CHEAPJACK SHAKESPEARE Graphic Novel Adapted To The Stage 9/9 At Alt Theatre


"Cheapjack Shakespeare", the graphic novel serial launched in March by entertainment execs Gabriel Benson and Shaun McLaughlin is bucking the comics-to-movie trend and making the comics-to-stage move.

The serial, which runs daily on it's home site, will make it's world premiere September 9th at the Alt Theatre in Buffalo, NY. The transition seems a natural fit as "Cheapjack Shakespeare" is a comedy which follows the adventures of a college Shakespeare company as members get involved in infidelity, get struck by lightning, get in fights with unappreciative members of the audience who heckle them and generally falls apart. Running through is all is the theme of ambition and the need to either leave home, or embrace it and make your life there. Even if home is the apartment with cinder block bookcases you've been living in for 20 years

"In many ways this production is like other original first renderings of a play from the page to the stage at The Alt," said Amy Taravella, the Alt's Artistic Director. "But for this one, the action, comedy and chracters are already alive and beloved by the on-line fans who we hope come out to see them take human form at The Alt."

McLaughlin has adapted the script, or, as he puts it, "reinvented" the piece. "This began as a movie script," he said. "It became a graphic novel as a by-product of my storyboard. Then, last fall when Peter Michael Marino recruited me to act at the Alt, I started to think about that stage possibilities. A straight adaptation didn't seem to make much sense but the idea that if the graphic novel and movie are about doing a play, why not do a stage piece that's a play about doing a play within a play. So it's about a stage company without enough funds, equipment or even cast determined not to disappoint an audience who's there to see an adaptation of ‘Cheapjack Shakespeare' which is a story about a company without enough funds or equipment or even cast doing ‘Richard III'."

"The great thing about working with Shaun is that he is so open to any and all ideas when it comes to Cheapjack Shakespeare," said Producer Gabriel Benson. "This project works in so many different ways, that we've decided to take the attitude that we should actually try everything. Movies, comics, theater. Shaun's even been playing with a Collectible Card Game!"

Drew McCabe, who will be directing the production said: "One independent title has caught the eye of many on the comic book scene this past year, and that is 'Cheapjack Shakespeare'. Now unleashing it's wit upon the stage in September at the ALT Theatre. In fact, I look forward to it so much, I have to crack myself in the head with an clothing-iron to calm the excitement down."

"Cheapjack Shakespeare" appears approximately five days a week on the website Collections are available at Drive Thru comics (comics.drivethru.stuff) and for the Kindle e-reader on Amazon.

The play is titled "Cheapjack Shakespeare: The Non-Musical" to leave the door open for other adaptations. "I think the sky's the limit," McLaughlin said. "I'm still smarting over the ice show falling through, but we have high hopes for the movie. We'd also like to talk about a ballet, and operetta. If anyone has those Cirque de Soliel people's number, that would be cool, too."

Benson added that out of all these plans, the movie is actually under discussion and that McLaughlin often gets carried away.

Casting will be announced soon.

For more information or for review copies of the graphic novel, please contact:

Shaun McLaughlin began his career writing "Aquaman" (the non-maimed version) for DC Comics. He went on to write for DC, Malibu, Disney and Dark Horse. In 1994 he moved to Warner Bros. Animation where he produced over 400 episodes of television (5 Emmy Award Winners) including "Batman Beyond", "Static Shock", and the various incarnations of "Justice League". Besides "Cheapjack Shakespeare", McLaughlin is writing an animated feature for Omens Studios and preparing a live-action feature with Benson.

Gabriel Benson worked on numerous feature films that people might have seen during his years in Hollywood, including a lengthy stint developing Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. Benson is also the writer of the graphic novels "The Ballad Of Sleeping Beauty," "Fade From Grace" and the animated feature "Gene-Fusion" which will be released in 2010. And finally, Gabriel is still working on the screenplay adaptation of "Fade From Grace" which he and McLaughlin are going to turn into a live-action Oscar winner soon.

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram