The World Premiere of LIKE A BILLION LIKES to Come to Stage West
An insecure, desperate-for-attention high school girl, and the fleeting fame of social media: what could go wrong there? Plenty, in Erik Forrest Jackson's darkly funny and pointed Like a Billion Likes (winner of Stage West's 2016 Southwest Playwriting Competition), beginning a 4-week world premiere run on Thursday, January 18, 2018.
Misty Riggs is a nobody. Not a popular kid, not a freak, not a nerd. She and her best friend Alix are kind of somewhere in the middle. Alix seems to have accepted this, but Misty just can't-anything would be better than being ignored. Her attempts at statement clothing, and then at vlogging, are failures. She doesn't want advice from school principal Perry Segars or guidance counselor Colleen Benson (Alix's mother). When Alix begins a relationship with the gender-nonconforming Jacey Collier - whom both girls had thought was gay - Misty feels completely alone. She decides to leverage social media for one last desperate attempt to stand out, with potentially disastrous consequences. Like a Billion Likes is a thought-provoking story of teens today, and the burning desire many of us have to be recognized for something, anything, no matter what the cost.
Erik Forrest Jackson was the winner of Stage West's 2016 Southwest Playwriting Contest for Like a Billion Likes. He is also the winner of the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award; a top 10 finalist for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award; a finalist for the 2016 Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference; and the runner-up in the Todd McNerney Playwriting Contest. He has been awarded a 2017 residency grant at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. Last fall, Jackson adapted the beloved TV comedy Cheers for a live stage event in Boston and Chicago. New York premieres include the plays Charlie!; Doll; Carrie (all at P.S. 122); and Tell-Tale (Off Broadway's Cherry Lane Theater, GLADD nomination Best Play). His musical Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, co-written with Ben H. Winters and featuring the songs of Neil Sedaka, has been performed globally, most recently in London and Seoul. Jackson was commissioned to author a series of mashups merging classic novels and Jim Henson's Muppets for Penguin Books and Disney. The first title, Muppets Meet the Classics: The Phantom of the Opera, will be published in October. Long ago, Jackson's poems appeared in the Showtime film The Escape, starring Patrick Dempsey. Even longer ago, Jackson grew up in Parker and graduated from Plano East Senior High. He now lives in Manhattan and is currently the Executive Projects Director at Entertainment Weekly. For more, visit ErikForrestJackson.com.
Like a Billion Likes will be directed by Stage West Associate Producer Garret Storms, who most recently directed our production of Deer. Making her Stage West debut as Misty will be Delaney Milbourn, whose credits include Cordelia in Trinity Shakespeare Festival's King Lear, with Mikaela Krantz, last seen at Stage West as Colleen in Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, as bestie Alix. Jacey Collier will be played by Evan Michael Woods, seen as First Murderer in Richard III for Trinity Shakespeare. Aaron Roberts, most recently at Stage West as Papa and Sims in The Nether, will play Principal Perry Segars, with Dana Schultes, who appeared in Stage West's The Royal Society of Antarctica, as Alix's mother, Colleen.
Set Design is by Seancolin Hankins, with lighting design by Luke Atkison, costume design by Victor Newman Brockwell, sound design by Ryan Swift Joyner, projection design by Nate Davis, and props/set decor by Lynn Lovett.
Like a Billion Likes will preview Thursday, January 18 at 7:30 and Friday, January 19 at 8:00, and will run through Sunday, February 11. Performance times will be Thursday evenings at 7:30, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, with Sunday matinees at 3:00. The opening night reception will be Saturday, January 20. Ticket prices range from $31 to $35, with discounts for the preview performance, and for students, seniors, and military. Food service is available 90 minutes prior to performances (reservations are advised). Reservations and information are available through the Box Office (817-784-9378), or on the website, www.stagewest.org.
Note: this play contains strong language.