Michael Shaw Fisher

The third annual Hollywood Fringe Festival, Hollywood's fearless celebration of the emerging arts is back June 13 - 30, 2013, and over the next couple of weeks I'll be featuring some of the musical productions hoping to entice audiences to see their latest work. You'll find every kind of show you can think of, produced by local, national, and international arts companies and independent producers in venues that might be very traditional or completely unorthodox.

Participation in the Hollywood Fringe is entirely open and uncensored. This free-for-all approach underlines the festival's mission to be a platform for artists without the barrier of a curative body. By opening the gates to anyone with a vision, the festival is able to exhibit the most diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view the world has to offer. First up are Michael Shaw Fisher and EXORCISTIC: THE ROCK MUSICAL PARODY EXPERIMENT, and Andrew Potter's THE ROAD TO HIGH STREET.

June 6 (PREVIEW), 8, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 27, 29

Michael Shaw Fisher, the creator of last year's Fringe hit Doomsday Cabaret, returns this year with a new 80-minute musical parody called EXORCISTIC: THE ROCK MUSICAL PARODY EXPERIMENT, and even the story of how the musical came to be is a riot. Check out what Fisher says about the musical and what you'll see when you come to the Fringe.

"I envisioned this exorcist rock musical back in 2011 beginning with the image of a possessed profane lounge singer/possessed girl. I wrote a bunch of music and wanted to mount the show in 2012 but there was another Exorcistic themed show happening at the Geffen which was a serious play based on William Peter Blatty's book. Even though I'm small fry compared to the Geffen they still wanted me to wait to do the musical parody. The writer of the original book and film, William Peter Blatty, contacted the fringe personally about it and explained that if I was to do it next year then that would be probably be okay, so instead I wrote Doomsday Cabaret very quickly and put EXORCISTIC on hold." [And we all know how successful Best of the Fringe Doomsday turned out to be.]

Flash forward to 2013. Fisher emails Blatty to let him know that he is intending to do the parody musical and a surprising thing happens. Fisher says, "In the email I gave him links to reviews of Doomsday and he responded with the exciting idea that we might possibly collaborate on a musical together based on one of his other novels "Demons Five Exorcists Nothing". To be clear, EXORCISTIC is NOT a collaboration with Blatty, but it has given me this great opportunity to develop some new musical ideas for a possible future project with him, and that is great! As far as EXORCISTIC goes, he eventually read the script, advised me to change the character names, and gave it his blessing for the Fringe."

The creative team is a familiar one; Ken Sawyer takes on the producer/horror expert role and Pat Towne, who directed the musical play Joe's Garage based on Frank Zappa's rock opera, will direct. Michael Teoli, who did arrangements and musical direction for Doomsday Cabaret, is back in the same capacity on EXORCISTIC. Fisher also has a great cast lined up that includes Jesse Merlin (Re-Animator the Musical, Silence! the Musical), Curt Bonnem and Jimmy Swan (both from Lovelace) and Laura Sperrazza, lead singer of the band the Glombies.

Does it have anything in common with parody musicals like Re-Animator or Silence!? According to Fisher, "This show is very different from a straight parody like Silence! and it also isn't a direct adaptation like Re-Animator. EXORCISTIC is a bit like Noises Off where we meet a highbrow, pretentious theatre company going broke that hopes to capitalize on the 40th anniversary of The Exorcist in order to survive. They decide to do a rock musical experiment where they can do both parody and deconstruct the political and social relevance of its thematic layers. We watch the show go from being a staged reading to the Hollywood fringe, to becoming a huge hit - all while the company is summoning dark forces they don't understand.

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Ellen Dostal In addition to being part of the west coast Broadway World team, Ellen also publishes two popular Southern California Theatre Blogs - Musicals in LA and Shakespeare in LA. An actress, singer and voiceover artist, she is also a producer with the Academy for New Musical Theatre, and works with the development of new musicals across the country.

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