Crown City Theatre Presents


Written by John Patrick Shanley
Directed by John McNaughton

danny and the deep blue sea

This is not your ordinary love story. Bringing together two troubled souls in DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, author John Patrick Shanley (Doubt, Moonstruck, Joe vs. The Volcano) shows us how an unlikely relationship that we don’t think has a chance in hell of working out …seems to. This latest play from the Crown City Theatre Company is full of raw anger, desperation, and performances by two superb actors.

Roberta (Juliet Landau) and Danny (Matthew J. Williamson) meet in a sleazy bar in the Bronx, where, over a pitcher of beer, we witness these stranger’s emotional and sometimes physical stories. Each of them is haunted by their pasts. Danny, bloody and bruised from almost beating a man to death, is incredibly out of control and full of rage. Roberta is struggling with family issues. Not threatened by Danny’s wildness and intensity, she reaches out to him for companionship. She draws him back to her room in her parent’s house where they end up spending the night, coming together in their loneliness.

Juliet Landau (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ANGEL, ED WOOD) is spectacular as Roberta. Matthew J. Williamson (SEDONA, HELTER SKELTER) is fantastic as Danny. Each of these excellent actors transports us into the emotional lives of two incredibly damaged people, and how love and hate collide between two strangers.

Director John McNaughton has engulfed us in the lives of Danny and Roberta, and the set and lighting design only intensifies our relationship with the characters.

This was a very hard show for me to watch. Yet, I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage. I didn’t even realize there was a stage because I was so caught up in the lives of these two struggling, painfully disturbed people. As I said at the top of this review, this is not your ordinary love story. But it is a love story nonetheless. It is full of offensive language and intense anger. It is also full of redemption and release. It is also a play you must see!


Cast: Juliet Landau and Matthew J. Williamson
Director: John McNaughton
Produced by: Crown City Theatre Company – William A. Reilly, Kimberly Bullock, Ben Rovner, Gary Lamb, Joanne McGee
Set Design: Keiko Moreno
Costume Design: Tanya Apuya
Lighting Design: Gary Lamb
Lighting Consultant: Tony Potter
Production Stage Manager: Kimberly Bullock
Production Photos: Deverill Weekes
Publicity: Deverill Weekes and Gary Lamb

Crown City Theater (located on the campus of St. Matthew’s Church)
11031 Camarillo Street
North Hollywood, CA 91602

Previews: October 18th & 19th
Performances: October 21st – December 18th, 2011
Plays: Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm
Tickets: $20 for previews, $25 general admission
For more information: or 818.605.5685

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Justin Tanner’s Voice Lessons drops us into a strange relationship between a deluded community theatre wanna-be actress and the uptight and overeducated vocal coach she hires to make her a star.

This comedy starts off quite crazy and becomes increasingly manic over the course of its breakneck 50 minutes.

A strapped-for-cash vocal coach (French Stewart) enters into a nerve-fraying bargain when he accepts a large fee and agrees to give a psychotic woman (Laurie Metcalf) singing lessons. Their weekly “lessons” become increasingly bizarre as all sorts of unexpected situations emerge. Justin Tanner’s excruciatingly funny one act play also stars Maile Flanagan (also currently appearing in Tanner’s Day Drinkers at the Odyssey Theatre, recently extended for three weeks through Sunday, November 20, 2011.)

We all know someone who is opinionated, tactless and uncomfortable to be around; someone who lacks a filter between their mind and their mouth. Tanner has fashioned a character that is so outré, you simply cannot believe the verbal diarrhea that gushes forth. Metcalf as Virginia is so garrulous, gauche and obnoxious, she’s agonizingly hilarious to watch. Complementing this character’s outrageous, line-crossing behavior are her increasing outlandish outfits. Short scenes and quick changes see Metcalf reappearing in odd printed dresses, velour athletic ensembles and even a yellow catsuit teamed with a black beret. Her electric blue eye shadow is icing on the crazy cake.

Meanwhile, Stewart’s character Nate struggles to maintain composure throughout, yet even he has his breaking points as we see his sarcasm beginning to leak out. Some of the play’s best surprises are his bitter outbursts and his similarly skewed fashion sense. Maile Flanagan is equally fantastic as a peripheral character whose presence infers some amusingly contentious back story.

Now in its third LA staging, this acclaimed comedy trio is reuniting once again for this season at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks, under the direction of Bart Delorenzo. Previous productions include an extended run at the Zephyr Theater in West Hollywood early 2009, and a highly successful run at Sacred Fools Theatre earlier this year. Additionally, French Stewart is a multiple Ovation Award nominee this year for his performance in Voice Lessons and also in Watson – The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes, Sacred Fools Theatre).

Voice Lessons is a perfect case of comedic writing teamed with riotously zany performances – do not miss this play!

Photo credit: Ed Krieger.

Voice Lessons
Whitefire Theatre
13500 Ventura Boulevard,
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Runs until Sunday, November 6, 2011
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.;
Sundays at 7:00 p.m.
Running time:
Approximately 55 minutes, no intermission


“The Tempest “ by William Shakespeare at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group.

the tempest - zombie joe's underground theatre group zju noho

There are more than 20 theatres on the Theatre grid.

More than 80 percent are in a one-square-mile radius in the NoHo Arts District. You can drive around Lankershim and Magnolia and clearly see the playhouses with bright marquees. There are however several other hidden away theatres that you would not know where even there, unless you already knew, or were told by a friend.

Photo - Billy Calderon

Led Zeppelin titled one of its songs "Rock and Roll;" author Laurence Carr, equally audacious, wrote a play with music in 1997 and called it "Vaudeville."

Currently in its West Coast premiere at the Advent Theatre, "Vaudeville" honors Vaudeville's corniness and sweet-natured vitality while also alerting us to the form's pending demise. The story revolves around 11 Vaudeville performers who live in a Philadelphia rooming house in 1919; one year after the end of World War I, which much more than 9/11 "changed everything."

3908.jpgOf all the famous American comics of the 20th century - team or solo - Laurel and Hardy were among the most gentle. They didn't rely upon crackling, and at times, mean-spirited witticisms to make us laugh, like the Marx Brothers, nor were they partial to the incessant slaps, pokes, and kicks that have enabled the Three Stooges to remain popular with successive generations of adolescent males. As for Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor; did they and Laurel and Hardy even inhabit the same profession?

Fulsome, apron donned moms do it. Cute diapered baby boys do it. Even chaste good nuns do it. Let’s do it! Let’s fall. Let’s fall. Let’s fall.

urban death

At once dark, delicious descent into a pageant of gore, and luminous musical romp through the most ignoble archetypes inhabiting our collective image repertoire, playing late nights in the heart of Noho, writer-director Zombie Joe’s, Urban Death, drives the final stake through the heart of the mere notion that anything is or can be sacred - at least not anything ordained as such by the despicable creatures paraded before us in scene after lurid scene, creatures we can only recognize as us.


Photo:  Niki Nowak, Heather Roop and Shelby Janes.  Taken by Jeanette Farr.

Smart and sophisticated often go hand in hand when describing many artistic endeavors. However, it is not an exaggeration when talking about the new play at the SkyPilot Theater Company in North Hollywood. This poignant and often humorous look at relationships from the female perspective is witty, charming and well worth seeing. It is an enjoyable and sometimes uneasy look at women who are ‘left behind’ when dreams, hope, and trust are shattered.

The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum presents the West Coast Premiere

Written by Bill Bozzone
Directed by Heidi Helen Davis

The beautiful Theatricum Botanicum is the setting for Bill Bozzone’s comedy ROSE COTTAGES, one part of Theatricum’s enjoyable “Outdoors and Inspired” 2011 Summer Repertory Season.

rose cottages

Devil's Love - ZJU

Zombie Joe's Underground presents their enchantingly gritty new production of playwright Zombie Joe's canon of mini-plays revealing love's wicked delights.  Directed by Jana Wimer and Sebastian Munoz.

Zombie Joe serves up a juicy, flavorful, and macabre mix of seven mini-plays.  This format of perfectly portioned stories, each about the dark side of love, provides a Friday late-night treat for the theatre-goer.   

Two months ago, I saw BoomerMania at the El Portal Theatre.  I loved it so much, I decided to see the show at The NoHo Arts Center where it is now playing for hopefully a sit down production.  It is not often that I can say I smiled through the entire show especially seeing it for the second time.  Many audience members were dancing in their seats just waiting for that one person to get up and dance in the aisles.  Whether you are a baby boomer or not...If you like musical theatre, this is a show not to be missed.

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