Audiences weren’t content to let the four-week run of Matt Ritchey’s hilarious love letter to drama kids, musical theatre nerds and Shakespearean scholars alike end on schedule. Instead Force of Nature Productions rallied the gonzo cast back together for just one more show. Sunday December 1st at 7pm, for those who missed the run, or folks who didn’t, but feel compelled to come back to Hell, all have that opportunity.
See the show that prompted Steve Biodrowski of Hollywood Gothique to opine “Although the plot of Romeo and Juliet in Hell sounds like a premise for a wacky five-minute Monty Python sketch, it actually sustains a full-length play thanks to consistently funny dialogue and the unflagging energy of the performers.” And to add “Bottom line: Probably the most fun you will ever have in Hell.”
And Mark Hein, Theatre Ghost, to write “A swift, silly romp that has laughs – and groans – aplenty, as the star-crossed lovers must watch their life story. Played as a musical (directed by the Devil himself, Bob Fosse). And starring the other folks who died in Shakespeare’s plays. A delightful pastiche by author/director Matt Ritchey, served up by the Force of Nature troupe.”
And Ernest Kearney, The TVolution, to sum up the show as follows “Sinful silliness, a helluva lot of Shakespearian in-jokes, a bunch of theatrical wisecracking and a great deal of fun all in the vein of Christopher Durang’s 1981 snicker-fest The Actor’s Nightmare.”
From the website: Romeo and Juliet, dead, wake up to find themselves stuck in their Personal Hell – forced to listen to WEST SIDE STORY music for eternity. To escape, they must suffer through a production of their life story performed by the other inhabitants of Hell – Shakespeare’s dead characters – who butcher the story in hysterical ways!
ROMEO AND JULIET IN HELL is full of theatre-goer inside jokes, Broadway show tunes, and madcap madness! Recommended for ages 15 and up.
Written and Directed by Matt Ritchey
The production features The Talents of:
Kawika Aguilar, Colton Butcher, Carlos Chavez, David Chernyavsky, Lauren Diaz, Jennifer Novak Chun, Ron Gabaldon, Nick Ley, Mikael Mattsson, Sebastian Muñoz, Therese Olson, Graydon Schlicter, Brenton Sullivan, Chloe Zubiri
Ticketing Information for this limited event available here.
Graydon Schlichter (L) in Romeo & Juliet in Hell
As a bit of an armchair spy craft buff, no one could have written a more perfect piece to lure Graydon into an immersive experience than Cold War Lounge – The Asset. And no one could have written it better than Nick Rheinwald-Jones of Spy Brunch, LLC. Graydon is having a blast with the process, and can’t wait to share it with audiences in early September.
From the website:
The creators of Safehouse ‘77, The Sideshow, and Grunge Shop Tavern team up for a brand-new experience with Cold War Lounge: The Asset. For three nights only, Downtown LA’s Brack Shop Tavern will be transformed into a swinging ‘60s lounge, featuring custom cocktails, themed dining, and live music. As you bask in the sexy and mysterious atmosphere, be sure to keep your eyes and ears open: you may find yourself at the center of a covert operation.
Tickets to Cold War Lounge: The Asset include a themed cocktail, access to an intimate VIP lounge with live musical performances, and an hour-long adventure including secret encounters with shadowy characters.
Focusing on the golden age of espionage, when the Americans and the Soviets gave their secret operatives free rein to fight a high-stakes war in the shadows of society, Cold War Lounge: The Asset gives participants the chance to experience the thrills, risks, and human drama that defined this era. A skilled cast of immersive performers portray operatives on all sides of the global conflict.
This experience is written by Nick Rheinwald-Jones and directed by Lyndsie Scoggin & Payden Ackerman, with art direction by Cam Sampson. The production is a collaboration between Spy Brunch LLC, CoAct Productions, and Sampson Creative Enterprises. Featured Performances by: Alex Demers, Deirdre Lyons-Butchko, Graydon Schlichter, Lauren Hayes, and Lyndsie Scoggin.
Ticketing information available here
TU’s Director of Publicity Jim Martyka is thrilled to have two of his original short plays making their international debut at the Short + Sweet Festival in Sydney, Australia, currently running.
In Timing…All In The, John and Paul are roommates. John is very lucky. Paul is very unlucky. As they both pursue their dreams in the City of Angels, we see their lot in life manifested in their daily interactions and learn how more often than not, luck simply comes down to timing.
In An Old Secret, three special friends try to hide from society by burying themselves deep in a forest. All is going well until a good-natured but dim country bumpkin comes to visit. Now the ladies must do what they can to protect themselves and a secret no one can know…
Jim is excited to share two scripts developed with his company to an international audience, especially as part of such a prestigious festival!
About Jim Martyka
Jim Martyka is a founding member of Theatre Unleashed and serves as the company’s Director of Publicity. He has acted in several of its productions, including The Birthday Boys, 25 Plays Per Hour, Boy Gets Girl, Sleeping Around, The Devil’s Bride, A Feast of Snacks, A Very DIE HARD Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play, which he adapted for the stage. Jim has worked in numerous independent films, TV and national commercials. He is also the founder and executive producer of the production company Hold For Plane Pictures, which has produced 24 short films in less than four years. Jim is also an accomplished journalist, published author, book editor, consultant, playwright, musician, poet and a former Guinness World Record Holder for watching the most consecutive hours of movies without sleeping (53 and a half hours!).
About Short + Sweet
Short+Sweet is a global festival brand, presenting highly successful Theatre, Dance, Cabaret, and Song Festivals around the world. We provide audiences with exciting and contemporary works that challenge and entertain. Short+Sweet’s mission is to build theatre-going audiences around the world. Beginning as a small festival of 10 minute plays in Sydney, Australia, we have grown into a global organization. Short+Sweet has made a huge impact on the Australian theatre scene through developing new, original work with emerging artists and providing a platform for established artists to showcase their talents. Our vision is simple – a more creative world 10 minutes at a time! For more information about this year’s festival, check out their website!
This past weekend was the 25th Anniversary of STOMP at The Orpheum in New York City. Starting on Friday March 1st alumni STOMPERS made their way back to their old stomping grounds in the East Village. Theatre Unleashed‘s very own Soda Persi was among them.
Soda began her journey with STOMP at a coffee shop in South Pasadena CA flipping through Backstage with her best friend. Her friend saw the open casting announcement and convinced Soda to go for it. She went to the open call in Burbank and stood on line for three hours with 1,100 other hopeful STOMPERS. Groups of 40 to 50 people at a time were brought into the small dance studio with only a handful making the cut. This went on all week. Soda made every call back and at the end of the week, two woman and four men were cast. Soda was on her way to NYC.
After six weeks of blistered hands and feet and a handful of bruises she was ready to perform at the Orpheum. A few months later Soda was sent out on the National Tour. This was her life from the summer of 1996 to the fall of 1998 when she decided, at five months pregnant with her first child of five, that it was time to hang up her STOMP shoes and go home.
21 years later and STOMP alumni from around the world are sent emails inviting them back to where they all started. Though she was apprehensive, as it had been over two decades since her last STOMP performance, Soda knew she had to do it.
Soda took the stage this past Sunday March 3rd for two special SOLD OUT anniversary performances featuring STOMP rockstars from the last 25 years. Soda was humbled, honored, and over the moon to be a small part of a grand occasion!
About Soda Persi
Soda Persi in STOMP, circa 1996
Soda was born in Hollywood CA and spent most of her childhood in dance class and gymnastic competitions. At the age of 7 she had her first theatre experience when she was cast as a Faerie in the California Shakespeare Company’s production of A Midsummer Nights Dream. Soda was hooked! From there she was in every production in high school and college and toured with the Asian American theatre company Here’n’Now and then finally ended up being cast in STOMP at The Orpheum in NYC and the North American tour. After a couple years on the road she decided it was time to settle down and raise a family. Five kids and 20 years later Soda is back on stage and loving every moment!
STOMP, an off-Broadway show mixing percussion, movement and visual comedy, has been making music with everyday items for 25 years. Matchboxes, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters and more fill the stage with energizing beats at STOMP, the inventive and invigorating stage show that’s dance, music and theatrical performance blended together in one electrifying rhythm. STOMP has been packing in audiences at the Orpheum Theatre since 1994, and is still running strong.
For more information, check out StompOnline.com
TU ensemble member and Resident Sound Designer Graydon Schlichter has released his latest audiobook, the unabridged rendition of acclaimed author Staci Layne Wilson’s City of Devils: 13 Tales of the Uncanny, Unlucky & Unholy: A horror anthology. Set in an around the infamous City of Angels, the tales contained in this volume boil down to this, “Los Angeles and Lucifer are a lot alike. They both seduce and lure with promises of wealth, fame, beauty or love. But those promises are often empty; and even when they’re not, there’s a price to pay.” And readers have been enjoying these creepy tales. “From the Lynchian, almost dreamlike poignancy of Tasty Waves to the gut-wrenching Lansdalian endings of the lead-off story He Was Asking for It and its follow-up Based on a True Story, Wilson pulls absolutely no punches.”
For those familiar with LA’s foibles and fascinations you’ll recognize “the anxieties, stresses, passion, humour and outright horror of living the lifestyle” of Southern California that pepper this “delightfully dark and fun” collection. As one reader put it, “Staci Layne Wilson has once again written a page turner of horror stories set in the real city of devils, which she knows so well. Shades of Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King and even Dashiell Hammett permeate through the book. The stories are smart, sassy, seductive and scary.” And now established fans and newcomers alike can grab the audiobook collection of these chilling vignettes to enjoy for themselves.
About Graydon Schlichter
Graydon Schlichter has loved audiobooks almost since before he could easily pronounce the term. Declaring at the age of six that “one day that’ll be me on the tape” he got it mostly correct. Although… actual tapes are pretty rare these days. As a voice over artist, Graydon has happily recorded cranky gnomes, gruff soldiers, helpful handy folks, and others, but rare is the time when he isn’t part way through one narration or another.
For the Los Angeles Horror Anthology completionist, you can check out Hell Comes to Hollywood and the cleverly titled sequel Hell Comes to Hollywood 2 the latter featuring an original short story by Mr. Schlichter himself titled This is a Recording, both collections co-narrated by Ms. Jennifer Knighton. Leaving LA behind, take to the open road in 18 Wheels of Horror, once again featuring the talents of Ms. Knighton.
If Lovecraftian horror is more you style, don’t miss The Drinker of Suffering, by A. M. F. This disturbing, modern tale centers on one person’s search for meaning and greater Truth. The descends into the swirling darkness he discovers at the edges of everything he thought he knew. Pulp lovers might enjoy the Nick Caine Adventures, beginning with Temple of the Jaguar. An action packed romp through deepest jungle co-written, by Aiden James, and J. R. Rain. The classic thriller enthusiast should look up In Their Blood, by Sharon Potts. A chilling story of accidental death that begins to unravel into something…more. Find these and all of Graydon’s titles on Amazon, Audible and itunes, or by clicking the links above.
About Staci Layne Wilson
Staci Layne Wilson is an award-winning filmmaker Cabaret of the Dead, Psycho Therapy, The Night Plays Tricks and an Amazon #1 bestselling author So L.A. – A Hollywood Memoir. She wrote, produced and hosted three entertainment talk shows online: This Week In Movies, Inside Horror, and Dread Central Live. She has been featured on the BBC, Bravo, Reelz, M-TV, CNN (and many more) as a film historian and author.
Writers’ Den Coordinator CJ Hoke (Camp Ragnarok) appeared in January on the 2019 Bitch List with her half-hour comedy pilot Production Choice!
About The Bitch List
From The Bitch List’s website:
“This list is of the entertainment industry’s best liked Bechdel Test passing scripts. The test is a very low bar to pass where 2 named women talk to each other about something other than a man. This list is here to encourage more inclusive story-telling and better dialogue on the page and in real life.”
A full list of this year’s scripts can be found here.
About CJ Hoke
CJ graduated from the University of Chicago in 2013 with double honors in
unemployment French Language & Literatures and Theatre & Performance Studies. By day, she works as the script coordinator for ABC Daytime’s General Hospital. Otherwise, she’s best known for her five episodes of PencilInk Film’s award-winning dramady webseries, The Misselthwaite Archives, including one of the series’ most popular episodes, “The Secret”. Check out her website!
About Production Choice
Production Choice tells the story of an aging soap opera star who finds out she’s being replaced and decides to fight back to secure her legacy. It has placed in multiple competitions, including 1st Runner-Up in the 2017 Second City Training Center Original Sitcom Pilot Competition, 2nd Runner-Up (Comedy) in the 2018 Assistant List (A-List) Competition, Finalist in the 2017 WeScreenplay Television Competition, Quarter-Finalist in the 2018 Creative World Awards (Original Television Sitcom), Quarter-Finalist in the 5th Annual Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship, Quarter-Finalist in 2017 Final Draft Big Break Contest (Television, Half-Hour Pilot), Top 100 Script in 2017 Emerging Screenwriters Feature/Pilot Competition, and Second Rounder in the 2018 Austin Film Festival Comedy Teleplay Competition. Rights are available.