JOAN OF ART: A Mel Brooks Broadway Hit, A Superhero Returns, Ramblin Jack Elliot and A Very Big Meow Festival

The Producers opening at the Celebration Theatre at the Lex on Friday June 30th is a musical adaption of Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks's 1967 film of the same name, with lyrics written by Brooks. As in the film, the story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich by overselling interests in a Broadway flop. Complications arise when the show unexpectedly turns out to be successful.

Like many of Brooks' films the humor of the show draws on ridiculous accents, caricatures of homosexuals and Nazis and many show business in-jokes. The show is best known for the song, Springtime for Hitler. I've seen this in New York and loved it.

The Celebration Theatre has produced several musicals including 'The Color Purple' and they were all excellent. I'm sure this one will be as well.

The Celebration is located at 6760 Lexington Avenue in Hollywood. For tickets go to The show runs Fridays-Mondays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm.

Even though my next pick doesn't open until Tuesday July 2nd I thought it definitely should be included of my weekend list of fun things to do. Spider-Man: Far From Home is a perfect way to start the July 4th holiday. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man played by Tom Holland must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya and Samule L. Jackson round out the cast and the film has already gotten rave reviews and I for one can't wait to see it.

Next up is one of my favorite old time performers, Ramblin Jack Elliot, an American folk singer/guitarist. At the age of 87 the dude still has it. Way back when Elliot taught himself guitar and started busking for a living. Eventually he got together with Woody Guthrie and stayed with him as both an admirer and student.

Elliott's guitar and his mastery of Guthrie's material had a big impact on Bob Dylan when he lived in Minneapolis. When Dylan reached New York, he was sometimes referred to as the 'son' of Jack Elliott, because Elliot had a way of introducing Dylan's songs with the words: 'Here's a song from my son, Bob Dylan.'

For years Ramblin Jack Elliot has been an interpretative troubadour bringing old songs to new audiences in his idiosyncratic manner. I've seen him several times and every show was just great.

Elliot will be performing Sunday June 30th at 8pm at McCabes Guitar Shop located at 3101 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica. For tickets go to Tickets are $30.00.

Last but not least, and definitely one of my favorite events of this upcoming weekend is CatCon at the Pasadena Convention Center located at 300 East Green Street in Pasadena. Why, you ask? Because I am a crazy cat lover. The show runs Saturday, June 29th from 9am to 6pm and Sunday June 30th 10am to 5pm.

This is the biggest cat-centric pop culture catstravaganza in the world. Immersive experiences, 200 exhibitors, photo booths, celebricats like Pudge and the Dark Lord plus the biggest adoption village ever awaits you.

Top talent both feline and human includes Cats of Instagram, Aaron's Animals, Shelly Roche of 'Tiny Kittens' and over 30 more plus over a dozen workshops and seminars, kitty cosplay, the Kitty Coloring Collective and Tons of giveaways and swag.

One of the best events where you get to hang out with thousands of people who love cats just as much as you do. If you're not a 'cat lover' I guarantee you after spending an afternoon here you will be.

For more information and to purchase tickets go to

Whatever you decide to do this weekend people, make it a fun one.

Winners! Killers! Producers!: 'Celebration' Announces Its 2019 Season, 'Celebrating' Reading Series' 'Skin Like Milk'

Last updated: 12/6/18 12:15 a.m.

Celebration, under Executive Director Michael C. Kricfalusi, has announced its 2019 season of shows under the artistic direction of Michael A. Shepperd, making this season Celebration's 37th and the fourth in its home at The Lex.

The 2019 Season will open with the Los Angeles premiere of "Born To Win," written by Matt Wilkas and Mark Setlock, and Directed by Michael Matthews, and tickets go on sale today, Wednesday, December 5, 2018.

Starring Drew Droege and Wilkas, "Born to Win," tells the story of "Pinky Corningfield, who's always dreamed of her daughter winning the 'Supreme Queen.'" When newcomers to the child pageant circuit, Marge, along with her participating daughter, show up "to grab the glory," Pinky will stop at nothing to get that crown.

"I'm very excited about the fact that we are doing “Born to Win” [which] came out of our Celebrating New Works," said Shepperd. "[Celebrating New Works is] our program that we do once a month where we take a new or 'newish' writer and a newish play and we give it a stage reading to see if it can be part of our season.”

"Born To Win" opens Friday, February 15, 2019, and plays until April, 2019.

Also premiering is "The Secretaries" written by The Five Lesbian Brothers and opens April 2019.

'The Secretaries' is going to be an all-female cast, helmed by a female director and all-female team," said Shepperd. "Lighting design, set design, props, costumes, sound design – everyone is going to identify as female.”

"A killer comedy, 'The Secretaries,' chronicles the initiation of Patty Johnson as she lands the job of her dreams at the Cooney Lumber Mill in Big Bone, Oregon. But those dreams turn into bloody nightmares when she discovers the truth her co-workers have been hiding from her!," according to the synopsis. Written 20 years ago, this play is "as fresh as if it was written today in its skewering of feminist archetypes of the ‘80s and ‘90s."

"I'LL tell you when we're getting in too deep!” - The Producers

Celebration's Los Angeles intimate theatre premiere of "The Producers" with book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, and original direction and choreography by Susan Stroman, and directed by Matthews, will open June 2019.

"It's the first time the Celebration Theatre has gotten its hands on 'The Producers' and creates something spectacular in an intimate theatre," said Shepperd.

Winner of 12 Tony Awards®, two theatrical producers pull together a team of theatre wannabes, ne'er-do-wells, and misfits, and dream up a get rich scheme involving overselling "interests" in a Broadway play they're sure is destined to be a flop. Hilarity ensues when the show "unexpectedly turns out to be a massive hit!"

"The Producers" is presented by special arrangement with Music Theatre International and with StudioCanal.

Celebration is located at The Lex, 6760 Lexington Ave., Los Angeles, 90038. Tickets go on sale here for the season tomorrow, Wednesday, December 5, 2019, and be sure to check their Calendar for updated information.

Also, coming up next week, as part of the Celebrating New Works reading series, Celebration will present "Skin Like Milk," written by Ryan Fogarty, produced by Nathan Frizzell, and directed by Ryan Bergmann, in a one night only performance, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at the West Hollywood City Chambers.

"Skin Like Milk." Illustration poster courtesy of Celebration, Celebrating New Works.

"Skin Like Milk" centers in "Berlin, 1941. In a makeshift basement gay bar, Heinrich and Otto have just strangled a Nazi officer ... after hiding the body, guests arrive attempting to forget the destruction from last night's air raids. ... Emile, Heinrich's former lover, and his new interest, ... Horst, show up to share a drink and a bit of music with their friends. As the night unravels, the alcohol disappears and air raids resume, the men realize that their dark bar is no longer a refuge from the hateful world above."

"Skin Like Milk," plays once only, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 7:30 p.m. at The West Hollywood City Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood.

For "Skin Like Milk" only, admission is free, with donations gratefully accepted. Contact Celebration via email for more info, or call 323-957-1884.

Celebration is a community of artists dedicated to entertain, inspire, and empower with innovative productions that celebrate the LGBTQ community.

To become a member, purchase a subscription, or get single tickets for "Born to Win" or any Season 2019 shows, visit Celebration, contact via email for more info, or call 323-957-1884.

Updated 12/6/18, 12:15 a.m.: Date change, "Born to Win" opens on Friday, February 15, 2019.

Updated 12/5/18, 10:00 a.m.: - Name correction for Michael A. Shepperd with spelling in attributions corrected.


Ashton's Audio Interview: The cast of “The Producers” at The GEM Theatre

Based on the 1968 film, Mel Brooks' Tony Award winning musical The Producers is a laugh-out-loud, outrageous, crowd-pleasing farce that has been a smash hit since its 2001 debut. Fading Broadway producer Max Bialystock is desperate to get to the top of his profession again when he finds an unlikely ally in mousy accountant Leo Bloom, who hypothesizes that one could make far more money with a flop of a show than with a hit. Together, the two set out to produce the worst musical ever to hit Broadway, with the worst script, the worst director, and the worst cast they can find; the catch is that they will raise two million dollars to finance the show, and they plan to take the money and head to Rio when the show inevitably closes after just one performance. Too bad for Bialystock & Bloom that, against all odds, the show is a total hit! With dozens of over the top characters, show stopping musical numbers, and Brooks' signature humor keeping audiences in stitches, The Producers is definitely far from a flop.*
Enjoy this interview with the cast of “The Producers” at The GEM Theatre, running until Oct 21st. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.
[soundcloud url="" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]
*taken from the website


AUTOPLAY @ Los Angeles City College

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SHOWPONY @ The Victory Theatre Center

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EVERYTHING THAT NEVER HAPPENED@ Boston Court Performing Arts Center

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BEYOND FEST @ Egyptian Theatre

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12 ANGRY JURORS@ Harter Hall, Charles Stewart Howard Playhouse

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JUSTICE ON TRIAL FILM FESTIVAL @ Loyola Marymount University

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TOMáS AND THE LIBRARY LADY @ Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine University

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FALLEN SAINTS: DARK @ The Belfry Stage (Upstairs)

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Critics Lemonade: 88%

Audience Lemonade: 100%

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