Joshua Morgan, Nicolas Greco and Mitch Lerner to Lead STIFF NYC Showcase
Lead Producer Terry D. Loftis, along with producers Bren Rapp and Gregory Patterson and producer/director Andy Baldwin announce the ensemble for the showcase run of award-winning Dallas playwright Jeff Swearingen's original comedy, STIFF.
The cast includes actors with Broadway, TV and feature film credits who will be bringing to life this hybrid of industry farce, slapstick comedy and classic band of brothers story telling that garnered acclaim and multiple awards in Dallas in 2014. The 12-performance showcase run is February 21-March 3, 2018 at The TBG Theater in Manhattan.
In a play easiest to describe as Bullets Over Broadway meets Weekend at Bernies, Jeff Swearingen's STIFF takes place during the Broadway boom of the late 1950's. Producers, writers and directors all have big dreams and theatre critics/columnists have the power to make those dreams come true. None was more powerful than Mickey Blake. When Blake is found dead in the Tin Box Theater after a performance of the off-off Broadway production of "The Blighted Heart", a trio of hapless but determined theater folk refuse to let their dream be deterred. Producer Saul Solomon, Writer Robert Grey and Director Stanley Miller hatch a plan to fake the review of their show and hide Blake's death just long enough to let it hit the stands. A producer, writer and director working as a team? Is it even possible? Just when they think they have it all under control, the overly enthusiastic producer, self-deprecating writer and middleman director are hit with a surprise that sends their ruse into overdrive and binds this unlikely band of brothers together in the face of the mayhem that ensues.
MEET THE CAST:
Joshua Morgan as The Director: Stanley Miller. Joshua comes to STIFF from the Broadway cast of Les Miserables along with numerous regional theatre credits and can also be seen in an upcoming, currently untitled, Barry Levinson project for HBO with Al Pacino. Joshua is represented by CGF Talent.
Mitch Lerner as The Writer: Robert Grey. Mitch is a Los Angeles transplant now residing in New York with TV and film credits that include SMOSH's Part Timers, Attack of the Show, June Falling Down, My Best Friend's Death, 40 Days and Nights and Super Cyclone. As well, Mitch has regional theatre credits from across the country including California, Washington DC and Chicago.
Nicolas Greco as The Producer: Saul Solomon. Nicolas has racked up stage credits spanning all the way to The Globe Theatre in London and their production of Twelfth Night along with television and film work notably for Nickelodeon and MTV.
Clifton Samuels as The Impresario: Walter Goldstein. Clifton's Broadway credits include Follies with Bernadette Peters and Amazing Grace. He can also be found alongside Channing Tatum in the Coen Brothers feature film Hail! Caesar, in the 2014 feature film adaptation of Annie and in appearances on TV including Blacklist and a recurring role in HBO's Boardwalk Empire. Clifton is represented by VGP Artist Management and the Judy Boals Agency
Robert Tunstall as The Critic: Mickey Blake. Robert has been on board in leading roles for the world tours of A Chorus Line, 42nd Street and The Wizard of Oz and recently appeared in The Metropolitan Opera's Hansel and Gretel. He has film credits for HBO and others while also doing a stint as a walker for New York promos for AMC's The Walking Dead.
Jeff Swearingen as The Actor: Guy Van. The award winning playwright of STIFF, Jeff has also been named The Best Actor in Dallas on numerous occasions by numerous publications. Aside from a decade and a half worth of stage credits he has appeared on NBC's Revolution, ABC's American Crime and in performances internationally as a long form improviser. Jeff is represented by the Mary Collins Agency.
Amandina Altomare as The Actress: Vanessa Verkamp. Amandina's numerous regional credits include leading roles in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at The Hillbarn Theatre and Xanadu, Gypsy featuring Leslie Uggams, A Funny Thing on the Way to the Forum and A Chorus Line all at Connecticut Repertory Theatre. She is a also a member of the USO Show Troupe performing for members of the military and veterans around the world.
Jennifer Robbins as The Understudy: Maggie Simons. Jennifer originated the role of Blair in the musical Dear Prospective Student in all of its New York incarnations and has numerous credits as a member of The Company Theater Group.
Lori Funk as The Wife: Hilary Doyle-Blake. Lori has numerous Off Broadway credits including Three on a Couch at SoHo Playhouse, Looking for the Pony at McGinn Cazale and Thirst: A Spell for Christabel First Light at HERE. She also performs in her own one woman show, Two Truths and A Lie. Television credits include Law and Order SVU, The Onion TV andWhat Would You Do along with appearances in several films.
Becky Barta as The Janitor: Margret Pilsner. Becky's Broadway credits include Mme. Thenardier in the original run of Les Miserables and The Radio City Musical Hall Christmas Spectacular along with numerous Off Broadway appearances including Frankenstein, Sessions, Always Patsy Cline and many editions of Forbidden Broadway. Her regional credits span the US and Canada.
Fun House Theatre and Film was founded in 2011 by Bren Rapp and Jeff Swearingen and is one of the most unique theatre companies in its region. Primarily a youth theatre and educational outlet, the company, lauded for their original works, quickly became one of the most heralded and awarded production companies in a market of over 200 independent theatre producers.
In 2014, STIFF hit Fun House's stage as a youth production with some of the most highly acclaimed young actors in the area mounting what became a critical and local phenomenon resulting in sold out and held over performances. The awards cycle for DFW theatre found STIFF as a multiple award winner with standout nods for writing, directing and acting with the play and its youth actors winning awards previously claimed by adults and the play, its writer/director and its cast topping every "Best Of" list for that season's offerings.
Earlier this year the company mounted a staged reading of the play with adult professional actors in New York as a step towards mounting a full production Off-Broadway. The reading drew a packed crowd with key influencers in the New York marketplace taking note.
The show's next step is the showcase production as it plots a trajectory towards an open ended Off-Broadway run targeted for Fall 2018.
Pictured: Joshua Morgan, Nicolas Greco and Mitch Lerner