Movies, music, TV, arts and entertainment, straight from Southern California.
Hosted by John Horn
Airs Temporarily on hiatus so that our staff can help out our colleagues in the KPCC newsroom and on our other shows.

'La La Land' gets a drag parody that's so bad it's good

Jimmy Fowlie as Mia Dolan in
Jimmy Fowlie as Mia Dolan in "So Long Boulder City," a parody of the one-woman show that's central to the story in "La La Land," but never fully shown in the film.
Celebration Theater

Listen to story

Download this story 15MB

The movie "La La Land" was a hit by pretty much every measure — it grossed more than $150 million at the domestic box office, took home six Oscars (not "Best Picture," but still), and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti even declared a "La La Land" Day.

But possibly the most important marker of success? "La La Land" now has its own drag parody show.

It’s a play called “So Long Boulder City,” presented by Celebration Theatre at The Lex in Hollywood. It imagines what the one-woman show in "La La Land," starring, written and directed by Emma Stone’s character, Mia Dolan, might have looked like.

Emma Stone as Mia Dolan in
Emma Stone as Mia Dolan in "La La Land." In this scene, she steps out on stage to perform her one-woman show "So Long Boulder City."
Dale Robinette

In "La La Land," you see only a few glimpses of the "So Long Boulder City" set, one page of the script, and the meager audience turnout. The flop causes Mia to quit acting and break up with her boyfriend Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling. But it also launches Mia's movie career, when a casting agent sees her performance and tracks her down.

Two veterans of the Groundlings Theatre Company, Jimmy Fowlie and Jordan Black, decided to fill in the blanks. It all started with a question Fowlie posed on Facebook:

"I had seen 'La La Land' and I actually really loved it. I saw it in theaters twice," Fowlie says. "But I couldn’t get over the one-woman show that [Mia] did, just because it just seemed so — what was it about? And also, she had never written anything before and this show that was so poorly attended and so poorly received ends up making her this huge star. So I just had the idea: wouldn’t it be funny just to write her whole one-woman show?"

Fowlie enlisted the help of his friend Jordan Black to co-write and direct the play. The two started by watching the film a few times to pick up any clues they could about Mia's show.

"Since it was called ‘So Long Boulder City,’ we knew it had to do with her leaving home and coming to Hollywood," Black says. "So we were just picking up all those little breadcrumbs and then we just exaggerated them from there. But I feel like even if you didn’t see the movie, there’s still plenty in the show to make you laugh, 'cause it’s really just a send-up of one-person shows is really what we’re doing."

Jimmy Fowlie as Mia Dolan in
Jimmy Fowlie as Mia Dolan in "So Long Boulder City" at Celebration Theatre at The Lex in Hollywood.
Courtesy of Jimmy Fowlie

A few achingly long on-stage costume changes, a failed attempt at improv, and a 4 1/2 minute performance of the "Electric Slide" help give the show some of its "so bad it's good" charm.

"I’ve been to these shows where you see someone who’s so delusional," Black says. "But yet they have this insane level of confidence to back it up. And that’s the Mia Dolan in our show — that character. That is really what drives her. She has this unearned confidence, which is really kind of admirable."


A post shared by Jimmy Fowlie (@jimmyfowlie) on

And luckily for Black and Fowlie, their version of "So Long Boulder City" hasn't been a flop like Mia's. After performances started selling out, Celebration Theatre added additional show times and now there's even talk of taking the play to New York City.

"The movie was so beloved and people took it very seriously because it was a throwback to the old musicals of yesteryear," Black says. "And then all of a sudden you have Jimmy's show. It's just a release and a relief to make fun of these things that everyone's taken so seriously."

To hear the feature about "So Long Boulder City," click the blue player above.

"So Long Boulder City" is playing at Celebration Theatre at The Lex through September 3rd.

Get more stories like this

Delivered every Thursday, The Frame weekly email features the latest in Movies, music, TV, arts and entertainment.