Entertainment News

Boni B. Alvarez’s funny, tragic and provocative ‘Fixed’ gets world premiere at the Echo

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 16, 2017) — The Echo Theater Companycontinues its 20th Anniversary Season with a funny, tragic and provocative new play by Los Angeles’ own Boni B. Alvarez. Dually inspired by Calderón’s Spanish Golden Age Drama The Physician Of His Own Honor and the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, which detailed New York’s then-underground drag queen “ball culture,” Alvarez ups the stakes by setting his story in the heart of L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown. Echo company member Rodney Todirects the world premiere of Fixed for a Sept. 17 opening atAtwater Village Theatre.

 

Chris Aguila (Alvarez’s Nicky with Coeurage Theatre at Greenway Court, Charm at the Celebration Theatre) stars as Miracles Malacañang, a ladyboy masseuse who “walks” for Filipinotown’s infamous House of Malacañang. But Miracles’ forbidden love affair with Mariano, played by Wade Allain-Marcus (Good Grief at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, HBO’s Insecure, FX’s Snowfall), sparks tensions between the city’s hottest political family and the House of Malacañang’s owner, Gigi (portrayed by Alvarez himself).

 

“I wanted to mine the drama and the comedy created by marginalizing the Filipino experience even more than it already is,” the playwright explains. “But, at the end of the day I’m just a hopeless romantic, and this is really just a tragic love story.”

 

In ball culture, houses serve as alternative families, primarily for black and Latino queer youth who “walk” for trophies and prizes in elaborately-structured ball competitions. Typically, house members adopt the name of their house as their last name. Contestants must adhere to a very specific category or theme; they are judged on criteria including the “realness” of their drag, the beauty of their clothing and their dancing ability. Houses that win a lot of trophies and gain recognition reach a rank of “legendary.” Notable houses include House of Ninja (founded by Willi Ninja), House of Aviance (founded by Mother Juan Aviance), House of Xtravaganza (founded by Hector Xtravaganza, né Hector Valle), House of Infiniti, House of Mizrahi, House of LaBeija (founded by Crystal LaBeija) and the House of Dupree (founded by Paris Dupree).

 

Also in the cast of Fixed are Tonatiuh Elizarraraz (IAMA Theatre Company’s Species Native to California) and Allen Lucky Weaver(La Cage aux Folles at East West Players, Midwest tour of Miss Saigon) as house members Carmie and Jenny Malacañang; Joseph Valdez (Little Big Joe the Bug Squasher at the Hollywood Fringe) as Mariano’s brother, Hudson, currently in a tight race for county sheriff; Renée-Marie Brewster (A.R.T. productions of Alice Vs Wonderland, Cabaret) as Dana, Hudson’s wife and campaign manager; and Adrian Gonzalez (Lord of the Underworld’s Home for Unwed Mothers at the Skylight, Colony Collapse at Boston Court) as A.J., their trusted political aide. Anna Lamadrid (currently on stage as Phebe in Antaeus Theatre Company’s As You Like It) pines after Mariano in the role of Lizette.

 

 

“My hope is that this play is super provocative not only for the theater community, but for the LGBTQ and Filipino communities as well,” says To. “I do think audiences are going to embrace it. I love plays that challenge people’s thinking in unexpected, unconventional ways.”

 

The creative team includes set designer Amanda Knehans, lighting designer Matt Richter, sound designer Rebecca Kessin and costume designer Michael Mullen. The assistant director is James Leo Ryan, and the production stage manager is Haley Kellogg.Jesse Cannady and Nadia Marina produce for The Echo Theater Company.

 

Boni B. Alvarez was recently named a resident playwright with New Dramatists. His plays, including Bloodletting, Dallas Non-Stop, Ruby, Tragically Rotund, Dusty De Los Santos, Dolls of America, Marabella, The Special Education of Miss Lorna Cambonga andNicky, have been produced/developed at Playwrights’ Arena, Center Theatre Group, Chalk Rep, Skylight Theatre Company, The Vagrancy, Coeurage Theatre Company, Second Generation (2g, NYC), InterAct Theatre (Philadelphia) and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He has been a semi-finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and a finalist for both the PEN Center USA Literary Award and Clubbed Thumb’s Biennial Commission. With a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA from American Repertory Theatre/MXAT Institute at Harvard University and an MFA from USC, Alvarez is an alumnus of the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, Skylight Theatre’s Play Lab, CTG Writers’ Workshop, Moving Arts’ MADlab and Humanitas/CTG Play LA Workshop.

 

Dedicated to producing new work, the multiple award-winning Echo Theater Company was anointed “Best Bet for Ballsy Original Plays” by the LA Weekly and was a recipient of a 2016 “Kilroy Cake Drop” – one of only 13 theaters in the country to be surprised by cakes to honor the efforts they are making to produce women and trans writers. Under the leadership of founding artistic director Chris Fields, the Echo has introduced Los Angeles to playwrights such as David Lindsay-Abaire, Adam Rapp, Sarah Ruhl, Adam Bock and Miki Johnson among others. The company is also recognized for its acting ensemble; in the Los Angeles Times, theater critic Charles McNulty wrote, “Echo Theater Company, which has cultivated a community of top flight actors, would be my go-to place in Los Angeles for symbiotic ensemble acting.” KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes stated, “It’s time to start paying attention to the Echo Theater Company… The company has made bold choices and backed them up.” Last season’s production of Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel received the Ovation Award for Best Production and was recently remounted at Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theatre by Center Theatre Group as part of “Block Party.” This summer, the company enjoyed a critically acclaimed, sold-out run of Bekah Brunsetter’s The Cake. The Echo Theater Company is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

 

Fixed runs Sept. 17 through Oct.22, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.Sundays at 4 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. except opening night, Sunday Sept. 17, which is at 6 p.m. Three preview performances are set for Thurs., Sept. 14; Fri., Sept. 15; and Sat., Sept. 16, all at 8 p.m. Tickets are $34 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and $20 on Mondays. Preview performances are Pay-What-You-WantAtwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los AngelesCA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (310) 307-3753 or go to www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.

 

 

Details for Calendar Listings
Fixed

 

WHAT:
World premiere 
of Fixed — A fierce and funny new play by Los Angeles’ own Boni B. Alvarez, Fixed is the story of Miracles Malacañang, a ladyboy masseuse working in the infamous Malacañang Massage Parlor in Los Angeles’ historic Filipinotown. When Miracles’ forbidden love affair sparks tensions between the city’s hottest political family, two families must come together to understand the power of desire, identity and honor.

WHO: 
• Written by Boni B. Alvarez
• Directed by Rodney To
• Starring Chris AguilaWade Allain-Marcus, Boni B. AlvarezRenée-Marie BrewsterTonatiuh ElizarrarazAdrian Gonzalez,Anna Lamadrid, Joseph ValdezAllen Lucky Weaver
• Presented by The Echo Theater Company

WHEN: 
Previews: Sept. 14, Sept. 15, Sept.16
Performances: Sept. 17 – Oct. 22

• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Sept. 14 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 15 (preview), 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13, 20
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 16 (preview), 23, 30; Oct. 7, 14, 21
• Sunday at 6 p.m.: Sept. 17 ONLY (Opening Night)
• Sundays at 4 p.m.: Sept. 24; Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 18, 25; Oct. 2, 9, 16

WHERE:
Echo Theater Company
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039

HOW:
• Call 310-307-3753 or go to  www.EchoTheaterCompany.com
• Visit us on facebook: www.facebook.com/echotheater
• Follow us on twitter: @echotheater

TICKET PRICES:
• Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays: $34
• Mondays: $20
• Previews: Pay-What-You-Want

PARKING:
FREE in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater

Entertainment News

The Middle will end with season 9

The family sitcom, The Middle, will begin its 9th season this fall and it has been announced that this season would be its last. The decision wasn’t made lightly. Co-creators Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline told Variety,

 

 “Last year we sat down with our cast and made the bittersweet decision together that in this ninth season it is time to bring the Hecks’ story to a close.  It’s been an amazing run, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we’re looking forward to having an entire year to say goodbye. Plus, we wanted to go out before too many people knew we were on the air.”

 

The show was never as popular as the ABC comedy, Modern Family, and it never had more than 9 million viewers, but Heline told EW they were lucky.

 

 “Some know about us, some don’t. We are at heart a midwestern show. If we can be underappreciated for nine years and be on the air, we’re lucky.”

 

Heline said. The network appreciated the show’s success as well. ABC president Channing Dungey told Vanity,

 

“The Heck family has been part of the ABC family for almost a decade. It’s rare for a series to have this type of longevity, and we are proud to have been its home.”

 

Dungey continued,

 

“We’ve watched Axl, Sue and Brick grow up right before our eyes under Frankie and Mike’s unique parenting style. I’m looking forward to the fitting and happy ending the producers will give the Hecks and our viewers.”

 

Head of Warner Bros. TV, Peter Roth, also told Variety about the show saying,

 

“For eight remarkable seasons, Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline have crafted a wonderfully relatable, honest, funny and authentic world of middle class life in the heartland of America. The writing, acting and craftsmanship have been superb, and the show has been vividly brought to life each week by the incomparable Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher, Atticus Shaffer and a creative team that has poured its heart and soul into each and every episode. We look forward to a memorable final season for ‘The Middle,’ and we thank our passionate and loyal fans!”

 

As to how the show will end, Heisler told EW,

 

“We started having an idea a couple of years ago and honed it more in the last year. It will be true to our show. It’s an end that fans will like.”

 

The Middle airs its final season on Oct. 3.

 

Written by Curtis Han, RM Entertainment Contributor

Entertainment News

World premiere comedy ‘Grey Nomad’ captures Australian retiree lifestyle

LOS ANGELES — Two couples, a wet T-shirt competition — and one vast country. As a growing number of Australian retirees choose to continuously circumnavigate the world’s largest island in their caravans and RVs, a new comedy captures their unique spirit and sense of camaraderie. L.A.’s Australian Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Grey Nomad by Australian playwright Dan Lee in a visiting production at the Skylight Theatre. Directed by Iain SinclairGrey Nomad opens on Monday,Sept. 11.
 

“I first came into contact with the free range baby boomers that we refer to as ‘grey nomads’ a couple of years ago, when I was living in Broome,” explains Lee. “Every year, in the dry season, they would stream into town in their RVs and camper trailers. The town would go from 15,000 to 50,000 in just a couple of weeks. They’re a very funny and interesting bunch, people who’ve retired and dedicated the rest of their lives to just traveling in loops around Australia. This play is about two couples doing just that.”
 

David Ross Paterson (Saving Mr. Banks, ATC’s Ruben Guthrie) stars as Jim, who has waited his whole working life for this. He’s bought the camper and the folding chairs, packed the fishing gear and the BBQ; and the only question that now remains is which direction — clockwise or counter-clockwise? Jim’s wife, Helen (Ros Gentle – The People v. O. J. Simpson, upcoming Australian mini-series Picnic at Hanging Rock), is not quite as sure about just up and leaving her family and the life she spent so long creating. When the couple suddenly finds themselves traveling the same circuit as “glampers” Tim (Paul Tassone – Australian TV series All Saints, Home and AwayUnderbelly, The Code) and his wild American wife, Val (Wendy Hammers – stand-up comedian,Curb Your Enthusiasm, host of spoken word salon and podcast “Tasty Words”), Jim just can’t relax. But for Helen, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
 

“Dan writes with a very distinct Australian voice, but he’s created universal characters who everyone will recognize, relate to and laugh along with,”

 

says ATC co-founder and co-producer Nick Hardcastle.

 

“It’s a huge privilege to be the first company to produce not only this play, but any work by Dan Lee, who has a very bright future ahead of him.”

 

Dan Lee’s first play, Bottomless, received the R. E. Ross Trust award for an unproduced play in 2014. It was subsequently developed by Playwriting Australia, Red Stitch Actors Theatre and the Melbourne Theatre Company, and is scheduled for production next year at 45downstairs in Melbourne. He is also writing two new works for Red Stitch as part of their INK writers program.
 

Iain Sinclair is an award-winning director who specializes in new play development. He is an associate artist and resident dramaturg for Playwriting Australia, and maintains ongoing partnerships with many of Australia’s leading playwrights and international writers such as Stella Feheely and J.T Rogers. In his early career, Iain served as assistant director to Cate Blanchett, Jean Pierre-Mignon, Gale Edwards and Max Stafford Clark. Iain is also an accomplished educator who has taught at all levels from youth theater to post graduate lecturing. He is a graduate of King’s College in London and the RADA masters program.
 

The creative team for Grey Nomad includes scenic designer Se Oh, lighting designer Jared A. Sayeg, sound designer Cricket S. Myers and costume designer Kate BerghJackie DiamondNick HardcastleNate Jones and Joshua Thorburn produce for Australian Theatre Company.
 

Grey Nomad opens on MondaySept. 11 and continues through Oct. 8, with performances on Fridays at 8 p.mSaturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.Sundays at 6 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. Two American Sign Language-interpreted performances will take place on Friday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $34 general admission and $39 for reserved seating. Grey Nomads (ages 55+) pay only $29. The Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave.Los AngelesCA 90027. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 866-811-4111 or go to www.australiantheatrecompany.org.
 

Details for Calendar Listings
Grey Nomad
 

WHAT:
World premiere of Grey Nomad — L.A.’s Australian Theatre Company presents Dan Lee’s funny, engaging comedy about two retired couples who have dedicated their lives to RVing around Australia. It’s a comic road show that captures the unique sense of camaraderie and almost supernatural devotion to a lifestyle of perpetual circumnavigation led by the free range, baby boomers of Australia who call themselves “grey nomads.”
 

WHO:
• Written by Dan Lee
• Directed by Iain Sinclair, 
• Starring Ros Gentle, Wendy Hammers, David Ross Paterson, Paul Tassone
• Produced by Jackie DiamondNick HardcastleNate Jones and Joshua Thorburn
• Presented by Australian Theatre Company
 

WHEN: 
Performances Sept. 11 – Oct. 8:
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 11 (Opening Night), Sept. 18, Sept. 25; Oct. 2
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 15*, Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6
• Saturdays at 5 p.m.: Sept. 16, Sept. 23*, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
• Saturdays at 8:30 p.m.: Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
• Sundays at 6 p.m.: Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 8
American Sign Language-interpreted performances will take place on Friday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept. 23.
 

WHERE:
A visiting production at the
Skylight Theatre
1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
 

HOW:
866-811-4111 or www.australiantheatrecompany.org
• Follow us on facebook: www.facebook.com/aussietheatreco/
• Follow us on twitter and instagram: @aussietheatreco
 

TICKET PRICE:
• Reserved seating: $39
• General admission: $34
• Grey Nomads (ages 55+): $29

Entertainment News

Nevertheless, She Persisted’: 5 short plays by women playwrights

WHAT:
Nevertheless, She Persisted An evening of five world-premiere short plays by female writers that explore the treatment of women in today’s political climate:
• yajūwritten and directed by Mary Laws
• Sherry and Vince, written by Charlotte Miller, directed by Tara Karsian
• At Dawn, written by Calamity West, directed by Ahmed Best
• Violet, written by Jacqueline Wright, directed by Teagan Rose
• Do You See, written and directed  by Sharon Yablon.
 

WHEN: 
Previews: Aug. 24 and Aug. 25
Performances: Aug. 26 – Sept. 10

• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Aug. 24 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 25 (preview); Sept. 1; Sept. 8
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 26 (opening night); Sept. 2; Sept. 9
• Sundays at 4 p.m.: Aug. 27; Sept. 3; Sept. 10
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 28; Sept. 4
 

WHERE:
The Echo Theater Company
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
 

HOW:
• Call 310-307-3753 or go to  www.EchoTheaterCompany.com
• Visit us on facebook: www.facebook.com/echotheater
• Follow us on twitter: @echotheater

TICKET PRICE:
$20

PARKING:
FREE in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater

Entertainment News

How can Star Trek deal with Anton Yelchin’s passing?

Remember Chekov? American actor Anton Yelchin portrayed the Russian character Pavel Chekov in the film series of Star Trek. Since his passing in 2016, Star Trek fans have been worrying about what the next film would do to the character Pavel Chekov. A message from Tumblr has been circulating on Facebook recently, from user iprayforangels, about what the film can do with the character Chekov. The message on Facebook has gotten more than 1k likes and at least 17,000 shares. How can the next film deal with Anton’s passing respectfully in the best way possible?

 

“Don’t recast Chekov and don’t kill him.” The post from iprayforangels suggested, “Have the character transfer to a different ship and be doing just fine. He sends Sulu messages about how he’s doing. Then respect why Chekov was originally there and make the new person in his seat an Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, or Saudi Arabian woman. Chekov was there to predict a future where the Russians, America’s greatest enemies at the time of the show’s creation, were our friends and allies. Pay respect to why he was created by placing a Muslim woman from a country that America has fought with in the seat. Give her a gold dress, black long sleeve undershirt, black leggings, and a federation uniform approved hijab. The movies should be creating representation and paying respects to what Chekov was there for. Put a Muslim woman in the navigator’s chair and let her fly us through the stars.”

 

Some Star Trek fans were enraged. One person complained, “In Star Trek, humans have outgrown the superstition of religion, so there are no Muslims…. this is stupid. Make her from a Middle Eastern country sure…. but Muslim…. fu*k off with that” Someone responded that comment, saying, “Perhaps they have outgrown the superstition – this isn’t proven to be universally true – but it’s unlikely they’ve completely shed the cultural heritage. Note how much of a Francophile Picard is, how proud Scotty is of his Scots heritage, etc. If Scotty can wear a tartan-ish thing on occasion, someone of Muslim heritage can wear a hibab. The Star Trek culture celebrates diversity, remember?”

 

At a time when people consider being Muslim “Un-American,” and even go so far as to banning them from entering the country, or cursing at them and shoving them out of commercial establishments and conferences for wearing hijab, it’d be a good creative choice for the movie to imagine a future where simply being Muslim is absolutely fine.

 

What do you think? Leave in the comments below and let us know what you think Star Trek should do to the character Chekov.

 

Written by Curtis Han, RM Entertainment Contributor

For the Love of Felicia

For the Love of Felicia (Part 4)

The small, outdoor Cuban restaurant wasn’t located too far from their current location. Once at the restaurant, the women found a table that was at the edge of the sand. From there, they could hear the waves of the ocean in between the Afro-Cuban jazz music that was being played by a band. Both women immediately started looking at their menus as soon as they sat down.

As they looked through the menus, a man approached their table. “Hello, ladies! I saw you at the bar down the street and just wanted to come by to say hello to such beautiful women!”

Looking up, Jessica spoke first, saying, “Well hello to you also! And thank you for the compliment. You don’t look too bad yourself.”

The tall, fair-skinned man, with a hint of a Latin-American accent, responded, “Thank you! May I ask your name? My name is Sergio.”

“Sergio…I like that name. Well, my name is Jessica. And my friend, who is acting completely uninterested…please excuse her rudeness,” Jessica said clearing her throat. “This is my rude friend, Felicia. Felicia, please say hello to our visitor.”

Finally glancing up from her menu, Felicia said, “Hello.” As she was about to look back down at her menu, she became transfixed on the male specimen standing in front of her. “Wha…what did you say your name was?”

“My name is Sergio,” he said smiling, showing all of his perfectly straight, white teeth. “I don’t want to take up too much more of your time, so do you think I could get your number and call you sometime?” Sergio asked while looking at Felicia.

Before she could answer, Jessica spoke up saying, “Yes, she will give you her number and get yours in return.” Jessica grabbed Felicia’s phone that was sitting on the table, and handed it to Sergio to input his information.

“Thank you,” Sergio said. “And thank you for your help, Jessica. You ladies enjoy the rest of your night. Felicia, I plan to use your number so I hope you plan on answering when I do.”

“We will see,” Felicia replied with a shy smile.

After Sergio left their presence, Jessica couldn’t hold back anymore. “Girl, Sergio is fine as hell! And so polite! Don’t do anything stupid, like not answer!”

“Don’t you think I’m already dealing with enough? How would it look if I started talking to someone when I’m begging Terrence to get right?”

“It would look like you finally came to your senses and decided to focus on someone who could be available to love you the way you deserve to be loved.”

“Ok, but when that happens, it would have to be with someone with a little color to him. How would I look on the arm of a white man?”

Laughing and faintly shaking her head, Jessica said, “First of all, you would be fine. Second of all, Sergio is far from white. And I would think that you would not be concerned with that mess. Since when did you become focused on melanated levels? He comes from the same place we do.”

“Ok, for real I’m not. You already know what it is.”

“Forget about Terrence! Can we work on that? Maybe Sergio can work that out of you.”

“Shut up, Jessica!” Felicia laughed. “I’m getting tired. Let’s get our food and go. I’m ready to crash on your firm pillow-top mattress!”

Read For the Love of Felicia Parts 1-3 HERE.

Written by Dani Powell, RM Entertainment Original Story Contributor

Entertainment News

Lauren Gunderson’s ‘Silent Sky’ a luminous tribute to women, scientific discovery, music

A celestial romance and true story of discovery, Silent Sky by acclaimed playwright Lauren Gunderson opens at International City Theatre on August 25. Two low-priced previews take place on Aug. 23 and Aug. 24.

Decades before the ‘hidden figures’ made famous by the Academy Award-nominated film, astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921) and her female colleagues at the Harvard Observatory acted as “human computers,” using math and measurement to chart the skies. Without ever being allowed to touch a telescope — a task prohibited to women at the turn of the 20th century — Leavitt discovered a method to measure the distances of faraway galaxies and paved the way for modern astronomy.

Todd Nielsen directs Jennifer CannonJennifer ParsonsLeslie StevensEric Wentz and Erin Anne Williams in Gunderson’s fictionalized biography, an irresistible combination of humor, romance, feminism and universe-revealing science. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls the play “luminously beautiful… an intellectual epic told on an intimate scale.”

“In the play, the very real mathematical relationship discovered by Leavitt is explained not with numbers, but with notes,” the playwright explained in an interview. “Henrietta’s sister, Margaret, is a pianist and just when Henrietta can’t stare at the tables of measurements describing her Cepheid variable stars any longer, she listens… then looks up… then sees/hears what she’s been searching for: a pattern. That moment is what made me write this play, because it could only work in a play. It’s theatrical, it’s musical, it’s not a moment of dialog but a moment of overwhelm, everything changes in this moment.”

Working without recognition in a male-dominated field that refused to treat women as equals, Leavitt discovered more than 2,400 variable stars, about half of the known total in her day. By intense observation of a certain class of variable star, the cepheids, she discovered a direct correlation between the time it took a star to go from bright to dim to how bright it actually was. Knowing this relationship helped other astronomers, including Edwin Hubble, to make their own groundbreaking discoveries. She also developed a standard of photographic measurements that was accepted by the International Committee on Photographic Magnitudes and called the “Harvard Standard.” Remembered by a colleague as “possessing the best mind at the Observatory,” Leavitt worked at the Harvard College Observatory until her death from cancer in 1921.

“We are still in the unfortunate rut of under-opportunity and under-representation for women in the sciences and tech,” Gunderson said. “This play aims to expose and challenge that angering trend with a true story of a woman who changed the course of astronomy and, to the extent that astronomy defines us as a civilization, human life. And she did it in a room with several other brilliant but underpaid, sequestered, unappreciated woman mathematicians who were not allowed to even use the telescopes that the men could.”

Lauren Gunderson has been identified by American Theatre magazine as the most-produced living playwright of the 2016-17 season, with 16 productions of her plays taking place at theaters across the country. Science is a recurring theme in her work, as are stories of women otherwise neglected by history: Ada and the Engine tells the story of Ada Lovelace, a Victorian mathematician credited with creating the first computer program, and Émilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight is about a brilliant physicist of the Enlightenment whose commentary and translation of Newton’s Principia is still used today. Another common thread is Shakespeare, with four of her plays inspired by The Bard: Exit Pursued by a BearToil & TroubleWe Are Denmark; and The Taming. Gunderson’s work has been produced and developed at companies such as South Cost Rep (which commissioned and premiered Silent Sky in 2011), the Kennedy Center, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, Crowded Fire, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre, the Magic, Actors Express, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, Impact Theatre, the Lark and the O’Neill. Her play I and You was the winner of the 2014 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award and a finalist for the 2014 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Silent Sky was a finalist for the 2013 Jane Chambers Award.

The creative team for Silent Sky includes set designer Christopher Scott Murillo, projections designer Lily Bartenstein, lighting designer Donna Ruzik, costume designer Kim DeShazo, sound designer Jeff Polunas, props designers Pattyand Gordon Briles, and hair and wigs designer Anthony Gagliardi. Casting is by Michael Donovan and the production stage manager is Victoria A. Gathe.

Silent Sky runs ThursdaysFridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., Aug. 25 through Sept. 10. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, Aug. 23 and Thursday, Aug. 24, both at 8 p.m. Tickets are $47 on Thursdays and Fridays, and $49 on Saturdays and Sundays, except for Aug. 25 (opening night) for which tickets are $55and include a post show reception at Utopia Restaurant. Low-priced tickets to previews are $35International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 330 East Seaside Way in Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations and information, call 562-436-4610 or go to InternationalCityTheatre.org.

 

Details for Calendar Listings
Silent Sky
WHAT:
Silent Sky
 — A celestial romance and true story of discovery, this riveting new play explores the life and career of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921) as she fearlessly asserts herself in the male-dominated world of early astronomy. Hired by the Harvard Observatory as a human “computer” to catalog the stars, Henrietta’s story plays out against a landscape of early feminism and universe-revealing science, reminding us all what we can achieve when we allow curiosity and wonder into our lives. “Luminously beautiful… an intellectual epic told on an intimate scale. Bottom line: Heavenly.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

WHO:
• Written by Lauren Gunderson
• Directed by Todd Nielsen
• Starring Jennifer CannonJennifer ParsonsLeslie StevensEric WentzErin Anne Williams
• Produced by caryn desai [sic] • Presented by International City Theatre

WHEN:
Previews: Aug. 23 and Aug, 24 at 8 p.m.
Performances: Aug. 25 – Sept. 10

• Wednesday at 8 p.m.: Aug. 23 only (preview)
• Thursdays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 24 (preview), 31; Sept. 7
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 25 (Opening Night); Sept. 1, 8
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 26; Sept. 2, 9
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Aug. 27; Sept. 3, 10

WHERE:
INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE
Long Beach Performing Arts Center
330 East Seaside Way
Long Beach, CA 90802

HOW:
562-436-4610 or www.InternationalCityTheatre.org

TICKETS:
• Opening Night (Aug. 25): $55 (includes post-show reception with the actors)
• Saturdays and Sundays: $49
• Thursdays and Friday (except Aug. 25): $47
• Previews: $35

Celebrity News

The New and transformed Miley Cyrus

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the name, “Miley Cyrus?” Is it Hannah Montana? Is it her performance at VMA when she grinded on Robin Thicke? Only recently, she went on Jimmy Fallon and talked about quitting weed and her new image that is much less provocative.

 

Miley Cyrus’ hit TV show Hannah Montana ended in 2011, and only 2 years after that, she went on VMA wearing a teddy bear suit and grinding on Robin Thicke with her tongue out, shocking pretty much everyone. She made music videos like, “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” with some shots of her with her tongue out, some very provocative images and nudity.

 

In 2013, she spoke to Rolling Stone about her image.

 

“I know what I’m doing. I know I’m shocking you. When I’m dressed in that teddy bear thing, I think that’s funny.”

 

She explained.

 

“I just stick my tongue out because I hate smiling in pictures. It’s so awkward. It looks so cheesy. Now people expect it, like, ‘Put your tongue out!’”

 

Recently, her image has changed drastically. Rolling Stone’s Joyce Chen wrote in an article published on June 23, 2017,

 

“In recent months, Cyrus has simplified her image to one that’s a bit more reminiscent of her days as the child star of Disney channel’s hit series, Hannah Montana. At the Billboard Music Awards last month, the outspoken singer donned white shorts, a white off-shoulder cropped top, boots and a floppy hat to perform her gauzy single Malibu. (The image was a far cry from her eye-popping, provocative performance with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV VMA Awards.)”

 

In regards to weed, she stated in the 2013 article mentioned above,

 

“Hollywood is a coke town, but weed is so much better. And molly, too. Those are happy drugs – social drugs. They make you want to be with friends.”

 

On June 15, 2017, she went on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and she talked about weed,

 

“I kept having this nightmare, it was seriously horrible.”

 

She continued.

 

“I had this dream that I would die during my monologue on SNL for some reason. That I would just get so stoned that I just died. Which I Googled, and that’s never happened.”

 

Then, she explained further,

 

“No one’s ever died from weed, but no one has ever smoked as much as I did, so they don’t really know.”

 

Quitting weed and stopping all of her previous provocative actions have definitely helped her becoming more clear-minded.  In the Fallon interview, she said,

 

“I’m actually the most passionate about what I’m doing with this record than I’ve been.”

 

We wish her the best and hope she continues her way on the good path she’s been heading.

 

Her new songs, “Inspired” and “Malibu” are available on iTunes and Spotify.

 

Written by Curtis Han, RM Entertainment Contributor

For the Love of Felicia

For the Love of Felicia (Part 3)

“Since you seem to have everything planned out, go get your nephew together while I pack my bag. You already know where all his stuff is, so do your aunty duties.”

While Felicia went to her room to get her things for the night, Jessica started packing up some stuff for baby TJ. It didn’t take long for the two to finish and head out for the night. Felicia even decided to ride with Jessica so that she would not try to end her night early. Now she would be at the mercy of her best friend, which she probably needed. The two best friends had not been out in over a year. Who knew what was going to happen with this first night of freedom?

After dropping off little TJ with Jessica’s mother and sister, the two women got ready for their night of fun in vibrant Miami. Having decided to go a local bar facing South Miami Beach, Felicia and Jessica kept their outfits simple, both donning sundresses. Felicia’s sundress sported a pattern of flowers, in various shades of purple, on an off-white colored fabric. The dress accentuated her slim frame and small curves. Tonight, she wore her natural hair in twists, instead of covering it with a wig.

While Felicia’s dress was on the subtle side of fashion, Jessica went with bolder colors of red, orange, green, and blue designs on her dress. As usual, Jessica made sure her afro was full blown while beautifully framing her chocolate face. She wore large, gold hoop earrings that could be seen through her thick afro. Jessica was dressed and excited for a night out with her best friend.

The two women enjoyed their time drinking tourist cocktails while people-watching along South Miami Beach. There was a live band at the bar playing reggaeton, which had many of the bar patrons on their feet dancing. Interrupting the people-watching, Jessica said, “Look at all these good-looking men out here! We have rainbow heaven!”

“Maybe you should snatch one up so you’re not so focused on my love life or lack of it,” Felicia responded while laughing.

“How about we both get ourselves one of these fine-looking specimens out here? There is definitely plenty to go around!”

“Yeah, but not after you get to know them. Some of them are already in relationships. Been there, and still there. Some of them are probably gay. Some of them are here on their friend’s dime…no job, no house, no nothing,” Felicia stated.

Sounding more positive about the prospects, Jessica countered with, “Yep, then there are those who have all of that, plus a heart of gold. There are some out there who will make you their world and love you exactly as you need and want to be loved. But how will we know if we don’t try?”

“Sounds good. Since we don’t have that, let’s get some more drinks.”

The best friends continued drinking and watching the people around them. Neither of them made a move away from their table. Though there were guys who gave them looks, both women acted as if they were uninterested. They were happy to be enjoying the Miami air and live music. Felicia and Jessica stayed at the bar until about 2am, when they decided it was time to move on to another spot.

“Where do you want to go now?” Felicia asked Jessica.

“I know a nice Cuban restaurant that stays open til about sunrise. We can get some good Cuban food there. Plus they have good drinks and music too.”

“I’m hungry so I’m down.”

 

Check out For the Love of Felicia (Parts 1-2) HERE!

 

Written by Dani Powell, Original Story Contributor

Entertainment News

How Doctor Who gave Peter Capaldi an epic send-off?

Scottish actor Peter Capaldi is leaving the popular UK show Doctor Who and the season 10 finale is his last season finale before his exit in the 2017 Christmas Special. The season finale and the Christmas Special serves as 3 episodes of epic send-off for Peter Capaldi and also the executive producer Steven Moffat. As expected for any send-off finales, the episodes were filled with memorable and emotional moments, showing the best of the Moffat and Capaldi. Here are the ways the show used the finale as an epic send-off for Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat.

 

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Doctor loves speeches, and since Peter Capaldi is so brilliant at giving powerful Doctor Who speeches, such as the speech in “The Zygon Inverson” in Season 9 episode 8 about war, the speech he gave to the Masters in the finale was a great way to show Capaldi’s amazing acting skills and a great tool for character development.  In that speech, the Doctor begged the Masters to stay and fight with him. The speech not only showed the Doctor has been doing everything he has done because it’s the right thing to do, but it also showed that Missy, brilliantly acted by actress Michelle Gomez, has indeed changed for the better, as seen by her facial expressions.

 

Scottish showrunner Steven Moffat is good at creating complicated storylines for the show, and this finale used science and TV magic to make an awesome storyline. Moffat brought us River Song, the Doctor’s wife who experienced time differently than the Doctor and in each meeting with the Doctor, River wrote in her journal to keep track of the Doctor’s timeline.

 

Moffat is great at creating these complicated storylines and this finale is one of his very best. The whole finale takes place in a spaceship pushing itself slowly away from the blackhole on its tale, and because of gravity, the bottom of the ship experiences time differently than the rest of the ship. Crew members on the bottom of the ship had experienced centuries and actually built a whole new self-efficient civilization within the ship itself.  How much more complicated scientifically could this get?

 

The last scene of the finale showed the appearance of the first Doctor from the original Doctor Who back in 1963. Both Capaldi’s Doctor and the first Doctor are facing their upcoming regeneration, and the Christmas Special will show them going on an adventure and giving Peter Capaldi a final send-off.

 

Watch Doctor Who this Christmas for Peter Capaldi’s last episode with the series and first glimpse of the next Doctor.

 

Written by Curtis Han, RM Entertainment Contributor