Tag Archives: solo show

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: The Princess Strikes Back

by Azo Safo

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Victoria Montalbano

WHAT: The Princess Strikes Back: One Woman’s Search for the Space Cowboy of her Dreams 

WHERE: Asylum @ Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre, 5636 Melrose Av

WHY: Chicago-based Writer/Actor Victoria Montalbano opens the show dressed in a sexy Princess Leia outfit, making it clear that this show will have Star Wars references and that the heroine will be badass!  She cleverly incorporates Star Wars references into a very interesting and relatable life story filled with messy relationships, life lessons and ultimately a transformation that is so very satisfying to witness.  Montalbano does not shy away from the details, including her experiences with online dating – she once dated a C-3PO.  A majority of the audience members this particular evening happened to be women and we were smitten with her. Montalbano knows how to tell a good story. As one audience member accurately said after her show, she is charming! The show is funny and the writing  is crisp, detailed and exciting – EVEN if you have never watched Star Wars.  She’s a relatable performer who entertained and made us cheer for her the whole evening.  This show has one more performance and deserves a good, boisterous audience! 

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10624

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#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Mermaid

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Italome Ohikhuare

WHAT: Mermaid

WHERE: The Broadwater Studio,  1078 Lillian Way

WHY: I was immediately taken in by Italome’s onstage presence. As she entered, dancing, she addressed us directly and thanked us for being in the space with her… then all of a sudden she excused herself, grabbed a bottle of pills and began to swallow them down with a glass of water. It’s striking, startling and disrupts every expectation you had when walking into the theatre. It is a priceless lesson on the power of writing and how acting serves as a powerful tool in telling stories. What I loved about this show was that I could enter into African mythology via the Nigerian American lens – a lens that as an African-American woman, I do not often have a chance to experience. As I closed my eyes, I could see, hear and longed for Africa and my arrival at the Lagos airport she so deliciously described.

Mermaid is a story rooted in culture, memory, magic and heartbreak. The hopes and dreams a mother has moving her family to America ultimately will split the ties that bind her in ways that will crush your soul. Yet do not despair, for Italome’s dynamic and gentle performance brings you into the world of her family. Witnessing Italome embody her cousin and her auntie, your heart remembers that family relationships not only shape us, but also create the possibility to free us to live our most authentic lives.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/6394

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Sunita: Back To Me

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Sunita Param

WHAT: Sunita: Back To Me

WHERE:  Asylum @ Stephanie Fuery Studio Theatre (Mainstage), 5636 Melrose Av

WHY: As soon as Sunita walked onstage, I was taken in by her beauty and elegance, yet it was hearing her voice even before seeing her that immediately connected me to the woman and the story she would so generously share with us. I felt as though I was at Café Carlyle in New York City as I was seated on the stage. Sunita and her pianist, Derek Purdy, treat us to an evening of classic cabaret, serenading us with a collection of songs from musicals, including one of my favorites, “Popular” from Wicked. Yet Sunita is not just singing musical soundtracks; she has delicately chosen songs that connect us to her own story of losses, gains and hard lessons learned. She gives us a rare theatrical opportunity where we, as an audience, can witness a retrospective of this fearless artist’s life.

Luckily, we have the privilege of meeting a woman who has rediscovered herself. A woman who, despite facing disappointment and heartbreak, persevered. Sunita’s tale of resilience serves as a powerful reminder of why music is an integral part of the human spirit. Her magnificent voice and the way she narrates her story will keep you enthralled throughout her performance.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10819

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Who in the World is Valerie Lacy?

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Valerie Lacy

WHAT: Who in the World is Valerie Lacy?

WHERE: Hudson Theatres (Hudson Guild) 6539 Santa Monica Bl

WHY: Valerie takes us on an emotional journey that will have you gasping in shock and shake you to your core. We root for and follow this curious, beautiful young girl as she develops a crush, falls in love, gets pregnant and marries her childhood sweetheart. One minute, we’re laughing out loud with her and listening to her beautiful voice, which makes you feel she is catching a distant memory or reconstructing her future. It feels good to celebrate this young couple in love who are raising a child together. It’s not until Valerie’s voice becomes distorted and her body morphs that we realize the relationship has morphed into an abusive and dire situation. Yet Valerie’s will, unbreakable spirit and determination are contagious throughout her performance. We want her to get everything she imagines and deserves. Go see this show. Go support Black women telling stories. Go support a woman who is reclaiming her voice and refuses to let anyone control her story. Go support theatre that is creating a space where we can come together as a community and heal pieces of ourselves.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10707

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#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Gaslighting

by Heather Dowling

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Fielding Edlow

WHAT: Gaslighting is My Love Language

WHERE: Hudson Theatres 6539 Santa Monica Bl

WHY: Fielding Edlow is a stand-up comedian, writer, and creator/star of award-winning digital series Bitter Homes and Gardens. The native New Yorker has performed stand-up at Edinburgh, Leicester, Boston Comedy Festival and now she brings her deeply personal and darkly comedic one-person show to the Hollywood Fringe. Gaslighting Is My Love Language is her scorchingly honest examination of her 13-yr marriage to a character actor husband that was held together by gaslighting and a longing to actually connect. She also examines the dysfunctional relationship between her parents and her own complicated relationship with her tween daughter. Meant for mature audiences.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10388

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Daddy Issues

by Heather Dowling

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Victoria Kelleher 

WHAT: Daddy Issues

WHERE: Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Avenue

WHY: In this hilarious and touching autobiographical comedy, Vikki reveals that she and her sister were, in fact, the first latch-key kids of Gen X. This led to a life of parentified, defiant adventure for Vikki as she raised herself in Minnesota. She went on to build an accomplished career as an actor in film and television in Los Angeles, but then in 2019, a 23 and Me test turned her past upside down, and her future right side up. “How many dads does it take to raise an unapologetically self-reliant woman?” It’s a question wonderfully answered in this surprisingly emotional comedy.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10691

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#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Dear Auntie B

by Heather Dowling

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO:  Becca Lustgarten

WHAT: Dear Auntie B

WHERE: Actors Company (The Little Theater) 916 N. Formosa Av

WHY: In this solo, sometimes musical dramedy, Becca Lustgarten plays Auntie B., an Upper West Side advice columnist whose outward expression is elegant, highly refined, almost anachronistic. As a self-proclaimed dating guru, her advice is sharp, hilarious and highly relevant. Over the course of the play, Auntie B. paints a picture of her perfect marriage to the perfect man, but it becomes apparent there’s something she is hiding from us, and herself. The fun begins to unravel as reality interrupts her opining on other’s lives. We find that we, the audience, are in the fact in the midst of her loss and unique expression of grief. Content warning: conversations about suicide.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10714

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”

The FPI Files: I am a Narrative: Kacie Rogers on Her Solo Show, “I Sell Windows”

by Elana Luo

A couple years ago, Kacie Rogers was anonymously nominated for the Free The Arts Shay Fellowship, a paid opportunity to write and develop a solo piece. She seized the chance, and wrote a five minute submission piece. A few weeks later, she found out that she had gotten the fellowship. And thus—her solo show I Sell Windows was born.

I Sell Windows, co-produced by Outside In Theatre & Bottle Tree Theatre (Kacie is one of the company’s co-founders), is an autobiographical collection of stories and reflections written and performed by Kacie. The anecdotes work through an artist’s experience of frustration and guilt, and let us be privy to a journey of self-discovery through grief. 

After seeing a performance of I Sell Windows, I called Kacie to chat about the process of putting it together. As the show’s writer, producer and performer, Kacie and her personal collection of experiences are its driving force. Among other things, we talk about theater as therapy, the joys of working with great creative collaborators and writing about the things that scare you most.

Elana Luo: Let’s start at the beginning. Tell me about coming up with the idea for this show.

Kacie Rogers: What I was always interested in was writing all of the scariest things I could think of that I’ve never thought I could say in front of a roomful of people. Stories that were the most interesting, or formative for me in one way or another. So that was my approach. Because theater, in so many ways, has been such a home for me, and such a place where I have channeled a countless amount of emotions through characters. I just always wondered what it would be like to stand up there and do it as myself. I think it’s an act of bravery. I thought it would be very cathartic.

Kacie Rogers in “I Sell Windows” – photo by JJ Hawkins

But I was also terrified that people would hate me. And so I was like, well, I need a collaborator. If I’m going to write all these scary things, I need a collaborator who I can trust, and I will always know that she loves me enough. There’s nothing too scary for me to say in front of her.

Elana: Was that Jaquita Ta’le, the director? And she’s also a co-founder of your company, Bottle Tree Theatre?

Kacie: Yes. She would guide me to what was interesting to her and away from things that didn’t seem like they were serving the narrative. I remember for a long time she was like, we just have to find a container.

Elana: An umbrella of sorts.

Kacie: Yeah. One thing I did trust is that  all these stories are coming from one common place. That common place is me. Ultimately, all we are as human beings are walking stories. So at some point if I just write down all these stories, I’m going to find a narrative somewhere, linear or non-linear. I am a narrative. And so I just kind of allowed myself to to write whatever and then trust that we would find a container. 

Elana: And what did you find?

Kacie: It’s so interesting—the container ended up being window selling, yes, but ultimately, it’s the death of my grandfather. A common factor of a lot of the stories was the guilt and frustration I feel around being imperfect, and unforgiveness around missing my grandfather’s death because of my desire to serve my artistry rather than going to serve my family. That was a huge revelation for me.

Kacie Rogers in “I Sell Windows” – photo by JJ Hawkins

Elana: Once you had all these stories and their container, what was developing the piece like?

Kacie: It’s so deeply personal, every single part of it. It’s really hard. There’s a lot of self doubt that is all over this process, because it is me–performing me, writing me, about me. So it’s very, very vulnerable. And you constantly want to change things, because you’re like, maybe people aren’t responding to me, you know? Maybe I should “do me” differently. And that’s really hard.

Elana: Has there been anything that has helped you deal with that?

Kacie: I think I’m actively learning to deal with it. I have the best team around me. Like really top to bottom. Jaquita, Jessica [Hanna, Producing Artistic Director of Outside In Theatre] and Chelsea [Boyd, Co-Founder of Bottle Tree Theatre]; Arlo [Sanders], Paul [Hungerford] and Matthew [Pitner] from Outside In; my stage manager Arielle [Hightower] and my puppeteers [Brittaney Talbot and Perry Daniel]… all of those people are so affirming at every step of the way. They have been so selfless in all the ways that they are willing to throw themselves into the work because they believe in it so deeply. And if anything has helped me to quell those doubts, it’s been looking around me and being so humbled and so encouraged by the endless amounts of work and heaps of appreciation that they have gifted me with.

Elana: That’s beautiful.

Kacie: I’m so thankful. But outside of that, I think it’s really important to accept that your thing does not have to be for everybody. You can be fully you, and your thing can be fully your thing, and be amazing at being your thing, and still not be for somebody else. And that’s okay. I think that’s a big learning curve. So that’s the lesson I’m currently trying to speak into myself.

Jessica Hanna (Producer), Jaquita Ta’le (Director), Kacie Rogers, Chelsea Boyd (Producer), Brittaney Talbot (Puppet Designer_Performer), Perry Daniels (Puppet Performer), Arielle Hightower (Stage Manager) after “I Sell Windows” opening – photo by Mallury P

Elana: Moving along in the process, will you tell me a little about producing the show? How did it make it onstage at Outside In?

Kacie: In 2022, Jacquita found an opportunity with Greenway Court Theatre. They were looking to help produce a show, so she submitted I Sell Windows. We didn’t get that opportunity, but they gave us another opportunity to do a one-night-only performance as a part of their Jam Poetry Festival. So I did that last year.

And Jessica Hanna—she directed me in a play years ago and we just kept in touch because we’re both big theater gals. I knew Jess had taken several shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, so I invited her to a coffee to pick her brain about what that process is like. It just so happened that the one-night-only presentation of I Sell Windows was within the next couple of weeks, so I invited her to see the show. She ended up coming, and I remember her walking out and being like, “let’s meet this week.” From there, she was like, “I’m starting a theater company. I want to produce your show. I want to give it a run and then I want to take it to Edinburgh!”

Elana: Wow.

Kacie: It was just like that. It was one of those dreamy meetings where everything you ever want to happen, happened.

Bottle Tree Theatre’s Chelsea Boyd, Kacie Rogers and Jaquita Ta’le – photo by JJ Hawkins

Elana: You’ve been lucky, but you’ve also been prepared.

Kacie: Chelsea Boyd always says, “All things will come together with ease and joy.” We just kind of keep doing the work, showing up and taking the opportunities that fall in front of us, and as we have it, truly all things have kind of come together with ease and joy. And I’m so thankful for that.

“I Sell Windows” plays through June 17th at Outside In Theatre’s ArtBox. Visit outsideintheatre.org/i-sell-windows for tickets and information.

Know a female or FPI-friendly theater, company or artist? Contact us at [email protected] & check out The FPI Files for more stories.

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#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Alive-ish

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF19’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Anabella Funk

WHAT: Alive-ish

WHERE: The Broadwater (Studio) 1078 Lillian Way


A great gift is to be reminded of the power of stillness. The show opens with a live cellist, violinist and pianist while Anabella stands looking at the audience. This brave moment seems to last an eternity; you begin to feel uncomfortable and immediately know that this show will not spare your heart. Through her use of ballet en pointe, song, multiple characters (all performed by Anabella) and modern dance, Anabella captures the heart of the audience with her penetrating eyes and daring ability to share painful truths with intense intimacy. She has a keen sense of humor, and takes us on a journey of youthful innocence, trauma and survival. Tackling issues that many don’t come back from, Anabella shows us that art is a constant saviour; it will always give us new breath, a new life on our own terms. Go see this show and hope you can get in!

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5875

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Jessie’s Messy Mind

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF19’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHOJessie Knowles

WHAT: Jessie’s Messy Mind

WHERE: Studio/Stage  120 N. Western Av, Los Angeles 90004


We are living in times when – now, more than ever – it is vital that we share experiences that can save lives. For too long, mental health has carried a negative stigma and a stamp of shame, discussed behind closed doors. Jessie refuses to live this kind of life and brings the audience into her personal experience of living with bipolar and schizophrenia hallucinations. Her fearless humor and directness draws the audience in, not through pity but hope. The original songs brought to life with Jessie’s beautiful voice, and her dancing, are gifts to the audience as she reveals how she’s been able to thrive and live her best life! GO! This is a celebration of the mind, body and heart. A yummy example of how much you can bear even when you think you can’t keep going. Keep going!

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/6004

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”