press release

The Divine Sister

July 20 — August 5, 2011reviewsphotos

For Immediate Release

For interviews and features contact: Phil Elman, General Manager
518.828.7843 contact@stageworkshudson.org

STAGEWORKS/HUDSON CELEBRATES
THE REGIONAL PREMIERE OF THE DIVINE SISTER
July 20 to August 5, 2011

Hudson, NY — Executive Artistic Director, Laura Margolis, announces regional premiere of the Off Broadway hit, THE DIVINE SISTER by Charles Busch, produced at company's home in Hudson, New York. Columbia County's award winning theater company will produce the festival from July 20 through August 7. Preview performances are July 20 and July 21. Opening night is July 22 at Stageworks/Hudson's Max and Lillian Katzman Theater.

The incomparable actor, comedian and drag queen, Steven Polito (aka Hedda Lettuce), will star in Stageworks' production of this comic masterpiece. Stageworks is the second only theater to produce THE DIVINE SISTER since its hit run in New York City. The cast features actors Sarah Dacey Charles, Amanda A. Lederer, Molly Parker-Myers, Louise Pillai and Doug Trapp. THE DIVINE SISTER is directed by Billy Kimmel and written by the renowned, Charles Busch.

THE DIVINE SISTER is a outrageously funny sendup to the heyday of Hollywood "nun" movies, recalling such films as The Song of Bernadette, The Bells of St. Mary's, The Sound of Music, The Singing Nun, Agnes of God – with a nod to Da Vinci Code! It tells the story of St.Veronica's Mother Superior (played by Steven Polito) and her determination to build a new school for her Pittsburgh convent. Along the way she is embattled with myriad kooky characters. A young postulant clairvoyant, a wrestling coach nun, a waspy Jewish woman, an Albino Monk, a schoolboy in need of mentoring, a mysterious nun spy from Berlin and a former lover intent on luring her away from the convent. This irreverent, righteous romp will have audiences praying for more. Hold onto your wimples, it's going to be a bumpy night!

THE DIVINE SISTER ran Off Broadway for more than 260 performances with the author, Charles Busch, playing the central roll of Mother Superior. Closing in May, 2011, the play has been nominated for the Best of Off Broadway, Tina Award for Best Play. Stageworks' The Divine Sister marks the play's first production since its Off Broadway run.

An artist for our times, Charles Busch is the author and star of numerous plays including The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset, Shanghai Moon, The Third Story, and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist's Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and received a Tony nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays, Psycho Beach Party and Die, Mommie, Die!, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. Mr. Busch made his directorial debut with the film A Very Serious Person, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch.

Steven Polito, who plays Mother Superior, the role originated by Charles Busch, has appeared with such notable performers as Sarah Jessica Parker, Tyra Banks and Madonna on the television shows "Project Runway," "Sex and the City," "The Tyra Banks Show," the "MTV Movie Awards," "The Dave Chapelle Show" and "Ugly Betty." He is one of the stars of The Sundance Channel's new reality show, "Garo Unleased." Steven's film appearances include, "The Look" (Carol Alt), "Too Wong Foo" and "Go Go Crazy," developed by the producers of "The Big Gay Musical," "Violet Tendencies" and "Musical Chairs." As the Queen of Green, Hedda Lettuce, Steven is a six-time titleholder of the Drag Queen of the Year award. He has received national acclaim for Hedda's poised characters, hilarious comedy, startling satire and original music, performing in such notable cabaret venues as Caroline's on Broadway and COMIX. and the weekly classic movie night at the Clearview Cinema in Chelsea. Lettuce lures audience members into some of the funniest scenarios on-stage with ultra-candid and shimmering wit. Steven has performed in numerous Off-Broadway shows and has also had the pleasure of working with many high-profile charity events.

THE DIVINE SISTER - THE ACTORS

STEVEN POLITO (Mother Superior) has appeared with such notable performers as Sarah Jessica Parker, Tyra Banks and Madonna on the television shows "Project Runway," "Sex and the City," "The Tyra Banks Show," the "MTV Movie Awards," "The Dave Chapelle Show" and "Ugly Betty." He is one of the stars of The Sundance Channel's new reality show, "Garo Unleased." Steven's film appearances include, "The Look" (Carol Alt), "Too Wong Foo" and "Go Go Crazy," developed by the producers of "The Big Gay Musical," "Violet Tendencies" and "Musical Chairs." As the Queen of Green, Hedda Lettuce, Steven is a six-time titleholder of the Drag Queen of the Year award. He has received national acclaim for Hedda's poised characters, hilarious comedy, startling satire and original music, performing in such notable cabaret venues as Caroline's on Broadway and COMIX. and the weekly classic movie night at the Clearview Cinema in Chelsea. Lettuce lures audience members into some of the funniest scenarios on-stage with ultra-candid and shimmering wit. Steven has performed in numerous Off-Broadway shows and has also had the pleasure of working with many high-profile charity events.

SARAH DACEY CHARLES (Sister Maria Walburga/Mrs. MacDuffie). Just back from the First National Tour of "9 to 5," Sarah's thrilled to make her Stageworks debut. Sarah won the 2011 LIFF Best Actor Award for her portrayal of Barbara Stanwyck in the Indy film, "Agnes Moorehead is God!" Broadway: Mme. Thenardier u/s in LES MISERABLES. Regional: Fosca - PASSION (TheatreWorks), Yvonne - SUNDAY IN THE PARK (Arden Th. Co.) and Rona - SPELLING BEE (Mason Street) Pilot: Captain Sweetie - "The Lez Boat". Upcoming Film: Mrs. Benton - "The Jesus Picture." Please visit www.sarahdaceycharles.com

AMANDA A. LEDERER (Agnes) is having a blast performing for the first time at Stageworks! New York: Anne - THE DUNES (Gallery Players). Agnes - AGNES OF GOD, Barbara Allen - DARK OF THE MOON, Gloria - WORLD OF SINATRAS, Mercy Lewis - THE CRUCIBLE, Karen - DINNER WITH FRIENDS (Project Rushmore). Regional - Stella (u/s) - A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, Sonya - UNCLE VANYA, Ensemble - GUYS & DOLLS (New Harmony Repertory). BA, Theatre Arts, Catawba College. Proud member of Project Rushmore Theatre Company. http://www.projectrushmorenyc.org.

MOLLY PARKER MYERS (Mrs. Levinson/Timothy) is an actor and singer based in the Hudson Valley, who last appeared at Stageworks/Hudson in FORBIDDEN BROADWAY. Recent credits include THE DROWSY CHAPERONE (The Drowsy Chaperone), DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (Muriel Eubanks), FALSETTOS (Doctor Charlotte).

LOUISE PILLAI (Sister Acacius) most recently appeared in Stageworks/Hudson's production of PLAY BY PLAY SHADOWS. She is well known in the Hudson Valley for her work at numerous regional theater companies including Rhinebeck Center for the Performing Arts, The Two Of Us Productions, Tri Arts, Saturday Night Liv, Taconic Stage and Classics at the Point. Productions include: CAROUSEL, RAGTIME, CABARET, AGNES OF GOD, HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, BLITHE SPIRIT, THE GOOD DOCTOR and numerous others.

DOUG TRAPP (Venerius/Jeremy) is delighted to make his Stageworks debut. Credit highlights: National Tour of ANNIE, directed by Martin Charnin. Off Broadway: York Theatre, LionTheater, NYMF, Blue Heron Arts Center, Musicals Tonight!, West End Theatre. Favorite Regional: ...PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Panch), THE PRODUCERS (Leo Bloom), URINETOWN (McQueen), DIRTY BLONDE (Man), SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN (Mervin), HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING (Ovington), BIG RIVER (Huck). TV/Film: Onion News Network; "Temps"; "Angelo Rules"; "Breakfast with Tiffany" and "One Life to Live". Extensive VO work. www.dougtrapp.com.

THE PLAYWRIGHT

Charles Busch is the author and star of numerous plays including The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset, Shanghai Moon, The Third Story, and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist's Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and received a Tony nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays, Psycho Beach Party and Die, Mommie, Die!, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. Mr. Busch made his directorial debut with the film A Very Serious Person, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch.

THE DIRECTOR

Billy Kimmel is enjoying his forth production with Stageworks/Hudson. Past productions include Gutenberg the Musical, Play by Play and Forbidden Broadway. A veteran of the stage, he has spent over 30 years working as a professional director, singer, dancer and actor. Broadway credits include: Annie Off Broadway: Forbidden Broadway 20th Anniversary, Special Victims Unit and Rude Awakening, The Next to the Last Revue Regional: Brigadoon, Crazy For You, Forever Plaid, My Fair Lady, Anything Goes, I Love A Piano Tour: Annie 30th Anniversary. Additional Director and Choreographer credits include: The New No Frills Review working with Tony award winning lyricist Martin Charnin, Phipps Center for the Performing Arts, 3M Innovations, Target, Walmart, Lyric Theatre, Jon Hassler Theater, Knotts Camp Snoopy, Lakeshore Players, Double JJ Resort, Valleyfair, Idlewild Park, Silverwood Park, The Design Group, Mall Of America, Alpine Industries, Ecoquest International, Winsor Concepts and JC Penny Co. In 2002 he directed the area premier of the musical Honk at the Jon Hassler Theater in Plainview Minnesota. The show garnered critical acclaim and was named one of the best shows of 2002 by the Rochester Post-Bulletin and was revived in 2003 for an encore. Billy has also held many executive positions in the entertainment field. He served as President of On Stage Entertainment, Live Entertainment Manager for Valleyfair Amusement Park and Entertainment Director for the Design Group, an events management company. Billy splits his time between New York City and his home in the Hudson Valley continuing work in the entertainment industry as well as running his own Graphic Design and Web development buisiness, Smarty Pants Creative. www.smartypantswebsites.com

THE DESIGNERS

MOE SCHELL (Costume Design) is the head of costumes at Bard College. At Bard Moe designs with student choreographers to teach them real world skills to help realize their work and it's potential. She has designed the past three seasons at the Bard Dance Department and The Judson School 40th Anniversary at Bard and at The Judson Church in NYC . This fall, she designed The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project 10 Years Later with Moises Kaufman and members of The Tectonic Theater Project . Some favorite designs include: Little Red, Emerson High, Seven Stories and Almost Maine with Half Moon Theater; The Good Person of Sechuan at the Atlantic Theater; the original production The Laramie Project with the Tectonic Theater Company, Denver, NYC, LaJolla Playhouse; Pentecost with the Barrow Group directed by Seth Barish (Drama Desk Nomination) and Benten Kozo at the Flea directed by Jim Simpson (Obie Award). She is a graduate of Rutgers University with an MFA in costume design in 1994.

MICHAEL PORTER (Lighting Design) is a Chicago-born lighting designer who owes his capacity in the field to the tutelage and inspiration of Hudson locals John Musall and Andrew Hill. A recent graduate, he has designed extensively for both student and faculty productions at Bard College, with notable productions: THE NATALYA PIECE and FEFU & HER FRIENDS.

PHIL ELMAN (Set Design & Technical Director) has served as Resident Technical Director for Stageworks for the past three years. Recent plays include THE AMISH PROJECT, IMAGINING MADOFF, OR, and PLAY BY PLAY. He has also designed the sound for several Stageworks' productions. As the company's General Manager, Phil has been an integral part of Stageworks both artistically and managerially for over fourteen years.

The production team includes: Jen Schilansky, Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Managers Roca-Lisa Kartzmer, Catherine Seeley and Caitlyn Mazzacano.

About Stageworks/Hudson
Stageworks has established a reputation for its ambitious programming and adventurous productions. The company is especially known for producing the bold, risk-taking work of new dramatic voices. Central to its vision is Futures, an integrative program designed to move Stageworks to the forefront of new play development. Stageworks is both the experiment and the resource to infuse the whole life of the theater with a creative process that produces new ways of expressing, interpreting and sharing the human experience.

Stageworks is a member of Theatre Communications Group, the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and Perform Columbia. It is the recipient of a Proctors Regional Arts Award inaugurated by Proctors Theatre in 2008 to honor the outstanding work of performing arts organizations. For four consecutive years, Stageworks was distinguished in Metroland Magazine as "Best Theater Company." Stageworks is recipient of the Crystal Apple Award from the Chamber of Commerce for providing a positive effect both culturally and economically on the quality of life in our community.

Plays are for everyone, whether written by students, established authors or emerging dramatists. Theater illuminates, expresses and interprets the human experience and profoundly serves as a global stage for social exchange and enrichment. Stageworks complements its main season with a series of programs to encourage and engage young people, traditional theatergoers and new audiences. Stageworks continues to actively take a leadership role in establishing the Hudson Valley as a cultural destination by exploring and expanding its reputation for developing new theatrical works, forms and programs.

THE DIVINE SISTER - FACT SHEET

Calendar of Events
Previews: July 20 and 21
Opening: Friday, July 22
Closing: Sunday, August 7

Performance Calendar THE DIVINE SISTER at Stageworks/Hudson
Wednesday at 7:30 pm: 7/20, 7/27 and 8/3
Thursday at 7:30 pm: 7/21, 7/28 and 8/4
Friday at 8:00 pm: 7/22, 7/29 and 8/5
Saturday at 8:00 pm: 7/23, 7/30 and 8/6
Saturday Matinee at 2:00 pm: 8/6
Sunday Matinee at 2:00 pm: 7/24, 7/31 and 8/7

Talk Back with the cast and directors post-performance: 7/28 & 8/4.

Cast (Ensemble)
Steven Polito, Sarah Dacey Charles, Amanda A. Lederer, Molly Parker-Myers, Louise Pillai and Doug Trapp

Playwright
Charles Busch

Production Team
Laura Margolis, Artistic Director
Philip Elman, General Manager
John Sowle, Associate Artistic Director
Michael Porter, Lighting Design
Billy Kimmel and Phil Elman, Set Design
Jennifer Schilansky and Billy Kimmel, Sound Design
Moe Schell , Costume Design
Jennifer Schilansky, Stage Manager

Tickets
For tickets or information, contact Stageworks by mail at 41-A Cross Street, Hudson, NY 12534 or call the box office at (518) 822-9667. For further information, visit the website at www.stageworkshudson.org.

Single ticket prices are:
$18 for preview performances
$24 for Weekdays, Matinees and Sundays
$29 for Friday and Saturday evening performances.
Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more and there are special rates for students and seniors.

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Stageworks/Hudson's mainstage season is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. Additional major support provided by The Shubert Foundation, Ernest O. Reaugh Foundation, City of Hudson, Columbia County Tourism, Bank of Greene County Foundation, Empire State Appraisal Consultants, Hudson River Bank & Trust Company Foundation, Jewish Communal Trust, Kinderhook Bank, Stewart's Shops, Trustco Bank, Ulster Savings Bank, United Way, Wood Hill Veterinary and individual donors.
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Stageworks is a member of Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Perform Columbia, BeLo3rd and HADA.

Stageworks On The Hudson, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. Contributions are fully tax deductible as allowed by law.
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