Tag Archives: hollywood fringe festival

My Renewed Promise to New Audiences – and Myself

Not surprisingly, the last few months caused a big change in my priorities, specifically regarding work*. I could not be happier with with being part of 24th Street Theatre Communications & Audience Development, plus coming full circle back to being a Teaching Artist , now of Online Content at Center Theatre Group’s Student Ambassador Program. I also love teaching workshops in outreach/audience development techniques.

Photo by Henry Ong

I decided in 2010 to create a job intended to bridge the gaps between art I love and potential audiences the artists aren’t reaching. It was a unique path at the time to use this “new” thing called social media, now it is just one of my many tools. To gain credibility and make a living, I took some work that didn’t directly aligned with my goals. That’s over now.

Now, if any opportunity does not involve finding and nurturing lasting new audiences for the art in which I believe, then it is not an opportunity for me. Since 24th Street already fulfills that goal directly for a high quality family theater, my own creative pursuits aim to find new paths to success. I will challenge all assumptions about audiences and find collaborators willing to take great risk for potentially great return. And we will learn. And we will share our findings on this site.

You’ll hear shortly about The Lemon Lounge, an audience development project centered around the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival (produced with Bitter Lemons, not with the Fringe Festival itself.). All our decisions are based on one question: Does this

June 2014

help new audiences in actually getting to see a show, taking a risk on a new artist or art form? If the answer is yes, then we develop the idea. If no, we drop it. The producing team is extraordinary and kept the ball rolling while I focused on having my first child. They are Peppur Chambers, Sara Fenton and Lemuel Thornton III. Colin, Enci and Phil from Bitter Lemons have given their blessing and will certainly become key advisers  and partners as we experiment with and nurture this idea: a live arts show combined with pre-recorded segments to curate experiences for new audiences by speaking directly with them.

More on that next week. And a much larger project is also in the works, but I won’t have details for a few more months there.

In the meantime, I look forward to this clearer focus.


*I became a Mom on March 22nd! If you’re interested in a little TMI about my journey as a new mother and workaholic, follow @parentingnerd on twitter or tumblr.


Hollywood Fringe Festival Announces Dates for 2014

The Hollywood Fringe is a great chance to try out or showcase some new work. I usually lead self-producing and marketing workshops leading up to the festival that include best practices to really take advantage of the Fringe atmosphere. Follow this blog for more

Here is all the information so far for Hollywood Fringe Festival 2014! From their press release:

Greetings Fringers–

We hope you had an excellent holiday weekend (or just an excellent normal weekend for our friends outside the states). As we approach the end of the year, it’s time to start thinking about our endeavors for 2014. We are gearing up for our fifth (!!!) festival next year and we’re already talking about a lot of new ideas and changes to improve the Hollywood Fringe.

The fifth annual Hollywood Fringe Festival will take place June 12th-29th, 2014, after a week of previews taking place June 5th-10th. The first big date that you should keep in mind is the opening of registration on February 1st. Check out the other dates down below.

After the feedback we received at the Post-Fringe Town Hall this year, we’ll be hosting a meeting this Saturday, December 7th at 5PM at Theatre Asylum focused on improving our venue efforts in 2014. We are specifically looking to recruit new venues within the official boundaries (including found spaces), so if you have any interest in running a space or bringing your own, make sure to stop by. There’s some more information down below.

Questions? Contact the festival at support@hollywoodfringe.org.

Fringe On!

Ben Hill, Festival Director

Venue Meeting This Saturday

Please join us this Saturday, December 7th at 5 PM in the Asylum Lab (at Theatre Asylum), 1078 Lillian Way. We’ll be focusing on these venue initiatives for 2014:

  • A venue packet to help recruit new venues and to help existing venues make the most of their Fringe experience
  • How venues can work together
  • How to bring a found/DIY venue to the Fringe
  • Matching potential venue managers or resident companies with venues who need help during the Fringe season
  • Making partnerships with local businesses
  • Dates for future venue meetings and workshops
  • And more!

Hope to see you there!

2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival Dates

Key Dates for 2014:

February 1st- Registration Open
April 1st- Registration Deadline for Guide Inclusion
June 5th-10th- Fringe Previews
June 11th- Fringe Opening Night Gala
June 12th-29th- 5th Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival
June 29th- Fringe Award Ceremony & Closing Night Party
The organization needs volunteers and interns throughout the year. Any interested persons may learn more here: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/learn/index/132

Fringe Thoughts 1: Referral Ripples

GnR Opening CMJ (4)

Keena Ferguson, Peppur Chambers, Keaton Talmadge & Jeanette at opening reception for Gracie & Rose.

For four years, the Hollywood Fringe Festival has served as a  microcosm of the local arts to come, and sets my brain a-whirling. Since the community is the inspiration for these random and often lasting Fringe Thoughts, I want to share and continue the conversation.

Fringe Thoughts 1: Referral Ripples

The  feeling of community has always been one my favorite parts of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It feels markedly increased this year. Rather than a few companies doing the cross-promo/community thing well, while others learn from them, this year it pervades the entire Festival.

That is a wonderful evolution in its fourth year. Just some improvements I’ve noticed:

  • People were on top of participant discounts well before June. This encourages your built-in audience to attend, which increases word-of-mouth and could ensure a steady stream throughout your run.
  • Most of the shows refer their audience to other Fringe shows in their programs.
  • Others take extra steps to also suggest verbally the other Fringe shows their audience should see and call out the Fringers in the audience. Last night Rati Gupta did this with her signature great flair.
  • The hashtag #HFF13 was off the hook since late April/May.
  • Projecting the twitter & instagram hashtag onto walls in Fringe Central Station encourages more interactivity.
  • A group of shows banded the “First Fringe Club” together for publicity.
  • Three storytellers also combined resources: Bill Ratner, Michael Kass and John Grady.

The veteran Fringers know these ropes, but I’ve hardly seen it in such force so early. You can tell who attended the Town Halls and/or has experience. These Referral Ripples help audience members know where to start when looking at the website or brochure. It’s intimidating to try to choose between all the available shows.

Every time an audience member hears directly about one more show, their interest may become more piqued and they could talk about it with their friends. Every time that fellow artists help each other, you’re actually helping your audience, plus encouraging them to see more live theatre. The more they see, the more they’ll talk and these are the Referral Ripples we need to increase live theatre as a vital and valued part of our community’s lives.

Last night we had lots of Fringers at Gracie and Rose‘s opening, and I knew about half of them before the Fringe and the other half (pictured above) only once it started, eleven days ago.

So Huzzah to you all and Carry On. If we can capture these concentrated efforts for theatre all year round, audience development stands a chance.

Read or Watch my full coverage of the Hollywood Fringe on Bitter Lemons.

Here are the Gracie and Rose Fringeships:GracieAndRoseFlyerFR

Ceremony by Michael Kass

Take me to the Poorhouse by Liz Femi

The Ruby Besler Cabaret by Anastasia Barnes

Love Actually Isn’t by Dan Johnson

The Real Housekeepers of Studio City by Heidi Powers, Tom Moore & Joe Greene

Daddy by Olivia Peterson

And also playing at our venue, the Art of Acting Studio: IAMA Fest 2013

Inside Rehearsal for Gracie and Rose

Gracie and Rose love off the grid and live off the land in 1950’s Wyoming — where wild horses run free and appearances are deceiving. Gracie lives as George so she and Rose can be together.

Is true love in the body worth the cost of living a lie in the world?
Gracie and Rose premieres at the Hollywood Fringe Festival June 16-29th. Written and Performed by Anastasia Coon. Directed by Che’Rae Adams.

Support untold stories of love – Indiegogo Campaign


Hollywood Fringe Festival site: hff13.org/1372


Funding Friday Fringe Edition!

Friday May 3


Live Broadcast

Funding Friday: Fringe Edition!

ringe freaks

Guests include: Fund-raising Consultant Michael Kass

Lily Mercer & Allie Costa: Before a Fall

Danielle Ozymandias: The Other F Word

Matthew Hill: Jason ❤ Medea, a fresh look at an ancient love story

Have questions about crowd-funding, fund-raising or the Fringe? Ask in the comments below or tweet to @CindyMarieJ

Sneak Peek: Gracie & Rose at Celebration Theatre

Thanks to the CCI (Center for Cultural Innovation) grant, I’m the Social Media Consultant for this 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival show. It’s a great challenge, to promote a show while training the team. I’ll keep you updated here.

We have a special reading at the Celebration Theatre in Hollywood Tuesday night, and I hope you can make it.

Celebration Theatre Play Reading Series


Gracie and Rose Gracie and Rose

love off the grid and live off the land in 1950’s Wyoming – where wild horses run free and appearances are deceiving. Gracie lives as George so she and Rose can be together. Is true love in the body worth the cost of living a lie in the world?

Written and performed by Anastasia Coon and directed by CheRae Adams

Tuesday, April 30th @ 8pm at Celebration Theatre. Doors open at 7:30pm.

7051 Santa Monica Blvd (1 Block east of La Brea Blvd)

Admission for the reading is by donation ($5 suggested)

Gaiman, Poorhouse & Round Rock

Recently I’ve been at a string of sneak peeks and opening nights. Here are my reactions to three. I am not reviewing these works, and it’s really not appropriate to do so at the times when I only see a rehearsal. My reactions will center around the experience and whatever kept bouncing around my head after seeing each show.

I will be transparent as to when I got comps, but all opinions are truthful and my own, not associated with any employer or colleagues or even my dog (though she’s quite opinionated).

Poster outside Sacred Fools LA

Poster outside Sacred Fools LA


by Robert Kauzlaric
adapted from the novel by Neil Gaiman © 1996
directed by Scott Leggett

Disclosure: Saw a dress rehearsal, no cost. Except what I spent at The Faculty pub after the show. Get the spicy mac-n-cheese.

I was invited to the dress rehearsal of this epic onstage, and tried to manage expectations. Not of Sacred Fools specifically – they have an excellent reputation and I doubted they would produce this piece without knowing what it would take. What concerned me were my expectations to see how envision the novel onstage versus Scott Leggett and his creative team’s vision.*

Jonathan Kells Phillips as Marquis de Carabas checks his crossbow prop.

Jonathan Kells Phillips as Marquis de Carabas checks his crossbow prop.

Even in rehearsal, it didn’t take long to let that concern fall to the side. This massive story translates very well to the stage. In fact, their abstract unit set and use of the space sparked a very personal, necessarily theatrical reaction in my brain, so in a way I got both my Neverwhere and Director Leggett’s Neverwhere without the two ever feeling at odds. They chose the right things to specify and the right moments to blow their wad, theatrically speaking. The audience fills in the rest with their own interpretations. Sort of like reading a good book, coincidentally enough.

The video projections feel most effective in London Above (the ‘real’ world we know), whereas London Below relies on words, the ensemble’s honest acting and the audience’s imaginations.

And boy, do they do it well.

*(I love the book, have hardly watched the series, and I am grateful they welcomed me into a rehearsal. I thank everyone for trusting me to see the sausage being made.) WATCH my broadcast with Paula Rhodes (actress who plays Door) a week after I saw rehearsal. Total coincidence: The Geekie Awards arranged it.

April 5 – May 11, 2013

Fridays & Saturdays @ 8pm
Sundays @ 7pm

Tickets: $25
(310) 281-8337 or Buy Tickets Online



Take Me to The Poorhouse

A middle class African girl dreams of becoming poor to have “soul” and win the heart of her classmate ♥.

Disclosure: Invited to staged reading in private home. No cost to attend.

I’ve been hearing about this show because the Assistant Director/Producer attends my workshops. The story is fascinating and has all the ingredients for success: a POV I’ve never heard, the right balance of humor and gravity, a dynamic performer, plus partnership with a like-minded organization:

We pledge to donate 10% of all ticket proceeds to MAMA HOPE, a non-profit with a mission to “Stop The Pity and Unlock The Potential” in several African communities. We dig that :-)

I dig that too.

With two more months until it’s premiere in the Hollywood Fringe Festival, it will be exciting to see how it all shapes up. Femi does a beautiful job of letting the words create the world instead of describing it. Poorhouse really got me thinking about how much better other solo shows could be if they simply tell the story, if even biographical events are experienced by a character rather than narrated by themselves. The basic Show, Don’t Tell mantra. I’m very interested to see in performance.

Also an integral point to this invited reading: we were asked to give any questions and feedback on cards while watching; more importantly, the producer gave the description of the show and asked if what they were saying matched what we just saw. What a great way to test run your marketing blurb!

June 8-28, 2013. Dates/times differ.


Round Rock

presented by Theatre Unleashed

Written & Directed by Aaron Kozak

Disclosure: I was offered opening weekend comps. I wrote a play in their 24-hour festival based on Pink Floyd songs. But most importantly:

I do love a Texas Sunrise.

Beyond those theater doors, I would never touch a Texas Sunrise. I am usually not a fan of sweet covering up the taste of my alcohol. Truly, it’s the novelty of the drink themed for a play that I love. And so my evening began.

I included Round Rock with these other pieces I saw in process because I also saw their workshop at last summer’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. Audiences can leave responses on the Fringe site, and since I’ve worked with Aaron, decided to essentially give it a dramaturgical  once-over. Last summer he simply had too much plot, not enough story. It was very fun to see how the show progressed. If I can, I’d like to see it again before the run ends, as I’m sure the actors settled deeper into their roles.

This full production offered the same story, with much more of the meaty stuff; characters have room to breath without losing the pacing needed for a good ‘ol western with a heart of gold. I left with a deep sense of family, including: the artists involved, the audience at opening, and the special definition of family that Kozak explores though typically outcast characters.

Theatre Unleashed always offers good fare at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and Kozak’s directing their 25 Plays Per Hour tradition. Last year that evening tossed my emotions around like a gourmet salad, and his keen eye should serve it well.

Another important part about the experience to note: Kozak and the team remembered my first response, and were all very exited to hear what I thought of the new production. Their attention to one audience member’s honest opinion goes a long way, and if more organizations opened their workshops and process to their audience, really taking and using the feedback, they might find it easier  to retain loyalty in the long run.

UPCOMING SNEAK PEEKS: Gracie N Rose by Anastasia Coon (reading at Celebration Theatre) & live-tweet of Long Way Go Down by Zayd Dorhn.


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