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BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Shelley Fisher, “The Hebrew Hillbilly”

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Shelley Fisher, “The Hebrew Hillbilly”

With the current theatre world on hiatus, I have created a Spotlight Series on Broadway World which features interviews with some of the many talented artists who make our Los Angeles theatre community so exciting and vibrant thanks to their ongoing contribution to keeping the Arts alive in the City of the Angels. And just like all of us, I wondered how they are dealing with the abrupt end of productions in which they were involved.

This Spotlight focuses on Shelley Fisher, a down home diva better known as The Hebrew Hillbilly, her solo music play which is the longest running in the USA. Believing that music is the universal language which brings healing and encouragement to everyone, performing her show fuels the flames of creativity and hope for Shelley, and comedy provides a welcome break from the weight of life as it is today. So, what is she up to until she can back inside the Santa Monica Playhouse to perform for an audience again?

Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your own theatrical background?

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Shelley Fisher, “The Hebrew Hillbilly” Shelly Fisher (Shelley): I was born and raised in the heart of the Mississippi Delta in Memphis, TN, the home of The Blues and birthplace of Rock n' Roll, which inspired my love of music and performing naturally. My mother was a professional singer/comedian and my father was a concert violinist who co-founded the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. The gritty musical backbeat of Beale Street and the King of Rock n' Roll himself, Elvis, coupled with my parents influence made performing a natural focus of my early life in local talent shows and high school theater. She moved onto Boston University, studied fine arts and drama and formed her own Blues/Folk band.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Shelley Fisher, “The Hebrew Hillbilly” (Shelley): I'm the writer and performer of the longest running critically acclaimed solo musical play in the USA, THE HEBREW HILLBILLY, which is autobiographically based on my true story of growing up Jewish in the red neck South and is a celebration of diversity, dreams and determination! Obviously, it has hit a popular nerve and is perfect for this time of Passover, Easter & coronavirus, since for the first time in modern history, Passover and Easter have been canceled due to a Plague. With 17 original songs I wrote with my co-songwriters Ken Hirsch, Harold Payne and Steve Rawlins, we were preparing for a May 17th benefit performance for Santa Monica Playhouse when the Coronavirus pandemic shut down civilization as we know it.

(SB): How did you communicate the shutdown with your production team?

(Shelley): Since it's a solo musical play, I only had to contact my audio visual staff, management and acting coach, Missy Peikin. The co-artistic directors of Santa Monica Playhouse, Evelyn Rudie and Chris DeCarlo, are seasoned veterans of the theater who have welcomed me for almost eight years and deftly deal with any situation.

(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(Shelley): If the fates allow, we're excited to present THE HEBREW HILLBILLY on Sunday, June 28th at 6:30 PM as a Benefit Performance for Santa Monica Playhouse.

(SB): What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(Shelley): With uncertainty of the pandemic, all other productions, including national television (JBSTV), theatrical presentations in Florida, Atlanta, and NYC are on hold.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Shelley Fisher, “The Hebrew Hillbilly”

(Shelley): Great question! I'm skyping and zooming with other noted songwriters, including Harold Payne and Steve Rawlins, to create new songs. I'm also sending bi-weekly emails to friends and fans, posting on my Facebook public page,

THE HEBREW HILLBILLY: Fifty Shades of Oy Vey! and on my website www.HebrewHillbilly.com. You can hear my CD, 'ROCKIN IN MEMPHIS' @ www.cdbaby.com. My latest song, 'I Wanna Win A Grammy (Before I Am A Grammy)' is available at www.spotify.com, www.iTunes.com, www.YouTube.com and www.cdbaby.com.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Shelley): Music and performing fuel the flames of creativity and hope. The universal language, music, brings healing and encouragement to everyone. And comedy provides a welcome break from the weight of life as it is today. Take two Ha Ha's and call me in the morning! We'll be back soon.

THE HEBREW HILLBILLY is designed to entertain and encourage folks to never give up on their dreams. If One Dream doesn't work, get another one. The finale says it all: 'I'm Still Hot' (It Comes In Flashes Now).

Redneck South: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfAsdiukOdA

Link to short (1 min 49 sec) performance video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNUQzGYGrA4

Be Glad You're Different: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgc2NVjjD2M

Miami Beach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxtb5Orq9V4


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