FUDGE Opens JACK THE RIPPER Tonight at Boston Playwright's Theatre
Tonight, March 29 at 8:00pm The FUDGE Theatre Company (Founding Artistic Director, Joey DeMita) will open their 13th Anniversary Season's Premiere Production of Steven Bergman & Christopher-Michael DiGrazia's musical interpretation of the London media frenzy that fueled the story of a series of five butchered prostitutes into a bonfire that is still burning today, one hundred and twenty six years later.
In a deliberate attempt to heighten an already airborne story, the British journalists put a name to the at-large sociopathic fiend - JACK THE RIPPER.
Savagery was on sale. The whores were on the butcher's block. The East of London was a social powder keg. Boom!
The brutal slaughters of the five women became the story of the century. The headlines screamed bloody murder in 48-point type. The reading public became willing vampires as they poured money into London's newspaper publishers' pockets.
JACK THE RIPPER: The Whitechapel Musical will play through April 12 at the Boston Playwright's Theatre (949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA.) There will be one Preview Performance on Friday, March 28 at 8:00pm. SATURDAY, MARCH 29 IS THE PRESS OPENING.Directed by Joey DeMita, JACK THE RIPPER: The Whitechapel Musical has music and lyrics by Steven Bergman, book and lyrics by Christopher-Michael DiGrazia, and orchestrations by Mr. Bergman. Ben Oehlkers is the musical director. Scenic Design is by Joey DeMita. Costume Design is by Mr. DeMita and Emily Monroe. Lighting Design is by PJ Strachman. Props Design is by Emily Monroe. Julia Murray is the production stage manager.
THE BACKGROUND: In 1888 London was bursting at its seams; overcrowded to distraction and destruction. Fleeing starvation, the Irish immigrated in droves. Fleeing the deathly pogroms of Tsarist Russia, the Jews did the same. Hundreds and thousands more streamed in from other Eastern European countries; landing mostly in the already overcrowded East End.
There was almost no work. Housing was even scarcer. Living conditions became deplorable, almost indescribable. Starvation fostered robbery, violence, cruelty and debauchery. Alcohol dependence became the supreme choice of anesthesia; second only to prostitution. The police department and the growing army of do-gooding social workers numbered the East End's brothels at 62; most of which were in the Whitechapel District, the jewel in the East End's rusted and crusted crown.
The heart of Whitechapel is Whitechapel High Street, which extends further east as Whitechapel Road. In the Fall of 1888 over 1,200 women working as street prostitutes roamed, crawled and slithered along High Street to earn enough money for a meal and a safe place to finally sleep after a night of servicing London's male population bored with their wives and suffocated by the Victorian Era's draconian social mores. In November, frequent demonstrations and riots convinced the rest of London that Whitechapel was a stinking sewer of immortality and the police were sent in to pound the lower classes into submission. The social tension was becoming unbearable. And then it broke. Someone began butchering the prostitutes; leaving them debowled, dismembered and splayed wide open. It was sociopathic humiliation and the birth of tabloid journalism; a marriage made at a munitions factory.
JACK THE RIPPER - Matt Phillipps
INSPECTOR ABBERLINE - Michael Levesque
DOCTOR REESE RALPH LLEWELLYN - Kyle W. Carlson
GENTLEMEN OF THE PRESS - Jared Walsh, Jermaine Golden,
MARY ANN "POLLY" NICHOLS/ENSEMBLE - Molly Gervis
ANNIE CHAPMAN - AnneMarie Alvarez
ELIZABETH STRIDE - Katie Preisig
CATHERINE EDDOWES - Lori L'italien
MARY JANE KELLY - Hollyann Marshall
BARMAID/ENSEMBLE - Kathleen Comber
ENSEMBLE - Ben Medeiros, Agatha Babbitt
Friday, March 28th at 8
Saturday, March 29th at 8 (PRESS OPENING)
Sunday, March 30th at 2 (Talkback following)
Thursday, April 3rd at 8
Friday, April 4th at 8
Saturday, April 5th at 8
Sunday, April 6th at 2
Friday, April 11th at 8
Saturday, April 12th at 8 All performances run at Boston Playwrights' Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA. Tickets: $26 Adults $21 Students/Seniors. For reservations, call 1-866-811-4111 or visit www.fudgetheatre.com.
Joey DeMita (Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of The FUDGE Theatre Company. Directing credits include Jake's Women (Stonehill Theatre Company), Company (Winthrop Playmakers), and the over twenty F.U.D.G.E. productions, including the premieres of I Sing!, I Love You Because, Half-Married (World Premiere), bare, Nevermore, Glory Days (IRNE Nomination: Best Director, Best Musical) and The Glorious Ones. Other notable directing credits with FUDGE include Carousel (IRNE Nomination: Best Chorography) and Spring Awakening (IRNE Nomination: Best Director, Best Musical). Joey has also served as the directing intern to Rob Ruggiero at TheatreWorks Hartford on productions of The Exonerated (featuring TV/Film star Kim Fields) and the world premiere musical Ella: Off the Record (starring Broadway's Tina Fabrique). In the Boston area, Joey served as the assistant director to Adam Zahler on the Lyric Stage's production of Talley's Folly. It is Joey's belief that any show can fit in any space, and he always looks forward to bringing un-expected shows to the intimate Black Box space at the Arsenal Center. Joey spent his summer teaching theatre to children through the Community Music Center of Boston and the Reagle Theatre Summer camp. During the year, Joey teaches elementary school music/drama and works with the 5th and 6th grade Extended Day program at the Runkle School in Brookline. Mr. DeMita most recently received across-the-board critical acclaim for his production of Parade at The Arsenal Center for the Arts, for his directorial work on the World Premiere of Chris Guin's Drawin' On The Walls and his brilliantly reviewed ASSASSINS. Both he and the company have received multiple award nominations too numerous to name individually but nonetheless appreciated beyond description.
MATT PHILLIPPS (Jack the Ripper) is excited to be back with FUDGE after working on Macbeth, Parade, and Spring Awakening. Matt has performed in NYC and Boston at Circle in the Square, New World Stages, American Repertory Theater, Wheelock Family Theatre, Company One, Reagle Music Theatre, Theater Offensive, The Majestic, The Strand, Berklee College of Music, and Harvard University. He played Mark in Rent at Boston Center for the Arts, opened for Gavin Creel at Ryles Jazz Club and has been directed by Oscar winner Stephen Schwartz and Tony winner Diane Paulus. Matt won the SLAMBoston theatre festival, starring in the two-person play Johnny Ramirez Really Wants To Kiss Me and has been nominated for numerous IRNE Awards alongside several of his casts. On screen he can be seen in the film Exclusive directed by Scott Schwartz. He received his education from Circle in the Square and The Boston Conservatory. Matt teaches acting at Reagle Music Theatre and is a freelance photographer specializing in street photography and headshots.