My dearest friends, readers, and fellow artists,

In light of our current circumstances, I feel the need to make some drastic changes.

But first, I want to apologize to our African-American community for all that we, the white race, have done to you, your family, and your ancestors that has caused so much pain, terror, and suffering! And I want to thank you, your family, and your ancestors for building this country! I want to thank all the African-American workers, wet nurses, farmers, nannies, factory workers, scholars, artists, musicians, physicians, scientists, architects, and every African-American in between who has served and on whose back America was built!

Second, in light of the current Black Lives Matter movement, the injustices that are happening towards innocent people, and the fascist government, I’ve decided that it’s time to focus on my family, raising compassionate children who will work towards a better world, creating our own art, and making a path toward our own future to change the world.

Finally, after spending the last three and half years engaging 28 writers and 49 critics, promoting 3,330 shows, and working to support the theatre community, I’m saying goodbye to Better Lemons.

In these times and in these circumstances, silence and inaction is completely unacceptable. I am going to shift my voice, my actions, and my focus to working to make the world a better place, now.

To the people I have worked with along the way, I appreciate all that you have done and are doing to support the local arts and entertainment community.

Stay healthy, be safe, and create meaningful art!


Enci Box - Publisher


The Better Lemons commitment to supporting arts and entertainment in Southern California continues with the addition of Monique A. LeBleu as Editor!

On Monday, March 30, 2020, Monique A. LeBleu will take the reins of Better Lemons, L.A.’s premiere arts and entertainment hub, where she will serve as Editor, bringing her unique sensitivity to all that is unique and wonderful about Southern California’s arts, entertainment, and dining scene.

“Monique has long been a significant part of Better Lemons and her willingness to step up as Editor is exciting for all of us,” said Publisher Enci Box, “This is especially because she is such a great storyteller and is such a driving force for promoting local productions, and delivering fresh and creative content from L.A.’s finest cultural critics and creators.”

“As Event Editor, I have looked forward to opening up Better-Lemons.com every day to see what new shows are published on our calendar for what’s new and upcoming in Los Angeles theatre,” said Editor LeBleu. “Reading stories by our Lemon Brigade of contributing writers, listening to their podcasts, and finding new venues to see shows has been part of my daily routine. As the Editor of Better Lemons, I am very excited to be sharing that daily adventure with our readers as Better Lemons continues to grow and provide the Greater L.A. Theatre Community with even more great stories, podcasts, award events, seminars, business-of-theatre tools, production resources, and more!”

LeBleu is a freelance writer, photojournalist, and podcaster. She has been a contributing weekly columnist and podcaster on Better Lemons since March 2018 and is currently Co-Editor on The L.A. Beat's online magazine, The L.A. Beat. Hailing from L.A.C.C.’s Theatre Arts Academy and the Cinema Arts Program at the Cinema/TV Department at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Center, her life-long passion for theatre, film, and the performing arts also comes from her background in L.A. theatre as an Assistant Director and Stage Manager as a member of the Knightsbridge Theatre Company from 2003 - 2006.

Working in production and post-production film throughout the ‘80s, LeBleu had paused in order to reflect and decide on what she wanted to be when she grew up. After 25 years, that decision was finally made upon earning her degree in Communications - Journalism at Pasadena City College in 2017. In addition to writing on theatre, as a freelance journalist, writer, video maker, and consummate foodie her subject interests of greatest focus also include film, documentaries, food and hospitality, music, art, and Greater Los Angeles' ever-evolving community landscape.

Better Lemons exists to celebrate all that is creative and innovative about L.A.’s arts and entertainment community and has a Lemon Brigade of over 48 local writers and critics who promise to engage audiences, share stories, and support the artists who make L.A. the center of the cultural universe.

Better Lemons is solely owned by Founder and Publisher Enci Box and all creative and editorial is under the supervision of Editor LeBleu’s direction.

The Better Lemons 2019 Fringe Audience and Critics Choice Awards

As of this post, the critics and the audiences have spoken, resulting in almost 99 Hollywood Fringe productions receiving a SWEET #LemonMeter rating and 19 Fringe productions receiving #DoubleSWEET ratings (both critics and audience members agreeing on a sweet production).

It takes three reviews from critics or three reviews from the audience to generate a #LemonMeter rating.

The Better Lemons Fringe Audience and Critics Choice Awards, as well as the DoubleSweet Awards are based on the number of reviews submitted before the time of publication.

The shows with the most reviews receive the Audience and the Critics Choice Awards. The Awards are based on the number of reviews, regardless of the #LemonMeter rating of Sweet, Sweet and Sour, or Sour.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THESE WINNERS who have registered their shows on Better Lemons and encouraged audiences and critics to voice their opinion about their show, regardless of the outcome!

Audience Choice Awards:

1st Place

2nd Place

3rd Place

Critics Choice Awards:

1st Place

2nd Place
FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation

3rd Place

The DoubleSweet Awards are based on the SWEET #LemonMeter rating by both Critics AND Audience members as of Friday noon, June 5th.

DoubleSweet Awards:

(in order of most audience reviews)

FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation

"Meet the Critics" Panel Podcast

On Saturday, June 2, Better Lemons and Theatre West hosted “Meet the Critics!” featuring several of LA's premier critics for a panel discussion of theatre criticism.

The following critics attended:

Shari Barrett from Broadway World
Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. Shari now dedicates her time and focuses her skills as a theater reviewer, entertainment columnist, and publicist to ""get the word out"" about theaters of all sizes throughout the Los Angeles area.
Dale Reynolds from Edge Media Network
Dale Reynolds, a SoCal native, has been a critic for theatre, film and DVD since 1970, for a wide variety of outlets in NYC and L.A., including StageAndCinema.com, StageHappenings.com, EDGELosAngeles.com, and for Frontiers Magazine for many years, in addition to being West Coast Editor of A&U Magazine for four years.
Monique LeBleu from Los Angeles Beat
Monique A. LeBleu is a reviewer, writer, photographer, videographer, shameless foodie and wineaux. She has won multi JACC Journalism awards for her feature writing, critical journalism, and social media statewide competitions.
Patrick Chavis from LA Theatre Bites
Patrick Chavis is the creator, designer, podcast writer, and head editor of LA Theatre Bites. Because of the massive size of the Los Angeles area and its theatre presence, Patrick decided his reviews should take the form of podcasts en lieu of more traditionally written articles. He is also one of the creators of the Orange County based theatre review site, the Orange Curtain Review.
Bill Raden from LA Weekly
Since Bill wrote his first review for LA Weekly over 30 years ago, he has covered theater on both coasts, won multiple awards for his political journalism, and today continues to focus on Los Angeles' experimental and intimate stage scenes for LA Weekly as well as for the online stage journal, Stage Raw.
Leigh Kennicott from ShowMag
Leigh Kennicott has an extensive background in theatre, film and television and a Ph.D. degree in Theatre, awarded in 2002. A writer, director and actor, Leigh Kennicott began theatrical reviewing at Backstage, followed by Pasadena Weekly and Stage Happenings blog before joining showmag.com in 2018.
Katie Buenneke from Stage Raw
Katie has been a theater critic for over a decade, and has been reviewing Los Angeles theater for 7 years. She ran Neon Tommy's theater section for three years before freelancing for LA Weekly for another three years. She joined the LA Drama Critics Circle in 2015, and she's currently a regular contributor to Stage Raw. She earned her BA in theater and MFA in film producing from USC.
Jordan Riefe from The Hollywood Reporter
Currently serves as West Coast theatre critic for The Hollywood Reporter, while also covering art and culture for The Guardian, Cultured Magazine, and KCET Artbound. Cover theater for OC Register/Coast Magazine in Orange County and theatre and film for LA Weekly. Assigned beat for THR focuses on touring productions of Broadway shows.
Ernest Kearney from The TVolution
He is presently the cultural critic for The TVolution.com.
Michael Van Duzer from This Stage LA
Michael Van Duzer has reviewed opera performances, both locally and nationally, for over 30 years in a variety of print and online media outlets. After leaving his job in 2014, he was finally able to add theatre to his reviewing schedule.
Ryan M Luevano from Tin Pan LA
Ryan Luévano is a professor of music at Woodbury University and Santa Ana College. During the summers he is a regular teaching artist at A Noise Within Theatre Company in Pasadena. When he's not making music he pens as a theater critic for his blog Tin Pan L.A. where you can read all about the L.A. theater scene.

Saturday Survey - Better Lemons Wants to Hear From You!

I would love to hear from you about what you like about Better Lemons, how it could improve, what additions you would like to see, and other things that could shape the future of this theater and arts website. Please fill out this quick survey below (or on a separate page) and help us grow together in supporting local theatre and artists! Everyone who fills out the survey will be entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. The survey will close on January 31st.
With gratitude!
Enci Box

Feeling Thankful, Feeling Hopeful!

I'm thankful for all that we accomplished in 2017 and I'm hopeful for all of the great plans we have for 2018!
Better Lemons wishes you a fantastic New Year, filled with inspiration, funding, creative energy, inspiring friends, and lots of audience members who will see your creation!
We have been in existence for a year now and I'm thankful for Todd Lipska, our Technologist, who keeps the site humming, for Stephen Box, who has supported the site with financing and outreach tools, for Sharon Box, who has been working on all the branding elements, including flyers, brochures, and online branding, and for Ashley Steed and Steve Fife who kept our site's content fresh and got the word out about Better Lemons.
Better Lemons is your go-to site for an up-to-date and most accurate LemonMeter rating of all registered shows in Los Angeles and beyond. The LemonMeter is made possible by our Registered Critics, who post their own rating (Sweet, Sweet and Sour, and Sour) of each show that is registered on our site. I'm extremely grateful to our critics, who take their time every week, to keep the LemonMeter current and accurate.
I want to thank our top Registered Critics, Steven Stanley (166 review ratings and excerpts), Rob Stevens (98), Ernest Kearney (64), Shari Barrett (63), and Deborah Klugman (63), as well as Carol Kaufman Segal (19), Cris Gross (2), Cynthia Citron (21), Dale Reynolds (23), Dan Berkowitz (15), Daniel Faigin (32), David MacDowell Blue (50), Daniella Litvak (8), Don Grigware (44), Ellen Dostal (31), Eric Gordon (34), Erin Conley (42), Frances Baum Nicholson (14), Gil Kaan (43), Jordan Riefe (5), Jordan Young (1), Katie Buenneke (7), Kurt Gardener (9), Laura Tull (6), Leigh Kennicott (15), Leo Buck (15), Lorenzo Marchessi (49), Michael Van Duzer (20), Monique LeBleu (6), Patrick Chavis (26), Rachel Flanagan (9), Ryan M. Luevano (31), Travis Michael Holder (45), and Willard Manus (13). Without these critics, our site wouldn't be as accurate and as dependable. These people love theater and these people love sharing their experiences with you, and I am are extremely grateful for that!
This year alone, we gathered over 2,560 reviews from critics and audience members from all over Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego, which keep the LemonMeter current.
For shows to be reviewed, they have to be registered on our site (which is free) and listed on our Calendar (also free). (Each show that is registered on our site, gets a show page with a custom link, ticketing link, and a place for audience members to leave a review and rate a show.) The top Publicists in Los Angeles are making sure that their shows are on our site, so that the shows can receive a LemonMeter rating, thus raise awareness of all the great shows in Los Angeles and beyond.
Our top Publicists are Lucy Pollak and Philip Sokoloff (registered 54 shows), David Elzer (39 shows), Sandra Kuker (24 shows), Judith Borne (18 shows), Sandra Zeitzew (15), and Nora Feldman (5). We are grateful for their involvement in theater and their support with Better Lemons. They register shows as well as send us all the shows reviews, so we can add them to our LemonMeter.
In 2017 a total of 331 Producers and Publicists registered their shows which adds up to over 900 registered shows.
This list wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention the tireless contributors since January of last year, Nikay Nipp (aka Ashton Marcus)Gil Kaan, and  Roger Q Mason. They have shared their passion with our readers all year long and enriched our theater experiences. Nikay Nipp engaged in 57 audio interviews that he edited and uploaded to YouTube (this is his new YouTube channel) to share with us.  Gil Kaan held 47 interviews this past year! And Roger Q Mason wrote several articles and already some new ones lined up for 2018.
I am also grateful for all the theater companies who have listed their show on our site, especially those who have done so on a regular basis. Thanks to The Chance Theatre, Zombie Joe's Underground, and Rubicon Theatre Company, our Calendar is always filled with exciting new shows and events.
As we move into the new year, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who helped shape Better Lemons and who continue to believe in our mission to get the word out about theater, the performance art, and independent artists!
I would love to hear from you about what you like about Better Lemons, how it could improve, what additions you would like to see, and other things that could shape the future of this theater and arts website. Please fill out this quick survey and help us grow together in supporting local theatre and artists! Everyone who fills out the survey will be entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card.
With gratitude!
Enci Box

The Critics and Audience Choice Awards of Better Lemons

As of this email, the critics and the audiences have spoken, resulting in more then 50 Hollywood Fringe productions receiving a Sweet #LemonMeter rating and 3 Fringe productions have received #DoubleSweet ratings (both critics and audience members agreeing on a sweet production).
The #LemonMeter ratings are based on reviews and as of today we have received over 1400 reviews.
It takes three reviews from critics or three reviews from the audience to generate a #LemonMeter rating.
To see the reviews of your show, find your page on Better Lemons by typing in the search box your show title. If you know of any reviews from critics that are missing, please let us know. Send the links with the name of each critic to Contact@Better-Lemons.com.
The Better Lemons Awards, Critics' Choice and Audience Choice, will be issued on Wednesday the 28th, based on the reviews.
In addition to sending us any reviews from critics, you still have time to appeal to your audience and ask them to post a review on your page on Better Lemons. You can email them your Better Lemons show page link, and you can share this on your social media pages, or ask them directly via the Fringe site to copy and paste over their reviews.
Better Lemons supports the artists, by aggregating reviews, and awarding #LemonMeter ratings that range from sweet to sour. Better Lemons was at the Fringe every day and at every venue, talking to audience members and encouraging them to review shows. But with 100s of productions and thousands of audience members, we need your help in encouraging the audience to speak up.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Enci Box

Stephen Fife Steps Up As Editor in Chief

A little over 10 years ago I met Stephen Fife when I was cast in a production of a play that he had adapted. He was at the theatre every night, he was passionate about every detail, and he was as intensely involved at closing night as he was on opening night.
In a word, he was inspiring.
Soon after, our paths crossed at the Actors Studio, where he was a Playwright of the Actors Studio West Playwrights/Directors Unit, and I remember it as an interesting time when actors and writers had an opportunity to collaborate.
And most recently I was shooting a production at the Odyssey Theatre when I bumped into Steve again, who shared with me his passion about arts and culture in LA. He started writing for Better Lemons soon after. I looked forward to his opinion pieces, his recommendations, and his writings in general.
I now am completely thrilled that he is taking on the responsibilities as the Editor in Chief for Better Lemons.
Please send Steven a warm welcome and let him know if you have any passion for the Los Angeles arts that you would like to share with us.
Publisher, Better Lemons

Big Thanks to Ashley

Better Lemons was launched as a team effort and I'm grateful for Ashley Steed, the founding Editor in Chief, who was there at the beginning, encouraging and nurturing writers, and working with me to get Better Lemons to where we are today.
Ashley and I have a lot in common, including a passion for artists, Los Angeles, and the performing arts.
I'm grateful for her contribution and look forward to supporting her in one of her productions sometime soon.
Ashley has done a great job in organizing an incredible brigade of Better Lemons writers and her accomplishments at Better Lemons will go a long way toward setting up our next Editor in Chief for success.
I'm thankful for Ashley's support and I wish her well as she returns to making theater her priority.
Publisher, Better Lemons

Welcome to Better Lemons!

Welcome to Better Lemons, the arts and entertainment resource that is, for lack of a better term, better than ever!
The Better Lemons journey is starting now but in many ways, it began sixteen years ago when I arrived in Los Angeles and began to find my way. I would scour Backstage West at the local newsstand, looking for auditions. I relied on an informal network of fellow actors for advice on all aspects of the industry and I would get up early to visit the newsstand, hoping to find a good review.
Better Lemons is everything that I wish I had when I arrived in Los Angeles and discovered that studying the craft is not enough, that success depends on becoming a talented promoter, marketer, and communications strategist. I learned that success depends on the ability to create a network of support and that all individual successes are the result of a collaboration.
It is from that perspective that I first launched illuminateLA which promoted “Arts, Culture, and the Ride that takes you there.” My husband, Stephen Box, and I organized bike rides and Metro adventures to everything from Bob Baker Marionettes to Black Rider at the Music Center. We promoted local theatre, film festivals, gallery shows, and happenings. Along the way, we created some of our own.
Eight years ago, I formed Bitter Lemons with a partner and we enjoyed a wild ride that included promoting 1000s of local productions and resulted in a platform that aggregated reviews and played host to a significant audience that relied on Bitter Lemons for the news and reviews from the LA Theatre Community.
Bitter Lemons ended just as the 2016 Fringe Festival started when the Editor-in-Chief wrote an editorial that ignited a controversy that cost Bitter Lemons its Fringe Festival partnership, a significant portion of its advertising, and the worst of all, the loss of trust in our readers. The Editor-in-Chief was fired but the damage had been done.
I was tempted to walk away but instead sought out the counsel of friends and strangers, all of whom echoed the opinion that LA really needs a significant resource that can support the actors and performers and producers and creators and promoters and everyone that works tirelessly to make Los Angeles the cultural center of the universe.
And so, I'm back, better than ever - this time you are my partner in Better Lemons and together we'll collaborate, create, and innovate!
Thanks for all you do to make LA an exciting cultural mecca!
Publisher, Better Lemons