EPIC Players Inclusion Company in Association with The Flea presents YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

EPIC Players Inclusion Company in Association with The Flea presents YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWNEPIC Players Inclusion Company (EPIC) returns with the second play of their 2017-18 season, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner. The musical adaptation of Charles M. Shulz comic strip Peanuts, runs November 16 - 19 at The Flea's new theater in Tribeca.

You're A Good Man Charlie Brown is directed by EPIC's Artistic Director Aubrie Therrien and features a neuro inclusive cast led by actress Samantha Elisofon who recently starred in Keep the Change which premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival. Samantha was nominated for Best Actress and the film won Best Narrative Film, and Best New Director. EPIC is a newly formed resident theatre company that is proud to be an Anchor Partner of The Flea. This summer their inaugural production of Dog Sees God played to enthusiastic audiences at The Kraine Theatre. EPIC seeks to use the performing arts as a vehicle to empower artists with developmental disabilities, and pioneer increased inclusion within the mainstream arts scene.

Artistic Director Aubrie Therrien, shares what drew her to starting the company, "The actors that I have had the absolute privilege to work with over the years are some of the most talented, compassionate, hilarious, loving and honest people I have met, and we wanted to give them a platform to grow as artists and individuals in an inclusive way." She went on to say, "Only 2% of roles in the entertainment industry are written for disabled actors and of those roles, 94% are played by able-bodied or neuro-typical actors. It's time they got their shot. We are here to advocate for them, provide them with training and include their voices in this growing conversation."

Aubrie went on the discuss why EPIC chose You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, "In our first production Dog Sees God, we gave some of our actors the chance to explore topics they are normally shielded from, as adults living with developmental disabilities are often times infantilized. They got to talk about sex, drugs, loss and love with depth and honesty. In Charlie Brown, we get to explore innocence. There is a resounding innocence in the Peanuts characters and they can at the same time be completely accepting and completely ruthless to Charlie Brown, the show's protagonist. To us, Charlie Brown is almost like the Everyman of our community. And of course, who doesn't want the opportunity to do a fun musical on a New York City stage as well--especially if you've never been given that chance before?"

EPIC Players presents a neuro-inclusive musical production of You're A Good Man Charlie Brown. EPIC is a theater troupe for actors living with (and without) developmental disabilities such as autism. Performances pioneer increased inclusion in theater arts, breaking through social barriers and debunking stigmas. Charles Schultz's beloved musical-now celebrating its 50th Anniversary-explores love, friendship and acceptance of others' differences through the antics of the beloved peanuts gang.

The cast features Travis Burbee (Snoopy), Gianluca Cirafici (Charlie Brown), Samantha Elisofon (Lucy), Melissa Jennifer Gonzalez (Sally), Dante Jayce (Ensemble), Andrew Kader (Ensemble), Elizabeth Kotite (Ensemble), and Gideon Pianko (Linus).
The creative team includes choreography and assistant direction by Travis Burbee, musical direction by Paolo Perez, scenic design by Michael LeBron, lighting design by Zach Weeks, costume design by Caetlyn Carbuhn, and stage management by Talia Eapen.

Performances take place at The Flea Theater - The Sam, 20 Thomas Street (between Broadway & Church Streets), New York, NY 10007. Subways: A/C/E/1/2/3/J/M/Z to Chambers Street, N/Q to Canal Street, and the R/W/4/5/6 to City Hall.
Tickets are $25 for general admission and $55 for VIP reserved seating and are available at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10204177
Performance dates:Thursday, November 16 @ 7:00 pmFriday, November 17 @ 7:00 pmSaturday, November 18 @ 7:00 pmSunday, November 19 @ 3:00 pm

The EPIC Players--which stands for empower, perform, include and create--is a theatre company in New York City founded in 2016 to provide opportunities for performers with developmental disabilities to represent themselves on stage and screen. EPIC seeks to use the performing arts as a vehicle to empower artists with developmental disabilities and pioneer increased inclusion in the arts. EPIC advocates for previously unexplored career paths for those living with developmental disabilities and hopes to become an inclusive social resource for performing artists living with developmental disabilities seeking to represent themselves, their community and their talent on stage and screen.

It is EPIC's hope that our mainstage performances combined with our performing arts classes will prepare our actors for a successful and enriching career within the theatre arts and foster our mission to break down the social barriers surrounding these opportunities. In addition, by working with neuro-inclusively, we hope to illustrate a new way to use the performing arts and empower artists to use their craft to build communities and become change-makers in their field.

More information available at https://www.epicplayersnyc.org/.

Partial funding for this project has been made possible through The Nancy Quinn Fund, a program of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York; A.R.T./New York Creative Space Grant

Clark Gesner (Music & Lyrics) was an American composer, actor, author, and writer. His most successful musical, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, won an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Production, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards. Mr. Gesner's other musicals include The Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall, The Jello Is Always Red, and Animal Fair.

Aubrie Therrien (Director) is the Executive Artistic Director of the EPIC Players Inclusion Company. An experienced actress regionally and in New York City, Aubrie has always been drawn to using the arts as a vehicle for social growth and worked designing play workshops of children's books for developmentally disabled and neuro-typical youth in Virginia and Kentucky. She is a passionate advocate for the developmentally disabled community and a firm believer in using the arts to empower individuals, educate communities and spark social change. She holds a BFA in Theatre and an Master's in Public Health from NYU. Her prior work as a non-profit theatre leader and community advocate has earned her the title of New Yorker of the Week with News 1, New York in 2016. She is thrilled to bring this neuro-inclusive performance to the stage with a very talented cast, many making their New York Stage debut, at The Flea; their incredible home for the season.

Travis Burbee (Choreography) is the Creative Programs Manager for EPIC Players. Travis will be playing Snoopy in their production of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown as well as choreographing and assistant directing the musical. He is also involved with EPIC as a teaching artist and mentor. Some of Burbee's most recent credits include Peter in Pinkalicious, Glaston in The Reluctant Dragon, Pier in Jingle Aarg the Way, featured ensemble in Barnum, and Beethoven in Epic's Dog Sees God.

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