"Hollywood Premiere Party – The Show" has 25 characters, which is large by L.A. theater standards. But when your audience is expecting to be immersed in a big-time movie launch, all the performers — from the caterers to the starlets to the fawning media — has to be in on the gag.
Taking its inspiration from "Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding," where members of the audience were guests at a big Italian celebration, "Hollywood Premiere Party" has the audience fill in for the usual premiere party-goers. It’s writer-director Kerry Logan’s long gestating baby. For inspiration he pulls from his decades as an actor, producer and occasional cater-waiter who once had a fur thrown at him by famed hotel heiress Leona Helmsley.
"A lot of areas of my past have culminated for this," Logan says. When asked if it could be called "Revenge of the Cater-Waiters," he can't help but agree.
According to Logan, the audience will get to hang out on the red carpet, mingle during the “party” as things unfold, and ultimately participate in a Q&A with the cast of the fake film.
There’s a main storyline that’s fairly scripted, but there's a lot of audience interaction. And how's this for a meta-experience: real actors are playing actors, directors and producers who — as part of the show — mistake audience members for folks in the industry ... who might actually be folks in the industry.
And because this is a fake premiere party for a non-existent movie called "Love and Waffles," there’s also a fake trailer for the film, which kind of looks real.
“I have had first-hand experience,” says Kelly Russo, who plays dim bulb starlet Hayden Haze. “My character I’ve made fun of for years, and I wanted to do her justice and make her as ridiculous as possible.”
Russo says there were a lot of personal experiences for her and the other performers to draw from: “I witnessed the starlet hanging all over the director, she’s 15 years younger than him, the loud obnoxious agents, the cool writers, and the actors running around. I’m sure I was one of them — Oh, pick me! Pick me!”
Haldane Morris plays ill-mannered British movie star, Mark Madson. “As far as the people coming to see me, they’re in for a real treat," says Morris, who's looking forward to the freedom he’ll have to misbehave. "I’ve been given the green light to do whatever my character would without getting arrested. Imagine combining Leonardo DiCaprio with Al Gore.”
The show seems to be banking on that love-hate relationship people have with fame. No one likes the paparazzi, but someone sure buys those tabloid magazines. And while jaded Hollywood types may also enjoy the “appropriate for ages 13-plus” sendup, Kerry Logan knows the real target he’s trying to hit:
“This is really, really built for tourists and out-of-towners. The goal is to be a staple in L.A., part of the tourism machine. People come, they go to Universal Studios, and they see 'Hollywood Premiere Party' as a regular event. And also, we’d like to open in Vegas.”
"Hollywood Premiere Party" will be staged at The Manor, a Hollywood nightclub on Vine Street, through Nov. 5. Tickets are $99 dollars, but that includes a meal (drinks are extra), a three-hour performance, and as much funny fake celebrity excess — and access — as you and your entourage can possibly handle.
Click the play button at the top of the page to hear the audio version.