Johnny '81 - Boyhood Tales from West Hollywood

solo performance · written & performed by john gonzales · Ages 16+ · United States of America

one person show world premiere
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ESQUIZITO AKA, EP PEREZ certified reviewer June 16, 2019
Yea... I was there, and this cat brought me back to that threshold of time/space in my... youth. Gonzales does make it all seem just like yesterday except his ride was a lot rougher and a great deal less just, than mine. And he made it to tell this truly, L.A. story. I was honored to be planted there, Father's Day 2019! Peace & performance, Esquizito full review
DANIEL FAIGIN certified reviewer June 16, 2019
Full writeup at Johnny ’81 was 90 minutes of storyteller John Gonzales (FB) telling a series of stories about his 12 year-old self growing up in West Hollywood, and the characters that inhabited his neighborhood and whose paths intersected with his life. That’s it. No more, no less. They showed a kid who was forced to grow up sooner perhaps than he should, but one where a wide variety of people demonstrated that they cared about him. It was proof about it taking a village to raise a child, especially when one’s parents weren’t always there.... full review
RYAN CARBREY certified reviewer June 17, 2019
This is a rock solid piece of work. I so thoroughly enjoyed this story telling memoir. The picture he paints is so well considered, so well paced, and so carefully put together that while it's almost certainly a thrill for people who were alive and there at the time to remember the time and the places, but as someone who lived that time in a marshmallow suburb without the outsized characters that band together to protect themselves from each other and the outside world it was just as vivid and engaging. It's pure story telling, not an exercise in character or performance. What we get instead is a sometimes joyful, sometimes painful remembrance of a time in his life, a short period where he ran with the herd and lived a bigger life than h... full review
LIN ROLENS certified reviewer June 17, 2019
tagged as: coming of age · transport · smart · funny · Generous
Johnny '81 is a big and genuine pleasure at so many levels: the tone is perfect in this intimate coming of age story, and it takes material that could be tragic or silly slapstick and plays it with a light touch that is sometime fall-down and very humanly funny and sometimes shocking. Gonzales' exceptional writing and never over-the-top presentation provide vivid verbal pictures of a remarkable array of West Hollywood characters in 1981, and each brings his or her own gift. There is transport here and the hour and a half slips by as you are caught up as this 12 year-0ld boy, at one of those hinges in every life, navigates a world he could not have imagined. ... full review
ALYSSA VIRKER certified reviewer June 23, 2019
Johnny is a great poet and storyteller who had one hell of a year in '81. His anecdotes are charming, shocking, and heartfelt. And everything that's set up throughout the show comes together at the end in a very powerful way.... full review