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Theater Review (LA): ‘The Werewolves of Hollywood Blvd.’ and ‘The Wake’ at the Hollywood Fringe

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WerewolvesThe Werewolves of Hollywood Blvd.
Orgasmico Theatre Co.
Lillian Theatre

Winner of Best Musical at the Fringe in 2012 and 2013, Orgasmico Theatre Company is back with another contender, a tuneful spoof of the cutthroat world of showbiz.

When literary agent Lawson Grace (Kyle Nudo) is fired after a hostile takeover of his agency by J.P. Governs (Jesse Merlin), his only hope for survival is a werewolf screenplay presented to him by the obviously insane screenwriter Bill Hopper (Jim Hanna). As he reads the piece, he is drawn into the stories of three fact-based “werewolves” from history: Peter Stump (David Haverty), Jacques Roulet (Michael Shaw Fisher) and Joana of Tarcouca (Leigh Wulff). They materialize in his crazed mind, awakening his inner wolf, and he is moved to take revenge in the most primal way possible on those who wronged him.

The blonde, boyish Nudo plays against his look as the tortured Grace. Jesse Merlin, so hilarious in Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator: the Musical, is similarly amusing as the agency head whose role model is Vlad the Impaler. Laura L. Thomas is fun as sexy co-worker Val, and Hanna’s Hopper is amusingly bizarre. Fisher, who also wrote the book and lyrics, plays a manic Roulet, and Haverty, with his long hair and beard, makes for an imposing Stump. Only Wulff’s character could use more definition, and the story itself could be tightened up some. Given the constraints of staging a full-on musical at the Fringe, however, it’s a pretty impressive accomplishment.

Michael Teoli’s rocking score is nicely performed by a four-piece band, and there’s fun choreography by Michelle LaVon. Director Aaron Lyons keeps it all running smoothly, and there’s certainly not a dull moment. The Werewolves of Hollywood Blvd. plays June 23, 26 and 28 at the Lillian Theatre, 1075 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood. Consult the Fringe schedule for showtimes and tickets.

The Wake
Written and Performed by Ben Moroski
Theatre Asylum (Elephant Studio)

The-WakeHow do you get over being dumped by a woman you can’t stop thinking about? Pete Harrisburg (Ben Moroski) went to an actor’s workshop to help him recover and proceeds to tell the story of the failed relationship. As he puts it, “I’m the asshole doing this play.” Explicitly descriptive and hyperkinetic, he puts the audience on edge — and that’s exactly where he wants it. Over the course of the next hour, Moroski takes us on an emotional roller coaster ride that gets darker at every turn.

When Pete accidentally runs over a girl at a late-night party and takes her back to his place, it seems like she’s the one who can help him get over his heartache. But as he gradually reveals the true nature of their “relationship,” the story becomes even grimmer. This is discomfort theater at its best.

The Wake plays June 23 and 28 at Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood. Consult the Fringe schedule for showtimes and tickets.

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About Kurt Gardner

Writer, critic and marketing expert whose passion for odd culture knows no bounds.