Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreamin’ — this is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin’.
~ Actor Abdul Salaam El Razzac as Happy Man from the 1990 film Pretty Woman
Camera! Lights! Action! All eyes are on the flavor of the month actor Jason Mast, (a remarkable performance by L.A. native Christopher Dietrick). It’s 1994 in between the middle of the night to the early morning. The blogs and television have announced his Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Everyone around him comes unexpectedly to congratulate him on his latest feat. Jason acts like he doesn’t want to be bothered by it. Instead, he is plagued by his past and how he got to where he is now. Mast is the typical Hollywood dream man: sexy, with long blonde locks, thin but sculptured like Adonis. His major weakness besides women, and there are a lot who want to get into his pants, is drugs. He’s been a heavy user since his hyped-up tween years. After hearing about his nomination, his manager Celeste Whitley (Rosanna De Candia was great) and friend Heather Hayes (Decker Sadowski) has a slight crush on him. She hopes there’s a part for her in his new movie. Celeste strongly advises Heather to get closer to Jason to secure a spot. While Heather is working her magic on Jason, much to her boyfriend’s Brody chagrin, she worries about her hew newly done nose job.
Mast’s best friend writer Brody James (Thomas McNamara wishes to be a star like Jason) is sincerely happy for his friend. As the party downstairs ensues in Jason’s Hollywood Hills home, his brother Dylan, (J. Michael Trautmann is excellent) was an actor but found his calling in selling drugs, also congratulates Jason. He looks like a throwback from the rap group The Beastie Boys with disheveled hair, velour jogging suit, wearing a thick silver chain with a ball cap on backwards and high kicks. Jason emerges from his bedroom and walks into what resembles the Metro train station on a weekday, filled up to the gills with people he knows, or doesn’t know or want to know him. He is officially famous.
Famous tells the story of many aspiring actors and actresses trying to make it in Hollywood. Some, like Trautmann’s character, become in engulfed in the night life and abandon their career before it even starts. Then, there’s the Jason Masts in the world who have the world at their feet. The gifts keep coming but, inside, he’s that scared 15 year-old who dove head first, literally, into a lot of laps of predatory people who use and abuse their power on minors. They get tossed a way like a crumpled piece of paper. There’s Brody who does everything asked of him and he’s still nowhere near the success of his friend. Poor Heather is a snack-sized Barbie whose beauty both helps and derails her newly chosen profession. Jason’s earlier career started out as a newbie at 15 with a coked out, alcoholic mother who saw both her sons as paychecks. Deitrick kills it. He is able to evoke innocence, shame, helplessness and empathy.
Derick Breezee, who plays the Young Jason, is flawless. He’s off to a great start in having a long lasting career starting with his debut. He’s a shy kid trying to make his mother Jennifer (Rachael Meyers does an excellent job taking the stage mother role to a darker place). Instead of food, she feeds the young Jason pills to stay trim and be easier to cast. The most vile person would be Jack Rossi (Gregory Depetro deserves an award for playing the most despicable character). He targets young men with the promise of stardom. It would be easy to say that Jason should have stayed away immediately. When you’re the new kid on the block, it’s not that simple. Especially when the only adult who’s supposed to have your back is busy being doped up 24/7.
He is a cautionary tale for the uglier side of being famous. Former child star turned druggie Goth chick Alyssa Rossi (Megan Davis is phenomenal) daughter of Jack Rossi, wears her broken and beaten heart like a badge of disgrace. No love from dad makes her promiscuous and lonely. Writer Michael Leoni is a wonderful playwright and an on point director. The mood is dark and somber. The people pretend to be bigger Leoni does an excellent job in executing his vision. With haunting, melodic music by Conner Youngblood (www.conneryoungblood.com) the whole show comes together as a graphic warning. Have a career similar to Jason or turn out like his long lost brother Dylan. Pick wisely!!
Famous plays on Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 7 pm until Sunday, December 9th, at the 11:11 Theatre, located at 1107 N. Kings Road in West Hollywood. For ticket and reservations visit www.the1111space.com.