Los Angeles Theater Preview: TREY PARKER’S CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL (Coeurage Theatre Benefit)

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by Tony Frankel on December 12, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles

COEURAGE, I COULD EAT YOU UP

It is rare when a theater company lives up to its mission statement. Normally, the vision is so hifalutin as to be obscure. Luckily, Los Angeles has Coeurage Theatre Company, whose simple declaration blossomed into some of the best theater I have seen here. Formed in 2009 by Cal State Fullerton graduates, it “exists to make impassioned theatre accessible for all audiences through pay what you want admission and fresh, challenging productions.”

Jane Lui, Jason Peter Kennedy, Peter Larney, Travis Dixon, and Kari Lee in Coeurage Theatre Company’s CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL. Photo by Nardeep Khurmi.

Its name is inspired by a re-imagining of the word courage: “Coeur” (French for “heart”) and “rage” (meaning fervor, on fire). Thus, per the mission statement, “Coeurage is a heart enflamed with passion, which we bring to each and every production.” Indeed, even with low-budget trappings, this mighty company has a knack for locating the heart of a show.

Peter Larney and Mikey De Lara in Coeurage Theatre Company’s CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL. Photo by Nardeep Khurmi.

Aside from terrific productions such as Balm in Gilead, Assassins, and The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide, Coeurage presented The Yellow Boat, which I count among the most devastatingly magical experiences ever seen on a stage. Even with a problematic piece, such as The Trouble With Words, Coeurage’s originality and professionalism is noteworthy.

Christine Sinacore, Jennifer Zahlit, Kurt Quinn, Ashley Kane, and Jessica Hopper in Coeurage Theatre Company’s CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL. Photo by Nardeep Khurmi.

Equally as exciting is the Pay-What-You-Want model of theater. The ensemble members never want the cost of a ticket to prevent anyone from seeing high-quality theater in Los Angeles. The fact that they have managed to stay afloat financially for five years is a testament to their good work, but we need to ensure that Coeurage keeps coming back.

Jason Peter Kennedy, Scott Kruse, Peter Larney, Kurt Quinn, Travis Dixon, and Joshua Hoover in Coeurage Theatre Company’s CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL. Photo by Nardeep Khurmi.

That’s why I encourage you to attend one of the three benefit performances of their runaway hit production of Trey Parker’s Cannibal! The Musical, playing Dec. 18, 19, and 20 at the Lyric-Hyperion Theatre in Silver Lake. The original run, which closed Nov. 22, was sold out, so those who missed this all-you-can-eat buffet of fun can enjoy it for only 25 bucks (imagine that: a benefit that is still less expensive than most theater in L.A.).

Ashley Kane and Gregory Nabours in Coeurage Theatre Company’s CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL. Photo by Nardeep Khurmi.

Uncouth, absurd, and wickedly tongue-in-cheek, Cannibal! tells the tale of a pack of miners en route to the promised land of Colorado, led by the state’s only convicted cannibal, Alferd Packer. From the creators of South Park and The Book of Mormon comes this western spoof, replete with puppets, blood, song, dance, and their signature crassness. Guaranteed to delight and offend!

Jessica Hopper, Kurt Quinn, Peter Larney, Kalena Ranoa, and Jennifer Zahlit in Coeurage Theatre Company’s CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL. Photo by Nardeep Khurmi.

photos by Nardeep Khurmi

Scott Kruse, Peter Larney, Kurt Quinn, Joshua Hoover, and Travis Dixon in Coeurage Theatre Company’s CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL. Photo by Nardeep Khurmi.

Trey Parker’s Cannibal! The Musical
Coeurage Theatre Company
The Lyric-Hyperion Theatre & Café
2106 Hyperion Ave. in Silverlake
Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 8:00
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 8:00
Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 8:00
for tickets, call 323-944-2165 or visit www.coeurage.org

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