Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ray Richmond’s TRANSITION named one of the Top Ten Los Angeles Theatrical Productions of 2017!

Bulletin! Stop the presses!  The Huffington Post has announced its list of 2017’s Top Ten Los Angeles Theatrical Productions, and high among them is TRANSITION, Ray Richmond’s hilarious tragicomedy about the first Oval Office meeting between President Barack Obama and his successor!

"Using the headline 'Democracy is a terrible thing to waste,' Ray Richmond’s hilarious reimagining of Obama turning over the White House to Trump in a private meeting is uproarious. Harry Murphy has an easy target in an orange-haired despot but it is Joshua Wolf Coleman who completely nails Obama’s speech patterns, authority and his patience.The audience delightedly finally gets to see the latter blown out of the water.

Now how’s that for a New Year’s Eve treat?  A way to head into 2018?  And reason for me to leap off my lounge chair and sprint to the teletype in the middle of my round-the-world winter cruise?!  TRANSITION, which sprang from the mind of renowned journalist and critic Richmond and was staged on a relative shoestring in a small theatre in Hollywood, stands alongside -- and above --  multi-million dollar productions at the Ahmanson Theatre (three of them!) and Geffen Playhouse!

TRANSITION was the world’s first theatrical response to the new Trump era.  Featuring masterfully nuanced performances by Harry S. Murphy as Donnie Trump and Joshua Wolf Coleman as Obama,  the play had a successful run in March and April at The Lounge Theatre in Hollywood, then returned in June as a hit of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.  

Along with our own on-the-aisle review (“The political play of the year! An A+ theatrical experience!  B-O-F-F-O!”), TRANSITION and playwright Richmond won plaudits like these:

“Brimming with raw, visceral energy.” -Discover Hollywood
“‘Transition’ is ingenious and as close to perfection as one can get…A small gem and a delightful night of theatre.” -Joe Straw
“The performances aren’t just Vegas impressions but get to the crux of these two men.” -L.A. Daily News
“A brilliant piece that’s well-researched, plausible and incredibly funny.” -Arts Beat L.A.
“A delicious comedy, well-paced and briskly directed.” -Theatre Notes

With TRANSITION ready to roll out in cities across the country, this latest honor is one great introduction to the future!

(And in the meantime, the show carries on as a viral sensation in the new YouTube series, The Obama Monologues.)

Monday, April 24, 2017

God bless Chris Bearde

Our pal Chris Bearde, one of the greatest comedic talents in television history with a rapier-sharp wit and young man’s rage against injustice, died yesterday.

Chris had many credits, from creating The Gong Show to producing The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.  Most impressively, he wrote the television special Elvis, also known as the 68 Comeback.

A toast to Chris Bearde!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

TRANSITION is the political play of the year! Catch it while you can!

Pals and gals, it's a bit of a walk from the Alto Nido to the Lounge Theatre on Theatre Row in Hollywood, but let me tell you I’m glad I took the stroll (with a stop or two along the way -- thank you Lost Property Bar, thank you Sassafras Saloon, oh heck, thank you Hungry Cat!) because there is a theatrical experience happening there on weekends that is well worth taking in.

Ray Richmond’s TRANSITION is a two-man play (with able assistance from a third) about what might have gone on in the first Oval Office meeting between President Barack Obama and newly-elected replacement Donald Trump. No one know exactly went down in that meeting on November 10, 2016, but Ray Richmond’s theatrical imagining draws out the truths.  

To quote President Woodrow Wilson admiring a very different cinematic work more than 100 years ago (the first film to be shown at the White House and one Mr. Trump and his pal Bannon probably watch on weekends),  TRANSITION "is like history written with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.”

And to quote the reviews that came in after this weekend’s premiere...

How do you spell BOFFO?!   Sam spells it T-R-A-N-S-I-T-I-O-N!

Ray slammed this thing out with a fury after Trump’s surprise victory, a play in which two actors portray two of the most well-known men on the planet -- and pull it off spectacularly!   

This is no farce or impersonation-fest.  Harry S. Murphy as Donald Trump wears the red necktie that extends past his flies, but transcends Alec Baldwin’s lampoon (nothing against the bloviating B brother, but I’m sorry, his Trump reminds me of more of my old pal Shecky Greene than Agent Orange).  Murphy’s Trump is a characterization, not an impression, which makes it all the more frustratingly real -- and scary, pals.  Joshua Wolf Coleman has a less showy role as the cool, principled President Obama, but he’s no less impressive.  With a few twists to the speech pattern, he gets the essence of the man.  Within minutes, we are no longer in a theatre but the Oval Office.

No doubt about it, TRANSITION is the political play of the year.  It’s got elements of comedy, real drama, and a few moments that bring the theatre to a stunned silence.  

And after the bows... well, let me tell ya, more than a few of the oldsters -- yeah, folks my age, what the heck -- in the audience,  feared the Lounge Theatre had been invaded by the ruffians on Santa Monica Boulevard.  It was the rapper Dylan, who within a few lines of his rap, The Divide, had all of us listening intently.  It’s the perfect capper on the evening, and sends the audience out into the night with lots to think about.

Folks, take it from your man Sam, TRANSITION is an A+ theatrical experience, you won’t regret it, they sell wine in the lobby and I ain't saying it because I’m helping promote it

There are still a few weekends left in what should be the first of many productions of this theatrical work that’s perfect for actors of all stripes... in all cities...  to give their takes.  Find tickets at Plays411.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sam sez: Don’t miss KARDASHIAN: THE MAN WHO SAVED OJ SIMPSON! Monday June 13 on Reelz!

He was the first Kardashian, the original, the one who got the name out there more than a decade before a... excuse the expression... “sex tape”... and reality television series turned it into a brand!  Robert Kardashian became a household name after his pal OJ Simpson was charged in a double murder, and a television special is about to expose what he really did to save OJ!

Kardashian: The Man Who Saved OJ Simpson, which premieres Monday, June 13 at 9 pm ET/PT on Reelz, is the latest headline-grabbing television event from our pals at P&L Media, the folks who brought you El Chapo & Sean Penn: Bungle In The Jungle, the one that Oliver Stone is still tearing out his hair over.

Included are interviews with victim Ron Goldman's sister Kim, Jeffrey Felix, a former correctional officer who befriended O.J. Simpson when he worked in the prison where Simpson is behind bars, Associated Press reporter Michael Fleeman, who covered the trial, and attorney Carl Douglas, a member of the Simpson “Dream Team” defense team under Johnnie Cochran, and many more.

And even more explosivley, this show tells how tells the story behind the footage of Robert Kardashian handling and slipping away with the infamous Louis Vuitton garment bag in plain sight of TV news crews and investigators --  and the person telling it is the news producer who caught him!

Burt Kearns, who’s an executive producer of the show along with P&L’s Peter Brennan and Lisa Lew, told us the story in his book, Tabloid Baby, and now, for the first time ever, takes us step-by-step through the video and tells how he broke the story four weeks after the murders.

Compelling stuff!  Kearns, Brennan and Lew were all on the same news team all those years ago, leading Simpson case coverage with the show Premier Story.  And a lot of the adventures of the Premier Story gang, headed by host Alison Holloway, are resurrected, including the work of “Hi-8 Joe” Guidry, who with his home video camera literally revolutionized the way news is covered on television.  Marcia Clark, Johnnie Cochran-- even Tupac Shakur and TMZ’s Harvey Levin show up in his viewfinder.

And you won’t believe where Joe Guidry wound up years later!

This is a winner, pals.  It’s not one of those big cinematic HBO or Netflix epics that take years to make.  This is fast-breaking, up-to-the-minute, butt-kicking nonfiction news! 

Take it from me, Sam Peters (whose subsidiary, in the interest of full disclosure, is helping with the publicity): Don’t miss it! 

Set your DVR!

You’ll find yourself asking: “Where’s The Bag, Mr, Kardashian?”

And I’ll see you after the show... on the town!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sam sez: Don't miss 'El Chapo & Sean Penn: Bungle In The Jungle'! Thursday March 10 on Reelz!

Television alert!  Set your DVR  or make sure you've got your Barcalounger in place and ready to spend an hour this Thursday night, March 10 for one thriller of a nonfiction television special: El Chapo & Sean Penn: Bungle in the Jungle.

The one-hour special premieres at 9 pm Eastern, 6 pm Pacific Time (and there should be a west coast rerun at 8 on the Reelz Channel.

This special is bound to break some news and change recent history, as it tells "the sensational real story behind the Oscar winner’s meeting with the Mexican drug lord, and the famous Hollywood figure who was pulling the strings back in Hollywood."

It features experts including Hollywood producer Vance Owen, our colleagues, The Wrap editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman and Daily Mail showbiz editor (that's her actual title!) Natalie Trombetta, Narcos creator Chris Brancato, Hollywood crime expert Raquel Queen of Bail -- and our old pals: Tyrel Ventura --  late of Conspiracy Theory, now hosting Watching The Hawks on RT and Sean Penn's former assistant -- and Paul Rodriguez, comedian, actor, activist... and... I'll let the cat out of the bag... relative of El Chapo himself!

Don't miss this one, pals and gals! The show comes from P and L Media, the reality television innovators of everything from Judge Judy to A&E's Deadly Paradise... and the producing team includes the reunion of three tabloid television pioneers: Peter Brennan, Lisa Lew and Burt Kearns (yes, of the High There crew).

And I'd be remiss not to add that one of  our subsidiaries, Sam Peters Public Relations, is helping out with the publicity!

See you... after El Chapo & Sean Penn: Bungle in the Jungle... on the town!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Congratulations! High There named one of the Top Ten Documentaries of 2015!

Time for all the good folks at Sam Peters International Productions Unlimited, Good Story Productions, Rat Lung Pictures  and BRINKvision to take a bow for their hard work on the wild nonfiction comedy High There: the very independent picture has just been named one of the Top Ten Documentaries of 2015!

Thanks to A Bucket of Corn, the leading independent movie review site that’s bestowed the honor on the film  (after a review that can only be considered perfection as well), and whoa! what a surprise to see that in making The Bucket List, our little independent flick was ranked higher than Amy -- the Amy Winehouse doco that’s been nominated for a 2016 Academy Award®!  The other nominees in the #OscarsSoWhiteYear didn’t even make the list!

Cheers, guys and gals!  I’ll be spreading the word... on the town!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Jerry Lewis Just Talks: ‘Lost’ interview surfaces after 26 years!

Jerry Lewis, as you’ve never seen him!  It’s a Christmas gift from our pals in France that will keep me off the town for at least 45 minutes! Enjoy! And Happy Christmas!