"Cheapjack Shakespeare: The Non-Musical", a stage comedy based on the webcomic by Shaun McLaughlin and produced by Gabriel Benson opened this weekend to record attendance. Opening night was the largest fall opening in the history of the Alt Theatre and subsequent nights have been sold out.

This is more impressive in light of the fact that Friday Night's show occurred on Curtain Up!, the opening of the Buffalo, NY theatre season and the work of the first-time playwright was competing against 16 other shows that night.

There will be continuing show dates September 16,17,18, 19, 23,24, 25. Drew McCabe directed the stage production and the cast includes Kristin Bentley, Arin Lee Dandes, Daniel Morris and McLaughlin. "Cheapjack Shakespeare" appears approximately five days a week on the website Collections are available at Drive Thru comics (comics.drivethru.stuff) and for the Kindle e-reader on Amazon. The partners are very close to announcing a paperback collection of the book and are in discussion for a motion picture.

Promotional videos appear weekly on YouTube (

"Cheapjack Shakespeare" is a comedy about a summer Shakespeare company falling apart as they are beset by infidelity, egos, ambition and a particularly ill-timed lightning strike. The stage production will be a re-imagining, not a straight adaptation of the graphic novel.

The Alt Theatre is an intimate black box theatre started in 2007 and is home to the New Alt Performance Group. In 2008 Artvoice awarded the Best New Performance Space it and it's 2009-2010 received several Artie nominations and won Outstanding Production of a Musical and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a musical. More information is available at

Shaun McLaughlin began his career writing "Aquaman" (the non-maimed version) for DC Comics. He went on to write for DC, Malibu, Disney and Dark Horse. In 1994 he moved to Warner Bros. Animation where he produced over 400 episodes of television (5 Emmy Award Winners) including "Batman Beyond", "Static Shock", and the various incarnations of "Justice League". Besides "Cheapjack Shakespeare", McLaughlin is writing an animated feature for Omens Studios and preparing a live-action feature with Benson.

Gabriel Benson worked on numerous feature films that people might have seen during his years in Hollywood, including a lengthy stint developing Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. Benson is also the writer of the graphic novels "The Ballad Of Sleeping Beauty," "Fade From Grace" and the animated feature "Gene-Fusion" which will be released in 2010. And finally, Gabriel is still working on the screenplay adaptation of "Fade From Grace" which he and McLaughlin are going to turn into a live-action Oscar winner soon.

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