Fairy Tale Theatre 18 & Over is bound to strike a chord with anyone who recalls Fractured Fairy Tales cartoons, Avenue Q or Pee Wee’s Playhouse.
The show opens tonight in Los Angeles, and as playwright J. Michael Feldman explains, the newest iteration of his au courant “Canterbury Tales” has something previous versions never did — music.
“I love writing songs,” says Feldman, who wrote lyrics that Jason Currie then set to music. “But because I don’t have the greatest confidence in myself as a singer, this show’s cast has expanded from what’s usually about six to ten, with people playing multiple parts. We also have a terrific pianist in Noriko Ogawa, who’s playing to recorded tracks, kind of an innovative idea that works really well in the space.”
The show is intended to offer an assortment of life-lesson parables inspired by a series of encounters Feldman had in which he could never quite ascertain whether he was on a date. “This guy bought tickets to a show,” Feldman says with a laugh, “and his siblings showed up. It was … weird.”
Another veteran funnyman and playwright provided the nudge he needed to take his idea to the stage. “I was really taken by what Steve Martin wrote in his book, ‘Born Standing Up,’ where he said ‘just do anything you want, no matter how crazy, outrageous or absurd.’ So that’s when it all fell into place and what led me to think I could incorporate puppets and animals . . . whatever.”
As a recent transplant from New York to L.A., Feldman was “trying to get my footing. So I started doing this character in my stand-up act where I was a squirrel who’d buried a nut and now I’m awake again and can’t find this nut. So I’m like up on the stage screaming at the audience about whether they’ve seen this nut, because I’m starving.”
This time out (and under the guiding hand of director Annie McVey), the show will be lampooning a variety of musical genres, running the gamut from Sondheim to blues to like opera for the gay cat ballet tale.
“That’s one of the more … indiscreet ones,” he chuckles. “There is some cat-on-cat sex because this gay cat named Frisky is trying to get over his obsession with a straight cat and winds up at an orgy.”
For more information about Fairy Tale Theatre, see the listing in our event section.
Last modified: March 12, 2019