World Premiere Of Original Musical Satire DICTATORS 4 DUMMIES Comes to Touchstone

World Premiere Of Original Musical Satire DICTATORS 4 DUMMIES Comes to TouchstoneTouchstone Theatre presents the world-premiere of an original musical, Dictators 4 Dummies, written and directed by Touchstone Ensemble Member Christopher Shorr. The show performs April 5-15, 2018 at the theatre's black box venue on the south side of Bethlehem.

In 2014, Shorr conceived of an open-ended artistic project, then titled "The Fascist Playbook," following a conversation with a Hungarian colleague about the rise of fascism in her country. All the warning signs that she shared seemed so obvious - didn't people recognize what was happening? Last year, Shorr started turning the project into a musical for an American audience. Now a 90-minute dark comedy, Dictators 4 Dummies explores the common tactics of authoritarian regimes and the importance of resisting the rise of would-be dictators.

"It seems like every day, we see stories in the news from all around the world about limitations of freedom, consolidation of power, anti-immigrant policies... and too often these things are wrapped up in a kind of vitriolic nationalism," says Shorr. "We've seen it before. It's a dangerous path."

The action of the play immerses the audience in the fictional "Tyrants of Tomorrow Telethon," a fundraiser for young would-be despots. Telethon hosts Carlo Supremo (a "lesser" Mussolini) and Jefe Pablo (a "lesser" Castro) emcee the evening of eclectic song and dance acts by dictatorial celebrity guests like Joseph Stalin, Muammar Gaddafi, and Slobodan Milosovic. The moral interwoven throughout the biting satire is a warning about the dangers of complacency: dictators win only when we play along.

"As a long time artistic collaborator of Christopher's, I've come to truly appreciate his ability to take what is otherwise serious subject matter and turn it on its head through his unique, hilarious lens of satire," says Touchstone artistic director Jp Jordan.

Dictators 4 Dummies is recommended for high school aged audiences and older. The show contains some profanity, coarse humor, comic violence, and references to the atrocities of war.

The show runs 90 minutes with no intermission and will include a brief post-performance talkback with the playwright and cast after the Friday and Saturday performances (April 6, 7, 13, 14). Additionally, Fig-a hyper-local, super-social magazine all about Bethlehem-is hosting a First Friday preshow party on April 6th from 6:30-8pm. Since Fig Bethlehem features all things art, dining, shopping, and entertainment, audiences who arrive early can expect to enjoy food, live music, a chance to win some goodies, and other fun surprises.

Touchstone is supported locally by season sponsor RCN. WDIY provides media sponsorship, and Working Dog Press provides print sponsorship.

Dictators 4 Dummies performs April 5-15, 2018, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $25 for adults / $15 for students and seniors, with group rates available on request. On Thursdays, Touchstone offers a pay-what-you-will ticket option at the door, allowing walkup patrons to name their own ticket price. Advance tickets may be purchased at 610.867.1689 or online at The Touchstone Café is open one hour before show time, with sweets and gourmet coffee by Nazca K-Fé Premium Peruvian Coffee available for purchase.

Founded in 1981, Touchstone Theatre produces and presents both original and re-imagined classic productions, with a dedication to the renewal of theatre as a vital art form. Touchstone works to foster collaboration on a local and national level through educational and youth empowerment programs, using theatre as a community-building tool. Visit us on the web at

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