Saturday, June 18, 2005

Always Review the Source Material

It was quite the night at the comedy theatrical take-off of the movie "Mommie Dearest." First off, it was Opening Night -- which always adds to the excitement, even at the smallest of shows.

But this afternoon the power went out in the part of Hollywood where the theater is located. Altogether, it was out for three and a half hours, coming back on thirty minutes before the show was scheduled to begin. This means they lost their Technical Rehearsal, but decided to gamely go on with the show and only delayed the curtain by about 45 minutes.

This ain't Shakespeare, so the missed lighting cues and mike problems only added to the funny business on stage.

As is our normal course of action, GeezBob and I made a beeline for the front row as soon as the theater doors opened. Let's just say this show is more interactive then most. I got sprayed with water (which was supposed to be the "juice" from a very raw steak Joan makes Christina eat), littered with confetti (which represented the cleaning powder Joan makes Christina scrub the floors with) and two different actors grabbed my right knee. Third Row, Please.

The audience howled throughout the entire show and GeezBob laughed really hard. But I've never seen the movie "Mommie Dearest" so...I...kind...of...didn' I mean I've seen some of the campier scenes and generally know the plot, but the guy behind me was gasping for breath and moaning like he was in agony from his laughter.

Afterwards, the Opening Night Party was sponsored by Smirnoff. How does a little show like this one get a sponsorship by a company like Smirnoff? Well, it turns out that one of the show's producers, Joe Everett Michaels, is currently the subject of a Reality TV show. So there were little cameras following him around everywhere documenting his every move. And after he talked to anyone in the crowd, a guy would run up and get the other person in the conversation to sign a release form. I know it's Hollywood, but I was still surprised at how comfortable most people seemed having a normal conversation with a camera hovering nearby.

Had a nice chat with the OTHER producer, Tom Whitman, who joked that he had successfully stayed away from Joe's cameras so far. But it seemed like his last nerve was getting rubbed the wrong way just a little too much. Who ever heard of ego clashes in Hollywood?

There were many Celebrity Sightings to be had: First we saw Public Access-legend Skip E. Lowe -- who is famous for really awful celebrity interviews. In fact, he claims that Martin Short bases his character "Jimminy Glick" on Lowe. Lowe brushed passed GeezBob in his determination to be the first to pick up his tickets for the evening. During intermission I asked Lowe if Short had finally paid him the respect he deserves. The normally loquacious Lowe suddenly got quiet and someone in his posse answered, "not yet, but he will." Somehow I don't think Short is up nights worrying about it.

Also in attendance was comic-genius Edie McClurg, who you'll remember as the neighbor-lady from "The Hogans." She kind of barged into the line for vodka after the show, but she has such a reservoir of goodwill that no one seemed to care.

And then on the way out we saw Doris Roberts (Ray's Mom on "Everyone Loves Raymond") crossing Santa Monica Boulevard. I think she must have seen one of the other shows running in the same theater complex. GeezBob and I kind of kept an eye on her and the lady she was with as they headed for their car. I don't know if we would have intervened, but I would of hated to read that something bad happened to her on the streets of Hollywood.

On the way home I felt bad about being behind the pop culture curve, so I stopped off at the video store and rented "Mommie Dearest." I think I'm going to stay up and watch it. I'm just trying to keep up here.

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