Saint of Darkness at the Olde Brick Theatre

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 22, 2018
Press Contacts:
Paige Balitski
570-499-6360
divatheater@comcast.net

Jeff Boam
570-351-4050
jeffboam@gmail.com

AWARD-WINNING TEAM REUNITE FOR DRAMA BASED ON LANDMARK PA POLICE CASE
Saint of Darkness by Jeff Boam Opens on November 1st!

SCRANTON, PA—Diva Production Company continues its 2018/2019 season at the Olde Brick Theatre with Jeff Boam’s original stage drama, Saint of Darkness. Set in 1979 and based on real events, the play finds a team of risk-taking detectives, led by Lieutenant Gerald Baker, using a mix of ingenuity, innovation, and old-fashioned police work as they try and find a serial rapist before his agenda turns to murder. Boam came to write this stageplay after befriending Baker in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Baker, then a decorated captain in the Philadelphia Police Department, asked Boam to “tell my story.” After the former passed away in 2003, a piece of loose-leaf paper was found with his will—a handwritten list titled “Stories to Tell Jeff” with the Jogging Rapist case coming in at the top spot. This case, which involved a man sexually assaulting or raping 17 young girls at night in Northeast Philadelphia and New Jersey, made national headlines in 1979 and established Baker’s career. After interviewing some of the detective’s colleagues, poring through his personal papers, and doing years of additional research, Boam was finally able to make good on his promise to his late friend Baker in the form of Saint of Darkness.

Director Paige Balitski has assembled an amazing cast, with 12 actors taking to the Olde Brick stage. The production stars Sam Falbo as Lt. Jerry Baker, the tenacious lead detective; Michael Madajeski as Lt. Jim Connell, his number one; Scott Colin as Capt. Richie Ross, their boss; Mike Lally as Hal Morgan, the Chief of Detectives; Melanie Speakman as Sharon Carnady, a mother of a victim; Eric Lutz as George Grey, the suspected rapist; Laura Osborn as Lorraine Jones, a bystander; and Rebekah Conrad, Grace Kapacs, Lily Opshinsky, Emma Ross, and Mickey Strasburger as the Victims. Sandra Connolly is Stage Manager, Meggie Roche is Assistant Stage Manager, Dominick Azzarelli is Set Designer, and Bob Balistki is the Light and Sound Designer.

This is the fifth collaboration for Balitski’s Diva Production Company and Boam’s Richlier Moving Picture Company. Their short film, Charlie Chaplin’s Body, won “Best Filmmaker” in a press poll and screened at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner. A new cut of the film recently screened as part of the 2018 Scranton Fringe Festival. The film was based on Boam’s first play, the one-act “Charlie Chaplin’s Body,” which won the University of Scranton’s 1998 Playwright’s Festival and was revived by Diva in 2003. In 2015, Boam’s second play, the full-length drama Behind the Six, was produced by Diva and went on to win “Best Production” in a local press poll as well as rack up four Northeastern Pennsylvania Theater Alliance Awards, including “Best Original Production” and “Best Overall Production.” It was the first time in the Alliance’s history that an original piece won the top prize. Boam’s third play, the full-length drama The Judas Sheep, was produced by Diva in November of 2016. The production would later win multiple Northeastern Pennsylvania Theater Alliance Awards, including “Best Original Production” and “Best Supporting Actress.” Boam’s fourth play, the full-length comedy Man on a Canvas, was produced by Diva last year. Earlier this year, the production won multiple Northeastern Pennsylvania Theater Alliance Awards, including “Best Original Production” and “Best Supporting Actor.”

The Olde Brick Theatre is located at 126 W. Market Street, Scranton, PA 18508 (rear entrance). The showtimes are on November 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10 at 8 pm and November 4 and 11 at 2 pm. Tickets are $12 for General Admission and $10 for Seniors. Please call 570-209-7766 for reservations. For more information, visit the Facebook event  https://www.facebook.com/events/749165942092193/

 

 

Artemisia’s Intent, a performance as a part of Scranton Fringe

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Artemisia’s Intent
Scranton Fringe Festival 2018

Feeling the Kavanaugh blahs? Up for sticking it to the patriarchy this weekend?

Come see the female-inspired and female-created Artemisia’s Intent at the Scranton Fringe Festival. Winner of Best Solo Drama at the 2018 FRIGID Festival, this show is about the life and works of 17thcentury painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Her story is over four hundred years old, but “it is very much in a dialogue with today,” states director Melissa Moschitto. “Women are still fighting for fair representation and autonomy—as people and artists.” And don’t we all know it?

The show stars Mariah Freda. You can catch it at the pop-up venue at 518 Lackawanna Avenue. It deals with adult issues and is for mature audiences only.

Date and tickets:  Friday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September at 4:30 p.m.
Tickets purchase: $8-$12. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/artemisias-intent-tickets-48135597869?aff=ebapi

#vanlife: The Play, a performance as part of Scranton Fringe

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#vanlife: The Play
AFA Gallery
Scranton Fringe Festival 2018

As compelling as #vanlife: The Play sounds, something made me want to ask the characters for a bit more insight into what viewers can expect at this Scranton Fringe show. I asked only a few questions, but got varied answers.

Let’s start with Casey (the guy).

He feels his most redeeming quality is “the burning truth.” He claims people often enjoy these reality checks with some ketchup. He also believes that Kimmie (the gal) and Jean Claude Damn Van (the van) are there to bring out the best in him, specifically, Kimmie being his soul mate, to Jean Claude being representative of his personal growth, aside from being home and a good mode of transportation. Casey is sure this journey will get him out of his comfort zone, through a challenge (or two) successfully, and can be used as a way to learn about himself and his best friend in the process.

Now for Jean Claude Damn Van.

The Van has a redeeming quality too—it’s patience. As a way for the other two characters to find some morally questionable situations, the Van—well, the Van isn’t all that fond of its inhabitants, and sadly, is stuck with them regardless. But the stories Jean Claude Damn Van could tell if vans could speak…

And Kimmie? You’ll have to see the show to see how her views fit in. It’s bound to be an experience. And for you debate nerds like me—I hear there’s a nod to NFL Dramatic Interpretation in the performance style. If that doesn’t entice you—it’ll definitely be something new!

Chalk and Cheese present #vanlife: The Play, winner of Best Out of Town Show at the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival for 2018, starring Casey Thomas, Kimmie Leff, and Celine Carlier.

For more information about #vanlife: The Play:

Date and times: Friday, September 28 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 29 at 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Location:  AFA Gallery 514 Lackawanna Ave, Scranton, PA 18503
Ticket purchase:  $8-$12 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vanlife-tickets-48142305933?aff=ebapi

Charlie Chaplin’s Body: A Film as a Part of Scranton Fringe

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Charlie Chaplin’s Body
Scranton Fringe Festival 2018
Pearn Auditorium, Brennan Hall
University of Scranton

In 2006, Jeff Boam had his debut film premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. His short film, Charlie Chaplin’s Body, a twenty-minute comedy about the theft of the famous actor’s remains wowed viewers, and went on to impress patrons around the world, including those at the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner and other festivals. Some locals may remember the play version of the film, which was produced at the University of Scranton in 1998. The black-and-white story of two unemployed mechanics will no doubt impress people in northeastern Pennsylvania, as will its original jazz soundtrack written by Marko Marcinko. For one night only, you can see the uncut director’s version of the film at Pearn Auditorium in Brennan Hall at the University of Scranton. The event will be held on Tuesday, September 25,  at 6:00 p.m. and is free to the public. After the viewing of the film, the cast (which includes Sam Falbo, E.L. Dougher in the lead roles), the crew, and the author will host a question-and-answer session.

Come celebrate this film’s 20th anniversary of its stage debut by seeing the film, but remember this even contains adult themes and is for mature audiences only.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1804317733017871/?active_tab=about

Sound and Song: Overdone & Over-Sung as part of Scranton Fringe presented by C4 Studios

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Sound and Song: Overdone & Over-Sung is directed by Rebekah Conrad, with the musical direction of Marcie Herman Riebe, the show features “The Broadway songs we love to hate and hate to love, but always sing along to.” This show is a part of the 2018 Scranton Fringe Festival. The Festival has given a new environment for many locals to have their shows performed for an audience and that is the case for sixteen-year-old Rebekah Conrad of Scranton and the new theatre company C4Studios with their debut show at this year’s festival.

C4studios was founded by George, Jacob, Kayla, and Rebekah Conrad who are all siblings. For the past 10 Years the Conrad siblings have been involved in various types of community theatres, making many different local productions a true family affair. Earlier this year, they created a new theatre company with the purpose of giving every person the chance to participate and show their talents within a diverse theatre group. C4Studios is now fulfilling their purpose with a cast that has an age range from 6 to 50!

Rebekah has directed before, in fact, this is the third installment in the Sound and Song Series which began in June of last year with Sound and Song: Then and Now, and again in December of last year Sound and Song: Holiday Edition. C4studios and Rebekah are glad to have the opportunity to continue bringing the joy of musical theatre to the local community. Knowing that the shows before having made a great impact on many in the local community and will continue to do so for many years to come!

The show promises to have you dancing and singing along to with all your favorite Broadway songs. It will leave you begging for more when the curtain closes!

For more information about Sound and Song:  Overdone & Over-Sung, please read below:

Dates and Times:  Thursday, September 27th at 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 29th at 3 p.m.
Sunday, September 30th at 3:30 p.m.
Location:
Artworks Gallery & Studio
503 Lackawanna Ave
Scranton, PA 18503
Rating:  PG
Ticket info:  $8-12:  tickets can be purchased at the door or online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sound-and-song-overdone-over-sung-tickets-48149301858?aff=ebdssbdestsearch
More info about C4 studios: www.facebook.com/C4studios

Crime of the Hour: A Scranton Fringe Performance Hosted by Abby Deely

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Crime of the Hour
Scranton Fringe Festival
Scranton Cultural Center, Craftsman Hall
420 N Washington Ave, Scranton PA

I had the pleasure of speaking with Abby Deely, the creator of and host of the true crime improv comedy show, Crime of the Hour, as a part of this year’s Scranton Fringe. Deely began workshopping Crime of the Hour in Denver, Colorado in March of this year and brought it to the New Jersey Fringe Fest with great reception. Deely stated she tries to cover crimes that have roots in the areas of which she is performing. For Scranton’s Fringe Fest, she will be covering Ted Bundy on Friday, September 29th and The Lobster Boy Murders on Saturday, September 30th. What makes Crime of the Hour special is not only that it is an improv show about serial killers, but in the way Deely runs each performance. Abby said she creates an outline, which she presents the bizarre facts related to the case in a stand-up comedic style, and then the cast creates their own dramatizations of the events based on these facts. Therefore, every show is entertaining and unique.

Abby’s experience with comedy is nothing new. She has been performing stand-up comedy for years, now based in NYC. She has traveled with Crime of the Hour from some of the cast she performed with in 2017 as a part of the Edinburgh Fringe Fest in the show, Escaping Trump’s America. She also performed in Escaping Trump’s America in London and in Ireland as well.

Deely also discussed with me her roots and inspiration for Crime of the Hour. She said she has always been fascinated with serial killers even as a child. As an adult, she listens to the Last Podcast on the Left, a podcast about horror and serial killers, real and imagined. Specifically, Deely was inspired from the results of her thesis. She investigated the effect comedy has with healing for sexual violence survivors, particularly when the perpetrators are the butt of the joke, such of that as Amy Schumer’s skit, “Football Town Nights.” Consequently, she found that this type of comedy was only healing if the individual survivor found it as such. However, she was curious as to how people would receive comedy pertaining to horrible events that were more communal, such as murder. Overall, Deely hopes that comedy can aid in coping with these type of events, making something tragic into something funny.

For more information on Crime of the Hour:
Dates: Friday, September 28th at 9:30pm -Ted Bundy
Saturday, September 29th at 6:30pm – The Lobster Boy Murders
Location:  Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple Craftsman Hall
420 North Washington Avenue Scranton, PA 18503
Tickets: $8-$12 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/crime-of-the-hour-tickets-48141422290?aff=ebapi
Website:  https://www.crimeofthehour.com/

HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr: Scranton Fringe performance by Heather Massie

HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr
Scranton Fringe Festival
Scranton Cultural Center, Jr. Ballroom
420 N Washington Ave, Scranton, PA

I had the privilege of interviewing, Heather Massie, the astronomical actress, who wrote, produced, and plays Hedy, along with up to thirty-three other characters, including Jimmy Stewart, in her play, HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr. If you are not familiar with Hedy Larmarr, she was a glamorous Hollywood actress and inventor during WWII. She established, along with composer, George Antheil, the technology of frequency hopping intended for use in torpedoes during WWII. Additionally, this technology was later to be implemented in today’s inventions of Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS. However, Hedy’s recognition for her invention took many years to manifest. Sadly, the public saw her simply for her beauty, unaware of, as Heather put it, “a secret genius.”

As a former Science teacher, I take personal interest in Hedy Lamarr’s story. Upon discussing Heather’s inspiration for writing the play, we both agreed that girls need more female role models, who are engineers, astrophysicists, inventors, and the like. When Heather was in third grade, she aspired to be “an astronaut, work with animals, or be an inventor.” Later, Heather began her studies in astrophysics at the University of Virginia, to eventually major in Theatre Arts at the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts. Heather stated her inspiration to write the play was drawn from “a part of myself that I had put away…that I wanted to focus on … my interest in science.”

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Heather Massie, writer/producer/performer

Heather said what is fascinating about this play is that it presents itself in an “exciting and engaging way.” She, as Hedy, speaks directly with the audience about her life leading up to her invention of frequency hopping. In this play, you will become engaged in Hedy’s life story through immersing yourself through Hedy’s dialogue with the many fascinating characters in her life. This play as Heather stated includes “funny, interesting, and ironic parts of her life,” as well.

Overall, Heather believes this story “translates across cultures and generations.” She states the play has relatable themes and messages that resonate with people today. And for audiences around the world, Heather states: “regardless of any expectation of what scientists should look like, individuals don’t need to think in terms of appearance or gender, but in terms of ability. So, that all people can feel empowered to contribute to society through their ideas, innovation, and invention.”
Consequently, Heather believes that Hedy’s life story is not only interesting, but inspiring. With her play, Heather aims to “empower women and to inspire audiences to find ways to make the world a better place…to have the courage to do the things they want to do regardless of the world’s expectations.”

Heather has been touring with HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr in numerous festivals, universities, and theaters across the United States and the world. She began touring on November 9, 2016, which would have been Hedy’s 102nd birthday. Her play received 12 awards and critical acclaim.

Heather’s future plans involve creating a trilogy of plays that highlight the accomplishments of women in science, including Sally Ride, as her next project.

I am excited to see Heather’s work and what is in store for the future!

For more information, please peruse the information and links below:

WHAT: HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr as a part of Scranton Fringe Festival
WHO: Written & Performed by Heather Massie
WHEN: Fri Sept 28 @ 6:00 PM, Sat Sept 29 @ 8:30 PM, & Sun Sept 30 @ 5:00 PM
WHERE: Scranton Cultural Center,  Jr Ballroom – 420 N Washington Ave, Scranton, PA
AGE GUIDANCE: 12+
TICKETS: $8-$12 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hedy-the-life-inventions-of-hedy-lamarr-tickets-48139832535?aff=ebapi and www.scrantonfringe.org/tickets/
FESTIVAL SITE: www.scrantonfringe.org
SHOW SITE: www.HeatherMassie.com/HEDY