MUTANT OLIVE Begins Tonight at Lounge Theatre

Father and son forgiveness is at the heart of a hilarious, heart-wrenching and triumphant solo play by writer/performer Mitch Hara. Directed by Terri Hanauer, Mutant Olive opens tonight, Jan. 22 at the Lounge Theatre, where it will run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 28.

A self-described "ADHD buzz saw looking for a two-by-four," Hara gives life to alter-ego Adam Astra, an actor whose past seems to constantly seep into his present. Breaking the fourth wall, Astra gleefully spoons out tales of his soul-sucking childhood, monstrous substance abuse, rampant sex and crashed cars - all during the course of an audition for Death of a Salesman. What will he say or do next?

"Mitch is able to combine comedy and pathos in a beautiful and unique way," says Hanauer. "He brings humanity, humor and depth to a whirlwind performance. It's refreshing."

Mutant Olive was previously workshopped at the Beverly Hills Playhouse; United Solo Theatre Festival in New York; and Whitefire Theatre Solo Festival in L.A., where it received the "Best Solo Show" award. "Mitch makes you laugh and cry on the same line. I'm in awe of his talent," said Doris Roberts of Everyone Loves Raymond, and Broadway producer Susan Dietz pronounced, "What Mitch does is genius."

"I grew up in a family that raised dysfunction to Kabuki level," laughs Hara. "I see the world in my own colors. Everything is just a little skewed, a little bit off."

Mitch Hara is a Syrian, Turkish, Lithuanian, Gypsy Jew, born in Skokie, Illinois and raised by wolverines. His colorful childhood shaped his unique voice and eccentric view of the world. He escaped to New York at age 19, when he was invited to join the Actors Studio and studied with Lee Strasberg, Shelley Winters and Al Pacino, among others. He did various plays off Broadway, hit the comedy clubs and performed with improv companies. He was called to L.A. to do a burp-and-it-was-gone pilot, Eddie Dodd with Treat Williams. He subsequently did numerous guest spots including a recurring role on ER, followed by two more pilots and wound up as staff writer on the Fox/Warner Brothers sitcom Lush Life. Then, in a life-affirming introduction to the independent film world, he starred in The Art of Dying with Wings Hauser. His standout performance landed him starring roles in 11 more indies, including Flexing with Monty with Sally Kirkland, The Wacky Adventures of Dr. Boris and Nurse Shirley with Paul Bartel and Karen Black (Mitch played Nurse Shirley), A Killing Obsession with John Savage and Cahoots with David Keith and Keith Carradine. Mitch has written, directed and performed in three critically acclaimed plays, Cracks In The Mask, Polo Lounge and Shopping For Shoes In A Skirt & No Panties. He co-wrote and directed the one-woman musical, Tsk, Tsk, Tsk and directed Poppy Champlin's one woman show Chocolate Sandwich. He won the Drama-Logue Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Sister Coco Call-Me-Ishmael, a mental-patient-drag-queen-nun, in The Horrible and Tragic Life of the Singing Nun. His irreverent, gay romantic comedy, No Fingerprints On My Heart won best screenplay competitions at the IFP/West, Telluride, Key West and Outfest film festivals. Mitch's short, Horrible Accident, opened the L.A. International Film Festival and then played all over the world. "Hara caresses your heart and then rips it out," wrote the Telluride Times. Currently, he's directing his series Adam Astra Casting, a mockumentary about casting, in which he stars alongside six-time Emmy Award winner Doris Roberts.

Terri Hanauer's directing credits include world premiere productions of The Way You Look Tonight, Mutually Assured Destruction and The Assassination of Leon Trotsky: A Comedy, all at the Odyssey Theatre; La Ronde de Lunch (Ovation Recommended) for the Katselas Theatre Company; Donald Margulies' Collected Stories, also at the Odyssey, which was invited to the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival; and The Trip Back Down by John Bishop at the Whitefire Theatre (BroadwayWorld Award nomination for Best Director). She recently directed her first feature film, Sweet Talk.

Mutant Olive opens on Thursday, Jan. 22 and continues on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Feb. 28. All tickets are $25. The Lounge Theatre is located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood CA 90038. To purchase tickets, call 323-960-7861 or go to www.plays411.com/mutant.

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