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La Mama's Limited Run of Rock Opera BABY FAT: ACT 1 Begins Tonight

La MaMa presents, in association with Columbia Stages, the November Theatre world premiere of Baby Fat, Act 1, directed by Michael Scholar, Jr.

La MaMa presents, in association with Columbia Stages, the world premiere advance staging of Baby Fat, Act 1, a Screeching Weasel Rock Opera. Baby Fat: Act I boasts music and lyrics by Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel ("Cool Kids") and libretto by Ben Weasel (after Victor Hugo and Francesco Maria Piave). Michael Scholar, Jr. (The Black Rider) directs this November Theatre production, scheduled for a strictly limited engagement at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre at 66 East 4th Street, NYC from tonight, July 21, through July 23.

Verdi's classic opera Rigoletto gets a punk rock overhaul by Screeching Weasel (contemporaries of Green Day). The production is based on their 2015 concept album, and marks legendary front man Ben Weasel's first foray into the theatre. In this world premiere, we find ourselves in The Reptile House, a Chicago club where the house band Serpentello and its entourage are at the center of a dark vortex of debauchery from which seemingly no soul can escape unharmed.

Baby Fat: Act 1 stars Kwame Michael Remy (Smokey Joe's Café) as Baby Fat, Russell Fischer (Jersey Boys) as Tommy Swank, and Marlene Ginader (Once) as Poveretta. The production also features Anne Bragg (Ensemble), Ryan Connolly (Sardonicus), Matt Felkey (Ensemble), Mallory Gladman (Ensemble), Ryan Halsaver (Zannoni), Darian Marchetto (Ensemble), Maggie Politi (Miserella), Dan Rosenbaum (Stompanato), Basit Shittu (Queeg), and Alexander Tomas (Jerry Japan).

The creative team for Baby Fat: Act 1 includes Andy Peterson (Music Director and Arranger), Samantha Sheppard (Choreographer), You-Shin Chen (Set and Props Designer), Oona Curley (Lighting Designer), Conor Moore (Video Designer), John Sully (Sound Designer), Anchuli Felicia King (Dramaturg), Ran Xia (Assistant Director), Yu-Ting Lin (Set and Props Associate), and Jamibeth Margolis, CSA (Casting Director). The production team consists of Kyle Cadotte (Producer), Lucia Xiaoran Zhu (General Manager), Sipei Fang (Associate Producer), Joan Wyatt (Production Stage Manager), Abraham Marlett (Assistant Stage Manager), Erik Kaiko (Marketing Manager), and Michael Leibring (Company Manager).

In May 2015, the Chicago-based punk band Screeching Weasel released their album Baby Fat: Act I, conceived as the first act of a two-act rock opera that reimagines Verdi's Rigoletto through a punk rock lens. The 27-track release was funded by an immensely successful crowdfunding campaign, which exceeded its goal in less than one month. Screeching Weasel was inspired to allow their fans the opportunity to fund the unique album after realizing that an average record label would try to make them compromise their vision and release it as a traditional album. With the support of almost 500 backers and Recess Records, the album was completed and released to critical and popular acclaim.

Of Screeching Weasel and about the production, director Michael Scholar, Jr. says, "I saw that one of my favorite bands was putting out a theatrical album. Listening to it, I got it right away and was blown away by it. I could really relate to how this piece should look. I could see the characters in my head."

Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel writes about how excited he is to see Baby Fat: Act I brought to the stage: "If I were British I'd be chuffed; a Californian, stoked; Audrey Hepburn, delighted! After thirty years of composing music and lyrics for rock albums, I can't wait to take on the challenge of writing for the theatre. Michael's track record in combining rock and theatre has gained my trust and confidence in his ability to bring Baby Fat to vivid life on the stage."

The band includes Mike Hunchback (Screeching Weasel), Keith Patchel (Richard Lloyd Band, Sylvins), Billy Smolen, and Derek Swink (Dizzy Bats).

Please note that Ben Weasel is not performing in this production of Baby Fat: Act 1.

Baby Fat: Act 1 will run for a strictly limited engagement at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre at 66 East 4th Street, NYC. Performances are July 21 at 8 PM, July 22 at 8 PM, and July 23 at 7 PM and 10 PM. To purchase tickets and for more information about the show, visit:

http://lamama.org/baby_fat/

http://www.columbiastages.org/

http://www.columbiastages.org/season/2016/6_Directing%20Thesis%206/Babyfat.html

Preview the kick-ass music from the Screeching Weasel album Baby Fat: Act 1

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