Whitefire Theatre’s ‘Waiting for Johnny Depp’ will have you at ‘WTF’

Waiting for Johnny Depp, a hilariously profane, one woman show, tracks the existential angst of an aspiring actress, struggling to navigate the arduous casting process for an A-list movie.

Hoping to satisfy the inscrutable demands of casting directors, she sheds aspects of her identity like so many pounds. In the spirit of “Anything for my craft,” she sacrifices her hair, her accent, even her gender in pursuit of the ever-promised, but never-present, starring role.

As her identity withers, she supports her dream selling possessions on Craigslist, leaving the stage as empty as her soul. Phone calls deliver shifting expectations from her agent and her mother’s familiar “tsuris.” Her sole emotional support comes from the receding presence of her beloved brother.

Deedee O’Malley stars as Rita Donatella, a hapless wannabe actress with the voice of a foul-mouthed angel. Her songs range from classic “break-up” (with chocolate) to the transcendent “What Really Matters.” She playfully goads her audience into an attitudinal sing-along of “WTF.”

O’Malley brings the perfect tone to her portrayal, and effortlessly draws the audience into her profoundly intimate story.

She wrote the pitch perfect book and lyrics with Janet Cole Valdez. O’Malley said, “I like to tell the truth; it’s funnier.”

They teamed with Bettie Ross to write the music. Holly Friedman provides solid direction. Technical credits are stellar.

“Waiting for Johnny Depp” is staged through April 29th every Friday, 8pm, at the Whitefire Theatre located at 13500 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. Call (800) 838-3006 for tickets or visit JohnnyDepp.BrownPaperTickets.com.

This review appeared originally in the Tolucan Times on March 31, 2016.

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