ANNIE KORZEN FAMOUS ACTRESS to Play The Braid This Summer
Annie Korzen, best known for her role as the Seinfeld parent's obnoxious Boca Vista neighbor, has written and will perform an original show about her hectic, eclectic and electric life on the big and small screens. Producers from Jane the Virgin to Brooklyn 99 call Korzen in when they need someone who can get a laugh on one line. Jill Soloway, creator of the Emmy-winning Transparent, says, "Annie Korzen is a force of nature - hilarious, brilliant, and a true inspiration."
Annie Korzen, Seinfeld's Doris Klompus, knows that the world would be a better place if everyone would just do what she says, and she has very specific plans for her future and for everyone else's. This perennial bit player, highly opinionated woman, exasperated mother, and mortified daughter knows exactly what she wants out of life - until life proves her wrong. An evening of laughs, tears, music - and constructive criticism - as Annie learns that it's only when she lets go and gives up control that things fall into place.
Kelly Carlin, author of A Carlin Home Companion, Growing Up with George, adds, "Annie is a storyteller extraordinaire. Whenever I see her, I feel like I'm in a master class."
The ironically titled world premiere of Annie Korzen Famous Actress will open in previews at The Braid, home of Jewish Women's Theatre (JWT) in Santa Monica on July 8. In this funny and moving show, Korzen tackles poignant personal issues and dishes show biz gossip. She's not afraid to bare her soul, but she'll do it with a smile as she infuses each story in the show with honesty, humor and class. Or rather, no class when she confesses to bargain hunting at garage sales or aspiring to do a nude scene. Maybe with George Clooney.
And Annabelle Gurwitch, New York Times bestselling author and actress, Wherever You Go, There They Are says, "Annie's late-in-life success story keeps us in stitches and occasionally brings us to tears."
The show begins when Annie learns of her son's plan to adopt a baby. The event is sure to be a disaster, plus Annie is not thrilled about being demoted from the "leading lady" to a "bit player" in his life. She then takes her audience on a hilarious journey through her resentment of the world's most neurotic mothers, to her "crap" acting career, to her rocky relationship with Judaism, and to her traumas with childbirth which led to a bizarre stay in in a Danish psych ward.
Annie guides us through her bumpy career where each audition leads to new anguish. She tells how one director was looking for "an Annie Korzen type," then hired a perky little blond. "I am too Jewish to play myself," she cries. "When they make a movie out of this show, my role will probably go to Reese Witherspoon!"
Things change after "the lucky accident of getting on Seinfeld" and what that recurring role, which actually involved her speaking only 117 words, did for her self-esteem and her bank account.
Annie has a near-death experience in the ICU with a very young doctor who recognizes her from Seinfeld. Although she is still only a bit player, the doctor tells the nurses that their patient is none other than Annie Korzen Famous Actress.
Cindy Chupack, Executive Producer of Sex and the City writes, " I love every story Annie tells -she will make you laugh, cry, and nod in recognition. Between laughs, she is able to capture gorgeous, surprising, life-affirming truths." Writer/actress Monica Piper (Not That Jewish) agrees, "She's brilliantly funny, insightful, touching, and always leaves you wanting more."
Korzen explains why she is taking on the demands of the live performance of a one-woman show when she has reached what Hollywood often refers to as "a certain age."
"First, I hope that hearing about my personal challenges, will make everyone laugh about their own trials. Some of my worst experiences have led me to my greatest joys, so I want to inspire people to relinquish control and just allow life to happen. Also, I'm doing this show because they say that comedy is a way of turning pain into money. Fingers crossed!"
"I started out in New York's improvisational OFF CENTER STREET THEATER, where one of my roles was an aging hooker named Dusty Pussy. Then we moved to L. A., where I became a perennial bit player.
"But I always dreamed of being a leading lady. As a child, I practiced my Oscar acceptance speech on the fire escape of our Bronx apartment. However, my dreams didn't turn out exactly the way I planned - and that's the good news!
"I've always felt like a failure. I suspected I had brains and talent and humor, but never knew what do to with them. Now, at what some might call 'a ripe old age,' I have finally discovered my true vocation- storytelling: speaking my own words. I have become a leading lady, and am - late in life, and in a totally unexpected way - getting those cheers from the audience that I always dreamed of.
"In Annie Korzen Famous Actress, I use my experiences as a performer, a daughter, and, most important, as a mother - to inspire people to throw away their list of 'must haves' and start saying 'yes' to new opportunities, whatever age they are."
Korzen is an actress, author, lecturer, essayist, teacher and NPR commentator. She is also somewhat of a "rock star" on the storytelling circuit, having toured with The Moth Mainstage throughout the USA. The Moth is the flagship program of the Peabody-award winning nonprofit group dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling.
Susan Morgenstern, JWT's director of Annie Korzen Famous Actress at the Braid, first met Annie in 2013 when she was performing her piece Post-Partum Blues for JWT. In it, Annie addresses her "failure" at motherhood and the depression following it. Susan recalls, "I was blown away by how frank she was about her struggle, while still providing side-splitting laughs."
When asked about their upcoming collaboration, Susan said: "We (the audience) recognize ourselves in her material, and even when she's at her most opinionated, no-b.s. commentary... she's always storytelling from a positive place of heartfelt "mentschiness." Who wouldn't want to spend creative time with someone like that?"
Annie Korzen Famous Actress opens in previews at The Braid, July 8th at 8 pm and runs for six weeks Thurs. & Sat. at 8 pm, Sundays 2 pm & 5 pm. Tickets $35-45. Call 800.838.3006. or at www.jewishwomenstheatre.org. The Braid, 2912 Colorado Ave. #102, Santa Monica CA 90404.
JWT stages and displays traditional and contemporary works that provide a forum for the development, performance and showcasing of Jewish talent. Now in its tenth year, its "salon theatre" of original dramatic shows, each written to a specific theme, displays the diverse and eclectic community of writers, artists and creators who comprise L.A.'s Jewish women's community. Performances take place both at its home in The Braid Performance and Arts Space in the Santa Monica's Bergamot Arts District, in homes throughout the city, and on tour in California and throughout the nation. JWT also gives voice to Jewish women in America today by producing topical, thought-provoking events like "Passionate Posterity: Jewish Women in Politics." Learn more about JWT at: www.jewishwomenstheatre.org.
Photo Credit: Charles Bush