Plano — Fun House Theatre and Film, the local youth theater known for its original productions, will make its New York debut with a reading of Jeff Swearingen's 2014 play Stiff on April 23. The cast will include Swearingen, Andy Baldwin, who is now based in New York, Matt Lyle, and professional NYC-based actors. The reading is produced by Baldwin and Fun House co-founder Bren Rapp, who is also director of sales for TheaterJones.com.
The comedy is about producers of a hoped-for-Broadway play who take advantage of the situation when a prominent theater critic dies in the audience at an off-off Broadway performance. Think Weekend at Bernie's meets Bullets Over Broadway. Here's our review from 2014.
The plan is to have a full production of the work later in New York; and also a reading of another acclaimed Swearingen play, Daffodil Girls.
Read more about it in the Fun House news release:
Fun House Theatre and Film makes its foray into the New York market and adult, professional theater with a reading of the critically acclaimed and multiple award-winning original comedy from playwright Jeff Swearingen, Stiff. The reading is 8 p.m. April 23 at The Crown Theater, 358 W. 44th St. Directed by Jeff Swearingen, the reading will feature award-winning actor Andy Baldwin, formerly of Dallas and now based in New York, as the producer character, Saul Solomon, along with one of our regions’ most beloved theater fixtures, Matt Lyle as the obsessive compulsive writer, Robert Grey, and Swearingen himself in the role of the hapless, hopeless and dimwitted actor, Guy Van. The eight additional roles in the cast will be rounded out with professional New York actors with auditions occurring March 27 at Shelter Studios in New York.
In 2014, Stiff hit Fun House’s stage as a youth production with some of the most highly acclaimed young actors in the area mounting what became a critical and local phenomenon resulting in sold out and held-over performances. The awards cycle for DFW theater found STIFF as a multiple award winner with standout nods for writing, directing and acting with youth actors winning awards previously claimed by adults and the play, its writer/director and its cast topping every “Best Of” list for that season’s offerings.
Fun House Theatre and Film plans to mount a full professional production of Stiff in New York with its Executive Producer, Bren Rapp and Producer Andy Baldwin pursuing an aggressive timeline and as well exploring options to mount the show in Dallas first and then move the production to the city. April’s reading will be the first of two planned for 2017 in New York, the second being the company’s flagship original work Daffodil Girls, involving many of the original youth cast members. Baldwin, who also serves as Fun House’s Vice President of Production and Development feels Stiff is the perfect vehicle for the company’s first professional adult offering and as the first of Jeff Swearingen’s work s mounted in New York. "The acclaim Stiff received was all about the story. It seemed that the young actors thrived in the piece because of how well-crafted the story was. With time away from the script, professional actors developing the characters and Jeff at the helm Stiff can easily grow into something even more special,” says Baldwin, who goes on to note a bit about the timing of the move. "In our current political climate theater can bring us dangerously close to matters or sweep us away. Stiff provides the opportunity to be swept away for an hour or so.”
In a play easiest to describe as Bullets Over Broadway meets Weekend at Bernies, Jeff Swearingen’s Stiff takes place during the Broadway boom of the 1950s. Producers, writers and directors all have big dreams and theater critics/columnists have the power to make those dreams come true. None was more powerful than Mickey Blake. When Blake is found dead in the Tin Box Theater after a performance of the off-off Broadway production of The Blighted Heart, a trio of hapless but determined theater folk refuse to let their dream be deterred. Producer Saul Solomon, Writer Robert Grey and Director Stanley Miller hatch a plan to fake the review of their show and hide Blake’s death just long enough to let it hit the stands. A producer, writer and director working as a team? Is it even possible? Just when they think they have it all under control, the overly enthusiastic producer, self-deprecating writer and middleman director are hit with a surprise that sends their ruse into overdrive and binds this unlikely band of brothers together in the face of the mayhem that ensues.
Executive Producer: Bren Rapp
Producer: Andy Baldwin
Director: Jeff Swearingen
Casting Director: Andy Baldwin
8 p.m. April 23
The Crown Theater at The Producers Club Theaters and Bar, 358 W. 44th St., New York, NY 10036
This reading is a free event with invited audience.
For actors interested in auditioning in the New York area, appointment only auditions will be scheduled via submission. Actors cast will be considered for roles in the full professional production. View the casting notice here.