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Published on January 16th, 2014 | by Zamná Ávila

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Hollywood Shorts

By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer

Hollywood Shorts is an evening of brief, energetic comic delights, put together by 19 actors and eight playwrights for eight short plays.

These 29 people have won Emmy and Golden Globe awards and have been nominated for Oscars. The level of talent and imagination is on display two more Wednesday nights at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. If you want to hang out with plenty of Hollywood’s professionals, you’ve just got to head up to there for an evening you’ll remember. While you are there have a great dinner on Ventura Boulevard.

All 8 of the short plays (never more than 10 minutes in length) are unashamedly comic. Maybe it’s because all the playwrights were in a funny mood. Or, more likely, it’s because these plays are ones that could be quickly adapted to television — if there still were variety programs out there. (None of them would do as a reality TV episode.)

The first play is simple and funny. In Let’s Get Merged, Wayne Robbins explores (just a little) the experience of a couple who want to get their checking accounts merged before marriage. They find it hard indeed to do. Bryan Rasmussen is the less-than-understanding Russian banker who meets with Will (Gregory James) and Alice (Camille Thornton-Alson) and makes a lot of waves.

Let’s Hear it for Mr. Webb Sharp, by Norm Guzenhauser, is a backstage look at a man who only wants to sing and get, well, sexual gratification. Sean Bolger is Webb Sharp and Bill Chott is his manager, who plies Webb with booze so he can handle singing on stage. Brei (Kimmy Robertson) is briefly in the mix, but mostly it’s about getting another concert out of a man who is, well, more than a little demanding. Mossie Drier directed with a sure hand.

Ready Not Ready, written by Bill Diamond, is set on the sidelines of a soccer match, where Elizabeth Bliss as Nicky, Juan Pope as Matt and Lauri Hendler as Kat work out a new relationship while cheering on the kids. Not Breaking Up Isn’t Hard to Do by Russ Woody is much about language as Margot Danis as Trish and Tony Nunes as Phil engage in some pretty confusing and funny linguistics. Rasmussen directs.

The fact that 19 actors are crowded in the Whitefire, with a sold out audience on opening night, was amazing in itself. Scenery changes and cast changes were seamless. It was a night of great excitement as well. Many people were on hand to find out what a writer they knew could do in such restricted circumstances. Writers from Cheers, The Drew Carry Show and Murphy Brown were among the contributors.

This is the latest in an ongoing series of short plays at the Whitefire. Fall Shorts was there a few months ago (in October) and there will certainly be more in the future.

Tickets are $20. Performances are at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Jan. 29.

Details: (818) 990-2324; www.whitefiretheatre.com
Venue: Whitefire Theatre
Location: 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks

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