Four Clowns, a Long Beach-fostered performance group focused on “redefining the audience’s relationship to the performers on stage,” has recently returned from a trip to Brazil and is now working on their fifth Hollywood Fringe Festival production, The Halfwits’ Last Hurrah. And while Hollywood is of course a bit farther to drive, who can blame them for seeking success as the returning winner of seven Hollywood Fringe awards?
An original piece penned by creative clowns Jamie Franta and Don Colliver, the play features a fame-hungry showman and his mischievous troupe of halfwits as they attempt to keep their variety show from tanking when faced with a vindictive ghost from the past, according to the announcement.
"It's wonderful how full circle things have come, us being trained a decade ago at Cal State Long Beach, then coming down to train the next generation of actors, and finally bringing those same actors to be a part of our company," the piece's Artistic Director Jeremy Aluma told the Post. "The City of Long Beach continues to be a thriving breeding ground for new clowns and collaborations."
Part Vaudeville tribute, part showbiz farce, Four Clowns will give their Hollywood audience (hopefully speckled with at least a few Long Beach locals and fans) an evening of laughter, music and mayhem. The Halfwits’ Last Hurrah will open Thursday, June 4 and can be seen through Friday, June 26 at The Lillian Theatre in Hollywood.
Directed by David Anthony Anis, this will be the troupe’s largest show to date in their six-year history, while the the cast will consist of five new members who will experience their first “adventure” with the clowns at the festival.
"For the past three seasons I have been pushing for a huge cast show, just like this one," said Aluma in a statement. "The Halfwits' Last Hurrah implements two of our company members' greatest strengths, our ability to create fine-tuned self-contained bits, and our pursuit to have a theatrical play that is funny, stunning, and moving. Our company finally has the staff, membership and artistry to make this happen."
As Aluma previously stated, the company has deep roots in Long Beach, with the show’s Costume Designer an MFA Graduate from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), the Set & Props Designer and Dance Choreographer as current CSULB students and two of the cast members as recent graduates from the university this year. In addition to the director, many cast members as well as the assistant director are CSULB grads and still call Long Beach their home.
Aluma developed Four Clowns’ first show, Four Clowns, which was produced at the inaugural Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2010. Four Clowns won Best in Physical Theatre and Dance and was nominated for Best World Premiere, as well as the Bitter Lemons Award for Most Outrageous Theatre at the festival that year, according to the release. Since its first show, the company continued to win the award for Best in Physical Theatre (2011, 2012, 2013) as well as Top of the Fringe with Romeo and Juliet in 2011 and Best World Premiere in 2013 for Me Rich You Learn.
The Halfwits' Last Hurrah will star Tyler Bremer, Jennifer Carroll, Charlotte Chanler, Don Colliver, Julia Davis, Jamie Franta, Elizabeth Godley, Dave Honigman, Benji Kaufman, Jolene Kim, Jamarr Love, and Helene Udy with pianist Wayne H. Holland, III; with Stage Manager Ashley Jo Navarro, Assistant Director Raymond Lee, Lighting Designer Donny Jackson, Fight Choreographer Matt Franta, Assistant Stage Manager Julianna Ojeda, Photographer Drew Eiden, Graphic Designer Zach Steel, Producers Jeremy Aluma, David Anis, Jamie Franta, and Sara Waugh and Associate Producer Benji Kaufman.
Tickets can be purchased ahead of time by clicking here.
The Lillian Theatre is located at 1076 Lillian Way, Los Angeles, CA 90038.