Midlife Gangster Redemption Song Theater Review - The Silver "Bullet" of Modern Theater

Evan “Bullet” James is the silver “bullet” of modern theater! His strong stage presence in Midlife Gangster Redemption Song shown at The Flight Theater on theater row in Hollywood  on August 10th, 2013 at 4pm takes on an identity of its own rarely seen in Los Angeles style theater that is lacking of energy, training, and character depth as comparison to New York City. Evan has that Broadway strength of character, natural stage ability, and on the edge of your seat improvisation. This was hands-down a one-man Broadway show with live photos of his past and videos during the show that is must see for anyone of a theater passion or casual interest.

His impersonation skills are well-adapted as he creates brief skits of Sylvestor Stallone, Pauly from Rocky, a gay guy, and a few others that takes much skill and precision.

Evan takes us on a one-on-one journey down memory lane of his extremely challenging life of hardship and addiction over many years, passed on from previous generations, a normality of most active addictions.

Evan opens the play with a scene of him pledging for death in utter misery as he is on his last leg homeless in a gas station in Hollywood severely intoxication fighting against the loss battle of overcoming his active drug and alcohol addiction, a fore-shadowing of the end of the play to face his demons head-on.

He narrates his life with great energy how he grew up in New York in a home where his mother was not present and randomly left, and raised mostly by his father that was fond of the so-called entrance-way drug, marijuana influencing Evan’s later struggle with drugs.

He came to Hollywood with his dad of humble means of a new beginning in his youth with his sights set high as they headed down the road of glamorous road of Hollywood that later turns into a treacherous road of many hidden demons.

Evan was first bullied and challenged with racial hatred by Mexican gangs at Hollywood High-School that later came to be his close friends that his father did not approve of, so his pulled him out of school to another school in Beverly Hills hoping for a better life for his son, as Evan clearly states his father was sort of his early-on parole officer. His narration of this scene brought much emotion form the audience as a mixture of humor and drama.

In the beginning, Evan was bullied by fellow school kids that did to like him for being new and not part of the crowd and he was expelled from school, not what he expected.

Later on, he narrates with photos live on stage on how he became a championship like no other basketball star in his high-school on the Westside. He had fame and fortune soon to be at his feet. By 1982, he average 43 points a game and received a top college scholarship amongst all his trophies. His energetic enthusiasm about this time in his life was clearly alive during this edge-of-your-seat performance.

Upon entering college, Evan was expelled from college and lost scholarship and basically everything. He then got a job as a pizza delivery boy and a humble studio apartment in Hollywood, and then the trouble of addiction creeps up upon him. His depth of range and dramatic emotion intensified the moment as the audience drew in closer to Evan’s cry out for help.

Evan uses much humor as he creates a scene in a chair pretending to smoke marijuana and citing a few humorous one-liners of his he struggles to support himself and his drug addiction as he laughs off how he made an 7 piece pizza look like an 8 piece pizza due to him stealing a piece or two to feed himself.

After all the pressure of losing his family unity, his mother abandoning him at a young age, losing his college dream, humble apartment, and no love in his life pushes him to try cocaine for the first time. As he clearly states during his performance “something made me whole again. I spent the next 4 years recapturing that moment.” The audience thrust with emotion as this one line said it all.

His is later charged by the judge for many counts of bad behavior sentencing him to almost 18 years in prison. As his father always at his side, rushes into the courtroom to save his son. He pleads to the judge on his feet with Evan’s many high-school trophies how his son is not a criminal, but an addict. The judge, truly convinced sends him to treatment at Impact House instead sparing his well-being for more appropriate solution for Evan’s behavior. His movement and range at this moment as he played his father’s plea was very touching and made a strong impact.

The 12 steps was a foreign language to Evan as never really having a higher power growing up. Evan falls madly in love with a beautiful fellow female member in recovery of Impact House hoping that was the reason why he was still living, later being charged with stalking her and sent to prison to due time violating a restraining order she files against him.

Evan hits his so-called “bottom” as they say in 12 steps, where an addict is forced to change by a spiritual awakening. He pleads on stage during his performance how is outwardly cries and shouts at God homeless in a gas station higher than he has ever been before on cocaine, to kill him and let him die to save him from his pain. His performance at this moment brought a tear to my eye as well as others in the audience as if we were there at that moment in his life with him. At that same moment in this life-transforming scene, a young gentleman outside of the gas station shakes his hand in the rain and says hello to him and invites him to a Narcotic Anonymous meeting. From then on Evan conquers his inner demons after many times of relapse.

He later discovers in recovery of his filed relationships that he has always been chasing his mother’s love through the eyes of his significant others, highlighting on the fact that many addicts have cross-addiction to sooth their inner pain. However, he now is an accomplished drug and alcohol counselor, stage and film actor, and now producing his own reality television show.

His physical demeanor of that seemingly bad-boy image at first glance of well-defined tattoos, muscular arms, and hard core survival is an opposite concept of the genuine soft inner being of tremendous heart enabling him to reach many people on his quest of saving others as himself from death-inflicting drug and alcohol addiction that seems a common epidemic in society, especially in Hollywood. AS a result, he has developed his own reality-driven television show is to be a future success in the making taking many at high-risk off the streets saving them from addiction and a second shot at life with a new beginning of higher power, as brief clips were shown live on-stage during his performance. His heart calls to many as he travels undercover with his team down in the streets of Los Angeles to walk amongst gangsters, murderers, drug dealers, and that dark road to save others at the risk of his own life.

His sobriety date is October 26th, 1987 and from that point he has never picked up drugs and alcohol again and the proof of a higher power was working in his life to lead him to all his success in transforming the lives of others.  

The next date of this life-transforming play is August 31st, 2013 at The Flight Theater. 

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