There are many weird and wonderful turns on the road to Enlightenment, as Natalie Kim and Karen Fitzgerald discover in their comedic and offbeat solo shows, billed collectively as Yo Hot Mama(s)! Directed by Kenneth Heaton & Matthew Hoverman, the shows will be performed at the Jewel Box Theater, located at 312 West 36th Street, as part of the Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival, beginning on July 14th.
The six-performance run at the MITF comes on the heels of sold-out appearances at Soho’s HERE Arts Center, where Ms. Kim and Ms. Fitzgerald first decided to unite their thematically related solo pieces into one wildly entertaining evening of theater that is at turns both touching and hilarious.
In Yo Hot Mama(s)!, Natalie ponders the question: what happens when you meet the man of your dreams and want to run away? The answer is in her mothers – three of them to be exact – and the Chinese Buddhist WASPs who help her find the answer. And post-divorce, Karen travels to India for “enlightenment” and finds herself getting turned on instead! Yet something – everything – keeps getting in her way. From Chinese Buddhist temples to encounters with French, Indian and Brazilian men, these two intrepid women put the personal pieces of their lives together in the most irreverent ways, in journeys that resemble Eat, Pray, Love run amok.
Karen Fitzgerald (writer/performer, Hot Mama Mahatma) has been an actress and singer for 25 years. Among her acting credits are Mama Rose in Gypsy, The Witch in Into the Woods, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, Mrs. Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank and The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. Her other works includes appearances in the feature film Conversations with God, as well as the A&E series Elevator Moods, the Dreamscape Production of Marisol, and Souvenirs, an evening of 4 solo shows. She was featured in the PBS special AIDS: It Stops With Us. She has written a television pilot script, which brought her as a panelist to NATPE (the National Association of Television Programming Executives) in Las Vegas, a film script, and Hot Mama Mahatma. She is also a popular motivational keynote speaker.
Natalie Kim's (writer/performer, Yo Mama(s)!) interest in performing began in while still in middle school, appearing in middle school and high school productions of Annie, South Pacific and Little Shop of Horrors. Her New York City acting credits (post-college graduation) include appearances in productions by the Ensemble Studio Theatre, The New Dramatists and Ma-Yi Theatre Company. Most recently she performed in the show Songs Of The Dragons Flying To Heaven, written and directed by Obie Award winning director Young Jean Lee. Other recent credits include the feature film West 32nd and Law and Order: CI.
Kenneth Heaton (director, Yo Mama(s)!) wrote and directed The Ontological Detective, which premiered at New York's Blue Heron Theatre. Other directing credits include: Locker Room at the Slipper Room (NY), several pieces for the New York-based sketch comedy troupe Oculingus, and Murder By Design at the Yale Cabaret. His plays include Mustard Seed (winner of the Southern Playwrights Competition), War and Civility (winner of a Great Phoenix [AZ] Critics Circle Award), Ululation, Murder by Design, and Safe Havens, for which he was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to Croatia.
Matt Hoverman's (director, Hot Mama Mahatma) plays include Who You See Here, In Transit (2006 FringeNYC Best Playwriting Award), The Audience (co-book writer, three 2005 Drama Desk Award nominations), Searching for God in Suburbia, Christmas Shorts (2008 Naked Angels "Angels in Progress" Workshop at Playwrights Horizons), and many others. His play The Student is a finalist for this July's Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Play Festival. As an actor: Yale Rep, The Acting Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and many voices for the cartoons Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Sonic X, WinX Club, Chaotic, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As a teacher and director, he has midwifed the creation of over 100 solo shows including Bridezilla Strikes Back, starring Cynthia Silver (2005 Fringe NYC Best Solo Show Award), Hot Cripple, starring Hogan Gorman (2008 FringeNYC Best Actress Award) and Sacred is the New Profane starring Cheryl Harnest (2008 MITF Best Solo Show Award). For more information, visit www.createyourownsoloshow.com.
Running through July 29th, Yo Hot Mama(s)! will be performed at the Jewel Box Theater, located at 312 West 36th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues) on the fourth floor. Show times are Tuesday, July 14th at 8:30pm, Sunday, July 19th at 3:30pm, Monday, July 20th at 6:30pm, Thursday, July 23rd at 8:30pm, Saturday, July 25th at 9pm, and Wednesday, July 29th at 5:30pm. Tickets are: $18.00, $15.00 for student and seniors. Reservations: 866-811-4111 or www.yohotmamas.com.