Malibu resident delivers comedy with a message

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Malibu resident Michael Drescher tells the story of his father's love and the power of accepting yourself in "18 Arrests No Convictions," now playing at The Court Theatre in West Hollywood. Photos by Racquel Lehrman

“18 Arrests No Convictions” has you laughing and believing in the power of love.

By Vicky Newman/Special to the Malibu Times

“18 Arrests No Convictions” has Michael Drescher walking around his living room (the set is a table and photographs from his own home) regaling you with true-life stories of evading traffic cops, enjoying women or getting himself admitted into college.

Through every vignette, though, Drescher, who was on the road for 20 years building JDTV, the leading cable television packaging, promotion and information company until its sale to Tribune Media Services in 1999, is telling the story of his father’s love and the power of accepting yourself.

As the play’s director, Justin Yoffe, co-founder and artistic director of Venice Theater Works, writes in the program, “As I listened [to these stories] I heard a success story not just in material terms-a middle class boy from Jersey who made millions in cable television-but a spiritual success, one in which an entire family undertakes a journey from fear to love.”

Ever since he was born, angels or spirits-call them what you will-visited Drescher, who is 49, which made him seem crazy. The outside world forced him to withdraw to this inner world and Drescher was a stutterer until the age of 19.

Although his father never believed in that other world, he-unlike Drescher’s mother, brother or sister-accepted that Drescher did.

At four years old, his mother, afraid that Drescher was having a seizure, took him to the hospital. After a week of painful tests and seeing the worry and fear in his mother’s eyes, Drescher told the doctors he couldn’t see the spirits anymore so he could be released from the hospital. He was sent home with a diagnosis of “severe sinus congestion, causing pressure on the brain, resulting in active and inactive delusions.”

“The stories are similar but behind the fun is the question, ‘Why am I behaving the way I do,’ Drescher, a Malibu resident, said in a telephone interview.

Although humor is the main aspect of most of the stories, the tone turns serious after Drescher tells of his life-threatening fall from a horse at the hunting lodge of leverage buyout king Henry Kravitz.

“I knew that the accident had happened for a reason, to reconnect my two worlds,” Drescher said about his corporate and spiritual sides. “I learned that it’s not weak to need people, and I need to give.”

In addition to his current business ventures, Drescher is a founding director of Malibu resident Dr. Paul Comstock’s One Tribe, a nonprofit focusing on children’s rights and AIDS-related issues in Africa and in the United States. He also is a director of “Elan Vital,” a Florida-based agency run by his sister, focusing on women’s health issues.

The play by this skilled raconteur ends in a month, and Drescher has no future writing plans. He said he’s thankful he’s had the opportunity to give rein to his creativity.

“This is a story I am supposed to tell, the power of people believing in people,” Drescher said. “It will make you laugh it will make you think, and most importantly, it will make you feel. You will leave with a better idea of what you are doing and why.”

“18 Arrests, No Convictions,” written and performed by Michael Drescher, runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m. through July 11 at The Court Theatre, 722 North LaCienega Blvd., West Hollywood. More information can be obtained by calling 310.924.8628.