Joseph Assadourian's THE BULLPEN Begins Tonight Off-Broadway

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Joseph Assadourian's THE BULLPEN Begins Tonight Off-Broadway

Actor/playwright Joseph Assadourian, like Charles Dutton and Lead Belly before him, discovered his theatrical voice while serving time behind bars. His new one-man play, The Bullpen, which he wrote and stars in, will begin an open-ended Off-Broadway engagement at The Playroom Theater (151 West 46th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue) tonight, June 12th. Richard Hoehler directs this black comedy, which features Assadourian in 18 different roles. Opening night is set Sunday June 22nd.

In The Bullpen, a man is arrested, arraigned and put on trial for a crime he claims he did not commit. Consequently two systems of jurisprudence judge him - one a jury of his peers in the courtroom and the other: the fascinating and hilarious denizens of the bullpen in which he is being held. Mr. Assadourian mercurially transforms from character to character and from court to court.

Joseph Assadourian was released from prison in 2013 after serving 12 years for attempted murder. Two years before his release, he reluctantly became one of two-dozen inmates who joined a theatre workshop at Otisville Correctional Institution in upstate New York. Actor/director Richard Hoehler, a volunteer at the institution, used acting techniques to guide inmates through the rehabilitation process.

Joseph, who had never before even seen a play, quickly discovered his special skills and, with Hoehler's guidance, began creating an 8-minute scene that incorporated characters he had met during his incarceration. The Bullpen evolved from that short sketch into a full-length production, which was developed at Otisville Correction Facility; upon his release from prison, Assadourian performed the completed, full-length at the Fortune Academy (The Castle) - a residence in NYC for formerly incarcerated men and women. Producer Eric Krebs saw the show there and realized it needed to be seen by a wider audience.

Assadourian received the 1st Place PEN Prison Writing Award for his play, Heaven and a 2nd Place PEN Award for Joey Shakespeare, co-written with Brandon Cochrane, which was featured at the New Work Now reading series at The Public Theater and subsequently presented by The Collective Theatre in Miami. He is also the author of a full-length play, Deliberation, a modern recounting of the Armenian Holocaust. As an actor, Joe has appeared in Race by David Mamet, Tuff Love (including works by Sam Shepard and John Patrick Shanley) and Inside Out, an original theatre piece co-written with the inmates at Otisville Correctional Institution.

Richard Hoehler has premiered three original solo shows Off-Broadway, New Jersey-New York, Working Class (OOBR Best Solo Performance) and Human Resources (Best of the Fest, MITF). He was the founding Artistic Director of the American Line Theatre Company that premiered over forty new plays. His original play Fathers and Sons opened Off-Broadway in 2009. As an actor he has performed in New York, regionally and abroad. He's also been featured on "Law and Order," "NYPD Blue," "Third Watch," and "The Black Box." Richard is also the creator and director of Acting Out, a professional acting class and performance workshop for at-risk teens and adults that is in residence at the Fortune Society and Otisville Correctional Facility.

Eric Krebs has been a theatrical producer as well as a professor for over 40 years. On Broadway he produced Electra, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, Bill Maher in his Victory Begins at Home, Avery Brooks in Paul Robeson and Neil Simon's The Dinner Party. His Broadway productions have received 10 Tony Award nominations. Off-Broadway, he produced over 40 productions, including Sam Shepard's Fool For Love, Neil LaBute's Bash, The Capitol Steps, etc.

The Fortune Society is a non-profit social service and advocacy organization, founded in 1967, whose mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration, thus strengthening the fabric of our communities. Fortune works to create a world where all who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated can become positive, contributing members of society.

Performances will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8PM and Sunday at 3PM. Special Matinees Friday June 20th at 4PM and Saturday June 21st at 3PM. Tickets, which are $20, are available online at www.StepInTheBullpen.com or by calling toll-free 866-811-4111. Performances take place at The Playroom Theater at 151 West 46th Street (between Broadway and 6th Avenue).

For more information, visit at www.StepInTheBullpen.com.

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