Entertainment » Theatre

The Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival Holds Champagne Gala

Monday Mar 20, 2017

The Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival (LAWTF) marks 24 years of producing close to 500 extraordinary multicultural and multidisciplinary solo performers from around the globe.

The longest-running annual solo festival for women in Los Angeles, LAWTF will take place March 23-26, 2017 at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood and at the Electric Lodge in Venice.

The Champagne Gala and Awards Ceremony on March 23 will be held in honor of exceptional women who have made laudable contributions in theater. This will be held at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Barnsdall Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90027. There is free parking onsite.

Following the reception at 7 p.m., the festivities continue at 8 p.m. with the presentation of the Integrity, Eternity, Rainbow, Maverick and Infinity Awards to distinguished women. (Integrity Awardee-Megan Cavallari; Eternity Awardee-Barbara Morrison; Rainbow Awardee-Estelle Campbell; Rainbow Awardee-Leslie K. Johnson; Maverick Awardee-Paulina Sahagun; and posthumously, Infinity Awardee-Doris Roberts.

The theme of the Opening Night Program on March 23 is "Standing on the Shoulders Of..." The evening will be directed by Adleane Hunter and hosted by Hattie Winston ("Becker") and Ted Lange ("The Love Boat"). Back by popular demand will be award-winning vocalist Eloise Laws. There will also be a performance by emerging vocalist Payton Aurora Jones.

The remainder of the Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will take place at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice, CA 90291.


Friday, March 24, 8 p.m. "Breaking Free"

Hosts: Tico Wells ("The Five Heartbeats"); Sky Palkowitz ("Calling America! Don't Hang Up!")


Heather Dowling ("Unemployed. Finally."): This is the story of a woman who had more than 30 jobs in 30 years before finally doing what everyone said she couldn't.

Nancy Ma ("Home"): Ma is a first-generation Chinese-American. Follow her as she goes from New York to new hope, from family to faith, from one mess to the next. This is her journey to find her way home.

Misty Monroe ("Unapologetically Black"): This woman moves through stages of "Nigrescence" having been raised in suburban Northern California and spending summers in South Central L.A. She deals with culture shock, the devastating effects of crack cocaine on her family and her ultimate self-acceptance.

Joyful Raven ("Tales of a Sexual Tomboy"): A raucous comedy about a horny tomboy, equipped with bad boundaries from her hippie upbringing, looking for empowerment in all the wrong places.

Saturday, March 25, 3 p.m. "Babies, Bodies and Mothers"

Hosts: Starletta DuPois ("The Notebook"), Rosie Lee Hooks ("Knock Me a Kiss")


Diane Barnes ("My Stroke of Luck"): Can the good doctor become a good patient? One woman's catastrophe and recovery looks at love, family and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Missy Hairston ("Awkwardly Fabulous"): A little girl's journey to womanhood and the people, places and situations that begin to uproot her confidence in herself and plant seeds of doubt about her body, love life, and life in general.

Vannia Ibarguen ("Inhabited Woman"): In search of balance, this dance piece explores the physical and emotional changes of motherhood.

Lisa Kotin ("How to Make Love with the Lights On"): A woman receives instructions from her inner voice on how to release self-consciousness about her body during intimacy.

Saturday, March 25, 8 p.m. "Around the World and Back"

Hosts: Eloise Laws (award-winning vocalist); James Pickens, Jr. ("Grey's Anatomy")


"Michele Farbman" ("Dora Maar"): Historical figure Dora Maar gives voice to her seductive relationship with painter Picasso and her own art form of photography.

Sloan Robinson ("Bananas! A Day in the Life of Josephine Baker"): An excerpt of the tour-de-force play based on one of the world's most versatile and beloved American entertainers who made Paris her home.

Angelina Villapiano ("Sorta Rican"): From suburbia to the block to the island, Angelina embarks on a journey of cultural identity that captures the essence of one slice of the Latina-American experience.

Sunday, March 26, 3 p.m. "And All That Jazz"

Hosts: Lynne Conner (Filmmaker, "Raising Kings"), Deborah Sharpe-Taylor, actor/vocalist)


Lynne Jassem ("From Como to Homo"): A ten-year-old tap dancer on the television show "Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall" in 1957, juggles her aggressive stage mother and career, all the while trying to hide her burning desire to be a boy.

Melissa R. Randel ("The Hat"): Having been raised by one jazz musician and married to another, the themes of silence, imbalance and unapologetic love continue to resonate for this woman.

Alice Williams ("Cousin Alice"): A London vocalist/ukulele player shares her authentic and versatile voice that has been influenced by jazz, blues, swing and Calypso.

Sunday, March 26, 7 p.m. "Unsilenced"

Hosts: Karen A. Clark ("The Women"); Barbara Roberts ("The Jamie Foxx Show"; "The Practice")


Carla Delaney ("Voices"): It's not until this voice-over artist meets the surprising voices in her head, her heart, her snotty respiratory system that she realizes the value of her own voice.

Loree Gold ("Snatched... Stories From Down There"): This travelogue woven with herstory and LGBT history is a sexually charged, soulful and sometimes devastating ride through issues of ageism, transgenderism, family dynamics, bad choices, grief, grace, love, loss and mostly lust -- and all the trouble it gets you into.

Juliette Jeffers ("Judgment Day"): Questioning motives and faith, this piece asks what if God is held responsible for all of the injustices that African Americans have endured? Thought-provoking and raw, we are left to ponder free will, destiny and culpability.

Ai Yoshihara ("My River Phoenix"): A woman searches for her own River Phoenix after his passing and finds him in the man she marries in America.

Founded by Executive Producer Adilah Barnes and Miriam Reed., the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival is an annual event unique among Los Angeles cultural institutions and should not be missed.

The Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival is a non-profit organization. The Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival organization is made possible this year in part by the City of West Hollywood, Department of Cultural Affairs of Los Angeles, City National Bank, City of Culver City, KPFK 90.7 and Adilah Barnes Productions.

Admission to the Gala is $50 or two tickets for $90 (includes light fare and champagne). For the other programs, ticket prices this year include general admission single show tickets at $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Industry (with valid I.D.), seniors and groups of ten or more, $18. Children 12 and under, $10.

For tickets or reservations, call 818-760-0408 or visit http://www.lawtf.org


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