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Rhyne Directs Pizzarello's 'ONCE THERE WAS A BOY' For Fordham University Alumni Theatre Co. 8/1 - 8/10

The Fordham University Alumni Theatre Company announced the details of its second annual production, ONCE THERE WAS A BOY, a new play by Jason Pizzarello. The production is a collaboration of thirty Fordham University alums, including Pizzarello and director Aaron Rhyne, and will begin its special limited engagement on August 1, 2009 at Fordham University's Pope Auditorium (113 W. 60th Street, NYC).

ONCE THERE WAS A BOY, a recent Princess Grace Award semi-finalist, tells the story of a young boy growing up attached to his father-literally. When the young outcast develops a magical connection with a witch's daughter, the young lovers hatch a plan to free themselves from society's shackles. Mixing various forms of puppetry and multimedia, ONCE THERE WAS A BOY is a modern absurdist fairytale exploring the culture of fear and the boundaries of acceptance.

ONCE THERE WAS A BOY features direction and projection design by Aaron Rhyne, scenic design by Erich Bussing, costume design by Tara Devincenzo, lighting design by Ryan Seelig, sound design by Tim Chaffee and puppet design by Jason Pizzarello and Stacey Weingarten.

The cast features Jeff Barry, Kim Carpenter, Maria Teresa Creasey, Marco Formosa, Josh Lacasse, Maria McConville, Frances Mercanti-Anthony, Brian Murray, Ian Quinlan, Christopher Tramantana, Amir Watcherman and Stacey Weingarten.

Founded in 2008 by Fordham's Theatre Program, the Fordham Alumni Theatre Company brings together graduates from across all disciplines to create an annual summer production. The company focuses on the development of new work that highlights Fordham's legacy of creating engaging, innovative theatre, while providing an opportunity for alumni actors, directors, writers, designers, technicians, stage managers and administrative professionals to practice and hone their respective crafts.

The Fordham Alumni Theatre Company is also presenting a staged reading of SEEDS, a retelling of the myth of Demeter and Persephone, by George Shea (Fordham '62) and Martha Stevens. The reading, directed by Greg Foro, will take place on Sunday, August 9 at 2 PM in Fordham University's Veronica Kehoe Theatre (113 W. 60th Street, NYC) and is open to the public.
The Fordham University Theatre Program at the Lincoln Center campus is one of the top undergraduate theatre training programs in the country. It is headed by two-time Obie Award-winning playwright and director Matthew Maguire. The faculty consists of working professionals and has included such luminaries as two-time Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest and Tony Award winner Marian Seldes. Fordham theatre alumni have exceptional acceptance rates into top theatre graduate schools, and an impressive track record working in theatre, film, and television. Graduates include Patricia Clarkson, Annie Parisse and Denzel Washington.

Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to approximately 14,700 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a commuter campus in Westchester, and the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y.

Tickets for ONCE THERE WAS A BOY are $15.00 ($10.00 for students and seniors), and are available through or by phone at (212) 636-6340. The performance schedule is as follows: Saturday, Aug. 1 at 8PM; Monday, Aug. 3 at 7PM; Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 8PM; Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 8PM; Thursday, Aug. 6 at 8PM; Friday, Aug. 7 at 8PM; Saturday, Aug. 8 at 2PM & 8PM; Monday, Aug. 10 at 7PM; Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 8PM. 

JASON PIZZARELLO (Playwright, Co-Puppet Design) Plays include: InsideOut, produced at HERE Arts Center, and nominated for a Innovative Theatre Award; The Last One Left, produced by Geek, Ink in the Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival; Saving the Greeks: One Tragedy at a Time, produced by Push Productions at the 14th Street Y Theater; Glued to Grammy, produced at HERE Arts Center; Around the World in Eight Plays with Patrick Greene and Once There Was a Boy. He has written several plays for young actors, nine of which are published by Playscripts, Inc. and have been produced in more than 30 states as well as in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, Syria, and Thailand. He is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Live Project, a mixed media performance group founded in 2002 with director Aaron Rhyne. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University's Playwriting Program.

Aaron Rhyne (Director, Projection Design) is a video artist and director specializing in theatrical video and projection design. His designs include Jerry Springer: The Opera (Carnegie Hall, The Sydney Opera House), the current revival of Stephen Schwartz' Working (The Old Globe and Asolo Rep), Frank Wildhorn's new Bonnie and Clyde (La Jolla Playhouse) The Civil War (Ford's Theatre), Amiri Baraka's Dutchman (Cherry Lane), The JAP Show (Actors Temple and US Tour), Topsy Turvy Mouse (Cherry Lane), Flags (59E59), Monica Bill Barnes' Suddenly Summer Somewhere (Dancepace at St. Marks Church) and Cunning Little Vixen (Colorado Light Opera). He is currently developing a one-woman show with Rue McClanahan called, My First Five Husbands and the Ones That Got Away. He has done extensive video work with Caden Manson's Big Art Group and has toured with them through Europe and the U.S. with The House of No More and Flicker. He directed and designed InsideOut, which was nominated for an Innovative Theatre Award. Other directing credits include the upcoming The Lily's Revenge with Taylor Mac, Playing House (HERE), Glued to Grammy (HERE), and Princess Ivona (Polish Cultural Institute). Additionally, Mr. Rhyne directs music videos, commercials, and performance projects for television. He is a graduate of Fordham University.

ERICH BUSSING (Scenic Design) is a very recent graduate from Fordham who is now working in operations at Jujamcyn Theaters. Assisting design credits include: Fordham Mainstage: 21 Positions, Life is a Dream, Man Equals Man. Other: Boy in the Bathroom (NYMF): Lighting and scenic designs include: Fordham Studio: Closer, Still, One Flea Spare, Our Song of Songs, Cutting Crystal, Purgatorio, Drawbridge, Glory Days, Boogie Woogie Landscapes, Jarvis Black. Other: Lights & Music (45th Street Theater), Writer's Block (MITF), InsideOut (HERE Arts Center).

TARA DEVINCENZO (Costume Design) is currently a senior design major at Fordham.

TIM CHAFFEE (Sound Design) was a directing major at Fordham University in 2008. Since then he has worked for Blue Man Group as a stagehand at the Astor Place Theater, and spent 6 months traveling and Volunteering in India. He will also be sound designing the upcoming Fringe Festival production of Elephant in the Room by Leah Hendrick directed by Morgan Gould.

Stacey Weingarten (Co-Puppet Design/Bebel) Currently an intern for The Jim Henson Company, Stacey has served as a PA on Playhouse Disney's Johnny and the Sprites, and assisted on builds at The Puppet Kitchen. She has also attended the O'Neill Puppetry Conference where she developed and performed the piece Oscar, later shown at the NYMF. She is in her final year at Fordham University studying Theatre (Directing), Communications (Film), and Classics (Ancient Greek). Puppetry credits include Oki Doki (dir. Jesse Averna), Kate Crackernuts ("Paul's Voice" Puppeteer/Design, Fordham), The Whole World and You (dir. Frankie Cordero).

Ryan Seelig (Lighting Design) Recent Design credits include: Bride directed by Kevin Augustine, Closer and All Our Quiet Places directed by Heather Lanza, Dog Act directed by Peter Gil-Sheridan, Martian Chronicles (Fordham Alumni Company) Directed by Elizabeth Margid and Theresa Linnehan, and Iphigenia and Other Daughters directed by Anna Lag.

CHRISTY BENANTI (Production Stage Manager) Off Broadway: Tony ‘n' Tina's Wedding, The Great Divorce, One Man's War. Off-Off Broadway: Playing House (Directed by Aaron Rhyne) and numerous others. Christy is co-founder of Shortened Attention Span, which has produced 10 productions to date, including Fordham Alum Micah Bucey's The Gay Agenda's GREAT BIG BROADWAY SHOW! She also is a Theatre Manager at The Players Theatre in Greenwich Village.

CHRISTOPHER TRAMANTANA (George) Regional Theatre credits include: Ludovico in The Life of Galileo, Stephen Undershaft in Major Barbara, Etienne in A Flea In Her Ear, Edmund in King Lear, and George Deever in All My Sons. New York credits include Bent, Playing House at HERE (both directed by Fordham Theatre alum Aaron Rhyne), Othello, and The Fantasy Plays(written by FCLC Theatre Alum Peter Gil-Sheridan and directed by FCLC alum Jeff Stanley).

Frances Mercanti-Anthony (Carol) Broadway: Spring Awakening. Off-Broadway: Mr. Marmalade. Other Credits: Once There Was a Boy, I Heart Kant, Matt and Ben, The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana: The Ugliest Woman in the World.

IAN QUINLAN (Max) Broadway: The Lion King (Young Simba). Off Broadway: Good Pictures (Assistant Director) for the NYC Fringe Festival, Topsy Turvy Mouse (Amit) at the Cherry Lane. Fordham Mainstage: 21 Positions (Fawaz), Life is a Dream (assistant director), Big Love (Nikos), Slavs (Babushka). Fordham Studio: Careless Love (Director), Purgatorio (Director) The Dumb Waiter (Gus), Glory Days (Assistant Director).

Jeff Barry (Frank) Theatre Credits include: The Huntington Theatre Company (Les Liasons Dangereuses), Dorset Theatre Festival (The Glass Menagerie), Gorilla Rep (Hamlet, Henry V), Yale Rep (Comedy of Errors). Film & TV credits include: Carter, Liberty, Guiding Light. Jeff can also be seen in the upcoming films The Last Harbor, The company Men (with Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones), and Date Night (with Steve Carell and Tina Fey). Jeff is also the co-artistic director of the Miscreant Theatre. BA Fordham University Theatre Company. MFA Yale School of Drama.

MARIA TERESA CREASEY (Edith) Maria Teresa most recently performed in HOMELAND at the Leid Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. She was named one of the top ten performers in last years fringe festival for her role as Jude, in The Corn Maiden, and given a best featured actress nod for Miss Logan in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? as a part of the MITF. Other favorite shows include The Zero Hour (O'Neill Playwrights), Finian's Rainbow (Irish Rep), and InsideOut (HERE). You can also hear Maria Teresa as the current voice of Ethan Allen. Maria Teresa is proud to be a member of the Lark Theatre family.

AMIR WATCHERMAN (Oba) is a recent graduate of the Fordham College at Lincoln Center Theatre Program. Some favorite past productions include Laughing Pictures by Matthew Maguire, Man Equals Man, Inspector General, The Busybody, and Bucket Head.

MARIA MCCONVILLE (Josey) Theatre: Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in the Park-ing Lot) Hannah and the Hollow Challah (The Kitchen and 78th St. Theatre Lab), Atomic Farmgirl (Drilling Co.), Jean & Joe with THALATTA!, The Last One Left written by alum Jason Pizzarello (MITF-Jewel Box), JUMP! (The Kirk at Theatre Row), Moral Values: A Grand Farce... by Ian McWethy (NYC Fringe), As You Like It (Shakespeare in the Park-ing Lot), Inside Out written by alum Jason Pizzarello and directed by alum Aaron Rhyne (HERE), Limitless Joy with the International WOW Co.(CSV). For her performance in First Time Out of Bounds by P. Seth Bauer, she received a NY IT award for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role. Film: Memorial Day (dir. Josh Fox) Besides acting, Maria is a Teaching Artist in the five boroughs with Theater For A New Audience, TDF, Periwinkle Youth Theatre and co-created the Theatre outreach program with Live Project, Inc.

MARCO FORMOSA (Irish) NYC Credits include, Mac Wellman's The Invention of Tragedy (Classic Stage Company), Animals That Live in the Mirror (Classic Stage Company), The Private Lives of the Master Race (59E59), Waking Up With Strangers (The Kraine), Poppies (NYC Fringe), The Last One Left (Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival). Marco holds a degree from Fordham University at Lincoln Center and recently received his MFA from the New School For Drama.

JOSH LACASSE (Jim Taylor/Doctor) Actors are F*@#ing Stupid (Wild Project), Writer's Block (June Havoc Theater), Moral Values: A Grand Farce or: Me No Likey the Homo Touch-Touch (Village Theater), 4Some (Shelter Studios), The Duchess of Malfi (Payan Theater). Film: The Beautiful Lie (2006 MTV Movie Award - Best Student Film, Joshua Caldwell, Dir: FCLC '06), Konstruksiyon (Claro de los Reyes, Dir: FCLC '06). Fordham University at Lincoln Center, Class of 2005.

KIM CARPENTER (Neist/Susan) Past credits include: Pocket Change at The Players Loft, A.D.R.I.F.T at the Playwrights Workshop Montreal, Orpheus at HERE Arts Center, Neon Mirage at both the Humana Festival and NY International Fringe Festival, and both The Madwoman of Chaillot and Three Guys and a Brenda at Actors Theatre of Louisville. You can check her out this fall in GROWN a film written, directed and produced by fellow Fordham Alums Christina Lind and Gene Gallerano.

Brian Murray (Clerk/Officer/Boy) NYC Theater: Stretch (a fantasia) with New Georges at The Living Theater, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom with SPF at The Public, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Demetrius), The Biggest Break (Ben), Maybe Tomorrow (Taylor). TV: Gossip Girl. Brian received his BA in Theatre Performance from Fordham University's Theatre Program; Fordham credits include Steven Ratazzi's production of Polaroid Stories, Ratan Thiyam's production of The Blind Age, Tim Robbin's Dead Man Walking along with many others.

Photo of Aaron Rhyne

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