LOS ANGELES - Theater company Theatre Unleashed has released its 2012 season and it features an original from an acclaimed playwright, a West Coast premiere of a New York hit, three shows at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, the return of two favorites and the company's first attempt at two musicals.Theatre Unleashed is entering its fifth season of operation. "It's a special season for us," said co-artistic director Carlos Martinez. "We're celebrating a landmark year by taking more risks as a company, building on our successes and developing new ways to achieve the goal laid out in our mission statement of creating truly remarkable theatre." The new season opens in March with the mainstage production of "The Spidey Project." In it, nerdy social outcast Peter Parker attempts to defeat villains such as The Scorpion, Rhino, Electro, The Chameleon and perhaps his biggest nemesis of all: himself. Theatre Unleashed will present three plays at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June, including "25PPH," "Round Rock" and "The Divine Madness of Isabella." "25PPH" features 25 original short plays with more than 50 characters...and it's all performed in less than an hour. The production fuses comedy, drama and everything else in speed theater. "Round Rock" is the Texas legend of the Sam Bass Gang, a group of notorious outlaws in the late 1800s best known for committing the largest train robbery in U.S. history. At the center of a jurisdictional crisis between the old and new law enforcement agencies of America, the gang must choose between a life of adventure and life of convention. A story about love and friendship, the Western epic from acclaimed playwright Aaron Kozak blends old fashioned rustic charm with a darkly comic style. "The Divine Madness of Isabella" tells the story of Isabella Andreini, greatest actress of the commedia dell' arte. Finding herself performing alone on a stage, Isabella is challenged to improvise a new scenario - the story of her life. Isabella uses her unparalleled craft to tell her story and delve into the madness that fuels her art. Using masks, puppets and sheer imagination, award-winning actress Wendy Gough brings to life some 20-plus characters in a show that flies by at a breakneck pace. Theatre Unleashed returns to the mainstage with "Little Shop of Horrors" in September. In this dark, comedic and classic musical set in and around a struggling flower shop in "Skid Row," down-on-his-luck Seymour Krelborn's life changes when he takes possession of a very peculiar plant. Rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown help tell Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's wildly popular story of what happens when that very peculiar plant gets a hunger that normal plant food simply can't satisfy. The season closes with "It's a Wonderful Life" in December. The show takes place at KAWL, a struggling 1940s radio station that good-hearted owner Michael Anderson is barely keeping alive. He calls on some old friends (with big personalities) and some less-than-professional station employees to offer up the touching masterpiece in what might sadly be the station's last live show. But it is the holidays, a time when miracles can happen. For information on tickets and specific show times, go to theatreunleashed.com or call (818) 849-4039.
********** Published: January 26, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 41