a juicy dance with words
directed and developed by karen aschenbach
with additional direction and choreography by kelleia sheerin
show info below ↓
ripe is in season and has been “picked” by the following venues:
- Santa Monica Playhouse (Santa Monica, CA)
- Greenway Court Theatre (West Hollywood, CA)
- Whitefire Theatre (Sherman Oaks, CA)
- Church of the Pacific (Princeville, HI)
Jewish Community Centers:
- Valley of the Sun (Scottsdale, AZ)
- Betty and Milton Katz Theatre (Cherry Hill, NJ)
- Adolph and Rose Levis Theatre (Boca Raton, FL)
- Stroum Theatre (Mercer Island, WA)
Festivals and Federations:
- Twin Cities Jewish Humor Festival (Minneapolis/St.Paul)
- Chutzpah Performing Arts Festival (Vancouver, BC)
- AJU (Bel – Aire, CA)
- Jewish Federation of Los Angeles
to book ripe for your next event, contact patti allen at 704-458-2280.
press coverage of ripe
los angeles times
Wendy Hammers’ one-woman show is ‘Ripe’
Actress and stand-up comedian Wendy Hammers has, for years, shepherded other people onto the stage. As a teacher, she coaches writers in private classes; as host of the long-running Tasty Words series, one of L.A.’s preeminent spoken word salons, she’s become something of a Pied Piper of one-man/one-woman performers. Now the time is ripe for Hammers to tell her own story – again.
A Peach of a Show: “RIPE” — A Juicy Dance with Words
Dance. Humor. Poignancy. Grace. These are all part of “RIPE” – a one-woman show that speaks to all women . . . and men, too. The play had its world premiere on October 19, 2012, at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles.
la splash magazine
World Premier of a new play, “RIPE” — A Juicy Dance with Words, Written & Performed by Comedian Wendy Hammers — Review
Dance. Humor. Poignancy. Grace. These are all part of “RIPE” – a one-woman show that speaks to all women… and men, too. The play had its world premiere on October 19, 2012 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles.
‘Ripe’: What Middle Age Looks Like, If You’re Lucky
Hammers is a vibrant, funny, immediately likable performer who has appeared on popular shows including “Mad About You,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Sopranos,” as well as at stand-up comedy venues around the country. But in our current culture and at this moment, here in L.A., it’s safe to assume many women in the audience would need to spend some serious time repeating self-affirmations in the mirror to feel comfortable, let alone physically “perfect,” in a skintight jumpsuit with those thighs.
raves for ripe
“Part stand up confessional; part booty shakin’ biography, ripe is an examination of life re-invented midstream, and a reminder that the time to celebrate our bodies…and our lives…is right now.”
~ deborah vankin, la times
“In your journey of self-acceptance, you give other women permission to liberate themselves as well. Any women struggling with loving their bodies should see it. So that means every woman we know. And girl … you can dance!”
~ camryn manheim, emmy award winning actress
“The voluptuous Wendy Hammers is sexy and, well… ripe. And it’s contagious! You are laughing or crying throughout this show, and when it’s over (all too soon) you walk out feeling wonderful about your own body, and maybe even appreciating it’s so-called flaws. For me, that was some kind of miracle.
~ tracy newman, emmy winner and co-creator of abc’s “according to jim”
“I strongly recommend this show (I’ve already told a dozen people!). Every woman should see it. In our weight-obsessed culture, so many are forgetting to live, much less dance. Ripe brings this out so beautifully, poignantly and colorfully. I laughed, was touched and walked out “lighter” than when I came in. I still feel lighter! Thank you for sharing your journey and gifts. And you’ve got some wicked dance moves, girl. The “Jew-Lo” rocks!”
~ janet herin, freelance writer and communications consultant
“Wow! Amazing show. Loved it from head to toe. Was touched in many ways and I laughed and got teary eyed as well. Your timing was great, your words so real, fun and deep. Yes, I loved your dancing as well. I am so happy I got to see you in action and with your pure passion for telling your story from the heart.”
~ lisa kellogg, choreographer, hiphopdancer.com”
“A testament to Spirit alive. Delight personified.”
~ ann buxie, producer, tales by the sea
“You literally blew me away with your talent, genius and adorability (so sue me, I made up a word). Laughed out loud and was moved to tears. A hilarious stand up and funny, brilliant storyteller – and an amazing actress. Bravo. I couldn’t have had a more fun night.”
~ monica piper, comedian and emmy award winning writer
“I loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it! The pace, your truthfulness, the baring of your heart and soul, and most of all… your humor!!!!!! You were a blast! One thing for certain, I left wanting more… and feeling peachy! Superb direction.”
~ giselle shapiro, producer
“Fun, upbeat, personal, moving, hopeful, good ending. Makes me hopeful.”
~ judy oliverio, rn
“Such a fancy dancer…Most of the 50-something women I know would wind up in traction if they tried that.”
~ richard bellikoff, writer
“HOLY SHIT! That was absolutely incredible! I loooooved it! I LOVED the dancing, the kibbitzing, the reality of life, love and embracing our body!”
~ laura numeroff, author “if you give the mouse a cookie”
“Thank you for addressing so many themes and emotions that I recognize so well in my own life, but sometimes fail to hold a looking glass to. You did so with humor, compassion and honesty…such a brave performance. And your last-minute twists in delivery are just perfect.”
~ tanit sakatani, photographer
“Celebrating the perfection of our bodies exactly as they are and in fact reveling in the juiciness of hips! Thighs! Breasts and bottoms! Sometimes I look at myself naked in the mirror and just say, “WOW!” =) I also totally agree that it’s a joy to be getting older – especially when the alternative is, um, not being alive at all!”
~ atim udoffia, actress
“I remind myself to think about your parable about our bodies every time the negative voice comes up. Well done, my friend.”
the inspiration for ripe – an open letter to the audience
9/11 happened. A year later, my dear friend Judy Toll passed away, having lost her nearly five year long battle with cancer. A month after that, I separated from my husband of fourteen years.
For me, all of these losses were connected. It was as if the universe had shined a huge magnifying glass on the preciousness and fleeting nature of life itself. A blazing reminder of how little time I really did have. On how gorgeous the life I do have is, and how the time to celebrate that life is right now.
ripe was born out of that realization. It has been brewing in me, on some level, since that time. In the face of great loss, I had an opportunity to begin my life again and rebuild. To reinvent. And I did.
This play tells that story.
It is my sincere hope that this play can serve as a wake up call for all that see it – a reminder to embrace our own magnificent and precious lives.
I can’t wait to see you in the theatre.
thoughts from director
As a writer and stand up comedian, Wendy loves words and word play tickles her more than anything. Once we knew this story was best told with her body as much as her words, we had our work cut out for us to find the funny, the metaphor, and the poignant juxtaposition in movement and body shape.
To accomplish this we both agreed to be open and free in our process together. The joy of working with a fellow artist who knows that her ideas can be precious or useless at a moments notice is truly to be valued. Everything and anything was on the chopping block until it proved itself to be worthy of the story and the form, what we call “dance text”.
Beyond the autobiographical nature of the material, we kept digging to define the deeper specifics that sparked Wendy’s impetus to create this show and there we discovered the universal message – We must not just honor, but relish and bask in our ‘ripeness’ as human beings and particularly as women.
Many wonderful scenes were written, rehearsed and eventually nixed to give way to others that more clearly proved the premise of the show.
The scenes that we did choose stood up to rigorous and sometimes amorphous improvisational exercises to find the exact (down to the finger tips) movement, body shape and words. We wanted the ‘dance’ to be as powerful as the ‘text’ we chose to most accurately express Wendy’s own discovery and desire to encourage all people to let our natural gorgeousness shine.
writer & performer
Wendy Hammers is a hyphenate.
An actress/writer/storyteller/stand up comic/creativity coach/producer/wife/mother/foodie/hip hop dancer/jersey girl/hopeless romantic/lover of life. Not in that order.
She loves chai tea, dancing ’til she sweats, and Bruce Springsteen.
Her true heart belongs to a triad of “G’s” – her beloved Grandma Gussie, her wonderful son Griffin, and her dear husband Garth.
As the the chief bottle washer at Tasty Words Productions, a live event company that produces the monthly hit spoken word salon of the same name (now in it’s 18th year), Mrs. Hammers delights in creating and hosting evenings of theatre which celebrates hilarious and horrifying true life stories from a host of famous and infamous writer/performers.
As an actress, she is the recipient of two Drama-Logue Awards and one Broadway World Award. Her acclaimed solo play, undressing new jersey (and other states of mind), was one of four shows chosen for the The Sacramento Theatre Company’s International Solo Festival. Her third solo outing, ripe, has toured the U.S. and Canada, with cities including Seattle, Vancouver, Boca Raton, Minneapolis, and Kauai.
She is a published author: You’ve Got Meal (Marabout Press), What Was I Thinking? (St. Martins Press), That Time of the Month (Melanie Vara), as well as a contributor to The Huffington Post. All the stuff you need to know about her professionally can be found on either this website or at wendyhammers.com. Anything else, just email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Instagram @wendysjoyworld.
She’d love to hear from you.
Writer, director, actor and producer from East Coast to West. Her directorial background includes plays (Mrs. Cage, Critics Choice – Los Angeles Times), short films and independent features seen on television and in festivals from Japan to Croatia and throughout the U.S. Ripe, which she developed with Wendy Hammers, made its Hollywood debut at the Greenway Court Theatre and began a national tour in 2014. After a successful run at The Promenade Playhouse in May 2014, Coming Out Kinky, A Grownup Comedy with Jean Franzblau is enjoyed a multi city tour. Karen has worked with storytellers, essayists, novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, actors and solo artists.
choreography & additional direction
A wild-west born American actor/dancer/director/choreographer. Equal parts performer and creator, Kelleia is a rare broad who has carved out a career telling bewitching, quick-silvered stories of people on the verge of the either a break down or a break through. From directing award-winning plays to dancing as an absurd Scottish Tart in Eric Idle’s live radio-play What About Dick?; from portraying the ultra-savvy Burlesque Star of her time Tempest Storm alongside Ryan Gosling & Josh Brolin in the film GANGSTER SQUAD to originating a role on Broadway in Urban Cowboy and directing and choreographing a myriad of shows, plays, and musicals, Kelleia has built her reputation on an inherent understanding of the work, a respect for the unpredictable, the 10,000 hours of a professional and the ability to solve anything. www.Kelleia.com