World Premiere Of MAYOR PETE Opens At Epic
Epic Theatre Company is hoisting its flag high as it announces its annual Summer Season. This year's double-bill will feature two World Premieres, including Aaron Blanck's return to Epic in Aaron Blanck's Country Fried Fourth of July Election Spectacular and Kevin Broccoli's Mayor Pete, a one man show about one of the newest, high-profile politicians in the country. Epic has the distinction of being the first theater to produce a play set during our current election season, and both shows are sure to make electoral waves.
"It started with Aaron," says Broccoli, "We had originally thought about taking the summer off this year, because we've explored a lot of issues over the years--sex, satire, talking spiders--and I wasn't sure there were two shows that made sense for this summer. Then Aaron told me that the latest holiday he wanted to tackle was the 4th of July, and it seemed like a good opportunity to dive into the current political climate. We've tackled politics before, but never current politics, and never like this. Aaron has a really irreverent approach to everything he does that our audiences love, and I decided that pairing up his show with a playl that looks at the only openly gay candidate in the race would make for a great summer."
Aaron Blanck's previous work at Epic includes the original plays "A Christmas to Forget" and "Trick or Treat-quel." Both were audience favorites and instant original classics. His latest play will feature his trademark mix of music and high camp that have made him one of the most cherished young performers in Rhode Island.
"If Aaron called me tomorrow and said 'I want to sit onstage and read a cookbook' I'd greenlight it," says Broccoli, "He makes theater that makes people happy. I can't think of a better compliment than that. Summer is a unique time of year for programming, because everybody wants to be out enjoying the sun. So, if you're doing a summer season, you'd better give audiences an event. Aaron knows how to create an event."
In Mayor Pete, Pete Buttigieg is sitting in a hotel room right before the Iowa caucus reflecting on where he's come from, how far he wants to go, and what he's willing to do to get there. It's an unfiltered, fictional look at a man none of us had ever heard of until he established himself as a contender for the Democratic nomination.
"There are about six different plays I wanted to work on this year, and a solo show about Mayor Pete was not one of them," says Broccoli, "But seeing the conversations he's sparked online about what it means to be a gay person in America, what's available to us, what we have to do to succeed, the things you have to deny or celebrate--add to that him being a veteran, a man of faith, a husband, and a gay man, and I realized there was a lot there to examine. I'm so proud that we'll be the first theater in the country to create an original piece of work about this particular moment in history. It's always risky when you center a production around a figure from modern history, because as a writer, you never want your work to become dated, but in this case, I think there are issues within the conversation about Pete that are timeless and that every American has to grapple with and probably won't stop grappling with anytime soon."
***Epic Theatre Company seeks to bring provocative contemporary work to Rhode Island as well as new perspectives on classical theater. We strive to continue the tradition of "event" theater, where each production has built-in excitement both for the audiences and the artists involved.