Theater Review: THE SECRET WORLD OF DANNY LOPEZ (Two Roads Theater in Studio City)

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by Tony Frankel on September 15, 2021

in Theater-Los Angeles


OK, mini caveat: I am friends with Samuel Garza Bernstein, whose new one-man 70-minute show, The Secret World of Danny Lopez, opened last week at Two Roads Theater in Studio City. While I never tire of the ever fascinating Mr. Bernstein, the thought of another solo show written by and starring the performer filled me with dread. But he won me over, as I am a fan of earnestness, great writing and a juicy story well told. It may be possible to expand the tale of Sam’s precocious 10-year-old self into a multi-character play or movie, yet there’s so much to love about his gobsmacking true-life story, told by his childhood alter-ego Danny Lopez, that I yearn to see even more added to this format about his present life as effected by his formative years.

His story has so many twists and turns that a telenovela would blush at being so casual in comparison: A Texas millionaire; a socialistic handsome Jewish father running away from and into more drama; a mother mystery; kidnapping; living in Egypt during wartime; illegally trafficked cheese; and accepted gender nonconformity (in 1970s Texas (!)) all collide in memorable scenes in an airport, a bus, and the back seat of a car. The wickedly eye-popping characters — all brought to life by the utmost of sincerity and a what appears to be a true affection for those who done him wrong — are practically out of a Del Shores play. Most enjoyable is that Sam eschews the thing that ruins most solo shows: an air of victimization. With all of the abuse and neglect he experienced, Sam REVELS in being the star of his own story — a delicious conceit. Director Marc I. Rosenthal keeps things grounded with voice-overs, musical interludes, and videography.

poster photos by Joshua Michael Shelton

The Secret World of Danny Lopez
ends on September 26, 2021

Two Roads Theater 4348 Tujunga Ave in Studio City
for tickets ($20), visit Danny Lopez


Vaccination Required for Entrance
Masks Required According to Prevailing LA County
Recommendations at the time of Performance

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