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Brain Meets Brawn in SAM & DEDE, OR MY DINNER WITH ANDRE THE GIANT, Beginning Tonight at 59E59 Theaters

59E59 Theaters will host the East Coast premiere of SAM & DEDE, OR MY DINNER WITH ANDRE THE GIANT, written by Gino DiIorio and directed by Leah S. Abrams.

Produced by The Custom Made Theatre Co., Inc. (San Francisco, CA) with Executive Producers William and Ruth Isenberg, SAM & DEDE, OR MY DINNER WITH ANDRE THE GIANT begins performances tonight, March 9, for a limited engagement through Saturday, April 1. Press opening is Wednesday, March 15 at 7:30 PM.

Based on an urban legend that turned out to be true! At 12-years old the boy who would grow up to be wrestling icon Andre the Giant was already over 6 feet tall and 240 pounds and he didn't fit on the school bus. Andre's neighbor, as repayment for a favor, offered to drive Andre to school in his truck. That neighbor was Samuel Beckett.

SAM & DEDE, OR MY DINNER WITH ANDRE THE GIANT imagines moments between a boy giant who cannot hide and a writer obsessed with silence. What could they possibly talk about? As absurd as a Beckett play itself!

The cast features Brendan Averett as Andre the Giant and Dave Sikula as Samuel Beckett.

The design team includes Erik LaDue (set design); Maxx Kurzunski (lighting design); Ryan Lee Short (sound design); Brooke Jennings and Kitty Torres (costume design); and Florence McCafferty (props design). Jon Bailey is the fight choreographer. The Production Stage Manager is Beth Hall.

The performance schedule is Tuesday - Thursday at 7:30 PM; Friday at 8:30 PM; Saturday at 2:30 PM & 8:30 PM; and Sunday at 3:30 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $25 ($17.50 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit

Gino DiIorio (playwright) is a New York City based playwright whose plays have been produced across the US and internationally including New Jersey Rep, Penguin Rep, Urban Stages, Luna Stage, Virginia Stage Company, Seven Angels Theatre, the Arclight Theatre, the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, and the Garter Lane Theatre. His new play Crib was a finalist for the 2014 Laurents Hatcher Award. The Jag received the 2010 Firehouse Theatre's Great American New Play Award and was a finalist in the 2011 Laurents Hatcher Award Competition; it will be produced at NJ Rep in 2017. Other plays include Reparation (2011 E. Desmond Lee Playwriting Prize & Yale Drama Series Finalist), Release Point (finalist for Thomas Barbour Memorial Playwright's Award and Greenhouse New Play Festival), Centennial Casting (co-written w/Nancy Bleemer), and Dead Ringer and Apostasy, both published by Samuel French. Gino is a member of the Dramatists' Guild and is a theatre professor/department chair at Clark University.

Leah S. Abrams (director) is the co-founder and executive director of Custom Made Theatre Co. and manages the company's NYC programming. Directing projects for the company include Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn, the world premiere of Sam and Dede, or My Dinner with Andre the Giant, How the World Began (SF Bay Area premiere), The Diary of Anne Frank, Two Rooms, The Odd Couple, and a dozen Beckett shorts including Krapp's Last Tape, Rockaby, Come and Go, and Catastrophe. NYC credits: Sightlines (dir., co-pro.), McGoldrick's Thread (GM), The Last Days of Cleopatra (SM), and Hard Times: An American Musical (PM).

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