A USER'S GUIDE TO HELL, Featuring Bernard Madoff, Begins at Atlantic Stage II Tonight


Who better to be taken on a tour of hell than Bernard Madoff and who better to send him there than Pulitzer and Tony Award Nominee playwright Lee Blessing (A Walk in the Woods)?

User's Guide to Hell, featuring Bernard Madoff is Mr. Blessing's world premiere satire directed by Michole Biancosino that has the greatest Ponzi schemer in history taken on a cynical tour of hell by his blue collar guide Verge. This hell is not quite the hell imagined by Virgil or Dante, but in Mr. Blessing's hell, a hell resembling New York City, Mr. Madoff encounters many of hell's inhabitants with scorecards just like his and the unimaginable special punishments he has earned.

A User's Guide to Hell, featuring Bernard Madoff is produced by the award-winning Project Y Theatre Company at Atlantic Stage II, 330 West 16th Street, previewing Thursday, September 5, at 8:00pm for an opening Saturday evening, September 7, at 8:00pm and a run through September 28.

A User's Guide to Hell, featuring Bernard Madoff features Edward James Hyland (Boardwalk Empire and Broadway's Arcadia with Billy Crudup) as Bernard Madoff and David Deblinger (Damages and The Sopranos) as Verge. Eric Sutton (member of Woolly Mammoth Theatre) and Polly Lee (Lincoln Center Theater's Graceland) play many infamous and damned residents of hell.

It's been 25 years since Lee Blessing's A Walk in the Wood was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize 1987 and a nominee for both the Tony Award and Olivier Award for best play in 1988. It was also seen on PBS's American Playhouse. His other plays include When We Go Upon the Sea, A Body of Water, Going to St. Ives, (Outer Critics Circle Award, Best Play, OBIE for ensemble performance); Thief River (Drama Desk nomination, Best Play); Cobb (Drama Desk award, best ensemble);Chesapeake, Eleemosynary and Down the Road. Signature Theatre dedicated its 1992-1993 season to Mr. Blessing's work, premiering Patient A.

Director Michole Biancosino is a co-founding Artistic Director of Project Y Theatre Company (along with Andrew W. Smith). For Project Y she recently directed the world premiere of Samuel Brett Williams' The Revival; David Rabe's In the Boom Boom Room; Judith Thompson's The Crackwalker, White Biting Dog, and Lion in the Streets; One Flea Spare by Naomi Wallace; Zastrozzi by George Walker in Washington, D.C.; and the world premiere of Either/Or by Dan O'Brien at the New York Fringe Festival.

A User's Guide to Hell, featuring Bernard Madoff has set design by Kevin Judge, lights by Ben Hagen, costumes by Emily DeAngelis, sound by Teddy Anderson and video by Shawn Boyle.

Project Y was founded in 1999 in Washington D.C., by co-Artistic Directors, Michole Biancosino and Andrew Smith. Between 1999 and 2004, they produced 14 shows, including four world premieres. The company's mission is to forge collaborations with playwrights whose work is relevant and resonant to a modern audience, and to developing their work through a reading series, workshop productions, and ultimately: a fully realized production. Since 2008 in New York productions have included the NY premiere of Fubar by KARL GAJDUSEK (writer of Showtime's Dead Like Me and ABC's Last Resort), the world premieres of The Revival (nominated for seven NYIT awards, winner of two) by Samuel Brett Williams and LoveSick or THINGS THAT DON'T HAPPEN (nominated for three NYIT awards including Outstanding Production of a Musical) by Lia Romeo with music by Tony Biancosino at 59E59 Theaters.

Performances of A User's Guide to Hell, featuring Bernard Madoff are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00pm with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2:00pm. There is a special Monday performance July 23, at 8:00pm. Tickets are $25.00 and may be purchased through www.projectytheatre.org or by calling 212-352-3101.

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