Photo Flash: Cast of Riverdale, Jason Alexander And More Attend Opening Night of GOOD BOYS At Pasadena Playhouse
Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theater of California, presents the Los Angeles premiere of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's Good Boys starring Betsy Brandt as Elizabeth Hardy, and directed by Carolyn Cantor on the mainstage of Pasadena Playhouse.
Good Boys also includes Ben Ahlers (NBC's The Village, CBS' Instinct) as Brandon Hardy, James Carpinello (Broadway's Rock of Ages and Saturday Night Fever) as Russell Shea, Toks Olagundoye (ABC's The Neighbors and Castle, HBO's Veep) as Tamilla, Dylan Arnold (Halloween, Fat Kid Rules The World) as Justin Simmons, and Brett Cooper (Paramount Network's Heathers) as Cheryl Moody. The cast is rounded out by Tristan Boesch, Bradley Cloversettle, Danny Cron, Will White and Zack Gearing as Prep School Boys.
The production is Aguirre-Sacasa's fresh and revisited look at his previous work, Good Boys and True (world premiere, Steppenwolf Theatre Company).
Good Boys is a riveting drama set in 1988 at a private prep school - involving a model student in the mold of his father, a disturbing video tape, and the privileged family that is faced with difficult choices. In the play Aguirre-Sacasa writes the story of a boy from the right side of the tracks getting caught up in a media explosion of his own making -- as a pornographic video tape makes the rounds.
GLAAD Media Award nominee Aguirre-Sacasa has unusual pedigree for this play: he is a Marvel Comics author including Spider-Man Turn off the Dark and The Stand; wrote episodes of Glee and Big Love and developed Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina; is an established playwright, (Manhattan Theatre Club, 2econd Stage, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, South Coast Rep); and Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics.
When the play made its debut in 2008, The New York Sun said, "Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has proven to be a natural ... actors like to sink their teeth into his dialogue, and his hard-charging stories proceed with the speed and verve of television. But he takes a leap forward with his latest drama, Good Boys and True [the play's original title], displaying a new deftness in layering troubling moral questions under a smooth, entertaining surface. The play goes down easy, but its aftertaste is sharp. Bloomberg.com called Good Boys and True, "a craftily constructed, psychologically astute, absorbing play that harbors claws the fiercest feline could envy."
Aguirre-Sacasa is now revisiting his play - which understands the satisfying well-made American play in which family secrets are revealed and reveal all. Here characters grapple with privilege vs. the truth: when the play was first written gay identity was a strong theme. Now Good Boys has a crystal ball on today: college admission, what of your past is relevant to your credentials (i.e. Supreme Court justice), and family system theories are all part of the material. In Dear Evan Hansen, the characters are offered redemption; in Good Boys that path is more difficult - because they have a lot farther to fall.
While the actions of Brandon, and his gay friend Justin drive the plot, the person who finds herself most caught up in his scandal is his mother Elizabeth, who at the start of the play has spent a life time doing the right thing, being a good doctor, thinking she is a good mother, and questioning how to be a good wife.
In this new Pasadena Playhouse production staged by off-Broadway and regional director Carolyn Cantor, she is played by Betsy Brandt - one of America's most popular television actresses -currently starring in the CBS family comedy Life in Pieces, alongside Colin Hanks, Dianne Wiest and James Brolin. The series is currently in its fourth season. Betsy will also have a recurring role later this year in the highly anticipated Suits spinoff, Pearson. She is also filming the Blumhouse horror-thriller, Run Sweetheart Run.
Last Fall, Betsy was seen in Lifetime's original movie, Flint, alongside Queen Latifah, Jill Scott and Marin Ireland. The film follows the true story of three of the real-life women turned activists from Flint, Michigan who brought the water crisis to a national level. It was nominated for a Critics Choice Award for Best Movie Made for TV.
Among her many television credits, Betsy is well-known to television audiences for her portrayal of Marie, the sister-in-law of meth-making mastermind Walter White in the Emmy, SAG and Golden Globe award-winning series Breaking Bad. She also starred as Michael J. Fox's wife in the comedy The Michael J. Fox Show. Her recurring television appearances include Masters of Sex and Parenthood.
Brandt received rave reviews for her starring role in the indie dream Claire in Motion, which had its World Premiere in the narrative feature competition line-up at the 2016 South by Southwest Film Festival. Her other film credits include: Landline, Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike and the independent feature Quest.
On stage, she portrayed 'Holly' in the West Coast premiere of Geoffrey Nauffts' Tony-nominated Next Fall at The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. She originated roles in award-winner Julia Cho's World Premiere of The Language Archive at South Coast Repertory and Beth Henley's Ridiculous Fraud at San Jose Rep.
Brandt studied theatre with the Moscow Art School and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She earned her BFA in Acting at Illinois Urbana-Champaign. A native of Bay City, Michigan, she currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. In her spare time, she works with Feeding America as a member of their Entertainment Council.
Aguirre-Sacasa says, "The dramatic situations in this play are uncannily similar to incidents and issues that we're still grappling with in this country-viscerally-even more so than when I first wrote Good Boys. In revisiting the play, I further explored themes like privilege, masculinity, and personal responsibility, as Brandon and Elizabeth find themselves on trial by their community and each other. Good Boys is a sort of 'moral thriller,' a game of cat and mouse between a mother and her son, with twists and turns that will keep you guessing about the truth right up to the end."
Photo Credit: Nick Agro
Alejandro De Hoyos
Michaela McManus and Mike Daniels
Grace Van Dien
Beth Grant, Mary Chieffo
Holly J. Barrett
The Cast of Riverdale
The Cast of Good Boys at curtain call on Opening Night at Pasadena Playhouse
The cast of Good Boys at Pasadena Playhouse with Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman,playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and director Carolyn CantorThe cast of Good Boys at Pasadena Playhouse with Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman,playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and director Carolyn CantorThe cast of Good Boys at Pasadena Playhouse with Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman,playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and director Carolyn Cantor
Dylan Arnold & Ben Ahlers