Audrey Rapaport & James Judd in Funny Stories at Kleinert

James Judd and Audrey Rapaport

Here are two comics, three days in a row, and four reasons to be there:

To help Performing Arts of Woodstock (PAW) celebrate being 48 years young and to support its push to 50.

To require that writer/performer James Judd prove that he’s an actual attorney and define the term “monologist.”

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To confirm that really funny people do emerge from Marbletown, as Audrey Rapaport did.

To blow out the blahs and have a really good time.

PAW’s WinterFest Benefit show Funny Stories will be performed three times at the Kleinert/James Art Center this weekend, highlighting the superb talents of these two veteran comic actors doing hilarious, original character portrayals and autobiographical monologues. Rapaport says, “At nine years old, I took my first acting class with [PAW founder] Edie LeFever, so it means a lot to me to be a part of this celebration. It’s the circle of life, but with wigs.”

The award-winning Rapoport – who currently teaches acting and comedy improvisation at the School of Visual Arts in New York City – has entertained audiences with the Groundlings (where she met and worked with Judd), the Acme Comedy Theatre, Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival, Off-Broadway and in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Woodstock (PAW) and Cape Cod. Her repertoire of characters, full of quirks and pathos, rivals that of Lily Tomlin. In Waiting for Dick, a harried Republican Town Hall organizer stalls for a tardy Richard Nixon. In A Rat’s Ass, a boozy ex-Mouseketeer is determined to get through her nightclub act before being thrown out of an unforgiving Disneyland. And the challenges of pledging a sorority are exacerbated by mixed genetics in Kappa Delta Fang. Recently she has been seen locally in Hay Fever as Judith Bliss with VOICE Theatre, and her appearances in numerous feature films and television shows are rounded out by an award-winning solo show, I Am Rapoport, which enjoyed several successful LA runs.

Judd’s high-energy, almost-athletic delivery (that face of his gets a real workout!) is so precise and quick that you wonder if he’s really a Californian. He has been compared to the likes of David Sedaris, Oscar Wilde, Paul Lynde. I’m thinking more like Eddie Izzard, only with an understandable accent. But no; Judd is his own hybrid, and verifies that fact by revealing excruciatingly funny episodes from his own life. His critically acclaimed solo shows 7 SINS, Whoop Click and Fat Camp have been produced at festivals and regional theaters across the country including Off-Broadway at 59E59 in New York and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Word is that he does live in the Bay Area – as in San Francisco – and produces wine from his own vineyard in Paso Robles – as in Central California, tucked into the rural hills of the Salinas River valley. Judd will debut a brand-new piece created especially for Woodstock audiences.

Three nights of Funny Stories should get us through this cold, dark season. Shows take place on Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, January 29 at 3 p.m. The performance on Saturday is PAW’s WinterFest 2012 Benefit Evening, including a festive array of wine, appetizers, desserts and a cash bar. Tickets cost $20 for Friday and Sunday and $25 for Saturday’s Winter Fest Benefit. Reservations can be made at (845) 679-7900. Please note that themes and language are not suitable for children, so hire a sitter and go out on the town as adults. For more information see www.performingartsofwoodstock.org.

 

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