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BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun

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A live chat show in real-time with dinner and drinks, odd comedy and groovy guests? Yes, please.

BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun

The Green Room 42's resident septuagenarian redneck lesbian has returned to the artistic home-away-from-home where she has been saving souls one cabaret room at a time but Leola has returned with a new format with her new show LEOLA'S LADYLAND LOUNGE. To date, all of Leola's acts, be they nightclub, cabaret, solo show theater venues, have all been comedic monology. Working on her own, the Piggly Wiggly Deli Manager from Waycross Georgia has used her unique point of view and her backwoods sense of humor with a knowing heart to bring audiences to tears of laughter. Her popularity and individuality garnered her a Broadway World Cabaret Audience Award for Best Spoken Word Show, and this year she is nominated for the same award. There is no denying the popularity of the Kelly Clarkson-loving Christian who loves the women of Ladyland.

This time, though, Leola is not alone on the stage of The Green Room 42 - she has company.

BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun Leola's Ladyland Lounge is a good old-fashioned chat show, in traditional (ish) chat show format. Leola has an opening monologue, a musical guest or two (usually an artist who will be performing on that stage in an upcoming show), and a spotlight guest that veers out of the performing arts. There is audience participation, gags, video reels, and games. But mostly there is laughter. There is laughter wherever Leola goes.

BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun The creation of comedy writer and improv artist Will Nolan, Leola taps into a lot of different things for a variety of people, for reasons personal and informed by each audience member's points of view and entertainment needs. For the lovers of comedy, there is Leola's irreverent sense of humor, one that pushes boundaries that come so close to being inappropriate that some audience members might occasionally cry out, "Oh NO!" but the truth is that Leola can get away with it because she has a kind of Stan Laurel about her - active but vacant, benevolent but biting, truthful but absent malice. It is in the wide-eyed deadpan delivery that Nolan keeps Leola from ever being offensive, even though her rhetoric can run the gamut from feminine hygiene to rape culture. When Leola is in the room, the faint-at-heart may be in need of their smelling salts, and the children may best be entertained watching any of the high-quality video parodies in the show.

BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun

As for her chat show skills, Leola just had her third episode and she seems to take to the format rather like a catfish to a creek. Thursday night at Leola's Ladyland Lounge the guests were to be TGR42 upcoming acts Amy Spanger (November 29th) and Ben Bogen (December 9th) and author/playwright Kia Corthron. When Ms. Spanger had to (suddenly) take the night off for an important business matter (which everyone should understand and support), Leola proved herself a great chat show host by calling in a last-minute-replacement in the form of political song-parodist, singer-songwriter, and internet cake tutorial sensation Jen Houston. The show went on (mostly) as planned and Leola hadn't missed a beat. Her interviews were fun, funny, entertaining, and informative, as Nolan managed to find the balance required to make these interviews all of those things, which is not as easy a task as one might suspect, under these particular circumstances.

BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun

If one looks to another famous character-led chat show, The Dame Edna Experience, one can note that, while a fine talk show host, Barry never dropped the Dame Edna persona. A genius at his craft, Humphries managed to run the program without ever losing track of the character he created, making the show always funny, even if it wasn't always an informative chat show, as much as it was a comedy program, a parody sketch worthy of Carol Burnett or Laugh-In. Nolan, a person who is interested in hearing peoples' stories and in giving them the use of the stage to share those stories with other interested parties, is genuinely focused on the asking of questions and the hearing of answers. Leola - not so much. Leola loves people, and she loves to love on people, and she loves to share people - but mostly Leola loves to share herself, Leola loves to talk, and Leola loves to make people laugh. As the creator of the Leola character and the creator of the chat show format of Leola's Ladyland Lounge, Will Nolan is still learning how to make a simultaneous space on the stage for Will and for Leola. The questions get asked but sometimes Leola's need for comedy gets in the way of the answers... sometimes Will's need to hear the story puts Leola's comedy in the back seat. It is a balancing act that Nolan is managing with love and professionalism, and though it isn't quite there yet, as Miss Truvy would say, "Your form and content will improve with time" but it is up to Will to do the work, the cabaret community to participate by way of coming on the show, and The Green Room 42 to give Nolan and Leola this ongoing residency to grow the show and support the club and the artists that will play there.

BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun

As for the show Thursday night, the guests could not have been more entertaining, interesting or enjoyable (not to mention easy on the eye, all three of them). Jen Houston chatted about her internet show SHUT YOUR CAKE HOLE and her upcoming film eVil Sublet (featuring iconic television actress Sally Struthers), before absolutely slaying with a performance of "Black Tears" by Imelda May, leaving a room full of people asking themselves WHERE is the Jen Houston solo show? In the 'Spotlight' spot, Leola invited fascinating and fabulous Kia Corthron who discussed her writing and, specifically, her novels The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, and Moon and the Mars, before performing two different readings that would indicate that, at some point, this writer was also an actor. In the third spot of the evening, Leola welcomed Broadway heartthrob and internet inspiration Ben Bogen to discuss TEENAGE DREAM, his solo show cabaret debut, which will play The Green Room 42 on December 9th, before kicking a little pop song booty with the title song to his show. All three of Leola's guests were just the kind of people you hope to see in a chat show - people with good stories, stage presence, and talent, and they all took to Leola like she was their favorite eccentric Auntie which, in a way, she kind of is. For a third episode in, it's looking like a good fit for The Green Room 42 and for the industry - there are variety shows and open mics, but not a lot of chat shows, and it's a good thing to have someone who is funny, smart, and lovable interested in putting the artists in the spotlight, in giving them a voice that goes a little deeper than the songs they will sing and the stories they will tell.

BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun
Audience participation with prizes!

Welcome back, Leola. Keep saving those souls, one cabaret room and one chat show at a time. And, New Yorkers, look into Leola's Ladyland Lounge for a wacky night out with some cabaret characters you will certainly enjoy getting to know.

Leola's Ladyland Lounge plays The Green Room 42 again December 16th (tickets HERE) and January 20th (tickets HERE) and February 10th (tickets HERE).

Visit the main page of The Green Room 42 website for a full calendar of shows HERE.

Leola's website is HERE.

Jen Houston's Youtube channel is HERE, the Shut Your Cake Hole YouTube channel is HERE and the eVil Sublet Facebook page is HERE.

Kia Corthron has a website HERE.

THIS is the Ben Bogen website and tickets for his December 9th performance of TEENAGE DREAM can be acquired HERE.

BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun
BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun

BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun BWW Review: LEOLA'S LADY LAND LOUNGE at The Green Room 42 is New, Cool, and Tons O' Fun Photos by Stephen Mosher


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