Jim Shankman's HEARTLESS BASTARD to Make World Premiere at HERE Arts Center

Jim Shankman's HEARTLESS BASTARD to Make World Premiere at HERE Arts Center

Actor, novelist and playwright Jim Shankman, the recipient of the Best Playwriting Award at 2015 FringeNYC for his play The Screenwriter Dies of His Own Free Will, will debut his latest work, Heartless Bastard, at HERE Arts Center (145 Sixth Avenue).

Heartless Bastard will begin performances on Thursday, August 17, 2017. An official opening night set for Sunday, August 20, 2017 at 2:00pm. This production is a part of SubletSeries@HERE, a curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support.

Barry Weiss is a hot shot broker - smart, tough, and arrogant! When Barry needs a new heart, he descends into a comically callous world of medically inept doctors and their hard-bitten nurses. Shortly after receiving a heart transplant, Barry finds that everything feels radically wrong, including feelings of kindness and compassion. In effort to find out why, he tracks down the widow of his heart donor and begins a journey of discovery into the real meaning of his new heart.

Heartless Bastard, like several of Mr. Shankman's other plays, is a black comedy taken from the headlines. "A few years ago I read a story about a guy who got a new heart, fell in love with the donor's widow and married her, only to discover the donor had gone into a deep depression that led him to commit suicide" says Shankman. "The heart recipient too then when into a deep depression and contemplated suicide. The story struck me on so many levels and I started writing immediately."

Heartless Bastard will star Collin Smith as Barry Weiss, who will be joined on stage by Barbra Wengerd, Amelia Matthews, Kevin Sims and Courtney Leigh Halford. The production will be directed by Craig George, who previously directed Mr. Shankman's Kiss Your Brutal Hands.

Tickets for the world premiere of Heartless Bastard are $18 and are available for purchase online at www.here.org, by phone at (212) 352-3101, or at the HERE box office* located at 145 Sixth Avenue. *Please Note: the box office is open after 5pm on show days or 2 hours before any performance

For more information about the production, including ticket pricing and complete performance schedule, visit www.heartlessbastardtheplay.com.


Jim Shankman (Playwright) is an actor, playwright and novelist. Three of his plays have been presented in the New York International Fringe Festival. The Screenwriter Dies Of His Own Free Will won a Best Playwriting Award in the 2015 FringeNYC; he performed his solo play Kiss Your Brutal Hands in the 2014 FringeNYC; and his play Suicide Math had a successful run as part of the 2013 FringeNYC. For Kiss Your Brutal Hand he also won a Best Actor Award in the 2013 United Solo Festival on Theatre Row. His play Heartless Bastard will have its world premiere in August, 2017 at HERE Arts in New York City. Alien Child received a workshop production at T. Schreiber Studio and a staged reading at The New Group as part of their New Works Series. His plays have also had staged readings at The New Group, Emerging Artists Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, New Jersey Rep, Penguin Rep, Michael Howard Studios and the T. Schreiber Studio. His novel Tales Of The Patriarchs is available at Amazon.com. His most recent acting roles include The Price (Walter Franz) at Triad Stage, The Screenwriter Dies Of His Own Free Will (Willy Shotz) at FringeNYC, Angels In America Part One (Roy Cohn) at Playhouse On Park and Three Sisters (Chebutykin) for Hivenmind Theatre. He has a BA from Princeton in Philosophy and an MFA in Fiction from the Writing Program at Sarah Lawrence College.

CRAIG J. GEORGE (Director) Off-Broadway: Taming of the Shrew: Extreme (The Duke on 42nd Street) and over a dozen world premieres, including: Titus: A Grand and Gory Rock Musical (Cleveland Public Theatre), The Calico Buffalo, God's Country and Lighter (NYMF), The Aperture by Sean Christopher Lewis (CPT & FringeNYC), Cursing Macbeth (Harold Clurman Theater), Kiss Your Brutal Hands by Jim Shankman (United Solo Festival/FringeNYC) and Alfred Kinsey: A Love Story (Michael Weller Theater). Regional: Measure for Measure, Standing on Ceremony (Cleveland Public Theatre) Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew (Hamptons Shakespeare Festival), The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, abridged (Southampton Cultural Center). Other theaters worked at include South Coast Repertory, George Street Playhouse, The New Group, West Side Theatre, York Theatre Company, New Jersey Repertory and Penguin Repertory. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of The Family Claxon by Eric Coble (Cleveland Public Theatre) and the new musical Billy and the Killers by Jim Shankman and Peter Stopschinski (HERE Arts). MFA from UC Irvine and member of AEA and SDC. www.craigjgeorge.com

Collin Smith (Barry Weiss) is an actor and writer. Recent acting credits include - Film/TV: The Young Pope, The Incredible Jessica James, Christmas All Over Again, Person of Interest, Bear With Us. Theater/Regional: Love/Sick (regional premiere), The Winters Tale (Vermont Shakespeare). Collin has also written two pilots which are currently being pitched to networks. He also voiced a character for an international Nike campaign, which won a Golden Lion at Cannes. For more info visit collinmsmith.com.

Barbra Wengerd (Lorna Lazaretto). Off-Broadway: Taming of the Shrew (New Duke on 42nd), A Wilder Christmas (Peccadillo Theater Company). Other selected NY Theater: Tamburlaine (Target Margin), All God's Chillun Got Wings (Civic Ensemble), Medea (Jean Cocteau Rep), Maybe Baby, It's You (Penguin Rep), Fit for Feet (Vital Theatre Company), Blank Canvas (HERE Arts Center), The Inn at Lake Devine (Tongue in Cheek). Selected Regional Theater: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet (National Shakespeare Company - National Tour); The Glass Menagerie (Arizona Theater Company); To Kill a Mockingbird, Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (Syracuse Stage); To Kill a Mockingbird (Florida Rep.); Leaving Iowa (The Royal George); Panic (International Mystery Writers' Festival); Cyrano de Bergerac, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet, Coriolanus, All's Well That Ends Well (The Old Globe). TV/Film: The Family, I Shudder, The Digressions, #ThatThingFromBefore, Honestly, Amelia. MFA, University of San Diego.

AMELIA MATTHEWS (Janie McGonnigle) has spent the past 10 years working in independent film, television, American regional theaters, and Off-Off Broadway. In addition to her MFA in Acting from the University of Tennessee, she has trained with master teachers in Bali, Italy, Serbia and Japan. Her first cinematic effort, So Far, was accepted into the Short Film Corner at the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival. Most recent films include Kurt Vonnegut's Long Walk to Forever, R.S.V.P., and a lead role in her first independent feature Yesterday Last Year. Favorite theater projects include Masha in Chekov's Three Sisters, Constanza Mozart in Amadeus (with the Knoxville Symphany Orchestra), the woman in Will Eno's The Flu Season, Solange in Jean Genet's The Maids, and Sally Bowles in Cabaret. She recently originated the role of Jean Tatlock in Irreversible to glowing reviews. Amelia lives in NYC with one fat cat, one spaz cat and her husband, whom she met and fell in love with while blindfolded in a crazy acting class in Brooklyn. They make (and destroy) many things together. Mostly movies. You can see them here: www.welldrawndog.com

KEVIN SIMS (Male Doctors) received his training at the University of Northern Colorado, The William Esper Studio, The Second City in both Chicago and Toronto, and sharpened his Shakespeare with Shakespeare and Company. He has performed with the national tour of Disney's The Lion King (Pumbaa/Zazu/Timon) and has started working in film and television, recently wrapping up a pilot on the new comedy, Ratso. Productions around New York include: Measure for Measure with Underlings Productions (The Duke), Othello, Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar, The Comedy of Errors, and The Calico Buffalo, directed by Craig George (NYMF). Grateful to Meg Pantera and Katie at The Agency, thankful for my loving friends and family who keep giving me chances to tell stories, and devoted to my wife, Amy, without whom, living would be misery. Visit my site at www.thekevinsims.com. Tell your friends.

Courtney Leigh HALFORD (Female Doctors) is thrilled to make her HERE Arts Debut! Recent: Tangled, the Musical (Ensemble, U/S Mother Gothel) Original Cast. DCL: Villains Tonight (Ursula) Golden Mickeys (Ensign Benson). Regional: The MUNY's Footloose and Annie; Repertory Theatre of St. Louis's Emma: The Musical. Television: "The Blacklist," "Royal Pains," "The Carrie Diaries." BFA from Webster Conservatory. Proud member of AEA. Endless love to my family and friends, Craig, Bernadette, and Avalon Artists! Courtneyleighhalford.com

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