Odyssey Theatre

Reviewed by Carol Kaufman Segal



If you really enjoy a good comedy, you won’t want to miss Playwright Peter Lefcourt’s Drama Queens From Hell. In this “laugh-a-minute” play, Lefcourt takes on bigotry full-force, wrong age, wrong color, and wrong gender. 

Gerard Manville (Paul Galliano) is a less than top-notch movie director who decides to make a modern remake of the award-winning movie Sunset Boulevard. Seeking an actress to portray the role of Norma Desmond, Manville calls on agent Artie Paramecium (Rick Podell) to find someone to audition for the part. 

How did three of his very own clients find out that he was going to send someone to audition for the part? Needless to say, he had no choice but to send each of them to vie for the role. The first one to encounter him is Maxine Zahar (Christopher Callen), an aging actress who feels certain that she is just the right one to emulate Gloria Swanson. 

But, hey, this is a new era, why can’t Norma Desmond be a Black American woman ala Felecia Brown (Dee Freeman), or what about transsexual actress Brianne McCauley (Chad Borden)? Each one goes through a series of expensive preparations prior to their audition, and make constant calls to the director. The stress of dealing with all three of these self-confident characters could kill a man! Thank goodness for his assistant Raphael (Andrew Diego).

When queried about what triggered him to write Drama Queens From Hell, Lefcourt’s response was, “It may have been a combination of wanting to write something about competition among actors and about the growing tendency to demand diversity in casting, a response to the ‘Oscars So White’ meme.” 

The wonderful first-rate cast keep the comedy moving under the astute direction of Terri Hannauer in her seventh collaboration with playwright Lefcourt. Drama Queens From Hell plays Fridays and Sundays at 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM and 7 PM, through September 25, at the Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. 

Tickets are available by calling (323) 960-7787, or online at www.plays411.com/dramaqueens


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Photo: Ed Krieger