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Cyril Chippington-Smythe (Michael Urie), eligible bachelor and the world’s richest man is living a life of ease, attended by his resourceful steam-powered valet Bentley (Dakin Matthews). When the toothy Alice Witherspoon (Helen Cespedes) invades his breakfast room determined to marry him whether he will or no, Bentley concocts a scheme to transfer her affections to Cyril’s freeloading cousin- the hapless Binky (Christian Borle), Alas, Alice has ulterior motives that may lead to the destruction of civilization. Whose plot will emerge victorious? There are shoals and pitfalls aplenty, like Cyril’s imperious Aunt Hypatia (Mary Testa) who demands that he marry and produce an heir. The shy but brilliant Pansy (Kiera Allen) is roped into the plot and impersonates Binky’s fictitious fiancee, Gardenia. Ahmed Ben Fitzwilliam (James Monroe Iglehart), the imperious Club Hatter, rules over the dictates of fashion at Cyril’s club, “Twits” and, weaving through it all, is the improbable C. Langford Cheeseworth (Stephen DeRosa), a shiny-headed habitue of “Twits” whose eccentricities of accent come and go according to his whim.
This is a world in which the great minds that should have discovered electricity went into the restaurant business instead, or decided to chuck the science game because their true passion was stand-up comedy. It is a world of hydrogen, steam-powered servants and factory-made food- in which the privileged few, like Cyril Chippington-Smythe, whose every wish is instantly gratified, have nothing to live for but pleasure… and fashion… and love.
Sound inviting? Well, you’re invited. Come drift away on a comic cloud. The dining room is serving Impossible Mutton today and there’s a Brandy and Prozac with your name on it.
Don’t be late. Hats required.
No literary work is created in a vacuum. Those who are generous enough to read and listen to a work in progress and offer the gold of their opinions deserve a special thanks (in lieu of cash payments).
My heartfelt thanks to: (In no particular order)
- The members of my writers group- Lab405 for years of love and support.
- Noreen O’Neill for her wisdom and generosity.
- Nick Sullivan, who started me on my Twits journey, for his excellent navigational advice.
- Samuel D. Hunter for fulgent and generous conversations over coffee.
- Dori Berinstein who had faith.
- Brittany Bigelow who moved mountains.
- Alan Seales for his preternatural hearing.
- Brett Ashleigh for their superlative sound editing
- Eric Wright for his imagination and comic timing.
- The glorious company of actors without whom these plays would lie panting in the street like a mutt in a heat wave.
Kiera Allen is a rising talent whose poise and performances are quickly making an indelible mark across entertainment. Allen can currently be seen in a leading role opposite Sarah Paulson in Hulu’s psychological thriller, RUN, directed by Aneesh Chaganty. The film broke record highs at Hulu in its opening weekend, becoming the streamer’s most watched movie ever and the most talked about Original Film on Twitter to date. Allen’s work in the film earned much critical praise, with the LOS ANGELES TIMES calling it a “revelatory performance” and THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER naming her one of their “Breakout Stars of 2020.” Allen is also the first wheelchair user to star in a major thriller in over 70 years, which has advanced the conversation about disability representation in the industry. Allen made her professional acting debut in the 2017 off-Broadway play “Girl #2” by Bekah Brunstetter. Following, she continued her stage work with companies such as the Cape Cod Theatre Project, Premiere Stages, Theatre Breaking Through Barriers, and the Royal Court Theatre. In addition to her blossoming acting career, Allen enjoys watching and rewatching movies, reading everything from novels to song lyrics, and accumulating (mostly useless) trivia. She looks up to her parents and brothers, who have always supported her and can turn anything into an adventure. Allen previously trained in the Meisner technique at Maggie Flanigan Studio and currently studies Creative Writing as an undergraduate at Columbia University. She lives in New York with her family.
Mary Testa is the recipient of the Legend of Off-Broadway Award, Three Tony nominations, two Lucille Lortel nominations, six Drama Desk nominations, two Drama League nominations, two Outer Critic’s Circle nominations, and an Obie Award. In recognition of three decades of outstanding work on the New York stage, she was honored with the 2012 Drama Desk Award, which also singled out her bravura performance in Michael John LaChiusa’s Queen of the Mist. She most recently appeared on Broadway in a critically-acclaimed performance as Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! Her other Broadway credits include Wicked, Guys and Dolls, Xanadu, Chicago, 42nd Street, Marie Christine, On the Town, …Forum, The Rink, Marilyn and Barnum. Off-Broadway, Mary appeared in the St Ann’s Warehouse production of Oklahoma!, The Portuguese Kid, The Government Inspector, First Daughter Suite, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Queen of the Mist, Love Loss and What I Wore A New Brain, See What I Wanna See, and many more. She won three Best Actress awards at various festivals for the short film The Mother, and appeared on-screen in films including Big Stone Gap, Eat Pray Love, The Bounty Hunter, The Out-of-Towners, and Sleepers. On Television, she has recurred on series including Divorce, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, and Whoopi. Her guest stars include The Good Fight, Almost Family, SMILF, Bull, Difficult People, Two Broke Girls, White Collar, Nurse Jackie, The Electric Company, Cashmere Mafia, Sex and the City, Law and Order and many others. Mary has sung with many of the leading symphony orchestras in the country, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Pops, Philly Pops, Minnesota Orchestra, and the St. Louis Symphony. She also appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the US Premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera, Anna Nicole. Featured on fourteen original cast albums, Mary’s album with Michael Starobin, Have Faith, is now available.
Nick Sullivan has worked extensively on Broadway and has appeared in many films and television shows, including Orange is the New Black, Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife, The Affair, Divorce, 30 Rock, Elementary, Fosse/Verdon, and all three Law & Order series. A winner of numerous Earphones and Audie Awards, Nick has been recording audiobooks since the days of cassette tapes, narrating over five hundred titles in nearly every genre, including five novels of his own. He was recently the subject of an article in The Guardian for his narration of William Gaddis’s seminal work, JR. www.nicksullivan.net
James Monroe Iglehart: Current Broadway cast of Hamilton (Lafayette/Jefferson). Bway credits: Genie in Disney’s Aladdin (Tony winner for Best Featured Actor),
Freestyle Love Supreme, Memphis (Bobby), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Mitch).
TV credits: Hulu documentary: We are Freestyle Love Supreme, Netflix series “Maniac” (recurring), “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (recurring), “Gotham”, “Elementary”, “Law & Order:SVU. Host of the new HGTV show “Biggest Little Christmas Showdown” (Discovery Plus). Voice overs: Disney animated series “Tangled” as Lance Strongbow, Disney’s “DuckTales” as Taurus Bulba, and “Vampirina” as Oscar.
Love to his wife of 19 years Dawn and their cat Zoe.
Lillias White, a native New Yorker, made her Broadway debut in Barnum. She has also appeared on Broadway in Cats, Carrie, Dreamgirls, Once On This Island, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Chicago and Fela! (Tony Award nomination). In Cy Coleman’s and Ira Gasman’s The Life, she won the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of a world weary, no nonsense hooker named Sonya. Lillias was recently seen in the world premiere of Half Time at the Papermill Playhouse and has performed at the Public Theater in the production of William Finn’s Romance In Hard Times (Obie Award), Dinah Was at the Gramercy Theatre, the world premiere of Crowns at the Second Stage (Audelco Award), and Texas In Paris at The York Theatre Company.
Lillias White’s concert appearances include the critically acclaimed cabaret show at Feinstein’s 54 Below, entitled The Lillias White Effect (Bistro Award) and for the Actors Fund in Funny Girl, Hair and the 25th Anniversary concert of Dreamgirls. She was Bloody Mary in the PBS Great Performances broadcast of South Pacific. Lillias has toured internationally with her one-woman show, From Brooklyn To Broadway, and she’s graced the stages at Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Sydney Australia Opera House, the Singapore Opera House and the Palm Beach Pops.
Lillias’ television appearances include a regular role on Sesame Street for which she won an Emmy Award, a current role Netflix in The Get Down, Gotham, Person of Interest, Law and Order SVU, Law and Order, and NYPD Blue. Her film credits include the lead muse in Disney’s Hercules, Anastasia, How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey, Game Six with Michael Keaton, Pieces of April with Katie Holmes, Nasty Baby with Kristin Wigg and Then She found Me. Lillias holds an Honorary PhD in fine arts from The City University of New York.
Michael Urie is best known for four seasons as Marc St. James on ABC’s Ugly Betty. After performing Jonathan Tolins’ solo play Buyer & Cellar more than 600 times all over the world, early in the pandemic, Michael live-streamed the play to your living room via his living room on Broadway.com, raising almost $300k for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS. Other TV appearances include: Modern Family, The Good Fight, The Good Wife, Hot in Cleveland, Partners, Workaholics, Almost Family and as Redmond on Younger. On Broadway, he appeared in Bess Wohl’s Grand Horizons, Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song, opposite Nick Jonas in How To Succeed in Business without Really Trying and will appear this fall in Douglas Lyons’ new comedy Chicken And Biscuits. Off Broadway: Tony Kushner’s A Bright Room Called Day, High Button Shoes, The Government Inspector, Homos, or Everyone in America, Shows For Days, Angels in America, The Temperamentals. As director, Michael helmed Bright Colors and Bold Patterns on stage; He’s Way More Famous Than You, The Hyperglot and co-directed Thank You For Judging for the screen. Michael produced Drew Droege’s solo comedy Happy Birthday Doug and co-produces Pride Plays, an LGBTQIA theater festival each June. As a host: Cocktails & Classics, Clipped and New York’s Drama Desk Awards four years in a row. Regional Theater: The Shakespeare Theater (Hamlet), The Old Globe, Seattle Rep, The Folger, Two River, Vineyard Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Barrington Stage, and Center Theater Group. Film: Single All The Way (this Christmas on Netflix), Swan Song, Lavender, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, The Decoy Bride, Such Good People, Abducted. Training: Juilliard.
“Broadway: Something Rotten! (Tony and Drama Desk Awards), Peter and the Starcatcher (Tony Award), Falsettos (Tony nomination), Legally Blonde (Tony nomination), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mary Poppins, Spamalot, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Amour, Footloose, Jesus Christ Superstar. Off-Broadway: Little Shop of Horrors (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lortel Awards for Featured Actor), Sweeney Todd (PBS’ Live at Lincoln Center), Angels in America (Signature Theatre), Elegies: A Song Cycle (Lincoln Center) and On The Town, Little Me and Me And My Girl (City Center Encores!). Television: “Smash,” “The Gilmore Girls,” “Younger,” “Masters of Sex,” “The Good Wife,” “Tangled the Series,” Disney Junior’s “Lucky Duck,” “The Sound of Music Live!” and “Peter Pan Live!” Film: The Bounty Hunter, Michael Mann’s Blackhat. Directing: Popcorn Falls (Davenport Theater), Footloose (The MUNY). Playwriting: Hammered: A Thor & Loki Play (Go to marvelspotlightplays.com)”
Dakin Matthews is an actor, playwright, dramaturge, teacher, director, emeritus English professor, and Shakespeare scholar. He was a Founding Member and current Board Member of The Acting Company. where he appeared in The Hostage, The School for Scandal, The Lower Depths, and Women Beware Women, as well as in a number of Salon readings. He was also a founding member of Sam Mendes’ Bridge Project, where he appeared in The Cherry Orchard and The Winter’s Tale. He has been a leading actor in over 250 professional plays–on Broadway in To Kill a Mockingbird, The Iceman Cometh, Waitress, The Audience, Rocky, The Best Man, A Man for all Seasons, and Shakespeare’s Henry IV; off-Broadway and regionally, at The Mark Taper Forum, The Ahmanson Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, Los Angeles Theatre Center, The Acting Company, American Conservatory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, PCPA in Santa Maria, South Coast Rep, The Shakespeare Theatre, PICT, and various other professional theatres. He is a member of both the Motion Picture and the Television Academies. He has appeared in over thirty feature films, TV movies, and miniseries, including recently True Grit, Lincoln, and Bridge of Spies. He has made over three hundred appearances on television, performing as a regular or recurring character in ten different series, including Desperate Housewives, The King of Queens, and Gilmore Girls. He has been the Artistic Director of four professional theatre companies, including two he founded. His multiple award-winning scripts–adaptations, translations, originals–have been performed at Juilliard, the Goodman Theatre, the Old Globe Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, American Conservatory Theatre, California Actors Theatre, The Antaeus Company, Andak Stage Company, and the Seattle, California, and Berkeley Shakespeare Festivals. His ten rhyming verse translations of Golden Age comedies are currently being published by LinguaText. He has taught at Juilliard, ACT in San Francisco, USD/Globe MFA Program, the Actors Center in NY, CalArts, and Cal State East Bay, where he retired as a Full Professor. He has directed at the Old Globe, the Denver Center, ACT, Trinity Rep, Juilliard, the Antaeus Company, Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and California Actors Theatre. He has dramaturged Shakespeare for the country’s leading directors, including Jack O’Brien, Dan Sullivan, Darko Tresnjak, Michael Sexton, and John Rando. His text, Shakespeare Spoken Here, has been adopted at San Francisco State, Cal State Hayward, U.C. Irvine, University of San Diego, and the American Conservatory Theatre. He has given workshops in Shakespearean verse-speaking across the country and around the world.
Helen Cespedes (She/Her) Broadway: The Cripple of Inishmaan. Off-Broadway: Fefu and Her Friends and Timon of Athens (TFANA), Paul Swan is Dead and Gone (Civilians), The School For Scandal (Red Bull), A Picture of Autumn (The Mint). Regional credits include Doug McGrath’s world premiere adaptation of The Age of Innocence directed by Doug Hughes (McCarter/Hartford), Taking Steps (Barrington Stage Co.), The Women of Padilla (Two River), the world premiere of José Rivera’s Another Word for Beauty (Goodman Theatre and NYSF), The Importance of Being Earnest (Williamstown and The Old Globe). Film/TV: The Way I Remember It, The Knick, Search Party. Helen trained at The Juilliard School where she received the John Houseman Prize.
Teddy Yudain is an actor, singer, and puppeteer based in New York City. Most recently he was seen in the Off-Broadway production of “Little Shop of Horrors” (Audrey 2 Puppeteer, Derelict, u/s Orin). He received his BFA in Acting from the University of CT.
Taylor Iman Jones is currently playing Peggy/ Maria in Hamilton at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, CA. On Broadway her credits include Groundhog Day the Musical and Head Over Heels. Off-Broadway she played Pat in Scotland, PA at Roundabout Theater Company. In 2022, she will be playing Andy Sachs in the new musical production of The Devil Wears Prada, with music by Elton John.
Ann Harada is best known for originating the role of Christmas Eve in Avenue Q on Broadway and in London’s West End. Other Broadway: Rodgers+Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Les Miserables, 9 to 5, Seussical, M.Butterfly. Recent Off-Bway: Pacific Overtures, Stuffed, Dear World, Brooklynite. Film: Sisters, Admission, Hope Springs, Happiness, Youth in Oregon.TV: Smash, Blue Bloods, Schmigadoon!, Indoor Boys (Indie Series Award nomination).
Broadway: KINKY BOOTS,LITTLE ME, LAUGHTER IN THE 23RD. FLOOR, TRUE WEST, THE DINER PARTY, INTO THE WOODS AND THE PAJAMA GAME.Off Broadway: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS: WONDERFUL TOWN (NYC OPERA); DESPERATE WRITERS; BEING AUDRY; HELLO MUDDAH, HELLO FADDUH; ISN’T IT ROMANTIC and NITE CLUB CONFIDENTIAL. National Tours; ANNIE, RUMORS and Ken Hill’s PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.REGIONAL THEATRE; Papermill Playhouse, The John Engeman Theatre, Denver Cebter Theatre Center, FUlton Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Cleveland Playhouse, Stage West, The Gulfshore Playhouse, Theatre Aspen, Houston, TUTS, Atlanta TOTS, Pittsburgh CLO, George St. Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park, Repertory Theatre Of St. Louis, Walnut St. Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival and Casa Manana. Television; Law & Order, The Good Wife and Awkwafina is Nora From Queens.