New York Deaf Theatre's 35th Anniversary Season to Open with THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE

By: Oct. 15, 2014
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New York Deaf Theater, the longest running company of its kind in New York City, under the Artistic Direction of James W. Guido, will celebrate its 35th anniversary season with a new spin on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale, THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. Adapted by Noah Smith, the production is told in American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English for deaf and hearing audiences. Previews begin on Friday, November 7th at the June Havoc Theatre (Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex - 1st floor). The official opening is on Tuesday, November 11th at 7:30PM. Marlee Faye Koenigsberg directs.

Famous scientist Dr. Henry Jekyll craves an escape from the tedious propriety of Victorian life in London, 1888. He invents a formula that changes him into the wild, brutish and animalistic Edward Hyde. With the help of his all knowing Maid and Butler, Dr. Jekyll must keep his dual identity of Hyde a secret as his actions begin to lead him down a bloody path of crime and murder. Adapted from the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, this theatrical physiological- science- thriller by Noah Smith is full of mystery, suspense and oddly full of heart. With a rich ensemble of characters this full ASL production with a diverse deaf, ASL fluent and hearing voice cast emulate the very nature of duality the play examines! The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde invites us to examine the inhibitions we suppress and perhaps accept the darker side lurking within us all, waiting to be unleashed.

This production of THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE features a highly skilled cast of deaf actors, ASL fluent actors, and a cast of hearing actors who simultaneously voice the action appearing on stage, live and in real time. With a mission towards inclusion, the format of the production invites audience members of both deaf and hearing cultures to enjoy the show simultaneously, sit side by side, and together watch this classic tale unfold!

The cast of THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE features deaf actors Robert DeMayo, Samuel Caraballo, Carmen King, JW Guido, Onudeah Nicolarakis and Joyce Hom with Sarah Brandenburg and Blake Wales. Voice actors Tim Walsh, Matt Hill, Liarra Michelle, Taylor Pavlik and Olivia Howell are also featured in the cast. The ASL Master is Christopher Tester who is also deaf.

Noah Smith is a Massachusetts native and a graduate of Vassar College with a BA in Drama. He has spent several years at the Summer Theatre at Mt. Holyoke College (now called the Pioneer Valley Summer Theatre), starting as an apprentice, eventually becoming a writer and director, and serving as Artistic Director of the Theatre for Young Audiences from 1998 - 1999, during which time the theatre was named "The Best Place in the (Connecticut River) Valley for Children's Theatre." the plays Mr. Smith has written for the Summer Theatre's children's stage include adaptations of Puss in Boots, Rapunzel, and Casey at the Bat, which are all published by Eldridge Publishing. His plays for adult audiences include The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (published by Playscripts, Inc.), Three Story House, The Other Side of the Pillow, Instant Message, and An Intervention for Issac. His television pilot Long Distance was produced by Middlesex Media Arts in 2000, and his short play Aaron Sorkin Goes to the Olive Garden was a finalist in the Actor's Theatre of Louisville's National Ten-Minute Play Contest.

Marlee Faye Koenigsberg is a New York based director and theater artist whose work focuses on collaborative devised projects with a strong visual aesthetic. Her directing credits include: The Signal Season of Dummy Hoy (New York Deaf Theater), The Last Reader of Books (Senses' Askew Company), Alessandra Drapos' Tea with Vivien Leigh (Estrogenius Sola Voce Festival), Bratton Late Night Cabaret (Chautauqua Theater Company), Wonder (Devised/Original, Chautauqua Theater Company), Young Readers Romeo & Juliet Retelling (Original Staged Reading, Chautauqua Theater Company), Wholly Joan's (Powerhouse Theater at Vassar), Vagina Monologues (Mosaic Theater Productions), The Fastest Clock in the Universe (Olmsted Theater) and selections of Tongue of a Bird (SDC Fellowship Finalist for KCACTF). Marlee is Associate Director to Kim Weild having worked with her on the world premiere ASL translated production of Harold Pinter's A Kind of Alaska that premiered in 2013 at the inaugural NY Live Arts/Live Ideas Festival: Celebrating the Worlds of Oliver Sacks. She is currently an Associate Member of Gia Forakis & Company as well as having been Associate Producing Director and Associate Artistic Director for the company. She trained as a Directing Apprentice at Powerhouse: New York Stage and Film, and received her B.F.A in Acting from Adelphi University.

The production team for THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE includes Assistant Director Kimberly Hale, Scenic and Props Designer Lauren Mills, Costume Designer Asha Ricci (Deaf), Lighting Designer Annie Wiegand (Deaf), Stage Manager Kelsey Pulzone, Assistant Stage Manager Shelby Edwards, Production Assistant Melissa Jones, NYDT Artistic Director James W. Guido (Deaf) and NYDT Production Manager Annie Wiegand.

Tickets for THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE are $25 (General Admission) and $20 (Students & Senior Citizens) and can be purchased online at WWW.NYDEAFTHEATRE.COM OR WWW.SMARTTIX.COM or by calling 212.868.4444. They can also be purchased at the box office prior to each performance.

Performances of THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE begin on Friday November 7. The playing schedule is Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30PM; Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM; Matinees are Saturdays and Sundays at 2PM.