SKETCHES FROM THE NATIONAL LAMPOON World Premiere to Play Hayworth Theatre, 2/7-3/17
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by BWW News Desk
National Lampoon will present the World Premiere of SKETCHES FROM THE NATIONAL LAMPOON, conceived and produced by Matty Simmons, with original songs by Richard Levinson and directed by Pat Towne. SKETCHES FROM THE NATIONAL LAMPOON will begin previews on Thursday, February 7 at 8pm; will open on Friday, February 15 at 8pm and run through Sunday, March 17 at the Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.
SKETCHES FROM THE NATIONAL LAMPOON, is National Lampoon's first live stage production in over 25 years. Featuring the most hilarious and classic monologues, sketches, songs and other humor derived from the best known comedy company in entertainment history and written by more than thirty Lampoon magazine, radio and theatrical writers including Michael O'Donoghue, Doug Kenney, John Hughes, and PJ O'Rourke. SKETCHES FROM THE NATIONAL LAMPOON will take an irreverent look back at the best of the best in Lampoon history and will feature 6 original songs written for this production. The show is being produced by National Lampoon founder Matty Simmons, who created, not only the humor magazine, but also the radio shows, albums, theatre and such films as "National Lampoon's Animal House" and "Vacation" series. The show is also being co-produced along with the new President of the National Lampoon Alan Donnes, CEO Jerry Daigle and Patti Browne.
First, let's get this dog thing out of the way. The National Lampoon magazine cover featuring a dog with a gun to his head and the printed warning: "If You Don't Buy This Magazine - We'll Kill This Dog" was selected by The Art Director's Society of America as the "best magazine cover ever." It has certainly become the most popular.
The sketches and monologues in the new revue, "Sketches From the National Lampoon," were written by many of the legendary humorists for the Lampoon magazine and its radio, recording, stage and film productions.
Much of the material was written by teams of writers, sometimes as many as four or five, occasionally, just one solitary funny individual.
The list of writers, actors, directors and editors who worked for the Lampoon would take more space than available here and then we'd accidentally leave some out so we will, with apologies to those unintentionally left out, list some.
The original editors of the Lampoon were Doug Kenny and Henry Beard. They were soon joined by Michael O'Donahue, George Trow, TEd Mann, Tony Hendra, Brian McConnachie, Anne Beatts, P.J. O'Rourke, John Hughes, Terry Southern, Dave Hanson, Jerry Sussman and many others. Later, came Al Jean, Michael Reiss, Andy Simmons, Larry Sloman, Michael Simmons, Larry David, etc., etc.
Introduced in various Lampoon entertainment projects were: John Belushi, Christopher Guest, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Brian Doyle Murray, Gilda Radner, Meatloaf, Richard Belzer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tom Hulce, Karen Allen, Peter Riegert, Stephen Furst, Martha Smith, Dana Baron, Anthony Michael Hall, Harold Ramis and many others. Diane Lane was 14 when she appeared in a National Lampoon film. The aforementioned Michelle Pfeiffer made her first appearance as an actress on a Lampoon TV show.
The Lampoon was created in 1970. Its founder and CEO was Matty Simmons, who has produced "Sketches." He ran the company for more than 20 years, selling control in 1990. In the two decades that followed, the magazine closed but a number of films were produced under the Lampoon banner, including van Wilder.
Now, new management, under the supervision of Jerry Daigle, CEO and Alan Donnes, President, there has been a Renaissance. A full-length documentary on the Lampoon will be in theaters sometime this year and films and other projects are in the works.
Matty Simmons (Producer) born in Brooklyn, was a high school and college basketball player, who, at the age of seventeen, became a newspaper reporter for the New York World Telegram and Sun. After a brief stint in the army he became a New York press agent, opening his own firm and representing show business clients as well as commercial accounts such as Heineken Beer. He then became one of the three men who started The Diners' Club, the first all- purpose credit card company and served as Executive Vice President of that company directing its marketing and publishing operations including Signature Magazine, which he founded shortly after the company's inception.
He resigned in the late 1960's to form 21st Century Communications, which was later to become National Lampoon Inc. The company went public in 1972 with Mr. Simmons as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Its' first magazine was Weight Watchers Magazine, founded in 1968. In 1970, the company introduced National Lampoon, which was to become the most popular humor magazine in publishing history. In 1972, Mr. Simmons produced the musical comedy "Lemmings" in which he introduced a number of new faces including John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Christopher Guest. Over the next five years, Mr. Simmons produced three other Lampoon shows introducing among others Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Meatloaf. During that period, he also produced the National Lampoon Radio Hour, which was the most listened to radio show in America in 1973 and 1974 and 12 comedy albums.
In 1978 he produced "National Lampoon's Animal House" considered the most popular film comedy of all time. He has also produced, among other films, the National Lampoon "Vacation" series.
In 1979, he was named "Producer of the Year" and in 1980, "Publisher of the Year" by industry organizations. His film and television discoveries include Michele Pfeiffer, Tom Hulce and Kevin Bacon. Among the writers he discovered were John Hughes, PJ O'Rourke, Michael O'Donaghue and dozens of others, who today dominate the film and television scenes.
Over the years, Mr. Simmons has written seven books including several bestsellers and in the 1960's was the principal owner of the San Francisco Warriors, now the Golden State Warriors.
His latest book, "Fat, Drunk amd Stupid," was published by St. Martin's Press in mid-April of 2012. In the same month, it was announced that Mr. Simmons was one of the producers who are developing a musical comedy version of Animal House for Broadway.
Pat Towne (Director) is an award winning director and actor and veteran of the Los Angeles Theatre scene for nearly 20 years.
Pat directed and performed in his own production of Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage. Pat directed, co-adapted, and co-produced this world premiere production which went on to win two LAWeekly Awards. For Sacred Fools Theater Company he directed and starred in Gorey Stories which won the Franklin R. Levy Award: the Ovation Award for Best Musical in 2005. He has also performed and directed shows for Zoo District, Independent Shakespeare Co., The Open Fist, and The Second City Los Angeles.
As an actor, Pat most recently appeared in Sacred Fools production of Stoneface: The Rise & Fall of Buster Keaton starring French Stewart, and in Hoboken to Hollywood, winner of the 2011 LAWeekly Award for Musical of the Year.
Mr. Towne has also been a mainstay of the late-night comedy scene in L.A. performing in the long-running late-night hits Serial Killers and Crime Scene both at Sacred Fools. And Pat was a member of the LAWeekly Award winning sketch comedy group Margot's Bush - the single greatest sketch comedy group in the history of the universe.
Originally from Chicago, Pat was a founding member, Managing Director, and Training Center Coordinator of Chicago's famed Annoyance Theatre which just celebrated its 25th anniversary. He performed, directed and taught there, and played the Clown in their production of Coed Prison Sluts - the longest running musical in Chicago history. Pat also originated the role of Greg in the Annoyance's production of The Real Live Brady Bunch, and eventually went on to direct the show Off-Broadway.
Television credits include: Mad Men, Boston Legal, Desperate Housewives, Las Vegas, Gilmore Girls among others. He has performed on stages across the United States and internationally, on film & television, and he has taught at The Second City Los Angeles, The Annoyance Theatre, and Tulane University in New Orleans.
ALAN DONNES (Producer/President National Lampoon) is a former stand up comedian and sportscaster. He managed professional athletes including former heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes before relaunching the National Lampoon radio hour in 2002. He has written and produced National Lampoon's Dirty Movie, National Lampoon's Snatched and National Lampoon's Another Dirty Movie and has recently been named President of the company.
JERRY DAIGLE (Producer/CEO National Lampoon) began making movies in and around his native New Orleans in 2002, when he produced The Scoundrel's Wife with acclaimed Cajun filmmaker, Glen Pitre. Since that time, he has produced a number of motion pictures for the National Lampoon label, including National Lampoon's Dirty Movie, which he directed. He recently became CEO of National Lampoon, Inc.
Richard Levinson (Original Songs) After penning Burt Reynolds's novelty hit "Let's Do Something Cheap and Superficial" many, many years ago, Richard Levinson entered the dark world of jingles,heaping praise on beers, wines, banks, brokers, shopping malls, car dealers, supermarkets, California Eggs and the LSU women's basketball team... winning all major awards along the way.
To atone for this, he writes comedy music and satiric songs, some of which have appeared in productions by MTV, National Lampoon, Fox/HBO and Disney Television, and on the Dr. Demento show. He also has contributed intentionally unfunny songs to many films and TV shows, including True Blood and Raising Hope. As a musical director, actor and/or piano player, Richard has performed in numerous local LA productions, recently including the multi-award winning musical Louis and Keely Live at the Sahara! (Sacred Fools, Matrix and Geffen Theaters) and the equally honored Peace in Our Time (Antaeus Theater).
His "Honky-Tonk" musical, Savin' Up for Saturday Night, earned him an Ovation nomination for best music and lyrics, and is now published by Samuel French and Company. He also can be seen and heard occasionally with Fred Willard's sketch group, "The MOHOs." He has just released his 2nd live collection of comedy songs, "Unchartables Vol.2," on iTunes and everywhere else in the digital universe. "Unchartables Vol. 1," (heard regularly on XM/Sirius satellite radio and also available on iTunes).
PATTI BROWNE (Co-Producer) started her career in film in 1975, serving as the Managing Director of Helicopter Aerials, a company that did aerial film photography for many major films and commercials. In 1988, she joined the National Lampoon to work on the company's creative team. Over the years, she has served as associate producer and co-producer on many film and TV projects. She was a key member of the production team on such projects as "Christmas Vacation," "Christmas Vacation 2," "Vegas Vacation," "Pucked" and others. Currently, she is President of Matty Simmons Productions.
The Set, Costume and Prop Design is by Tifanie McQueen (Endgame -Ovation Nomination, Forbidden Zone). The Lighting Design is by Cricket Sloat. The Sound Design is by Jaime Robledo (Louis and Keely Live at the Sahara, Stoneface). The Stage Manager is Brenda Goldstein.
SKETCHES FROM THE NATIONAL LAMPOON will preview on Thursday, February 7 at 8pm; Friday, February 8 at 8pm; Saturday, February 9 at 8pm; Sunday February 10 at 3pm; Thursday February 14 at 8pm and will open on Friday, February 15 at 8pm and run through Sunday, March 17 at the Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Performances for SKETCHES FROM THE NATIONAL LAMPOON are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 3:00pm & 7:00pm at the Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. Tickets are $30. Previews are $25. Pay parking lot - $6, right next door to the theatre. Free parking on Wilshire Blvd., Coronado St., and Carondelet St.