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Theater In Asylum Presents Alice Pencavel's TOTALLY WHOLESOME FOODS

The New York-based theater company, Theater in Asylum (TIA), will present six performances of Alice Pencavel's Totally Wholesome Foods at Episcopal Actors' Guild in New York City.

Totally Wholesome Foods is a totally subversive, totally hilarious, totally prescient satire. Set in Gowaynus, this wild play follows Wendy and her community from the excitement of re-opening their beloved community garden to the chaos and frenzied terror of watching that garden, once destroyed by Hurricane Bobby, be destroyed again by the global wellness franchise Totally Wholesome Foods. Featuring a live band (who play plants from the garden), this bizarre, wild, and biting 90-minute experience will dazzle and disturb.

The excellent cast features Rosie Sowa as the community gardner Wendy; Jonelle Robinson as Pat, Wendy's lawyerly partner; Jim Anderson as Ernie the landlord; and Alison Walter as the Totally Wholesome Foods franchise boss. Rounding out the cast is Zac Porter as the young Gowaynus native Fritz; Zach Stephens and Julia Nickerson as Toby and Bette, Wendy's brother and sister-in-law from Iowa. Resident Queen at the House of Yes, Madame Viven V brings her royal presence to the role of Adele, the zany neighborhood wise-woman. Paul Hinkes, Kavion Sabio, and James Stafford bring their musical stylings to the cast as the band of plants.

Written by two-time Bay Area Playwrights Festival Finalist Alice Pencavel, Totally Wholesome Foods asks us to weigh our desires to live wholesomely against our desires to live communally. It opposes our dreams of innovation against our capacity to respect the earth and its inhabitants. It's about colonizing, gentrifying, and building a society that lacks a social safety net. Totally Wholesome Foods asks: Are we as woke as we say? Are we as wholesome as we say? Do we actually love our communities? As one Gowaynus-native teenager laments, what if we're just, "like, 'progressive' Brooklynites... pushing a neoliberal agenda-and all it does is perpetuate capitalist, oppressive, systemically-racist mind-control"?

This world premiere production is presented in partnership with Episcopal Actors' Guild Open Space Grant. This invite-only grant provides "emerging theater companies a chance to create and present work without the challenges that come with finding and maintaining affordable space." Theater in Asylum is one of two grant recipients in 2019.

Totally Wholesome Foods will run February 17-23 at The Episcopal Actors' Guild (1 E 29th St, Manhattan between Madison and 5th avenues); Preview Press Performances February 17 and 18 at 7pm. February 21 and 22 at 7pm; February 23 at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets range from $15-$35 and are available online at Pay what you can for the first performance on February 17. Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

Jim Anderson (Ernie) Jim Anderson graduated from the New School for Drama in 2013 and is a founding member of New Dance Theatre and Hazard Rep here in New York. Jim recently appeared in Brimstone Creek's inaugural production of As You Like It in Sharon Springs, New York as well as New Dance Theatre's original production of Asylum at Access Theatre. Other theatre credits include Henry in Mud, King Duncan in Macbeth, Friar Laurence in R&J: The Web-Series, Pericles in Pericles, Claudius in Hamlet, Meneleus in The Trojan Women, Harry Druggist in The Cradle Will Rock, Tupolski in The Pillowman, Montfluery in Cyrano de Bergerac and Van Helsing in Dracula.

JULIA NICKERSON (Bette) Julia Nickerson is a New York City-based teaching artist and actor. She recently completed her Master's in Applied Theatre at the CUNY School of Professional Studies and works in public schools with Lincoln Center Theater, the Creative Arts Team, Girls Leadership, and New York City Children's Theater. Originally from Minnesota, Julia is thrilled to be making her New York City acting debut in Totally Wholesome Foods!

ZAC PORTER (Fritz) Zac Porter was born in Sacramento and raised in a military family. He's a New York City-based actor excited to be working with Theater in Asylum. Bat member at The Flea Theater. Raft of the Medusa (Barefoot Theater Co.), Ms. Estrada (Flea Theater), Pop Punk High (LPR/54 Below/Parkside Lounge), Conference of the Birds (Tisch Mainstage), The Fever (Tisch Stageworks,600 Highwaymen). BFA NYU/Tisch (ETW).

JONELLE ROBINSON (Pat) Jonelle Robinson is an actor, model, youth theatre producer and teaching artist in NYC with a BFA in Acting from Ithaca College. Commercial credits: Purell, Prudential,, and Johnson & Johnson Band-aids. Recent theatre credits: Sight Unbound (Cherry Lane Theater/Wide Eyed Productions, also directed by Paul Bedard) and A Space Between The Letters (The Public Theater/Under The Radar festival). She also co-created and runs PiT Theatrical, a non-profit youth theatre group for teens in conjunction with The Jeanne Rimsky Theater in Port Washington, NY.

ROSIE SOWA (Wendy) Rosie Sowa is an actor and singer based in NYC and is thrilled to be back in the room with playwright Alice Pencavel and such a wonderful group of artists. Favorite NYC credits: PETE REX (59E59th), The Improbable...John Law (Dreamscape), Miss (U.S. premiere), Whale Song (Dreamscape). Others: Medea, All My Sons, Last Five Years. TV/FILM: Bull (CBS), The Fugue, I'm With Joy, You're Not Sexy. Rosie received her MFA in Acting from The New School for Drama.

ZACH STEPHENS (Toby) Zach Stephens is an actor and writer residing in New York. He recently wrapped a feature entitled The Adventures of Cheap Chad as the titular character and is currently in pre-production on Now Hear This, a satirical short film about journalists in the Trump age. Recent theater credits: Semis of Abu Dhabi (Rising Sun Prod.), A Glass of Tea (Rhapsody Collective), Tailspin! (2016 Fringe), Chuck Mee's The Four Seasons (Angel Orensanz), The Rocky Horror Show among some others. He has worked with Theater in Asylum on the The Debates 2016 and is so excited to be a part of this new production.

MADAME VIVIEN V (Adel) Madame Vivien V is excited to be back in the theatre in another fresh work by Alice Pencavel. Last summer she made her New York City theatre debut in Pie Shop Play directed by Sivan Battat. Madame V is most known for reigning as the Resident Queen of House of Yes. She is a producer and emcee for the queer variety show the "Glitter Unicorn Sparkle Spectacular," which will be making it's return this summer at the Electric Forrest Music Festival. An award-winning fire performer and alumni of the Commercial Theatre Institute, she appeared in the critically acclaimed web series "So SOHA," and is the only drag queen in history to have performed at New York City Hall.

ALISON WALTER (Leslie) Alison Walter is an actor, producer, and teaching artist from New York City. She received a drama degree from LaGuardia High School, and a BFA in acting from Ithaca College. LA/NYC Theatre Credits include Trainspotting (Elephant Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Arroyo Park), Boston Marriage (Ophelia's Jump), and Daphne (IRT), Sight Unbound? (Cherry Lane). Three years ago she founded an artist's collective called Community Room, which meets once a month to support writers and artists in NYC.

Paul Hinkes (Ivy) Paul Hinkes is a Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based actor and musician. Recent credits include Big Fish (Theatre Raleigh), The Briefly Dead (50E59 Theaters), Dust Can't Kill Me (New York Musical Festival), and Wonderland (The Atlantic Theater). Paul also writes for and performs in the band Saddlemen (music available everywhere)! He is a graduate of Yale University.

KAVION SABIO (Mr. Pot) Like many, Kavion Sabio first discovered his love of music within the four walls of his church. Motown flowing through his home influenced his lyricism, while rock inspired him to pick up guitar. He began playing in his early teens but pursuing it didn't come until he settled into college. The sounds of Jimi Hendrix and John Mayer filled his headphones. Everything from Hendrix's overall approach to playing and lyrics intertwined with Mayer's ability to go in and out of various genres kept Kavion's approach to music versatile.

JAMES STAFFORD James Stafford grew up 'Down Undaaa' before making the move to the Big Apple. Some Australian highlights include A Midsummer Night's Dream close to a very grumpy crocodile at the Kakadu National Park; playing the Cat in the Hat at the Sydney Opera House; and touring with Dorothy the Dinosaur's Dance Party & the Captain Feathersword show. Recent credits: Atlantic Theater Company, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Capital Repertory Theatre, THML Theatre Co., Theatre For the New City and Palace Theater in the Dells. He moonlights with the Saddlemen band-their new single, Indiana, is available to stream on Spotify!

ALICE PENCAVEL (Writer Totally Wholesome Foods) Alice Pencavel's work includes Sight Unbound (Wide Eyed Productions/Cherry Lane), Nanners in da Face (finalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival), Totally Wholesome Foods (Theater in Asylum), Pie Shop Play (Corkscrew festival; finalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival; finalist, About Face Festival), Daphne (IRT/Arctic Group), The Glowing Boot (United Solo Festival; Portland Fringe Festival), The Dutch Goose (semi-finalist, Eugene O'Neill Playwright's Conference), A Box in the Mountains (reading, Naked Angels), Nightmare (Theater in the Room, Kiev, Ukraine), Field Trip: A Climate Cabaret (Superhero Clubhouse), Nettles (semi-finalist, Manhattan Rep.), A Call From the Devil (Oh Force Theatre Co.), Jeans Make Art (Romanian/American New Play Exchange), The Spider & the Wasp; How it Happens; Fly Away; What I Knead; and Yours, Truly (New School for Drama). BFA Ithaca College; MFA New School for Drama.

PAUL BEDARD (Theater in Asylum Co-Artistic Director; Director Totally Wholesome Foods) Paul Bedard is a New York City-based theater director, as well as a founder and artistic director of Theater in Asylum. With the company he has directed plays including The Debates 2016, ¡Olé!, and #Coriolanus. He has also directed for The United Solo Festival; The Prague, Chicago, Portland, and Rochester Fringe Festivals; The Hartford Carriage House Theater; Columbia University, and the University of New Mexico. Recent credits include Sight Unbound at the Cherry Lane Theater (part of the First Amendment Project), Daphne at The IRT Theater, The Infernal Machine at The Hangar Theatre. He is a Drama League Directing Fellow and graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Dan Daly (Scenic Designer Totally Wholesome Foods) Dan Daly is a Brooklyn-based scenic designer. Selected NYC credits: Behind the City (Third Rail Projects), The Good Girl (59E59 Theaters), Toe Pick and Brideshead Obliterated (Dixon Place), Leaving Brooklyn (Queens Theatre), Old Names for Wildflowers (The Tank), The Great God Brown (Target Margin Theater at The Brick), Pie Shop Play (Corkscrew Festival at Paradise Factory), The Glowing Boot (United Solo Festival). Selected additional credits: Spring Awakening, Side Show, and Carousel (The Boston Conservatory), Patience; or Bunthorn's Bride, L'assedio di Calais, and Giovanna d'Arco (Odyssey Opera), Dark Sisters (Pittsburgh Opera). MFA: Carnegie Mellon University.

Claire Moodey (Costume and Prop Designer Totally Wholesome Foods) Claire Moodey performs, directs, writes, devises, and designs objects for theater. As a playwright, her most recent work, femme pathos, was seen at The Brick as part of The Exponential Festival in 2018. With Alice Pencavel and Paul Bedard, she has had the pleasure of working on The Glowing Boot and Daphne as both a designer and performer. Other recent credits include The Space Between the Letters (performer/devisor) at Under the Radar, We're Imploding (puppeteer) with Megan Murtha at The Tank, and boob tube (writer/director/designer) at FEAST. Other credits include Before the Sun and Moon (performance) with Mettawee River Theater Company, Forsaken Nation (direction) at The Brick, and Mourning Becomes Electra (assistant director) with Target Margin Theater.

DAN STEARNS (Lighting Designer Totally Wholesome Foods) Dan Stearns is a lighting designer, scenic designer, and production manager interested in the intersections of dance, theater, music, and video. With Theater in Asylum: #CORIOLANUS, ¡Olé!, Revolution in 1, and FRANKENSTEIN. Other recent collaborations include Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Jane Comfort and Company, Pavel Zuštiak/Palissimo, LeeSaar The Company, Scott Ebersold, Tara Ahmadinejad/Piehole, Sanaz Ghajarrahimi/Built for Collapse, and Tami Stronach. He has worked in venues such as BAM, The Joyce, New York Live Arts, La MaMa, Abrons Arts Center, HERE, Dixon Place, and 3LD in New York; and internationally from France to Korea and many places in between. He is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

CODY HOM (Stage Manager Totally Wholesome Foods) Cody Hom is a Brooklyn-based stage manager, sound designer, and lighting electrician. He recently stage-managed Daphne written by Alice Pencavel. Cody is also currently the resident programmer and designer for Serials at The Flea Theatre, and recently sound designed Roller Dynasty, an original play by Ryan Drake. Cody's current goal is to become a jack-of-all-trades. In his spare time, Cody is also a cartoonist and graphic designer.

KATIE PALMER (Theater in Asylum Co-Artistic Director; producer Totally Wholesome Foods) Katie Palmer is a choreographer, theater-maker, teaching artist, and advocate. A graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama. Recent NYC choreography credits include: In Fields Where They Lay (The New Ohio), Held Momentarily (The Sheen Center, NYC Fringe ENCORES Series), ¡Olé! (Prague International Fringe Festival, NYC: UNDER St Marks), Sweeney Todd, Falsettos, Once on This Island. Katie works with Disney Theatrical Group, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Center for Arts Education, and Together in Dance as a dance and musical theater Teaching Artist in the public schools of New York. Katie is also Communications Director of The League of Independent Theater, an advocacy group for the makers of independent theater in New York City.

KATHRYN APPLETON (Theater in Asylum Managing Director; producer Totally Wholesome Foods) Kathryn Appleton is a theater producer based in New York and San Francisco. Past producing credits include: Theater in Asylum's #CORIOLANUS; ¡Olé!, Revolution in 1, and FRANKENSTEIN; HALF by Rebecca Foresman; Lemon Cake, directed by Julia Locascio; and the live-streamed stage reading of The Idealist, featuring Alison Pill and Tony Roberts. She is currently the Associate Director of Audience Development and Marketing at San Francisco Opera as well as the Managing Director of Theater in Asylum.

THEATER IN ASYLUM (TIA) is a New York-based theater company founded in 2010 to provide asylum to highly charged subjects and characters. With ensemble-driven performance, TIA investigates to inspire engagement, empathy, and action. The company seeks a freer world and believe theater is both the means and the ends. Productions include: The Debates 2018, The Debates 2016, ¡Olé! (Prague Fringe Festival), Revolution in 1, FRANKENSTEIN, NIJINSKY IN ASYLUM. TIA is currently developing a new musical about the Brontë sisters. Theater in Asylum is a member of A.R.T. New York and is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non?profit arts service organization.

EPISCOPAL ACTORS' GUILD (EAG) is a non-sectarian charitable organization founded in 1923. It is committed to providing emergency financial aid and career support to professional performers "of all faiths and none." They also support emerging artists through scholarships, performance opportunities and space grants.

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