Charles Ludlam's THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE Gets Off-Broadway Revival
Theater Breaking Through Barriers, who scored a hit last summer with Samuel D. Hunter's The Healing, celebrates the 50th anniversary of The Ridiculous Theatrical Company with the first Off-Broadway revival of THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE by Charles Ludlam. It will be directed by Everett Quinton, who co-starred in the 1986 premiere and was the Artistic Director of The Ridiculous from 1987-1997.
Previews begin May 27 at Theatre Row's Clurman Theatre with opening night slated for Thursday, June 8.
In THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE, Chester Nurdiger lives in the back of his pet shop with his mother and his bored wife, Roxanne. One day slick drifter Zachary Slade comes along and is hired to work in the shop. When sparks are ignited between the wife and the drifter, they plot to murder Chester and feed him to the piranhas.
As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, 3 additional Ridiculous plays will be given staged readings on Mondays, June 5 (Turds in Hell), June 12 (Der Ring Gott Farblonjet) and June 19 (Galas).
THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE will star Alyssa H. Chase, David Harrell (Samuel D. Hunter's The Healing), Anita Hollander (JoAnne Akalaitis' Woyzeck, Joseph Chaikin's The Body Project), Anthony Michael Lopez (Sam Gold's Othello opposite Daniel Craig) and Rob Minutoli. The production team includes Bert Scott (set and lighting), Courtney Butt (costumes), Julian Evans (sound), Charles Bowden (props), Andre Sguerra(production manager), and Steve Asher (general manager).
Charles Ludlam was born in 1943 in Queens, New York. In 1967, at age twenty-four, he founded the Ridiculous Theatrical Company where he wrote, directed and performed in almost every production for the next two decades. Renowned for drag, high comedy, melodrama, satire, precise literary references, and gender politics, the Ridiculous Theater guaranteed a kind of biting humor that could both sting and tickle. Ludlam's many plays included A Christmas Carol, Exquisite Torture, Stage Blood, Der Ring Gott Farblonjet, Bluebeard, and The Mystery of Irma Vep. Ludlam continued working until almost the day he died of PCP pneumonia, just three months after his AIDS diagnosis. He passed away on May 28, 1987 at age 44. In 2009, Ludlam was inducted posthumously into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Everett Quinton is an award-winning actor, director and playwright and was a longtime member of Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company where he was an actor, director and costume designer. While there he appeared in over 75 productions including Turds in Hell, Galas, A Tale of Two Cities and The Bells, to name a few. Quinton has directed revivals of Charles Ludlam's The Mystery of Irma Vep, Big Hotel, Camille, Der Ring Gott Farblonjet, and How To Write A Play. He also directed Brother Truckers (in New York, London and as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Carmen, SebastIan Stewart's Under The Kerosene Moon, as well as The Beaux Stratagemata at the Yale Rep and Treasure Island at the Omaha Theatre for Young People.
Theater Breaking Through Barriers, under the Artistic Direction of Nicholas Viselli, is a critically acclaimed Off-Broadway company integrating able-bodied actors with artists with disabilities. Founded in 1979 by Ike Schambelan as Theater by the Blind, the company's mission is to change the image of people with disabilities from one of dependence to independence, to fight stereotypes and misperceptions associated with disability, and to show how vibrant, fluid and exuberant the work of artists with disabilities can be. The company has premiered works by Bekah Brunstetter, Bruce Graham, John Guare, A.R. Gurney, Samuel D. Hunter, David Henry Hwang, Neil LaBute, Kate Moira Ryan and Diana Son, among others. For additional information, visit www.tbtb.org.
THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE runs May 27 - June 25 at Theatre Row's Clurman Theatre (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues). Performances are Tuesday - Wednesday at 7pm, Thursday - Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $52.25, available at 212-239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com. For additional information, visit www.tbtb.org.