The Open Fist Theatre Company presents Moss Hart's classic and timeless comedy, LIGHT UP THE SKY which will be directed by Bjørn Johnson. LIGHT UP THE SKY will preview on Saturday, January 10 at 8pm; Sunday, January 11 at 3pm and Thursday, January 15 at 8pm and will open on Friday, January 16 at 8pm and run through Saturday, March 7 at The NEW Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd. (former home of The Actor's Gang) in Hollywood.
LIGHT UP THE SKY is Moss Hart's delightful 1940's comedic tribute to New York theatre-folk. At the Boston tryout of a new Broadway show, the lead actress, the backer, the director and several others, are all in seventh heaven anticipating a tremendous success with the earnest and experimental work of a young unknown writer. Gathered in a hotel room, they prepare for their big Opening Night with tremendous gusto and many exhibitions of temperament. Following the play's first public performance however, the cast, director and backer believe it a flop. Instantly they turn against themselves, the production, and the author and savagely proceed in what looks like an attempt to destroy themselves and all their former hopes and dreams for their show. Nevertheless, it turns out that in spite of the curious reception by the first night audience, the play has made a deep impression, and when news spreads that the reviews are good, the tables are turned once again in this funny and wonderful classic.
Moss Hart (Playwright) was born in New York City and grew up at 74 East 105th Street in Manhattan, "a neighborhood not of carriages and hansom cabs, but of dray wagons, pushcarts, and immigrants." After working several years as a director of amateur theatrical groups and an entertainment director at summer resorts, he scored his first Broadway hit with Once in a Lifetime (1930), a farce about the arrival of the sound era in Hollywood. The play was written in collaboration with Broadway veteran George S. Kaufman, and over the next decade, Kaufman and Hart teamed on a string of successes, including You Can't Take it With You (1936) and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939). You Can't Take It With You, the story of an eccentric family and how they live during the Depression, won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for drama. After George Washington Slept Here (1940), Kaufman and Hart called it quits. Hart had decided it was time to move on. Throughout the 1930s, Hart also worked, with and without Kaufman, on several musicals and revues, including Face The Music (1932), As Thousands Cheer (1933), with songs by Irving Berlin, Jubilee (1935), with songs by Cole Porter and I'd Rather Be Right (1937), with songs by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. Hart continued to write plays after parting with Kaufman, such as Christopher Blake (1946) and Light Up the Sky (1948), as well as the book for the musical Lady in the Dark (1941), with songs by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin. However, he became best known during this period as a director. Among the Broadway hits he staged were Junior Miss (1941), Dear Ruth (1944) and Anniversary Waltz (1954). By far his biggest hit was the musical My Fair Lady (1956). The show ran over seven years and won a Tony Award for Best Musical. Hart picked up the Tony for Best Director. Occasionally, Hart wrote screenplays, including Gentleman's Agreement (1947) - for which he received an Oscar nomination -- Hans Christian Andersen (1952) and A Star is Born (1954). The last show Hart directed was the Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot (1960). During a troubled out-of-town tryout, Hart had a heart attack. The show opened before he fully recovered, but he and Lerner reworked it after the opening. That, along with huge pre-sales and a cast performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, helped ensure the expensive production was a hit.
BJØRN JOHNSON (Director) This is Johnson's fourth time behind the helm of an Open Fist Theatre production. Previous credits include Arthur Miller's "After the Fall", Vaclav Havel's "Audience" and Leonard Melfi's "Birdbath." For his boldly minimalist Authentic Theater production of Amiri Baraka's classic '60s play "Dutchman," Bjørn was honored by LA Weekly's Annual Theatre Award for Best Director of a One Act Play. An award-winning actor, director, producer, acting teacher and fight choreographer in theater, film and television, Bjørn Johnson is a synthesizer of knowledge. Bjørn apprenticed to B.H. Barry for seven years, ran Michael Kahn's private acting studio for three years and has studied with Larry Moss since 1979.
The cast of LIGHT OF THE SKY will feature: Phillip William Brock, Benjamin Burdick, Colin Campbell, Laura Flanagan, Richard Michael Knolla, Kevin McCorkle, Barbara Schofield, Dominic Spillane, Andrea Syglowski and Amanda Weier