|7 Redneck Cheerleaders - 2006
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FULL PRESS RELEASE WILL FOLLOW REVIEWS
"A HELL OF A GREAT RIDE! ... Outlandish humor ...grounded in reality...parodies rise like a theatrical souffle. French's direction perfectly illustrates this fragile balance, and the phenomenal cast is spot on." --LA Weekly
By David C. Nichols, Special to The Times
Actors play actors in 'Redneck' tale
Clever and intimate comedy details the lives of a playwright and seven crazy thespians.
Even in an era when crassness reigns, politically incorrect satire seldom has the lowbrow bravura of "7 Redneck Cheerleaders," which returns to the Elephant Asylum Theatre in raucous estate.
"Cheerleaders," restaged by author Louis Jacobs and co-producer David Fofi after Amy French's original 2005 direction, is an outrageous sendup of the small theater scene. Its protagonist: Ben, a post-Woody Allen naïf who heeds dead Aunt Lottie and stages his first play in a Santa Monica Boulevard venue himself.
After casting a cross-section of archetypes, from ultra-serious thespian and airhead tootsy to swishy queen and lesbian pothead, Ben starts rehearsing his hysterically ambitious memoir of Southern family resistance to his cheerleading aims. As the deceptively bare Elephant Stageworks set adds increasingly cheesier décor, Ben's trial by foulmouthed fire unfolds.
Neophyte author-directors, take note. Stay calm when the self-adoring theater owner playing your abusive father hijacks warmups. Never underestimate an aggressive bulimic's fixation on you. And always secure things backstage — making theater in Hollywood is hard enough without incurring fatalities.
A terrific rotating roster of hambones vaults across its bipolar duties. Tony Foster makes a winningly unstrung Ben. Jeremy Glazer's sunny hunklet and the competitive nymphets of Zibby Allen and Iris Bahr are priceless. Alexandra Hoover's meta-actress, Anthony Roman's egomaniac, Cheryl Huggins' stoner and Tom Stanczyk's lavender advocate finish the fearless lineup, which counts Jacobs, Fofi and co-producer Don Cesario among its alternates.
Their convulsive, in-joke-laden antics and Chris Game's country and western soundtrack carry the R-rated uproar past errant stabs at sentiment and an outré climactic twist. At the finale, the cast and Kim Negrete's lighting design go bonkers and take the audience with them. Not since Justin Tanner has a local scribe so gleefully bitten the hand that doesn't feed him.
7 Redneck Cheerleaders
Don't be misled by its title. 7 Redneck Cheerleaders is not some white trash performance ensemble that belongs on the stage of The Jerry Springer Show. Instead, it's a well-assembled comedy written by Louis Jacobs and directed by Amy French and put on by the Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood.
Set in Los Angeles, this play chronicles a very L.A. theater troupe and its attempt to produce a Southern-set play focused on the stigma of being a male cheerleader. The play within the play is hilarious on its own, featuring trashy lines like "Don't make me stab you in the balls with a fork" and "You act like I just peed in your mouth." It's terribly wrong — and very funny. Contrast that with the play's flipside, which includes homegrown references to the NoHo Arts District and yoga and burning down a Whole Foods, and you understand why it all works: Each is as ludicrous as the other.
The actors provide over-the-top performances for both their L.A. characters and trashy counterparts, making caricatures who are not only easily recognizable, but also believable: the bumbling director who cannot control his temperamental actors and get out from under the thumb of his overbearing producer; the ego conflicts, sexual tension and upstaging that occurs among the actors, all of whom would rather be in a commercial.
It's ambitious and so refreshing, given the drivel that too often populates the LA theater scene. The direction was spot on, acting was flawless. The cast alternates nightly to accommodate Elephant's growing troupe of actors, but on opening night, the standout performances came from Dylan Jones (Rose/Sheila) and Kerry Carney (Pfeiffer/Barb), who played the cast's crazy bitches, though all the performances were sound. Not a weak link in this chain and nary a weak moment in this production. Go see it! Recommended
--review by Milla Goldenberg
LA CITY BEAT
"7 Redneck Cheerleaders. A comedy about a small-theater production in Hollywood (shade of the recent Oklahomo!) offers several laughs..."
-- Don Shirley
Los Angeles Journal
BACK WITH A VENGEANCE: “7 REDNECK CHEERLEADERS”
Somewhere in Hollywood, an elephant is hiding a secret.
Into reality and out of the closet comes a play that surpasses the idea that Hollywood is merely a stage set for mediocrity.
Back by popular demand, the encore production of 7 Redneck Cheerleaders is a play-within-a-play. It’s a story about actors, their egos and discovering the line that separates them from their redneck characters.
This tragically funny story, written by Louis Jacobs and directed by Jacobs and David Fofi, is sexy, daring, perfectly ridiculous and true to life. The applause and laughter of the audience might have woken up the audiences falling asleep a few theatres down, but real life is funny, and rarely do we have the opportunity to face our demons.
This play explores an actor’s procedure during a dreaded rehearsal where upstaging, warm-ups, name-dropping, chewing furniture and stroking egos to the point of “coitus interruptus” is taken to a new level of impropriety.
There’s no best part to this play because the play is the best part. Normally, people leave a theatre and discuss whom their favorite character was, but a decision could not be reached in this case. The LA Weekly agreed when they nominated the entire cast for Best Comedy Ensemble, which includes an alternating cast with Zibby Allen, Darryl Armbruster, Iris Bahr, Kerry Carney, Don Cesario, Mim Drew, David Fofi, Tony Foster, Jeremy Glazer, Alexandra Hoover, Cheryl Huggins, Louis Jacobs, Dylan Jones, Nikki McCauley, Jimmy Walker Pearson, Anthony Roman, and Tom Stanczyk.
A behind the scenes look at what happens when actors prepare for a play, 7 Redneck Cheerleaders gives to theatre exactly what this town needs-a reality check.
When booking a national commercial is more important than a death and the calamity of
parading around with your aged Dramalogue award is shameful; this one-of-a-kind play is a no holds barred look at an actor’s etiquette and a feigned search for modesty.
7 Redneck Cheerleaders will make you want yourself and everyone else dead…in a good way. After all, the character of the director said it best, “Does anyone have a pair of scissors I can run into?”
And by the way, if you’re Andie McDowell…skip this one.
7 Redneck Cheerleaders runs Aug. 4 – Sept. 2. Performances are at Elephant Asylum Theatre at 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood on Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 8:00 PM, Sunday at 7 PM. Tickets are $20. Running time is 90 minutes, with ample street parking and concessions available.
-- written by: Emily Dean
THE TICKET STUB
7 REDNECK CHEERLEADERS is a play within a play within a trailer park deliciously, unsubtly performed by a bevy of brilliant buffoons who allow their alter big egos to run rampant.
Director Amy French has rendered this ruckus about a frustrated male cheerleader with a cast from Hillbilly Heaven. Their acting (pork) chops really deliver: The lines of femme and butch are beautifully blurred by Dylan Jones and Tom Stanczyk, irrespectively; Mim Drew transforms from sophisticate to frump with a huff; a surprisingly trenchant tirade is disarmingly delivered by Jimmy Walker-Pearson; Kerry Carney's fatal femme is in your face in and out of characters; you will hang on every word delightfully caught in Zibby Allen's throat; and a quadruple-edged thespian, producer and actor David Fofi plays the same, relishing every fringe benefit both entities are supposedly entitled to.
Louis Jacobs is the penner of this madcap melee which, he says as the writer/director character in the play, was appropriately inspired by his Aunt Lottie who unfortunately never got to see the show: She died at 72 - from complications of a breast augmentation operation.
Everything is wrapped up neatly at the end, like a raccoon caught in a blender, and has a finale that rivals "42nd Street" (or at least 38th Street). Good news - there is an alternating cast so we all
have a great excuse to see it twice!
Tracy Gore! ...The Ticket Stub
All the cast members were perfect and interchangeable for the parallel funny characters they played. I loved the cheerleading dancing at the end, it left me on a high note. Dylan Jones was an outrageous scream and all the girls were bouncy and sexy. The guys sparkled too.
Last night, I found myself in one of those hole-in-the-wall, strip mall bars that sits between a 98-cent store and a coin op. The place reeked of dashed hopes and wasted potential, air circulating by drunken voices belting American idle dreams. And while this might seem the perfect setting for introspection—or a bout with depression—I was unaffected, giddy even. Butterflies chasséd inside my tummy, as I tried to convince my friends to see this little play I’d caught the other evening—in between cajoling them to sing a duet from Rent with me—and I gasped in sudden self diagnosis: I’m a theater geek.
It became quite clear, in fact, after seeing 7 Redneck Cheerleaders. I’d been hopped-up for days and fully-armed against the vices of Koreatown karaoke bars. Partially ashamed, partially relieved and in the strength and spirit of Lance Bass, I implore you to be open-minded and see this play; it will make a theater lover out of you—it was that good.
Louis Jacobs pens this semi-autobiographical delicacy of intellect and goof, spotlighting the talents of everyone involved. There’s no way anything mediocre could survive the demands of such grand aspiration. Each role is multi-cast, and each actor plays two characters (it’s a play within a play within a play). And while I’m unable to account for all 17 actors involved, the eight I did see on this particular night were absolutely outstanding. I’d be shocked if the same didn’t extend to the entire, rotating cast.
Ben (played by Louis Jacobs) portrays himself: a hopeful, if hesitant, playwright who’s encouraged to stage his work by his now-deceased aunt (she fell victim to a flubbed boob job). The play follows Ben through casting and turbulent rehearsals of his baby—a script about a hopeful redneck (Jeremy Glazer) who joins the cheerleading squad despite obvious objections by his foul-tempered father (David Fofi, who also acts as producing artistic director on stage as well as backstage). What makes me want to go see this production again is how each character weaves effortlessly through the multiple storylines. Everyone and everything is on point, and the production takes great care in creating clarity between characters and plots, which are all frick’n laugh-out-loud hilarious.
The main characters—inspired by the personalities you’ll find at any given casting call or Starbucks or really any afternoon stroll in Los Angeles—are sure to be long-time favorites of the actors who play them. It’s evident in how tight and excruciatingly good they all are: Each personality is played to the fullest. In fact, it left me wishing that time would move a bit slower just so I could enjoy them all a while longer.
Alexandra Hoover nails the character of “actress.” (You know, the kind whose biggest fan is herself.) Kerry Carney and Zibby Allen are exceptional as the two cheerleaders. Allen plays nice but dumb, as no doorknob can. And although the poor thing couldn’t quite keep a straight face during an assault that left her with the mug of a clown by the token dyke (Dylan Jones), she instantly won me over with the awkward delivery of lines and muttered squeaks. Carney plays the oversexed bully-to-all and I loved every minute she commanded the stage, shaping characters in a way that gives tired stereotypes the big middle finger. Glazer is perfectly adorable as the wannabe male cheerleader, slumping in teenage angst and drawl, rivaling Allen’s ditzy charm. And Darryl Armbruster plays the gay thespian/straight hick with the smooth glide of any well-lubricated rotating door.
This is a rare one, people. I’d strongly advise seeing it while you can; it’s easily the best production I’ve seen all year. The show is packed full of homegrown, insider humor, as well as the easy-to-get jokes that slay the entire audience: The production received a standing ovation by the standing-room-only crowd. Jacobs and company surpassed any expectation I had from the title alone, and they’re headed toward truly amazing things. It’s to your benefit that I’m a realized geek and can filter what a normal person will and won’t enjoy. Anyway, you’re the weird one if this doesn’t tickle your fancy. LAA
7 Redneck Cheerleaders is at the Elephant Theater through Sept. 2. For more information, visit www.elephantstageworks.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Leigh McLeod Fortier or Sandra Kuker (323) 960-7779
7 Redneck Cheerleaders
Begins August 4, 2006
Cracked actors become cracked characters.
Or is it vice versa?
Cast Nominated for LA Weekly Award for Best Comedy Ensemble
Louis Jacobs’ L.A. theater lampoon is back!
August 4 through Oct. 21, 2006
(Los Angeles, CA) July, 2006... 7 Redneck Cheerleaders is back, leaner and meaner than ever, beginning August 4 at Elephant Asylum in Hollywood! Written by Louis Jacobs, with original direction by Amy French, the play has been restaged for the Elephant Asylum by Louis Jacobs & David Fofi.
I’ve Heard of a “Play-Within-A-Play”
But This is Ridiculous
What happens when actors play actors … playing rednecks?
Somewhere in Hollywood, near Santa Monica Boulevard and Vine, reality and fiction, art and life, become blurred, as a playwright directs his autobiographical play in a 99-seat theatre.
In 7 Redneck Cheerleaders, audiences are treated to an intimate look at clashing egos on and off-stage, as a little congregation of misfits prepare to tell the story of small-town boy’s attempt to win a cheerleader’s heart.
Long hours of rehearsal lead to intimate moments, sexy developments and unforgettable hilarity!
7 REDNECK CHEERLEADERS marks Amy French's debut production as a mainstage director. Ms. French starred in Out of Gas on Lover's Leap, which as it turned out, was the very first production in the Elephant Company's new home, the Lillian Theater. She has been a proud Elephant ever since.
Presented by the Elephant Theatre Company (Producing Artistic Directors David Fofi and Don Cesario), 7 REDNECK CHEERLEADERS was ultimately and originally conceived and written as a workshop project for the Elephant Theatre Company by Louis Jacobs. Playwright and actor Louis Jacobs’is a member of the Elephant Theatre Company. For the The Wildebeest Theatre Company, Louis created such works as Woffned and Cleopatra and Pass the Cranberries, both produced here in Los Angeles. His piece, Wedding Lament, was originally produced by Theatre Neo, to critical acclaim.
The Nominated Cast – LA Weekly Award for Best Comedy Ensemble (alternating)
Zibby Allen, Darryl Armbruster, Iris Bahr, Kerry Carney, Don Cesario, Mim Drew, David Fofi, Tony Foster, Jeremy Glazer, Alexandra Hoover, Cheryl Huggins, Doug Jacobs, Dylan Jones, Nikki McCauley, Jimmy Walker Pearson, Anthony Roman, and Tom Stanczyk.
The encore production has been restaged for the Elephant Asylum by Louis Jacobs & David Fofi. The Elephant Theatre Company have presented many critically acclaimed world premiers including, One World, Dearboys War, Ten Tricks, King of Clubs, The Puppet & Muppet maiden, Love Bites, Holding Cell and Princess and the Peon and published works that include, Search and Destroy, Serenading Louie and Sam Shepard’s 4-H Club & Red Cross.
Pundits and Wags Agree
"It's terribly wrong, very funny" – Metro LA
"A HELL OF A GREAT RIDE! ... Outlandish humor ... grounded in reality ... parodies rise like a theatrical souffle. French's direction perfectly illustrates this fragile balance, and the phenomenal cast is spot on." – LA Weekly
"Lots of fun and wickedly sexy developments...People leapt to their feet in uproarious applause ... simply delicious!" – LA Splash
"This is a rowdy rambunctiously riotous romp! We laughed our fool heads off!" – Nite Lights
7 Redneck Cheerleaders runs August 4 – October 21, 2006. Performances are at Elephant Asylum Theatre at 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood on Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $20. Running time is 90 minutes, with ample street parking and concessions available.
For information and reservations, call (323) 960-4410 or RESERVE ONLINE: www.plays411.com/redneck.