Fried Chicken and Latkes at The Braid in Santa Monica - Interview with Rain Pryor Writer/Actress

A cross-cultural and entertaining journey is about to take place at Jewish Women’s Theatre in Santa Monica.

 

 

 

Rain Pryor, Writer/Actress/Comedienne/Singer, daughter of comedy icon Richard Pryor and the talented Shelley R. Bonus (a Jewish Astronomer), performs in a limited run, beginning February 16, of Fried Chicken and Latkes. This is a show that she created from the truth of “life” and her perspective.

It is a comical and heart-wrenching story about growing up Black and Jewish in a politically incorrect era.“I think at one time I felt I had to pick because that is the world we live in, but now I am human, and I believe this and I walk this way in my life,” says Pryor. The journey reveals howshe finds her identity in both worlds, and works to change ours. 

 

 

 

“Imagine, if you will, Beverly Hills in the early ‘70s. Here I am, this mixed-race child with my golden skin, my big poufy hair ― because Mom knew nothing about a pressing comb ― and my mom is blond-haired, blue-eyed, looking like Cher, wearing dashikis,” Rain explains. Directed by Eve Brandstein (Broadway- Shut Up, Sit Down & Eat, and JWT’s award nominated Not That Jewish), this team has crafted an engaging performance at JWT’s space in The Braid. The company, acclaimed for their storytelling salons as well as their full productions at The Braid, was founded in the backyard of a house in 2008 and has since gained over 13,000 patrons annually in a variety of venues in Southern California, the San Francisco/Bay Area and beyond.

Ms. Pryor talks about the show and what’s to come…

Ester: Would you tell us a little about this show and the evolution of it?

Pryor: Fried Chicken & Latkes began 15 years ago as a cabaret type of show. Over the years as my life changed along with our political landscape, it evolved into a more relevant and poignant theatre-storytelling piece with some music. The story is about identity, beginning in the 1970’s, throughout my life. The cycle continues but there is great hope.

Ester: How did you connect with the Jewish Women’s Theatre, and what made you decide to perform the production there, at The Braid in Santa Monica? 

Pryor: Eve Brandstein, the director, and I have known each other since I was a child. Eve saw an adaptation of my show Off-Broadway in 2011. We wanted to work together then, but the situation wouldn't allow us to do so. Now, here we are at The Braid because Eve has a very strong history and relationship with them. She directed Monica Piper's show, Not That Jewish, which was created here. That “limited run” was so popular that it wound up playing well over a year, garnering award nominations and eventually moving to other venues around the country. 

 

 

 

Ester: In what way has your career as an actress/comedienne/singer been influenced by your parents?

Pryor: Music, storytelling, and comedy were staples in my life growing up. I believe by being immersed in a show business family and having every genre of music played in the home gave way to my unique experience as an entertainer. My parents, and my Grandfather, had a wonderful work ethic. Entertainment was a job and a skill that was taken very seriously. My parents expected me to succeed and to do so on my own. 

Ester: What is something that would surprise people to know about you?

Pryor: I think most people are surprised about how down to earth I am. I believe the perception of a celebrity child and actress comes with a great deal of assumptions. I find myself to be very approachable. Like I said, this is just my job, it's not who I am. We should all be defined by how we treat a stranger.

Ester: How do audiences respond to you after the show?

Pryor: Usually, there are lots of hugs. I like that I am able to leave the audience with warm fuzzy feelings. Art should inspire and transform us. So, hug away!

 

 

Ester: Do you have a “next goal” that you can talk about?

My next goal is a musical in NYC. It is set to open in September. I also have some TV projects being developed. But first, I am going to drive across country with my daughter and head back east for some real life quality time with her and my family. 

Fried Chicken and Latkes runs through April 2, 2017 (Most Thursdays-Sundays with evening and matinee performances). Tickets are $40.  Check Jewish Women’s Theatre website

or Brown Paper Tickets

The Braid is located at 2912 Colorado Ave., #102, Santa Monica, CA  90404. 

 

 

 

 

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