Plays and the Players Theater Presents Double Feature: THE JAWS PROJECT and THE IT GIRL

In a celebration of independent theater, a collective of Philadelphia's most imaginative theater-makers bring audiences a double feature of The Jaws Project and The It Girl at Plays and the Players Theater. Premiering in Philadelphia's 2016 season, both pieces explored the stories behind cinematic juggernauts, Jaws and Clara Bow. Back by popular demand, these darkly comic pieces will open on July 4th at 3pm, followed by performances on July 5th, 6th, and 7th at 8pm.

Hollywood has dominated the American imagination, from its inception as a silent art form through the Golden Age of the 1970s to the current day deluge of caped crusaders. But as powerful as the stories on the screen have been, the magic and mayhem behind the scenes have equally hypnotized our collective conscious. The Jaws Project and The It Girl both open a portal into the inner workings of the Hollywood machine. Audiences are transported to studio backlots and film locations to witness the birth of two of the most iconic personas in the history of filmmaking; the shark and the starlet.

To celebrate the spirit of independent artists, the cast and crew of both productions will host a 4th of July Party before and after the performance on July 4th. Inspired by the holiday weekend that the story of Jaws takes place during, audiences will be treated to cold beer, hot dogs, potato salads, and other fare both carnivorous and vegan. The party will end in time for audiences to catch the fireworks. The creating artists will also host a Special Features Night on July 6th with a talk-back about how these Hollywood stories came to life and how they still haunt our zeitgeist.

THE JAWS PROJECT:The Jaws Project is part origin myth, part homage, part invasion narrative, part love story rooted in the cinematic classic, Jaws. Stephen Spielberg's blockbuster was shot on location at Martha's Vineyard, MA in 1974. It was a legendarily disastrous production that resulted in one of the greatest movies of all time and an unprecedented financial success that set a new bar for the Hollywood box office. The Jaws Project imagines, as film crews swarm the Vineyard and islanders bristle, an unlikely romance sparks between a Production Assistant and the bartender at the Black Dog Tavern. Their connection becomes the vehicle for exploring the stark differences between invader and invaded, Hollywood and clannish New England. Devised by Philadelphia theatre artists Robert Daponte, Mary Tuomanen, and Sam Henderson, the Jaws Project is a wicked rude comedy, an unlikely love story, an unflinching examination of a turning point in American culture.

THE IT GIRL: The It Girl uses dance, mime, theatricality and brutal stage combat to bring to life the rise and fall of the iconic It Girl. Silent Movie Star Clara Bow was the first actress to be dubbed with having "It" and her tumultuous life of struggle, success, and scandal is the jumping-off point for this wild ride. Beginning in an imaginary award ceremony and quickly descending into the Actress's Nightmare, The It Girl is a living silent film where music and movement tell us what words cannot. From the movie lots to the parties and crashing into mental institutions, an It Girl's rise is as bright as her fall is dark. Created by performers Amanda Schoonover and Anthony Crosby as well as director/designer Brenna Geffers, The It Girl will have finished performances in Hollywood before returning to open at Plays and players.

Creative Artists: Mary Tuomanen, Robert Daponte and Sam Henderson are three very familiar faces to the Philadelphia theater scene. Mary Tuomanen and Sam Henderson (costars in Lantern Theatre's New Jerusalem, Azuka's Local Girls and the Arden's Three Sisters) are both playwrights with Orbiter 3 Playwright's Collective, a Production Company dedicated to championing local writers. They are also members of the Foundry and Interact Core Writers Group. Robert Daponte is an actor/devisor who has collaborated with The Berserker Residents (The Giant Squid), EgoPo Classic Theatre (The Life and Death of Harry Houdini) and Swim Pony (The Ballad of Joe Hill).

Amanda Schoonover is a two-time Barrymore Award recipient, having received a total of 7 nominations as well as being an F. Otto Haas Emerging Artist Finalist. She has performed with Philadelphia Theater Company; Arden; Theatre Exile; Azuka; People's Light; Theatre Horizon; Bristol Riverside; New City; Iron Age; Lantern; The Eagle Theatre and Simpatico. Anthony Crosby is a Barrymore-nominated performer who has performed with Simpatico Theater Project, Scranton Shakespeare Festival, EgoPo Classic Theater and is a member of the Philadelphia Opera Collective where he has created and performed two world premiere opera events. Brenna Geffers is a Barrymore-nominated director and theater-maker based in Philadelphia. She has directed and created work for Theatre Exile, Flashpoint Theatre, Simpatico, Revolution Shakespeare, The Scranton Shakespeare Festival, New City Stage, and EgoPo Classic Theater; her most recent piece is an original adaptation of Anna Karenina called Anna.

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