Friday, July 8, 2011

Donna - Madonna

Not my best work (see below) however my mother's adoption has no relevance to my review. It may be appropriate though when we interview him. I'll call you tomorrow between the screening and after party.

Donna/Madonna, written and performed by John Paul Karliak, is an award-winning autobiographical journey that began as a lover letter to his adopted and birth mothers.

The show blends stories (one Halloween, coming out to his parents, meeting his birth mother, and many more), songs, and characters ranging from Darth Vader to his mothers to weave a tale of motherly love and acceptance.

John Paul is extremely talented with a vast vocal range; and is very good on the eyes too. This show is highly recommended.

The one man show is performing Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with a special Monday night performance August 1st, through August 10th at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, in Hollywood, CA 90038.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Temperamentals

Reviewed by Andrew Holinsky for "The Alternative"

The Temperamentals, written by Jon Marans and directed by Michael Matthews, is as an entertaining LBGT history lesson based on historical facts behind the origins of the Mattachine Society, one of the first LBGT activist organizations. The play, set in Los Angeles early 1950s, centers around Harry Hay, Rudi Gernreich, Chuck Rowland, and Bob Hull, their forming of the Mattachine Society, the love affair between Harry and Rudi, coming out publically (as being gay) in fighting police entrapment, McCarthyism, and concludes with the quartet resigning from the Mattachine Society board as a result of their philosophical differences and direction of the budding LGBT rights movement.

The play reveals an era where men choose marriage to conceal his homosexuality as well as for career reasons and touch in public by two men was all but explicitly forbidden. The play focuses on the early activism of the four founders of the Mattachine Society. Each has a different background though any gay man today can relate to all four. While the play is set in the early 1950s the underlying themes are just as relevant today.

The set by Kurt Boetcher is superbly designed to fit the era and tight theatre space. Dennis Christopher perfectly channeled Harry Hay. The rest of the cast was remarkable as well. This is a must see play for gays and straights and a fun way to learn some history.

The play is performing through June 5th at 2nd Stage Theater, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd, in Hollywood, CA.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rise Up and Shout! Voices of the Next Gay Generation

Rise Up And Shout! empowers gay and lesbian youth. Bridging the generation gap between the gay elders leading the community and the gay youth struggling through the coming out process, Rise Up And Shout! brings the two groups together in a year-long mentoring relationship. Through this process, the youth find, develop and finally showcase their unique voices in a performance event.

Rise Up And Shout! began in 2006 when Don Kilhefner, co-founder of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, and Mark Thompson, former editor of The Advocate sat down together to try and figure out a way to reach the thousands of gay and lesbian youth in area schools, many of whom had no contact with the larger gay community. Kilhefner and Thompson put together a team of activists, artists and other leaders to reach out to the youth by bringing community directly to them. Through auditions, one-on-one and group support meetings, education, rehearsals and the production and direction of the performance itself, Rise Up And Shout! helped usher in the next generation of gay and lesbian youth.

A wonderful evening to explore the talents of Queer youth in the Los Angeles area. The eveining featured talent by fifteen very dynamic youth and emceed by John Quale aka Price Poppycock. To get more information go to

Love the show and loved the kids.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


By Andrew Holinsky for "The Alternative"

Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, currently performing on select Mondays through June 27th at The Renberg Theatre at the LAGLC’s Village at Ed Gould Plaza, is a series of 9 one acts plays performed by a rotating celebrity cast focusing on various aspects of gay marriage. The performance for May 9th featured Jay Harrington, Peter Paige, John Rubenstein, Peri Gilpin, Rachael Harris, and Julie Hagerty.

The entire ensemble performed the superbly satirical though poignant On Facebook by Doug Wright. Julie Hagerty displayed her dynamic range in The Gay Agenda by Paul Rudnick. With a portion of the proceeds going to the LAGLC, Standing on Ceremony is a perfect way to enjoy a night at the theater and support a worthy cause.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

House of the Rising Son

Reviewed by Andrew Holinsky for "The Alternative"

”House of the Rising Son”, a new play written by Tom Jacobson and directed by Michael Michetti, is a lot like watching a David Lynch film. This quasi-love story between Dr. Trent Varro, played by Paul Witten, and Felix Martin, played by Steve Coombs, also centers around Trent’s multi-generational family, with Patrick John Hurley playing Garrett Varro and Rod Menzies playing Bowen Varro. “House of the Rising Son” is set primarily in post Katrina New Orleans. This thinking man’s play interweaves science, gay marriage, the supernatural, and generational differences. The set by Richard Hoover was superb. It is highly recommended you see the show at least twice.

“House of the Rising Son” is currently playing thru Sunday, May 29th, 2011 at EST/LA @ Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. By the way this is a brand new theater complex wonderfully designed the Artistic Director is Gates McFadden from the Star Trek days where she played Dr. Beverly Crusher.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reviewed by Andrew Holinsky for “The Alternative”

Lust n’ Rust, the original trailer park musical, written by Frank Haney, Dave Stratton, & Carol Kimball and directed by Thomas Colby, is a good time trailer park musical. Lust 'n Rust is the story of Steve, a big-city corporate manager who is transferred to a small Illinois town played by Sal Cecere, and Connie, the soon-to-be-divorced waitress who is his neighbor at the Redbud Mobile Estates played by Joyanna Crouse. Steve's life is further complicated by a difficult assignment - an action that could have a disastrous impact on the local economy. Throughout are toe tapping numbers by the gifted cast of Redbud Mobile Estates residents. The costume design by Gen Anderson is wonderfully deliberate, especially in the 2nd act. The refreshing musical is highly recommended. I loved the music and the book this play is a MUST SEE. Lust n’ Rust is currently playing thru Saturday, April 30th at the Lyric Theatre, 520 N. La Brea Ave, Los Angeles 90036. For tickets call 626-695-8283

"Caught" a wonderful play

Reviewed by Andrew Holinsky for “The Alternative” “Caught”, written by David L. Ray and directed by Nick DeGruccio, is a MUST SEE for everyone gay or straight. The play opens on a Sunday in July of 2008 in Los Angeles as Kenneth, superbly played by Mackenzie Astin, and his boyfriend Troy, played by understudy Derek Daniels Meeker, are finalizing their wedding plans for the following Saturday. Kenneth’s sister Darlene, a Preacher’s wife, and niece Krystal show up unexpectedly from Georgia at their home. Kenneth has not told her of his upcoming wedding nor about his relationship with Troy. This causes tension between Troy and Kenneth. Kenneth finally shares the truth with the disapproving, pious Darlene. Further during their conversation Darlene reveals she caught her husband J.P. cheating on her with another woman. The first act ends with J.P. heading to LA to find his estranged wife and daughter. Micah McCain as Splenda and Amanda Kaschak as Krystal nearly steal the show with their performances. Deborah Puette’s portrayal of Darlene was perfect as was Richard Jenik as J.P. The chemistry between Mackenzie Astin and Derek Daniels Meeker and between Mackenzie and Deborah Puette was convincing and electrifying. The stucco set by Adam Flemming was also outstanding and authentic. “Caught” is currently playing thru Sunday, May 15th at the Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles. 90046. For ticket information call 310-945-5786. You can also go online at for more information.