Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hollywood Fringe Spotlight – Part 6: AESOPERA and More!

June 6, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 25, 29, 30
Music by Jonathan Price
Libretti by Jeff Goode, Jan Michael Alejandro & Jonathan Price

Love! War! Gods! Frogs! Tragedy strikes and comedy ensues when a young Queen learns that with great power comes great controversy. A poor fisherman is granted three wishes, but that may not be enough for two daughters. A lion sacrifices his claws for love. An inventor tries to outwit fate, and amphibian voters elect themselves a carnivorous queen. With modern flair, these lush and lyrical mini-operas take inspiration from Aesop’s classic fables of human nature’s essential truths and are sure to add a unique presence to this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. How does a composer begin to develop five mini-operas based on the fables of Aesop? 

Director Alison Eliel Kalmus says, “AESOPERA initially began as a short piece that composer Jonathan Price wrote for the Opera in a Month competition sponsored by New Opera Works. OIAM gave each composer a month to write a libretto and score based on an assigned subject. Given Aesop, Jonathan wrote, and won the competition with The Lion & the Wood Nymph, which was then performed in concert by New Opera Works in American Fork, Utah.”

But that wasn’t the end of it. “The following year, Jonathan teamed up with librettist Jan Michael Alejandro to create The Queen & the Dragon for the Academy of New Music Theatre’s presentation at The Colony Theatre in Burbank,” she adds. “Queen was also showcased at the Secret Rose Theatre as part of their Mini-Musical Fest, winning the ADA Award’s ‘Best Evening of One-Act Plays’ 2009. Realizing the potential for a series of Aesop inspired mini-operas, Jeff Goode (The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, Broadway Publishing Playwright of the Year 2007) wrote a third libretto, The Fisher & the Wishes.

Hoping to expand the series, Jonathan then  applied and won the Subito grant from the American Composers Forum in 2011. He once again collaborated with Alejandro on The Inventor & the Riddle, and independently created The Frogs & the Crane.”

When he put them all together, the five mini-operas made a complete work – in ‘pentaptych’ form, however Alison says that one more ‘ptych,’ Price and Goode’s The King & the Cupbearer, is in the works.

The cast features Eric Castro, Elyse Cook, Katherine Giaquinto, Victoria Graves, Kyle Hester, Victor Mazzone, Craig McEldowney, Blanche Ramirez, Sarah Reynolds, Tania Solomon, Jeffrey Stackhouse, Miguel Vargas, and Kaylie Ann Warfield. Music direction is by Leonardo Sciolis and Hannah Yi Hellems.

Performances take place on the Fringe Mainstage at The Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd 90038. Run Time is 76 minutes. Click Here for tickets ($15) and more information.

June 18, 19, 23, 25, 26

After bringing you versions of Showgirls, Jurassic Park, Top Gun, Ghostbusters, Teen Witch, Home Alone, and Roadhouse, 30 Minute Musicals is back with their version of the Will Smith summer blockbuster, Independence Day. Watch evil aliens invade the earth and get a lesson in good ole American ass-kicking from Capt. Hiller in musical theatre fashion. 30MM: Independence Day is a Secondline Production, adapted & directed by Brooke Seguin, with original music by Dan Wessels & Brooke Seguin, produced by Tom Detrinis. Click Here for tickets and info. 

June 7, 21, 23, 28

This is a 45-minutes world premiere neo-futurist style musical about the battle between heart and mind when caught up in the melee of love featuring new songs, raps, and live graffiti art. Complex Theatres, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. Click Here for tickets and info.

June 8, 15, 22, 29

This 45-minute family-friendly world premiere is the stage presentation of a project that is moving toward production as an Educational TV series. The Teenie-Bops are a human race of “forever-teens” from the distant, psychedelic planet Bango. They are a league of teen special-agents; space-travelers, Fleet 10.10 representing ten nationalities of the world. On a search for other life in the universe, they discover Earth. Eager to help young people save our planet, they land and disguise themselves as a hot, teen-pop band, “Klyyq.” Using the music, dance, language, fashion, and stylings of pop culture, they teach their Creed. Learn*Up: Academics – Heart*Out: Advocacy – and Bang*On: Creative Arts. It’s All-Grade Education via music videos and performance of rock, hip hop, latin, country, musical theatre, classic, classical, and international. Complex Theatres, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. Click Here for tickets ($10) and info.

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