2019 Cincy Fringe Festival Hosts MEATBALL SEANCE by John Michael

CFF19_Meatball Seance full

Photo by Paul Clark.

John Michael needs your help with cooking his mom’s meatball recipe onstage to summon her from the dead so she can meet his new boyfriend in this interactive comedy. The audience plays five different roles throughout the show and “the only way to avoid participating is to cross your arms. (Pro tip: do not cross your arms. You want to be a part of this).” –  Lynn Venhaus, St. Louis Limelight.

Performance Details:

  • Jun 1, 2019 at 07:45 pm (Sat)
  • Jun 5, 2019 at 09:00 pm (Wed)
  • Jun 6, 2019 at 07:45 pm (Thu)
  • Jun 7, 2019 at 06:30 pm (Fri)
  • Jun 9, 2019 at 07:45 pm (Sun)
  • Jun 12, 2019 at 09:00 pm (Wed)
  • Jun 13, 2019 at 07:45 pm (Thu)
  • Jun 14, 2019 at 08:30 pm (Fri)

Art Academy Room 361
1212 Jackson St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Ticket are available online or by phone at 513.300.5669

Press Excerpts for MEATBALL SEANCE:

“If the mention of ‘audience participation’ makes you clench up, we’re here to tell you that John Michael’s Delightful Meatball Séance is going to change your whole theater-going world… silly, subversive and powerful.”-Jennifer Davis-Lamm, The Dallas Observer

“If a cooking segment from the Today show about his dead mother sounds morbid, John Michael sees it, rather, as intensely human…It’s not a dour show, though, but an affirming, interactive, community-building experience.” -Arnold Wayne Jones, The Dallas Voice

“John Michael’s Meatball Séance is pure comedy with a tender heart. He cleverly employs audience participation and real-life lessons while actually preparing his mother’s cherished meatball recipe… there’s something that’s simply likable and authentic in the story and performance. Perhaps it’s the universal nature of struggling to find one’s place, one’s community, one’s partner — it all rings true. John Michael is personable, genuine, and intelligent, even when he flashes his admittedly diva side.” – Tina Farmer, KDHX (St. Louis)

“Meatball Séance is a fast-paced, zany, hilarious and heartfelt look at grief, relationships and how we cope. – Anthony Morgano, Grab Magazine

“A whirlwind of happiness that must be seen.”-Plays with Wendy and John

“ Hilarious… beguiling… a goofy and heartfelt snapshot of bringing his mom back to life for those who never knew her.” Kerry Reid, Theatrejones

“By the end of the play…meatballs has been dropped on the floor.. five audience members have been rewarded with on-the-house drinks in remuneration for gigolo/gigola services rendered, the rest of us have lifted up our voices in a call-and-response incantation, and the air is rich with the savory aroma of grilled beef and the gentle harmonies of vintage Fleetwood Mac… He sends us home elated and eager for a late-night snack.- Mary Barnidge, The Windy City Times”

“In his typical fashion, the quirky, energetic Dallas-native employs high-octane comedy and silliness in order to tackle the dark and sticky sides of topics like relationships, death and what happens after you’ve reached your emotional bottom.” -Chicago Pride

NOTES FROM MONOLOGIST: MEATBALL SEANCE attempts to de-stigmatize death. The concept came from frustration with people always saying “sorry” after finding out about my mother’s untimely passing. I wanted to talk about her but I felt guilty. I felt I was bringing down the mood of the room. It was sad and ironic because my mother would light up every room she’d enter. For the longest time, I just stopped talking about her altogether to avoid having to make any awkward apologies for death. Was it my fault that the universal truth is that we are all going to die? In a way, the stigma surrounding death caused a second death. The show is a vessel to talk about my mother with a smile– the smile she gave me. Summoning my mother back from the dead through making her meatballs onstage to meet my boyfriend is such a bizarre concept that strangers/new friends laugh when they hear about it instead of saying “sorry.” Strangers/new friends want to learn more about her… they want to meet her.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is John Michael actually going to cook meatballs onstage? Yes
  • Will there be a fire extinguisher? Yes
  • Will the Audience get to eat the meatballs? No, the meatballs are offering for his Spirit Mom. According to the FDA, it is illegal for John Michael to feed you his meatballs.
  • Is this real? Yes, John Michael is real. He is excited for you to meet his mom but needs your help in summoning her.
  • Is there audience participation? Yes, but there the audience demonstrates consent..

About the Monologist: John Michael is a solo-performer who developed his voice with the aid of mentor Matthew Tomlanovich. His participation plays include: Would You Like Guys With That? A McTolerant One-Man Show; The A-Gays: Stillwater, Oklahoma; John Michael and the Order of the Penix; Like Me; and Dementia Me. His 2019 plans include the development of It’s Not All About you John Michael and a tour of Meatball Séance to Orlando, Bergen (Norway), Winnipeg and Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Press excerpts:

“John Michael’s vibrant one-man shows lit up the local theater scene, injecting his trademark silliness and effervescence into topics that are anything but.”- Jennifer Davis- Lamm, Dallas Observer

“Dementia Me makes a desperate case for joy in all things—as a palliative to intense suffering, as a meaningful distraction that can help if not heal sickness, and as good theater. John Michael heartens without making light of his subject matter. “- Max Maller, Chicago Reader

“Though still a young man, John Michael dredges up some tough love, excoriating self-revelation and finally some bittersweet knowledge to send this maiden voyage in Chicago aloft.”-Kerry Reid, Theatre Jones

“His shows specialize in that weird space where something strikes you as hilarious, but you’re not sure if it’s OK to laugh. John Michael assures you that it’s totally fine.” Jennifer Davis- Lamm, Dallas Observer

“Among the many signs that Dallas has finally become a city that not only supports a variety of theater but also fosters its development is that in the past two years we’ve been able to watch the growth of an exciting solo performer—and a queer performance artist to boot. There have been several solo artists in the past 20 years here, but none as prolific as John Michael Colgin. — Mark Lowry, TheaterJones.com.

“You wouldn’t think that a one-man show that so bluntly speaks on issues like HIV and death could be a laugh-riot, but Penix pulls it off. It’s brilliant.” — NOLA Defender

“Like a Peter Pan on a Bender, he comes on with the effusive, irresistible charm of a 5 year old, confiding secrets of the universe. You’re swept up in the cyclonic force of John Michael’s Psyche.” — Christopher Soden, The Dallas Examiner

“PENIX is pretty damn fearless. You will be agog at John Michael’s energy, his youthful talent. His bravery and his skill. This is a guy who’s going places.” — Arnold Wayne Jones, The Dallas Voice

“John Michael offers sparkly, crinkly, luscious live theater, whisking away his audience on a special carnival ride of the imagination.” — Alexandra Bonnifield, CriticalRant

“The 51-minute show floats like a spell. John Michael’s raucous, explicit, wildly imaginative is heightened by his witty delivery and engagement of individual audience members.” — Nancy Churnin, the Dallas Morning News

“His delivery is sharp, outrageous, and often (extremely) vulgar, leaving the audience to wonder if they are seeing someone merely pushing for shock value or actually witnessing cutting-edge comedic genius.” — The NOLA Defender

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