Saturday, July 16, 2011

"The Big Woogie: 4 Noir Acts" or How (ME) Ray Ramos... Became an 'FN' Playwright?

What's "The Big Woogie" you ask? Well, it's my (Ray Ramos') first venture into the theatre! And so far it's been a great experience. I saw my pal, Dave Mamet (we met on a film) not long ago, he asked me what I've been up to? I said "I'm embarrassed to say (semi-sheepishly) I just wrote a play, I was planning to put up." To which the Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright said; "But, you just told me?" So, I did, I did? I guess, that I wasn't that embarrassed to say?

The fuse that ignited this project was a couple friends (we'll call; Sarah & James? ) asked for submissions for something, "film noir." Well, at the time, I needed something to do... and film noir style & stories were something I'm well versed in (I couldn't tell you about a lot things, but I could tell you who was floating dead in Gloria Swanson's pool in Sunset Boulevard... Joe Gillis a.k.a. William Holden) So, I wrote a story and submitted it, then I wrote another... I didn't hear back from my friends? But my brain was clickin' away, so I wrote yet another story... (and I thought they were pretty damn good!) I didn't want to write your standard cliche detective yarn. I wanted to write things that were really off-beat (and may I say; even a little "wacky")  but still with a homage of all the great stories and wild characters from those classic type films. With tips of the cap to folks like: Lon Chaney, Tod Browning, Barbara Stanwyck, Billy Wilder, Louise Brooks and the noir master, Orson Welles. Another kick is, I've set some of the action in one of the acts at L.A.'s famed The Ambassador Hotel (where I had actually worked during it's last seven years, before it was demolished in 2005) So, I got to do my little tribute to her with a tale that's loosely based on a strange story someone told me once in my office at The Ambassador.

Our fantastic key art by Jim Pierce

Well, my friends actually never ended up doing their show, but I though "what the hell?" I have three one acts, I just needed one more to fill out a whole show... so I thought finish "this muhtha" (and I did just that!) I've loved writing for years, I've written a least a half a dozen screenplays (and yes, they're pretty good!)  but, to bring one of my scripts to the screen, would take a hell of a lot of money... I thought, this play was something doable?

Perhaps, this noir photo (taken by me ) of my friend, actress Brittany Murphy at the Ambassador Hotel in 2005 with Louise Brooks (painted by artist Ana Rosa Amaral) in the corner was an inspiration for  my Act Two; ROOM 509?
 So damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Don't think twice, like Bob Dylan said. I showed these stories to a few friends, who I thought might find them interesting? In fact, an old school pal, Gordon Alatorre (whom, I've known since dinosaurs roamed the planet) had in recent years, been drawn into acting,  I thought would be as great one of the leads in "Forgive Me Charlton, I Have Sinned" (as in Heston...the First Act) Gordon liked the idea so much, that he became of of the shows producers (and quite frankly, I couldn't have pulled this off with out him.) Also, out on the limb with me, another old pal. Stan Matasavage.  I met Stan, many years ago doing stand-up at the Comedy Store in Westwood (that store's long gone by the way) he'd been wanting to do something like this for a while, so he was crazy and jumped in with us. Another feather in the cap on this project was my friend Candy (Candice) Martin, who I had always envisioned as the main character of Mrs. Pierce in Act Three, A Touch of Murder. I have to tell you that both Gordon & Candice (not to mention, her understudy Carolyn  Blais, a fantastic new find!) are just fantastic in their roles. And even luckier, Candy's a veteran of producing at The Raven Playhouse in North Hollywood (where "The Big Woogie's" running.) This goes to show you, that you have to take the momentum in life (when the riptide catches you, ride it! Don't fight it!) Because if I (actually all of us producers on "Woogie") would have thought too much about it... there would be a million reasons (blah, blah, blah) not to do it!

I can tell ya who this "dead screenwriter" is!
So what I (we) have in store for all of you who come to see "The Big Woogie" (and I wish you all really would!) is a really fantastic, fun show that gonna have you both at the edge of your seats and then rolling in the aisles... We have a great cast; marvelous performers that are really bringing my characters to life (I'm even in the production, as the voice of Orson Welles!) And I might add, that it's really wonderful to see actors, who you have no preconceived notion of, walk out on stage and do their thing! And might I add, this production has actual "real sets"... production value!! So there it is! I've laid it all out there for you... my "Big Woogie."  Am I (Ray Ramos) a tormented writer? No, I love it! It fuckin' fun!... Especially, when it's clickin'... you be the judge? Come see "The Big Woogie: 4 Noir Acts," and remember "don't think about it, just do it!"

"THE BIG WOOGIE: 4 Noir Acts"Premier Engagement @ 
The Raven Playhouse 5233 Lankershim Blvd. NoHo, CA 91601 Runs 4 Weekends (Friday, Saturday & Sunday - From July 29th to August 21st, 2011)
* SUNDAY PERFORMANCES go up an hour earlier @ 7pm.
more info @
Question & reservations @