Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Moving OUT!

After... jeez, I don't even remember how long ago I started this blog... let's say five years, cause that's a nice number.  Anyway, after five years, I'm about to retire this blog and move on over to a completely new website with all new branding!  Check out www.jpkarliak.com.  Currently, it just has my voice-over information, but shortly it will have a photo gallery, news feed, videos and all the most current info on my solo performance endeavors including Donna/Madonna.  I won't be updating any more news here, so check over there for everything worth hearing about.  Thanks for your support!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back in the Living Room

My apartment is in shambles.  Thankfully I had enough sense to vacuum and dust before I started my 3 month long production cycle of Donna/Madonna, so at least I know that underneath all these programs, postcards, receipts, posters and 80 days of laundry, there's at least a clean floor.

23 performances later, I've accumulated 5 awards (three alone from StageSceneLA.com), multiple glowing reviews, and many new friendships with some of the nicest and most talented people I could ever imagine (Lily Tomlin being one of them... I know, right?!).  I'm incredibly thankful for all of it, especially for all the people that helped to make it happen and had the patience to support me along the way, and for all the wonderful little things that are happening as a result of this great production.  Details of those will come soon.

In the meantime, here's one completely non-Donna/Madonna related item that I'm super excited about:  I'm going to be on TV!  On Sarah Michelle Gellar's new series "Ringer!"

Tune in Tuesday, September 20 at 9:00 PM to the CW, and somewhere in there, you'll see me as the flamboyant event planner (yes, I trained very hard to play that).  If you miss it, you can always watch it online at www.cwtv.com (thank the Lord for the streaming TV).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Donna/Madonna Premieres! Or Returns!

It really depends who you ask!

Last year, I was very fortunate to perform a near-fully realized workshop production of my one-man show Donna/Madonna at Celebration Theatre.  It was incredible, and allowed me to trap my adopted mom and my birth mother in a theatre filled with people and talk about all their quirks for an hour.  I wish every adopted child that joy.

Thanks to the wonderful audience response that workshop received (and the generous support of many who saw it), my now award-winning solo piece is making its official debut in LA tonight.  And this production is running for SIX weeks!  Adding to the wonder of that, this production is benefitting Kinship Center, an incredible California non-profit dedicated to the creation and preservation of foster, adoptive and relative families for children who need them.  It is a wonderful organization, and you can visit http://www.kinshipcenter.org/ to find out all about their great work.

Anyway, I have a show to do, but I hope you can come see one of the eleven other performances!  Check out all the details via the Donna/Madonna tab above, or just go directly to www.plays411.com/donnamadonna.  Hope to see you at the theatre!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Mistakes Madeline Made

About to open in an awesome new play, The Mistakes Madeline Made playing May 11-June 4 at the Lounge Theatre (6201 Santa Monica Blvd).  Here's the gist:

Edna searches for someone to blame for her mind-numbing job, her sex addiction and her brother’s untimely death. Wilson makes machine noises and wants Edna to start bathing again. Beth is terrorized by the theft of handiwipes in the office. THE MISTAKES MADELINE MADE is an edgy and surprisingly sweet comedy about hitting bottom but finding love on the way down.

Where do I fit in?  That wonderful sex addiction!  I play (count 'em) THREE hilariously disturbed stereotypical New York writers that Edna has her way with.  It's an awesome part (parts?), and I'm thrilled to work with such an awesome cast.  Not to mention, it's directed by Donna/Madonna director Tiger Reel!  Always a pleasure.

Anyway, be sure to check it out.  For tickets, showtimes and other details, click here to visit Plays411.com.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Add "Award-Winning" to the description

Soooo, that happened.

I showed up in New York, did my show, and left with an award (technically... the award ceremony was a week after I left).

It's surreal, shocking and a perfect culmination to an incredible year with Donna/Madonna. I am so thankful to all those involved in the process from inception to production, especially the United Solo Theatre Festival for naming Donna/Madonna "Best One-Man Show." Out of the 40-some incredible solo performances (22 of which were men), it's really an honor to be recognized.

This puts a beautiful bow on 2010, but it hardly marks the end. Donna/Madonna will be returning in 2011 better and bigger than ever. For my show to travel elsewhere, it really needs press and (fingers crossed) critical acclaim, so within the next few weeks, I'll be launching a fundraising campaign for a lengthy, heavily publicized run in Los Angeles. Details are forthcoming, and I hope you'll want to be involved.

In the meantime, have a wonderful new year! Happy 2011!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Big Mama in the Big Apple

The days are ticking down to Donna/Madonna's Off-Broadway debut. Admittedly, I'm a tad nervous. I show up, throw my lights and sound together in an hour before I perform for a busload of my Scranton family, a vanload of my Jersey cousins and at least a small Jeep's worth of my birth family. I'm thrilled they all can come, but honestly, it's easier for me to perform for 500 strangers than 15 family members. At least my Mom (who will be in attendance) has seen it... I can rest easy with her.

If you happen to be in New York two weeks prior to Turkey Day, I hope you'll come see Donna/Madonna. It's the perfect time for it... a little after National LGBT History Month, a few days before National Adoption Day, and just before the slew of holidays spent being thankful for the wonderful family you have (and for how far away you live from them). :o)

WHAT: Donna/Madonna in the United Solo Theatre Festival
WHEN: November 14, 6:00 PM
WHERE: Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd St (between 9th & 10th), NYC
TIX?: Via Telecharge. I made this easy link just for you: http://bit.ly/DMinNY

We'll be going to John's Pizzeria afterwards, as I probably won't have eaten since noon. Hope to see you!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Madonna Mia...

...what a strange and wonderful journey it's been.

At some point in life, we all start developing a bucket list. It may not be a definitive list, but there are always things on it that you MUST do before buying the farm. This month, I checked off a huge one: theatrically paying tribute to the two most important women in my life, my mothers. It is at once incredibly rewarding and draining, wonderful and scary, fulfilling and emptying. A strange dichotomy, which... all things considered... is so very fitting. I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved along the way... mentors, collaborators, supporters and friends who have been so patient and exceedingly generous. I could not have done this without you.

But let me be clear... this is not a eulogy for this play. This is merely the beginning. Every time I performed Donna/Madonna... in readings, workshops or this production... I was approached by someone who spoke about their experience with adoption. How they or their sister or brother or their parent or friend were adopted or how they adopted a child or how they once gave up a baby and now wonder "where are you now?" And even beyond adoption, I've talked to mothers who hope that their kids will one day understand that all the wacky things they do are just because they love their children so much. And many an audience member has attested to--at one time or another--wishing somebody would understand them. For some it was in their youth. For some... it's right now.

To all of you... Donna/Madonna is a love letter to you. What once began as my tribute to my mom and my birth mother, is now one for all the mothers and fathers and sons and daugthers who need to know how much they are loved. So, the show must go on. It will be in New York in November, and after that, any city with a theatre is up for grabs.

If you have a connection or would like to be involved or want to get your camera and document my little adopt-a-palooza... just let me know. It's a one-man show, but mine is not a one-man life. So please feel free to jump aboard.