Critics’ comments about Joni Hilton’s plays:
In Bed With Chuck and Lois:
(Winner of Beyond the Proscenium Contest)
“Hilton exhibits a fine ear for the way people really talk-- and a frighteningly accurate insight into the way they think."
--- Jim Carnes, Sacramento Bee critic
Rock, Paper, Scissors:
(Winner of Long Beach Playhouse New Works Festival)
“With an innovative plot that is positive, uplifting, and life-affirming, it is built around a dramatic conceit that isn't revealed until the end of the play when (surprise, surprise!) it explodes from the stage and electrifies everyone in the audience... the heart of the comedy has substance and depth, Hilton has a fine flair for snappy dialogue and repartee, and her characters are carefully delineated, well-balanced, and perfect foils for each other... the two-pronged killer ending is guaranteed to have viewers groping for Kleenex to wipe their eyes, and send them home with smiles on their faces."
--- Shirley Gottlieb, drama critic, member of LADCC and ATCA
Burying Aunt Beulah:
(Winner of Los Angeles Women in Theatre Contest)
"We had our script selection meeting last night and the general comments were that we could easily do a whole season of Joni Hilton plays. Everyone was delighted and excited to discuss your work."
-- Gina Bikales, Managing Director, The Arthur Newman Theatre
I just walked in from the opening of Does This Show Make My Butt Look Fat? Oh my goodness...what an unqualified hit. The audience loved it from beginning to end and my cast just did a wonderful job. It breaks my heart that you couldn't be here to see it all. I handled the Q&A afterwards and there were nothing but positive comments and praise for you skill. Men, women,straight, gay...they all felt it. Thank you so much for allowing me to divide the show up. I hope when Burt sends you the CD you'll approve of my characters. We are taping tomorrow, assuming that Burt's flight from the mid-west doesn't get cancelled with bad weather. Tornadoes are predicted. Cross your fingers.
Thank you again for your wonderful script and your permission to play with it. I love working with your material.
I just saw the DVD of our Saturday show and loved it all over again. While the sound isn't the best, it will give you some idea of how I divided it up and staged the reading. It will also let you know how very much the audience loved it. Lots and lots of laughs.I'll get it in the mail to you tomorrow. Please note the music I use for the opening. It is perfect and I loved it. My brother wrote, recorded and gave it to me to use. I hope we have the honor of working with your scripts again soon. I'd really like to do Chuck and Lois.
Thank you again,
Also from Gina:
I am so sorry you didn't get to see Chuck and Lois this weekend. You would have been beyond proud. The cast was wonderful and we had full houses both nights. The power of your name is becoming a real draw here in the desert. People know that Joni Hilton is synonymous with laughter. I need more material! Keep writing! We could do an entire Joni Hilton Festival.
As soon as I get the film from our man, I'll send you a package of goodies. What a super play. We had a ball with it.
IN BED WITH CHUCK AND LOIS
(Reviewed in The Desert Sun by Bruce Fessier)
Script2Stage2Screen also took a big step in its effort to develop new works for the stage and screen with its reading of Sacramento playwright Joni Hilton’s “In Bed With Chuck and Lois” at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage.
Hilton asked readers in her program notes not to look for a heavy message, but her humor was effective because it resonated with truths that bonded the audience. Chet Cole and Darci Daniels played a married couple that are content but not completely satisfied with their lives — as is made apparent by Marty Rudman and Shirley LeMaster, who play the lead characters’ brains and reveal what they really think about every situation.
The split-second timing directed by Gina Bikales gave the dialogue extra bite, but it was Hilton’s observations of how men and women think that had my wife and I laughing so hard we were almost embarrassed by what it revealed about us.
Bikales says it will take $6,000 to $7,000 to get this one-set play mounted at a legit theater. That’s a wise investment. This play can have a life in stock theater.
Oct. 2013: (After “In Bed with Chuck and Lois” won Best Production and Best Director at the Desert Theatre Awards gala, Gina Bikales wrote: I can't say enough good things about Joni Hilton and her writing. Every time I direct a Joni play it is a hit with our audiences. We had the best script to work with and a fabulous cast. Our Lois won for Best Actress in a Staged Reading and our Chuck's Brain won Best Supporting Actor. It was quite a sweep. I'm totally looking forward to producing Burying Aunt Beulah in the Spring, another Hilton hit!
Chet Cole: Joni- BEST. SCRIPT. EVER. One of my favorite all-time roles!