ANNOUNCED! The 20 shows in our first ever Rave Theater Festival are . . .
I’m gonna be honest.
It wasn’t too long ago that my staff and I were in a living room of an AirBnB in Orlando on our company retreat when I said to them, “Maybe this is crazy. Maybe we shouldn’t do this theater festival thing.”
Now that I’ve seen all the submissions that have come in from all over the world, and now that we’ve selected our first twenty inaugural shows, I am so effin’ proud of my killer staff who looked at me that humid night and said, “Eff that, Ken. We’re doing this. Sure, we don’t know exactly what we’re doing, and none of us has ever produced a festival before. But it ain’t brain surgery. And it’ll help with our mission. So buckle up, cuz we’re in.”
(Am I a lucky boss or what?)
We do know more of what we are doing now (although we’re learning as we go too – but isn’t that everything in life). And today, we are thrilled to announce the plays, musicals and more that will appear in our RAVE Theater Festival . . . and what a unique group of shows they are!
We’ve got an all-female tap show from Australia, an original Irish musical with an all Irish cast, a musical written by a 12-year-old, and more.
Please join me in congratulating all 20 shows . . . oh, and get tickets now for performances starting August 9th! These theaters are not huge, and we expect every show to sell out. So use the links below.
And if you’re looking to see multiple shows and save $, click here to purchase a festival pass now.
The shows are . . .
911 GNOMES: A CHRISTMAS EMERGENCY
Written by Shellie O’Neal
Have YOU ever seen a garden gnome make toys in Santa’s workshop? Probably not. Could it work? We honestly don’t know. But hey, it’s Christmas Eve and all the elves have the flu – so somebody has to get the job done! Dial 911 GNOMES to the rescue!
When the elves at the North Pole get the flu right before Christmas, nobody knows what to do! But wait a minute! Here come the gnomes to the rescue! In 911 Gnomes: A Christmas Emergency, take a trip with Rudolph, Frosty, and the strangest garden gnomes you’ve ever laid eyes on, as they work their way to the North Pole to save the day. What will happen when they arrive? Do gnomes even know how to make toys? How many things could go wrong on Christmas Eve? Come see 911 Gnomes to find out!
Written by Matt Webster
Would you betray the person who loves you for a second chance at life?
When Derek moves away after high school, and Leah gets in a car accident, killing her boyfriend Spencer, they come face to face with a new technology that proves to threaten their relationship and existence. Would you betray the person who loves you for a second chance at life?
BIG SHOT THE MUSICAL
Written by Lauryn Gaffney, Music and Lyrics by Lauryn Gaffney
New York’s finest coffee with an Irish blend. “A theatrical storm worthy of a Tony Gong” -Irish Mirror.
Big Shot tells the story of Jeremy Crocker, an up and coming New York lawyer. Jeremy’s ambition in life is to own the most successful law firm in the city, but soon finds himself distracted when he falls for Carrie, a struggling Irish artist. Carrie’s paintings are displayed on the walls of the coffee shop where Carrie works. Fate and a shared passion for art brings the two of them together, but when Crocker agrees to defend a white-collar gangster Hank Midden being charged with crimes, Jeremy has a tough decision to make. Not only is Midden guilty, but he is also engaged to Carrie.
Written by Craig Donnelly
Social media star Max Henderson dies in a prank gone wrong, so now his “team” must convince his doppelgänger to take his place.
VideoSpace, the leading video content platform, loses its biggest star, Max Henderson, who dies suddenly in a prank gone wrong. Max’s agent gets a brilliant idea to replace him; track down his doppelgänger and convince him to simply take over for Max. He enlists the help of VideoSpace’s CEO as well as Max’s sister to track down Sam Greene, whose been living a typical college life up until now. Ultimately, Sam must choose whether to leave his normal life behind to join the impossible stakes world of the social media elite.
Written by Harold Hodge
The year is 1853. Four women have sacrificed everything to escape the cruelties of American Slavery in the South. Determined to take agency over their own lives, they find themselves tempted by violence.
After narrowly escaping the horrors of slavery, Idabelle arrives to the North only to discover the Fugitive Slave Act has made it impossible for her to find honest work. With no other choice, she joins the women of Pinky’s Pleasure House where she is confronted by a wealthy Southern-planter who finds the women-run business disturbing. After an intense altercation in the privacy of her room, Idabella and the women are faced with a life-or-death dilemma that tests their morality and questions the value of revenge.
GIRLS ON TAP
Written by Sally Dashwood, Music and Lyrics by Sean Peter
Inspiring, empowering, multi-tasking. The Aussie femme fatales of tap have arrived. Girls On Tap celebrate women and girl power throughout the ages the best way they know how, by making a lot of noise!
Girls On Tap is a high energy, theatrical tap show celebrating women and girl power throughout the ages. Like all things female, the ladies of Girls On Tap multi-task live on stage – whether they are dancing, singing a soulful song or using their daily hair care routine to tap out fun rhythms with a can of hair spray and a hair brush. Girls On Tap take a look at female life both good and bad. Legacy, sisterhood, femininity vs stereotypes, betrayal by our female conterparts and objectification by the media. It’s not all noise and backstabbing though. We are making a statement, but we’re having a lot of fun doing it. There’s an activewear sporting, online-dating inspired version of Someone to Watch over Me (Someone to Swipe Right For Me), a live and powerful rock version of Rolling in Deep, a fierce Film Noir style jazz routine reminiscent of Golden Era classics like Band Wagon and Singing in the Rain, a tongue-in-cheek take on the stereotypical 1950s housewife, and more. Girls On Tap is sure to appeal to people of all ages. Girls On Tap is fabulous, female and guaranteed to entertain.
Written by Lauren Gundrum, Music by Brandon Lambert
A new musical comedy about one family’s most awkward, hilarious, and often beautiful milestone moments.
Just Laugh is a vignette-style musical comedy about one family’s most awkward, hilarious, and often beautiful milestone moments. It begins with the birth of Martha’s and Frank’s son Timmy and follows Timmy as he learns all of life’s most important lessons – from the birds and the bees, to how to properly ask someone to divorce you, and everything in between. As Timmy grows he realizes that while life may be a series of struggles, the one thing that will always get you through is laughter.
NI MI MADRE
Written by Arturo Luís Soria
A larger-than-life Brazilian mother, who swears she would’ve been the “It” thing if it weren’t for Madonna and Meryl Streep, grapples with the secrets that tear her and her son apart, the painful memories of her estranged mother, and the lineage that bind
Inspirited with the tradition of Umbanda ritual, the music of Gloria Estefan, Cher, and Maria Bethânia, NI MI MADRE invites the audience into the tumultuous relationship between Bete (a larger-than-life Brazilian woman who swears that if it weren’t for Madonna, Meryl Streep, and Angelina Jolie she would have been the “It” thing) and her queer son. As she grapples with the secrets that tear her and her son apart, the unbidden memories of her estranged mother, and the lineage that binds them all together she unveils to us, her confidants, her judges, her audience, the downfalls of American parenting.
Written by Michael Bontatibus
Private eyes, femme fatales, dark alleyways, rain-slicked streets – plunge into the world of film noir in a new immersive theater experience. Chart your own path and walk from room to room, untangling three intertwining mysteries.
In the newest experience from immersive theater company WITNESS, step into the shadowy and seductive world of film noir. A trio of interlocking mysteries, each linked by one enigmatic woman, are investigated by three private detectives who couldn’t be more different from one another. Audiences will be free to step out of their seats and walk from room to room, choosing which detectives to follow on their journeys through the underbelly of the city – where no one can be trusted and nothing is as it seems.
Written by Morgan Smith, Music and Lyrics by Mhairi Cameron
Oceanborn follows two young women as they face the pressures and expectations of future leadership in a climate of violence and uncertainty.
Oceanborn is the story of Viking raids on the Outer Hebrides and the aftermath of their violence, rousingly political and tinged with legend. This political musical featuring a blend of Celtic rock, pop and folk, tackles the cyclic nature of violence, xenophobia, misogyny, and cultural isolationism head on. Oceanborn follows two young women as they face the pressures and expectations of future leadership in a climate of violence and uncertainty. Eira, a Viking warrior and next Chief of her tribe, struggles to overcome the prejudice against female leaders in her culture. Finn, the daughter of a Celtic fisherman, has a desperate wish to escape responsibility and wander the world. When a failed raid leaves Eira abandoned, assumed dead, on Finn’s shore, she is faced with the culture that left her parentless. As understanding and an unlikely friendship blossoms between them, wicked ministrations by the trickster god Gideon incite a series of violent events.
Written by J. Todd Allan, Music by Doug Katsaros, Lyrics by Peter B. Allen
ROSE’S WAR is a WWII era interracial musical love story set mostly in New York and Harlem nightclubs where two singer-songwriters must fight against all odds for a happy ending.
WWII rages in ROSE’S WAR as Rose Sweet, a talented black singer-songwriter, shattered by the death of her white mother, walks in on a raucous rehearsal at The Pair O’ Dice Club in Harlem. Rose is hungry to be a star. The club’s owner, Cecil Clay, a troubled black trumpet virtuoso, leads the band and doesn’t know, yet, that he is Rose’s father. But she certainly does. Danny Capucci, Cecil’s young white protégé, is in an airman’s uniform playing the piano and singing a new hit song written by him and Cecil. Cecil is furious that Danny is going off to war and fearful he’ll never return. Fearlessly Rose offers to replace Danny, and after an impressive audition singing and dancing with Danny, Cecil hires her as his cigarette girl, to start. Rose and Danny are in love and pledge to write each other every day. As Rose struggles to make it in a white-ruled music business, Danny is getting more and more terrified that he won’t survive his next bombing mission. In a moment of weakness he betrays Rose with Sophie Leland, a white songbird at the London USO. Consumed with guilt Danny stops sending Rose letters. By the time Danny returns from the war both he and Rose are damaged. Sophie’s returned to New York, too, and more than cherishes her friendship with Danny. The odds are terribly stacked against Rose and Danny making it. The general belief is mixed race couples are doomed. There are many more battles to be fought if Rose and Danny are to get their happy ending.
Written by Michael MacKenzie Wills
A magical storm, a shipwreck at sea, and a group of “frenemies” trapped together on Fire Island during a hurricane = an evening of madcap theatrical fun.
A ferocious storm rages outside the Fire Island beach house of Tim Bailey, a 40-year-old gay man having a mid-life crisis – He’s lost his job, his husband started divorce proceedings, and his adopted daughter will soon leave the nest. When a yacht gets struck by lightning and everyone is washed overboard, a night of surprise visitors begins as each nearly drowned passenger, which include Tim’s ex-boss and ex-husband, make their way to Tim’s front door. As calamity ensues Tim is forced to face his demons and hilariously fight to regain control of his life.
Written by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj & Adam Mace
“Decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not it’s idea of you.” -James Baldwin
Sweet Lorraine is a dramatic interpretation of the final conversation had between best friends, Lorraine Hansberry and James Baldwin in Lorraine’s New York City Hospital Room in January 1965. The play is set one week prior to Lorraine’s passing from pancreatic cancer and explores the complex, dynamic and often heated relationship between these two prolific, creative giants and American Artists and Activists.
THE ERRONEOUS MOBY DICK
Written by Thom Talbott
Is it better to lie with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian?
The Erroneous Moby Dick is a comedy adaptation of Herman Melville’s classic masterpiece, Moby Dick, using four actors to bring an assortment of madcap characters to life, in true tour de farce. Call him Ishmael, but he wants to be a whaler and he has arrived in New Bedford to find a ship. There he meets his mysterious bed mate, Queequeg; the hysterical owner of the Spouter Inn, Mrs. Coffin; the ever dependable, first mate, Mr. Starbuck along with his long suffering wife, Mary; the peculiar wharf rat, Elijah; the blustery Father Mapple; and finally, the obsessive, overwrought, and on-edge Captain Ahab. Sign on to the whaler, Pequod, for a voyage on the high seas of hilarity and a Moby Dick that you haven’t seen before.
THE PERFECT FIT
Written by Joshua Turchin
It’s Where You Belong
Alexandra, a driven child actor with a powerful voice, grows concerned that she is growing too old to play a child and too young to play an adult. After being cast in a musical, she is sabotaged by Elizabeth’s mom, a vindictive stage parent who would do anything for her daughter to succeed, leading to Alexandra getting fired from the show. Alexandra wants to give up her dreams of being a musical star, but her best friend Jake, a budding composer, and her mother, Annie, teach Alexandra to move forward. It is through the heartbreak and defeat that she faces that allow her to find her real perfect fit. Not only does Alexandra soon get cast in a brand new musical, she becomes the lead and makes her major stage debut.
Written by Graham Techler
Like if Edith Wharton had left in the good parts.
New York City, 1902. A sheepish law student’s courtship of the daughter of the nation’s most powerful railroad magnate gives way to a series of plots, counterplots, and counter-counterplots that will suck in and take down everyone that the young lovers have ever met and/or held dear. THE TYCOONS is a ribald and lusty farce replete with taxidermied animal heads, lentil pâté, light-to-heavy fondling, and something called “The Seawife and the Honeypot.”
Written by Robin Bradford
Lying. Cheating. Crying. Who says romance is dead?
In this vibrant, witty drama, a long-married Lesbian couple, Penny and Katherine, suffer from a gradual breakdown of their relationship. When Penny discovers Katherine’s infidelity, with a man no less, the couple seek marital counseling. Deeply felt emotions force them to reevaluate their lives and their lifestyles. Tension develops as the two stake out their individual territories, allowing for a peek into their sometimes neurotic, often complicated, and always quirky partnership. The tension between the human desire to settle down in a heteronormative lifestyle is contrasted by the excitement of one defined by sex with other people. Can a relationship plagued by lies, deceit, and unfaithfulness be trumped by true affection? Can these two set aside past hurts and focus instead on their mutual love for each other? Through this portrait of a lesbian relationship, the question is raised: When it comes to love, don’t we all want the same things?
UMSHADO – MARRIAGE OF HERITAGE
Written by Bogosi Bolokwe, Music and Lyrics by Eddie Mathiba
Beautiful singing and Sharp Choreography as reviewed by the Star Tonight
Umshado tells the story of a young man’s journey from his roots in the kraal of Moruleng to Shantytown of Mamelodi in Pretoria. The show opens during ceremonial preparation for his entrance into manhood and it captures this initiation rite of passage for a Tswana boy. The story continues from his initiation to love and marriage. Confronted by the traditional practices,as many before him he migrates to Urban city to find job. Arriving in Pretoria he becomes a bricklayer. Here for the first time he makes contact with people of other races, cultures, traditions and languages. He is amazed by the ability of these peoples from various cultures to work productively together. He learns about their music and enjoys a repertoire of performance styles that carried strong and rich traditional melodies. He eventually falls in love with a domestic worker originating from Zululand. After experiencing a church wedding, he decides to remain true to tradition. He arranges with his elders to go and negotiate for marriage in the rural Zululand. As usual with different tribes, the bride s father becomes adamant that he will not allow cross cultural marriage to take place with her daughter. Emissaries settle the dispute and manage to unite two families. The groom invites his colleagues then the celebration takes place, displaying the various cultures and capturing the magic of diverse cultures of African tribes which is raw beauty and enhancing social cohesion and to appreciate cross cultural marriages which is still an existing problem world wide.
WAITING FOR JOHNNY DEPP
Written by Janet Cole Valdez and Deedee O’Malley; Music by Janet Cole Valdez, Deedee O’Malley and Bettie Ross; Lyrics by Janet Cole Valdez and Deedee O’Malley
The zany adventures of an actress who risks it all for the role of a lifetime.
“Waiting for Johnny Depp” takes us on a wild ride with New York actress Rita Donatella, in her quest to land the role of a lifetime in a Johnny Depp film. She constantly reinvents herself to be more perfect for the role, as she navigates the rough waters of surviving in the Big Apple with her dreams intact. She fights the financial and personal battles every artist wrestles with, with humor and chutzpah. Through demands of career, dating and family she sells off all her personal possessions, sacrificing practically everything before she realizes the meaning of what really matters in life.
Written by Sydney Blake
A romantic comedy 400 years in the making…
Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl…in 1620 on the Mayflower. John Alden, a poor, strapping young carpenter, works on the Mayflower in hopes of building a better future for himself. While on board he meets the girl of his dreams, Priscilla Mullins, who’s already being courted by the “perfect Pilgrim.” After saving the ship from a harrowing storm, fighting off “savages” awaiting on land, and nursing his rival back from the brink of death, John finds his place in the new world . . . and maybe even love.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.