Los Angeles Theater Review: MILLION DOLLAR HAIR – A COMEDY TRIBUTE CONCERT (Lost Moon Radio)

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by Jason Rohrer on June 13, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles


Lost Moon Radio’s new Hollywood Fringe Festival show is by far the least impressive Lost Moon outing I’ve seen.  A departure from their usual late-night free-form radio show format, Million Dollar Hair has a fine enough conceit: it more or less purports to be a piece of musical theater (book: Frank Smith, Ryan Harrison MILLION DOLLAR HAIR – A COMEDY TRIBUTE CONCERT - Lost Moon Radio at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.and Lauren Ludwig; music by Harrison, Dylan Ris, Mikey Wells, Lauren Flans and Brenton Kossak; lyrics by Ris, Wells, Harrison, Smith and Flans), set at the memorial tribute to a scumbag pop music mogul, complete with performances and testimonials by an eclectic gaggle of has-beens that the deceased, Bernie Schonfeld (get it? He’s a Jew!), used to exploit.  There is something remotely like a story, and there are something like characters.  Familiar is another way to describe them.  Add half-good songs and weak callbacks of obvious jokes, and that’s this show on paper.  Malapropisms do not a character make, even in a sketch.  Certainly not in a sketch that lasts 70 minutes.

MILLION DOLLAR HAIR – A COMEDY TRIBUTE CONCERT - Lost Moon Radio at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.Lost Moon is a tremendously talented bunch of actors, writers, and singers, and they always get a great live band to back them up (Ris, guitar; Kossak, bass; Dan Wessels, keyboards; Eric Kalver, drums).  Their songs and sketches are normally sharper and edgier than anything you can see on TV, but this time I often felt I was watching an hour-long Letterman bit.  Performance is not the issue; it never is with these guys.  It’s just an entry typical of my Fringe experience, not ready for prime time, and it features what is, for me, the single biggest hallmark of Fringe shows: undeveloped writing.  It’s just not consistently funny or clever enough to warrant asking people to watch it.  Under Ludwig’s direction, these performers (Leslie Korein, Ryan Harrison, Megan Rose Greene, Dan Oster, Smith, and Flan) work it hard, but about one in ten of their moments struck me as reasonably well thought-out, amusing, or diverting, well below their usual standard.  But hey, it’s Fringe.  You know.  Put up a show.  Whatever.

photos courtesy of Lost Moon Radio

Million Dollar Hair – A Comedy Tribute Concert
Lost Moon Radio
part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival
The Hudson Backstage
6539 Santa Monica Blvd
scheduled to end on June 28, 2014
for dates and tickets, visit Hollywood Fringe


Tony June 15, 2014 at 1:00 am

I’m pretty sure I saw the same performance this critic did, and he must have been the only person in the house not laughing. Or nodding his head to all the great songs. Kind of a shame when the only person having a bad time is the one who gets to write the review.

Jason Rohrer June 15, 2014 at 10:23 am

I laughed, Tony. Five times in an hour. And the woman to my left clearly wasn’t enough into the show to stop checking her phone. Nor the woman behind me, who afterward was overheard to say in the cafe, “Didn’t they used to be funnier? Like, a lot funnier?” House right and the front row were a lot louder than any other part of the audience, clearly because there were more friends of Lost Moon sitting there. So be careful when you accuse a critic of not having had the same experience you think everyone else did. You might not have paid attention.

Tony June 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm

I don’t get this response at all. You published your review, and now I should get to comment without you trying to one-up me. Sure, you heard a woman in the cafe who didn’t like the show. I heard a dozen people who did like it. We can get anecdotal all we want, but it’s not really debatable that there was constant laughter.

I think you’re grasping at straws in claiming the large numbers of people laughing must have been friends of Lost Moon cast members. You’re making something up to dismiss the honest reaction of an audience that didn’t agree with you. This is not professional criticism.

You can try to one-up me again if you need the last word. Personally, I think you should let your review speak for itself and not go tit-for-tat with someone who had a vastly different experience. Either way, I’m done commenting.

Mark June 18, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Gee Tony, sorry your brilliant opinion was met with an actual discussion. It must be tough for you, having to respond to a counter-example. But, good thing you decided to try to shut down the discussion by labelling any further dialog as trying to get the last word. You should win a trophy for your honorable debate skills, and for trying real hard. I suppose you could try to defend yourself against my passive aggressive ad hominem attack if you need to get in the last word. Feel free, I’m not interested in this discussion anymore. I don’t need to get in an ego battle, I know I’m right.

Drops mic.

Anthony June 15, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Tony, I have to agree with Mr. Rohrer on this one. I am a HUGE fan of Lost Moon Radio, trumpeting about the inventive troupe for years. For “Million Dollar Hair,” the actors, the characterizations, the band, the lighting, the production: all were amazing. And no doubt there were some guffaw-inducing moments. But I found myself itching to get out of the theater. Why? The songs–the main element of the show–wore out their welcome almost immediately. There were some good riffs, but the lyrics were clunky, one-note, and sorely unsophisticated. Even the written dialogue was mostly juvenile and simply not funny. And with no individual sketches to break up the monotony, I found the entire enterprise interminable and soporific. I don’t think my theatergoing companion disliked it as intensely as I did, but his comment was “It just didn’t work.”

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