“7 Redneck Cheerleaders” celebrates 10-year revival with team spirit

0
756
Photo by Bren Coombs. SPIRITED PERFORMANCES: Jennifer Finch, front, Tara Norris, middle left, James Pippi, Darryl Armbruster, Alexandra Hoover, along with Micah Cohen, back left, Whitney Fortmueller, and John Salandria star in the the story of a novice pl

Elephant Theatre Company is presenting the 10-year revival of their Cult Hit “7 Redneck Cheerleaders” by Louis Jacobs, directed by David Fofi at the Lillian Theatre (1036 N. Lillian Way in Hollywood) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. from today through March 8.

The production marks the 10-year anniversary of this hilarious critics pick and includes several of the original cast members. The revival features a revolving cast with Cody Andersen, Daryl Armbruster, Iris Bahr, Micah Cohen, Etienne Eckert, Jennifer Finch, David Fofi, Whitney Fortmueller, Alexandra Hoover, Kate Huffman, Louis Jacobs, Julia Larson, Tara Norris, James Pippi, and LeShay Tomlinson.  This review will mention the cast members in the opening night performance.  Each plays two roles, the actor’s real persona as well as the character each is playing in Ben’s show ill-fated show.

“7 Redneck Cheerleaders” is the story of a novice playwright and expert push over, Ben (Micah Cohen), attempting to direct his first play at the advice of a favorite aunt on her deathbed. Things get rolling when he meets Brad, a Hollywood theatre producer (James Pippi) at Trader Joe’s who agrees to produce the show as long as he can be in it. Ben’s play within the play is an American Tale of a small town boy, Young (John Salandria), who against the wishes of a tyrannical, Podunk father Mick (James Pippi channeling every macho redneck dude), is determined to become a high school cheerleader along with the two lovely, nubile girls on the squad (Whitney Fortmueller and Kate Huffman). Young’s mother Liz (the radiant Etienne Eckert) is on Young’s side, which causes terrible family shouting matches.

Out of his element with actor-types, Ben rehearses the cast in their redneck roles. But it soon becomes apparent that the actors and not the director are really in charge.  Hearts are trampled on. Rim jobs are discussed. Testicles are mangled and violence escalates.  Poor Ted (Louis Douglas Jacobs) just wants to find his next lover, sashaying his way through every scene. And out and proud lesbian Rose (LeShay Tomlinson) chews the scenery as Sheila, drinking and smoking her way through the ups and downs of rehearsals. When an accident causes her demise, how can the play possibly open the next night?  With a re-write of course, writing her character out of the show.  Can the actors pull it off?  Not without lots of laughs, of course, and cathartic, cheer-competition finale with Ben’s favorite aunt smiling down from Lesbian Heaven.

Director David Fofi surely recognizes all the actor types, from diva to doormat, who populate the show and allows us to see the good and the bad in each of them. No doubt you will root for good to win out, and you will not be disappointed as you laugh your way through this uproarious redneck comedy!

“7 Redneck Cheerleaders” is directed by David Fofi, produced by Bren Coombs, with set and lighting by Elephant Stageworks and Sound design by Matt Richter (lots of great country and western songs too). Tickets are $25 and available at Plays411.net/redneck or by calling (323) 960-4429.