 20, 25, 29

“Funny is the New Sexy” is the theme of The Ruby Besler Cabaret. Actually, funny has always been sexy and, as if to underscore the point, the eponymous star of The Ruby Besler Cabaret is the perfection in fashion, face and figure of the archetypal 1940s Dame, as seductive with a witty lyric or line of dialogue as she is with her curves. 

Ruby is played by Anastasia Barnes, who also stars in and wrote the show (additional dialogue by Jim Senti). She originally created the character of Ruby Besler in a popular web series in which Ruby gives advice to women (and occasionally to men) on sex and romance, always followed by an original novelty song with a sound appropriate to the ‘40s. The advice is funny and very, very frank, as she advises ladies to keep their “panties on and heels on the ground.”

For this show, Barnes has adapted Ruby for a cabaret setting. Ruby has gone to secretarial school in Manhattan while pursuing the dream (which she of course achieves) of being a Broadway star. The somewhat naughty show features burlesque dancers, live piano, and multi-media (but no nudity). Joining Ruby onstage will be pianist Dorothy Diamond (portrayed by musical director Gere Fennelly), and her dancers, The Rubies (Tatiana Giannoutsos, Regan Carrington, Laurel Vecsey, and choreographer Flame Cynders, all from the Fishnet Follies Classic Burlesque Revue). The show is directed by Doug Oliphant and features music by Anastasia Barnes and Gere Fennelly.

Performances take place at Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038. Tickets are $12.00 except for June 11 which is Pay What You Can. Click Here for tickets or call (323) 455-4585.

Please note: The show contains adult content and is inappropriate for children.

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