An interview with Charley Karlotta, writer and performer in “And The Beat Goes On” at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Charley Karlotta’s rather wonderful solo show, “And The Beat Goes On,” is in the Hollywood Fringe Festival this year! I first saw her show at the Whitefire Theatre’s Solo Fest in 2020, just before the long theatre darkness that was the past year and a half. It’s absolutely hilarious and here is my review which extrapolates on that. But, since I have already seen the show and I wanted to be sure you would, I thought we’d ask Charley all about how it came to be. However, the real question is why in heavens would a career nurse find herself longing to be under any more stress than she already is by getting up in front of strangers and singing!?
What drew you to a solo show?
Way back in my 20s I thought about performing a one-woman show. I thought it would be so much fun to sing songs, dance and tell jokes. I always wanted to be an entertainer and in making up my own show I could be independent in my creativity. Also there aren’t that many options for my artistic side at this stage in my life, like I say in the show, it’s too late for me to be one of the “Golddiggers,” the singers and dancers on the Dean Martin TV show.
How did you decide what to reveal about yourself and what not to?
I was not prepared to air out some aspects of my own dirty laundry. If I’m not comfortable with that, I don’t think that I would be able to perform it to my best ability. In my case, I think some things are better left unsaid. I realized I don’t need to get that detailed in order to tell my story. I do get pretty personal and reveal what I am comfortable with revealing. Also, I want to express what really is most relevant to the show in the limited time frame.
How long did the show take to create, what was your process?
I moved from here from Wisconsin in 2010 and I would jot down ideas for a one woman show, but all those years I was busy working and didn’t think it would ever come to fruition. In 2018 I started working with Jessica Lynn Johnson and I was determined to do it. A year later I performed my 1st show in the Hollywood Fringe Festival and then I worked on it over the next year to the show it has now become. I would say I would think about it a lot and be sure to record or write down ideas etc. Some of the parodies I had actually written years ago. Kind of a hobby to entertain myself.
Do you have any tips for budding solo writers and performers?
Here are my tips: be persistent, practice, learn from your mistakes and don’t give up.
Is there anything you would change now about your show?
I keep tweaking my show for every new performance, I think of ways to make it better. I am happy and satisfied with my show now. New ideas occur to me that I am incorporating into the new show I am working on about the nursing profession.
What does your family think about the show?
My grown children are very supportive of me in this endeavor. My son, Andy, wrote the musical arrangements and also plays the keyboard in my band. My daughter, Dixie, has also been very helpful. I am so grateful for their help! My parents are deceased and one of my brothers I was close to also passed away. My other siblings and I are not close at all. It’s too bad, it was the way we were raised I believe. They don’t know about the show, if they did know, I don’t believe they would watch it. If they would watch it they would probably criticise me and who needs that!
Thank you, Charley, for being so candid about your life and your art and for all your hard work as a nurse through this harrowing time! We all know how grateful we are to you and your colleagues. And, and I for one am utterly amazed at how brilliant a performer you are, how much you have to share with the world and I loved the show!!
“And the Beat Goes On: A Comedic Cabaret” at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Written and Performed by Charley Karlotta
Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson
Thursday, August 5 – 5 p.m. (preview)
Thursday, August 19 – 8 p.m.
Thursday, August 26 – 10:30 p.m.
Broadwater Stage Black Box Theatre
6322 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
$12 *Discounts available for nurses and Fringe participants