Charlie Chaplin’s Body Scranton Fringe Festival 2018 Pearn Auditorium, Brennan Hall University of Scranton
In 2006, Jeff Boam had his debut film premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. His short film, Charlie Chaplin’s Body, a twenty-minute comedy about the theft of the famous actor’s remains wowed viewers, and went on to impress patrons around the world, including those at the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner and other festivals. Some locals may remember the play version of the film, which was produced at the University of Scranton in 1998. The black-and-white story of two unemployed mechanics will no doubt impress people in northeastern Pennsylvania, as will its original jazz soundtrack written by Marko Marcinko. For one night only, you can see the uncut director’s version of the film at Pearn Auditorium in Brennan Hall at the University of Scranton. The event will be held on Tuesday, September 25, at 6:00 p.m. and is free to the public. After the viewing of the film, the cast (which includes Sam Falbo, E.L. Dougher in the lead roles), the crew, and the author will host a question-and-answer session.
Come celebrate this film’s 20th anniversary of its stage debut by seeing the film, but remember this even contains adult themes and is for mature audiences only.
Sound and Song: Overdone & Over-Sung is directed by Rebekah Conrad, with the musical direction of Marcie Herman Riebe, the show features “The Broadway songs we love to hate and hate to love, but always sing along to.” This show is a part of the 2018 Scranton Fringe Festival. The Festival has given a new environment for many locals to have their shows performed for an audience and that is the case for sixteen-year-old Rebekah Conrad of Scranton and the new theatre company C4Studios with their debut show at this year’s festival.
C4studios was founded by George, Jacob, Kayla, and Rebekah Conrad who are all siblings. For the past 10 Years the Conrad siblings have been involved in various types of community theatres, making many different local productions a true family affair. Earlier this year, they created a new theatre company with the purpose of giving every person the chance to participate and show their talents within a diverse theatre group. C4Studios is now fulfilling their purpose with a cast that has an age range from 6 to 50!
Rebekah has directed before, in fact, this is the third installment in the Sound and Song Series which began in June of last year with Sound and Song: Then and Now, and again in December of last year Sound and Song: Holiday Edition. C4studios and Rebekah are glad to have the opportunity to continue bringing the joy of musical theatre to the local community. Knowing that the shows before having made a great impact on many in the local community and will continue to do so for many years to come!
The show promises to have you dancing and singing along to with all your favorite Broadway songs. It will leave you begging for more when the curtain closes!
For more information about Sound and Song: Overdone & Over-Sung, please read below:
Crime of the Hour Scranton Fringe Festival Scranton Cultural Center, Craftsman Hall 420 N Washington Ave, Scranton PA
I had the pleasure of speaking with Abby Deely, the creator of and host of the true crime improv comedy show, Crime of the Hour, as a part of this year’s Scranton Fringe. Deely began workshopping Crime of the Hour in Denver, Colorado in March of this year and brought it to the New Jersey Fringe Fest with great reception. Deely stated she tries to cover crimes that have roots in the areas of which she is performing. For Scranton’s Fringe Fest, she will be covering Ted Bundy on Friday, September 29th and The Lobster Boy Murders on Saturday, September 30th. What makes Crime of the Hour special is not only that it is an improv show about serial killers, but in the way Deely runs each performance. Abby said she creates an outline, which she presents the bizarre facts related to the case in a stand-up comedic style, and then the cast creates their own dramatizations of the events based on these facts. Therefore, every show is entertaining and unique.
Abby’s experience with comedy is nothing new. She has been performing stand-up comedy for years, now based in NYC. She has traveled with Crime of the Hour from some of the cast she performed with in 2017 as a part of the Edinburgh Fringe Fest in the show, Escaping Trump’s America. She also performed in Escaping Trump’s America in London and in Ireland as well.
Deely also discussed with me her roots and inspiration for Crime of the Hour. She said she has always been fascinated with serial killers even as a child. As an adult, she listens to the Last Podcast on the Left, a podcast about horror and serial killers, real and imagined. Specifically, Deely was inspired from the results of her thesis. She investigated the effect comedy has with healing for sexual violence survivors, particularly when the perpetrators are the butt of the joke, such of that as Amy Schumer’s skit, “Football Town Nights.” Consequently, she found that this type of comedy was only healing if the individual survivor found it as such. However, she was curious as to how people would receive comedy pertaining to horrible events that were more communal, such as murder. Overall, Deely hopes that comedy can aid in coping with these type of events, making something tragic into something funny.
HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr Scranton Fringe Festival Scranton Cultural Center, Jr. Ballroom 420 N Washington Ave, Scranton, PA
I had the privilege of interviewing, Heather Massie, the astronomical actress, who wrote, produced, and plays Hedy, along with up to thirty-three other characters, including Jimmy Stewart, in her play, HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr. If you are not familiar with Hedy Larmarr, she was a glamorous Hollywood actress and inventor during WWII. She established, along with composer, George Antheil, the technology of frequency hopping intended for use in torpedoes during WWII. Additionally, this technology was later to be implemented in today’s inventions of Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS. However, Hedy’s recognition for her invention took many years to manifest. Sadly, the public saw her simply for her beauty, unaware of, as Heather put it, “a secret genius.”
As a former Science teacher, I take personal interest in Hedy Lamarr’s story. Upon discussing Heather’s inspiration for writing the play, we both agreed that girls need more female role models, who are engineers, astrophysicists, inventors, and the like. When Heather was in third grade, she aspired to be “an astronaut, work with animals, or be an inventor.” Later, Heather began her studies in astrophysics at the University of Virginia, to eventually major in Theatre Arts at the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts. Heather stated her inspiration to write the play was drawn from “a part of myself that I had put away…that I wanted to focus on … my interest in science.”
Heather said what is fascinating about this play is that it presents itself in an “exciting and engaging way.” She, as Hedy, speaks directly with the audience about her life leading up to her invention of frequency hopping. In this play, you will become engaged in Hedy’s life story through immersing yourself through Hedy’s dialogue with the many fascinating characters in her life. This play as Heather stated includes “funny, interesting, and ironic parts of her life,” as well.
Overall, Heather believes this story “translates across cultures and generations.” She states the play has relatable themes and messages that resonate with people today. And for audiences around the world, Heather states: “regardless of any expectation of what scientists should look like, individuals don’t need to think in terms of appearance or gender, but in terms of ability. So, that all people can feel empowered to contribute to society through their ideas, innovation, and invention.”
Consequently, Heather believes that Hedy’s life story is not only interesting, but inspiring. With her play, Heather aims to “empower women and to inspire audiences to find ways to make the world a better place…to have the courage to do the things they want to do regardless of the world’s expectations.”
Heather has been touring with HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr in numerous festivals, universities, and theaters across the United States and the world. She began touring on November 9, 2016, which would have been Hedy’s 102nd birthday. Her play received 12 awards and critical acclaim.
Heather’s future plans involve creating a trilogy of plays that highlight the accomplishments of women in science, including Sally Ride, as her next project.
I am excited to see Heather’s work and what is in store for the future!
For more information, please peruse the information and links below:
The Secrets of A Mockingbird, a solo show written and performed by Prudence Wright Holmes based on the life of Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird. This show will be featured in this year’s Scranton Fringe Festival. It will be presented September 27 at 6 p.m., September 29 at 4:30 p.m., and September 30 at 5 p.m. at The Space at The Olive, 541 Wyoming Ave, #2, Scranton, PA 18503.
In the show, audiences will learn the secrets of this beloved but reclusive author who had close relationships with her father, lawyer A.C. Lee and her childhood friend, Truman Capote. They both broke her heart. She never wrote another book. Until she did.
Ms. Wright Holmes is an accomplished actor who is best known for her co-starring role in the popular movies, Sister Act I and II with Whoopi Goldberg. She also recently completed the new Coen Brothers movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs with James Franco and Liam Neeson. She has appeared in four Broadway shows, including Happy End with Meryl Streep, Inherit the Wind with George C. Scott, Letticeand Lovage with Maggie Smith and The Light in the Piazza. She has written and performed four solo shows-Bexley, OH!, which received rave reviews off Broadway, The Secrets of A Mockingbird, Willa Cather, Her Life and Loves; and Agatha is Missing, which recently played to sold out houses at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
Ms. Wright Holmes has ties to the Scranton area. She owned a home in the Poconos for several years and spent many happy hours in Scranton visiting her in-laws, George and Marge Rohulich, who lived in Clark Summit. She is very happy to be returning to this area again.
The children at the Olde Brick Theatre have a spectacular play prepared for Scranton this summer. They will be performing Bella Saves The World: A Frolic, an original play written by local playwright, Michael Pavese.
I had the privilege to speak to two of the youngsters performing in this show last week. Thirteen-year-old Rusty Morgan was one of them. This is Rusty’s first show with Diva Theater Productions. In this play, he’s performing the role of Riley the Chicken. Rusty admits that Riley is one of the smartest characters in the play—one who knows lots of definitions. Riley is one of the good guys who helps Bella the Labradoodle figure out how to stop the machinations of Marquez the Chihuahua and his evil gang who, of course, are trying to take over the world.
Not a stranger to the Diva stage, Kelly Phillips (age 11) shared that she is on Marquez’s team of bad guys playing Sidney the Badger. Her character, along with Marquez, Sophie the Porcupine, and Flash the Fox, try to conquer the world. Bella and her friends must work hard to try to stop them.
The show is actually a musical, complete with singing and dancing, according to director, Laura M. Heffron. She and her production team are orchestrating quite a feat with a cast of twenty-nine youngsters. She insists though that with the patient crew and determined and talented children in the play, it’s been gratifying to work towards making an extraordinary show as a team.
Both Rusty and Kelly share that the best part of working on this show is the new friends they’ve made. They both seem to want to return to Diva’s free summertime program next time around. They feel everyone should come see the show because everyone is working hard to make it an outstanding production, and that it’s a really funny play.
Come have a good time atBella Saves The World: A Frolicwhich runs August 2, 3, and 4 at 7:30 p.m. and August 5 at 2:00 p.m. Seating is limited, but you can reserve your seats by calling Diva Theater Productions at 570-209-7766.
C4 Studios is proud to announce we will be performing, Sound and Song: Overdone & Over-Sung at The Scranton Fringe Festival,this Fall! It features “the Broadway songs we love to hate, and hate to love, but always sing along.”
Auditions are continuing until Sunday, August 5th, 2018!