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A Thankful Message from Delicia

by moxielicious

We, at MOXIE, have learned that gratitude is our single greatest tool to survive as a non-profit. As theatre artists, we have so much to be grateful for, like you dear fans and supporters of MOXIE. On this day of thankfulness, we’re happy to share the thoughts of our fearless leader, Artistic Director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg about what makes her thankful to be an artist and a MOXIE.

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What makes you thankful to be an artist in your local community?

D: I am thankful for the overwhelming generosity and support I feel from the entire San Diego Theatre community – board members, audience members, staff at both our organization and others, artists, big theatres, small theatres. It’s amazing to be a part of a community that feels genuinely supportive of each other.

What makes you thankful to be an artist at MOXIE?

D: I am thankful to work in a place and make theatre with people I respect, where I get to be my whole self – artist, administrator, wife, mother, mentor, student, loving or cranky. I am especially thankful that MOXIE provides my son and daughter an example of what it means to love your work. I tell them that while talent an intelligence can be used as a weapon, they can choose to use it to positively impact the world. But seeing is believing and having them grow up around MOXIE provides an example that no “talk” can capture.

 What make you thankful to be a theatre artist in general?

D: I am thankful that I love my work. I am thankful for the opportunity to touch and be touched by people’s humanity.

 

 

A Guy You Want Next to You When the S%#T Hits the Fan – Interview with ORANGE JULIUS’ Steve Froehlich

by moxielicious

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Steve Froehlich as Ol’ Boy. Photo by Daren Scott

In our final installation of interviews with cast members of ORANGE JULIUS, we’re thrilled to be talking with the actor who plays the dynamic role of Ol’ Boy, Steve Froehlich. This world premiere closes Sunday October 18, 2015 so don’t wait to get tickets!

You play a really fascinating character that’s different from the other characters in ORANGE JULIUS. Can you tell us about him?

My character’s name is Ol’ Boy. He is an Army Soldier in Vietnam, created out of the main character Nut’s imagination as she explores in dream-like sequences what it would be like to be present with her father Julius when he was fighting in Vietnam.  Basically all of my scenes are exploring this dynamic with Nut and Julius: she’s trying to be manly, I’m extreme craziness and Julius is full of fear. It’s a unique dynamic. Nut has a wonderful line where she states her “father made me watch Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now every single year Veterans’ Day when they all played on television,” and Ol’ Boy is an amalgamation of the most gonzo caricatures of those films. Ol’ Boy has seen the worst of it and has learned how to use those experiences to keep him—and everyone else around him—alive.  With his temper he can snap at any moment, but he is the type of guy you want next to you when the shit hits the fan.  Oh yeah, and this is an understatement, but he swears A LOT!  Every time he enters from backstage he’s swearing immediately, and sometimes it seems as if every other word spewing out of his mouth is an expletive. He is a tornado when he comes on stage.

How are you alike and different from him?

Just like Ol’ Boy, I am: Athletic, Committed, Focused, Funny, Intense, Loud and Loyal.

The famous acting teacher Uta Hagen taught (impressed upon her by Harold Clurman) that you must know yourself fully so you can bring all of yourself—or what is required of you—to that character.  So in this role I rely a lot on my natural physicality to bring Ol’ Boy to life.

Unlike Ol’ Boy, I am not: Extremely fearless, nor do I have an uncontrollable explosive temper.

When I was younger I swore profusely, having to do with always playing competitive team sports, but I worked hard after college when I entered the professional world to tone down that behavior.  Although, last week at coffee a friend of mine asked, “Why are you swearing so much? I’ve never heard you talk that way.” I guess Ol’ Boy has rubbed off on me a little bit; at least temporarily.  Thanks for writing this Basil! Haha

As a child we moved around every three years or so because of my father’s career in the U.S. Coast Guard, but that was the closest I came to the military. So, no matter how much I can prepare being a soldier, I’ve never been there.  During the “actor” talkback one Sunday after the show, multiple audience members expressed how they served during Vietnam, and they all had different and personal experiences to share.  I just hope that I could bring truth and believability to Ol’ Boy and not let those patrons down.  Thank you to everyone that has served our country! God Bless you and your families.

What research or preparation did you do to get into character?

When Casting Director Jennifer Berry called me about auditioning for the role, she specifically told me to think Robert Duvall during the napalm beach scene in “Apocalypse Now.”  I’ve seen all the movies mentioned in the script and knew immediately what they wanted. And it felt beyond great when Basil Kreimendahl (the writer) told me that my audition was exactly how Ol’ Boy was imagined when he was being written. That took me by surprise!

My senior year in high school I took a military history class and we watched “Full Metal Jacket.” That was my first exposure to understanding the Vietnam Conflict. For the next few years, when I wasn’t reading a textbook in high school or in college, I was reading a book on Vietnam, the Korean War and World War II.  I really enjoyed learning about those periods in history, so when I was offered this role, I had a lot of useful information floating around in my head to draw from in creating the back-story of Ol’ Boy. Plus, my father served 30+ years in the military, and so did his father, so growing up I was a military brat and I liked learning about the military and war.

One of my first acting teachers implored upon his students to watch a movie or TV show everyday as a way to learn, and for the past three years I daily watch just as much as I read.  War movies and documentaries are a genre I routinely consume, so I had a lot to draw from visually when bringing Ol’ Boy to life: both the drill sergeant’s barking orders and the 1000-yard stare quote from “Full Metal Jacket;” Tom Sizemore getting shot at and standing fully upright in “Saving Private Ryan.” Creating the physicality of Ol’ Boy and how he moves in the jungle guided my approach.

What moves you most in the script?

What excited me more than anything in the script was that this is a World Premiere and I get to originate the role of Ol’ Boy.  I wasn’t informed of this fact until after I was hired for the role.  This is a first for me.  Another first, which is a by-product of a doing a World Premiere, is that I get to work with the writer during the rehearsal period. Both of these firsts created a superb atmosphere for creating a character.

But in reference to the script, the Vietnam-era is something I’ve studied copiously so any script relating to that timeframe is always of interest to me.

From Ol’ Boy’s perspective, the camaraderie that’s required to stay alive in the Vietnam scenes is parallel to the relationships we all need in order to overcome the challenges and obstacles that real life brings.

Overall, the topic of family and relationships is poignant, especially trying to remember those that have passed on good terms and having to recreate those memories in our mind so we never forget them.  The mother France chastises her daughter Crimp for the way Crimp remembers her father: “sometimes, I think you must’ve grown up in a different house.” Crimp remembered her father in a sweet way, even if it wasn’t necessarily true from the mother’s perspective.  But sometimes that’s okay.

My mom grew up outside of Chicago and came from a huge family.  So, every winter/holiday season, I would see all of my aunts/uncles/cousins and I always cherished those times. We’d sometimes have up to 25 people all staying for a week in my grandmother’s tiny house! After both of those grandparents passed away when I was about 14, since then the family has never gotten together like that again; so I have to hold onto “my” memories to keep that wonderfully warm time alive. Therefore, someday when I have a family of my own, we can do it the same way.

Catch Froehlich and the rest of the cast of ORANGE JULIUS before they close this Sunday October 18th at 2pm. Tickets available at http://www.moxietheatre.com or call 858-598-7620

Searching for an Act of Selflessness -Interview with ORANGE JULIUS’ Rae K. Hendersen

by moxielicious

rae_quoteThe World Premiere of ORANGE JULIUS is closing this Sunday, October 18, 2015.  Rae K. Hendersen, who plays the central character “Nut”, has received rave reviews for what the critics are calling a breakout performance.

“She offers a performance star worthy and commanding. She takes us places most fear to tread.” -Examiner.com

“…  a breakout showcase for the outsize talents of its star, Rae K. Hendersen.” -San Diego Union-Tribune

“At the center of it all is Rae K. Hendersen, intense, authoritative, casual and completely in command…”-Times of San Diego

We caught up with Hendersen to talk about  what the ORANGE JULIUS process has been like.

Will you tell us a little bit about your character, Nut?

Nut comes from practical, working-class people, but is a poet at heart.  They narrate the play through memories, fantasies, and moments that hover between the two.  During the length of the show, Nut is trying to discover where the missed connection was between their father and them, where things may have gone wrong, where opportunities passed unfulfilled.  They are searching for and working toward a final moment of connection, of some great act of selflessness for Julius before he goes. I think Nut is a very old soul, but lost in the way that young adults often are.  They are the sort of person you’d like to sit down in a dive bar and have a beer with – a storyteller, an empathizer, someone sweet and tough and a little broken.

How are you similar to and different from Nut?

Like Nut, I am good at seeing things with clarity when looking back at them – but terrible at understanding events and relationships in the moment.  I think Nut is very self-critical, but also shows themself grace in their faults and mistakes, which I identify with.

Nut is also the first time I’ve ever gotten to play a queer character, which has really meant a lot to me.  I feel so fortunate that this is such a beautiful show, and that this character’s queerness is like mine – a part of their identity, an influence in their relationships, but not a constant struggle or problem to be overcome.  Nut is neither a LGBT hero nor a victim – they are a character that I think everyone can relate to, never presented as an “other”.  I so appreciate that aspect of Basil’s script and Will’s direction.  I also am just really enjoying not having to “femme it up”, as it were, like I almost always have to do for shows.  It’s comfortable and pleasant.

What research or preparation will you be doing to get into character?

I’ve read up a lot on Agent Orange – both its use during Vietnam as well as its legacy.  The continuing political battle over the very real, human consequences is astounding and terrifying.

What do you expect to be the biggest challenge for you as an actor in working on this production?

Prior to this show, I had only ever done one other non-musical (I played Antigone in a college production).  Every show in my professional career has been a musical, so this has been a very different experience for me.  I was very very nervous coming in to the rehearsal process – I was worried that I wouldn’t know how to do it, that I would be unprepared for a very different style of theatre art – but it has been an absolutely wonderful and comfortable experience.  Doing a play is a completely different animal than a musical, and (based on this experience) is easier in some ways and tougher in others.

One thing I was not expecting was the challenge of being patient with people as they try to figure out how to talk about gender in the context of and around this play.  That has been very very interesting, and not something that had really crossed my mind during the rehearsals.  I had literally never thought about how audiences or critics were going to feel about and talk about Nut’s gender presentation until after the preview performances, which now seems like rather late in the game.

What moves you most in the script?

Every time Nut says “I didn’t ask” it breaks my heart a little.

I also love it every time Jeffrey tells me a story.

Catch Hendersen, along with the rest of the outstanding ORANGE JULIUS cast before the production closes Sunday Oct 18th at 2pm. Tickets at http://www.moxietheatre.com/orangejulius or call 858-598-7620

Bringing the Laughter – Interview with ORANGE JULIUS’ Wendy Maples

by moxielicious

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Rae K. Hendersen, Wendy Maples and Dana Case in ORANGE JULIUS. Photo by Daren Scott

The critically acclaimed World Premiere of ORANGE JULIUS, MOXIE’s first production of Season 11, is playing now through October 18, 2015.   Actress Wendy Maples plays the role of Crimp. We took a moment to catch up with Maples to talk about her character.

Will you tell us a little about your character, Crimp?

I’m playing Crimp, Nut’s older sister. She’s a middle child, kind of lost in the fold of the family.

How are you alike/different from her?

I’m definitely not a middle kid- I’m the youngest of three, so I’ve always been some kind of performer. But as the middle kid, Crimp has lots of moments that give us permission to laugh and I connect to that a lot.

What research or preparation will you be doing to get into character?

I’ve been thinking a lot about families and the roles that we play within them. Like who’s a caregiver, who needs attention, who’s misunderstood, who’s absent- every family has them. And when crisis happens, how do we react as those people or step out of those roles? Family is a powerful beast.

MaplesheadshotWhat do you expect to be the biggest challenge for you as an actor in working on this production?

My biggest challenge in any production is just being an actor! But this ensemble has been so comfortable and challenging from day one- I’m just really thrilled to be sharing creative space with these people and learning from them.

What moves you the most in the script?

So much. Basil’s words are lovely and time is fluid and Jeffrey goes fishing. All the things.

Catch Wendy Maples and the rest of the OUTSTANDING cast of ORANGE JULIUS at MOXIE through October 18, 2015. Tickets at 858-598-7620 or visit http://www.moxietheatre.com/orangejulius

Love Sought and Realized – Interview with ORANGE JULIUS’ Dana Case

by moxielicious

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Jeffrey Jones and Dana Case in ORANGE JULIUS – Photo by Daren Scott

“Dana Case broke my heart as France, Nut’s mom.  She was painfully honest…”-SDJewishworld.com

ORANGE JULIUS, MOXIE’s first production of Season 11 which plays through October 18, 2015,  is a rich and layered look inside a family filled with love and struggling with loss. Actress Dana Case plays the role of France, the mother of the family. We took a moment to catch up with Case to talk about her character.

Tell us about “France”

France is a wife and mother in a working class family. I imagine that she graduated from High School and has always held a job. She goes about her business, and does what needs to be done. She has very little free time. At times during the play, France is taking care of her bedridden mother-in-law, as well as her bedridden husband. Sickness and death are a constant in her life. She admits to not knowing how to have fun.

How are you alike/different from her?

Alike: I am a wife, a mother and a daughter/daughter-in-law. I am dealing with aging parents with dementia and physical challenges.
Different: I do know how to have fun.

Dana-yellow-113-199x300What research and preparation did you do to get into character?

Looked into the Vietnam War, Agent Orange, gender identity.

What do you expect to be the biggest challenge for you as an actor in working on this production?

If I tell you that, then you’ll be looking for it in my performance! So, I’m pleading the Fifth.

What moves you the most in the script?

The universality of the story. The human voice. The poetry. The love sought and realized.

Catch Dana Case and the rest of the OUTSTANDING cast of ORANGE JULIUS at MOXIE through October 18, 2015. Tickets at 858-598-7620 or visit http://www.moxietheatre.com/orangejulius

Getting Grizzly – Devlin of ETERNALLY BAD

by moxielicious

IMG_3922We’re asking the cast 7 questions about ETERNALLY BAD. Serious or silly, here are ETERNALLY BAD cast member, Devlin’s answers.

Who is your favorite character in the show?

Grizzly Woman

What’s the strangest thing you learned in your research for the show?

How violent these gals were.

If we had stayed a matriarchal culture, what do you think would be the biggest difference in our society?

We would care more about our actions and the people around us.

If you were going to sleep with any character in the show… who would you choose?

Poa

You change character a lot, what’s your most challenging transformation?

Amaterasu

Has it been hard to keep a straight face on rehearsal?

Sometimes!! 

Ladies,  what has it meant to you to spend time reclaiming some bad girl legends?

Rejuvenated!

See Devlin and the rest of the cast as they “get bad” in ETERNALLY BAD at MOXIE Jul 10 – Aug 2, 2015. Tickets available at http://www.moxietheatre.com/eternallybad

“These bad #$@#%es are teaching me to really embrace my feminine side.” – Rae K. Hendersen of ETERNALLY BAD

by moxielicious

We’re asking the cast 7 questions about ETERNALLY BAD. Serious or silly, here are ETERNALLY BAD cast member, Rae K. Hendersen’s answers.

headshot_hendersonWho is your favorite character in the show?

Isis. Or the French thief in the Kannaki story. 

What’s the strangest thing you learned in your research for the show?

Well, this isn’t exactly strange, but I’ve always been fascinated by the way cultures and religions become absorbed by others over hundreds and thousands of years, and the same mythologies are retold again and again. Inanna, one of the earliest recorded gods, became Ishtar when the Babylonians came to power, and she shows up again as Isis, and so on. Another excellent example of this are all those dudes throughout ancient religions descending into the underworld and then resurrecting in the spring… a story we’re still retelling today. 

If we had stayed a matriarchal culture, what do you think would be the biggest difference in our society?

Rape culture would be wildly less pervasive, if not completely nonexistent. When society sees women as people with power and agency over themselves, the concept of them as objects or decoration cannot exist

If you were going to sleep with any character in the show… who would you choose?

Circe. Wait, is it weird to choose one of your own characters? Artemis. 

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Photo by Daren Scott

You change character a lot, what’s your most challenging transformation?

Right now, double dressing kimonos for Uzume, taking them off, and immediately putting them back on is taking years off of my life, what with all the sashes and sleeves and a million different places your arm could get tangled up. But we’re getting  it! The costumer is amazing about rigging the pieces for quick changes. 

Was it hard to keep a straight face in rehearsal?

Yes. I just cannot handle the entire Hawaii section. Everyone is killing me

What has it meant to you to spend time reclaiming some bad girl legends? 

I’ve been fascinated with ancient mythology since about age 11, so it’s been a blast getting to get some of these ladies that I’ve read about up on their feet. Their antics are bizarre and fantastical, like all classic fairy tales – but, unlike classic fairy tales, their stories aren’t morality tales about the importance of virginity and obedience. Performance-wise, it’s been very liberating for me. I’ve definitely stepped far outside my comfort zone, but in a good way. These characters are all so comfortable and confident in the sexual femininity of their bodies and their power over men – and as a fairly masculine-of-center lesbian, I’ve really had to work to get acquainted with that part of myself. It definitely started out feeling like I was performing in drag, but I’m feeling more confident in it now. So… That’s been different. But good. I guess what I’m saying is, these bad bitches are teaching me how to really embrace my feminine side.

See Rae K. Hendersen and the rest of the cast as they “get bad” in ETERNALLY BAD at MOXIE Jul 10 – Aug 2, 2015. Tickets available athttp://www.moxietheatre.com/eternallybad

Getting Bad with the Ladies – Michael Parrott of ETERNALLY BAD

by moxielicious

We’re asking the cast 7 questions about ETERNALLY BAD. Serious or silly, here are ETERNALLY BAD cast member, Michael Parrott’s answers.

 Michael_ParrottWho is your favorite character in the show? 

Probably the thief in the Kannaki scene. Completely ridiculous and makes Rae (fellow E-Bad cast member) nearly break

 What’s the strangest thing you learned in your research for the show?

Just the vast amount of mythos associated with each culture. I had always associated the idea of goddesses purely with Greek mythology and there is just so much more out there.

If we had stayed a matriarchal culture, what do you think would be the biggest difference in our society? 

Gender inclusion in governmental positions. 

If you were going to sleep with any character in the show… who would you choose? 

Lilith. Girl knows how to party

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Photo by Daren Scott

You change character a lot, what’s your most challenging transformation? 

Going from Lohiau into Ra. Quite a difficult quick change.

Has it been hard to keep a straight face on rehearsal? 

Oh absolutely. There are some hilarious moments in this show with some very talented/funny people; it’s a challenge to not break almost every night. 

How do you think, if these myths and legends were still known and shared by the average person, men and women might be different,  if at all?

I believe a lot of the goddesses that the women portray in the show are very strong and empowering individuals. I could see shedding more light on these stories possibly continuing those traits. 

See Michael Parrott and the rest of the cast as they “get bad” in ETERNALLY BAD at MOXIE Jul 10 – Aug 2, 2015. Tickets available athttp://www.moxietheatre.com/eternallybad

Getting Her Goddess On – Melissa Fernandes of ETERNALLY BAD

by moxielicious

We’re asking the cast 7 questions about ETERNALLY BAD. Serious or silly, here are their answers.

cd903f3a121ff53a8177e46297af9135Who is your favorite character in ETERNALLY BAD?

That is tough, I have grown pretty fond of all these characters. I would say my favorite to perform is probably Pele, because the characterizations we have come up with amuses me to no end and the song is very retro. I love these women because they use their wits, they make change through civil disobedience, and were the game changers of their time. It can be inspiring. 

What’s the strangest thing you learned in your research for ETERNALLY BAD?

I don’t think anything was really odd to me as I came onboard pretty familiar with these goddesses and the myths. I have a background with Wicca and so I am very familiar with the Triple Goddess.  I do love the correlations between modern-day fairy tales, for example with the Navajo story about Grizzly Woman. I also particularly love the strength they display. I feel like there was a great respect and reverence towards women in these cultures that is really lacking in today’s society. They were truly equals in many of these stories. We are still fighting for that today.

If we had stayed a matriarchal culture, like many that are referenced in ETERNALLY BAD, what do you think would be the biggest difference in our society?

Well, women tend to be more nurturing. It doesn’t mean we don’t have tempers or a competitive edge, but we would deal with violence differently. We relate to others in a more personal way; less posturing, more consensus. 

LilithIf you were going to sleep with any character in the show… who would you choose?

Lilith-She seems…um… fun. ;)

You change character a lot, what’s your most challenging transformation?

In terms of costume changes, I have it pretty easy, compared to everyone else but in terms of characterization, switching back and forth between Earth Mother and the other goddesses is a challenge. Sometimes we have literally one word to switch, so you have to be constantly thinking ahead while also, staying in the moment. Always a challenge for an actor and something that comes with the job, but it is lightning fast in this show.

Has it been hard to keep a straight face on rehearsal?

Yes! We also have to be careful about joking around too much because Javier WILL add it to the show and then you find yourself revisiting 80’s dance moves and juggling.

What has it meant to you to spend time reclaiming some bad girl legends?

It has been a great reminder to find your strength, be brave, and don’t take any shit from anyone. It has been nice to embrace a wild, sexy, strong side. We don’t get a lot of opportunity to experience that in reality without being depicted as bitchy, emasculating or domineering.

See Melissa Fernandes and the rest of the cast as they “get bad” in ETERNALLY BAD at MOXIE Jul 10 – Aug 2, 2015. Tickets available at http://www.moxietheatre.com/eternallybad

Embrace and Celebrate Your “Sore Thumb” – An Interview with Paul Araujo of LESSON 443

by moxielicious

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Paul Araujo and Daniela Millan in LESSON 443 at MOXIE

When Paul Araujo’s character in Tatiana Suarez Pico’s LESSON 443, Manny, threatens to set everyone at his daughter’s school straight, she tells him it doesn’t matter. She sticks out like a sore thumb. The offending “thumb” is her accent. She’s ashamed of what makes her different. Manny doesn’t argue, not at first, he knows what sore means. He’s got his own pain and secrets. The deeply troubled and loving character of Manny has won over audiences and critics and that has a lot to do with Paul Araujo’s nuanced approach to the part in MOXIE Theatre’s production of LESSON 443. He shared his process and a lot about himself.

What attracted you to LESSON 443?

A great script with lots of depth and universal themes that can influence and be of impact to a wide variety of people.  Also a script, a story and character that I knew would be a great challenge and would benefit me as an actor and person.  Finally, working with an award winning Theatre company and a vibrant and talented cast and director!

What has been your greatest challenge in playing Manny?

 Coming across as stern and strict while being a loving and caring father and being very specific with everything I say and do. I’m not a father, but Dani made it easy by always being present and staying in the moment.  Also, revisiting old wounds and being reminded of my own past mistakes and guilt.  Lastly, by making sacrifices in my own life to be able to participate in this production and being in a mind frame that I can do whatever I set myself to do.

Manny is a father who cares deeply for his daughter. Are there relationships in your life that helped you prepare for your on stage relationship with Cari played by Daniela Millan?

I relied on the script by writing down everything others in the play, the playwright and my own character say about myself — lots of character analysis and questioning.  Thinking about my character constantly has also been helpful for my preparation.  Lastly, I thought of my own father (even feeling like I sounded like him at times) and my brother, who is a father of 2 girls and 2 boys.

Whether people reading this have seen LESSON 443 or are about to see it before it closes Sunday, it will come as a surprise for them to learn that you’re an amputee. You’re also an advocate for people working with disabilities. Would you share with our readers how, if at all, your disability has been a challenge in your career? What would you say to other actors with a disability who are considering embarking on a professional career?

My disability has definitely been a challenge as an actor and person.  As actors, our bodies are our instrument, which can affect the acting if there is pain or self-consciousness.  I have learned to refocus my energy by thinking of the good things about myself and by embracing my disability and not letting it stop me from doing what I love to do.  Theatre has been very therapeutic!  And to other people with disabilities: embrace and celebrate your differences — we are all unique and that’s what makes the world an beautiful and interesting place!

Paul is also a musician, a member of the Amigos Del Rep and an advocate for people working with disabilities at Goodwill Industries. Catch Paul in LESSON 443 before it closes Sunday May 24th at MOXIE. Tickets available at http://www.moxietheatre.com/lessson443 or call 858-598-7620

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