For any movie fan who's memorized Glenn Close's "I won't be ignored!" monologue from Fatal Attraction or perfected an imitation of Inigo Montoya's final duel in The Princess Bride, there's a new opportunity to show your stuff. Movieoke, a humorous hybrid of movies and karaoke, has at last made its Los Angeles debut. Now everyone from aspiring actors to film fans can show Jack Nicholson how "You can't handle the truth!" should really be done.
Movieoke first began last year at Den of Cin, a basement venue in New York City, before spreading to locations in Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, and New Orleans. The premise is simple: Performers stand in front of a screen displaying a scene from their selected movie and act out the dialogue, occasionally putting their own twist on the events. Movieoke made its L.A. premiere July 7 under the moniker "Reel to Real," and it will continue every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at Club 7969 in West Hollywood.
Reel to Real is the brainchild of producers Phillip Walsh and Nicole Brandon, who caught wind of the movieoke trend and went to catch a show in New York. "Nicole and I thought it was a great idea and thought of all the places in the country, it should be in L.A.," says Walsh. "We flew to New York one weekend, and we were impressed with the response. And we knew in L.A. it could be brought to an even bigger stage."
Walsh, who has managed Club 7969 for 20 years, is quick to add he is not a performer, just a fan of movies. Brandon, however, is an accomplished actor and dancer with several Broadway credits and could be seen on the opening night of Reel to Real singing and dancing to clips from films such as Chicago and Sweet Charity. "She's really brought this to life," Walsh says of his partner. "Her background is extensive, and she knows a lot of people in the industry, and she has helped to get the actors involved in a much more direct way."
Those interested in performing can log onto the website (www.actorsonparade.com) and fill out a form in advance specifying a movie and scene they'd like to act out. There's even an area to list any props, costumes, or special needs for the routine. But for those who prefer to live dangerously, the club has a long playlist of movies they can opt to do on the spur of the moment. "That's what makes karaoke so spontaneous and fun," Walsh says. "We encourage people to come up and try it, no matter what their experience. There are people who are great actors and people who are not, and it's all fun for everyone to see."
Some performers hew closely to the original and are eerie in their imitations. Performing Steve Martin's "You'll Be a Dentist" number from Little Shop of Horrors, Christopher Carothers has every motion and facial expression down pat. In a love scene from West Side Story, actors Jeanine Pacheco and Raymond Del Barrio improvise a makeshift balcony in the middle of the club. But performers are welcome to take liberties, as well. "While they can get up there and be as dramatic and close to the movie playing behind them, they can also add their own personality," explains Walsh. "And that's the beauty of it."
"Reel to Real," Wed. 8 p.m. Club 7969, 7969 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hollywood. $10. www.actorsonparade.com. (323) 654-0280.