Jenifer Lewis Stars in Bipolar, Bath & Beyond, a Solo Musical Comedy
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Considered by many to be the funniest farce ever written, Noises Off reveals the hilarious backstage antics and drama of a group of small-town actors attempting to perform a dreadful flop called Nothing On. This play-within-a-play is a comedic triumph of slamming doors, falling trousers and flying fish. Written by award-winning English novelist and playwright Michael Frayn (Copenhagen, Democracy), this comedy of errors remains a crowd pleaser more than 30 years after its 1982 debut. It was also turned into a film in 1992 starring Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, Christopher Reeve and John Ritter. Learn More
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“Jenifer Lewis is the most talented performer alive. Period…The simple fact is that there are no words worthy of Miss Lewis. She’s sublime." —BillyMasters.com
Jenifer Lewis scored an unprecedented success at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Renberg Theatre with her first new solo stage show in six years, Bipolar, Bath & Beyond. After selling out six consecutive performances, the celebrated actress, singer, writer and comedienne will be returning to the Renberg to reprise the show. Ms. Lewis’s high-voltage mix of music, passion and laughter celebrates her 50th birthday and depicts the light and dark sides of living with bipolar disorder.
“This time I’m going to show my ass,” vows Ms. Lewis, referring to the legendary Josephine Baker, who became the first black woman to achieve international fame—but only after baring her behind onstage in Paris. (“Showing your ass” has come to mean “giving your all.”) Anyone who knows Lewis knows that what The Diva promises, The Diva delivers. A blend of fantastic autobiography, hilariously pointed social commentary and a vocal brilliance described as “half laser beam, half lava flow,” her new show swings with the vibrancy that has become synonymous with her name.
Award-winning composer/conductor/pianist Marc Shaiman also returns to join Ms. Lewis as her musical director. Mr. Shaiman’s connection with Ms. Lewis goes back to her hit 1999 Lifetime Television special, Jackie’s Back, for which Mr. Shaiman penned the lyrics. Mr. Shaiman is a five-time Academy Award nominee and has earned Tony and Grammy Awards for his score for the musical Hairspray. He also received an Emmy Award for co-writing Billy Crystal’s performance at the 64th annual Academy Awards.
Lewis’s talents stretch from center stage to the silver screen. She started out singing on Broadway (Eubie, Dreamgirls) and in cabarets in New York, where she was spotted by Bette Midler. Soon after, she became one of the infamous “Harlettes,” Midler’s trio of backup singers who were an integral part of her act, and that got Hollywood’s attention. On television, Lewis scored a major success as the star of Lifetime Television’s cult hit _Jackie’s Back _and currently as Lana Hawkins in Lifetime’s long-running hit series _Strong __Medicine._ Other TV highlights include starring roles in such hit shows as _The Temptations _and _Courthouse, _as well as roles on Murphy Brown, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Cosby Show, Friends, _Touched by an Angel and Girlfriends,_ among many others.
Lewis was honored with two NAACP Image Award nominations, one for her performance as Tina Turner’s mother in What’s Love Got to Do With It, the second for The Preacher’s Wife, with Denzel Washington, both of which earned her the endearing title “The Black Mother of Hollywood.” Other film work includes The Antwon Fisher Story, Corinna Corinna, The Mighty, Renaissance Man, Sister Act (I and II), Dead Presidents, Mystery Men, Blast From the Past, The Brothers, Poetic Justice and Cast Away_, with Tom Hanks_. She also lent her voice to such animated features as _Shark Tales and Cars._
Throughout her career, Ms. Lewis has always returned to the theater. Her long-running solo show, _The Diva is Dismissed, _earned her two NAACP Theater Awards for Best Actress and Best Playwright. Most recently, she starred along side Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in Shakespeare in the Park’s summer 2006 production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children.