Hand to God Q&A Interview

January 24, 2017

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We took time for an informal Q&A with the director and two of the designers of our upcoming production of Hand to God.  Edward Carignan, SNS’s Artistic Director, will direct the production.  William Pierson, scenic designer of last year’s Die Mommie, Die, designed the immersive setting for the show.   Zakary Newman designed the unique puppets needed for the production. 

  

Question: Why did Short North Stage choose to put Hand to God on the season?

Edward Carignan: Our Artistic Committee had the opportunity to see the original production on Broadway last year.  We were all blown away by how edgy, distinct and, most of all, hilarious this new play was.  It was a huge hit in New York and in London and we were thrilled to receive the Ohio premiere license.  We all agreed it was a perfect show for our audiences, based on the success of our previous productions of Die Mommie, Die, The Little Dog Laughed and The Divine Sister

Question: What makes Hand to God such a unique comedy?

Edward Carignan: Hand to God is unique because it approaches typically dramatic issues in a truly hilarious light.  Anyone who grew up in church school, as I did, knows the growing pains and awkward moments that can occur.  This play lampoons those moments with a truthful and insightful lens.  Throw in a possessed puppet, a mom on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and a love-starved pastor and you have a comedy like none I’ve ever worked on before. I also love that we are setting the show in an immersive and intimate environment. This really changes the experience for the audience, who literally walk into a fully realized church basement. 

Question: What has been your favorite part of rehearsing this play?

Edward Carignan: I have really enjoyed learning about the real-life Puppet Ministries.  I had no idea they even existed, and apparently they are HUGE.  There are tons of clips of them on Youtube.  We even had a puppet ministry director come and speak to the cast. 

Question: What are the challenges of designing this play for a black box theater space?

William Pierson: The challenge of any production is to give the appropriate aesthetic while making sure that the action can flow quickly and seamlessly. Balancing the aesthetic with practical problems of staging is not an easy chore when the audience is as close as they are in your studio space. Multi-scene and multi-location shows are particularly challenging. This show has five distinct locations. Of those five, one of them has to miraculously transform itself into a variation on itself in full view of the audience. Without giving away specific details I focused on creating a space that could address the numerous interior and exterior spaces efficiently, look unified, service some rather complex action.

Question: What changes when setting this comedy in an immersive environment?

William Pierson: The advantage of designing in the space is the proximity of the audience to the action. For better or worse the audience feels intimately connected with the characters and the world be being surrounded by it. They are immersed in the show because they are inside the world. With a show like "Hand to God" it should mean rooting for these characters, flaws and all.

Question: What is the process of creating the hand puppets for this show?

Zakary Newman: While putting a new spin on characters the Broadway designer had already done exceptionally well was a challenge, it was an exciting one.  After preliminary sketches and color schemes were approved by the director, I had to create patterns.  My mother “volunteered” to have her hand wrapped in plastic wrap and duct tape so I could draw out the patterns the way they would fall on an actor’s hand.  Once the patterns were cut out, I had many hours of hand sewing ahead of me.  I prefer hand sewing puppets because I think it blends the pieces of fabric together better than machine sewing.  The next stage was wardrobe and detailing.  This stage is the most fun because it’s where you get to really bring the character to life.  

Question: What were the inspirations for creating Tyrone, the show’s devilish puppet?

Zakary Newman: Because most of my experience is in building monsters and horror themed props, creating Tyrone was very exciting for me.  I wanted to really push the demonic look and make it appear as though some creature had taken shape beneath the fabric of the original puppet.  In his design, I drew inspiration from Gremlins, one of my favorite films growing up.  Not only does possessed Tyrone have gremlin like features, he is also a larger, more aggressive version of his cuter, more innocent self.  The final touch was the mutated Jesus fish on his shirt, completing the perversion of the original puppet.

GIVE THE GIFT OF THEATER

November 23, 2016

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We still have five exciting shows left in our season. Why not give a friend or loved one—or treat yourself—to tickets to the remaining productions. We are now offering five and three-show packages to the rest of the season. Packages give you big discounts. Three-show packages start as low as $63 for the Previews, depending on which shows you choose. Other packages save you 15% off full price. Besides big discounts you can guarantee your preferred seats for each show. Read about each show below. Want to purchase individual seats to any show. Just click on the image.

Why Subscribe?

* Never miss a show! *

* Reserve the same seats of your choice for every show *

* FREE exchanges *

* Waived Facility Fee *

* Invitation to every Opening Night Cast Party *

(If you have trouble completing your order, be sure sure you have the latest version of Adobe Flash, or call us at 614-725-4042)

Select Your Series Below:

FIVE-SHOW PACKAGES

Preview

Opening Nights

First Saturdays

First Sunday Matinees

Special Thursdays

Second Fridays

Second Saturdays

Second Sunday Matinees

THREE-SHOW PACKAGES

Preview

Opening Nights

First Saturdays

First Sunday Matinees

Special Thursdays

Second Fridays

Second Saturdays

Second Sunday Matinees

Book early to get your choice of available seats and enjoy substantial savings. If your plans change you can exchange your seats at face value for no charge.

DECEMBER 8-18, 2016

Some of Columbus' favorite musical performers will celebrate the holidays at the Garden Theater in an original world premiere musical set in our town during the most enchanting time of the year. One of Santa's elves has missed the Polar Express back to the North Pole and it's up to some local children to show him all the magic our city has to offer in December. This song-and-dance-filled tale will warm your heart faster than a hot chocolate (or hot toddy!) at Ethel's Lounge. Make a night - or matinee - of it and bring the whole family.

FEBRUARY 2-18, 2017

A puppet made from a grey sock, some fake red fur, and a bit of felt might not seem the stuff of evil, but meet Tyrone. This hilariously foul-mouthed puppet from Hell was the toast of Broadway last season as he took over the left hand of a hapless teenager and waged a reign of delightfully blasphemous terror among a group of young people planning a puppet show in a church basement in Texas. Now, Tyrone will make his regional debut in Columbus. "So ridiculously raunchy, irreverent and funny it's bound to leave you sore from laughing" - New York Daily News.

MARCH 23-APRIL 16, 2017

Travel back to Merry Olde England and the days of King Arthur in this wacky winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical. Based on the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this smash hit was the most requested musical in our audience survey of potential shows last year. Preposterously retelling the legend of Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail, Spamalot features catchy songs, killer rabbits, hilariously lewd French soldiers, the Lady of the Lake, the silly but terrifying Knights who say "Ni" and a bevy of beautiful dancing girls. You'll laugh till you say "Ni more."

PART ONE: MILLENIUM APPROACHES / JUNE 1-JULY 2, 2017

Part One of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer-Prize and Tony-Award-winning exploration of how the AIDS crisis impacted fictional characters in the 1980s. Millenium Approaches introduces the characters as they embark on their journeys through the epidemic. Our production of both parts marks the 30th anniversary of the approval of the first drugs to turn the tide against a plague that the Millennial generation can only imagine. Collaborating with the puppet masters of Dayton's Zoot Theatre Company, we will bring both towering plays to radically re-imagined life with large puppets co-mingling with the characters to help create the fantasia inherent in author Tony Kushner's audacious masterpiece.

PART TWO - PERESTROIKA JUNE 15-JULY 2, 2017

Part Two of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer-Prize and Tony-Award-winning exploration of the AIDS crisis continues the journey of a group of interconnected individuals confronting the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.Perestroika steers the characters introduced in Millennium Approaches from the opportunistic eighties to a new sense of community in the nineties. "Not only a stunning resolution of the resounding human drama of Millennium Approaches, but also a true millennial work of art." - The New York Times

BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL

November 22, 2016

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One day only. Starting midnight this Friday. We still have five exciting shows left in our season. Get one-third off when you buy a package for all five shows. Treat yourself or a friend! Prices range from $95 to $105. Besides big discounts you can guarantee your preferred seats. Read about each show below. Want to purchase individual seats to any show? Just click on the image!

Why Subscribe?

* Never miss a show! *

* Reserve the same seats of your choice for every show *

* FREE exchanges *

* Waived Facility Fee *

* Invitation to every Opening Night Cast Party *

(If you have trouble completing your order, be sure sure you have the latest version of Adobe Flash, or call us at 614-725-4042)

Select Your Series Below:

FIVE-SHOW PACKAGES

Preview

Opening Nights

First Saturdays

First Sunday Matinees

Special Thursdays

Second Fridays

Second Saturdays

Second Sunday Matinees

Book early to get your choice of available seats and enjoy substantial savings. If your plans change you can exchange your seats at face value for no charge.

DECEMBER 8-18, 2016

Some of Columbus' favorite musical performers will celebrate the holidays at the Garden Theater in an original world premiere musical set in our town during the most enchanting time of the year. One of Santa's elves has missed the Polar Express back to the North Pole and it's up to some local children to show him all the magic our city has to offer in December. This song-and-dance-filled tale will warm your heart faster than a hot chocolate (or hot toddy!) at Ethel's Lounge. Make a night - or matinee - of it and bring the whole family.

FEBRUARY 2-18, 2017

A puppet made from a grey sock, some fake red fur, and a bit of felt might not seem the stuff of evil, but meet Tyrone. This hilariously foul-mouthed puppet from Hell was the toast of Broadway last season as he took over the left hand of a hapless teenager and waged a reign of delightfully blasphemous terror among a group of young people planning a puppet show in a church basement in Texas. Now, Tyrone will make his regional debut in Columbus. "So ridiculously raunchy, irreverent and funny it's bound to leave you sore from laughing" - New York Daily News.

MARCH 23-APRIL 16, 2017

Travel back to Merry Olde England and the days of King Arthur in this wacky winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical. Based on the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this smash hit was the most requested musical in our audience survey of potential shows last year. Preposterously retelling the legend of Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail, Spamalot features catchy songs, killer rabbits, hilariously lewd French soldiers, the Lady of the Lake, the silly but terrifying Knights who say "Ni" and a bevy of beautiful dancing girls. You'll laugh till you say "Ni more."

PART ONE: MILLENIUM APPROACHES / JUNE 1-JULY 2, 2017

Part One of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer-Prize and Tony-Award-winning exploration of how the AIDS crisis impacted fictional characters in the 1980s. Millenium Approaches introduces the characters as they embark on their journeys through the epidemic. Our production of both parts marks the 30th anniversary of the approval of the first drugs to turn the tide against a plague that the Millennial generation can only imagine. Collaborating with the puppet masters of Dayton's Zoot Theatre Company, we will bring both towering plays to radically re-imagined life with large puppets co-mingling with the characters to help create the fantasia inherent in author Tony Kushner's audacious masterpiece.

PART TWO - PERESTROIKA JUNE 15-JULY 2, 2017

Part Two of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer-Prize and Tony-Award-winning exploration of the AIDS crisis continues the journey of a group of interconnected individuals confronting the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.Perestroika steers the characters introduced in Millennium Approaches from the opportunistic eighties to a new sense of community in the nineties. "Not only a stunning resolution of the resounding human drama of Millennium Approaches, but also a true millennial work of art." - The New York Times

Special Offer: 30 Under 30

August 27, 2016

Are you under 30? Do you love live theater but does it challenge your budget? Short North Stage doesn’t want you to miss out. Introducing our new 30-Under-30 offer. The first thirty patrons younger than 30 who purchase our five-show season tickets will get 30% off.  Depending on which shows and seats you select you can pay as little as $95. Seats can be exchanged if your plans change. Choose from August Wilson’s towering drama Fences, the rarely seen, 7-Tony-Award-Winning musical, Kiss of the Spider Woman, the hilariously blasphemous comedy Hand to God, the crowd-pleasing musical Monty Python’s Spamalot, or the epic two-part Angels in America. Don’t wait. Only the first 30 packages sold qualify for this special offer. See descriptions of each show below. To get your tickets Click Here. Below is information on each show to help you decide.

SEPTEMBER 8-25, 2016

One of the towering plays of the 20th Century, Fences continues the year-long August Wilson Festival. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Awards for both Best Play (1987) and Best Revival (2010) Fences, set in 1957, focuses on Troy Maxim, one of the greatest tragic characters created for the American stage. Troy, a former Negro League baseball star had been excluded from the Major Leagues. Now a garbage man in Pittsburgh, he struggles to come to terms with his battered dreams, his family and changing times. “Universal enough to touch a chord in every human heart,” wrote the New York Times.

NOVEMBER 3-20, 2016 

Winner of seven Tony Awards, this rarely-seen dazzling 1993 musical by Kander and Ebb (writers of Cabaret and Chicago) tells the story of Molina, an imprisoned Latin American gay man and his cell mate Valentin, a Marxist revolutionary. To emotionally survive prison brutality, Molina spins fantasies of a movie queen, the “Spider Woman” Aurora.The fantasies come to life through lavish dance numbers and aerial feats performed on silks. Inspired by Aurora and his unselfish love for Valentin, Molina arrives at his own heroic definition of masculinity. “It captures the magic musicals were meant for “—Wall Street Journal.

DECEMBER 8-18, 2016

Some of Columbus’s favorite musical performers will celebrate the holidays at the Garden Theater in an original world premiere musical set in our town during the most enchanting time of the year. One of Santa’s elves has missed the Polar Express back to the North Pole and it’s up to some local children to show him all the magic our city has to offer in December. This song-and-dance-filled tale will warm your heart faster than a hot chocolate (or hot toddy!) at Ethel’s Lounge. Make a night—or matinee—of it and bring the whole family.

FEBRUARY 2-18, 2017 

A puppet made from a grey sock, some fake red fur, and a bit of felt might not seem the stuff of evil, but meet Tyrone. This hilariously foul-mouthed puppet from Hell was the toast of Broadway last season as he took over the left hand of a hapless teenager and waged a reign of delightfully blasphemous terror among a group of young people planning a puppet show in a church basement in Texas. Now, Tyrone will make his regional debut in Columbus. “So ridiculously raunchy, irreverent and funny it’s bound to leave you sore from laughing”—New York Daily News.  

MARCH 23-APRIL 16, 2017 

Travel back to Merry Olde England and the days of King Arthur in this wacky winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical. Based on the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this smash hit was the most requested musical in our audience survey of potential shows last year. Preposterously retelling the legend of Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail, Spamalot features catchy songs, killer rabbits, hilariously lewd French soldiers, the Lady of the Lake, the silly but terrifying Knights who say “Ni” and a bevy of beautiful dancing girls. You’ll laugh till you say “Ni more.”

PART ONE: MILLENIUM APPROACHES/ JUNE 1-JULY 2, 2017 

Part One of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer-Prize and Tony-Award-winning exploration of how the AIDS crisis impacted fictional characters in the 1980s. Millenium Approaches introduces the characters as they embark on their journeys through the epidemic. Our production of both parts marks the 30th anniversary of the approval of the first drugs to turn the tide against a plague that the Millennial generation can only imagine. Collaborating with the puppet masters of Dayton’s Zoot Theatre Company, we will bring both towering plays to radically re-imagined life with large puppets co-mingling with the characters to help create the fantasia inherent in author Tony Kushner’s audacious masterpiece.

August in August: An Exuberant Twist on the August Wilson Festival

July 28, 2016

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Blues music, dance and a reading of August Wilson’s Jitney, a powerful play about a group of unlicensed cab drivers in the changing world of 1977, provide the next offerings in this year’s August Wilson Festival in mid-August.

Kicking off “August in August” is an original dance piece, Who I Be!, inspired by the works of August Wilson and created by the Berry & Nance Dance Project (BNDP) (See above in an earlier work).  The company is the brainchild of long-time collaborators Stafford C. Berry, Jr and C. Kemal Nance, both dance professors at top American Universities—Denison University and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana respectively. Utilizing neo-traditional and contemporary African movement vocabulary and various music genres from jazz to house, BNDP has built a repertoire of dances that share stories regarding African-American men, the discourse of men of color, and their penchant for “jamming.”

​Although August Wilson’s works triggered the creation of Who I Be!, the performance is based on the choreographers’ experiences as black men living in modern America. With contemporary dance, live music and text, Berry, Nance and their company weave together a bold, contemporary dance theater piece that questions the complexities of life in this country.

Who I Be!? will perform at the Garden Theater on Saturday, August 13 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, August 14 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, click HERE.

The following Wednesday, August 17, as a tribute to August Wilson’s love for the Blues, the Johnstone Fund for New Music presents an original Blues composition, Blues in August, by Columbus’s extraordinary composer and drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax. Inspired by American jazz percussionist and composer Max Roach, Blues in August is a five-movement composition that seeks to engage the fertile space between European classical and African American improvised music, while harnessing the essence of the blues captured in playwright August Wilson’s work. Using themes from several of Wilson’s plays as a narrative guide, it celebrates his sense of unbridled humanity.

The final August in August event will be a reading of Wilson’s Jitney by PAST Productions Columbus. Jitney, one of Wilson’s early works, focuses on the trials and tribulations of a group of unlicensed cab drivers in Pittsburgh in 1977. Intensely passionate and poetic it once again looks at African American lives in a changing community. The reading is not a full production, but rather a seated, rehearsed read-through of the script by PAST’s excellent actors (See photo below). For more information and tickets visit https://pastproductionscolumbus.com/.

   The August Wilson Festival,which is sponsored by PNC Arts Alive, will continue in September with the Short North Stage season opener, Fences, which

is perhaps Wilson’s most celebrated work.

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