Annie Korzen Famous Actress at the Braid Review – Seinfeld’s Doris Klompus in Hilarious Take on Life Topics

 

 

Santa Monica’s The Braid, a performance and art space, which sent Monica Piper’s Not That Jewish Off-Broadway for 200 performances and redeveloped Rain Pryor’s sold-out hit Fried Chicken and Latkes, is at it again. This time, the world premiere of Annie Korzen Famous Actress, featuring Seinfeld’s Doris Klompus, will continue Jewish Women’s Theatre’s (JWT) tradition of critically acclaimed, original one-woman shows.

 

 

Annie Korzen is an actress, author, lecturer, essayist, teacher and NPR commentator. Best known for her role as the Seinfeld parent’s obnoxious Boca Vista neighbor, she has written and performs an original show about her hectic, eclectic and electric life on the big and small screens. She knows that the world would be a better place if everyone would just do what she says, and she has very specific plans for her future and for everyone else's! This perennial bit player, highly opinionated woman, exasperated mother, and mortified daughter knows exactly what she wants out of life – until life proves her wrong! 

 

 

Within moments of her appearance on stage Annie establishes her keyboard expertise, and we are treated throughout the show to several brief musical screenings on the back wall, each coordinating with, and poignantly pertinent to a delicious relative story.

What follows are 80 minutes of laughter and tears, great music, constructive criticism, and a captivating avalanche of fabulous one-liners. Annie learns that it’s only when she lets go and gives up control that things fall into place. She’s not afraid to bare her soul, but she’ll do it with a smile as she infuses each story with honesty, humor and class. Or rather, no class when she confesses to bargain hunting at garage sales and other aspirations: “My acting career started late and I’ve had a lot of catching up to do. I’ve never done Broadway, I’ve never done Shakespeare, and I’m still hoping that one day I will get to do a nude scene!”

 

 

“In Annie Korzen Famous Actress, I use my experiences as a performer, a daughter, and, most important, as a mother—to inspire people to throw away their list of 'must haves' and start saying ‘yes' to new opportunities, whatever age they are.”

Being raised by a mother who always saw danger lurking around every corner left enough of an imprint for Annie to admit, “When you say beach, I say shark attacks. You say pimple, I say melanoma. You say tomato, I say carcinogenic pesticides!  

 

 

Korzen tackles poignant personal issues, her perceived failure at motherhood, and infuses humor in her passionate account about the shock of being demoted from leading lady to bit player in her son’s life when he announces his engagement and wedding plans, and again, later, when she learns of her son's plan to adopt a baby. The event is sure to be a disaster!

 

 

She then takes her audience on a hilarious journey through her resentment from being the daughter of the world’s most neurotic mother, to her “crap” acting career, to her rocky relationship with Judaism, and to her traumas with childbirth which led to a bizarre stay in a Danish psych ward, where she sang the post-partum blues. She says, “Here’s the real truth about the ‘miracle’ of childbirth—it’s a miracle that anyone who’s been through it is willing to do it again!”

 

 

Annie tells how each audition leads to new anguish—how one director was looking for “an Annie Korzen type,” then hired a perky little blond. “I am too Jewish to play myself,” she cries. “When they make a movie out of this show, my role will probably go to Reese Witherspoon!” In another incident, “My agent submits me for a movie, but the director won’t see me because he feels I’m too Jewish. I hear that all the time—but this is for the role of a Rabbi!” 

Things change after “the lucky accident of getting on Seinfeld” and what that recurring role, which actually involved her speaking only 117 words, did for her self-esteem and her bank account. Annie has a near-death experience in the ICU with a very young doctor who recognizes her from Seinfeld.  Although she is still only a bit player, the doctor tells the nurses that their patient is none other than Annie Korzen Famous Actress.

 

 

She says, “I always dreamed of being a leading lady. As a child, I practiced my Oscar acceptance speech on the fire escape of our Bronx apartment. However, my dreams didn’t turn out exactly the way I planned—and that’s the good news! I hope that hearing about my personal challenges will make everyone laugh about their own trials. Some of my worst experiences have led me to my greatest joys, so I want to inspire people to relinquish control and just allow life to happen.”

“But it all ends well,” Korzen says, “And I hope our audience members will be inspired by a woman who finally finds fulfillment by letting go and reinventing herself. What I do is share my mistakes. I’m old enough to have made a lot of mistakes. And I’ve learned from those mistakes. I’m giving the audience a shortcut.”

Korzen has written a great script and, under the superb direction of Susan Morgenstern, delights and delivers! Great production teamwork! Highly recommended.

Photographs, credit:

Annie Korzen Famous Actress is written and performed by Annie Korzen

Director: Susan Morgenstern, Producer: Ronda Spinak, Assistant Producer: Barbara Koletzky, Technical Director: Michelle Altman, Lighting Designer: Daniel McNay, Video/Audio Production: Andrew Fromer, Associate Producers: Susie Yure and rose Ziff.

Annie Korzen Famous Actress is a commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre made possible with a grant from Gail Solo.

Annie Korzen Famous Actressopened in previews July 8th and runs through August 13 for six weeks—Thurs. & Sat. at 8 pm, Sundays 2 pm & 5 pm at The Braid, home of Jewish Women’s Theatre, 2912 Colorado Avenue, Suite 102, Santa Monica CA 90404.

Tickets $40. At the door when available: $45.  Call 800.838.3006. or here at Jewish Womens theatre

 

 

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