Thrillpeddlers Extends PEARLS OVER SHANGAI Through June 28
Thrillpeddlers is excited to announce that due to great reviews, sold-out houses and popular demand, they are extending the run of Pearls Over Shanghai now thru June 28, 2014. (originally scheduled to run thru May 31, 2014.) After an astounding record-breaking 22 month run, their award-winning production of Pearls Over Shanghai, San Francisco's Longest-Running Cockettes Musical Hit is back on the Hypnodrome stage for a Fifth Anniversary Revival Production. Pearls Over Shanghai unanimously received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, and this revival is a critic's delight all over again. It's a phenomenon that keeps on growing! Pearls Over Shanghai plays Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8:00 pm. The Hypnodrome is located at 575 10th St., in SF. 94103. (Bryant & Division Sts.)
Pearls Over Shanghai is an original musical by Link Martin (book/lyrics) and Scrumbly Koldewyn (music) that
marks the 45th anniversary of the formation of The Cockettes on New Year's Eve 1969-70.
Pearls Over Shanghai is a comic mock-operetta about white slavery, opium dens, and miscegenation set in the colorful world of 1937 Shanghai. Link Martin places his story at the crossroads of good and evil, his exotic "old sin town" is filled with singing sailors, humorous whores, foolish immortals, handmaidens and henchmen, all taking their places in streets teeming with a mix of foreign aristocrats, opium addicts, and gangland slave-trade czars.
Stage Director for Pearls Over Shanghai is Thrillpeddlers' Russell Blackwood, and original Cockette and composer Scrumbly Koldewyn serves as Musical Director and accompanist. With a cast of over 20, costumes a-plenty, and a score of 24 original songs, this production is the most eye-popping and toe-tapping in the Hypnodrome's history, with the scent of intoxicating perfume, poisonous flowers, opium, and sex oozing from every scene.
Three original Cockettes, Scrumbly Koldewyn, "Sweet Pam" Tent, and Rumi Missabu, who were in the original production of Pearls Over Shanghai, will perform in this production, bringing to life the whimsy and the madness that were the "all singing, all dancing, all cardboard" Cockettes.
The famed Cockettes were a gender-bending theatrical troupe who not only originated this show, but exerted a profound influence on the culture of our times, from the phenomenon of midnight movies to glitter rock stars (such as David Bowie and the New York Dolls) and their outrageous fashions. Pearls is a psychedelic musical inspired by sin-soaked Old Shanghai, classic films such as Shanghai Express with Marlene Dietrich, The Shanghai Gesture with Jean Tierney and Busby Berkeley movie musicals from Hollywood's Golden Age.
The musical stars, in order of appearance, The 3 Wobbling Robin Sisters - Zelda Koznofsky (Delightful), Birdie-Bob Watt (Deluxe), Jesse Cortez (Delicious); Steven Satyricon (Captain Eddy), Eric Tyson Wertz (LiLi Frustrata), Russell Blackwood (Mother Fu), Earl Paus (Chop Chop), Rumi Missabu (Madam Gin Sling), John Flaw (Chang), Sloane Smith (Woody), James Toczyl (Shangri La), Flynn Witmeyer (Hank, Wuwu), Bonni Suval (Lottie Wu), Gabriel Ross(Sebastian), Noah Haydon (Petrushka), Bruna Palmeiro, Diego Gomez, Jessica Finn, Bryn Laux(Whores), Rose Bobrick, Victoria Hibbert (Denizens), Steve Bolinger (Stewpot) and "Sweet Pam" Tent (Mrs. Goldberg).
Technical credits include scenery by James Blackwood, costumes by Tina Sogliuzzo, Dwight Overton, Billy Bowers & Flynn DeMarco and Tahara, lights by Nicholas Torre, and choreography by Noah Haydon and Bonni Suval.
Pairs of patrons will surely enjoy Hypnodrome's Shock Box seats for two. These themed seats include sumptuous Turkish Lounges, as well as private boxes including "Heaven and Hell,"The Pharaoh's Tomb," and "Padded Cell," which offer the same opportunity for illicit trysting that was once a feature of the Parisian Théâtre du Grand Guignol - with added special effects as a nod to the 1950's horror movie gimmicks of William Castle.
Russell Blackwood (Director / Producer) produced and directed his first Grand Guignol horror play 22 years ago with his own adaptation of the 1926 shocker The Laboratory of Hallucinations. That production led him to found Thrillpeddlers with his boyhood friend, Daniel Zilber. He's produced and directed for Thrillpeddlers ever since. In 1999, the duo produced the first Shocktoberfest!!, Thrillpeddlers annual Grand Guignol spectacular. Four years later, Thrillpeddlers launched the research web site www.grandguignol.com. In 2004 Russell and his husband, Jim Toczyl, opened The Hypnodrome to be Thrillpeddlers home. Producing and directing Scrumbly Koldewyn's four Cockettes musicals: Pearls Over Shanghai, Hot Greeks,Vice Palace, and Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma were other delightful milestones for Thrillpeddlers along the way. Russell's productions have played throughout the U.S. from NYC to Alaska, as well as England, Taiwan, Brazil, and South Africa. Other directing credits includeOtello and Carmen (Berkeley Opera); The Pirates of Penzance (Lamplighters), Ex-Lovers,Strangers in Paradox, and Women Behind Bars (Theatre Rhinoceros); Cabaret and Medea(Shotgun Players); and productions for the S.F., L.A., and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals. He earned his BFA in Acting from Boston University.
Scrumbly Koldewyn (Additional Lyrics, Composer/Music Director) was a founding member of The Cockettes and composed many songs for Pearls Over Shanghai, Hot Greeks, Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma, and other shows. In the 1980s he performed and composed for The Distractions, and then for 25 years with The Jesters Vocal Trio, touring extensively in Europe. He composed for approximately 36 original theatrical productions, including the Jesters' Singing Fools, and has been an accompanist/musical director and performer in theater and cabaret since the mid 1970s. Shows he created include The Untamed Stage (1920s Berlin Cabaret) in 1999 and Wilde Boys at NCTC in 2007 (BATCC awards for musical direction and best production--musical). Awards include the BATCC for original music (1981), two S.F. Bay Area Cabaret Gold Awards with the Jesters ('91 & '92), and the Dean Goodman Choice Award 2000 for Cabaret performance (Goldfield & Koldewyn). Currently, he is also music director at Stagebridge in Oakland, and New Conservatory Theatre Center in SF. Thrillpeddlers' revival of Mr. Koldewyn and Martin Worman's musical Vice Palace received seven BATCC Awards and performed at NYC's HOWL Festival.
Thrillpeddlers (www.thrillpeddlers.com) have been performing their unique brand of horror and fetish theatre in San Francisco since 1991. Under the direction of Russell Blackwood, Thrillpeddlers are continuously engaged in translating, adapting, and producing classic plays from the infamous repertoire of Le Théâtre du Grand Guignol and producing other works inspired by the Grand Guignol tradition. In 2008, Thrillpeddlers embraced another niche theatrical genre with the company's annual Theatre of the Ridiculous Revival. That same year they were invited to perform for NYC's HOWL Festival with their productions of Charles Busch's THEODORA, SHE-BITCH OF BYZANTIUM; Charles Ludlam's JACK IN THE BEANSTALK; and Link Martin and Scrumbly Koldewyn's PEARLS OVER SHANGHAI. Following this, a full production of PEARLS was mounted in San Francisco in 2009 and ran for twenty-two months. In the summer of 2011 they revived another of Koldewyn's works,
VICE PALACE. The hit show garnered six SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards and the group's second trip to New York to perform at the HOWL Festival which also included a special performance at NYC's Lincoln Center to celebrate the life and works of long time Koldewyn collaborator, Martin Worman. Thrillpeddlers have since produced two additional Cockettes musicals - to wide aclaim: HOT GREEKS and TINSEL TARTS IN A HOT COMA.
The company's SOMA performance venue, The Hypnodrome, is tailor-made for the specific needs of horror theatre, musical extravaganzas, and "lights-out" spook show spectacle. Inaugurating The Hypnodrome with WELCOME TO THE HYPNODROME in 2004, Thrillpeddlers have gone on to produce wildly popular Grand Guignol bills including BLOOD BUCKET BALLYHOO, FLAMING SIN, AUDACIOUS ARTEFACTS, KISS OF BLOOD and the recent hit, FEAR OVER FRISCO. SHOCKTOBERFEST!!, Thrillpeddlers' annual pageant of terror and titillation, is now in its 13th year and has become a San Francisco Halloween favorite. Prior to that, the company's production history includes the American premiere of Clive Barker's FRANKENSTEIN IN LOVE, MONDO ANDRONICUS (selected Best of the 1997 S.F. Fringe Festival), and a double-bill of THE MEDIUM and A CRIME IN THE MADHOUSE (in Pretoria, South Africa). Thrillpeddlers has won the Guardian's "Best of the Bay" and three "Best of San Francisco" awards from SF Weekly. Thrillpeddlers Theatre Company received a coveted 2009 GOLDIE AWARD (Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery award) from the SF Bay Guardian! In 2010, 7 X 7 Magazine named Thrillpeddlers "BEST UNDERGROUND THEATRE COMPANY IN SF." They are also the purveyors of www.GrandGuignol.com, the most complete source of Grand Guignol information on the Net.
Tickets are $30 general admission and $35 for front row seats, "Shock Boxes," and "Turkish Lounges." They can be purchased at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/571738 or by calling 800/ 838- 3006.