Million Dollar Hair
Through June 28
So who is Bernie Schonfeld? Apart from being a music mogul, philanthropist, amateur homeopath, and terminal philanderer (eight marriages!), he is the fictional character being honored in this outrageously funny “tribute,” by the folks at Lost Moon Radio. Narrating Bernie’s inspiring life story is his talentless, brain dead daughter January (Leslie Korein), whose droll commentary and endless malapropisms (“we have a suppository of talent”) throughout is almost as funny as some of the facts she reveals about her dear, departed daddy: his death from a bad hair do (not the one he spent $12,000 on); his numerous amorous conquests; and sadly, his ouster as CEO of Million Dollar Records by the same spoiled, sniveling brats he trained to be industry cutthroats.
No gala tribute would be complete without music, here provided by Dylan Ris and his superb four-piece band. The songsters are all worthy of the moment: Ryan Harrison sings a lively ditty about living with lockjaw; Lauren Flans rocks with a rap number about teen pregnancy; and nothing is quite as funny as Bartok’s Caravan (Flans, Harrison and Dan Oster), who look—and sing— as if they were resurrected from some ancient Moravian castle. Director Lauren Ludwig could pace this a bit better; notwithstanding, it’s a ton of laughs.—Lovell Estell III
Lost Moon Radio at the Hudson Backstage, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1911
Romeo and Juliet in Hell
Through June 28
Matt Richey’s knee-slapper of a comedy places the Bard’s star crossed lovers in the infernal domain for some devilish punishment and laughs. Romeo (Luke Wesley Baldridge) and Juliet (Gail Friedland, cum protruding dagger), are initially quite happy to find themselves in each other’s company, and to bask in the familiar visages of Tybalt (Michael Onofri) and Mercutio (Andy Kenareki). The rapture doesn’t last long, however. Hell’s other tenants include Desdemona (Tamara Rhoads), Macbeth (Chairman Barnes), his howling mad wife, Lady M (Rebecca Lane); unhinged, mumbling Hamlet (Schoen Hodges), Othello (Wisam Mubasher), who always has “moor” to say; Laertes (Tim Astor), a gray bearded Lear, looking more like Noah, and odd-man-out Tony (Eusebio Hernandez), from West Side Story.
What to do with all this infamous star power? Well, Faustus (Nick Ley) provides some entertainment via a grand scale play about Romeo and Juliet’s life that quickly morphs into something of a free-for-all, which even includes a segment patterned after Family Feud. The script is spiced with enough in-house gags, jokes and one-liners to make any Bardologist cringe with laughter. And what of Romeo and Juliet? Well, they do share in a happy ending of sorts. An hour plus of solid fun and laughs.—Lovell Estell III
MDR Players at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1793
These reviews are offered via a partnership between L.A. Weekly and Stage Raw. To maximize coverage of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, the two publications are sharing reviews and funding responsibilities. Stage Raw is an Emerge Project of the Pasadena Arts Council, with other funding coming from a combination of advertising and individual donors. For the L.A. Weekly, please visit www.laweekly.com