Binge Free Festival Opens Oct. 12 At Santa Monica Playhouse

By: Jul. 20, 2019
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Binge Free Festival Opens Oct. 12 At Santa Monica Playhouse

Santa Monica Playhouse has been a cultural treasure in the seaside community for 60 years. Now, the Playhouse is giving love back with its Fourth Annual Binge Free Festival (BFF), a full month of free performances, workshops, readings, music and poetry in Santa Monica's ONLY fringe festival. The BFF's primary focus will be on Santa Monica and Los Angeles-based artists.

Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. This is just south of Wilshire. There is a municipal parking facility across the street. Events in the Binge Free Festival will take place in all four of the Playhouse's performance spaces. All events are FREE, but reservations are REQUIRED. Some events are family-friendly (See the descriptions below). There will be something for everyone.

To reserve your FREE tickets for an event, call 310-974-9779 ext. 1, or e-mail When making reservations, state the name of the show that you want to see, how many seats you wish to reserve, your full name, and your contact number.

A roster of events follows:

Saturday, October 12, 2019


2:30pm on the Main Stage

A Family Theatre musical for all ages - written by and starring Shelley Fisher.

Chemo Barbie: My Lady Bits' Journey Through Breast Cancer

7:00pm on the Main Stage

In 2016, Heather Keller, a healthy young vegan runner, was diagnosed with breast cancer and her life changed forever. This is her heartbreaking, inspiring and ultimately uplifting story. Winner- 2017 Hollywood Fringe Encore Award. Rated: 13+


9:30pm on the Main Stage

Sometimes you need to (literally) lose a part of yourself in order to discover who you truly are. Actress Jannica Olin was the stereotypical blonde blue eyed Swede. Her long hair had always been a big part of her identity. Until suddenly, she lost it all. In (IM)PERFEKT, Jannica takes us on a journey of exploring and uncovering that which we think we are, have to be and maybe, ultimately aren't. Rated: 14+

Sunday, October 13


2:00pm on the Main Stage

Imagine you only had minutes to decide what to take before your house burns down. What would you grab? Michael David Ker took his family photos, his surfboard, and his sense of humor...But...crazy enough, the Malibu fire was just the grand finale of a year filled with loss. This deeply personal solo show is a 'Phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes' story full of humor, heartbreak, and hope. Rated: 14+

Absolutely Halloween!

12:30pm in The Other Space

It's the classic Playhouse Halloween musical for Kids 2 to 102, now in its twelfth sell-out year! All ages.

Actors' Workshop Theatre RAW Presents...

7:00pm in The Other Space

A new show developed especially for The BFF - storyline TBD! Find out on the night! Rated: 12+

Cinderella Topsy Turvy

5:00pm on the Main Stage

A delightful re-imagining of the classic Cinderella tale brings you upside-down casting - half original practices, half Gilbert and Sullivan, half just plain fun. Featuring Quint Erwin, Tiffany Haile, Sarai Jimenez, Luke Martin McMahan, Joseph Perez, Graham Silbert. Who plays what role? Guess (and you'll probably be wrong.) A reprise of this year's Fairy Story for Pride. All ages.


7:30pm on the Main Stage

Double trouble. Two spokesmodels (writer/performer Ashley Denise Robinson and performer Alexis Santiago) are hired to work for the travel agency they are the face of. Who authorized this? This two-woman romp is Two Broke Girls meets Waiting for Godot. Rated: 16+ for language.

Tuesday, October 15

The Art of Creating the One Person Show (Workshop)

8:00pm on the Main Stage

Wherever you are at in your solo theatre journey, WHATEVER LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE, even if you are JUST CURIOUS about the idea of creating a solo show, Best National Solo Artist Winner Jessica Lynn Johnson will meet you where you are at in your process and guide you through various writing exercises. 18 and over please.

Thursday, October 17

Find Your Tribe (Workshop)

7:30pm in the Artists' Entrance Studio Upstairs

Actress, activist and story-teller Johanna Middleton leads community building activities, partnered reflection, and storytelling to create authentic connections between the attendees in the room, especially tempting for women who identify as new to Los Angeles. 18 and over please.

How to Live Like a MILLIONAIRE When You're a Million Short

8:00pm on the Main Stage

In her breezy, humorous style, comedienne and bestselling author Marilyn Anderson provides tons of money-saving tips on how to save thousands of dollars on entertainment, shopping, travel, restaurants, health, beauty, home décor and more, such as how to get your hair done at upscale salons for free, how to get designer clothes for free, and even how to spend six nights at a four-star resort in Spain for FREE! Marilyn's book was featured in Forbes and USA Weekly and was awarded Best Book on Saving Money & Living Well of 2018! All ages.

Friday, October 18

Tabula Rasa

7:30pm on the Main Stage

A new play written and directed by Martin Jago. Nicola Bertram (Santa Monica Playhouse, The Bald Soprano) gives a virtuoso performance as the provocative and fearless ANNA, living on her nerves, ego, and art. Ian Runge as SIMON broods with the intensity of a pressure cooker ready to explode! Rated: 18+


Reprogram Your Own Brain for Happiness

7:30pm in the Artists' Entrance Studio Upstairs

An Art Director for such shows as The Shark Tank, the new Twin Peaks, and Deadwood, Josh Ritcher was inundated with the pressures of daily life in the entertainment business. Through his own story from depressed and stressed to happy and healthy in three short miraculous months, you'll learn key tips on how to rewire your own brain for happiness. All ages.


June Lake

8:30 p.m. in the Artists' Entrance Studio Upstairs

Do you have best friends going through midlife crises? After divorce, Sawyer disappears into the mountains for 8 months. Best friend Bailey follows to make sure everything is okay. As it turns out, Bailey is really the one who needs help.

My Name Is Mommy

9:30pm on the Main Stage

A celebration of the exhilaration of motherhood, a dynamic and often hilarious journey as April Wish looks for the bits and pieces of herself she left behind when she stepped into her role as Mother. A love letter to her daughter, Clementine, as well as to the little girl she used to be herself. Developed with/Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. Rated: 16+

Saturday, October 19

Handcrafted Mysteries

1:00pm on the Main Stage

An immersive magic and mentalism experience with Greg Van Holsbeck, professional magician and member at the Hollywood Magic Castle featuring Greg's original pieces of magic. No rabbits, glittery suits or large apparatus (unless you bring your own), just interactive and entertaining tricks involving skill, psychology and a few small ordinary objects. Prepare to be happily surprised! Rated: 12+


7:30pm on the Main Stage

Shelley Fisher's award-winning food-musical - real food cooked on stage during the show. Celebrity guest chefs TBA. Rated: 18+

Sunday, October 20

Freeing Your Emotional Core

11:30am to 1:00pm on the Main Stage

A fun and effective workshop for anyone (actors and non-actors alike) led by actress/dancer/director Susan Giosa. Ages 16 and up please.

Pain In My Asperger's

3:00pm on the Main Stage

With eight original songs and compositions, Jeremy Ebenstein offers a story of optimism and love, not only for those suffering with Asperger's Syndrome, but for all who have ever hoped and dreamed of making something of themselves. Rated: 12+

Marty Cohen Presents His Poems

6:30pm in The Artists' Entrance Upstairs

Published poet and retired engineer Marty Cohen returns from last year's BFF to share all new poems, from funny to serious, quirky to political, introspective to rant. See it here before its New York premiere at New Wave Theater Collective.

First and Last, A Real Estate Romance

7:00pm in The Other Space

Morris is a New York City real estate agent and failed writer on the side. Maeve is an artist who needs a place to live. When they meet, a simple apartment showing will end up being more than they both bargained for. Starring Adam Toback and Kyla Schoer. Rated: 16+


7:00pm on the Main Stage

Three different women. Three different stories. One common denominator... HIV positive. This one woman show sheds a light on the lives of these women, the people in their lives, public perception and what we think we know about HIV. HIV doesn't discriminate. People do. Created, written and performed by Rahvaunia. Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. Rated: 16+

Tuesday, October 22

A brand new play by award-winning theatre artist Wendy Hammers

I Am SO Breaking Up with Cancer

8:00pm on the Main Stage

Part stand-up, part informational, all inspirational,---an empowerment event focusing on the power of laughter and positivity as life-saving tools for all people by Wendy Hammers (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Sopranos, Oprah-Vegas), three plus years pancreatic cancer survivor.

Friday, October 25

The Book That Won't Close - Confessions of a Love Addict

7:30pm on the Main Stage

Best known for her real life role as herself in the award winning documentary, "See What I'm Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary," TL Forsberg is an international performer, actor and diversity advocate. Follow a bi-culturally fluid Deaf woman through a series of bad relationships, until she meets a Transgender org*smic coach who walks her through a self-contained rehab for LOVE ADDICTION to confront her unhealed trauma and shame around the parts of her that are both hearing and Deaf. Through her unique relationship with TREVA, a Trans person who embraces both masculine and feminine, the protagonist learns to claim her place as a brilliant Hybrid on the path of healing and integration. The show is a dark comedy that includes music, dance, video projection and is not only inspirational but is "Edu-taining." Directed and developed by award winning director Jessica Lynn Johnson and is inclusive and accessible to both hearing and Deaf audiences through the use of American Sign Language & spoken voice. Rated: 18+

An Ocean in My Soul - a world premiere

8:00pm in the Artists' Entrance Studio Upstairs

Santa Monica based scriptwriter and songwriter Charise Sowells shares the story of a biracial man torn between two worlds as an employee of his plantation owning father and a son to his enslaved mother, exploring the complicated existence of interracial overseers during slavery and how their unique position in society ripples throughout a family unit. It parallels the realities of the social construct of race in today's times. The context is different, but the issues remain the same. Nothing is truly black and white in this country or the world beyond. There is a universalism in the oversimplified matters of life, a reminder we all need in today's political environment. The evening will also feature songs and a sound bath with crystal singing bowls. All ages.

The Circle Table

9:30pm on the Main Stage

How does digital communication hamper or enhance analog components of life like love, family, depression, self-exploration and fulfillment? Through a series of FaceTime/phone calls, a Friend Group converses, ponders and searches for the answers as the border between authenticity and curation blurs. Featuring Cole Cordell, Michael Hettler, Ali Pinkerton, Amanda Dacks, Carlos Chavez, Lauren Beausoleil, Shae Tomlinson, Alyssa Hitchcock, Leah Wasylik, and Austin Kim. Written by Eric Moore, directed by Amanda Lloyd. Rated: 16+

Chrissy Meth - a Dance with the Devil and the Journey Back to Self

9:30pm in the Artists' Entrance Studio Upstairs

A motherless child grows up in the western suburbs of Chicago, facing the racially oppressive construct of her world, stumbling from one abusive relationship to the next, sinking into deep drug addiction. From the depths, she finds hope and begins to put the pieces back together. Song, multimedia and humor take the audience on Crystal Bush's journey as she questions and challenges beliefs and social mores surrounding race and sex identity and discovers that it's never too late to come back and find one's self-worth. Directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. Rated: 18+

Saturday, October 26

Enchanted Fairytale Interactive Halloween Theatre

10:30 to 12:00 in the Artists' Entrance Studio Upstairs

A Halloween-themed interactive fairytale event for kids 4 to 8 and their grown-ups. All ages.


2:30pm on the Main Stage

Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Eric Jacobson's stage adaptation of Frances H. Burnett's Little Lord Fauntleroy. The story takes place at the turn of the Century (1899) in New York and England and explores the exciting, poignant and humorous adventures of a young boy meeting his reclusive, bitter Grandfather as he is groomed to assume an English title and become heir to a formidable Castle. All ages.

Hung Like a Seahorse

8:00pm on the Main Stage

Debra Ehrhardt, creator of the acclaimed one-woman show Jamaica, Farewell, brings this must-see production to the beloved Santa Monica Playhouse, written and performed by Quinn Fontaine and directed by Susan Mele. Based on his true-life story of being born in the wrong body, writer/performer Quinn Fontaine's insightful, heartwarming, hilarious show is a celebration of healing. Healing the little boy inside who couldn't wear the clothes he wanted to because he was born a girl. Being a prisoner in his own body for decades. Sneaking clever ways to feed his soul like the rolled-up sock in "tighty whities" worn under girl's clothes. Healing the trauma of denying his authentic self and then healing through the transition to becoming the man he can finally be as an adult. A world premiere. Rated: 16+

Sunday, October 27

Zumba Zelebration

10:00am to 11:30am in The Artists' Entrance Studio Upstairs

It's a fun, energetic dance workshop for all ages, led by actress and certified Zumba instructor Emery Erin. Ages 8 to adult

House of Me

1:00 on the Main Stage

MTV Cribs meets Grey Gardens as Christian Georgescu sets off verbal pyrotechnics with a kaleidoscopic blend of Metaphysics, Pop-Culture and Mom. A heartfelt tale of a unique mother-son bond. It's a tongue-twisting, pill-popping, foot-stomping romp from the floorboards of the human condition to the chandeliers of the soul. Come for the tour! Stay for the Meltdown! All ages.

Mandy Picks a Husband

6:30pm in the Artists' Entrance Studio Upstairs

Almost 40 and totally single, Mandy takes us on a hilarious and raw 60-minute rollercoaster ride as she unearths the magic elixir for her unmarried soul. Spinning from boyfriend to boyfriend, from Bumble date to OKCupid catastrophe, Mandy relives her odyssey to find the perfect life partner while simultaneously searching to find herself. What does Brittney Spears got to do with it? More than you know. Amanda Broomell's newest autobiographical solo dramedy about self-discovery and lifelong commitment


Self-Hate Crime - The Trial, An Angst Ridden Comedy

7:00pm on the Main Stage

A new play written and performed by award-winning theatre artist Terrie Silverman. Rated: 14+

Mulatto Love Child

7:00pm in The Other Space

Imagine Maggie Smith getting together with Shaft - you get Bellina Logan. A hilarious, touching and inappropriate overshare of a co-dependent.bastard child's life with her acerbic English mother and the deep bond they forged. Performer/playwright Bellina Logan is winner of the United Solo 2018 Award for Best Actress. Directed by Maggie Soboil. Rated: 18+


Tuesday, October 29

Under the Jello Mold

8:00pm in The Other Space

In this award-winning comic play, Jennie Fahn revisits her very colorful character of a mother during what turned out to be the final act of her mother's life. Jennie's mother was a force to be reckoned with - a former dancer never content to merely rehash her past, there was always a story to be embellished, always a name to drop, and always a lesson to teach. Jennie learns that not only were her post-mortem instructions hid in a specific place... Her mother was also hiding a long-held secret. Rated: 16+.

Wednesday, October 30

How To Be Brave, Moving & Hilarious Onstage: A Class for Actors, Solo-Performers, Storytellers, Playwrights & Anyone Who Has Something To Say

8:00pm to 9:30pm in The Other Space

Led by Terrie Silverman, Writer/Performer, Director, Dramaturg and founder of Creative Rites Workshops/Coaching for Writing, Performance & Creative Expression

Thursday, October 31

Absolutely Halloween

5:00pm in The Other Space

A special Halloween afternoon performance of the classic Playhouse Halloween musical for Kids 2 to 102, now in its twelfth sell-out year! All ages. Special Halloween treats for all!

Saturday, November 2


1:30pm on the Main Stage

Jenny has a plan. A plan to get pregnant. Everyone keeps telling her time is running out, SO , when those pesky urine tests keep coming back negative, Jenny decides to take action and fix the problem. That's when she runs into real problems and real questions about fertility and motherhood. With a whirlwind of outside opinions from her mom, her friends, doctors, a beloved neighbor - and even God - Jenny must ultimately look within to discover what motherhood means to her, what it means to be Fertile. Written and performed by Heather Dowling. Rated: 14+

Too Young To Be a Widow - U.S. Premiere

3:30pm on the Main Stage

When Susana Hornos asked Mr. Luppi for an autograph, she never dreamed she would end up marrying him. Not because he was a famous movie star, but because he was 40 years older than she. In fact, he was much older than her own father. The unlikely union turned out to be passionate, glamorous and sweet for fifteen blissful years until he became ill and passed away. She went from being a loving wife and best friend to a devoted nurse, then widow. She had learned the most important thing from her out-of-the-ordinary love story: a passion for living. Premiered in Buenas Aires (Picadero Theatre) and Madrid as a tribute to Federico Luppi.

Sunday, November 3

"But I'm Almost Famous?" (Workshop)

11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.

Everything you need to get started as an actor, and answers the question "Do I really have to commit?" A dose of reality to the unrealistic ideas so many have about the tools necessary to make it as an actor. With tools and tricks to give people an advantage in their career. Be ready when the big moment comes!


2:30pm on the Main Stage

Allen Levy's theater piece/cabaret telling the story of two singer songwriters who want their son to go into the family business, the business they love---show business. He has his own ideas! All ages.

Love in Bloom

3:30pm in The Other Space

The 10th anniversary production of the Rudie-DeCarlo "Critic's Pick of the Year" (American Radio Network) feel-good bawdy musical comedy, a tribute to the wenches and rogues of the Bard. The 8-member cast, in the renowned Actors' Repertory Theatre commedia-carnival style, creates a host of over thirty characters, bringing to the stage all the stuff that dreams (and musicals) are made on.


4:30pm on the Main Stage

Lisa Verlo's journey across Hollywood's unsettling sexual landscape, directed by and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson, is a musical memoir told with candor and insight into the life of an actress before women dared to speak up. With original songs co-written with Frank Simes, Musical Director for The Who, Lisa Verlo brings humor and a light heart to a heavy subject. Creative visuals and video projections add to the multimedia recounting of her experiences on the casting couches of LA. Rated: 17+

Wake Up Lil Susy

7:00pm on the Main Stage

Follow Susy, a bright and bubbly blond on the outside, through five dramatic decades of self-discovery as she takes on taboo topics such as sexual trauma, fundamentalist Christianity, depression, and dysfunctional family dynamics. Journey with Susy Porter, as she shares her story through music, puppets, multimedia, and a cast of colorful characters all played by Susy herself! This vulnerable and creative performance speaks to the #metoo and #timesup movements, bringing her darkest secrets into the light. Its time to wake up, little Susy. Rated: 17+

Beast of the City

7:30pm in The Other Space

A young girl grows up surrounded by movie-stars - Natalie Wood, Clark Gable, Yvonne De Carlo and Ann Margaret - becomes a Hollywood Starlet, then stops playing by the rules. From singer song-writer @WB Music to life-time member at The Actors Studio. The fame, the fall, but rising again and again. Playwright/performer Kristin Andersen-Groh says, "If one girl coming to Hollywood can be helped or one man informed, this work and my life will have been worth it." 15+

Tuesday, November 5

We Should Hang Out Sometime

7:30pm in The Other Space

Bestselling author, Paralympian and viral-sensation Josh Sundquist tracked down all the girls he'd ever tried to date to ask why they rejected him. He shares the results of his semi-scientific investigation (and yes, it's a true story) in this one-of-a-kind live performance that blends interactive storytelling with standup comedy. From a disastrous mini-golf date involving a backward prosthetic foot to a misguided "grand gesture" at a Miss America pageant, it's a story about looking for love-or at least a girlfriend-in all the wrong places.

Thursday, November 7

The Mayor of Monkey Run

7:30pm on the Main Stage

A look back at a crazy Dearborn, Michigan Irish Tenor/Undertaker who lived life like his hair was on fire. His LA show-biz son comes back to his wake and returns to the place where the Undertaker did most of his power-drinking and womanizing. His Father's best friend ran the it's his son who's in charge. Walter Dalton and Robert Pine star in Dalton's moving piece about fathers and sons, each actor essaying the dual role of a father and a son.

Friday, November 8

L.A. I hate you: A Love Story

8:00pm on the Main Stage

An outrageous comedy exploring life in Los Angeles and how love is as elusive as stardom. Written and directed by Santa Monica theatre artist Scot Shamblin. Rated: 18+

Saturday, November 9

Dear Yoko

1:00pm on the Main Stage

Asian-American Anzu Lawson learns the lesson of a life as she learns to portray the most famously hated Asian Woman in the world, Yoko Ono. Written and performed by Anzu Lawson, directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. Rated: 12+

Leaving Prince Charming

3:30pm on the Main Stage

21-year-old Lara is looking for love. One day she stumbles (or rather, swipes) upon a handsome young man who treats her like royalty. But one day, he doesn't. The magic fades. Will this beauty stay with the beast? Or can she break the spell by midnight? Follow an unorthodox fairy godmother as she travels down the rabbit hole of intimate partner abuse, manipulation, and trauma bonding. This is a love story, but not the kind you're expecting. Written & performed by Lara Repko. Developed and directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. Rated: 14+

L.A. I hate you: A Love Story

8:00pm on the Main Stage

An outrageous comedy exploring life in Los Angeles and how love is as elusive as stardom. Written and directed by Santa Monica theatre artist Scot Shamblin. Rated: 18+

Sunday, November 10

Mamaisms: Old-Fashioned Wisdom for a New Generation

2:30pm on the Main Stage

"What we've learned from Mama, we'll carry with us for a while and then some. Criticism or praise, hostility or peace, even if we're Mamas, we were all born children and we'll be children all our lives. Come, be reminded, laugh and cry at the Mamaisms we grew up with and maybe learn a new one or two!" Written and performed by Sonia Jackson, developed and directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. Rated: 12+

The Long Goodbye - A Mother Who Can't Remember, A Daughter Who Can't Forget

4:00pm on the Main Stage

A story about how a devastating disease - Alzheimer's - was the catalyst for forgiveness and healing between an angry, resentful daughter and her demanding and abusive mother. The show spans continents (America, Asia, Europe and Africa) and cultures. Written and performed by Mattilyn Rochester. All ages. First developed at Beyond Baroque under the guidance of Terrie Silverman.

Embrace Love Free Cancer

7:00pm on the Main Stage

On May 4th, 2017 Justin Sandler's life was forever changed when he was suddenly diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. He realized early on that if he was to survive this, he would need to embrace his cancer, give it love, and eventually set it free. He now shares this positive message of overcoming obstacles in a show that includes characters, narration, poetry, musical performances, and actual video clips from his entire experience.

Cat Sh!T Crazy: From hot Mess to Hot Mama in 4 Simple Cats

7:30pm in The Other Space

Cindy D'Andrea is a hot mess. Her boyfriends are addicts, cheaters, or married, she's got mommy issues and childhood trauma, and her fitness clients won't listen to her. Four cats and many years later, Cindy is a happy cat owner and rescuer. For the first time in her life, she experiences unconditional love. Who needs a boyfriend when you have cats? And then, the unthinkable happens, and all is lost. Can Cindy rally and rescue the one who needs it the most? We shall see. Directed by David Harper. Rated: 15+

The BFF is sponsored in part by grants from the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and Playhouse PALS.

Make the Santa Monica Playhouse your BFF. Come and enjoy the many delights of the Fourth Annual Binge Free Festival!


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