It's 1988 and Brandon is embarking on his Senior year at St. Joseph's Preparatory School for Boys. He's smart, charming and the captain of the football team - a typical St. Joe's leader. But when a video tape featuring graphic sex acts is found in one of the school's VCRs his future is threatened. Is Brandon the boy on the tape? Who is the girl? And why was the tape made? The slow revealing of the answers to these questions force Brandon's mother Elizabeth to confront unsettling truths about her son, herself, and the foundation of their lives as the school and community are rocked by scandal.
Tickets $18.00 (adults), $15.00 (students/seniors), and are available at www.retroproductions.org
Show Dates: Saturday, November 28 at 8:00 pm (Opening Night) Sunday, November 29 at 2:00 pm Monday, November 30 at 8:00 pm Wednesday, December 2 at 8:00 pm Thursday, December 3 at 8:00 pm Friday, December 4 at 8:00 pm Saturday, December 5 at 8:00 pm Sunday, December 6 at 2:00 pm Wednesday, December 9 at 8:00 pm Thursday, December 10 at 8:00 pm Friday, December 11 at 8:00 pm Saturday, December 12 at 8:00 pm
Running time: 1:45
Featuring: C.K. Allen(Lawn People/Cherry Lane), Stephan Amenta (A Great Wilderness/Williamstown), Heather E. Cunningham (NYIT Award for Best Actress/An Appeal To The Woman of the House), Rebecca Gray Davis (The Butter and Egg Man/Retro), Ryan Pater (A Man’s A Man/Classic Stage Company), and Moira Stone (Money Lab/HERE Arts Center).
The creative team includes set design by Jack and Rebecca Cunningham (multiple NYIT nominations for set design), costume design by Kathryn Squitieri, lighting design by Asa Lipton, sound design by DeLisa White, and properties design by Sara Slagle.
All performances take place at the Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street (Between Lafayette & Bowery), New York, NY 10012. Subways: 6 to Bleecker Street, B/D/F/M to Broadway/Lafayette.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright, comic book and television/film writer. His plays, include Good Boys and True, Dark Matters, Say You Love Satan, and Based on a Totally True Story, which have been produced Off-Broadway (Manhattan Theatre Club, 2econd Stage, Rattle Stick Playwrights Theater) and regionally (Steppenwolf, South Coast Rep). He wrote the book for the musical American Psycho with music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik. American Psycho premiered on the West End in 2013 and is currently planned for a Broadway run in 2016. As a comic book writer he has written The Fantastic Four, Nightcrawler and Spider-Man, for Marvel Comics. Television credits include the HBO series Big Love, and Looking, and Glee on Fox. Movie credits include Carrie and The Town That Dreaded Sundown. In 2002 he received the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays. He also received several GLAAD Media Award nominations for Golden Age and for Say You Love Satan.
DeLisa White (Director) is an award winning director and sound designer. In 2014 she received a New York Innovative Theatre Award (NYIT) for Outstanding Director for Vincent Marano’s Lights Narrow which was also nominated for Best Production of a Play and Best Full Length Play. For Retro Productions, she has directed An Appeal to the Woman of the House which was nominated for Best Production of a Play, Best Full Length Play and won an NYIT Award for Heather Cunningham as Outstanding Actress. Other directing credits include Greg Oliver Bodine’s production of Poe Times Two which was performed at Cape May Stage and the Workshop Theatre Company. The production was also nominated for several NYIT Awards. Additional directing credits include Ed Malin's Generic Magic Realism starring Nat Cassidy (nomination Best Solo Performance), and Mr. Cassidy in the NYIT Award Winning, Things at the Doorstep which was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's work. In total, the productions she has directed have earned a total thirteen NYIT nominations and three wins. DeLisa has designed sound for Retro Productions, Workshop Theatre, and The New York International Fringe Festival. She has also provided foley effects for Pandora Machine Films, WWOW Cranston and Spade Radio.
About Retro Productions: Retro Productions (Heather E. Cunningham, Artistic Director) was founded in 2005 with the mission to present works of retro theatre. Retro is defined as "involving, relating to, or reminiscent of things past (American Heritage Dictionary)." Retro Productions strives to tell good theatrical stories which have an historical perspective - with an emphasis on the 20th century - in order to broaden our own understanding of the world we live in. Over the past 11 years, Retro has produced 18 plays including last year’s critically acclaimed production of The Butter and Egg Man and The Runner Stumbles which was moved to an off-Broadway run by The Bleecker Company in 2011. Retro Productions has received 22 New York Innovative Theatre Awards nominations since 2008 - including 2 wins for Outstanding Actress in a Lead, for Kristen Vaughan (Benefactors by Michael Frayn in 2011) and Heather E. Cunningham (An Appeal to the Woman of the House by Christie Perfetti Williams in 2014). Nominations include Outstanding Production of a Revival for The Butter and Egg Man in 2015, Outstanding Production of a Play for An Appeal to the Woman of the House in 2014, Benefactors in 2011 and The Desk Set in 2010, Outstanding Original Full-length script for An Appeal to the Woman of the House in 2014, Outstanding Ensemble for Benefactors in 2011, as well as acting and design award nominations.
New York, NY – Retro Productions celebrates its eleventh season with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Glee/Big Love) drama, Good Boys and True which had its World Premiere at The Steppenwolf Theatre in 2007. The production is directed by DeLisa White who won a New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Director for Vincent Marano’s Lights Narrow. Good Boys and True, is Retro Productions 18th full length play. Their last production, The Butter and Egg Man played to sold-out houses and received rave reviews. Heather E. Cunningham (NYIT Award Winner for Outstanding Actress/An Appeal To The Woman Of The House) is the Producing Artistic Director, Sara Slagle serves as an Associate Producer.
"It’s a delicate mix and balance of design, direction and acting that Retro Theatre Productions excels at…Modern theatre is often about The Now or even about The Next, but Retro Productions understands the importance of remembering our recent history. The significance of reflection is always poignantly observed in their revivals." – The Baltimore Waltz, New York Theatre Review “Retro Productions excels yet again with this play…This is a beautiful story, eerily brought to life by director DeLisa White.” – An Appeal To The Woman Of The House, NY Theater Now "This is one helluva revival." – The Butter and Egg Man, A Seat on the Aisle “I would gladly see this production again…Thanks, Retro Productions, for reminding me - again - of why I ever got involved in the theatre.” – The Butter and Egg Man, Travalanche "An enjoyably wacky evening in the company of likeable crazies." –The Butter and Egg Man, Theatre Scene "Retro Productions, one of the Off-Off Broadway’s best kept secrets, has been wowing those in the know with one stellar production after another.” – Benefactors, NY Theatre Wire "I’m off to one of my favorite theater companies: Retro Productions, which unearths plays from the distant past." – The Desk Set, Theatre Mania "Whenever I hear that Retro Productions is doing a show, I immediately make a reservation. I love this ambitious company that brings back forgotten plays.” – The Runner Stumbles, Filichia on Friday
REVIEW: by Shoshana Roberts on 12.2.15 theasy.com
Good Boys and True
Rebecca Gray Davis, Heather E. Cunningham, C.K. Allen, Ryan Pater, Stephan Amenta, and Moira Stone in Good Boys and True.
BOTTOM LINE: A mother contemplates how well she knows her high school son after seeing a figure that might be his on a scandalous sex tape. This revival fits into important social discussions that are relevant today.
Rape Culture is a problem that does not just occur in the past. As Heather Cunningham, Retro Productions' Artistic Director states in the program, “Yes, this play takes place in 1988, but this is still happening in schools and colleges and beyond—everywhere. It is still happening.” Good Boys and True is a play by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa that, in this day and age, is extremely relevant. With books like Jessica Knoll's The Luckiest Girl Alive and recent viral videos that expose catcalling, it is clear that the mentality of “boys will be boys” is warped and inappropriate.
Brandon Hardy (Ryan Pater) has the build of a Greek god. He is captain of the varsity football team and a starter for the basketball team at St. Joseph's Preparatory School for Boys. It seems like he has a lot going for him. Friends galore, Ivy league school acceptances, a girlfriend, etc. The list goes on. This privileged boy has everyone on his side until Coach Russell Shea (C.K. Allen) brings Elizabeth Hardy (Heather E. Cunningham), Brandon's mom and Coach Russ's long time friend, into his office for a serious discussion. A sex tape is making its way around; not only the upperclassmen, but freshmen have seen it, and now Russ and Mrs. Hardy have too. Could it be Brandon on the tape? It is difficult to tell, especially when most of the boys have a similar build and no one knows who the female on the film is. Do the participants know they were filmed? Was it a consensual encounter? How did it get out? Even Mrs. Hardy's sister Maddy Emerson (Moira Stone), who teaches at a nearby public school, has students in her class who have seen the vulgar tape.
Not only is the VHS making its rounds, but this story brings into question how parents and kids grow up. The lifestyle of these kids changes based on income and environment. Our mentalities are affected by our surroundings. There may not be one best way to handle a difficult situation, but sweeping it under the rug or just accepting it as a part of the culture, like they do at the boy's prep school, is unacceptable. People have to be held responsible for their actions. Thrown into the mix is also Brandon's relationship with another guy at school, Justin Simmons (Stephan Amenta), who is called many nasty names, one of which is “cocksucker.” Indeed, there are many such gut-wrenching, in-your-face moments in this drama. Amusing lines are written in as well, but they do not ease the tension.
Tackling the dilemma of multiple locations in a play is always a tough one for directors and set designers. DeLisa M. White and Jack and Rebecca Cunningham are on point with their creation for this revival. The mood evoked from each section of the scenery is that of its individual space, as well as being a part of the cohesive ambiance. One step up is the area designated as the Hardy's living room. Beyond that is the locker room, with the coach's office placed upstage center, at the heart of everything.
Utilizing works written in the past shows us how the topics in these revivals are ongoing problems that still need to be addressed. Though there is not much depth to the ideas written into Aguirre-Sacasa's script, White does well with bringing the important topics brought up in Good Boys and True to life.
(Good Boys and True plays at Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street, through December 12, 2015. The show is two hours, with one intermission. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2. Tickets are $15-18 and are available at retroproductions.org.)