Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: The production, Hollywoodn’t, will be appearing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival this summer. For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the show, how would you describe its premise?
Lisa Verlo: Hollywoodn't is one woman’s coming of age as an actress story and her reflections on the encounters she had with people in the industry who sought to take advantage of her enthusiastic naivete.
BD: As the creator of and performer within the show, what can you tell us about the creation of this project?
LV: Hollywoodn't started as an idea for a family musical called Sex Rated G. Lisa Verlo and Frank Simes had collaborated on a musical, “The Door,” and Lisa was compiling stories of her sexual experiences in order to create a musical that would have edu-tainment value. She ended up with more of a sexual memoir, with some statistics, quotes, and multimedia production values mixed in, which she took to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2015. Realizing that her show had more content which aligned with the #metoo movement, Lisa reworked the show with Terrie Silverman and put on a version of it, directed by Susan Boyd Joyce, at the Hollywood Fringe festival in 2018. Diving even deeper into the grey area of coercion and consent, Lisa teamed up with Jessica Lynn Johnson to further develop and direct the incarnation now entitled Hollywoodn't.
BD: What can you tell us about the team that is bringing Hollywoodn’t to life, and how would you describe the creative process by the ensemble?
LV: Jessica Lynn Johnson works as a full-time director and developer of solo theatre having aided in the development of over 75 solo shows. She is a recipient of BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST AWARD, a Board Member of the LA Women's Theatre Festival, Director for Whitefire Theatre's SOLOFEST, and Founder & CEO of Soaring Solo LLC. Jessica attended Lisa’s show at the Hollywood Fringe last year and gave her some inspiring notes which she followed up on and subsequently signed on with Jessica as director and developer, working on the show in private sessions as well as in group classes. Finding a lot of inspiration and support in Jessica Lynn johson’s soaring solo community, Lisa met producer Megan through another one of Jessica’s students, Stacy Dymalski, who is performing A Bit Much at HFF19, as well.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
LV: A closer look at just how much we have been programmed to accept certain kinds of behavior as inevitable. Hollywoodn't gets into the big grey area of coercion and consent in the entertainment industry. How speaking up is not only a means towards change, but the ultimate act in claiming (manifesting?) our own power.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival the best venue for Hollywoodn’t?
LV: Bringing Hollywoodn't home to an audience who might best resonate with the story.
BD: The show will be appearing at the Lounge Theatre from June 9-26, 2019. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
LV: Planning on taking the show to other festivals and a possible college circuit tour.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
LV: Working on an exciting musical, Forever Grace, with a cast of seven women, three men, and one transgender role addressing some of the gender parity and abuse of power issues in the entertainment industry.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Hollywoodn’t?
LV: Check out my SWEET reviews or purchase tickets.