KISSY COUSINS MONSTER BABIES To Close Manhattan Repertory Theatre's Stories Inaugural Film Festival
A kitschy yet cerebral, retro mash-up film titled The History of Everything Circa 1993 to the Present: Formerly Known as Kissy Cousins, Monster Babies and Morphing Elvis, directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Wayne J. Keeley and co-produced by his wife, Emmy-nominated Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley, (along with Emmy Award-winning business partner and friend Craig Dobson) will screen at Manhattan Repertory Theatre's STORIES Film Festival which takes place May 15 - 19, 2019, just a block from Times Square.
For over a decade, Manhattan Repertory Theatre has been producing plays. Playwrights Lyons-Keeley and Keeley produced several of their original one acts at the venue and even won first prize in a competition in 2015 with their one-act play titled "Heaven Sent."
The playwrights are also filmmakers, screenwriters, and published authors, among many other hats they wear. When the duo heard that Manhattan Rep was launching its inaugural film festival, they were beyond thrilled to submit their film, referred to by those in the know as simply KCMB. But this particular feast for the senses has quite a unique history. It was borne a mere twenty-seven years ago with the original title, Kissy Cousins, Monster Babies and Morphing Elvis years before the couple even met. Back then, Keeley had delusions of grandeur, expecting KCMB to become the next cult-classic, standing toe-to-toe with the likes of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. His dreams went up in smoke when KCMB unexpectedly entered "distribution hell" which included changing hands with three different distributors before irreconcilable creative differences forced Keeley and Dobson (also one of the original co-creators) to shelve their beloved project. By the end of the 90s they felt it was already a dated work.
Decades later, David Belafonte, one of the stars of KCMB, called Keeley asking him to put the film up on YouTube for "legacy" purposes and so his children could see it. Keeley wasn't terribly hot on the idea; however, the thought of dusting off the celluloid reignited his passion for the work. Keeley got an itch to retool the film, especially when his muse, Lyons-Keeley, agreed to co-produce and co-write additional material. The end result is a completely re-edited, updated masterwork that defies explanation. What also makes KCMB unique is that there are three versions - a feature-length, a 40-minute short, and a 30-minute Director's Cut. To date, in all its incarnations, it has garnered incredible reviews and the honor of receiving over 168 film festival laurels and awards (and counting).
So what's all the hub bub? KCMB is the tale of two producers who must save their dying careers (and possibly their lives) by coming up with a blockbuster of a movie idea. A great big spoof on Hollywood and the entertainment business, it is unlike any film you've ever seen. Lyons-Keeley says of it, "It's The Producers meets Rocky Horror with a bit of Hot Tub Time Machine thrown in for good measure."
Two original actors have reprised their roles from 25 years ago. Jack Plotnick, well known as a TV, film, and Broadway actor, teacher, writer, director, and producer is back as well as Charlie Dobson, a talented voice-over actor and radio personality. The film also stars Australian comic Steve Kearney alongside Belafonte and features other greats such as Nipsey Russell, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Irwin Corey, Pat Cooper, Michael Medved, Jeffrey Lyons, and Malena Belafonte.
KCMB will screen at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, 2019 and both Lyons-Keeley and Keeley will be present for a post-show Q&A. Keeley says, "We are thrilled that Manhattan Repertory Theatre is screening KCMB. For us, being back at Manhattan Rep - it's like coming home." Tickets can be ordered at https://www.manhattanrep.com/tickets-for-stories-film-festival.