For those of you whose knowledge of New York outside of Broadway and 9-11 is non-existent, you are in for a treat. Jovial Kemp with his one man production, 'My New Yawk Life' gives you a guided tour of the big apple through his eyes.

Jovial's gift for storytelling and his comedic timing with character impersonations of friends and family will give you the ability to enter the time machine with him as he shares the adventures of his childhood and early adulthood through storytelling and witty antidotes, he makes you feel like you were there. Growing up in the 1960's in a catholic family with an outspoken father and a chain smoking and very opinionated mother (whom by the way he imitates so well), Jovial shares his adventures in Catholic school with sadistic nuns, his fascination with the church liturgy, and the visit of the pope to New York inspiring his desire to become the first American pope. He takes you into the basement of his parent's home where he runs a mock funeral parlor with the neighborhood kids lining up to volunteer to be the dead body.

Jovial continues his blast from the past by sharing his adventure as a Macy's department store Santa Claus. With the forewarning of Sadie, the store make-up artist, that by Christmas Eve, he will hate little children, Jovial rises to the challenge to prove her wrong. Not wanting to spoil it for you, you will have to see the play for yourself to see if Sadie's prediction was right. His stories will stir up a myriad of emotions from laughter to tears as he shares the excitement of flying on the Concord, winning front row tickets to an exclusive concert with the Rolling Stones with the added bonus (and bragging rights) that his seats were better than Paul McCartney's, and the paralyzing grief of the 9-11 attack.

Jovial's one-man show is one you do not want to miss and is well worth the price of admission. Jovial Kemp is a seasoned actor who has appeared in the hit TV. Show Will & Grace, he has had the privilege of being robbed at an ATM machine by Madonna for a major motion picture, and arresting Eminem in a music video. He has appeared in a wide variety of Off-Broadway plays and musicals and will resume his acting schedule at the end of this show's run.

By Demita Usher, Splash Magazines Wordwide

Review from SOCAL.COM:

If New York is the city that never sleeps, it seems as if Los Angeles is a city of numbers: you know the digits 818, 213, 323 and 310 all too well; you’ve grown weary of driving on the numbers 5, 101, 110 or the 405.

If you’re a fellow Angelino who’s curious for a taste of a different kind of city life without having to leave Southern California soil, Jovial Kemp’s new one-man stage show, “A New Yawk Life,” offers a refreshing and comedic bite of the Big Apple experience. 

Raised in an Irish-Catholic family in New York City, Kemp grew to love and hate his city of birth. He re-enacts his less-than-ordinary childhood goal of becoming the first American pope, how his eccentric interest in death prompted him to buy an organ with his allowance money in order to hold mock funerals with the rest of his elementary school-aged friends, and parodied his passive war veteran father and sassy chain-smoking redhead mother.

Performing on a small black stage with minimal stage props, Kemp allows his audience to live vicariously through a heartfelt and comical storytelling of his life. Despite the fact that we are almost polar opposites –he is a white male Baby-Boomer and I am a short Asian female in my early 20’s– I couldn’t help but be compelled to take the tour of his life. Our common bond of being raised Catholic had me guilty of laughing along with his word-for-word memory of Mass and his fondness for taking home rolls of the thin Eucharist bread (known to most as those rarely-filling wafers given at church services).

The veteran theater actor, whose first name fits his demeanor perfectly, takes his viewers to hole-in-the-wall Italian diners where no menus are needed, through the drug dealer-ridden Washington Park at midnight, and up the Twin Towers’ captivating view of NYC’s many bridges, among others. I could almost see the scenery unfolding before me on the bare stage; I felt as if I could smell the chicken parmigiana and I could feel my legs tingling at the thought of being 150 stories up in the air. It seemed as if I, too, knew the Big Apple like the back of my hand in less than an hour and a half.

Throughout the play, I accompanied a teenage Kemp in his first role at his high school play, which inspires him to perform in Broadway; I watched as his father pleaded to a panel of retired concrete military men not to force his youngest son into fighting in Vietnam, I am right there with him in his rabid excitement after learning that he won highly-coveted tickets to the Rolling Stones’ secret show at the Palladium and I’m standing at the front row feeling Mick Jagger’s sweat splashing across my face next to Kemp. I’m also sitting with him when he gets a phone call instructing him to turn on his television –just in time to watch those two towers of his hometown crumble to the ground, paralleling my own experience of the 9/11 tragedy with a native New Yorker.

Kemp, who has had roles on the TV sitcom “Will & Grace,” takes on 37 different characters in his play, which is directed by Mark Hatfield and produced by Suzanne O’Keeffe. From the Rolling Stones front-man to a hearty Italian chef, Jovial Kemp transitions into every character so smoothly that his viewers wouldn’t think twice about the lack of costume changes. His portrayal of the city with the angriest pedestrians through his personal experiences leaves a reviving hope and appreciation in his L.A. audience about their own hustle-and-bustle metropolis.

Danielle Directo, 


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