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American Repertory Theater of WNY Adds PICASSO AT LAPIN AGILE & RUST BELT GROTESQUE to 2015 Season


With the "first-half" of American Repertory Theater of WNY 2014-15 season in the history books, ART/WNY sets the company sights on a great "second-half" with the two remaining presentations Steve Martin's PICASSO AT LAPIN AGILE and a showcase featuring local playwrights and their take on the "other side" of regional history entitled RUST BELT GROTESQUE. In March, PICASSO AT LAPIN AGUILE starts the 2015 "second half" with a great cast and crew featuring Sean Marciniak as Picasso and Matthew Chavez as the famed Albert Einstein, Diane DiBernardo Blenk as the saucy bar-maid, Germain, with her bartender lover, Freddy, played by the versatile David Mitchell, Kaleidoscope Theatre's Keith Wharton joins the company as Picasso's art dealer Sagot, Both Stefan Brundage and Eric Mowery make their ART/WNY debut with Stefan playing the big dreaming/no knowledge inventor Charles Dabernow Schmendiman as Mowery plays a simple country-boy Visitor. ART/WNY alumni Leacel Hillenbrand (THE CRUCIBLE) and Michael Leszczynski (SHINE) fill in as ensemble as Thomas Dooney makes his second appearance as director for this existential funny-bone tickler.

Director Tom Dooney offered his thoughts on this piece. "If one only knows Steve Martin as a wild and crazy performer, the play might come as something of a surprise; no balloon animals; no banjos; no arrow-through-the-head, or King Tut. But I do believe many people also know Martin's versatility and intelligence. Even his goofball stuff is as brainy assetis bizarre. As a writer, Martin balances nuance and nuttiness. He can write with exquisite elegance and then suddenly whack you in the face with a mackerel or squirt seltzer down your pants. This is seen in his fiction, shortprose and certainly in PICASSO."

On his selection of the ensemble, Dooney noted casting decision based on talent and not looks. " I am very excited by the cast which has been assembled. Actors were considered for this show not for their 'Einstein-ness' or 'Picasso like' qualities or even for their French aspirations but for their ability to contribute to ensemble playing, to be integral to the team and the skill to take focus when needed. They are actors whose work best known stages in theater but most have never worked together before this. I hope that will add a certain freshness and spontaneity in playing together."

PICASSO AT LUPIN AGILE opens on March 5th with 7:30 pm performances Thursday through Saturday and closes on March 28th at ART in the Box, 16 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo NY.

The "second-half" of the 2014-15 season will come to resounding close with the showcasing some of the best WNY playwrights in the macabre telling of Western New York's history in the presentation of RUST BELT GROTESQUE. The talented Michael J Starzyski will portray a fallen Vaudeville star in Matthew LaChiusa's MR PUSSY, Justin Karcher's MOST OF AMERICA'S WATER COMES THROUGH RUST BELT EYES features the acting talents of Meagan Kemple and Michael Seitz. The compelling story of three plotting dimwitted brothers comes to life in James Marzo's NO ONE WILL KNOW that features ART/WNY alumni David C Mitchell, the COWBOY MOUTH, ART/WNY team of Jacob Abarella and Aaron Krygier, Christopher Standart and the ART/WNY debut of Tim Goehrig and David Moran. Gail Golden returns to ART/WNY to direct Marzo's piece. Described as "innocence lost in the city", Mark C Lloyd's KILLING SIMONE features both ever-so-versatile actors Priscilla Young-Anker and Mike Leszczynski with Jasmine S. Ramos and the talented Gabriel Robere' (featured in SHINE). All four stories are navigated by ART/WNY alumni Andrea Andolina (RED CLAY; THE GUYS) who is a combination of steam-punker and Rod Sterling as the Narrator.

LaChiusa's MR PUSSY first premier at the Buffalo Infringement Festival and featured WNY actor Christopher Standart. The one-man show now features Michael J Starzyski as a Buffalo East Side performer and his ride during the heyday of regional Vaudeville that begins with a humble start in German beer gardens to the top-billing spotlight then, unexpectedly, comes crashing down leaving him to finally understand an answer a childhood question: "Why does beauty die? Because it is expected."

Justin Karcher describes his piece MOST OF AMERICA'S WATER COMES THROUGH RUST BELT EYES, "murdering was the easy part, dumping the body, on the other hand, is proving to be more difficult than expected. Starting at the polluted and abandoned Buffalo River, a man and woman can't find it in themselves to get rid of the body-the body of her husband. Surrounded by ghosts of WNY, this man and woman must learn what it means to be truly grotesque. Embracing the region's historical misfortune may be the only way they can get rid of the corpse and move on with their freakish lives."

In a simpler detailing of his work KILLING SIMONE, Mark C Lloyd summarizes "A man's grotesque murder rampage may be halted by his last victim."

James A Marzo's takes a social view on NO ONE WILL KNOW in expressing thoughts on his one-act, "In almost two centuries not much has changed in the overall sentiment of what people seek and expect from the authorities in dealing with the prosecution of crime. The community ultimately wants justice for crimes perpetrated upon their fellow man, and murder is still front page material."

RUST BELT GROTESQUE opens on April 30th with Thursday to Saturday, 7:30 pm, performances and will close on May 23rd. All performances will be held at ART in the Box, 16 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo NY.

"Overall, we are going to have a blast in the second-half," said American Repertory Theater of WNY Executive and Artistic Director, Matthew LaChiusa, "We have two solid and compelling presentations, outstanding directors and ensembles for the works and designers, such as the talented Katie Ludwig on lights and Elaine Heckler on costumes, to carry us through the next two presentations. We're ready to kick things off and are excited to see all the subscribers, patrons and online ticket purchasers who supported us in the first-half of the season."

For more information on the productions or to order tickets please visit or call the ART Box Office at 716 634 1102.

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