Every year, the Hollywood Fringe Festival provides countless writers, directors, actors, choreographers, and other talented individuals in the theatre community with the opportunity to hone their craft and, perhaps more simply, to do what they love. Creators of all experience levels take the stage to experiment, to take chances, to make their debut, to revel in the creative process, and – in some occurrences – to truly leave a lasting impact on their colleagues, the audience, and the community as a whole. Having recently attended a performance of the one-woman show, My Big Fat Blonde Musical, I can say with utter certainty that this show is what the Fringe Festival was made for: to provide a platform for rising stars to shine. While the show may appear to be a musical comedy that pokes fun at Hollywood and the entertainment machine, it transcends mere folly to stand as a glowing example of female empowerment and body positivity.
My Big Fat Blonde Musical tells the story of Terri, an aspiring actress (fresh from theatre school on the east coast), who dreams of the bright lights of Hollywood, only to learn all too quickly upon arrival that breaking into the entertainment industry is far from glamorous . . . or kind. For Terri, no one takes notice of her theatrical training, her passion for acting, or her honest talent; instead, all that the Hollywood casting agents, managers, and directors see is her weight. Overwhelmed by the negativity of those around her, as well as the struggle to make a living and pay back student loans by way of a soul-crushing minimum-wage job, Terri begins to doubt her career in acting and herself. When it seems that all hope is lost, Terri decides to persevere and create her own opportunities, Hollywood be damned!
Co-written, co-composed, and masterfully performed by Theresa Stroll, My Big Fat Blonde Musical is an energetic hour of entertainment that will leave you humming – literally and emotionally. Stroll’s incredible solo performance has her assuming upwards of 15 different characters and dialects throughout Terri’s Hollywood experience, all the while maintaining an astounding zest in performing catchy song after song. The original music (co-composed by Bobby McGlynn) will stay with you for days after the performance, and the message of positivity and creator empowerment is one that we could stand to hear more of. Under the direction of Jessica Lynn Johnson, choreographed by Lindsay Braverman, and stage managed by Rebecca Schoenberg, Musical is a solid performance that has been shepherded by a nearly all-female creative team.
With only a handful of performances remaining (and with many having been sold out thus far), I strongly urge you to check out My Big Fat Blonde Musical. It truly upholds and illustrates the Fringe Festival’s mission to celebrate freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community.
*Photo by Matt Kamimura